Yesterday afternoon in town I was considering playing games that (according to LaP), 10 year olds play (I was never allowed to at that age), and now...
Hitherto I have never remembered what I dream about.
This week I've remembered what I dreamt about almost every night.
And I don't need that nice new book of dream interpretations that I mentioned the other day to work out the significance of what they mean...
Take last night.
I dreamt that the phone kept ringing and that every caller was more ridiculous than the last. In fact, all of the phone calls were ones that I had had over the past 3 or 4 years. Ones about buzzy things (we're an information point for the local buzzy insects group), or work things, or just members of the Nice Ladies Group with silly questions. Like, "My grandson has just given me his old PC and it was working fine when he left, now the screen is blank." Erm, because he turned it off?
Anyway, almost without exception (calls after about 10pm from people I don't know being the exception) I am always polite and patient and helpful to callers.
But, in my dream, I was telling them what I really thought. Ozzy Osbourne style. Only worse. It was amusing me so much that I woke myself up laughing. Maybe I should try it. Ah... must dash, phone is ringing...
That bug that I've been not-having-time-for all week has hit me again. It's got Mr BW too.
Having spent most of the day messing about making the inside of our christmas cards (we sort-of gave in to the 'my year' circular letter thing that I dislike so much by printing a few pictures of The Coven Familiars on the inside of the card and writing a few captions, but they would have been more amusing had I felt better), we then had to go into town because I didn't buy enough thin gold ribbon to make all the bows for the design on the front of the cards. We were amazed at how busy it still was for 5pm on a Saturday. All the market stalls were still set up and they've usually long-gone by 3.30pm.
The litter and mess around was amazing. The local council do a great job at clearing up though, and by dawn tomorrow it will be pristine again, I'm sure.
The pharmacy assistant in Boots asked (as they always do),
"Is there any reason why you need 2 packs of co-codamol tablets?"
I was tempted to say,
"For goodness sake, that's still only 64 tablets, until a couple of years ago you only sold them in 100s!",
"If I was going to abuse drugs, I wouldn't be in here, I'd be in the xxxxxx club down the road!",
or, "Yes, I'm addicted to them, and could I have some Benylin to take them with, please?"
But, in the eventuality, I just snapped,
"Yes, cos we both feel bloody awful!"
and she gave me a sideways glance as she stuffed them into a bag and spat back at me,
"Have you got an Advantage Card?" I may be ill, but I always have the advantage.
I don't like crowded places, and Mr BW was in a grump too (only ever happens when he feels ill, so I suppose I should be grateful). Everyone seemed to be pushing, shoving, waving cigarettes about or standing stationary in narrow passageways and generally stopping my 100mph passage through the place to get the items I needed and get home. I got cross.
You don't get to see inside the shops you don't go in during the day, and I don't usually go into town after dark. With the lights on, you could see every last thing. I thought of a new game to cheer myself up. Open the door of a shop, shout something in, and run off. I'd shove open the door of the betting shop and scream, "Losers!", or "Pissheads" into the pub, or "Cheapskates!" into the pound shop.
Contender 1: Hans was wittering about rescuing rescue cats. Everyone was begging him to get the latest one his wife wanted. Except for Ian...
"I rescued Dennis.
He tasted lovely as well."
Contender 2:billy was nicking me post titles, regular feature titles and red ribbon. I told him off, cos it's not nice to plagiarize is it (I mean, I do it all the time, I can't have others doing it to me, now can I :))? He wrote a sorry post. And Pob commented, and billy replied (you need to read it in full to understand it):
"...I have this feeling we could be playing with forces beyond our control - I have this worry that me and bw's broom are going to end up building the world's largest human lollipop and I'm starting to panic where the broom is going to go :^(...can I just say - I am genuinely sorry for any plageristic sins I may have committed and it is all purple pen's fault because she wants people to vote for her post and not my total 'rip-off'....(anyhoo, I'd rather have your bottle of hi karate pob)..."
