Sunday, 31 October 2010

Halloween Horror

I have a scary tale to tell.

T'was a dark, moonless night. The smell of roasting pumpkin and witches brew lay heavy on the air. Suddenly the murky blackness was pierced by the shrieks of a sinister skeletal figure and his accomplice, a terrifying and powerful witch of rather small stature.

They danced to a cheap Halloween novelty CD. They ate brain and gore sandwiches (egg and jam)*, baby's fingers and eyeballs (sausages and grapes), and finished off with that old favourite; blood jelly and bogey cream. Then they started on the chocolate. Then some more dancing. Then a vicious balloon fight. Then some more chocolate, and then the assault on the neighbours began.

Up and down the road they patrolled, their beady eyes alert for likely prey. As soon as there was a response to their rapacious door hammering the victim was overwhelmed with fearsome roars and blood curdling screeches. They demanded chocolate and sweets and were rewarded richly by neighbours desperate to be rid of these tiny predators and get back to Sunday's X-factor results show.

Simon Cowell's opinions were of scant interest to these hydrogenated fat and sugar saturated creatures as they continued to greedily devour their booty. One foolish parent tried to prise the goodies from their sticky paws only to be repelled by howls of rage, clenched fists and the perfect impression of a full set of baby teeth in the hand.

Soon the skeleton slumped into a sugar coma rendering him sufficiently compliant to put to bed. However the little witch demanded a yoghurt and then her final bottle of milk to add to her day's intake of party food, chocolate, jelly and cream, chocolate, sweets, cake, more sweets and more chocolate.

The first inkling of trouble came with a faint whiff of yoghurt belch, then her eyes opened wide with a look of surprise, then the stomach contortions. Then the noise of a large volume of pungent, potent vileness errupting at force and hitting everything within a five foot radius.....I can't even describe the horror. The carnage. The smell. Three out of four of us had to have a shower and complete change of clothes. The living room is permeated with an odour which I suppose only goes to reward us for the day's gross neglect of our daughter's basic dietary needs.

This has been the Halloween horror chez Kerryonliving. May your Halloween be far more fragrant than ours.

*(I am here referring to egg sandwiches and jam sandwiches. An actual egg and jam sandwich does not sound like a winning combination)

Friday, 29 October 2010

A bit of this, a bit of that, and a bit of spooky.

I just happen to have caught a whiff of some recent ructions within the higher echelons of the UK mummy blogging community. It all sounds very unpleasant and hurtful with several high profile bloggers bowing out as a result. Like many things in life it would seem that the higher up the ladder you get the more political and complex life becomes.

I was also very sad to see that the mum behind Mila's Daydreams has had to put a stop to her original blog concept as photos of beautiful baby Mila were being stolen by utterly unscrupulous advertisers amongst others. I could understand the attraction as her photos were truly unique and gorgeous, but how awful to realise that the memories of your newborn which you were kind enough to share were in fact being exploited for financial gain.

Then there has been my own recent experience of being hacked into. Somehow some sort of South East Asian technology website has managed to infiltrate my email and blog and as a result some random and quickly deleted blogs have been posted in my name. To be honest I think I'm actually more offended by the terrible spelling and grammar being published in my name than by the identity fraud itself.

So it is apparent that blogging does have its pitfalls.... but then I get a little message from Carrie wondering about the unusual activity on my blog. I encountered her as we were both mentioned in the lovely Jana's blog - a fantastic, feisty, attitude strewn heavyweight USA mommy blog. Carrie is a gorgeous mom of three and her blog centres on her family's journey to hopefully overcome her five year old daughter's leukaemia. Hannah is currently losing her hair, but as Carrie says - with trademark positivity and good humour - this means the drugs are doing their work. I always feel humbled when I read her blog and marvel at the way she manages to maintain grace under such pressure, and I am grateful to my little blog that it has opened up the opportunity to meet lovely people from far away only to find common ground and interest. I suppose the biggest leveller of all is the fact that we are all just doing our best to live good lives and love our families and friends.

And so to move onto the spooky part of my blog. I love Halloween, and to celebrate we are having a little party on Sunday. Here pumpkin preparations are underfoot:

There is one childhood Halloween party game which I always remember playing. It revolved around being blindfolded then guessing which part of Nelson (aka a volunteer grown up) you were touching and which culminated in putting your finger into a bowl of wet squidged tissue paper and being told you were putting your finger into his empty eye socket. Ah, I recall with memory made vivid by engrained childhood trauma how we screamed and had nightmares for weeks. Happy days.

Here is a similar game I have found. Clearly it may need to be modified for the littlest witches and vampires out there, but I may be trying out a few of these on Sunday!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Doggy Blog

On the whole I am not a dog lover which is strange given that I grew up in a doggy household.

