Sunday, October 29, 2006

Dead On

This year I broke my tradition of always being dead on Halloween.

See, I just think that Halloween costumes are better if you get to be dead. Dead makeup is fun. Blue lips, greenish hallowed eyes, pale skin = a good time. Plus, I mean, it just makes sense being dead.

I haven't always been dead for Halloween, but in recent years I decided I always would be. I started taking Halloween dressing up seriously my freshman year of college when I went to a party as a spider. I had the works: eight black legs, a black body, a black wig and purple lips. Sure, spiders don't necessarily have purple lips or black hair but it worked. The next year I believe I was the green Power Puff girl. The next year I began my 'dead' tradition when I was a dead bride. The next year I was a dead Little Bo Peep. My first Halloween in Scotland I was the dead Wicked Witch of the East (isn't she the one who got killed by the house falling on her?). The next year I was a dead substitute teacher (Cause of Death: Pencil through the head).

This year, I was going to be a mummy. Haha, get it? Mummy? Mummies are by nature dead, so it all worked out. I did dead makeup, dead hair (in this case, teased and crazy) and Egyptian eyes. I wrapped myself up in an entire single bed sheet cut into strips.

It looked pretty good. For about five minutes.

Then the bandages started falling off. And unwrapping. And hanging. And looking generally very stupid. This is me right before I'd had enough.

(Also important to mention - each year the object of my life has been to not get caught in a single picture not in character. This was my proposed Mummy persona. There has always been a persona.)

The party was supposed to start in about half an hour. There was no way the remaining bandages would last that long. So I decided at the last minute to change costumes. But what could I be at the last minute? What costumes did I have hanging about that would match my dead Egyptian makeup?

Well, as it turns out, I happen to have a very Cleopatra-looking dress that I've never managed to find an occasion for. I had the Cleopatra eyes, I had the dress, I had some gold shoes, and I had a gold scarf that could somehow make a costume. I briefly considered a dead Cleopatra, complete with snake hanging off me, but I had no snake. And also no other choice.

So I was Cleopatra this year. Who is dead now so maybe in a way I was still kinda dead. I exchanged blue pale lips for red ones and voila.

We had a party, in case you didn't catch that, and it turned out to be fun. I haven't had a proper party in my house even once since I moved here so I was nervous. I had tons of food (would it be too much?) and invited tons of people (would anyone come?) and was dressed like Cleopatra (would anyone else dress up?) - and it all turned out good in the end. Almost everyone showed up and though it was a slow start at the beginning, it got quite lively. We had old horror movies on the television, a 'scary sounds' CD playing and pumpkin candles lit. When we flicked off the lights and partied by candle and TV light, it got a lot better. All the food was eaten, my strawberry fruit dip went down like it was 1999, and no one even minded that my castle cake decided to do the old stick-to-the-pan routine and came out in crumbles.

Even Scott had fun, regardless of the large amount of people in his house which usually freaks him out a bit. And best of all, all the girls oohed and ahhed over my baby room, which was really the most important part of the evening.

And my biggest fear, that people would come, be bored and leave an hour later, resolved itself when the entire crowd was still hanging out at midnight! At which point we all proved our incredible old-peopleness with yawns and gasps of horror when the time was discovered. Everyone left, Scott and I tidied in less than five minutes (hurray for paper plates!) and I went to bed a happy lady.

I love parties. And even more, I love having friends.

Cleopatra (Lori), Pocohantas (Jacqueline), Sumo (Roger), Knight in Shining Armour (Scott), Unbelievably Scary Guy (Matthew), Pink Lady (Amanda), Witch (Cheryl) and Glamour Puss (Lorna)

Not pictured: Val the Cowgirl and Darren the Real Life 2nd Dan Blackbelt (as of last night) who arrived after his grading

Friday, October 27, 2006


Yesterday evening after work I sat in traffic for two hours.

I cried for the whole first hour.

In frustration.

And from back pain.

