As those who Twit will know from yesterday's outburst, DUI Dad, ever competitive, has once again decided to imbibe and drive. It's a clever combination really, particularly when one is awaiting trial for the same action from a mere two weeks prior.

My brother got a phone call to say that Dad was in the hospital, though naturally the hospital could not tell C what happened. When he spoke to my Dad, he was still under the influence and couldn't stop apologising. He also couldn't stop apologising to C the first time, all those days ago. C, like me, is getting increasingly fed up.

I was thinking about this situation today on a fairly long walk to a meeting. The sheer clusterfuckedness of it is a bit overwhelming, and as I expressed in my previous DUI Dad post, I don't know where I stand on the issue of a support. This is a man who survived a tour of Vietnam, the unfortunate origin of his life's problems. He has spent the past 40 years trying to overcome those issues with varying success. Formerly a cop, he disappeared with his service pistol about 12-13 years ago. It was all over the news, our unique last name boldly marking his connection to my family. Luckily I was out of high school by that point, but C wasn't. I don't know how much it affected him at the time, but I don't imagine it's the best situation for a 14 year old to be in.

My parents split up after a protracted period of awkward silence and oblique allusions to "meetings" my Dad failed to attend. I forget how old I was, 17 perhaps? My Dad thought the best thing to do was to drop out of our lives completely while he sorted himself out. I supported this decision, more or less, because I thought he was just trying to protect us. In my angry moments, such as the time I ran into him at McDonald's and he blithely asked, "So what are you doing these days - are you in college?", I thought he should be able to put his role as a father before that of a recovering alcoholic, depressed gambling addict. I wanted to be understanding, forgiving, despite his sudden (and eventually quite lengthy) absence from my life. I wanted to be fair even though his addictions led him to drain my college fund completely, stranding me very last minute at a community college when I had planned on going away to school.

In writing this, I wonder why I'm so quick to forgive. Now, as a parent, I can't imagine allowing my personal issues to supercede the well-being as a child. I'm aware that addictions and depression construct an irrational sense of self, but again, when do the excuses stop? When do you have to pull yourself together and get the help that you so obviously require?

I read a post over at Dead Bug's this week that resonated with me to the point that I felt completely raw and exposed. This, this is my fear. The last two paragraphs left me in a teary mess at my desk, and they are having the exact same effect now, re-reading the post. I'm afraid to push him away, because what if he submits to it all? What if, after all these years of fighting back and losing ground in equal measure, he decides that he hasn't the spirit to fight anymore? I am then left with about 16 years of good memories of the Dad I knew then, mixing with the mess that his later life became.

I sometimes struggle to reconcile the two people, as they seem like separate entities entirely. There was the Dad who suffered immensely, but quietly, and there is the one that I have nicknamed DUI Dad to lighten the oppressive tone this sort of subject matter involves. The Dad of my childhood started to dissolve when he left, and re-emerged in the past five years or so as he made a concerted effort to be involved in our lives. Here we find ourselves again, watching the former Dad slip away again.

Not too long ago I posted a Philip Larkin poem entitled "This Be the Verse". At that time I was talking about my influence in my own child's life, wondering if what Larkin said is true:
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

I'm consistently worried that I'm not raising P as well as I could be, but I also know that I will never put her in the position that I (and C as well) are in now. It's amazing how quickly you realise what a good parent you are when your own parent is fucked up beyond the point of return. I may pass on to her my love of looking at houses on the internet, or my habit of getting perhaps a bit too emotional in an argument, but she will never have to worry about whether I will drink myself to death, get in an accident which kills innocent people, or go to jail. "They fuck you up" indeed.


Freeze frame

This might just be my lucky year. The Dude told me today that if I complete an official 10K run, he will buy me a pair of Christian Louboutins that I can lick, hump, or otherwise be inappropriate with due to their sheer aesthetic appeal. I feel as if I should run everywhere now just to prepare, because if losing weight is a pleasing side effect of running, the promise of Louboutins is enough to turn me to into a marathon runner. Speaking of running, I have stuck my Nike+ stats in the sidebar. This is not to be a braggart, because if you have a look at it there is nothing to brag about. I am, however, proud that I have come this far and wanted some flair to put up to show it off a bit. Yes, millions of people run much faster and much longer distances, but 15-20K a week isn't too bad for someone who just started running again after a 10+ year draught.

The Dude, made of money and full of philanthropic spirit it seems, has also offered to buy me a camera for Christmas. I have a silly little silver thing which insists upon me putting the flash on for every single photo lest I want it marred with blurryness. It was fine at first, but I'm starting to enjoy my very casual photography and want to enhance the experience. I would love for my photos of P to be less zombie-like, as most of them are beseiged by the washed out harshness of the flash with the added bonus of red eyes. Many of you are amazing photographers, so teach me, oh wise ones. I don't have a massive budget, what with the shoe commitment and all. For the British amongst you, we're talking about £300. Americans, depending on the variable rate of exchange and the cost of material goods over there, maybe about $500. Please, please, save me from the evil of the flash. Don't make my child grow up with red eyes.


