Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Dizzy and happy

Dizzy because I haven't slept much. Nothing new there.

Happy because I PASSED MY DRIVING TEST THIS MORNING! With flying colours and hearty congratulations from the tester.

So I'm feeling bloody good about myself for a change.

Will they fire me if I fall asleep behind the desk?

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

There goes the diet

So I was talking to my mother.
On the phone, naturally, her being On Home Ground.

"Do you have anything specific you want for Christmas? I'm putting the parcel together here," she says.

"Nah, I'm fine, don't need anything. Don't go overboard now, it's expensive to send packages!"

Annoyed silence.

"Well, I'm gonna at least send you some Estonian chocolate! I know you love it!" she declares with victorious air.

"Mom, I told you I'm on diet. DON'T send me chocolates! I have a will power of a tatty dish rag, you know that as well!"

"Nonsense! A bit of chocolate won't do you any harm. Gotta treat yourself once in a while, otherwise you'll go nuts." Thoughtful pause. "Well, even more nuts."

"Thank you!!! Well, at least keep it sensible. Just a little of chocolate AND DON'T GET THE BOX TOO HEAVY! You'll be paying for the postage through your nose!"

"Yeah-yeah ...we'll see."

That was the end of it until The Ultimate Other Half went home at lunch time yesterday and found a notification of the package in the post box.

He drove unsuspectingly to the post office only to be presented with a HUGE wooden box (made lovingly by my father) weighing 20 kg (44 pounds) and secured with around 500 screws.

I still don't know how he managed to lug it to the car. Trip back home involved open bonnet and anticipation of getting the box from the car into the house.

In the evening my long-suffering husband combined watching The Panel and Podge & Rodge with laboriously unscrewing 250 of 500 screws. To get the box open, like.

The contents included:

  • 1 solid wood rocking sheep covered with natural lambswool (For Sir Sprout, I presume)
  • pile of Christmas-related soft toys/decorations
  • 2 sets of cookie cutters
  • 8 boxes of liquor-filled chocolates (125 g each)
  • 2 boxes of nut-coated chocolates (200 g each)
  • 6 tablets of nutty chocolate (100 g each)
  • 6 maxi tablets of premium chocolate (300 g each)
That would be 3.8 kg of chocolate (8.4 pounds). Which in my mothers books obviously qualifies as "a little".

I was drooling sadly as I locked the whole pile of it into the room where furniture goes to die. A lot of our friends will receive a presents of Estonian chocolates this year.

We are considering painting the box and declaring it a two-seater bench.

But I love the rocking sheep!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Sleep issues or actually lack of sleep issues

OK, here I am again, sitting at my desk.

Yawn.

I distinctly remember most of the baby-related books I read (and oh did I go through plenty) stated that little humans usually start sleeping through the night at the age of 6 months. Well, maybe 9 months if you happen to have a particularly uncooperative baby.

I trust books. Wisdom of the mankind is bound into books. They're solid and smell nice and make me purr much louder than finding David Beckham stark naked in my kitchen ever would.

(Actually, bad parallel, finding Becks in my kitchen (naked or not) would just plain freak me out. But I WOULD jump him alrite - to bloody gag him. Just a thought of that whingy voice of his makes me shudder.)

Anyway, who cares who's wandering around naked in my kitchen!

The point is I have come to a shocking discovery that BOOKS CAN LIE.

And I think it's a conniving plot to lull couples into false sense of security.

You know - ah sure let's not throw him out of the window yet, he'll get better in some months.

And then couple of months pass, you refer back to the book and sure it did mention that it CAN happen a bit later as well so you cross your teeth and suffer on.

By the time you have lost all hope to ever get sleep again it's too late. You've bonded with the little divil. He/she can do nothing wrong and is Generally One Of The Prettiest Children Alive.
Presenting The Most Smashingly Gorgeous Demon Alive Complete With Huge Zit, Manky Face And No Pants

There's nothing to be done now. He can stay up all night screaming for I-don't-know-what-I-want-but-you-better-get-it-for-me-now.
He can keep hiding The Ultimate Other Half's watch, my shoes, his socks, my phone.
He can nick Mutt The Mad's food and keep lovingly smacking our faces (a new charming trait and it flippin hurts, especially if he has a wooden block if his hand).
He can raise a hell every evening when we all get home cause WHY ISN'T DINNER ON THE TABLE YET, I WANT IT NOW, WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVE TO COOK IT FIRST.

We still adore him immensely and could not imagine a life without him and will get through another no-sleep period as well.

After all that's what God created Dozol, Bonjela and Nurofen for.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

How to drive your husband nuts Vol 1

I think I have a lot to contribute to the subject. You could almost say I'm an expert.

And unlike some I am always happy to share my knowledge with the world. So the world could benefit, like.

Lets start with Little Things. They have proved to be extremely efficient.

Thing no 1
KEYS
Frustrated Foreigner after 10-minute search: Have you seen my my keys?
The Ultimate Other Half: I put them into key cabinet.
Foreigner: WHY the hell would you put them into key cabinet??? I NEVER put them there!!! FFS!!! (storms out huffing and puffing)

Thing no 2
CURTAINS
Grumpy Foreigner: Why do you bloody keep opening the curtains?!
Baffled Husband: To let light in, of course.
Foreigner: Well STOP doing it! We'll only need to close them again in the evening and it annoys me!

Thing no 3
OLD T-SHIRTS
Throw them away. Ignore his pleas.

Thing no 4
TOASTED SANDWICH MAKER
The Ultimate Other Half: Where's the toasted sandwich maker?
Foreigner: Dunno. Why do you want it?
Other Half (with poisonous stare): I want to make toasted sandwiches! Why did you move it?
Foreigner: Needed more space in the corner cupboard.
Other Half: The corner cupboard is almost EMPTY!
Foreigner: Well, it was IN MY WAY and annoyed me!
Other Half: So where did you put it?
Foreigner: Told you - I DON'T KNOW!

Oh yeah, don't mention it. I know I'm good!

I might move on to Big Things some time in the future since those inconsiderate people here in the office keep whinging that I should get some work done.

Or maybe I'll just retire and devote myself to blogging, Sprout-rearing and Husband-annoying. Oh what a life would it be!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Picking up the slack - The Pharyngula Mutating Genre

Here I am, trying to get my act together.

It appears that long long time ago in county far far away the incredible K8 had tagged me with a meme.

Now first thing I had to do was to find out what the heck is a meme. It wasn't easy. I packed my bags, kissed my family goodbye and took off for the wild planes of Wikipedia.

Thats what I found:
" A meme (pronounced [miːm] in IPA), as defined within memetic theory, comprises a theoretical unit of cultural information, the building block of cultural evolution or diffusion that propagates from one mind to another analogously to the way in which a gene propagates from one organism to another as a unit of genetic information and of biological evolution.[1] Multiple memes may propagate as cooperative groups called memeplexes (meme complexes)."

Wha'?????

I read it five bleedin' times. Still the same outcome.

Wha'???

After a brief moment of despair I tried a different approach and made a quick search in Google. All became clear then:
"A meme is an idea that is shared and passed from blog to blog, like a question posted in one blog and answered in many other blogs."

OK, I guess I could manage that. Hopefully.

Now to the task itself.

There are a set of statements below that are all of the form:”The best [subgenre] [medium] in [genre] is…”. Copy the statements, you may modify them in a limited way, carrying out no more than two of these operations:

You can leave them exactly as is.
You can delete any one
You can mutate either the genre, medium, or subgenre of any one question.

For instance, you could change “The best time travel novel in SF/Fantasy is…” to “The best time travel novel in Westerns is…”, or “The best time travel movie in SF/Fantasy is…”, or “The best romance novel in SF/Fantasy is…”.

