Music Monday: Heartbreak

Here I am, week three of focusing on the Guardian list. Yes, I lack originality, and I'm never very good at coming up with songs which fit a certain theme. Molly has now sworn off blogging altogether thanks to the rather...tepid response to her music about The Secks. Poor dear has retreated into absolute seclusion, stroking her budding creole tomatoes and trimming her newly sprouted herbs. "Blogging be damned!" she is heard to shout, shaking her tiny fists toward the forboding cajun skies. Poor dear.

In view of last week, this theme of heartbreak is for Molly, who no doubt if asked for her own contribution for this week would suggest her favourite ever song, "Achy Breaky Heart" by beloved, formerly bemulleted Billy Ray Cyrus. I, however, will be selecting more refined songs, thank you very much.

The Boy Done Wrong Again: Belle and Sebastian

Flume: Bon Iver

Lua: Bright Eyes

I Still Miss Someone: Johnny Cash (because there was always going to be Cash)

Crazy: Patsy Cline

Katie Cruel: Karen Dalton

Killing Moon: Echo and the Bunnymen

How Do You Mend a Broken Heart: Al Green

Devil Got My Woman: Skip James

Love Will Tear Us Apart: Joy Division

Let Me Down Easy: Bettye Lavette

Blue Monday: New Order

Crying: Roy Orbison

Jolene: Dolly Parton

I Know It's Over: The Smiths

Dry Your Eyes: The Streets

Use Me: Bill Withers

I hope you are sufficiently cheered up now.


Guest Post: MuSex Monday

Hi friends. It's Molly. Remember me? I used to, um, blog?

To get back into the swing of things, your favorite sassy redheaded librarian invited herself to blog here on Music Monday. Perhaps I’ll post on my own blog sometime too! Don’t get your hopes up. I am very lazy.

As Ms. Pru mentioned in her last Music Monday post, The Guardian is publishing its list of 1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear. The list is largely Brit-centric (I mean, I’m sure there are a few Americans who adore the band Elbow, but, you know) but there are some fabulous songs on there. My favorite of which have to be the Sex Songs. Surprised?

I’ll begin with the best -- if you listen to no other songs on this list, listen to this one. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, the sexiest song I have ever heard in my life. (If there are young children about, you may want to pop on headphones. Though it may be interesting to hear your reply to “why that nice lady is making those strange noises?”) Serge Gainsbourg originally recorded this song with Brigitte Bardot – this recording is with his wife, Jane Birkin.


OK, calm down, girls. How about a bit of classic bluesy-smut from Ms. Bessie Smith. “He was a deep sea diver with a stroke that could not go wrong.” Atta girl. Recorded in 1928, when Smith was at the height of her popularity.


Mmmm hmmm.

Now, I love Moulin Rouge! as much as the next guy, but having Xtina and Pink (ugh) pounded in to my head for years afterwards has nearly obliterated the awesome original version of LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade” from my head. I don’t think I realized that the lyrics said “Creole Lady Marmalade” until after I had moved to Louisiana and actually knew what a Creole was. You need to watch this, if only to see the costumes.


And now, Etta James. Listen to the edge of ferocity and drip of sex in her voice. She was 22 when she made this recording.


I was surprised to see Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” on the list, until I read this description: “Richard Penniman was an undistinguished R&B shouter when he began recording with Robert “Bumps” Blackwell. When their session was going badly, the assembled went to a nearby bar and the openly gay singer entertained them with a ribald ditty about the benefits of applying grease before attempting anal sex. Blackwell heard gold, got Dorothy LaBostrie to clean up the lyrics, and Little Richard unleashed the screams that forever define the polymorphous perversity of rock’n’roll.”

I assure you, you will never hear “Tutti Frutti” the same way again.


Because I am Molly, you’re not getting out of here without any Barbra. This is actually the only Barbra song of the whole 1000 (which is slightly baffling to me. Not even “Evergreen?” “People?”), and while I don’t think there’s anything overtly sexy about this song, there are ear-boxing shoulderpads and Barry Gibb with a mullet and pointy boots, and if those don’t suggest sex, then I don’t know what does.