There is a new post up at Swallow the Key. Please feel free to comment, as I'm sure Anonymous would appreciate some feedback, even if it is to tell him/her how much it all sucks. Remember, if you want to make your own submissions, email me at swallowthekeyblog at gmail dot com. There are no secret irons in the fire, so give me some blog fodder!


Apropos of nothing, but as suitable an ending for this post as any, I must tell you this P-ism from a couple of weeks ago.

P: scribbling on a newspaper I draw Johnny Cash.

Pausing, contemplating, scribbling some more

P: Oh. He's a snail now.

I frickin' love this kid.


Music Monday: Soundtracks

I've stolen the ideas of others lately for my themes, so this week, I'm going it alone. HOWEVER, I will be relying on audience participation, in a way. You are under no obligation to comment here, as I fully acknowledge that Music Mondays are about absorbing the music, not necessarily discussing it. The theme this week is soundtracks, and because I'm cheesy and also rather curious, I want to know what the soundtrack is to your life. I don't mean that you have to choose a song to go along with specific events, though if you want to, knock yourselves out. If you had a film made about your life, what songs would be on the soundtrack? Note - they do not need to be songs from soundtracks.

I won't bother doing my own version of this, since that's pretty much what every MM is (speaking of MM - whatever happened to MM over at Limbo Party? God, how I loved that woman), so I'll just give you some of my favourite songs from soundtracks.

The Red Violin - I loooooove this film. If you haven't seen it, please rent it, buy it, steal it. Prostitute yourself to gain the funds to purchase it. Whatever. Just do it. While you're at it, buy the soundtrack. Amazing.

Trainspotting - This movie is the 90s for me. Sigh.

Lou Reed: Perfect Day

O Brother Where Art Thou?strong> - Knowing my love for bluegrass and Americana music, you had to know I'd mention this. Also, Coen Brothers? Love.

Ralph Stanley: O Death

Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch: I'll Fly Away

In Good Company - I stayed up and watched this last week as per The Guardian's recommendation, and I do whatever that newspaper tells me to do. Not bad for this genre (romantic dramedy-type), and I was couldn't determine whether I found Topher Grace really hot, or wear-your-scalp-as-a-wig creepy. I'm still pondering this most important issue.

Iron & Wine: Naked As We Came

Pretty in Pink - Sixteen Candles is actually my favourite Hughes film, but this is a fabulous soundtrack. Allow me to take you back...

OMD: If You Leave

Magnolia - A three hour movie with Tom Cruise? I thought it would be a definite recipe for disaster, but I really like Magnolia. I also see it's almost 10 years old. Shit.

Aimee Mann: Save Me

The Sweet Hereafter - an achingly beautiful film which you shouldn't watch if in a delicate emotional state. Certainly worth watching though, especially if you're a Sarah Polley fan like me.

Sarah Polley: Courage (Tragically Hip cover)

South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut - This was a struggle for me. Oh, how to decide between "Kyle's Mom's a Big Fat Bitch", "What Would Brian Boitano Do?", and "Blame Canada"? I've gone with "Uncle Fucka", because I sing this song to myself sometimes because it's just so durn catchy.

The Last of the Mohicans - My Mom adores this movie, and will, without a doubt, say something along the lines of, "I love how they show such intimacy without all of that sex and nudity like you see in other movies!" In fact, I might make her watch the DVD when she visits over Christmas just to test this theory. I will report back.

Mom's love of this film aside, it's a good movie with a great soundtrack, and lots of partially clad hot pieces of ass. The last scene (included in the video below) is horrible, but beautifully shot.

Requiem for a Dream - This is such a great movie, but I never want to see it again. I watched it on my own years ago, late at night. When it finished, I sat there staring at the blank TV screen, not quite sure what to do next. I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that I was depressed for days after I saw this. Days. If you haven't seen it, you should, just have vodka and Prozac at the ready - an endless supply.

Kronos Quartet: Lux Aeterna (you'll probably recognise this from every film trailer made after Requiem was released)

Juno - no commentary needed here. We all know the kerfuffle that resulted from this movie's release last year. Yikes.

Kimya Dawson: So Nice, So Smart

Anyone Else But You: Michael Cera and Ellen Page (because I just love this boy)

Cold Mountain - Because I just can't get away from this old timey music. Also, could someone please just agree with me and confirm how very woefully miscast Nicole Kidman was as Ada? She was dreadful. I think about how much better the movie could have been without her detached, frigid self. HATE.

Cassie Franklin: Lady Margret

Tim Eriksen: I Wish My Baby Was Born

No playlist this week I'm afraid. So tired, so little time, etc etc.

So, with that out of the way, please tell me your own personal soundtrack. You can leave comments here, or you can even do your own whole blog post about it. I've even set up this fancy thing so you can link to your own post here. Hopefully it works. All you need to do is put in your Blog Title where it asks for your name, and the permalink in the second segment, et voila. Well, I assume et voila. We shall see.


Fast as you can

So much for that whole staying-away-from-blogging malarky. I'm actually better today, and thanks for your comments. The Dude bought me flowers yesterday, and also, because he is a high-flyer, had a talk with someone in the university who is going to nose around to see why I wasn't shortlisted for this most recent job. The silver lining, if there is such a thing, is that the head of the department to which I applied is a bitch of epic proportions if The Dude's source is correct. As in, numerous mass exoduses of staff within the past handful of years. Not good. From one bad manager to another, so maybe it's for the better. How very Zen of me. Don't get all excited thinking I'm cured of my malaise by the way, I mustn't get complacent and assume that everything is now butterflies and gooey chocolate cake magnificence. It's a better day, and that's at least a start.