You can add a completely new question of your choice to the end of the list, as long as it is still in the form “The best [subgenre] [medium] in [genre] is…”. You must have at least one question in your set, or you’ve gone extinct, and you must be able to answer it yourself, or you’re not viable.Then answer your possibly mutant set of questions. Please do include a link back to the blog you got them from, to simplify tracing the ancestry, and include these instructions.

Finally, pass it along to any number of your fellow bloggers.

(And yes, I had to read that three times as well. It's not easy being intellectually challenged. I do my best to cope.)

Here comes the business:


My Ancestry:

My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparent is Pharyngula.
My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparent is Metamagician and the Hellfire Club.
My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparent is Flying Trilobite.
My great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparent is A Blog Around the Clock.
My great-great-great-great-great-great grandparent is archy.
My great-great-great-great-great grandparent is Why Now?
My great-great-great-great grandparent is Hipparchia.
My great-great-great grandfathers are Archaeopteryx and Kiefus.
My great-great grandfather is Catnapping.
My great grandmother is BirdAnonymous
My grandmother is Baino.

My mummy is K8.

My statements:

• The best “bad” movie in comedy is: Starship Troopers (I can't take it seriously as SciFi so it qualifies as a comedy and bad one at that)
• The best lifty-uppy in pop music is: "Shine" by Take That (me likes HONEST kitch!)
• The best angst-inducing short story in modern classic literature is: “The Eyes of a Blue Dog” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez


Since I am not a bad person deep inside I will only pass it to two people:

Firstly XBox4NappyRash as a little MindFuck would certainly be a welcome change to, well, other kinds of fuck. (I will NOT blush hereby. NOOOOOO!)

And of course to gorgeous Hails cause she's always looking for blogging challenges and I am in awfully obliging mood this morning.

Good luck! I'm off to wash my hands now.

Friday, 9 November 2007

First and consequent steps

I don't have a baby any more.

Before you offer me your condolences let me assure you that Sir Sprout is going as strong as ever. It's just that he has morphed into a toddler.

Wait, maybe you SHOULD offer the condolences after all.

It all happened in a sneaky and gradual way. First he started to stand up on his own expecting a round of applauds every time he managed not to tumble over within first second. We provided the due ovations without fail although it did get a bit tiring to break into mad cheers at least 10 times in every hour.

So, after couple of weeks or so the standing up trick got a bit old and didn't provoke enough admiration. Sir Sprout decided to take things onto a new level and started taking steps. And then falling onto his face.

Which he didn't mind too much as long as he got his attention boost in a form of boisterous applauds and praises.

We were sitting around with adoring grandparents and counting the steps.

One, two, three...oops, just missed the coffee table!
That was SIX steps, wow!
...four, five...eeewww, that must have hurt!
...three, four, five - DON'T lunge for a dog like that!

Then we stopped counting. Just told him to get up and get on with it.

And he did.

Yesterday morning I was looking at my boy as he was waddling from bathroom to our bedroom sporting only his nappy pants. He was happily clutching a My First Animals book, gave Mutt The Mad a loving kiss and hug while passing and stopped to try and stick his fingers into electrical socket.

Yes, definitely a toddler.

The fun has begun.

Friday, 19 October 2007

How sun SHOULD set

About 10-11 years ago (oh. I'm old) my interesting-but-poverty-inducing job back in Home Ground started to pay a little more. Enough to fund my move into an apartment with running water.

I know - wow!

Location-wise the place was pretty much next to hellhole, around the corner from the end of all hopes. A huge and stunningly gloomy region of endless apartment blocks, grey, dirty and criminogenious. It doesn't look that bad on the picture, that's what good camera work and fortunate light conditions can do.

The apartment block itself was a genius work of Soviet architect suffering from severe depression and deep hate of fellow humans. Huge. Coulourless. Square. Grey. The front door couldn't be locked thus the stairs were constantly stinking of urine, garbage, cigarettes, alcohol and whatnot. Especially whatnot.
There was a lift of course. Usually broken. Anybody who has lugged shopping bags to 7th floor on regular basis will NOT tolerate any fitness-related lectures. Proven fact.

Walls between apartments were made of sturdy corrugated cardboard or at least from something just as soundproof. You'd know most of the intimate details about neighbours 4 floors below.

I thought I had died and moved into paradise.

Before you decide that I am a sick masochistic freak let me assure you that once you had jumped over piles of faeces and cigarette butts, snook past any more or less violent discussions on stairs and caught your breath after climbing 7 floors; the apartment itself wasn't that bad at all. It was quite roomy and clean with no heart-tearing attempts at creative interior decoration.

And let me once again stress the running water the apartment featured.

But my favorite part didn't have much to do with interior or exterior of the building. It was all about the position of the place which was fortunate indeed. Because they had built that blunder of a monsterhouse on the very edge of the huge apartment-block area. On top of the hill. Facing the sea...

So on nights I actually got home before dark I would stand at the sitting room window having a fag and watching the sun setting into my beloved Tallinn Bay.

It was different every night. From smoky shaded highlights to cold pastel bursts to warm mysterious glow to vicious bleeding skies. You name it.They don't make sunsets like that any more. Especially in Ireland.

Sigh.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Lathering up - rant warning!

Due to some (not entirely unforeseen) family circumstances we've been staying at The Ultimate Other Halfs parents house this week. Luckily we don't live too far from them so situations in lines of "oh shoot, those bodysuits don't really fit Sir Sprout any more" can be rectified with swift drive there and back.

Are kids SUPPOSED to grow that fast? I mean - I could swear those things were fine on him last week. Either that or we were just too sleepy to take any notice that we had to apply extra muscle to squeeze Sir Sprout into his underwear.

I have also been blessed with Extra Mad With Topping Of Despair And Panic week at work.

All that together translates to ourselves rushing around until the young one has been knocked out for night (if we're lucky, he's teething on top of it all) and then collapsing on inlaws fancy (blue!) leather couch.

That's when the going gets really tough.

You see, we have entered The Soap Zone. Every single soap is watched in that house. Eastenders, Corrie, Home and Away, Fair City - bring it on!

For some mysterious reason Emmerdale seems to be blatantly ignored. I should bring up that issue in the future. When I'm out of the house again.

I am not a soap person. They annoy me with endless string of stupidity, see-through story lines and repetitions. The fake "realness" they strain to achieve. The token characters every single soap features - a wise old strong-minded woman, a vicious womanizing bastard, a long suffering mother on the verge of breakdown, an adorable kid, a rebellious teenager, a loudmouth vulgar woman (comic relief), a nasty Bitch From Hell etc. Because of that I don't even notice when one soap ends and another one starts. Same issues, same stereotypes. Same "keep it simple" very regulated directing style. Loooooong shots of talking heads. Brief inserts shot outside the set (why push the costs up...) usually when something really drastic is supposed to happen.

Above all I just don't have a stamina. You'd really want to be determined to watch the same story with slight variations for years and years (A was married to B and cheated her with C while running shoddy business with D. Two years later A is married to E, still cheating her with C, D blackmails him and there is probably also F-the-long-lost-love-child bouncin around while B-the-abandoned-and-deceived-ex-wife is plotting to ruin/kill A. Yaaawwwnnn.). Sometimes I admire people who have endured decades of mind-numbing nonsense like that, still insist on turning on the TV on Holy Hours Of Lathering and actually seem to have their sanity more or less intact.

Plus the limitation all that soap business puts on your life. Oh, I really can't meet you at 8, Corrie's on or Why have a conversation at dinner table when we can all watch Home and Away instead?

Oh well. Shouldn't get too carried away here.

After all I have my dirty little secrets/weaknesses as well. Wanna know what?

I watch CSI. All of them. In all their glossy morbid sci-fiesque glory.

So there. Now you know.

Friday, 12 October 2007

I'm a winner after all!