I left the school at 4.35. By 5.35 I was on the street facing the school.

I'd driven the 17 minutes down the road to the Erskine Bridge only to see orange cones lining the slip road to the Bridge. No signs indicated this prior to arrival. Instead I had to drive on into an area I've never been before. I got semi-lost, finally found a roundabout that pointed me back to Glasgow and then... I sat.

In Glasgow rush hour traffic.

Until 6.10.

At which point I'd reached the other side of the Erskine Bridge and traffic was running smoothly. I got home at 6.36.

I hate commuting.

The Long Drive Home

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I hate being a grumpy blogger so I'll make this brief.

As much as I can still honestly say I love being pregnant, OH MY GOODNESS I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF THE PAIN. I don't think all pregnant women experience loads of pain. And I know many experience more pain than I am. So it's all relative, right? We all have to take what we get right? But dude, my entire midsection, from my breasts down to my pelvis, and from my shoulders down to my butt, feel like they are on freaking fire. I'm not kidding. I'm not using 'fire' as a normal descriptive pain term. I mean, LITERAL FIRE. My entire back feels like it's up in flames from the inside, and my abdomen gets loads of little 'sparks' that feel like a dry leaf that has caught a few sparks from a larger fire and are just burning holes in the affected areas. And to top it off, my burning forest of a body then feels as if a tire iron has been wrapped around it and tightened, then left there.

The pain was so excruciating that I actually experienced road rage today trying to get home from work into a hot bath. I nearly rammed someone from behind because they were going SO UNBELIEVABLY SLOW, and then when they put on their indicator to turn off, I revved the engine and sped right past them in first gear, the engine howling and nearly sideswiped a parked car in my anger. That is so not me, folks. I may be an angry woman waiting to happen in most cases, but I'm an exceptionally calm driver (unless of course I've stalled the car and then the stupid thing won't start up again and I do get really panicked in those cases, but I don't blame the drivers flipping me off as they drive up on the curb to pass me).

I went to see a physio today. She was incredibly nice and told me I had good posture, but pretty much everything she told me to do I'm already doing. So other than the comfort of having someone sympathise with my pain, not a lot of good it did. She did show me how to tilt my pelvis in a funny way when standing up, which was new (and entertaining) so perhaps it wasn't a total loss.

I'm still going to see the osteopath too, because even though it's a bit weird and creepy, it seems to totally be helping. That pain in my butt that was my complaint two weeks ago? Gone. 100% gone. Either gone, or moved up to higher, more flammable places. It's expensive though, so I'm hoping she was correct when she said she thought she'd only need to see me two more times. It seems in some ways a bit crazy to pay a lady for barely moving her fingertips along my spine, but if it helps, well, I kinda trust non-mainstream-medical people a bit more anyway.

And on that note - things I'm looking into now: Vaccinations. Here's a good starting place if you're interested.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Baby Got Bot

**Warning: This post may not appeal to many but will hopefully be helpful to some**

All the nappy naysayers out there who keep insisting that I'll never stick with my cloth nappies have clearly never caressed the silky Tots Bots Bamboozle or snuggled a Tots Bots Fluffle against her face. I'm addicted to my cloth nappies.

As I mentioned a while back (hmm, or at least I thought I mentioned... I can't find it in my archives), I purchased three different nappies from Tots Bots so I could test them out - as in wash, hang to dry, play with the fastenings - to see which kind I preferred. I bought one Original Tots Bots Rainbow nappy, one Fluffle and one Bamboozle. The Rainbow nappy is a terry cloth nappy with aplix fastening and the Bamboozle is just what it sounds like - a nappy made from bamboo, also with aplix fastening.

Tots Bots

The Fluffle is a soft polyester nappy, and it is the fluffiest, softest, most luscious thing I could ever imagine putting on a perfect newborn's perfect bot.

