Thursday, June 30, 2005
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Urgent advice sought on fashion issues
When will these be 'out'? It strikes me they have been 'in' for waaaay too long. They seem ill-suited to anyone who is not borderline anorexic on account of the rather unsightly Flesh Overhang Syndrome (FOS). FOS - and I count myself amongst the millions of worldwide sufferers - manifests in a nasty protrusion of flesh over the top of the jeans. It would appear that sufferers have two choices: buy jeans in larger size, although this results in them hanging so low as to create the effect of a Builder's Bum. Or wear deeply unfashionable jeans whose waist sits just under the bust. Hmmm.
The Gypsy look
But a few months' old and enough already! Some of those prints are fit only for your grandmother's summer curtain collection...
Are these SERIOUSLY back 'in'? I mean, seriously?? Now I'm all for the retro thing but it IS possible to take it too far, y'know. And as for those boob tubes with the diaphanous flowing material underneath and the thin halterneck straps: ONLY IF YOU ARE HEAVILY PREGNANT (in which case: enjoy being 'in' when you look and feel like a whale).
I will never EVER understand the desire to wear a G-string. They remind me of cheese wire. And how on earth retailers can charge several quid for a few grams of material and retain a clear conscience, I shall never know. And then there's when they combine with the low-hanging hipster jeans. Hear it from me: this is NOT, I repeat NOT, an attractive look.
Gosh, I feel old...
How to get cheekbones like this?
I have soft, flabby cheeks and it would appear to be a family trait (mother and sisters also suffer). So I've been on a quest for some well-defined cheekbones for some decades now. I'm not looking for Michelle Pfeiffer style angularity, just a little more Definition. I'm thinking more Heather Armstrong. I've tried sucking my cheeks in, which sort of works, although it makes talking and eating difficult. Perhaps I should wear blusher...
P.S. I love Dooce (capitalisation tendencies and all).
Monday, June 27, 2005
I can't wait to take my kids to the beach again
went down to the beach (to play one day)
and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles, and
milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and
may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as the world and as large as alone.
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea
e e cummings
Sunday, June 26, 2005
We interrupt today's other posts to bring you
Hoorah for Google Images!
[This piece is dedicated to Barbara, who shares my overly vivid imagination.]
Finally, Mr Chick and I have a night out together: a veritable rarity these babied days. Arrangements have been long in the planning for dinner with some dear friends at a groovy little club in Soho…
We shuffle the tiddlers off to bed, trying not to give off those We Are Going Out And Leaving You With A Babysitter signs, leap into a bubble bath (one at a time – we’re no longer in our twenties, y’know) and rifle through drawers/cupboards/wardrobes for those elusive smart [read: unenhanced by baby sick/snot/vomit] togs.
A quick last minute blitz of the toy-scattered living room and ding dong! The front door bell trings, bearing The Babysitter (TB).
Now a little background information: TB is well known to us and the tiddlers. The tiddlers smile and giggle excitedly whenever she appears etc. We are in possession of TB’s home address, her home and mobile numbers. We know her college tutor. We know she does not have a criminal record and so on and so forth. She is, to all intents and purposes, A Lovely Caring Individual.
But, suddenly, faced with the prospect of leaving our precious children in her sole care for four whole hours, she has become a Potential Child Abuser/Kidnapper/Murderer.
Mr Chick pulls me out the front door and fleeps the car doors open. I am feeling a little nauseous. I make up some ridiculous excuse for ‘just popping back in for a second’ (well, if she has plans to do something awful, she will surely have already leapt out of her seat and started constructing some instrument of torture, no?).
‘Just popping back in to [insert ridiculous excuse]!’ I exclaim to TB, who is still sitting on the sofa (apparently watching TV), and then close the door for a second time.
As we drive off, I decide to note down her car registration number, details of model, colour and exact site of scratches on the front bonnet Just As A Precaution, you realise. Mr Chick asks me what I am doing: oh, just making note of an appointment I have next week, I proclaim cheerily. He appears convinced.
Soon we are speeding through the streets of south London and I am suddenly becoming semi-intoxicated by wafts of the Chanel No.5 I sprayed rather too liberally on my person before leaving the house. So I open the window and find myself instead inhaling deeply exhaust fumes from a clapped out Citroen ahead of us.
‘They’ll be OK, won’t they?’ I ask Mr Chick.
‘Who?’ he asks.
‘The tiddlers!’ I protest. ‘Jeeeez!’