Having said all of this, there are a few notable omissions from the Sex list. I think both Ms. Pru and I would agree that any sex list should really include N*E*R*D’s “LapDance.” Raunchy all around, from the lyrics to the guitar riff. I love that the youTube description on this one is simply: “hottest song to strip to.” I’m a dirty dog, indeed.


And one last song that should be there, but isn’t: Flight of the Conchords, “Sugalumps.” This song is in my head constantly. So are Jemaine’s sugalumps, incidentally.


What do you think, ladies? What are the sexiest songs ever?


Mother's Day Questionnaire (madness ensues)

A friend tagged me on Facebook for this, but as I'm a complete Facebook moron, I can't figure out how to post it there - HA! I'm only used to typing in a brief status report, a la Twitter. Anything which requires a bit more know how is lost on me.

This is a little thing which I believe made the rounds in bloglandia before Facebook was even a glint in its creator's beady little eye. If you see I have finally managed to get this on Facebook, please don't mention the blog since those worlds should not collide. I will warn you that this questionnaire is like being dragged into a Doors song - the psychedelia is powerful in this one.

Incidentally, this totally makes me a vital part of the STFU Parents' main agenda. I find this website hilarious despite my complete complicity in what they are railing against. Ah well.

1. What is something mom always says to you? "Don't know."

2. What makes mom happy? (showed me her empty plate)

3. What makes mom sad? (made a sad face)

4. How does your mom make you laugh? (grins)

5. What was your mom like as a child? "Confused face." Oh child, if you only knew

6. How old is your mom? "3."

7. How tall is your mom? "BIG, and I'm your little girl."

8. What is her favorite thing to do? "Shopping."

9. What does your mom do when you're not around? "School." News to me.

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? "Umm...THOMAS!" As in Thomas the Tank Engine, whom I have never impersonated.

11. What is your mom really good at? "Potty sweets." What a contribution to society - I am good at dispensing jellybeans when my child goes on the potty.

12. What is your mom not very good at? "Confused face." I happen to think I make one hell of a confused face.

13. What does your mom do for her job? "I don't like it." Me neither kid, me neither.

14. What is your mom's favorite food? "Chips and peas." Again, I had no idea this was anywhere close to my favourite food. I don't even eat peas.

15. What makes you proud of your mom? "I am proud of you."

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be? "A goodie."

17. What do you and your mom do together? "Shopping, sticking."

18. How are you and your mom the same? "goodie."

19. How are you and your mom different? "Ladybird, ladybird, ladybird, ladybird."

20. How do you know your mom loves you? "No, not pimp." Do not ask me how she knows this word. She hasn't watched Jerry Springer in days.

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go? "Simpsons."

Just as guidance, though she said "confused face" rather than making one, this is her actual confused face:

I happen to think it's a bit more, "Bitch, please!" myself, but one toddler's confused face is another toddler's bitchface.

Stay tuned in the next day for the guest Music Monday posting from Molly, the best blogger who never actually blogs.



Mother's Day is on Sunday here, which has just reminded me that I need to buy a card in preparation for American Mother's Day, whenever that may be. I lack preparedness in every possible way, so quite often I find the US date approaching rapidly and realise I have no card to give my Mom. Now at least I have a small person with access to crayons and paper, so I could just put her to work on crafting one I suppose. Don't worry, her labour would not go unrecognised. I would pay her in at least six stones and ten rubber bands. It may not sound like much, but this kid's utopia would be formed of stones, rubber bands, shells and tampons still in their packaging (green ones preferred).

Anyway, I'm not here to wax lyrical on my role as a mother, nor am I going to craft a loving ode to my own mother. Ok, I am going to talk about my Mom, because lately her eccentricities have given me cause to acknowledge her idiosyncratic brilliance, but it won't be cheesy. I can't write emotional stuff for anything.