Contender 3: Dave was talking about the new proposals for university tuition fees. Things moved on to talking about an alternative method being a rise in the higher rate of income tax over a certain threshold. mike commented:
"Yes but... The repayment scheme will effectively be a new tax: a graduate tax; a tax on intelligence.
Now, admittedly this could be seen as a neat counterpoint to the national lottery, which is a tax on stupidity."
Contender 4: Hans and Ron appear to think it is highly amusing that I should just occasionally, and for special effect, use the word "fuck" (yep, Google numbers are were down thanks to it not being Hallowe'en this month), as I did in Elsie's comments on Wednesday. She was having problems with Mr Switzerland again you see. I said,
"Doesn't he just know how to get you to ring him?
Fuck him then!
On second thoughts, that would just compound the problems, wouldn't it?
I'll do a spell.
What shall I spell for?"
dave made me laugh with his solution to the, erm, problem... To spare anyone's blushes who doesn't want to read it, what he said is in the gap. So highlight it to see it. "no, gimme his address and let me and darren fuck him. fuck him real good. *in a salt n pepa stylee*"
Don't all rush at once now :)
Contender 5: In view of the current sartorial issues going on in the background round here, and Ron's professed feeling of being unloved because his Northern Sweat Shop was not up to my Southern Expectations (it had something to do with the overlocking of the seams, IIRC ;), I had to laugh when e's efforts at refurbishment encountered Safari problems, she was concerned and Ron asked,
"Yes, but what does the other person who uses Safari think?
Contender 6: LaP wrote a lovely piece about how something had saved her from crashing her car when driving fast at night, while tired, in order to get home (and we've all been there, haven't we?). Whatever it was, it manifested as the image of a police car in her rear view mirror which caught her eye and made her realise she was going off the road and correct her positioning. LaP and I share a philosophy on this sort of thing, and I asked whether it was her Guardian Angel (however one construes these things is immaterial; I believe that they are manifestations of 'purposeful energy' from another dimension).
Winner coming later. I have christmas cards to make first.
Later: I'm feeling kind today, so there will be consolation prizes.
For Ron: you can Google "French military victories" using "I'm feeling lucky".
For mike: you've already had your prize as you are old enough to have been to university when it was free for the going.
For billy: you don't need a prize today as you are currntly pissing it up at a pub in London along with half the rest of the blogworld. If you need consolation tomorrow for your sore head, I'll do you a spell. Mail me.
For Ian: I've done a special spell for you. See if you can tell me what it is later.
That leaves Nic and dave, my 2 winners this week. 2 points and a trophy apiece.
NiC for being very funny and dave for being very naughty, not just in the comment I've quoted, but also elsewhere. Which cheered me up no end and further reinforced my belief in natural justice :)
Only he doesn't have many archives, so I'm reproducing it in its entirety rather than lose it. Blogs are great places for keeping things you don't want to lose aren't they?
A new priest at his first mass was so nervous he could hardly speak.
After mass he asked the Monsignor how he had done.
The Monsignor replied, "When I am worried about getting nervous on the pulpit, I put a glass of vodka next to the water glass. If I start to get nervous, I take a sip."
So next Sunday he took the Monsignor's advice. At the beginning of the sermon, he got nervous and took a drink.
He proceeded to talk up a storm.
Upon his return to his office after the mass, he found the following note on the door:
1. Sip the vodka, don't gulp.
2. There are 10 commandments, not 12.
3. There are 12 disciples, not 10.
4. Jesus was consecrated, not constipated.
5. Jacob wagered his donkey, he did not bet his ass.
6. We do not refer to Jesus Christ as the late J.C.
7. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not referred to as Daddy, Junior and The Spook.
8. David slew Goliath, he did not kick the shit out of him.
9. When David was hit by a rock and was knocked off his donkey, don't say he was stoned off his ass.
10. We do not refer to the cross as the "Big T."
11. When Jesus broke the bread at the last supper he said, "Take this and eat it for it is my body." He did not say, " Eat me" .