I check my watch. OK, so if she is planning to kidnap them, she’s probably thinking of taking them through the Eurotunnel to France. Assuming she has just loaded them up in the car, it’ll be about an hour before they get to Folkestone. So if we call the police within the next 45 minutes, they can probably alert the port authorities in time to catch them as they board the Shuttle. Briefly, I consider (and worry about) whether she knows how to fit the car seats correctly…
Soon we are parking the car and leaping into a cab to take us up to Soho.
Our friends greet us, all smiles to see us again in the unbabied world of night-time Soho. We slurp back a drink or two and then settle down to dinner.
Just as the starters arrive, I check my watch. Eight thirty. Probably lining up to board the Shuttle right now. I turn to Mr Chick.
‘Hey, will you give TB a ring, y’know, make sure everything is OK?’
‘What?!’ he exclaims. ‘I’m sure she’ll call us if there is a problem.’
‘Pleeeeeeeeeease!’ I plead.
‘I’m sure they’re fine! Don’t worry!’ he retorts.
This exchange is repeated four or five times, with me adding for good measure phrases such as ‘If you do this, I’ll do ANYTHING you want!’. He looks rather incredulous or maybe he is pondering what the ‘anything’ could be…a new computer, widescreen TV or a trip on the first flight to the moon, all of which I have previously banned.
‘She’s feeling a little nervous about leaving the tiddlers with TB,’ he confides to our friends.
‘Ah…’, they reply with the what’s-all-that-about look of the Unbabied.
Eventually, after much nagging, Mr Chick relents and slips outside to call TB. He returns and I beg him for Information.
‘That’s it? They’re fine. What else?’
‘That’s it! She’s in our house and the tiddlers are fine.’
Our friend chips in, smirking: ‘Of course, they always make sure they are home the first time the parents ring!’
This is no time for joking. Perhaps TB is more technologically adept than I have previously given her credit for and she knows how to divert our landline to her mobile and perhaps she really IS sitting in her car with my (heavily sedated) tiddlers waiting to cross the Channel.
The evening drags on. Pudding arrives (too late now to alert the port authorities), then coffee and we quickly jump into the first cab we see. When we arrive home, TB is still on the sofa (no instruments of torture, nor evidence of their construction evident). I quickly thrust some bank notes into her hand and once she has shut the front door behind her but before she has a chance to start up her car, I dash upstairs to find…sleeping tiddlers, arms wrapped around favourite toys, chomping dreamily on dummies.
Phew. Still, she could be working on her kidnap strategy for next time…better dust down that covert home video camera system.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Blog seizure warrant number ZB107684F
Following an anonymous tip-off, it has come to our attention that blogger 'Urban Chick' has fallen foul of our blogger quality control systems. It would appear that recent posts have been somewhat cobbled together on a last minute basis, with minimal thought and creative input. In particular, we have noted a few posts in the past week which have been little more than a picture pulled down from Google Images accompanied by an inane comment or two.
We have approached 'Urban Chick' with these allegations and she has refuted them outright, claiming in her defence the mitigating circumstances of "hot weather, parenting pressures and the allure of mango sorbet".
Until such time as she instructs counsel, we have been forced to withdraw her blogging rights.
In short: she has been a Very Naughty Girl.
We are seeking witnesses for the prosecution, and any willing candidates should email their details to: email@example.com
Blog Output Quality Control Department
Google Blog Management
Friday, June 24, 2005
The evening ahead
Well, the beers are chilling in the fridge, a Thai takeout has been ordered and a DVD of 'Ray' delivered...
Meantimes, I bring you a little something from Marc Chagall on which to feast your eyes.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
I do so love a faded 1980s pop star
Here he is as he was in the '80s:
White jacket, rolled-up sleeves. Ouch ouch ouch. And that HAIR...
In fact, he is cuter than this. Has whitish, rumpled hair and cool glasses. If I was more technically adept, I would pull down a still from the TV show, but I'm not. So you're just going to have to use your imagination.
And then there was the time I went on holiday one summer and when I got back, Kylie had morphed from soap-star-turned-squeaky-pop-star into groovy pop icon...(Thing is, I ALWAYS loved her, squeaks and all, which makes me a TRUE fan, of course.)
Monday, June 20, 2005
Foreign dictators and breakfast cereals
How or why is it deemed acceptable for what I presume are serving members of the US armed forces to go on national television to talk in this way? Has the US Military no sense of symbolism? See, as I typed that, I already had the answer.
Now I am no fan of brutal former dictator Mr Hussein, but don't we try to accord our prisoners a little dignity whilst they are on trial, however much we presume their guilt?