I'm blogging again for a very important reason - a time sensitive one. Kate, a fellow Couch to 5K convert, came up with a marvellous idea that I completely elbowed my way in on. Simply put, awhile back we both said enough was enough and got our lumpy asses moving. We both chose Couch to 5K, and wouldn't you know it, we've stuck with it. Kate is an asthmatic ex-smoker, I'm an ex-ex-athlete and decade-long lazy sod, yet here we are, now running 5Ks numerous times a week. Not too long ago Kate told me about Nike+ipod, which is pretty much the best invention ever next to the banana guard.

Nike+ipod allows you to put a sensor in/on your shoe which communicates to a transmitter plugged into your iPod when you're exercising. It monitors all sorts of magical things - pace, distance, calories burned, time, proximity to unicorns, etc. You then plug in your ipod at home, et voila! Graphs, charts, it's an OCDers dream!

Running blah Couch to 5K blah yadda yadda yadda, I know. HOWEVER, keep paying attention ladies (and a gent or two) because Kate and I are uniting to give away one of these here doohickeys. Neither one of us is independently wealthy or of a particularly philanthropic nature, so we're not buying you an iPod, but one lucky endeavoring soul will have one of these handy contraptions purchased for them. I see Kate has not excluded non-walkers/runners, and said that the gift bestowed upon the winner will be in the form of an Amazon gift card at the estimated value of the nike+ kit and holder. All you need to do is leave a comment here telling me what makes you happy (a relevant theme given the darkest night of the soul stuff going on around here lately). Alternatively, you can leave the same information at Kate's.

This is completely Kate's idea, so all credit must go to her. I thought I'd help her out a bit since I'm feeling the same way about running, at least on the days that I'm not a miseryguts. Yesterday's low point would no doubt have been even lower if I was still the same portly gal I was just 3 months ago. At least running has given me something to be positive about, and I have not been the least bit positive about my body in years. I know how good that feels, and I would love to help someone else find that in themselves again.

Oh yes, and I almost forgot, Kate and I are on a team of 2 on Nike+ which is by invitation only. If you have (or will have!) a nike+ kit, email Kate or leave a comment on her blog for an invite and she'll hook you up. It's just a casual way of inspiring and motivating ourselves, nothing sinister or overpowering. We won't pour a bucket of goat's blood over you if you don't run far enough, unless you want us to of course.

So yes, happiness. Some of you are cheery little buggers, but even the more melancholy amongst you must have some periods of light. What are they? You only have until Friday to tell me, so click through and say something. Anything. Bring back the butterflies and gooey chocolate cake.


I See a Darkness

I've typed and deleted about six paragraphs in the past 25 minutes. I want to write fluidly and coherently about how vacant I feel, but it is all a jumble of silly words and teenage diary calibre histrionics. I'm going to dispense of any and all pretense of clarity and attempts at trying to write properly because I just give up.

I am so tired of my entire body existing in a state of constant tension because I hate my job and hate my godforsaken incompetent shrew of a "boss". I am frustrated that my own organisation doesn't think I'm good enough to succeed in a higher position, but most of all, this just makes me sad. Sad that I have drive, initiative, appropriate professional background, but that it seems to make no difference. I then worry that perhaps I'm not as good as I think I am after all, which is an admission that I'm not quite willing to make.

I hate that I don't ever have an hour's relief from anxiety weighing so heavily on me that I make myself sick. I hate that I can't get anything done, ever, and that any task I complete has been about 6 weeks in the making. I hate the fact that I have made an attempt to be physically fit for the first time in 10 years, yet my overpowering sense of defeat in all aspects of my life has worn me down too much to bother running on most days. I hate how I thought running would be the magic balm to my emotional ills like the doctor told me it would be.

I hate that I am here typing this post instead of spending time with my daughter. As I'm tapping away, she's sitting in her room listening to nursery rhymes and paging through books alone. I'm here because I know if I'm not, I'm probably losing my patience and praying for bedtime.

One of the most humiliating aspects of all of this is one which you'd hope I'd be smart enough to say under the veil of anonymity on Swallow the Key - I rely far too much on blogging to keep me happy. I worry about traffic, I worry about comments, I worry about popularity based on the previous factors, and it's just tragic. I spend so much of my real life masking how I feel, that to have this form of release is addicting. It says far too much about my lack of self-esteem, and I feel as if I should go beat myself with sticks for even making this imaginary world my real one. I have long said that I don't have many female friends because I can't tolerate all of The Drama, yet here I am wallowing in it.

I'm not entirely sure why I've even bothered with all of this. I don't know what anyone can say to make the situation any different. I've thought about stepping out for awhile, release myself from the need for validation through twittering and blogging, but we shall see how (un)successful I am at such an endeavour. I want to tell myself to shut the fuck up already, I can't imagine how you must feel. Ugh, the emotion! The wailing! The hand-wringing!