I've blogged about my Mom's...uniqueness in the past, though I'm currently too lazy to link to it. Regular readers will know of what I speak. I talk to her regularly and often make mental notes to tell others of her oddness, because sometimes it really must be shared with the world. For example:

-Last weekend she got in a tiff with a woman at an antiques auction. The woman's pre-teen son sat in my Mom's friend's chair when she got up to use the restroom. My Mom explained to the kid that her friend was sitting there, and he would need to move upon her return. He didn't, she asked him to move again, and he declined. My Mom loudly proclaimed to her friend, "It's a shame people don't raise their children to have any manners these days!" This raised the ire of the child's mother, who got indignant with my Mom and ended up storming off in a huff after a wee shouting match. I warned my Mom that as we are from Central PA that she'll piss off the wrong gun-toter one day with that big gob of hers, but she has no concerns in this regard.

-What is the best way to recover from a day in which you get confrontational when surrounded by Victoriana? Obviously you, a nearly 60 year old woman accompanied by your 60+ friend, hitchhike. It seems they couldn't get to the auction location of their choice, so my Mom jotted down the name of the destination town on a bit of paper and stood by the side of the road. I was worried that she was so fueled by adrenalin and filled with passion for antiquities that she hopped into a big rig with a mustachioed trucker, but thankfully she did not. Her ride was a couple of nice middle-aged ladies, one of whom was Amish, because - why not? Again, Central PA, of course the Amish were involved at some point.

-My Mom is a dog lover. She has three, one of whom is a Great Pyrenees. This thing is her baby, and he is like a volunteer of the year. Senior citizens, children, midgets, all benefit from his philanthropy. Tomorrow, I shit you not, he is marching in a local St Patrick's Day Parade. She even said the word "marching" in all seriousness, and made sure to tell P about this upcoming event. Not only is he marching in a parade, he's wearing this, a gen-u-wine Irish flat cap:

Yes, srsly. As I was reliably informed tonight, it will be affixed to his head with bobby pins. It was a lucky escape dog - you were very close to being dyed green, but the fear was that the fading green would appear too "dingy" on your brilliantly white coat. When you're as busy campaigning for Canine of the Year you mustn't be any less than your best!

Happy Mother's Day Mom, you crazy old bitch. The world would be a much more boring place without you.


In very non-Momish vibe, I have a guest blogger for this week's Music Monday, and her theme will be songs about the secks. I'll give you a hint - she's a sassy, sexy redhead librarian down in the Bayou. I bet you have no idea who it could be...


Anatomy of a Day

This post serves no purpose beyond my attempt at drumming up sympathy and to wallow in self-pity. So you know, FUN!

6am: Alarm goes off, signalling the start of the last hours The Dude will have the right hip he was born with. I intend to go back to sleep, but...

6.15am: She awakens, shouting, "I am stuck in my bed!" She wasn't. She was, however, awake for good. Shit.

6.30am: The Dude leaves, on foot. I don't drive, and obviously he can't drive to his own hip replacement. The logistics are frightening and will be explored later, as will The Dude's family's complete ignorance of manners and reciprocity.

7am: Feed P porridge for breakfast, do dishes. Feeling oddly productive.

8am: Prepare P for school, which includes medicating her busted toe and applying a Spongebob band-aid. P rebels, bumps Easter Island head on my cheekbone, causing my sinuses to explode all over the lounge in a mess of snot and the bull weevils which have surely been burrowing into my head for the past week and a half.

9am: Make appointment to see a nurse at my GP surgery to get blessed relief from sinusitis limbo. Told no appointments exist for today, yet 10 seconds later, one does. Hmm...

9.30pm: Drop P off at nursery, walk to GP surgery for 10am appointment.

10am: Already out of appointment, clutching prescription for antibiotic which I desperately hope will be my savior. Walk to high street for prescription filling and purchasing diversions for the patient. Buy three magazines with a distinct male-focus, and bow the pressure of three books for myself at a charity shop (Crimson Petal and the White, Middlsex, and The Little Friend, if anyone's interested).