I am truly speechless.
I wish I was more like Margaret Thatcher...
But I can't - need ten hours AT LEAST.
[Ha! Bet that had you worried! Thing is, I have more in common with MT than you might imagine...]
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Come back winter (all is forgiven)
I'm dreadfully fickle
(Give me a dime and
I'll ask for a nickel)
I moan about winter
The rain and the cold
The germs and infections
The damp and the mould
By April I'm threat'ning
To move to the Med
My friends look on, laughing
'Is that what she said?'
'Just give her two days
Of fully fledged summer
She'll then think this season's
A positive bummer'
I've had it with sunscreen
And air con and sweating
Those pesky mosquitoes
And bites that I'm getting
I'm begging for winter
Or a move north to Sweden
A hot sunny morning's
No garden of Eden
So bring back the drizzle
The snow and the flu
All is forgiven!
Winter: I love you!
Friday, June 17, 2005
A Friday sort of a song...
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Consider a life without marketing gurus...
The publication is (ironically/unironically? I'm not wholly sure but I am hoping it is the former) entitled: 'How to become an icon'.
In the section labelled 'The vision thing' and in answer to the question 'What do we mean by vision?', we are treated to the wise words of marketing guru Sergio Zyman:
Vision is the difference between:
"We want to sell more than Pepsi."
"We wish to replace water as beverage of choice for the people of the world."
Does reading this stuff make anyone else want to throw up on the spot?
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
I defy classification! (But who am I kidding?)
But who I am kidding?
Some years back, Mr Chick and I were househunting in a groovy-but-not-yet-pricey part of town. Of course, everyone who lives there imagines themselves to be a little cool, a little edgy, and this is doubtless what we imagined qualified us to househunt in the area.
We took a look at the sort of house we saw ourselves living in (three storey refurbished Victorian terrace) and, after being let loose by the estate agent to explore the house on our own, we started ooh-ing and ah-ing with excitement.
‘Oooh, look, honey! They read the New Statesman!' (read: left-leaning political tendencies)
More excitement when we reviewed their CD collection: a little Britpop, some folky stuff harking back to the 1960s, a dash of cheesy disco tunes and a smattering of classical (basic but well beyond Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons'). All in all, it looked frighteningly like OUR music collection.
Their bookshelves were chock full of Rough Guides (read: aspirant independent travelling types) and a healthy mix of the classics (Austen, Dickens, Forster et al) and contemporary quality fiction (Atwood, Roth, Amis etc.). No Wilbur Smith here...
The house had been - to coin Estate Agent Speak - "tastefully refurbished": original fireplaces and sash windows, but sleek, contemporary kitchen and bathrooms (read: respect for things old but love of modern appliances).
And we couldn't help but notice the jar of Fairtrade coffee and the box of organic, free range eggs in the cupboard too.
The estate agent returned eager to hear our views on the property.
'Hmmm, we're not sure. Can we give it some thought and get back to you?', Mr Chick mused.
Back in the privacy of our car, we quickly concluded that the house wasn't for us. The location wasn't quite right and parking was a problem.
'But how about we leave them a note, suggest we get together for a drink. I think we could become great friends!', I joked.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Let's hear it for...rhubarb!!
But then springtime comes around and hey! Rhubarb! Tart, stringy (in a nice way), slithery rhubarb. How did I forget you, you marvellous fruit, you?
I have some stewed rhubarb in the fridge right now. Too lazy to make a pie or a crumble, I am recommending as an appropriate accompaniment to this fine fruit: a dollop of creme fraiche (half fat, if you're diet-inclined), a scoop of the best vanilla ice cream or a bowlful of Bird's custard. Ah...
(Oh, and it's supposed to be good for constipation. Now there's a bonus.)
Monday, June 13, 2005
The allure of a cup of tea
Considered ruminations have led me to conclude that the reason we have not had a revolution in this country (sorry, but the English civil war does not count) is because someone will always say 'let's have a nice cup of tea instead'. Some scribbled thoughts:
Pros of a potential revolution:
We might be able to get rid of the monarchy.
Cons of a potential revolution:
It's quite a lot of bother really.
Pros of a Nice Cup Of Tea:
Who can beat a lovely cuppa?
Cons of a Nice Cup Of Tea:
Not as much fun as chanting 'Lizzy Lizzy Lizzy - out out out' and hanging out in Trafalgar Square.
I elicited the views of at least a dozen other cyber-buddies (so, let's call that a statistically significant cross-section of the population) in a pop quiz entitled: Revolution or a Nice Cup Of Tea? and the emerging consensus was: they would rather have a Nice Cup Of Tea. Nuff said.