12. The Virgin Mary is not called, "Mary with the Cherry."
13. The recommended grace before a meal is not, "Rub-A-Dub-Dub thanks for the grub, Yeah God."
14. Next Sunday there will be a taffy pulling contest at St. Peter's not a Peter pulling contest at St. Taffy's.
I was out in the rural wilds of the extremities of the county today.
Went to a primary school that I can honestly say is the best school I have been in for a long, long time. Almost restored my faith in The System after yesterday. If anyone wants to know where to move to to get a decent (free) education for their kids, mail me and I'll be happy to share.
There are a lot of £1M++ houses out there. And many of them are ever so tastefully decorated. None of your blow up Santas, Homers or whatever for them. Oh no. I decided that I am a Traditional Witch. It's the plasticity and want, want, want attitude that really get to me. Let me have a Victorian christmas (providing I'm the lady not the servant) and I'll be fine.
On the 20 mile journey through the back lanes back to The Coven I drove through 3 small market towns. All beautifully decorated. One with simple christmas tree shaped outlines covered in dark green fake fir and simple white lights protruding from the upper storeys of every shop. Another with traditional small (real) trees decorated with multi-coloured lights. The third with just nets of shimmering white lights stretched across the main street.
I was at a local college to see a couple of students to assess the severity of their course-related difficulties.
First student (31) turned up to see me 20 minutes late, looking like she'd been dragged through a hedge backwards. Confessed she'd overslept because she took 2 Es the previous night.
Somehow got through the morning.
It was harder for me than for her.
No time for lunch.
Mug of tea put into my hand by the student counsellor. Only she let go before I'd got hold of it. She was more concerned with clearing up the floor than with making me another cup of tea. Luckily I had an emergency stash of cartons of pineapple juice in my bag.
Second student (27) arrived shaking and nervy. I'm quite used to this and usually have a laugh and a joke with them so they know I'm human (I don't wear my cloak and hat when I'm working, so they don't know any different) before starting work.
After an hour she asked if she could go to the loo quickly. I told her to take 5 and have a cigarette while she was out. 10 minutes later she came back in and started acting rather differently. Now, being a Witch of the World, and having had a slightly interesting youth (despite what some of you think)(we won't go into that right now ;), I had my suspicions and asked her outright. Turned out I was correct and she'd been in the loo shooting up. I'd been told that they thought she was 'weird', and despite several lecturers and student support staff having spent extended periods with her, no-one had considered the possibility that she was using. Unbelievable. Short of her actually hanging a sign round her neck, I'm not sure what could have been more obvious.
More unbelievable was the shared fragment of knowledge that she was also taking diazepam and had been taking it continually, under GP care, for the past 10 years. Now what sort of dinosaur GP considers that diazepam is the drug of choice for any sort of anxiety/depressive illness in this day and age? And for ten years? I feel like reporting him to the GMC.
Next week could I have some students with learning problems please?
Some concern has been expressed by some of you about me losing my head as the months progress. Last night I thought my luck was in as I thought someone else had volunteered to [deleted in the interests of good taste as certain other people get excited when I mention certain words. For some reason ;) ]
Please rest assured that the dressmaking (ironing, hemming) is continuing, although there have been some problems with getting support in certain problem areas. My back issues have been trying. Thoseofyou insisting on viewing this as a safari, in your old macs, with firebirds, panthers (or whatever) will soon be able to see me in all my shapely splendour. Unquantifiable thanks to Alan for his continuing efforts, and for not running off and leaving me in the changing room in just me knickers, and for not peeking behind the curtain while I was trying it on. I'll take you shopping again any time dear :)
Something that really amuses me about blogland is the way that (some of) the twenty-somethings assume that the forty-somethings among us are past it and never think a rude word, let alone write it, or even, heaven forbid, actually know about (let alone still actually have) sex ;)
A bit like thinking that your mum and dad only ever had sex the time that you were conceived that, I think :) Let alone your grandparents...