11.30am: Walk from high street to ferry port. Yes, you read that correctly. I have to get a mothertrucking ferry to go see The Dude at the hospital. This follows the 2 mile walk I have already undertaken to get to this point. The ferry takes all of 5 minutes. I wonder what the point is.

12pm: Reach hospital resembling a Victorian asylum after walking a further 3/4 mile post-ferry. Legs ponder rebellion due to week-long atrophy through disuse thanks to sinusitis infestation. Decide that inflexible Rocketdogs may not be the best choice in hiking footwear.

Go to the recovery ward, no husband to be found. Instructed by pissed off nurse to wait in the "Day area" - a place where light always shines regardless of hour? I don't know. It has some tatty old chairs, so I sit down and read a Total Film magazine. Old git with very few teeth shuffles in and phones his wife on his mobile. Loudly. Apologises to me post-phone call for interrupting my reading. I kick him in his good hip and go to find lunch.

12.30pm: Lunch is a cheese and onion sandwich from the hospital shop. Sit on bench in lovely courtyard gardens of at-places ruinous looking hospital. Try husband-seeking mission again.

12.45pm: Pissed off nurse number two tells me to go away and have lunch and then come back to look for missing husband. I wander the labyrinthian corridors again, never seeing one person, wondering if I'm stuck in some sort of localised 28 Days Later situation. Periodically stop to read plaques detailing the numerous 18th and early 19th century mass graves on site. Somehow, I find this endearing and suddenly the hospital is way cooler than originally thought. Talk to brother on mobile in courtyard from earlier, wondering how many old soldiers I'm trodding on as I'm speaking to my sibling from 4000 miles away.

2pm: Head back to ward. No Dude. Wondering if they just decided to do both hips since the other one is shit anyway. Sit back in the Day Room, sans toothless old guy. Stroke my new book purchases.

2.15pm: Nurse 1, spirits doubtlessly buoyed by depriving patients of morphine, pops her head into my room of endless light to say that The Dude has officially arrived.

I expect to see a wan, near-lifeless version of my husband in the bed. Instead I'm greeted by full-on Dude, albeit it very slightly high. He tells me that he was out during his surgery despite the lack of a general anesthesia, which I find a bit confusing. He is oddly jovial, and I fear for him once the epidural wears off.

4pm: I depart, as P needs collected from nursery as I have a long commute ahead of me. He promises to call later in the evening once the pain kicks in, and settles down with an MMA DVD on his portable DVD player.

4.15pm: Another 3/4 mile later, and I'm back on the ferry.

4.20pm: Reach the other side and decide that I deserve a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Any guilt is alleviated courtesy of a card I possess which gives me a free cup of coffee every day after 1pm. I revel in my power.

5pm: After a further 2+ mile walk, I reach P's nursery. She is happy to see me, patting my face and yelling, "FACE! FACE! THIS IS YOUR FACE!!"

5.15pm: We reach home, and within five minutes I am treated to both P peeing on the floor and a subdued phone call from The Dude groaning about THE PAIN ending with him hanging up on me so he could throw up. In the rushed phone call I understood that he could feel both of his legs and that was no good thing. The morphine, as he predicted, was alleviating the pain but making him repeatedly sick. This is not a phone call a worrier should get, especially a worrier who hasn't had relief from a constant sinus headache in four days. And this, my friends, is how you make your husband's painful hip replacement all.about.you.

7.30pm: P's bedtime. I love this child more than a fine cheese, but toddlerdom is not great when your head is splitting in half.

8pm: Spoke a few words to Molly on Gmail chat, then drew my bath. Added new Lush product, lit a candle, and prepared Cat's Eye for some heavy reading.

9pm: Got out of blissful bath and ran upstairs to catch the newest episode of America's Next Top Model. We're still a season behind, so no spoilers please.

10pm: Not sure. It's 11pm now, what did I watch for an hour?

11pm: Confused, head throbbing, ready to go to bed. SVU has other ideas, the conniving bastard.