Although someone (an American) rather radically suggested: reform and lemon squash. Gosh.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Wanted: extreme views
Oblivion? Yikes. So I figure: where's the fun in hanging around in the murky water that is the middle ground of reasonableness? (This from a woman who used to work in the Grey Area of a government building whose sections were rather endearingly coloured coded. Cute. Although can we really call 'grey' a colour? Hmmmm.)
It seems I need some extreme views. OK, wracking my brains, but here's a few for starters...
1. Mao Zedong: painfully misunderstood, actually Quite A Nice Guy.
2. People who wear knee-length white socks with open-toed sandals should be publicly flogged. I mean, come on you guys, they're called OPEN-toed sandals for a reason.
3. Julia Roberts is ugly.
Bring on that invective and those ill-considered responses...
Friday, June 10, 2005
Up for grabs...
I've used all my free time today reading other people's blogs (way more fun than writing my own!). There are so many magnificent blogs out there and reading them has left me with a warm, loved-up feeling. So, whilst I am all spent brainspace-wise, I do have some free hugs to offer. Any takers?
After our cyber-smooch, go see whether these fine ladies do it for you too:
Brain Trapped In Girl's Body
Women On The Verge Of Thinking
Thursday, June 09, 2005
From here to a G-cup and back...
Anyhoo. Once again, I find myself with a drawerful of bras that Do Not Fit. So I ask around my female friends and the word on the (bust-measuring) street is that THE place to get fitted up is Rigby and Peller, by Royal appointment no less. (Are we to conclude that Royal bosoms have been measured by these fine ladies? Now there's a thought.)
So off I trek, unencumbered (in the nicest possible way) by the two mini folk who caused my bosom-related metamorphosis. I haven't booked, and end up waiting an hour and a quarter to be seen. An hour into my wait, I am just about to slope off in search of an iced coffee, when a discussion breaks out amongst my fellow customers.
How long does it take to get measured and choose a bra? is the topic. We collectively conclude that 20 minutes sounds about right. We tot up the number of people due to be seen before the woman with ticket number '58' and sigh deeply when we realise that we could be here until approximately 2am the following day.
But then, all of a sudden, a spritely young saleswoman emerges and calls out ten numbers in a row, none of whom respond. Suddenly, Woman #58 cheers, puts down her novel and disappears into the changing room. We all smile. Things are moving along. There is hope.
A new-found spirit of companionship has washed over us all and I ask the woman next to me (#62) if she would like my newspaper. Yes, she would, and she would be willing to trade it for last month's edition of 'Vogue'. This takes me precisely four minutes to flick through and then, bingo! My number is called. Hoorah!
A friendly woman with a foreign (Eastern European?) accent asks me to strip to the waist. I suddenly feel as if I am in 'Prisoner: Cell Block H' but of course, I obey. What else can I do? No measuring tape seems apparent, but a twenty second gaze later and my saleswoman has scurried away and returned with a handful of bras.
'You have a very narrow back!' she comments. Hey - great! I think.
Before I know it, she is asking me to lean forward to allow my bosoms to fall neatly into the cups. Once the bra is done up, she lurches towards my breasts and reaches into the cups to scoop the flesh in (yikes). Thankfully I have not a shred of dignity left after the pregnancy-childbirth-breastfeeding experience. I barely flinch at this sudden assault on my womanly pride.
'Ah', she sighs. 'You see? Puckering! The fabric is puckering. This means the cup size is too big.'
'Oh', I reply. 'But I usually wear a...'. With a flick of the curtain, she has gone again, returning with two more bras draped over her forearm.
And so the ritual continues. Arrival of new bra. Woman disappears behind me. The request to lean forward. Scooping and tucking in of flesh. Attempt (by me) to read price tag in the mirror. Woman stands back admiring her handiwork.
'I have this one myself. It's VERY supportive!' she offers.
I conclude that I will take one ivory one and one black one to cover all wardrobe eventualities. I dress quickly and scoot to the counter. A three figure sum appears on the till digital display. Crikey. I must have read the numbers backwards in the mirror. But as I am British, I smile and say 'do you take visa?'. I have to admit the bag is a beautiful shiny burgundy, with gold lettering proclaiming the Royal warrant. And the bras are nicely wrapped in tissue paper. It feels worth it, I think...