Tots Bots

Now, this is my semi-official customer review; I haven't washed them yet (I've heard the Bamboozle loses a bit of its softness after washing, and I've not had enough people touch it yet), so I might have more to say once I've done that. But, for starters, here are my feelings about these nappies.

First, I decided to go with Tots Bots for several reasons: 1) They make several different styles of nappies and have lots of different fastening options for each. There are aplix (like velcro) fastenings, poppers (like baby onesies/vests) and Nappi Nippa fastenings; 2) They are very eco-friendly, especially the Bamboozle, which I appreciate; 3) They are made in Scotland (in Glasgow, no less), which is highly convenient (and it's nice to support local brands); and 4) They do what is called 'Nappucino', which is basically women (or men) getting together in coffee shops and the organiser brings samples of all the different nappies for the people to check out, and it sounds like a good idea little job for me if I ever find us short on cash!

There are many, many other brands I have fallen in love with (see Fuzzi Bunz), but I really needed to narrow my choices down, or I was never going to be able to make a decision. Not with all the brilliant cloth nappies available!

In my opinion, the TB terry cloth Rainbow nappies are great and they're thick and they're cheaper than most, which is a bonus! I'd recommend the Nappi Nippa version, as they can be more easily fitted around the baby's bum than the aplix (and of course, aplix in the wash - we all know what that's like). They come in lovely colours or just plain white. They have elasticated legs and are supposedly quite absorbent (I'll update on that once I've gotten over my love affair with the newness).

However, the Bamboozle is heavenly. It's more expensive, but is made from 90% bamboo, which is naturally anti-bacterial, its organic and very eco-friendly and supposedly 60% more absorbent than cotton and supposedly dries quicker. It has a lovely silky feeling, which is said to change a bit after washing but remains still softer than terry towelling. It too comes in lovely colours or just white. The only downside is that it is currently only avaible with the aplix fastening - but they have just started making white Bamboozles with poppers. Poppers are great for adjusting to your baby's size but can be a bit difficult to get used to at first. The Nappi Nippa version was discontinued because the bamboo doesn't do a great job of holding the nippas in place.

And then there's the Fluffle. It comes in white only and with either poppers or Nappi Nippa. It is 'pocket-style' which means there is a fleece pocket inside that can hold a booster (another thick layer of absorbent material) if needed for heavier wetters. It is luxuriously soft and many of the customer reviews I have read have stated that it is very good for nighttime. It's not supposed to be as absorbent as the Bamboozle, but many have found that the Bamboozle doesn't go as well for nighttimes as the Fluffle with a fleece wrap. Don't know why, but I can definitely imagine my little angel sleeping in this cloud-like nappy and being perfectly content. Heck, if I ever end up back in the stage where I have to wear diapers, I'd want a Fluffle!

Now, about these nappies on the inside.

Tots Bots

The green nappy is the terry cloth. For size 1 (8-18lb babies), it comes with a built-in booster and an attached fleece liner. I'm not sure what the fleece liner is attached for, as liners are supposed to keep the nappy from being permanently soiled (and are usually unattached), but it's there for size 1 only. For sizes 2 and 3, separate liners and boosters are available. I'd suppose a separate liner would be useful here, which can either be flushed or washed (paper or fleece). These keep the yucky stuff off the rest of the nappy (or is meant to) so your nappies can be used for much longer and stay cleaner-looking.

The purple one is the Bamboozle. Again, size 1 has an attached booster but no liner. A liner would be necessary. Sizes 2 and 3 need separate boosters, if needed.

Tots Bots

The Fluffle, as I've mentioned, has a pocket in which the booster can be inserted, keeping it away from the baby's skin, providing more of a 'one way' barrier. It also holds the booster in place much better. Each comes with a detachable booster, which is held in place with poppers, even size 1. This would help improve drying time, naturally, as some of the bulk would be removed and dried separately. Again, a liner would be necessary, as with all cloth nappies. I'm not sure if the Nappi Nippa version of the Fluffle has a detachable booster, however.