I think that it's only through having a very good friend who is 69 (hur hur) with a (second) husband who is 81 (who has a better selection of books on sex and sexuality than the British Library) that I have come to understand that things don't change as you get older. You get wiser, maybe, less stressed, maybe, better able to deal with the ups and downs of life, maybe, but, most of all, you are still the same person, with the same experiences, feelings, desires, needs and so on. Perhaps you are just a little less vocal in coming forward. You can only say the same things so many times after all, and plus ca change...
It only seems like yesterday that I was 30; I can distinctly remember looking at a colleague, 5 years my senior, noticing all the little lines creeping onto her face, noticing that she wasn't wearing quite "this season's vestiges of fashion" and thinking "You're past it dear". She wasn't, it was my perception. I can see that now. Time creeps on so fast. Beware; it will soon be you. If it isn't already.
Yes, there is one. Called Solanum umbelliferum, it is defined as a "Fast growing shrub to 4 feet round, gray foliage contrasts nicely with 1 to 2 inch lavender flowers with bright yellow stamens spring thru fall. Full sun, quite drought tolerant but does't mind water if drainage is good. Good in low water gardens, on dry slopes."
I particularly like the picture. OK, so there's a better one here.
Lady Blue Witch Picture
I'll have one of these for christmas, thank you :)
I've still got the remanants of that nasty bug that makes you feel all weird and floaty.
I went downstairs to make some tea, opened a cupboard, saw a packet of marzipan, thought about a yummy-sounding recipe for marzipan sausage wrapped in puff pastry and squiggled into initials (for use to denote places at a christmas table) that I saw somewhere (I think it was a Swedish or Norwegian idea), stopped myself eating the marzipan anyway, had a handful of pine nut kernels instead (cheap in bulk at Costco in case you are interested), then fancied a little glass of sherry. Because I had one last night, first time in ages. Usually reserved for when Mummy and Daddy BW visit. So I had one. Now I want to go night-nights and I still haven't finished what I started at 8am this morning that should have taken 2 hours.
Is sherry in the afternoon a sign of something? :)
Update, 6.15pm: Mr BW has just come arrived home. Stats suggest that he has not visited BW since lunchtime. He has demanded to know just how many sherries I have had. Note to self: vodka is less obvious.
Because I know that there are people who won't see dave's excellent tip (hidden in Elsie's comments), I'm reposting it here:
To overcome those annoying pages that sometimes only part-load (the ones that use the basic template like Elsie and Purple Pen), what you have to do is maximize the page (top RH corner, next to the X) - it has worked every time for me so far.
Thorny problems You know that problem when you want to put something in a comments box, but you know you mustn't because it will start something that doesn't need starting? No? Oh well. Next subject...
Dave has written a lovely letter to Santa pretending to want to sort out all the world's ills for christmas. Then he says what he really wants. Only he's linked to that bastion of shitty customer service and long despatch times, Amazon (other services are available, scroll down a bit to find suggestions). So that's 2 sins in one post Dave. We can't have that :) No 50" plasma screen telly for you now. Sorry.
I have a half-written post on why I hate christmas - or rather, the commercialisation of this time of year - but I know I'll just get jeers of 'bah humbug' from certain quarters. So, I'll just say instead how increasingly frustrated I am at attempting to procure the gifts that various relatives have requested. I don't even know what I want, so I'm probably annoying them even more.
Let's face it, these days most of us are in the fortunate position of being able to afford most things that could reasonably be expected as gifts. So why don't we cut all the crap and just save our time searching for the unfindable for the ungrateful (I'm referring mainly to children who it seems are mostly no longer made to write thank you letters) and simply buy ourselves what we want (as a nominal gift from 'everybody') with the money we've saved?
I still think that home-made gifts and cards are nicest. Because they show that you care enough to spend time on that person. The one thing that money cannot buy.
And it's getting noisier.
And it's driving me to distraction.