The first dog in my life was Rowan, an irish setter. The runt of the litter, she was plagued with constantly flaking eczema, fur like a threadbare sofa and a resulting inferiority complex when compared to her peers who would look perfectly at home lolloping around in a timotei advert. An unassuming dog slavishly devoted to my Dad she is fondly remembered for spectacular heroism when chasing away a near rabid Alsation which was trying to bite the five year old me. Despite being half its size she streaked out of nowhere like a copper coloured whirling dervish, leapt onto its back and clung on for dear life until shaken off halfway down the road by the yelping emasculated beast. There were also her heroic services to hamster-kind, waking my Dad one night from deep slumber with a wet nose and gently leading him, littlest Hobo style, to the front door where our hamster was trying to pull off its own version of The Great Escape, and on another occasion patiently defrosting a near frozen hamster in the warm crevice between haunch and belly after we had thoughtlessly decamped for a particularly cold weekend leaving the little chap without the benefit of any central heating.

Next came Kirsty, the neurotic border collie. Her obsessive behaviour ran the gamut from uncontrollable doggy pouncing and nose dobbing on any stray reflections from your glasses or jewellery (most inconvenient when driving) to the dubious activities she got up to with cushions when left on her own in the lounge. All I’m able to say is that when you came back into the room there would be a hairy cushion in the middle of the floor and an embarrassed looking dog slinking behind the sofa, so its fair to assume some sort of pleasurable rubbing had been taking place….

There was also a brief period when, due to ill health, I had to look after my Grandparent’s dog Ben. The dog was of unknown age although undeniably on his last legs given the stench he emmitted. I had to sleep with air freshener next to my bed for the occasions when the smell of rancid dog would actually wake me up. Forever after the smell of neutradol will make me dry heave in remembrance of Ben’s stomach churning odour which turned out to be the result of his elderly organs giving up the ghost one by one. Our time together was short, however the day before meeting his doggy maker he still managed to go out for a walk and waddle enthusiastically up to an alluring lady jack russell’s bottom which is not a bad way to spend your last day all things considered.

Then I met my husband to be and was tentatively introduced to his doggy mad family. Mum and Dad had six, Sister had nine, and Auntie had, count them, seventeen. I recall clearly the first time I met my future in-laws and their much adored pets. There was the obese white miniature poodle as wide as it was tall whose vast girth gathered such momentum when it scampered across the kitchen tiles in search of doggy treats that the only way it could stop was to skid sideways into the kitchen cabinets. Then there was the black poodle which snuck into the space beneath my future father in law's favourite reclining chair, staying there quietly entombed after the chair was returned to its original upright position. I interpreted this as some kind of canine suicide bid given that the dog would have been there for days had someone not noticed the tip of a forlorn black tail sticking out from underneath the chair. It may well have been out of sympathy for the gnarled yorkshire terrier with a broken jaw, lolling tongue and a dead eye. It kept its head on my knee, staring at me unblinking (well the dead eye anyway), a silent plea for release from the ongoing deterioration of its body parts almost audible to the human ear.

So why the subject of dogs? Have three guesses as to what my son has decided he wants for Christmas.... The list of reasons not to give in to his wish is endless, starting with the fact that we both work and I am mildly allergic, but there is a part of me that thinks back with fond nostalgia as to the pooches, flaws and all, which have been part of my life, so maybe one day....

Monday, 18 October 2010

Bedtime Rumblings

Things are getting a little fraught in the bedroom department. All is not well. Mouths are pursed, harumphing is audible and there is an issue in our marriage which is currently ring fenced from discussion in much the same way the current NHS budget is ring fenced from budget cuts (that is to say we just don’t mention the subject directly and hope no-one will notice).

In the red corner is me. In my view my husband is a ridiculously light sleeper who awakens at the brush of a baby moth’s wingbeat half a mile away or at the merest glimmer of refracted light from the Arctic Aurora Borealis several thousand miles north.

In the blue corner is my husband who has the temerity to say he can’t sleep because I snore.

Now I ask any reader of this blog, does the fairy footed, sylph-like wisp of a thing that I am strike you as the sort of person who may snore? Clearly my husband is being slightly overly dramatic in likening my nightly fluttering murmers as reminiscent of an African warthogs mating call?

Nevertheless in light of my beloved’s alarming eye bags, grey pallor and the increasingly evil looks he is shooting at me as I awaken refreshed from a full 8 hours sleep, I am resigned to visiting the chemist to purchase some night time nasal strips in the hopes that these will mollify the sleep deprived grumpy one, at least until the next nocturnal insect dares fly within a mile radius.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Easy Post

I've had quite a busy week with little chance to post. Accordingly this is a very quick one.

I just wanted to share one of the best round robin office emails I have received in recent times.

Amongst the usual dross of hoax emails claiming to donate money to charity for every person you forward to, or instructing you to forward to ten people you love so that 'good luck will come their way' there can be some gems. Apologies if this one has already done the rounds of your inbox, but it does make me chuckle.