The drama endeth here.


Music Monday: Covers that Don't Suck

This is a subject I've been thinking about for awhile, but the amazing and divine Tash suggested it during Reader Request time and I was reminded that I'd been intending to do it for ages now.

Covers are everywhere these days, with all the hip indie kids doing covers of silly pop songs, or rappers covering classic country. I'll be narrow-minded here and choose ones that I'm a bit partial to.

Where Did You Sleep Last Night (aka In the Pines / Black Girl): Leadbelly / Nirvana
-I'm not necessarily going to talk about every song I put up here, but I wanted to say something about this song. I first heard the Nirvana version back in the mid 90s when they released their Unplugged album. Though I run very hot and cold with Nirvana, this is one of my favourite songs ever. I'm embarrassed to admit that it's only recently that I discovered that the song was made famous by Lead Belly, not Nirvana. Eek. Interestingly, the song itself dates back to the 1870s, which is funny to me since the lyrics seem perhaps a bit risque for Victorian times. If you're a bit of a history nerd, it's interesting reading. While I'm on this whole nerd trip, I was positively giddy when I stumbled about this archive of 78RPM and cylinder recordings from the 20s/30s. I can see myself spending a lot of time on that site during my Friday night free time. I am too cool for school, me.

Lead Belly:


I Will Survive

Gloria Gaynor:




Ryan Adams:

Real Love

John Lennon:

Regina Spektor:


Rolling Stones:

Cat Power:

The River (apologies if this is sacrilege oh you legion of Springsteen fans)

Bruce Springsteen:

Josh Ritter:

No Surprises


Iron & Wine:

Only Love Can Break Your Heart

Neil Young:

Saint Etienne:

Redemption Song

Bob Marley:

Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer:

Across the Universe

The Beatles:

Fiona Apple:

Bizarre Love Triangle

New Order:


Hurt (anyone else wonder why NIN would bother performing this anymore? Also, will there ever be a time that Cash's video won't make me cry?)

Nine Inch Nails:

Johnny Cash:

I could go on and on and on, so clearly this is a subject which will need to be addressed again in the future. Any notable ones that I have missed? If anyone suggests Whitney's "I Will Always Love You", I will come to your house and kick you in the shins. Hard. Very hard.

Playlist as usual. Pop out if you can't see it here.




Swallow the Key

Someone has unleashed their burden on the new blog, so please go check it out and weigh in on what has been said. Mel publicised my new baby on Lost and Found Connections, so Swallow the Key has been getting about 7000 more hits than this piece of shit blog. I'm just waiting for BarrenAlbion to drown in the mire and I'll just publish endless secrets from Anonymous on StK. Special thanks to the wonderful and delicious Cali for SPONTANEOUSLY doing a header for it. Check out that font porn. Hot.

I'm very woe-is-me at the moment - feeling like a horrible daughter (not just because of the DUI Dad situation), stunted professionally, had an aborted run tonight due to extreme overreaction at not having my Nike+ipod transmitter...it's a whole mess of middle-class drama. With that said, spread the good word about Swallow the Key please - it's all cathartic and shit. Ok, I'll stop saying "shit" now. I hope I haven't made too many ears bleed.

I'm going to settle down with SVU and a nice curry. I even lived a bit on the edge and got one of the higher fat ones because that's how I roll. The Dude is heading up north tomorrow to watch cage fighting, so I'm back to single parenting until Sunday. Something tells me I'll be making firm friends with a nice tub of Ben & Jerry's and X Factor in the evening. I'll try not to Twitter under the influence of high amounts of dairy and low-talent singing acts. No really, I promise.



I got an email from my brother today which was full of glad tidings.

The Beginning: Recovering alcoholic Dad broke up with his girlfriend as it appears he has been drinking again.

The Middle: Said drinking led to a car accident involving a few trees, a couple of houses, but thankfully no humans.

The End: Brother has to drive two hours to Philly at some stage to get Dad from wherever he may be - hotel? - to a rehab clinic. Last email indicated that the VA Clinic's system was down, so they were unable to tell my brother whether my Dad was admitted or not.

I deserve this. Just this morning The Dude and I were emailing back and forth from our dismal jobs, and I used the word "jollity". I used it many times, mainly referring to how nothing could infringe upon my jollity. Fortune, especially the good kind, does not in fact favour the bold.

My usual coping mechanism was fully in place. I panicked, felt my stomach drop to my toes, sighed, then got on with things. However, it all changed as soon as I had an unfortunate phone call with a colleague. She didn't really do anything wrong other than sound disappointed when it was me rather than the manager of my office, the person she was lead to thinking it was. I was telling her about the fax I was about to send, when she pissily said, "Sorry. I don't get remotely what you're talking about." For whatever reason, that sentence, said in a patronising tone, brought to the fore all of my job-related issues with a little alcholic, DUI Dad thrown in and I started to cry. She didn't know, and it suddenly became dreadfully hard for me not to tell her to go fuck herself and to also remember that she was a secretary to the Dean, not in fact the Dean herself. I got off the phone as quickly as I could, then cried in a bathroom stall like I used to in the heady good ol' days of infertility.