Here's the proof:



“This award casts a spotlight on bloggers who are just beginning to draw lotsa attention — the equivalent of a song with a bullet on Billboard’s Top 100 chart. Lotsa good posts. Lotsa good buzz. These bloggers are going places in a hurry.”

Thanks,
K8! I am one smug woman now!


Couple time

It is now 4 years and 2 days since I and The Ultimate Other Half became A Very Official Item and got a fancy binded document to prove it.

On Wednesday morning he dutifully handed me the flowers and I provided him with A Day Of Slightly Less Nagging. I was able to master such a substantial gift mainly by making sure we didn't spend much time together.

After getting home from work we stuffed Sir Sprout with random leftovers from the fridge, let him run riot for a while, hosed him down, squeezed into pyjamas (WAAAAAAAAA-AAAAAAA!!), pumped full of milk and deposited him into his cot for night.

Then I donned my dancing gear (read:track suit + runners) and took off with The Fancy Neighbouress to attend our third lesson in salsa dancing. I don't know why it's called salsa dancing since so far we've been shown the basics of cha-cha-cha and rumba but, quite frankly, I don't care.

I am also determined to ignore all the minor earthquakes caused by my attempts of booty-shaking.

And if any of you experienced some particularly nasty bouts of wind knocking over the dog houses or fences on Wednesday - sorry, but we were TOLD to wiggle our racks and I'm not the one to disobey the teacher. It has got me into all sorts of trouble back in high school and being wiser(ish) now I just salute and do as told.

I might need to strangle The Fancy Neighbouress though if she continuously neglects to put on loads of weight, wear scruffy clothes and look generally frumpy. She should also be considerate enough to at least TRY to match my clumsiness levels somewhat more adequately. You know who you are! Don't say you haven't been warned!

Anyway, that was our wedding anniversary sorted.

Yesterday we agreed to ship Sir Sprout to adoring grandparents and have the night for ourselves.

You know, like couples do. Before they have children and stuff.

It was going pretty smoothly at the start. Sir Sprout didn't have any objections to staying at grandparents since they were just sitting down for dinner. Eating is an activity which our baby tends to take quite seriously. We left him munching mashed veggies in bliss.

After getting home we had some leftovers from the fridge for dinner. (If you're wondering why all we seem to eat, is leftovers - don't ask. Just. Don't.)

And then we decided to go crazy and visit a pub. I hear you - respectable people like yourselves, what kind of a role models will we be for Sir Sprout etc. Well - we're just reckless and youthful like that.

So there we were, drinks on the table, out on our own. Not saying a thing.

You see, I had a fierce resolve NOT to discuss ANYTHING baby-related. It was a COUPLE time after all. We should talk about -erm- something else. Something personal and meaningful and wow-factor intelligent.

The silence was getting a bit awkward.

Eventually I pulled myself together. I raked my head for any witty, fun, nappy free ideas. I looked around for inspiration. There wasn't any available.

But I was DETERMINED to start a lovely loving chatter. The only option was a subject raffle. Just shake the contents of your brain, pick out a random thought slip and throw it on a table.

"So...are you going skiing next year?"

Aaaaarrrgghhhhhhh!!!!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Close your eyes, kiddos!

Dating

And there was me thinking I'm all nice and polite and goodie-goodie!

Just for those nosy ones who'd like to know what I've blurted out to deserve Parental Guidance Requested label - here it is:

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

  • hell (4x)
  • hurt (2x)
  • torture (1x
The shame is killing me, honest.

Thanks to MadMad for the link.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

The Flippin Lion Never Sleeps

There's a moment in every parent's life when (s)he makes A First Big Mistake.

Something that will haunt and torture you for months and maybe even years to come.

I made that mistake last week. Trying to amuse slightly cranky Sir Sprout I showed him this:


It cheered him up a bit so I showed it again. He clapped. He hummed. He waved. He bounced.

Awww, I thought, how cute, he really likes that song.

So I let him watch it again. I showed The Ultimate Other Half how funny Sir Sprout is when he enjoys the lovely lion song.

He found it amusing as well.

Over the weekend we watched the video a lot. Can't say I and Other Half enjoyed it as much as first times but Sir Sprout sure did.

By Sunday evening we were quite relieved when the bath-and-bottle time arrived.

Yesterday when we got home from creche I plonked Sir Sprout quite unceremoniously on the floor and made an urgent run towards loo. Barely had I gotten there when I heard the young one in family room.

"La-la-la-la-laaaa," was his message to the world.

Since I was in quite a hurry I didn't pay much attention. But Sir Sprout kept pleading more and more urgently.

"LALALALALALA-LALALALAAAAAAA!!"

Getting a bit worried I managed to achieve quite impressive result in speedy liquid disposal. I made it to the family room in quite reasonable time. Sir Sprout didn't think so.

He was standing in front of computer, pointing to the screen and demanding angrily.

"LAAA-LAAAA-LAAAAAAA!!!"

I took the hint and proceeded to switching on the computer. Meanwhile Sir Sprout was growing increasingly frustrated.

"LAAAA-FREAKIN-LAAAAA-LAAA-LAAAA!!!"

With shaking hands I started the browser, found the bookmark, propped him on my knee and started the video.

Ee-e-e-um-um-a-weh
Ee-e-e-um-um-a-weh
Wemoweh, wemoweh, wemoweh, wemoweh..

Baby humming. Baby dancing. Baby clapping. Baby happy.

Parents screwed.

Standstill

It's very quiet in my head this morning.

Although I'm at work and things are busy enough (not hectic though or I wouldn't be able to write that post) I still seem to be floating above little nuisances with unnerving calm.

People pop up at my desk and ask me complicated questions which under normal circumstances would take half an hours lecture to answer. I manage to get the point across in couple of minutes. Not because I'm particularly efficient at the moment, rather too lazy to go into details.

Messy email threads land in my mailbox and I read them in slight daze. Then I type my response in couple of simple sentences and the moment I press "send" button my head becomes empty again.

Everything seems to move in slow motion.

I feel like I should go out and run couple of times around the building to shake that foggy mist off.I nicked the image here

Monday, 8 October 2007

Why I should be reported to the Animal Welfare

I am a dog person. Ask any of my friends and they'll confirm that otherwise very sensible (erm - almost sensible) Foreigner will morph into bouncy babbly 3-year old after spotting a random manky pooch on the street.

One of them even have had a nerve to compare me to the spaniel which I wasn't too impressed at the time ("Spaniels are not dignified!!"). Given the breeds tendencies to gluttony and knack for weepy-eyed blackmail sessions to get their way; she was probably right though.

I have walked the same route near the village for over 2 years. Couldn't name you many people I've met on the road. I could, however, give you the full description, life story and name of every dog living around there. Except two grumpy collies who still live in hope that one day I'll whimper and run instead shouting at them in most disrespectful manner. So they could finally attack Mutt The Mad who'd happily oblige them with fair fight.

They don't know what they're up against though. I have nerves of steel as far as growling dogs are concerned and Mutt the Mad is blessed with jaws deserving a movie. "The Hound of Foreigner by Default". Or something more catchy maybe.

Anyway, considering my pet name for Mutt the Mad tends to be The Firstborn you would think I am a caring and responsible owner. Or bonkers. Or both.

About 6-7 weeks ago I noticed that Mutts abundant coat was starting to get a bit more abundant than necessary.

"Should take him to the groomer soon," I mentioned passingly.

4 weeks ago:
"He really needs to be trimmed, I'll call the groomer next week."

3 weeks ago I got a number for newly opened grooming business from Mrs Nononsense, The Ultimate Other Halfs Mom.

2 weeks ago:
"He's so matted now it's kinda embarrassing to show him to the groomer..."

1 week ago:
"Euchhh .... It's not really nice to touch him any more, is it?!"

This Sunday I armed myself with detangle comb, scissors and hefty bag of dog treats; wrestled Mutt The Mad onto floor and addressed the matted coat issue with fatalistic gloom. Mutt was even gloomier since grooming is something he views as totally unnecessary evil, right next to bathing.