Yeah, so that was dreadful for pretty much everyone for me, sorry about that. I wanted to go through that just to get to my main point - that of The Dude's family and their complete disregard for common decency. The Dude had to wake up dreadfully early, walk to the bus stop, get the bus to the ferry, cross the water in said ferry, walk 3/4 mile to the hospital, all before 7am! To get his fucking hip replaced! Do you think anyone in his family offered to drive the poor soul? No, no, too much trouble.

The Dude has a close-knit family , though obviously that doesn't extend to favours. We often loan money to his parents and two sisters, and it isn't a problem. They pay us back when they can and that's that. We also go out of our way to help with anything else they might need help with because that's what families do. At least, that's what one part of the family does.

Both of his sisters have kids, but if the situation were reversed we would find someone to get P to school so that they could be driven to the hospital for their major surgery. Speaking of which, not only did no one offer to drop The Dude off at the hospital, no one suggested that they drop P off at school so I could go with him. I would do this for an acquaintance I don't know that well, let alone family.

Is this only shocking to me? Am I far more versed in the arts of Emily Post than I thought? Fretting about it is only going to make my headache worse, so I trust you'll all just agree with me for the sake of argument. We wouldn't want my eyeballs to pop out from all the pressure now would we?


Music Monday: Listen here before you die

Ok, I've given up on the notion of reader requests for the moment since it's hard to do a post about reader requests when only two readers request something. Ahem. Last time I was inundated, this time, not so much. I actually have more readers than I did then, but that does not translate to people wanting their music put up on this here blog. Ah well. Two people - I'll save your music recommendations for next time, whenever I'm bold enough to do this again.

I was going to make this a Music Monday with The Dude's music, but upon further reflection realised that his music is shit. I'm on board with Madness, Bjork and Nirvana but it all goes downhill from there - Phil Collins, Sugababes, Will Young, and any adult contemporary ballads from the 80s and 90s. It's gross.

As serendipity would have it, yesterday The Guardian published a series entitled "1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear", with a focus on love songs. I thought I'd completely pilfer their list for songs that I, and in some cases, The Dude, like. Admittedly this is a list whereby the insinuation is that the music is of a certain quality, thus excluding The Dude's kind of music, but I may be surprised as I proceed. A lot of these are old school, but as there isn't much like that on Music Monday, all the better.

Badly Drawn Boy: The Shining

Funny story about BDB - a friend of mine went to see him in concert years ago and he was insanely drunk. Much heckling insued and he ended up shouting at the crowd to fuck off. Haha. You wouldn't think the writer of such a song would be that...mercurial.

The Beach Boys featured heavily on this list, what with Pet Sounds widely accepted as one of the best albums ever. I could have chosen "God Only Knows" (which makes me think of Big Love)or "Good Vibrations", and though I wanted to pick "Don't Worry Baby", it wasn't on the list. Instead, I'll settle for "Wouldn't It Be Nice".

Beach Boys: Wouldn't It Be Nice

I have a confession to make. I don't really like The Beatles. Sacrilege, I know. I'm sorry, I don't really get the hype. I was ready to leave them out of this list, but I live in England and all that, so here we go.

The Beatles: Something

Because I cannot possibly not include Johnny Cash...

Johnny Cash: I Walk the Line

Uh, and you might as well know that I can't resist a song featuring both Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. I was going to just put up the Dylan version of "Girl From the North Country", but I was swayed so easily. Sorry.

Bob Dylan feat. Johnny Cash: Girl From the North Country

Ella Fitzgerald: Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye (starts at 3.40)

I don't care what anyone says - I friggin love Ms Dolly Parton. I also genuinely like "I Will Always Love You", despite the ghastly Whitney version. So there.

Dolly Parton: I Will Always Love You

Sweet baby jee, I love this song. You're obviously a freak if you don't.

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles: You've Really Got a Hold On Me

Though there are other songs on the list from "Dirty Dancing", I didn't want to assume that everyone else felt the same way about that AWESOME film that I do.