I'm in two minds at the moment. On one hand, I'm angry with my Dad. He's done this all before, though not since his alleged recovery. I hate that he has put other people at risk by doing this, and I hate that he is a grown man doing stupid shit that 18 year olds should know better than to do. I get that he's an alcoholic, I get that as a Vietnam vet he has PTSD, and I get that he is prone to depression. I got it back when I was a teenager and the smell of stale booze always accompanied his presence. I understood when he split up with my Mom and didn't see my brother and me for a few years. I made excuses, but now I'm confused as to when enough is enough. When does accountability become paramount? When is it time for a parent to not be the child anymore?

I am fortunate enough to be on my own with P tonight. I've already shouted at her twice for being her OCD self and I need a couple of Excedrin. I feel like such a ridiculous narcissist for having a rubbish day then blogging about it, but I am embarrassed to say that other than my husband, my list of real-life confidantes extends no further than an irritable toddler. Apologies to Twitterites for my earlier twittering outbursts of melodrama.

I shall get through the next hour with P assuming she doesn't again shout from another room - "I pooed! The poo is now on my finger!" Christ on a bike, I wish I was a drinker. Oh, the irony.


Music Monday: Working out and working it

I'm a day or two behind, I know. I ran out of time on Sunday, because I was, well, running, and last night I was too anxious to do more than blankly stare at a computer screen. I was daydreaming of Nyquil and being force-fed highly powerful mood-altering substances; music was the last of my manifold concerns.

I did a Music Monday on workout music before, but now that I am actually working out unlike the last time, I'm going to throw my running music out at you whether you want to hear it or not. Please, just like last time, offer up your own suggestions. I get bored very easily when it comes to music, so I would love my running playlist to grow significantly beyond its current 41 songs. No, don't worry, 41 videos aren't going to follow here.

Also...no judgement!

Bright Eyes: Road to Joy

Dropkick Murphys: Spicy McHaggis Jig

Pink: So What

James: Hey Ma

Notorious B.I.G.: Hypnotize

Santogold: Creator

Jay-Z: Big Pimpin'

Jay-Z: I Just Wanna Love You

N.E.R.D.: Lapdance

Serj Tankian: Empty Walls

System of a Down: BYOB

Tricky: Christiansands

M.I.A: Paper Planes

The playlist. Again, pop out if it's not working properly!




The Unveiling and so on

The time has come to make a very important decision - that of the title for the new blog. Thanks to all who took the time to offer up suggestions, and strangely enough, we have two winners - Cali and Alexa. The title shall henceforth be Swallow the Key, with the tagline of, "I Think We're Alone Now". I was torn between the two, then The Dude of all people suggested the above. He thinks the blog is the most daft, potentially time-consuming idea ever, but he saw it in his sweet little heart to participate nonetheless. It almost makes me feel bad that I called him a miserable fucking bastard today. Almost. So yes, now I owe chocolate to two people. At least I kind of like them, or else that whole chocolate buying and shipping fees thing would suck.

As late Friday nights are my blessed tyrant-and-husband-free time, I am left to my own devices for a couple of hours and guess what kids, I have Swallow the Key up and running! It's very minimalist at the moment, but a lot of that is due to the fact that I'm fumbling around Wordpress like a virgin on prom night. Its simplicity is verging on painful, but hey, that's not what the thing is about anyway, right?

Behold! Swallow the Key! As it is functional now, submissions can come flying in right away because I know you lot have acres and acres of drama and heartfelt emotion ready to pour onto the screen, anonymously (or not). The dedicated email address for the new blog is swallowthekeyblog at gmail dot com . I look forward to...uh, something I hope.
Those who follow me on Twitter may know that I am often filled with hate. Dreadful bile pours out of my mouth and all over the Twitter screen, primarily when I'm at work. My job currently makes me want to beat myself about the head repeatedly, so last week I decided that I needed to buy some stuff off Etsy. Fortunately for the fabulous Mom O Matic, I am obsessed with her jewelry and bought myself two rings, plus another two rings and some barrettes for a friend's birthday. One ring arrived yesterday, the other today, and I can confidently say that my homicidal thoughts toward loudly-chewing colleagues has diminished tenfold. These rings make me want to sing from mountaintops, and I might even get real crazy and give my husband a kiss. On the lips. Because I want to show off my new bling and also pimp Mom O Matic, here are some photos (from Mom O Matic's website - hope you don't mind MoM!):
Ah, I do love me some vintage button costume jewelry.

I went running tonight, much to my immense reluctance. I think I did just over three miles, which I thought was totally ass-kicking until I read that my girl Helen strapped on her running shoes the other day after 35 years of not running, and ran two miles. Bitch.

This isn't about Nike (the goddess, not the shoe company) over there at Everyday Stranger. I actually just wanted to tell you of my new favourite running song. I should be so overcome by humiliation at this, but what the hell. I love it. There. I at least know Major Bedhead knows what I'm talking about. I'm just saying, if you can tolerate this nu metal rubbish that Limp Bizkit did, this song cannot be beaten for sheer vitriol and anger release.

Limp Bizkit: Break Stuff

I really have to restrain myself from running really fast, raising my arms in the air and shouting things like, "Stay away motherfucker!" I may or may not have softly said these words to myself at a particularly poorly lit segment of my run tonight.