Two and half hours later we emerged from family room utterly knackered, stiff, immensely relieved and mostly dematted. The last was true at least about Mutt because I spent ten minutes trying to brush hairs off my clothes and eventually just gave up.

This week I really need to make a groomer appointment for Mutt.

Circle of life, eh?

Friday, 5 October 2007

Alarming tendencies

The Ultimate Other Half seems to be obsessed on waterproofing everything lately.

Veerryyyy suspicious.

Sounds like he doesn't want to wreck his watch OR miss anything in the soccer match while he's drowning me in the bath.

Note to myself: Keep away from the bathroom.

I did have a calling, honest! Quite a few of them, actually!

Have you ever met anybody who has become what (s)he actually dreamed about when a kid?

"Since I was 4 I knew my calling was software engineering!" or "My greatest childhood wish was to become a plumber and here I am!" or "I've been into data entry big time since I got hold of the keyboard when I was 10 months old!"

My first calling hit me when I was about 3 years old and visiting relatives in the country. They had chickens, couple of horses, pigs and three big glorious black and white cows.

I liked the cows with their big sad eyes, long lashes and cool moooooo-noise. But I was totally won over when I saw auntie squeezing milk out of them! She actually let me to have a go (it was an old and VERY patient cow) and eventually I succeeded in squirting a bit of milk into the bucket.

I decided to become a milk maid there and then.

What a life would it be, I thought, you get to mingle with cows every day. AND do that fun milking thing. Wow!

My mother killed my dream. She explained me I'd have to be up VERY early every morning. That was a no-go. I've valued my beauty sleep since the tender age of 16 months.

But I still needed some plans for my future so I did a bit of brainstorming and came up with a great alternative - a vet! Surely vets wouldn't need to wake up early!? And doctors have even cooler equipment than a bucket and footstool. I'm talking about syringes here! Stethoscopes! Otoscopes! Them little hammers that make your leg bounce up!

I saw myself examining horses tonsils and administering aspirin pills to the chicken.

Life was going to be so much fun!

Eventually it dawned to me that being a vet I would need to deal with hurt animals on daily basis. Hurt animals made me cry.

So there - another no-go.

I think I was playing with an idea to become a doctor with human patients for a while but it never got hold of me properly, obviously wasn't fun enough.

Once I started reading my future job choices started to reflect the current preference in literature.

Archaeologist - History books and historic novels
Lawyer - detective books
Teacher - some cheesy novels with teacher protagonist
etc

I'd say one of the few things I never wanted to become was a journalist.

I ended up working in media for twelve years.
Then I packed my bags and became Foreigner by Default. That actually WAS a calling, I guess. Only a very different one.

So, confess, who did you want to become?

Monday, 1 October 2007

Outings and innings

In an effort to insert some girly activities into our nappy-infested lives Fancy Neighbouress and I decided to go shopping on Saturday morning.

"Around half nine or ten," guessed The Fancy Neighbouress. "I'll just feed and dress The Limbo Baby and pick you up."

I broke the news to The Ultimate Other Half whose face lit up like main street at Christmas time. Usually he's the one who has to taxi me from one retail park to another keeping his fingers crossed that I pick the one which at least sports the likes of PC World or Homebase.

His relief was obviously a bit overwhelming since he carelessly mentioned something about taking care of both babies while we're gone.

I was over to the phone before he could change his mind and broke the news to The Fancy Neighbouress who cheered with delight and promised to give us half an hours warning before she arrives in the morning.

Which she did.

I kicked The Ultimate Other Half out of the bed providing him with clear instructions to take his shower quickly and roll out the red carpet for The Limbo Baby.

"We'll be gone at least couple of hours," I warned him when The Fancy Neighbouress was emerging from her car looking like a lost celebrity attempting to fish for directions from rugged locals. Only thing spoiling the impression somewhat was her choice of accessories - clearly non-traumatized baby and huge plastic khaki-coloured ride on toy car.

I took a gloomy glance at my tracksuit-bottoms-will-go-with-anything outfit and promised myself to make more effort in the future.

"Are you sure you will cope?" I asked The Ultimate Other Half.

"Yeah," he mumbled.

I wasn't sure if he's sleepy or plain freaked so we took off quickly.

We got back five and half hours later.

Both babies were intact. In fact, they were quite perky and happy-looking.

"Does The Limbo Baby ever sleep?" asked The Ultimate Other Half with mild curiosity. "Sir Sprout had a nap but he didn't show any signs of slowing down."

I made a big joint of roast pork for dinner. Gotta compensate somehow.

Oh, and he got to have long baby-free Sunday afternoon with The Suave Neighbour. Watching rugby. On a BIG screen (involved the projector borrowed from a friend and a sitting room wall). Drinking beer.

I think we're even now.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Our son the bulldozer

Yesterday evening we were picking up Sir Sprout from the creche. We tend to do it every night as they get unexplainably cross if they have to keep him for night.

We peeled main layers of muck off two children remaining there to identify our son. I usually try to dress him in blindingly bright colours to fasten up the identification process.

He was in good form, busily trashing a toy tractor and shouting piercing "Hiya!-s". Through some difficulties we squeezed him into his fleece and stuck the hat on top.

As we were heading towards the door one of the teachers came over to bid him a proper goodbye. With tickles and hug and all.

"We call him Bull McCabe!" she said affectionately.

Seeing our puzzled faces she rushed to explain.

"Oh but it's a compliment. You see, Sir Sprout Foreigner does not stop for anything, neither does he go AROUND things. He goes over or through!"

We stared for a moment at our beaming boy who had used our moment of distraction and was trying to pull down a cardboard lantern hanging from the ceiling.

Then we said our polite goodbyes as Sir Sprout was blowing kisses and made an escape.

Once outside I stopped for a moment.

"Do you realize that he's gonna grow up to be quite a rogue?" I asked The Ultimate Other Half who was heading towards the car, Sir Sprout propped up onto his shoulder.

"Yes of course," he said happily.

...............................................

This morning I shared the story with The Sarcastic Colleague.

He sniggered a little.

"Well he's definitely getting that from his father!" he stated.

I must have looked a bit baffled.

"I've played soccer with him," he elaborated.

Oh. I see.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Twilight zone that is our house

Our household is not the most tidy and organized one by long run. In fact things have been known to mysteriously disappear and then just as mysteriously reappear couple of years later.

I am still looking for:
1) Waffle/toasted sandwich maker
2) Peeling knife
3) Around 300 single socks as my washing machine is located on top of sock consuming Black Hole
4) numerous other household items which I currently can't think of. Cause I've become kinda blasè on the subject.

Yesterday evening The Ultimate Other Half came upstairs to find me trying to read a book in the bed on my belly, duvet pulled up to my ears.

"Do you think I should take out the winter duvet?" he asked carefully.

I agreed that it might be a good idea.

"Where is it?" he queried.

"Ehmmm... Might be in the press next to stairs or in the junk room," I guessed.

You can see where it's going, can't you?!

The duvet wasn't in the press next to stairs or in the junk room. Neither was it in the guest room. Or in any of the wardrobes. Or anywhere at all.

It had just vanished.

Now let me tell you - it's one thing to lose a waffle maker or a peeling knife. No art to it really.

But a huge king sized feather filled duvet - that takes some skill!

Somehow we didn't feel too proud, just increasingly cold. Two old tired double duvets were dragged out from obscurity and spread on the bed.

Next twenty minutes were spent discussing who exactly had lost the duvet. The Ultimate Other Half kept insisting it wasn't him which didn't do much for his popularity levels. If it goes on like that he'll be watching rugby at home on Sunday, I'm telling you! On the SMALL TV!!!

Eventually I was able to move my toes again.

"It's getting kinda too hot with two duvets," I complained.