Ronettes: Be My Baby

Did you know this next one was written by Carole King? I can't reconcile the Motown thing with a singer/songwriter hippie sound a la Carole King. Hmph.

The Shirelles: Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

Has anyone ever seen Phil Hartman's impression of Sinatra on SNL? Hilarious stuff. I think of it every time I watch a Sinatra performance.

Frank Sinatra: Fly Me to the Moon

I was once friends with this snobby playwright-to-be who is now apparently taking certain parts of the theatrical world by storm. It seems His Highness finds himself to be a bit above me now, having rejected a previous friend request on a social networking site which shall remain nameless. Anyway, he always made fun of me for liking this song, but hey ho. Fuck him and his affected British-lite accent (you're from New Jersey mate, get over yourself). Moving on...

Paul Weller: You Do Something to Me

As I'm a wee bit obsessed with Neil Young at the moment, it only makes sense that I should include him here since he's on the list. I know I had this song on a previous Music Monday, but what of it?

Neil Young: Only Love Can Break Your Heart

Because I'm all about opening up my heart to you folks, I present to you "our song". It's not on the list, but it damn well should be.

Gene: Speak to Me Someone

What our your (ie, the two or three vocal ones) favourite love songs?


Charity begins at home

As those of you in the UK will know, today is Comic Relief/Red Nose Day. Non UK residents, this occurance is still somewhat of a mystery to me, but essentially it's a large fundraising event which melds comedy and general wackyness with public awareness of various charitable organisations. I find it all a bit self-congratulatory and annoyingly trite, particularly when the celebrities involved act as if their contribution will change the world, £10 at a time.

People do strange things on Red Nose Day, such as shaving their heads, wearing pyjamas to work, bathing in baked beans, all to raise money for the charity. Obviously I support anything which raises such a large sum of money (currently nearly £33m/$46m USD) but I can't help thinking such events quickly turn gimmicky and tacky.

P's responsibility today was to wear something "funny", the concept of which is a bit vague for toddlers I think. For lack of a better idea, our first and only idea was that she could dress as Upsy Daisy, her favourite character from the BBC children's programme "In the Night Garden". Don't ask me what this has to do with raising money for children in Africa, because I have no idea. It doesn't really matter though when you're this friggin' cute.

I'm terrified that this is my baby. Who is this child-like pod person? I guess I didn't tell her that she's not allowed to grow up.

Speaking of charities (I warned you I would bring this up again), I am running a 10K in July for Cancer Research UK. Running an official 10K has been my goal since I started my exercise programme, so this will allow me to realise it. I, like most people, have lost family members to cancer, so this charity couldn't be more appropriate. I have a little donate button on the sidebar, and anyone, in the UK, US, Zimbabwe, or Vanuatu can contribute. I know these are difficult times, so any donation is very welcome. I'm not very good at begging, but I intentionally set my goal low (£100) and I don't really want my only sponsors to be myself and my Mom. As I mentioned, the run isn't until July, so the button will be sticking around. If you have a little extra money sitting around some month before that, please keep me in mind. I'm even planning on putting pre and post-race photos up on this here blog. I suspect I will regret being so bold.

Changing subjects entirely, I think I may be slowly perishing from this sinus infection from the depths of hell, so I'm desperate for some relief. My Mom can't shut up about neti pots, but as they aren't readily available here I'll have to order one off these here interwebs. Do any of you have opinions on these little aladdin's lamps of sinus relief?

In absence of a neti pot or scythe with which to decapitate myself, I shall now retire to my bed with a jug of Nyquil. Godspeed.


Pox on this House

If you've only read about my current sickness on here and have not had to suffer my constant Twitter updates a la "MAH BRAIN IS COMING OUT MY NOSE!" and "THE BIGGEST LOSER MAKES ME WARM DOWN THERE!", consider yourselves lucky. Twitter is the devil when you're home sick three days in a row with a laptop adhered to your person.