Speaking of music, I suppose I should post an apology to Kate for not including her choices for Reader Request Music Monday. It had nothing to do with what she picked, but rather just a combination of my own absent-mindedness and the size of my inbox. I never delete and I'm horrible at replying to emails, thus things get lost all the time. I'm having some trouble with YouTube this evening, so I can't actually post Kate's choices, but she was kind enough to put them in her comment on the second Music Monday post. For those too lazy to check that out without knowing what she has picked - "Check the Rhyme" by A Tribe Called Quest, and "My Finest Hour" by The Sundays. I assume this will be sufficient for forgiveness Kate.

Have a lovely weekend chickens.


Victim of tyranny

I've made mention of P's tiny dictatorial leanings, but only within the past couple of days have I realised that the tyranny is aimed primarily at me. P is very much attached to me, which is somewhat of a relief as she is my child. Yet, she is much more likely to be a bossy cow to me rather than The Dude. It's not as if I'm a pushover, hence making me more receptive to her numerous demands, quite the opposite. I'm Mean Mommy (like Wendy Pepper - anyone remember her? Ew), the kid's Dad is the type who will put her on a chocolate drip and let her watch In The Night Garden until her eyeballs fall out. Why is he not the focus of her attempts to dominate and control?

Recent engagements with my dear, sweet, not-even-27-month old:

P: "Sit here Mum. You do what I want Mum."

P: "Go away Mum. NO! GO.AWAY.MUM!" includes hand swatting for extra "piss off already" effect

P: "I don't want to hit you Mum."
Me: "Uh, then don't?"
P: looking very sincere "Mum. I don't want to hit you."

P: "Do what I say Mum."
Me: "I think it might be the other way round dear - you do what I say"
P: squeals "No! Do what I say!"

More to come, no doubt.

Since we're on the topic of controlling toddlers, I can take this opportunity to showcase, in the form of photographs, a display of my child's major control freak tendencies.

P has a little car:

The seat of the car comes up, providing a handy little mobile storage unit.

P keeps her most precious elements in here, and woe betide anyone who dares to remove just one object. She is perceptive beyond her two years, and she will notice its absence.

What are the contents you say? Why...let us have a look!

Shall we break the elements down? Small denim purse which always has a varied collection of stones and shells?


What are those two creepy things hanging out on either side of the purse? Why they are a tiny pink frog and a miniature green seahorse made of hackeysack material. Obviously! Ah yes, and the addition of two hairbands cannot go unnoticed. Do not try to put these hairbands in the tiny dictator's hair of course, as screeching mutiny will ensue.

The final element to make this festive little unit complete? The requisite dirty ziploc bag containing more stones and shells. I have tried to replace the bag, which housed some raw vegetables I took to work for lunch, but my attempt was roundly rejected. Vehemently and with much emotion.

I tried to remove the seahorse one night - her screams of agony were so high-pitched, wolves bayed beneath our windows and walls weeped with blood. I took these photos when she was asleep, so scared am I of her wrath.


I try desperately not to laugh, but seriously, when a small being no taller than your hip goes all postal on you about the most minute thing - that shit is funny. I watch her pick all of the shrunken peas out of a readymade dinner and carefully place them in the cupholder portion of her highchair tray. I supervise her in the bath, lining up all the shampoo bottles and having a fit if the wetness of the bathtub causes one to slip slightly from its rigid line. I know that if I give her milk in the wrong cup, I will spend the next 10 minutes suffering for my sins.

I wonder what sort of OCD future awaits. I have faith that at the very least, I will not run out of blogging fodder, perhaps ever.


Music Monday: Reader Requests, part 2

First of all, I'm still looking for recommendations for the new blog. Chocolate is at stake. C-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e.

There was a time in which I was concerned that I wouldn't have enough music to comprise a whole post, and now I find myself with more than enough for two. I did need to kick you in the ass a few times, but you crazy kids came through for me in the end!

First off, we have May's requests. If you're not already reading May, you've got a lot of catching up to do. About her selections, May says,

"Songs that I, personally, think everyone should at least listen to the very once. Whether they add to one's functionality in today's society is highly debatable, especially as friends and relations think my taste in music certifiable at the best of times."

Manu Chao: Mr Bobby

The Traveling Wilburys: Inside Out

The Traveling Wilburys: Tweeter and the Monkey Man

Eagles: Take it Easy

Fine Young Cannibals: Funny How Love Is

Lut C, though often quite quiet lately, has emerged to request the B-52s: Planet Claire

Em over at Eggs Akimbo has mixed it up and asked for some Cher. It seems Cher is a popular choice around these parts, as Beth is a bit partial to some Cher as well. Here you go Cher-lovers!

Cher: I've Found Someone

Erin from All My Pretty Hates, yet another blog you need to be reading, has suggested The Weepies. I've not yet had a chance to investigate The Weepies much, but I like what I hear so far.

The Weepies: Gotta Have You

HairyFarmerWife has requested Sheryl Crow. Now, I have a rather rabid dislike of Sheryl Crow, but I will allow HFW some Crow this time because I love the woman so dearly. HFW, not Ms Crow. Also, I don't mind this song. Oh, and Strong Enough. That's a good one.