The Ultimate Other Half thought about it for a moment.

"You realize of course that when we throw it off the bed now we'll probably never see it again," he said.

The duvet stayed on the bed.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Men in doghouse - 2

I thought it was bad enough that Sir Sprout, the fruit of my own loins, treacherously let us sleep in this morning.

Boy was I wrong.

After having Quite A Day at work I noticed that The Ultimate Other Half had posted something in his blog. So over I wandered, for a relaxing moment, like.

He has spent his day ogling at SLIM orange women in bikinis!

Have I ever mentioned I could easily model for Michelin ads? No costumes needed or anything, quite a saving they would make.

Them wee white bikinis would probably serve me as wrist bands at best.

Although I'm quite lost at why on Earth would I (or anybody) need a wrist band.

I wonder what will Mutt The Mad come up with. Move out and marry a Chihuahua?

Kids nowadays

There was a time (long-long ago in galaxy far away) when we used to have alarm clock set for every morning. It would go off and we'd be happily ignoring said alarm for half an hour or more and then beat all the records in speed-showering, jump into first available clothes and usually make it to the work in time.

Things were good back then.

The arrival of Sir Sprout shook our routine somewhat to put it mildly.

I'm not even going into first months of staggering out of the bed every 2 hours for performing necessary nutritional/sanitary procedures.

Eventually the sleeping patterns settled and some nights we might even get about 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep. We were delighted. Well, at least we ceased to be desperate.

It was around that time we did away with an alarm clock. We never heard it any more anyway and there were two options:
a) it woke up Sir Sprout who quite understandably became severely indignant thus ensuring we sprang out from bed like couple of jacks-in-the-box.
b) Sir Sprout was already awake, usually in process of consuming scary amounts of milk or getting dressed (not his favorite pass-time, let me assure you), alarm clock being just added annoyance to yawning parents.

Last months haven't been too bad. Sir Sprout wakes up between 6.30 - 7.30 proceeding to shaking the sides of his cot and shouting from top of his lungs. He's trying to get Mutt The Mads attention, you see (on Sir Sprouts popularity charts we are WAY below Mutt The Mad).

Mutt The Mad ignores him blatantly. We try as well but eventually it gets really stuffy under the pillow. Sir Sprout is removed from the cot, scrubbed up, fed, dressed. Then we banish him onto bedroom floor where he gobbles some fruit, throws around toys and harasses Mutt The Mad while his parents are enjoying some tea and coffee in the bed.

We have it all worked out. To the T.

Actually - we thought we did.

This morning I woke up to the sound of Sir Sprout disassembling his cot as usual. Only it was a bit lighter outside than it should have been so I took quick glance at the clock.

8 freakin 44!!!!

You can't even trust your own child nowadays!

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Why I haven't got anything done this morning

Because I went to check out The Ultimate Other Halfs blog and naively clicked on the link he had submitted.

I am a doomed woman.

Can you call in sick while ALREADY at work?

Monday, 24 September 2007

Not just any reason to celebrate

So I'm here trying to figure out why I can't reach anybody in Taipei office today (I know it sounds all worky-worky & boooring but just bear with me) when I have The First Bright Moment Of The Day and make my way to the company intranet to check out the holidays around the world from the World Calendar.

And there it is - obviously they're celebrating The Festival of Autumn Moon in Taipei today.

Awwww it sounds so poetic, I think while casually scrolling down the list past Al Israa Wal Mairaj, Eid Al Fitr and Sultan Selangor Birthday.

Suddenly my finger freezes on November 20th.

It says: Celebration of Black Conscience, Brazil.

Lucky buggers, I think, not only do they not have to worry about their wicked little ways, they actually get a day off to celebrate it!

I announce my find to the colleagues.

"You're joking," states my Gentle Boss knowingly.

"Nah, this can't be right," argues The Pedantic Colleague. "You must be misreading something."

I summon them to my monitor and point onto the screen.

There it is, black on white: November 20th, Celebration of Black Conscience, Brazil.

The Gentle Boss disappears in fits of laughter to have a calming fag.

The Pedantic Colleague dives furiously into the depths of Wikipedia.

Couple of minutes later he comes up with this.

Black Consciousness Day it is so. Gotta admit it makes more sense.

Still - bummer!

It's Monday

Why? Why? WHY?

I mean - it wasn't the greatest of weekends but it was still a weekend and it's just not fair it has to be followed by a major downer called Monday.

I'm at my bitchy best today.

So far:
Heads bitten off - 3.5. Felt a bit sorry for last one as he really can't help he's intellectually challenged.
Cups of coffee consumed - 3. Usually have just one. I'm sensible like that.
Threats to send me home received - 2. Doing a bit poorly there. But the day is young.
Laptops dropped - 1. The most annoying bit being that the bloody thing is still working.
Beds yearned for - just 1. But on continuous basis.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Main issues within Irish rugby team - the reasons for poor performance

Sharing some spam here:

"Drico found Shaggy in bed with Darcy, he's not talking to either of them now, says he won't pass to Darcy, hence all the skip passes going astray.

In the A v B match Murphy scored 15 try's and a drop goal from the dead ball line at the opposite end of the pitch

Rows over the food, Munster lads prefer their meat raw, Leinster lads want it medium rare served on a bed of sun-dried spinach with a drizzle of basil and a hint of rosemary.

Drico picks the team and then makes all the lads guess who is playing through a game of charades, ROG wasn't happy that Drico made w@nker gestures when asked who was out half, big row followed.

John Hayes has leprosy and his head came off in training the other day.

Northern contingent won't play unless God Save the Queen is played before match.

Quinlan and Hickie not talking, Hickie's wife is Quinlan's mothers, aunts neighbours dogs cousin twice removed, causing tension.

Darcy playing bad because his head is wrecked from Su Doku, EOS has banned it from dressing room.

Stringer was dropped because EOS found out he was a Hobbit."

In the spirit of rugby - 1:0 to French

For those not in know - the Rugby World Cup is on. France & Ireland will be meeting tonight.

The only reason I happen to be informed is because The Ultimate Other Half has been soaking my shoulder with bitter tears for a week.

Ireland has been performing poorly, you see. Appearantly. It's a bit confusing since so far they've been winning all the games in their group.

But the country is just a step away from national mourning. I'm trying hard to symphatize, I really am.

Best I can usually come up with is something in lines of "Nah, they're gonna get whacked tonight".

"If you won't shut up I'll send you home," says my boss gloomily.

Now there's an incentive to keep talking!

The French Colleague sent an email to the whole group:
"Bonjour a tous,
As the hosting nation for the rugby world cup I have brought in a few croissant
and pains au chocolat to give you an avant-taste of what is coming and put in the swing of things…
Bring your cup of coffee
along the bakery stand (Absent Ladys desk).
Bonne Journee et bonne
chance!

The French Colleague
PS: How about some baguette for lunch…"

The cheek of him!

Gonna go and grab some coffee now.

1:0 to The Ultimate Other Half

"I remembered to buy you your yogurts yesterday so you can't say I'm a totally shite wife!"

"Excuse me! I have NEVER said you're a shite wife."

"But you have thought it!"

"So now you're a mind reader as well!"

"Sure am! You look at me and think "She's an utterly shite wife". There's no deceiving me!"

"No, I look at you and think - she's an utterly shite mind reader!"

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Why I should never open my mouth

I throw a magazine onto the bed and it hits The Ultimate Other Halfs knee.

"OUCH!!!"

"What?"

"It hurts!"

"You're a sissy ... you're a GIRL!"

"Boooo-hooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!"

-------------------------------------------

Fancy Neighbouress and I are lounging in her sitting room discussing the size of the head of The Limbo Baby, her son.

"... and the doctor says it's definitely on the big side according to them charts so he'll send us to the pediatrician."