One thing that must be added:
All of these nappies require a wrap.

Tots Bots Wrap

The wrap (which are usually made of either fleece or polyurethane laminate (PUL)) keeps the wetness inside and away from the clothes. Each of these nappies are a two-part system. All-in-ones are available from several different places, my favourite being the Fuzzi Bunz. While all-in-ones are easier, they are more expensive (you're essentially buying a wrap with each nappy instead of three or four which can last you through several changes), they don't seem to have as long a 'life expectancy' and may not always have the best containment, as there's only one barrier instead of two.

So, having assessed each different nappy, I think we're going to go with Bamboozles for daytime and the Fluffle for nighttime. Tots Bots does a multi-pack, which includes 15 nappies, 4 wraps and a pack of disposable liners. I'm leaning towards the poppers version of the Bamboozle, though I'm having to console myself about not getting the beautiful colours. I'll probably get around 4 or 5 Fluffles (well, 3 or 4 as I already have 1!) which I hope will get me through two nights between washing, but will at least assure me of one night, while she's an infant anyway. I'll have to purchase size 2 nappies later on, but I'm hoping size 1 will get me up to 6 months at least. This is another reason I prefer the poppers - plenty of adjustment space!

I also intend to get maybe 3-5 Fuzzi Bunz for use with babysitters and in-laws who are a bit terrified of the whole cloth idea. Fuzzi Bunz are simple to use, just like disposables. But they are expensive, so I'll be looking around ebay first. And they come in astounding colours!

Tots Bots
Fuzzi Bunz
Kitty Kins (UK)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Art of Pickling


I was reading an old issue of the Oxford American yesterday afternoon: the 2005 summer Southern Food edition. Scott had for some reason taken it from the magazine rack for a read and left it on the coffee table; I picked it up and enjoyed rereading it.

There's something so comforting about reading a literary magazine, published in Arkansas, all about Southern food. It makes me feel like I'm at home again, reading about fried frog legs, cornbread and okra. Even though our family didn't eat a lot of the typical Southern food, we still enjoyed a strong Southern influence in our meals. And of course we had grandparents who did prepare proper Southern food, for which I am now thankful for the happy memories.

One thing I read in one of the articles really hit home for me - in the South, if it ain't about religion, it's about food.

Most of my childhood memories are based around food. Fried frog legs at Aunt Caroline and Uncle Truman's house, church barbecues and potlucks, family get-togethers like Thanksgiving, Labour Day, Memorial Day, Mother's Day, Fourth of July, all based around the essential baked beans, devilled eggs and homemade ice cream. And if we were lucky, Mamaw's homemade sweet pickles would make an appearance.

Oh how many times I remember begging my grandma for some sweet pickles at lunch.

One of the articles mentioned over and over the rich and wonderful tradition of pickling and canning and how it is quickly being lost as the older generation dies. It's a great art that is not being carried on by us young folks. It got me thinking. My grandmother (on my dad's side) used to can. I remember once going into their storage room in the basement and seeing rows and rows and rows of canned vegetables. It was amazing. And my other grandmother (on my mom's side), as I've mentioned, made pickles. Delicious, wonderful sweet pickles.

I've never been interested in canning (and I don't keep a garden so what really would be the point?), but I have always been interested in pickling. I even bought a few jars when I moved to Scotland so I could make some bread and butter pickles. But I never did it, mainly because it takes a bit of work and Scott tells me people around here don't really do the pickle thing. But after reading this article, I decided I am going to carry on the art of pickling. I'm going to get my mamaw's recipe for sweet pickles and carry it on as a family tradition.

I picked up another jar today, along with the ingredients I'll need for bread and butter pickles, and I've started making my first batch. (However, there have been a couple of setbacks - one is that I thought I had ice in the freezer, but I don't so I've got ice freezing as we speak, two is that I don't have or know if I could even find "pickling salt" and three is that I don't have celery seeds which seem to be a bit of a staple with B&B pickles. But I'm winging it - I'll use rock salt instead of pickling salt and I'm going to check for celery seeds at the grocery store while my ice freezes.)