Sheryl Crow: My Favourite Mistake

Kristi, my co-writer of the currently stagnant Mush, mother to one friggin' cute toddler, and soon to be mother to TWINS, has some recommendations straight out of my mid-90s life. I selected the titles Kristi, I hope you find them agreeable!

Echo and the Bunnymen: The Killing Moon

Suede: Trash (Live on Jools Holland)

The Beautiful South: Dream a Little Dream

Cali has fully embraced the spirit of Music Monday and been most diverse in her picks.

Cat Stevens: Moonshadow

Soul Coughing: Circles

Cowboy Junkies: Sweet Jane

Mel, who is very concerned that I am refusing her request due to lack of coolness, is most insistent that I put this bloody video up already. HERE YOU GO MEL. YOU CAN STOP SENDING ME PARCELS OF PUBIC HAIR MIXED WITH PIG ENTRAILS NOW.

America: Sister Golden Hair

Last, but certainly not least, we have the recommendations of a blogger's husband. I am told that said husband may view blog reading and commenting as a frivolous endeavour, but that Music Monday has his stamp of approval. So flattered was I by this, that I told my own husband, as if to emphasise to him that look - other husbands think this is cool! He remains unconvinced. So Betty M's husband, thank you for being the first person to make suggestions for this theme. I'm even willing to forgive you for being an anti-blogite.

"If you like Elbow and/or Beta Band, try Cranebuilders - 'Sometimes you hear through someone else' is a great album, you can listen to some songs at http://www.myspace.com/cranebuilders, start with Radio Song. Another recommendation that came from the same source for me is I am Kloot - try 'Play Moulin Rouge'."

I couldn't really find any Cranebuilders (YouTube's suggestion was The Cranberries), but here is some I Am Kloot from the sessions mentioned above.

I Am Kloot: Hey Little Bird

Laura Marling: New Romantic

"Now this is left field but too special not to mention. If you listen to fado, you'll know Mariza, if not and you enjoy amazing female voices [she is also about 6 foot, platinum blond crop and gorgeous] she's really not to be missed - quite astonishing. Terra is her new album but really at her most spine tingling live [agree there - we saw here at Womad in 2007 and forgot we were knee deep in mud]"

Mariza: Cavaleiro Monge (Live)

Mariza: Barca Negro

"While I'm in left field, have a listen to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. I can guarantee it'll make you smile."

Ukelele Orchestra of GB: Wuthering Heights

Since Mr Betty M seems to know his stuff, I'll just cut and paste some other recommendations for you music fiends out there. No video I'm afraid, as I need to get to bed before 2am.

"Back to indie pop and thinking about your fondness for James, you should try British Sea Power, 'Do you like Rock Music?' is a good starting point. And do you know the Wonderstuff? Same kind of time as James and much the same energy.

And given that you like Morrissey, I am tempted to start writing about Prefab Sprout so I think it's time to stop

Oh yeah, I guess I should throw in my brother's recommendation, even though he had a whole week of his own recently. It's Iron & Wine, and as I really like him (them?), I'm ok with this suggestion. I believe my brother attended this show, which is likely the main reason he wants me to put it up. I'll humour him this time.

Iron & Wine: The Trapeze Swinger

That's it, I'm spent.

Here's the playlist. I had to make some substitutions, but did what I could. As usual, pop out the player if you can't see it properly.




Idle Hands are the Devil's Tools

Apropos of absolutely nothing, I had an idea about another blog. I know, I know, I'm patchy at best with this one, and the other one, well...a year with no updates is usually considered kind of bad, but the logistics of this new idea make it less work than either of my other two blogs. Er, and that private one I haven't updated in three months. Anyway, I digress. My other concern is that my idea isn't a new one. What I would like to do is start an anonymous forum for people to write what they can't on their own blogs. Of course, this would also extend to the five blogless people left in this world. I know we are often silenced by the knowledge of who our readers are - whether they are family members we don't want reading about our sex lives, or a reader base who may object to unpopular opinions we may have.

I'm aware that HBM has this market cornered with the great, often heartbreaking Her Bad Mother's Basement. However, if hundreds and thousands of mommy blogs can exist, why can't we add another cloaked-in-darkness-and-anonymity blog? I feel quite unoriginal in hijacking this idea, but I also know it is something which would surely be utilised.

Those who know me well would question the wisdom in me receiving even more emails, as I am such a very awful emailer. This has occurred to me as well, but it seems all I would really have to do is cut and paste into Blogger. Yes, I may at times send my child to school with a thick crust of snot, yoghurt, and milk layering her upper lip due to my own inability to manage time effectively, but I swear, I can totally handle this!

An issue would be that in making a submission (to an address as yet determined), you are of course surrendering some anonymity. I can only promise you that if your email address is one which I recognise, nothing would be said to anyone about it. You could even set up another email address if you're that bothered. That's what I did would do if in that situation.