21 Economic Models explained with Cows -

You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbour.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away...

You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons

You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows.
No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.

You have two cows.
You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'Cowkimon' and market it worldwide.

You have two cows.
You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
You count them again and learn you have 2 cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows.
Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the **** out of you and invade your country.
You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of Democracy....

You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive

You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

Monday, 11 October 2010

The Siamese Slanket

For reasons far too dull and lengthy to go into (key-related), I was stuck in my car with my Dad and two sleeping children for a time last weekend. All that lay between us and interminable boredom was a copy of my Dad's Mail on Sunday, winking away at me.

I'll set out my stall from the start and risk offence to any Daily Mail lovers out there. This is not a newspaper for which I possess any warm and cosy feeling. In my view it is agenda pursuing journalism at it's worst, full of erroneous, misleading writing designed to whip up ill feeling and encourage fear and prejudice amongst its readership. Indeed there is a rather interesting website devoted to pointing out the errors spewed by the Daily Mail journalists, and I would at this point pass the subject over to the incomparable Stephen Fry to articulate far more effectively than I as to why this is a worthless rag and a waste of the world's resources.

So, you can see my dilemma.

However having quickly tired of watching grey Cumbrian drizzle rolling down the steamed up windows of a filthy Renault Scenic, I swallowed my pride and started leafing through the least offensive part of the paper - the magazine. All hostility was soon forgotten when I came across an advert for the 'Siamese Slanket'.

A blanket...with sleeves....for two people.

Is it wrong that a part of me - a primitive part, my lizard brain or inner Homer Simpson, actually found this to be an idea of genius for a fleeting minute? Practicality quickly came to the fore - what would happen if one of us wanted to get up from the sofa to make the evening cup of tea? There would be bitter argument over who kept the slanket, and who would lose the benefit of slanket heat. Logic would dictate that the slanket stayed with the sofa, but then what of the party getting off the sofa to make drinks for mutual benefit?

I think it is fear of the resulting squabbling which will stop me from purchasing one of these items, rather than the realisation that owning one is tantamount to admitting our life has become reduced to a sedentary couch potato high cholesterol spectator sport. However the siamese slanket advert should always have credit for being the one time when reading the Daily Mail genuinely made me laugh.

siamese slanket

Friday, 8 October 2010

Catalogue Porn

As a little girl growing up in the seventies prior to the onset of 24 hour kid's tv, video games, soft play centres, indoor plumbing and the host of other modern inventions with which we pamper our children, there was one sure fire way to keep me entertained for days at a time. The humble catalogue.

Mum's Great Universal catalogue would be delivered four times a year and upon the eagerly awaited arrival of the latest edition I would be gifted the old one to play with. All I needed was the catalogue, some scissors, glue and an old cardboard box and I was in heaven.

Hours were spent carefully and meticulously cutting out mother, father, children, clothing, furnishings and pets, glueing them into their cardboard home and creating my own ideal of the perfect life in all its intricate detail, even down to the camping equipment the perfect family would take on their perfect holidays.

Now I am all grown up and fully aware that happiness does not come with a price tag payable in 52 easy installments. Yet I still retain a warm fuzzy feeling inside when flicking through a lovingly crafted catalogue.

I am like a cat purring when I survey the Cath Kidston and Great Little Trading Company catalogues. I veritably rub my back along the couch with pleasure when perusing the offerings from Kew and Cox & Cox, and I am padding my claws in and out of the nearest cushion when devouring the Pedlars and White Company mailings.

Nine times out of ten I never buy anything from these catalogues, but still it is a cherished pleasure in my life to spend an evening with a crisp new catalogue, a cup of tea and my imagination.

Now, what would I wear if I were the perfect mother?.........

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Cold War

It is that time of year when the battle lines are drawn, trenches dug and open hostilities commenced. It is Autumn.

On the one side is my husband who likes to relax at home in his t-shirt and shorts in front of the fire all warm and cosy.

On the other side is me. I believe in putting on more clothes if you are cold and not the heating, which is not going on until November. That is my rule, and I pay the heating bills.

Whilst I am reasonably secure in my position as bill paying authority figure, mutinous mutterings are becoming audible. Moreover in bed last night my husband, aka the human hot water bottle, rebelled by refusing to let me warm my cold feet on his legs as usual. Instead he had the cheek to suggest that my feet wouldn’t be so cold if I allowed some heat to permeate the house.

Rules are rules, and whilst flexibility has its allotted time and place in my life I am not moving on this point until such time as my children’s tongues become stuck to any interior ice formations. It’s time to pull out those old woollies and hunker down. It’s going to be a long, cold October!


Monday, 4 October 2010

A Very Important Phonecall

My daughter gives strict instructions to buy low, sell high and remember to pick up some more chocolate buttons on the way home. Meanwhile my husband channels his inner Muttley in the background.