And the verdict: I have to admit to feeling a little, well, strapped in, but a friend tells me I will soon get over the inability to breathe deeply into my diaphragm as I was taught by a singing teacher. Mr Chick says my bosoms look more 'pushed up' but remains neutral on whether or not this is any sort of improvement on before. If I muster up a little more courage, perhaps I will post some before and after photos and y'all can tell me what you think. Or, of course, I could just unclip and dangle.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
A position of envy
This is my daughter's first ever pair of shoes. Think of it: she has decades of shoe-buying ahead of her. So many hopes and dreams...
Will she get to wear those cute white plimsolls (plimsolls! such a great name!) for gym class at school? Will she ever get along with heels higher than an inch? (I never have.) Will she make the same mistakes as me? (Those horrid manmade court shoes with the bow. Ouch. Heck, it was the 1980s.). Watch this space...
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
If I was a male blogger...
D'you think there are male bloggers out there who wonder 'is my blog bigger than his?' and 'how many minutes for a large blog?'.
This is cruel. We are talking gender stereotypes. And I would hate to alienate any men who might happen upon my blog... But there we have it. Cheap gags are just that.
Surrender to chaos
**Waves white flag from behind the back of the sofa whilst small children paste porridge on the walls and toss toys out of the window**
Monday, June 06, 2005
Post Major Lifestyle Event Jitters (PMLEJ)
These women suffer from clinically identifiable Career Pangs (CPs), although these tend to decrease in frequency as the length of time since they were last in remunerated employment grows longer. This is largely due to (a) extreme fatigue and (b) inability to muster up the willpower required to make a decision.
These vary in severity and typically involve one or more of the following:
• occasional bouts of longing to wear pristine, freshly pressed smart clothing – this often manifests itself in the woman fondling trouser or skirt suits, sometimes in department stores but occasionally suits from her own wardrobe (provided these have not been given to Oxfam)
• a desire to hold an uninterrupted conversation with another adult without reverting to using phrases such as ‘leave that alone’ and ‘don’t do that’
• intermittent high pitched screaming (at children but more typically into the void that is their living room)
These range from the smell of a Starbucks cup of coffee previously associated with the workplace to reading in the newspaper of a former colleague’s meteoric rise to the top of the organisation. (Severe psychosis is often triggered if the aforementioned colleague is male and unquestionably stupider than the woman. This is sadly very common.)
Mild symptoms can often be treated with interventions such as cuddling a cute baby. When symptoms are at the severe end of the scale, forcing the woman to spend time in her former workplace is usually very effective. Post treatment interviews with women suffering from PMLEJ have revealed that any long term memory loss is very quickly resolved once they are re-exposed to office politics and mindless office administrative tasks.
Saturday, June 04, 2005
Dip in inspiration speedily resolved by listening to wonderful singer
[Be sure and listen to her sample tracks, especially 'But not for me': I defy you not to tap your toes and shoogle in your seat!]
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Happiness is the lucky pane of glass you carry in your head. It takes all your cunning just to hang onto it, and once it's smashed you have to move into a different sort of life.
Carol Shields, 'Unless'
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
I bought these cute black slingbacks a couple of years ago from Hobbs. They yelled 1950s movie star at me (weird, eh?) and I just adore the peep toes. Plus they made my feet look small. But there was a reason for that: they ARE too small. Even in a half size bigger than my normal size, they're just too squishy. I have to face facts: I have big feet and these shoes need a new home. Ah, parting is such sweet sorrow...
I'm just a gal who can say 'no'
I played dumb: what phone? We don't have a phone. Lose two stone? Not interested. Win the lottery? Get outta town - boring boring boring. I then moved quickly to my overly effusive 'thank YOU so much for calling but NO thank you' etc. line and hung up.
After I put the phone down, I got mad. Er, why was it necessary for her to ask for Mr Chick first? Am I incapable of making such a life-altering decision as changing my phone company (never mind the weight loss proposal and lottery win promise)?
I recalled a friend of mine who had to do (verbal) battle with a double glazing salesman not so very long ago. Her partner had rather weakly caved in when he was cold-called some weeks before and agreed to a visit for a free quotation. My friend called back to say she did not wish them to come and the guy almost point blank refused to cancel on account of the visit having been booked by The Household Decision Maker.
Anyway, as I type, a little print shop down the road is running off some business cards for me. On them is a simple message: Thank you for your enquiry. Whilst your product/service may be of interest to me, I don't buy your sexist claptrap, so y'all can take a proverbial hike. Oooh, and whilst you're at it, how about you carry out a pay audit and get a few more women in your boardroom.
You have to wonder why the Pankhursts bothered...