"Nah, I wouldn't worry, he'll grow into his head eventually. It's probably just hereditary, sure you have a big head as well!"

--------------------------------------------

Fancy Neighbouress presents me with a low cut tunic in crowded Dunnes Stores.

"That colour would look lovely on you!"

"Are you mad?" I announce with an optimistic air of DJ who's microphone has just stopped working. "My tits would constantly be hangin out of that thing!"

Fancy Neighbouress goes slightly pale and looks nervously around.

"What? What did I say?" I demand.

"MEN say TITS," she hisses. "Girls say BOOBS!"

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Explosive stuff

There must be some truth in blond jokes.

Lets talk about weather

It seems that whoever I run into this morning kicks off the conversation with complaints about the weather. Main points brought to my attention so far are:
a) it's cold
b) it's windy
c) the summer is over.

None of which comes as a surprise to me. In fact I noticed it yesterday when I had to insist that we need to put the heating on for an hour or so.

The Ultimate Other Half noticed the change in climate when I was attempting to thaw my toes by placing them strategically in close vicinity of his calves under the duvet.

Mutt The Mad got the picture when his pooch-esteem was once again injured by a dressing gown. It's to stop him drying himself on couches and carpet, honestly. AND we think it's dead funny.

Sir Sprout couldn't care less. He was wrapped into snuggly pyjamas and cozy sleeping bag, snoozing away in his cot.

But I love autumn. So I considered it my duty to explain people that I adore the wind, the cold, the rain, sudden crispness of air and long dark evenings. They edged themselves towards the door with a heavy touch of "get away from the freaky woman before she attacks me with a stapler" in their eyes.

Autumn is also one time I get really nostalgic. I miss the colours and fresh feeling of the season back in Home Ground. I miss the crunch of leaves under my feet while wandering in my favorite parks. I even miss the long wet and very-very dark late autumn.

Most of all I miss my friends.

The colours of autumn in Estonia

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

There's no business like show business..

If I was a man I'd be wincing big time looking at that photo.
It's Russia, you see. ANYTHING is possible there.

Alice In Wonderland seems tame in comparison. Really.

How to annoy fellow drivers - tips for L plate holders

1) Insist on waiting until the road is COMPLETELY clear before making a turn. By that I mean no cars in sight at all. Works especially well on busy junctions at rush hour.

2) Following tip only works if you have any other cars behind you. It goes like that: drive with normal sensible speed. Wait until you reach continuous white line "no overtaking" zone. Slow down drastically. Speed up as soon as continuous white line stops. Repeat. Soaring blood pressures behind you guaranteed.

3) Keep gently touching the break while casually driving along. Your blinking break lights will get drivers behind you mighty nervous.

4) Drive twice around every single roundabout before taking desired exit. Puzzling about your actions will keep other drivers alert and interested. To make things a bit more exciting you could also do it in outside lane.

Any additional ideas welcome.
Oh, and just for your information: you don't need to be L plate holder to annoy the crap out of the rest of humanity.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Sprout-proofing

Sir Sprout has become obsessed with a staircase.

Maybe I should be thankful that something has replaced his obsession with Mutt The Mads water bowl but surprisingly I SO prefer changing his wet clothes and mopping a floor to a constantly pending trip to A&E.

It only takes turning your back for split second and Sir Sprout is halfway up the stairs like oiled lightning squealing with delight.

Thing is, he hasn't really worked out that climbing down trick yet. He eases himself backwards for a step or two, gets kinda flustered and attempts to speed things up by taking a dive. Not the smartest of approaches considering there's tiled floor at the bottom of the stairs.

We got a fool proof easy-to-install pressure fit standard stair gate from my friend who assured us that she has 4 more and can bring in any additional ones should we need them.

That's when we discovered we have a non-standard house. The stairs are too wide. Never would have thought THAT could become a problem.

Options were quickly considered, purchasing a smaller house amongst them. Since we like the current one (and hate moving with passion) it left us with a task to find a wider pressure fit stair gate. The Ultimate Other Half is appearantly not partial to wrecking our so far pretty undamaged walls with screws.

Sunday was spent strip searching Argos & Smyths & Atlantic Homecare. We got home with a brand new gate, one 14cm extension & one 7cm extension. The Ultimate Other Half multitasked by trying to screw the whole lot together while prying Mutt The Mads water bowl out of Sir Sprouts eager hands.

When it came to installing the gate it appeared that due to additional non standard feature of the staircase it can't be fitted at the bottom.

Now we have a base bar of the gate hovering just in front of third step.

It's totally baby-proof.

Bets are taken as to which one of loving parents will break a neck first.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Diplomatic highlights of Saturday evening

Tonight the Ultimate Other Half decided to cash in some brownie points. To be honest, his virtual biscuit tin had been overflowing dangerously and something had to be done.

He had given it a thorough thought and came to conclusion that nothing beats a night of rugby in local lad-watering-hole with The Suave Neighbour. Text messages were exchanged and The Fancy Neighbouress negotiated with. The project got green lights.

Thats when The Ultimate Other Half pranced into the family room wearing "Superman wears Paul O'Connell pyjamas" T-shirt in attractive shade of shamrock suffering from overactive thyroid.

"Is this T-shirt OK? Not dirty or anything?"

"Well..." I said.

He turned up the lights so I could see better.

"Ehmm... looks clean enough," I mumbled. T-shirt was several sizes too big and only missed a wee frill on the bottom to pass off as a dress.

Spotting the lack of enthusiasm in my voice he proceeded to tuck the shirt into his jeans.

On a positive side he ceased looking pregnant. On the negative side any innocent bystander couldn't have helped but wonder why he went through all the trouble of nicking Paul O'Connells (or Supermans, who knows) cheap pyjamas and then decided to wear the top part with jeans.

"Does it look better like that?" he asked hopefully.

Thank Heavens I've never had any aspirations to pursue a career in international relations. Current delicate enough balance would have been long destroyed by some of my utterly unelegant blurts.

"It's positively vile!" I announced.

The Ultimate Other Half raced out of the room to change a T-shirt. I panicked.

"Oh, don't bother! I wouldn't care!" I shouted encouragingly.

A split second later I wanted to bang my head against the monitor, only it's a flat screen one and doesn't really help much as far as whipping brains back into shape is concerned.

Luckily (as I have mentioned before) The Ultimate Other Half is shockingly good-natured and did not present me with divorce papers there and then.

Instead he donned a neatish black T-shirt (13 - Unlucky For The Other Side) and was just in time to prevent Mutt The Mad mauling The Suave Neighbour through the front door glass.

Off they went. To the pub. Hope they'll have fun.


PS. To the Ultimate Other Half: In case you're reading this - Paul O'Connell called. He wants his pyjamas back.

See - he's DISTRESSED!

Friday, 14 September 2007

High hopes

When I grow up I want to be a Santa.

  • I love-love-love giving presents. Well, unless it's a sin-ugly mug shot worthy plastic candlestick Auntie Clotilde found on pound shop clearance sale. BUT - if I was a Santa all the presents would have a lot of thought and a fancy wrapping! Beat that!
  • No padding needed, my generous proportions would ensure just-right cuddly Santa looks. Might need to do something about the boobs though. Any suggestions welcome. Will not consider mastectomy.
  • My beard is coming on nicely, especially after all the childbirth lark. All I need to do is bleach it and voilà! - Santa!
One can dream.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Today is all about sharing

Recently I posted an idea about changes in Irish employment law.

Well, my Web-digging Ultimate Other Half has found that Russians have come up with MUCH better idea!

Reminds me of my colleague who was disgusted finding out that company Christmas party will be on Saturday this year.

"I will NOT be drinking on my OWN time," he exclaimed.

Boost your immune system - laugh a little

OK, being a Foreigner by Default I just HAD to share:

I had some good giggles.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Something practical for a change - Bookmooch.com

I read a lot and by "a lot" I mean "enough to spend copious amounts of money to support my addiction and flood all the available surfaces in the house with books".