I would like your feedback, because this stolen concept is my new baby. It doesn't scream until hoarse, ensure you only sleep 4 hours a day, or have reflux. Or, as happened today, tell you, "I don't want to hit you Mum." This is much more my speed at the moment, in contrast to the real kind of baby my husband is pushing me to want. That might be something I blog about anonymously one day, on my Brand New Spanking Secret Blog. Hey, that's an idea for a title - Blog Secret. Like Post Secret, but not nearly as good. I take the concept and the title from other blogs. I'm such a class act. I've just gone off that idea in the past 35 seconds, since the posts wouldn't necessarily be secrets, just things that could not be said in the usual places. Secrets welcome, but not obligatory.

That is my painfully long-winded way of saying - suggestions? Overall, and in regard to title. J, I hope you do not come up with the winning title again. It would be weird that you'd named two of my three blogs. Also, the winner might get chocolate. Chocolate, or something British. For instance, British chocolate. Just don't expect it in a timely manner, see above for explanation.

Reader Request Week 2 to follow tomorrow.


Better, stronger, faster

I am finally on the penultimate week of Couch to 5K. There was a bit of a break around week 6, as I was too ill to go to work, eat, paint my toenails, or even watch Maury. After a week out, I went out at 8.30 on a Friday night and ran 2.5 miles, much to my own amazement. I ran past drunks puking into the bushes, fat, bearded greasy men smoking cigarettes, and girls in what amounts to westernised kabuki makeup, wearing belts small skirts on their way to the pub. Just six weeks prior I would have been sprawled on the sofa, maybe drinking a bottle of Coke, reading blogs whilst shitty television blared in the background. No longer! Now I run past those people, ensconsed in a bubble of smugness and superiority because for once in my life I've initiated something and stuck with it.

My primary goal is to lose weight and rid myself of my massive baby gut, as I have told you all many, many times before in my whiny, woe-is-me posts. The change in my body has been quite significant, but now that I have had the chance to recover from the shock of actually losing weight despite my presence in the PCOS weight gain Hall of Fame, I'm now worried I am now not losing enough. Common sense tells me that I have been doing this since the beginning of August, and as I'm approaching my weight loss in a healthy and realistic way (ie eating well, but not dieting/starving myself), I can't expect to have lost 15 pounds or something.

I know I've lost a fair amount of weight - not only are my trousers a bit looser (that never sounds like a real word to me), but some of them are in danger of completely falling down. My tops do not enhance a series of massive, inflated rolls, but rather only slight rollage. Contrary to popular myth, the boobs are not the first thing to go on everyone, as mine cling steadfastly to voluptuousness. Bastards. My legs are firmer, my thighs slimmer. I do exercises with weights, so my arms, chest, and back are more toned than they have been since I was an athlete all of those years ago.

I think I'm doubting the extent of the weight loss because no one has remarked that I look better. Well, The Dude never shuts up about how much better I look, but he is matriomonially obligated to flatter me regardless of circumstances. I don't believe in scales, so I have no quantifiable way of knowing how much I have actually lost. I feel that I look vastly different, but if I really do and it's not all in my head, why are The Dude and I the only people to see the changes?

When I was sick, I didn't eat anything beyond a couple of bananas and an orange in three days. I know I lost quite a bit even in that brief period, and I would be lying if I wasn't slightly pleased. The thought has gone through my head that my limiting my calories even more, though not to that extreme, I could lose more weight quickly. My rational self knows that doing that is most naughty indeed, as I am also doing this to be healthy, and eating 700-800 calories a day is not that. As it is, the only sugars I consume is in fruit and my two blessed coffees per day. It's an amount of discipline I never thought I'd be able to maintain, but I have for a few months now.

I am a bit slack in the other exercises I do, I must admit. I always plan to break out my folder of exercise diagrams, cobbled together from newspaper and magazine articles, but I so rarely do. The busiest part of my year falls during the summer months, so I have been working some 10 hour days, coming home to a miserable tyrant of a toddler, and then running three or four times a week after P is in bed. When I get back in from running at 9pm, I hardly want to spend another 15-20 minutes lunging and contorting for 3 sets of 20 reps. One of the articles in my folder states that one should be dedicating 45 minutes 5 times a week to cardio! On what planet? I could totally do that if I was a housewife with no kids, but that life is not mine.

There is a point to all of this. As I'm coming to the end of my Couch to 5k programme, I have no idea what to do next. The objective of it is to run 3 miles in 30 minutes, which isn't a problem. I could do that now if I wasn't so OCD about adhering to the plan as rigidly as I do. Do I try and increase distance, or speed? I know from haunting Doctor Mama's maggot posts that I shouldn't do both simultaneously. Also - I really should find some time to do other exercises, shouldn't I? I do the weights three times a week or more, mainly whilst watching television. Ah, how I do love to combine sloth with exertion.

My head usually convinces me that I'm doing well. Otherwise, how else would I have been able to squeeze into my skinny jeans? Yeah, they aren't so much skinny as skinny-er than the denim tarps I have been wearing, plus I look like a most uncomfortable Talouse sausage escaping its casing, but whatevs man - SKINNY JEANS. The last time I wore them, three years ago and sans baby weight, I was told I had a "hot arse". Yeah, that's right. Hot. Arse. It wasn't even my husband who said it, I hasten to add.

Long story long - I would like to hear what works for you, or even what doesn't work for you. Share your wisdom so that I may live the hot arse dream again.