All of us are at various stages of illness. I've got this creeping crud of unknown origins, The Dude has a variation of it which occasionally renders him unable to do anything but complain about how very ill he is (so, status quo), and P has the ever-constant runny nose and cough with the pleasant addition of a funky, diseased big toe. I took her to the doctor yesterday because I had nightmares of it swelling from infection and the poor mite having to live the rest of her life with elephantitis of the toe. "Magic" cream was prescribed, and upon returning her to nursery her teacher went through a litany of reasons P may have gone to the doctor, none of which included a funky toe. I guess it just goes to show that my child is a walking ball of eleventybillion kinds of lurg.

We all deal with sickness differently. This is my way, with my anonymity maintained thanks to a filthy as hell mirror. Yes, I'm clutching a tissue, talking to my Mom on the phone, and taking a photo. Us women are such multi-taskers, eh? Also, helloooooo titties!

This is P's way:

The Dude, bless him, does sound a bit rough, but dude, suck it up. As we were going to bed the other night he said, "Oh no. I feel the shivers coming on." Yawn, but also, HAHAHAHA! He does get the shivers when he has a cold, and let me tell you, it is goddamn hilarious. I should feel pity, but instead I lay in the bed trying not to laugh. The next morning he expressed much relief that the shivers did not materialise this time, as if a biopsy had just come back negative. Dodged a bullet there, phew!

I suppose I should be a sympathetic wife at some stage. The Dude is having his hip replaced next Monday thanks to a bastard inherited degenerative disease and I will be attentive and sympathetic as a good partner would be. This time next Monday his leg will be placed up by his head whilst his hip is replaced - and he will be awake for that lovely demonstration of things-which-should-never-happen-in-a-world. His recuperation period is about two months, so any advice (or good wishes)regarding what will essentially be single parenthood is much appreciated. Let me just remind you, that is single parenthood of a very spirited two year old.

Ever since The Dude's hips started to deteriorate he has struggled with this sort of ailment's association with advanced age. It is hard for a guy in his 30s to have the hips of someone twice his age, particularly as he used to be a very active, sporty person. With that said, by extension I'm a bit sensitive about the matter too, so please, no jokes about age-related issues. It's strange how people wouldn't mock a younger person with rheumatoid arthritis, but yet things like dodgy hips seem to be fair game. I don't imagine most people would be thrilled if they had to have two new hips by the age of 40.

Ok, with the serious stuff out of the way, would you like to see the spoils of his surgery? God bless the NHS, as we get TWO free elevated chairs, a raised toilet seat, and something I can only think to call a grabber. Given the age-related fears he has, a raised toilet seat is not his favourite item. I don't think he was thrilled with me when I left it in the building's lobby with our surname emblazoned on it when it was delivered yesterday. It's heavy, and I'm ill! Cough.

The gang, just chilling by the window on a late winter's day.

Raised toilet seat kicking it gangsta style, sporting this season's hottest "plastic wrap chic" look.

Last night I was frightened by a lone chair sitting in the dark, pondering. I was waiting for a disembodied voice to start shrieking at me, and thought I'd stumbled into an abandoned asylum.

Here is the grabber, utilised to do the housework and to fetch my much-needed tissues.

Because no surgery would be complete without a nifty booklet on what to do and not do...

Butt clenching, ahoy! In case you don't know how to clench your "bottom", here are some arrows to show you how. Also, isn't it "glutes"?

Because you've not been through enough with the hip replacement, they're only going to take it from you in the middle of the night anyway, the bastids.

And finally, don't do this after a hip operation. My personal opinion is that if you're doing this at any point, you've got issues.


Music Monday: In Absentia

I see how it is. Two weeks ago, I gave you a challenge, simply asking you to email me some requests for Music Monday, and I didn't receive a single request! How is that possible? I have maybe six, seven readers, surely at least one of you can think of something. With that said, we will have to wait for another couple of weeks for the Reader Request Music Monday theme, and hopefully I'll have something then.