I am also very fond of my library and believe firmly that a person should have well loved books on standby so (s)he could pick them up whenever it feels like that, be it day or night.

However - there will always be books you'll just enjoy once and never pick up again. They'll just gradually take over the shelves, covered with dust and doomed to be never opened again.

Those books could find MUCH happier homes if you put them up on Bookmooch.com.

It's a very simple book exchange system. You put up a list of books you are willing to give away. For every book given you get points which you can then use to mooch books from others. You can also make wish lists and get notifications when somebody has put up the book you'd like to get.

And it's brilliant!

Couple of tips in case you're thinking of joining:

  • For every book sent abroad you get 3 points and every book sent locally 2 points. Mooching a book locally just costs you 1 point and from abroad 2 points. So it's well worth to ship worldwide as in theory you could get 3 books for 1.
  • Big heavy books are quite expensive to post. Either don't put them up or add a note in book condition that you'll only post them locally due to cost & weight.
  • That's kinda petty but it really annoys me when people are not willing to post worldwide but will happily expect other people to send them books from all over the world. I think it's a bad trend and should be addressed. If you feel the same you can always specify that you will post worldwide only to people who are doing the same.
  • The whole system is based on trust, but people can leave comments on your transactions. So be precise about your posting, let people know about delays and keep communication always open.
  • The site can be down sometimes - maybe for maintenance, maybe the server is just not coping with traffic. Don't let that throw you off. Just try again a little later.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

And then Sir Sprout was born...

I know I was supposed to feel elated, blissfully happy, moved, fiercely protective and attached to a little warm slightly slimy lump they placed on my chest. I was supposed to be bonding at the speed of light, knowing that My Life Finally Has A Meaning.

Instead I was dazed, confused and hugely relieved that the pain had finally eased off. My body was sweaty, enormous and very-very exposed to all the people prodding and poking and pulling and pushing. Not that I minded, it seemed like whole world was behind thick slightly transparent curtains and all I could do was just observe. It was almost funny.

Somebody somewhere had said: "Its a boy!"

Oh, I thought. I liked the girls name better. No idea what to do with boys. They have willies and weird attraction to ball games. So there then, I have a boy. Wow.

He moved slightly on my chest, very quiet slippery thing.

I looked at him.

His pupils were extremely dilated with sudden surge of unfamiliar light. Head a bit conical from vacuum delivery. Skin of soft olive shade and very smooth, not a single wrinkle or blotch. He didn't look like anything I had ever seen or imagined. Little stranger.

"He looks like alien," I mused.

Those were the words I greeted my son into the world with. Not "I love you!" or "He's beautiful!" or "Isn't he absolutely perfect?" like you read or hear from most stories. I wonder if anybody ACTUALLY ever says those things?

I was mostly just utterly surprised that the 9 month bulge in my body had actually resulted in tiny being who was not a part of me any more.

Except he wasn't that tiny at all. Ouch.

There I was, consultant happily embroidering my neither regions, belly gracefully draping all over the bed and boobs so bulky and bursting they could have easily been classified as weapons of mass destruction. Not happy, not unhappy - just tired.

The Ultimate Other Half was a bit teary announcing the birth of Sir Sprout to his parents over the phone. I love him so much, I thought watching him watching me. I guess things are good.

Not for long.

"Did they test you for diabetes during pregnancy," the midwife asked. "You have gained a LOT of weight."

Oh thank you, I thought, JUST what I needed to hear. I'm a bloody, sweaty, icky mountain hooked up to every possible tube and cable they could get their hands onto in the maternity ward. Lovely. I remember I used to be a person. I guess THATS over then. Shite.

At least it perked me up a bit. So I could wallow in self pity and disgust.

---------------------------------------------

Some hours later, after I had finally had a shower and a third change of sheets/nightgown; I sat on the bed and stared at little baby in tiny transparent plastic crib.

He is mine. Still weird.

I guess I should change his nappy. Cause that's what mothers do, isn't it?

The nappy was dry. I changed it anyway.

He slept through whole thing, opening his slightly slanted almond eyes for a brief moment only. They were piercing blue, just like his Dads. And he WAS perfect, tiny sturdy creature with button nose, long gracious fingers and fluffs of red hair. Or strawberry blond as nurses kept insisting.


Other Half had gone home to get a bit of sleep. I would have needed some badly but couldn't. My world was a bit too upside down and shaken at that.

I stayed up most of the day. And night. Watching and thinking and worrying.

There were 3 other babies in the ward who kept crying most of the time.

Sir Sprout slept and slept and slept. He didn't want to eat or cuddle or even have a pee.

I guess he was tired too.

Friday, 7 September 2007

It's just gonne be a little party, nothing much, she said

OK, I must admit I might have a slight problem with stress-free easy-going nah-things-will-sort-itselves-out party planning.

I start with good intentions all relaxed and smiley. Heck, it's only a tiny little party, some friends and grandparents and babies (including Sir Sprout The Birthday Child). And one toddler.

In no time I'm all hot, bothered & irritable.

I've organized public events, concerts, survived a studio full of 50 allegedly singing children, 7 annoyed cameramen, 1 dog, drunken lighting technician and a Sound Engineer Who Wasn't There. I remained calm when presenter was going through his 39th unsuccessful attempt to memorize opening lines with 7 minutes to go before live.

Somehow I just cannot re-create the attitude and composure.

Is that what happens when you have kids? Why didn't anybody warn me I'd like to know.

I've gone soft.

So far I've baked:

12 apple-oatmeal muffins
12 crumble-topped jam filled muffins
12 blueberry muffins
12 lemon-poppyseed muffins
1 eggy sponge with cocoa flavored creme fraiche icing
1 layer sponge with whipped cream and fruit topping

Heeeellppp!

Thursday, 6 September 2007

There's hope for me still!

As we were lazing in bed this morning drinking tea(Other Half) and coffee(me) & watching Sir Sprout sharing a bread stick with Mutt The Mad; The Ultimate Other Half broke the news:

"We didn't win the Lotto last night!"
"How do you know?"
"It just said on the radio there was no jackpot won."
"Oh. Bummer. Would have been nice midweek budget boost.... helped with groceries a little on Friday."

"Nam-nam!" said Sir Sprout banging at the bedside locker. "Nam-nam!"
We gave him a piece of apple and he went away.

I kept musing about the groceries issue.
"7 millions would be A LOT of groceries. Wonder if local Tesco would have enough ... Maybe if we bought LOADS of booze as well..."

There was a thoughtful pause on both sides of the bed.

Then The Ultimate Other Half had a visible light bulb moment.

"AND you would get seven grand back on loyalty card bonus points!" he announced.

That calculation sent my brain into finger-counting frenzy.
"Just seven thousand? I think it should be 70 thousand?"

"Nope, seven thousand!" assured The Other Half.

"Nah, come on, it's point per one Euro, has to be more," I insisted.

Himself was just about argue back but stopped to think.

"You know - you're right, it's 70 grand."

I was floating on gentle waves of pride while The Ultimate Other Half was picking bits of half chewed apple out of his tea mug.

I actually got it right! Wow!

To the maths teacher who called me a "mathematical nonsense" in grade 6 - take that!
I can count (and stuff).
And it only took 20+ years.

Changes in Irish employment law as proposed by Foreigner

All the parents should be entitled for a extra day off on their kids birthday if it falls on a working day. Said days should not be deducted from yearly holiday balance.

If the birthday is on weekend - tough luck. I could live with that.

It is not my idea, The Ultimate Other Half thought of it. But I agree wholeheartedly.

I think the issue should be seriously raised before next government elections.

Sir Sprout hits one tomorrow. To celebrate he emptied his first shelf this morning. Awww...