I'm a bit nervous about the whole actual pickling process - the boiling water in hot jars and the sealing process, but it's my first shot. We'll see how it goes. The internet is a great resource for finding out how to make jars hot and sterile and how to process the filled jars to make the seal, um, seal. I just hope I don't get to the end of the whole thing and then burst a jar because it wasn't hot enough or whatever.

Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes. And if they taste righ, then Scotsfolk, you might want to give them a shot. Because homemade pickles are one of the greatest pleasures on earth.

Well, these are certainly the most half-hearted pickles ever; the ice never fully froze so they were half-iced, I never found celery seed or pickling salt, so they were salted with coarse sea salt, and I discovered my jars weren't proper heatable jars so I could only heat them to about 60C, which is nothing close to 100C (boiling), which meant I had to let the boiled mixture cool a bit before ladling into the jar, but anyway, we'll see in about a month (or a week, since I couldn't boil the jars properly to seal them properly) how they turn out.

Boiling white vinegar, sugar, ground clove, tumeric and mustard seed mixture with cucumber and onion mixture.

Heating the jars as well as I could with as hot but not going above 60C water.

Processing the jars in not-hot-enough water to hopefully sort of seal them.

Ready to store in cool, dark place for a while before eating.

Monday, October 16, 2006

On Holiday!

Ahh, the October Week has begun. I have nowhere to be, nothing to do, no responsibilities.

All that (besides the fact that it is October Week) is a lie, but that's okay. I do have things to do and places to be this week, and as far as no responsibilities - ha! I've gotta get this house clean (and really tackle that mountain of laundry), but it's all in my own time. It feels great.

So since I'm off all week (except for Wednesday, I have to go in on Wednesday to answer phones - gah! but I'm pretending that doesn't exist) I'll try to be a more consistent poster here. My mom noted that I haven't updated on my back, which I haven't done because oh-boohoo-Lori-doesn't-feel-well doesn't make for the greatest reading but quickly, it is feeling much better. The osteopathy seems to be helping a lot, and the sacro-iliac pain is hardly noticable at all these days! I'll be seeing a physio too sometime in the near future, which should help with the ligament pain, but in general, I'm hunky-dory.

And I'm on holiday.

Eating a bag of Haribo 'Horror Mix'. Mmm... gummy bats.

I think after I've thrown in a load of laundry, loaded the dishwasher, taken a shower and picked up some materials for tonight (for my Esther talk at church - I'm making a 'visual aid'), I might sit back and watch a film while eating a Hot Pocket. For a week!

Friday, October 13, 2006

So Many Books, So Little Time

I treat this baby as if her arrival will be the end of my brain, but I really do feel like time is running out for reading good, stimulating literature. I feel like as soon as she arrives, my brain will not be able to digest anything deeper than Winnie the Pooh and My First Book of Colours. So I've gone on a reading frenzy.

I started reading Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray over the weekend. It's a fairly thick book (nearly 700 pages I think), and I'm afraid if I don't read it now, I won't get another chance until I'm 43.

I was also given a book by a friend to read, which actually looks a bit 'chick lit', which I sort of detest with all my heart and soul, but because she leant it to me with such high praises and assurances of my adoration (we'll see), I feel I should certainly read it, if not just to give it a shot.