Does anyone know how to cure a squeak caused by the printer cartridges running across the metal supporting rod in a HP G55 OfficeJet printer/copier/scanner? I think that the paper goes too close to consider spraying with WD40 or using graphite. And I do use original cartridges (I've never found the colour quality or the drying time of 'compatible' or 'refilled' cartridges good enough for my requirements).
I've just checked and that printer has now done 18559 copies in less than 3 years, but it's not dead yet (BW tempts fate here), and, annoying as the noise is, I'm not buying a new one just because of it.
A free download of a piece of software ideal for all those who crave accuracy in the division of restaurant bills when out with a group but are either mathematically challenged or too pissed to be capable.
"As fast as you can jot down the figures, Money® Magazine Tip Assistant will quickly calculate the tax, service gratuity and divide a bill evenly amongst a group of people. Tip Assistant is brought to you as a free gift from LandWare, the creators of Money® Magazine Financial Assistant."
However, if you happen to be out with me, just don't expect me to cough up for a tip if the service has been average or lousy. Because I won't. I do not subscribe to the American way of thinking that tips are a right. They are not. They are a gesture of appreciation for someone doing their job better than they have to. And I wish more people would do as I do, because then the standards of service would improve. Cue comments about 'Ah but the wages of the poor people who work in catering are so low, they have to rely on tips, blah, blah....'
Update: Because I never recommend anything on BW that I haven't personally tried, I've just downloaded this. One of the most useful things is the 'Help' which tells you the 'tip expectations' of major countries (usual amounts and whether included in the bill or not). Excellent info for where you really want to annoy lousy servers abroad :)
Sadly, this piece of software won't cope with Scrooge who insists on paying less than everyone else because they only had one course or only drank tap water (yes, we've all been out with them...). BW solution to that - change your friends :)
Borrowed this link from a fellow Witch while I was wasting time having a break earlier while most blogger sites were down.
First I got:
you are cyan #00FFFF
Your dominant hues are green and blue. You're smart and you know it, and want to use your power to help people and relate to others. Even though you tend to battle with yourself, you solve other people's conflicts well.
Your saturation level is very high - you are all about getting things done. The world may think you work too hard but you have a lot to show for it, and it keeps you going. You shouldn't be afraid to lead people, because if you're doing it, it'll be done right.
Your outlook on life is very bright. You are sunny and optimistic about life and others find it very encouraging, but remember to tone it down if you sense irritation.
I wasn't totally convinced by that (I wanted to be bluer), so I tried again and got:
you are olive #808000
Your dominant hues are red and green, so you're definately not afraid to get in and stir things up. You have no time for most people's concerns, you'd rather analyze with your head than be held back by some random "gut feeling".
Your saturation level is very high - you are all about getting things done. The world may think you work too hard but you have a lot to show for it, and it keeps you going. You shouldn't be afraid to lead people, because if you're doing it, it'll be done right.
Your outlook on life can be bright or dark, depending on the situation. You are flexible and see things objectively.
Your dominant hues are green and yellow. There's no doubt about the fact that you think with your head, but you don't want to be seen as boring and want people to know about your adventurous streak now and again.
Your saturation level is medium - You're not the most decisive go-getter, but you can get a job done when it's required of you. You probably don't think the world can change for you and don't want to spend too much effort trying to force it.
Your outlook on life is slightly darker than most people's. You try to see things for what they are and face situations honestly. You'd rather get to the point than look for what's good.
People driving along with phones stuck to their ears have long angered me. When I'm in the car on my own, I always have my hands-free stuck in the bottom of my phone. And I will only make or take a call (which I can do via voice activation - and my phone is 3 years old, so not one of those do-everything-except-go-to-the- loo-for-you type new-fangled things) where I think it won't be distracting to do so. I long-ago learnt that ringing phones can safely be ignored and that people who want to get hold of me will ring back.