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

My dog's not spoiled ... I'm just well trained

"The dog will not go up on the furniture," declared The Ultimate Other Half firmly eying up the adorable pup we had just brought home from animal rescue.


"Aw come on," I whinged. That concept was utterly shocking to me. I've had dogs since I was a kid, all of them very much part of the family which mostly meant that humans got to pick the spots on the couches dogs weren't overly fond of. "That's just cruel!"

"No!" insisted Himself who appearantly had decided that it was About The Time To Put His Foot Down.

"Ooo-kay... sure, sure," shrugged after long and fruitless pleading.

The Ultimate Other Half had principles and he was not afraid to use them.

"The dog will NOT sleep in our bedroom!" he insisted.

"No way will the dog ever come to our bed! He has his own one!"

At some point I just stopped arguing.

........................................................

It took me well over a year before The Ultimate Other Half was not bothered to grumble when I snuggled up with our pooch on the couch.

Mutt The Mad eventually learned that if you keep your head down and charge straight at the bedroom door it will open. I never said he was quite normal.

At first we still kept closing the door for night and just got used to the loud bang at early hours as Mutt casually leaked into the room, eventually landing on the rug with a satisfied sigh.

Now the door is just left ajar and Mutt comes and goes as he pleases. Other Half keeps tripping over him in the dark and issuing whispering curses.

This morning in the bed as I was untangling Sir Sprouts busy fingers from dogs generous coat while trying to nudge the Mutt out of the bed so I could finally stretch out my legs; I couldn't help a little giggle.

Marriage, you see, is all about compromising.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Couple of handy tips for those who are contemplating attending a wedding

My brain is still not functioning properly after a weekend dedicated to the wedding but I'll scribble down couple of handy tips. Just in case. Before I forget.

1) Never EVER borrow shoes from your friend!
I admit I should have seen this one coming. Unless you get thrills from simple things like trying to pull off a pair of posh heels crouching in the car. In front of the church. From feet which have magically gone up a size or two in last 2 hours. And have deep dents in attractive shade of blueberry.
I know that beauty demands certain sacrifices but I'd prefer to draw the line at dismemberment. Can't say I'm particularly proud or fond of my feet but would like to keep them nevertheless. I need them. For walking and stuff.

2) Orthopedic rubber-soled sandals - not the best footwear for waltzing.
You could just as well have self-applying brakes installed.
If you're wondering why I was reduced to waltzing in rubber-soled sandals in first place, please refer to Tip no 1.

3) Pack a swimming suit.
Seriously. There is nothing more dampening for glum enough Morning After Spirits than seeing The Ultimate Other Half soaking his troubles away in the hot tub while you are trying to negotiate the vending machine to accept your pitiful coins and spit out some Sprite. Or water. Whatever. A drink.

It was a good party, even considering my hippo feet. Pity I was knocked out before they started a sing-along. Since I only sing when sufficiently pissed it would have been a perfect chance to scar some perfect strangers (and some friends) for life.

The negative side is I can still feel the wedding in my bones.

Half a kingdom for a foot massage!

Friday, 31 August 2007

You live and learn

I didn't stall the car a single time this morning.

Those of you going "bhah!" should kindly take into account that being a lady of considerable years I just embarked on car-taming adventure quite recently.

Back in Home Ground I was a seasoned townie and fiercely proud of it. Always lived near city center. Walked everywhere (OK-OK, used cabs a lot). It never even occurred to me to learn driving. Even if it did there were several very weighty factors to keep me from doing so.

  • Traffic. Anybody who has ever experienced city center traffic at rush hour knows that by the time you get from A to B in a car you could have got to said B twice on feet with a little pub stop in between.
  • Parking. By the time you find a spot to dump your cherished vehicle the movie (meeting/pub crawl/etc) will be long over. When you get back to your car you can happily practice your damage assessment skills by counting broken windows, nicked wheels or some creative key/pen/nail induced artwork on doors.
  • Money. Petrol+insurance+parking+maintenance=one broke Foreigner. Oh, did I mention you'd have to buy a car first? Oopsie. How could I forget. Such a minor wee expense.

But beyond all those practical reasons I am quite frankly freaked by cars. Don't mind sitting on passenger seat at all. Can happily make my way through the most mind-bogglingly mad junctions (even with a buggy filled with wildly annoyed baby, proven fact). But sitting behind the wheel makes me instantly paranoid.

You see, there is no way I can be in control of 3000 pound concoction of processed natural resources, that's just silly. It's bigger than me. And heavier. And probably just waiting for me to drop my vigilance levels. And THEN it'll get me...

No way I was going to present one of them monsters with an opportunity.

And then I moved to Ireland. Into a village.

Suddenly I couldn't even get a haircut without dragging the poor long suffering Ultimate Other Half with me. I needed him to go shopping, visit a doctor, get a bikini wax, go to work... Time after time I mused aloud that I really SHOULD learn to drive. Leaving it happily at that and dragging Other Half kicking and screaming into the car to give me a lift.

Then Sir Sprout popped out and things got serious. At first it was just driving lessons.

"Some people have natural knack for driving," one of the instructors told me. "Others just need to practice and practice and practice!" Cue thoughtful look in my direction.

Oh. Really. Thanks for words of wisdom. (Bitch!)

Once I managed to keep the amount of stalls per minute below 5 I proceeded to practicing with our own car as suggested by said driving instructor. Most likely to save her some big bucks on Valium.

And, boy, did I hate every minute of it! I growled, I sulked, I snapped, I mumbled, I cried. The Ultimate Other Half, a kind and compassionate human being, did not deserve the horrible realization that he had married a neurotic hag who will probably eventually end up running amok and scalping the cattle.

Therefore I have every right to announce with just pride and satisfaction that I did not stall the car a single time this morning.

I did yesterday though.

Twice.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Figures

I am not good at mathematics.

True enough, my Mom is still proudly nurturing "Best Mathematician in Class" badge. It was granted to me at the end of first grade. I guess it was my academical high.

All went downhill from there.

For a while things were not too bad. I managed multiplying and dividing with some bravado. Then they brought in equations involving all sorts of unspeakables like "x"-s and "y"s. At that point there was a proverbial "zap!" and the lights were off. For good.

Thing is, my brain just doesn't function on that level. I DO have some traces of abstract thinking. It's just as long as I don't feed any mathematical conundrums into my biological floppy drive.

I have a reverent admiration for The Ultimate Other Half whose brain is very much tuned into that sort of thing and who enjoys immensely solving Sudoku puzzles, the more complicated & time-consuming the better. And it serves as an excellent excuse to leave all the bill-paying duties on his shoulders.

But I still prided myself in my ability to add 2 to 3 and get 5. Wrongly so, it appears.

Last week I started to think about my holiday balance for this year. It was a happy thought since I spent good part of 2006 and 2007 on maternity leave thus not using up many holidays. There were couple of days taken there and then and two weeks for a trip to Home Ground this year. Didn't remember much about last year but was quite certain there had been couple of trips and quite a few days off but not all the holidays for the year used up for sure.

I sat down and pondered. I was sure there should be enough to take some time off in October and still cover Christmas weeks. About 15 days, I guessed. That's plenty.

Just to be on safe side and maybe even do some planning ahead I sent short query to HR department. This week I got an email back from them with a little neat Excel report attached. I opened said report with mild curiosity.

Your holiday balance for year 2007 is 26 days, it said.

So, let me get it right, my holiday balance is more than my yearly holiday allowance???

I checked everything twice. They had all the days I had used up marked.

Some people collect stamps. Some people collect old teapots or candy wrappers or tissue box covers or Barbie dolls. I collect available days for vacation.

When I hit 100 I will throw a party. You are invited.

I might even take a day off!

Woo-hoooo!

Estonian discus thrower Gerd Kant won a gold medal today on Osaka Worlds Championship in Athletics!


Excuse me while I raise the flag!

 
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