I'm also trying my hardest to get through this Captivating by John and Stasi (gah that second 's'!) Eldredge, which again I'm reading by obligation. It's the 'big thing' right now at my church - all the ladies are reading it! - so I feel obligated to read it too. (But if they all jumped over a cliff, I'd stay with my own two heels planted firmly on steady ground.) Maybe I'm reading it just so I can say, 'This is total crap' with personal experiential proof. Ok, it's not total crap, there are some good bits, and I can see how it can really be a great book for some women, but for me? I just feel casually insulted by the insinuation that a woman's deepest desires are to be loved, beautiful and 'part of a great adventure'. And that this is what God made them for. What about our desires to gain wisdom and knowledge, to make the world a better place and to, oh I don't know, be godly and glorify God in everything we do? Might we have those desires? Might we also have been made for glorifying God, not just to be pretty? (I know I'm very much oversimplifying the book, but really, if I were to list my top three deepest desires, I don't think any of Stasi's three would come to mind.) I also feel that the book is better for women who have had some serious emotional tragedies in their life, but since I've never really had anything like that, I don't really think I have any 'deep wounds' that need to be 'healed'. But anyway, if so many women really do love it, there has to be a reason so I'm going to try to finish it.

Then, at Bible study on Wednesday, a friend gave me a copy of Rob Bell's (Mars Hill, Grand Rapids, MI) Velvet Elvis. I've been wanting to read this, so I was pleasantly surprised that he had actually bought me a copy for me and Scott to read. So I've started it, too, and am really enjoying it.

I've also got a book coming from about the Jewish roots of Christianity, which I am very much looking forward to receiving. (It was due over a week ago, so I phoned, and they're sending me a replacement - and they also gave me a £7.50 voucher for the inconvenience!)

And this doesn't even begin to mention the books I want to re-read. Before the baby comes, I'd really like to reread Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and In the Face of God by Michael Horton.

Oh yeah, and I borrowed two books on the Book of Revelation (you know, like from the Bible) from one of the overseers at church, so I'd like to read them along with Revelation, which is yet again another book (or three) to add to the list.

And I might as well also mention I'm reading and rereading Esther (again, you know, from the Bible) over and over because I have to speak on Esther at the Ladies' Evening this coming Monday night. Which isn't actually heavy reading, but it is still a lot of reading that takes priority over all my other reading until Monday is over.

So anyway, yeah, books. I love them. Maybe Schmooker will actually appreciate me reading to her from Anna Karenina while she's an infant? It's never too early to start them out on good things, you know.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Gardener

Well, friends, we've managed to reach an all-time low in patheticness.

We've hired a gardener.

The Jungle

Now there are two things I want you to notice about our garden.

First, notice the size. It's so small, we could post it in a letter. Second, notice The Weed That Ate the Universe (And Our Sidewalk Along With It). For a closer look at this magnificent specimen...

The Weed

We don't know how this thing reached such massive proportions, but somehow during the summer it managed to attack and destroy our lives. We've tried cutting it down, but the thigh-sized trunk merely laughed at us and tried to bite.

So yes. We decided it was time to call in Professional Help.

I'd like to say we have good reasons for it, like I'm pregnant and Scott's got hayfever, but let's be honest. We're all friends here. We just simply hate yard work. And our lawnmower isn't the snazziest, and our strimmer is dead, and no weed killer will ever be a match for The Thing. And I really am pregnant and shouldn't be pushing lawnmowers up uneven, uphill slopes and spraying weed killer, and Scott really does get hayfever which leaves him miserable for days after an afternoon stirring up weed particles and grass cuttings. And best - our best excuse! - our friend Yerik has started up a lawns, trees and hedges business, and what friends wouldn't want to give a pal some work?

So Yerik came over last night and surveyed our lawn. He's going to keep it regularly mowed (for a very reasonable price), and he's going to attack the weeds with - get this - a BLOW TORCH. A blow torch! A gas blow torch will put the weeds out of their misery in seconds, he tells us. Boy, I hope I'm home when he kills The Thing!! Haha, TAKE THAT, SUCKAH!

Now maybe our neighbours will stop sending us gardening service quotes and leaving their rubbish in our yard...

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

and we'll be able to sit in the back on warm evenings and barbeque while watching the boats sail by.

The Postage Stamp

...without the neighbours cats burrowing in the brush.

Monday, October 09, 2006

If Only They Were Still Small

I've put off talking about this for, well, the whole time, because I haven't been able to cope with it. No really, ask Scott, I cry.