Last week Mr BW had a very clever bluetooth gadget thingy (you all know by now that I leave technical to others :)) fitted into his car by his employer so that he could continue to talk to his NY office while driving home at night. A great improvement on the old hands-free kit use he tells me, and he likes the way it talks to him when he switches on the engine. I think it reminds him of Knight Rider. I don't know how much it cost (but tens rather than hundreds I'd suspect), but I think that everyone who has an employer-provided mobile phone should refuse to use their phone in their car unless provided with a similar piece of equipment.
In case you are interested, here are the new regulations and here are some ideas for places to get cheap hands-free kits if you haven't already got one.
However, I'm just left wondering why the legislation to make driving using a hand-held mobile phone a £60, 3 point endorsable offence is in this session of Parliament and not the last. I honestly don't think that the current slight risk of a £30 fine is going to stop the worst offenders. Given the 12,000 pages of legislation that were passed in the last Parliament, you'd think you could have squeezed it in somewhere, wouldn't you?
We then discovered that we'd both read to exactly the same place in the link before deciding it was spoiling it too much....
Oh, and, spotted in our local paper free ads section:
"For sale: Two large dog beds, slightly chewed, £5 each. 01903-775995" (I've included the phone numer cos I feel sorry for them, and someone might be interested... but goodness knows where it is as that is not a local code).
Our first christmas card has just turned up in the post. Posted on 26th. Why do people think that their little 'circular letters' are going to be of interest to anyone but themselves? :)
It was all I could do to stop Mr BW eating the first white chocolate button out of his advent calendar last night when I got it out of the cupboard.
Mr BW ate the first button at 7.30am this morning. How anyone can eat chocolate at that time of day beats me.
I have that nasty cold bug that is going round. Most people would say they have flu. I haven't got time to have flu so I'll have a cold instead. But it proves what I always say - I only ever get ill when I am stressed and trying to fit too much into the day.
We bought a christmas tree on Saturday. Only because we had a £5 off voucher out of the local paper though. It is currently residing in a bucket of water outside. It ain't going up for ages yet. You hear that Mr BW darling? :)
Just over 4 years ago I was in San Francisco with time on my hands. I was drawn to a church hall not far from Fisherman’s Wharf where panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt were on display.
It is possibly the most moving experience I have ever had.
I’m not going to write about it today. But I will one day.
The thing that struck me most was just how many health-care professionals and children had died.
Info about The Quilt is here. Basically, "The AIDS Memorial Quilt is a poignant memorial, a powerful tool for prevention education and the largest ongoing community arts project in the world. Each of the more than 44,000 colourful panels in the Quilt memorialises the life of a person lost to AIDS."
Each panel is exactly 3 feet by 6 feet (approximately the size of a coffin) and aims to encapsulate the life, interests and achievements of a person who has died of AIDS. Panels are often made by 'sewing bees' of friends and family, and are amazing works of art. More information on the construction of panels is here.
Blocks of the Quilt can be viewed here (do click on the numbers in the left column to see the larger images). For anyone who appreciates creativity, design, and in particular, needlecraft, this is a must-see site. Some panels are just names, beautifully worked. Some are much, much more. Whatever their form, each panel is a work of love.
Today, with it being World AIDS Day, over half the 5,644 blocks making up the AIDS Memorial Quilt (figure correct at August 2003) are out on display in various places. If you ever get the chance, do go to see them.
I still get a regular email from the AMQ people. Although Quilt blocks (which are generally 8 individual panels sewn together) seem to be displayed in many countries of the world, I’ve never seen or heard of anything going on in the UK. The AMQ website says that there are affiliates in 36 countries, and that the UK branch is based in Scotland (and has 325 panels currently). I don’t know why it isn’t more widely known about / seen in the UK though?
I actually think that this idea of making a coffin-sized memorial panel to a loved one is something that should be adopted much more widely when people die. It seems such a fitting reminder.
In fact, I often think of what I’d like on my own panel, or what people might put on one, if they chose to make one for me. How to sum up one’s life?