First things first, the cats are fine.

Second things second, everything is fine.

When we went away for our anniversary, which I have never gotten around to talking about - it was fab, by the way - we dropped the cats off at Scott's parents' house for the weekend. They seemed to enjoy having them and offered to keep them a bit longer if we wanted.

They still have them.

It's actually only been a bit over two weeks that they've not been in our house, but our house has been so relaxed and calm since they've been away that I can't even fathom the tyranny the cats created when they were here. As of late, I've loved the house being:
-not stinky
-not covered in hair
-not covered in clawed-to-bits daily mail
-not covered in pieces of cat litter
I've loved keeping the doors to all the rooms open and not having to hoover every day (which I never did in the first place = yuck). I've enjoyed visiting the cats when I miss them, and then going home to a clean, fresh, etc etc house.

Furthermore, it's shown me how much easier life would be after the baby is born without cats. No cats jumping on sleeping baby, no cat hair clogging baby's respiratory system, no baby crawling on hairy floor, no baby finding her way into the cat food or litter box.... (I sure make our house sound inviting! Wanna come over for dinner?)

But it's come to decision time. The in-laws have had enough of cat-sitting. We've now got two options: 1) Take them back like good parents and 2) Give them a new home like horrible, evil bad parents.

It sounds so horrible that it's even a question!! I feel like a tyrant! What kind of sick, unfeeling, heartless, cruel woman wouldn't want her own precious kittens back in her home to love and cherish and feed treats??

I can barely even write about this. I feel so dispicable.

But I really am torn.

See, the cats? They don't miss us at all. In fact, they LOVE the in-laws' house. It's big and has a fireplace they can get into and then track black pawprints all over the floors. When we come to visit, they look at us blankly as if to say, "What? Do I know you?" It breaks my heart, I tell you, but it also reminds me that they will be happy wherever they go, as long as they've got servants to feed them, clip their nails and clean their poo. And give them a wee tickle on the tummy when they're in the mood for it. So I wouldn't be an evil person if I found them a new home, would I?

But then, I don't think I can part with them permanently. I miss them. I love them. We raised them from babies. I'm their mummy, Scott's their daddy. We saved them from the sad, lonely shelter. They were so cute and scared when we took them home, and we loved them into the little grown-up kitty-people they are today.

And, and, I love them, ungrateful little so-and-sos they may be.

Scott's pretty much leaving the decision up to me. I think he'd like to keep them. I think I would too. But am I ready to go back to messy messy when I've so been enjoying clean-so-clean? Am I ready to go back to stressing out about cats and little human-people trying to live in the same teeny tiny area? Am I ready for that horrible litter box to come back into my life?

Or do I turn my back on my sweet little kitties (who are really big obnoxious cats)?

I'm so distressed over this!

If only the cats would tell me what they'd prefer!

If only my house was bigger, and they could have their own room!

If only cats used the toilet!

If only babies didn't put cat toys in their mouths!

If only I were a sick, unfeeling, heartless cruel woman!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Work Day Adventure

For starters, let me just update you on my butt.

I'm going to see an osteopath tomorrow afternoon, Anna Potter, who was highly recommended by my midwife, Allison. Hopefully she'll be able to do something with this ever-increasing pain.

Secondly, have a look at these cute shelves I bought for our daughter's room! I can barely stand the cuteness!

Right so, today I am going on an adventure. I've only got a few minutes to share about it, but that's okay, there's really nothing to tell except yesterday while I discussed the magazine proof with the printers, I was invited to come down to the printing production place to see how it is all done. :D I'll get to check out the big cool machines and the computers they use and yadda yadda yadda, but mostly this will be really educational for me as a 'desktop publisher'. (I wish I was called something cooler, like 'graphic designer' but I'm not that, not really. Or at least not usually, though I do get to dabble a bit.) I'll get to see the printing side of it which is something that I expect I would've done had I gone to university for this kind of degree, but since its all been learned OTJ I haven't. It'll be good to see what they do from their side, and it'll help me understand why certain strange things always pop up in the proofs.

Anyway, so I'm excited. It'll be a nice getaway from work for a while. I hope it does happen today, though, as there is a chance they won't get around to it until tomorrow, which would be unfortunate with my osteopath appointment and all.

One week and two days until October break!! (And 80 days til Christmas! Have you started your shopping yet?)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Stressing Out the Pregnant Woman

What a day.

If its true what they say about babies feeling the same feelings their mamas feel while in the womb, then my poor girl has had a very stressful day!

I went to pick up a package from the post office that I missed on Saturday this morning before Allison, my midwife, came over. It was my documents back from the Immigration office. I drew in a deep breath and opened it.

It's a funny thing about letters - you don't even have to read them before you know what they say. Key words that pop out of the page at you tell you all you need to know. In my case, the key words "attempted application" and "rejected" gave it all away.

My application for Indefinite Leave to Remain was rejected.

Now, I tried hard to keep calm as I read the letter fully, to find out what had happened. It turns out I'd filled in an out-dated application. Little did I know that a new form had been issued in June of this year, presumably to include the new civil partnership/same-sex marriage laws. So my application was invalid.

I remained calm (ish) as I drove home and phoned the Advice Bureau. I was connected with a somewhat snooty woman who was very little help at all. All I got from the conversation was it would be best to leave the country and reapply from abroad, or I could try reapplying from within the UK but she refused to say if that would hurt my chances or not. So I got off the phone and did what any reasonable person in my situation would do.

I cried my eyes out.

Soon after that, Allison arrived. Neither of us were feeling great, as she'd had a rough time this morning too, but I must say, having her over for my appointment did brighten my mood. I love Allison, and I love talking about my baby! However, in my emotional state, I allowed myself to get a bit upset afterwards over what she assured me was NOT wrong with me, I think simply because it reminded me of what COULD HAVE been wrong with me or what COULD happen in the future. Gah. But in reality, my pregnancy seems to be going fine and my self-diagnosis of SPD is probably wrong and my mom's diagnosis of a sciatic nerve something-or-other is probably right. And I've been somewhat concerned about my baby's placenta which is "anterior low lying", but again, it seems it will very likely move upwards as my uterus expands. So all good news.

Anyway, I went to work, but on the way I started worrying about my residency issue again. I kinda got myself worked up. I planned to not say anything about it at work, but when Lynda asked me what was wrong and why I looked so distressed, I poured it all out. "My visa application was rejected and I'll probably have to leave the country and my midwife told me that this ISN'T whats wrong with me but instead I'm probably perfectly fine but it upset me anyway to think of the very idea!" Lynda insisted I go ask the rest of the afternoon off to sort my stuff out.

I went to talk to my boss (the girl one first). She said we ought to talk to the other boss (the boy one). He's Dutch, he immigrated years ago, I figured he'd be understanding. Which he was, by the way, but he's also a man and kept saying things that he probably thought were helpful but instead got me even more worked up. By the end of the converstation, I was a bit of a wreck. They told me to go home and sort things out.

I came home (in the pouring rain, listening to sad girly music) and phoned the Advice Bureau again, hoping for someone a bit more helpful. Thankfully, that is what I got, as the woman ASSURED me that I could stay in the UK to reapply (I asked about three times in three different ways to make sure) and assured me that the records would show that my application is still "in process" as long as I reapply within 28 days and they won't recharge me the fee. She was so nice, I wanted to hug her. So I got off the phone feeling much more relaxed and much less afraid of being an illegal alien (my visa expiry date was yesterday) and also much fatter as I ate a whole tonne of chocolate as I talked to her in my shaky voice.

Now let's just hope that they don't reject THIS application.

*Signs off the internet to go take a much needed nap and drink another pint of milk and finish off that soul-soothing chocolate.