I'll stop being the mean old school marm now. However, I won't be doing a Music Monday today because I am not a well woman. Listening to music and writing about it is going a bit above and beyond my limits right now, as I am likely slowly deteriorating from a deadly sinus infection. As I twittered earlier, I even had a bloody nose, the contents of which promptly went all over my white duvet and the laptop. Awesome. I'm assuming my second period of the month will start presently.

Since my brain is slowly leaking through my nose, I'm going to stick with the superficial today. No deep thoughts here today, since I doubt I could formulate any if I tried. I guess that watching Damages was probably not the best programme to watch on my sickbed, as my head hurts even more now thanks to its serpentine plot developments.

In some of my internet browsing time, I like to look on TMZ's "Where Are They Now?" feature. They find formerly famous people and show you whether time has been kind, or a bitch. I'm a nosy cow, so I enjoy features like this far more than is normal. It makes you realise how unrealistic people are - they completely tear apart celebrities who have not aged well, usually insinuating that plastic surgery should be had to lessen the wrinkles, but then shower others with accolades for not bowing to the evil pressures of surgery. Obviously, you can't win as you age. You get plastic surgery and you've sold out, pandering to the whims of the irrational standard of beauty, but if you don't, people have to point out what a wrinkly old hag you are.

Now that I'm on the wrong side of 30, my perspective on plastic surgery has changed somewhat. Having a baby and seeing how that changes your body so completely has also contributed no doubt. I have big old boobies, and as soon as those things start swinging low sweet chariot, shit's gonna change. I can't stand them as they are now, stupid lumps of fat always getting in my way. The saving grace is that they don't brush my knees, so if that happens, I will be sure to perk them up a bit.

I was talking with an ::ahem:: bloggy ::ahem:: friend the other day (I think you all know who, since I am widely perceived to have one friend), and we were talking about body parts as one ages. Said friend is worried about eye bags and jowls, which, if her assertation about pale people of Scots-Irish and German origin being more prone to such things is true, I am well and truly fucked. I'm not so much on the post-op feline look,so a full-on face lift frightens me. However, if I was looking down the barrel of a droopy face, anything could happen. Thanks ancestors!

As I confessed to this friend, my biggest vanity-related fear is...cankles. Good Lord do I fear the cankles. You know how early experiences frame future perceptions? Well, I had a teacher in fourth grade, Mrs Wetzel, and this woman had the cankleist cankles that ever cankled. She was a young, attractive woman, but sweet baby Jesus, the cankles. When we sat on the floor in front of her for storytime, all I could focus on was the fat ankles. I felt bad that despite her best attempts to be otherwise attractive, she had to lug those things around. She was thin, which to me is the most terrifying aspect of cankledom - you can weigh 100 pounds, but if the Fates of Genetics decide that cankles should be yours, they will be. This is the thought that keeps me awake at night. Added to that, as far as I know there is no plastic surgery for cankles, so if I woke up with them one morning, they would be with me for life. It doesn't bear thinking about.

I know you are a feminist-minded bunch. How does this sit with your views on plastic surgery for women? Do you think your idea of the price of vanity has changed as you've gotten older?


Budding Bibliophile

My girl loves books. Since she was a wee little thing she expressed an interest in them. Books are an important thing to us, and apparently our family and friends as well, as P is the proud owner of at least 75 books. I have cleared her stock a few times to get rid of ones she is now too big for, and yet, she still has loads. Obviously, this is no bad thing.

Now we have reached a point at which she is branching into picture books. My baby is now too old for most board books, having already passed the "too old for cloth books" milestone ages ago. This is great though, since picture books are far more exciting and feature much greater illustrations, generally speaking. I used to work in the kids' section at Borders and often had to wipe drool off of some of the gorgeously illustrated books, I was so in awe of them.

When I say the kid is a reader, or rather, makes me a reader and herself a listener, I'm not kidding. This was tonight's list:

That's 18 books friends. Eighteen. I joked to Molly the other day that I was going to create a Goodreads* account for P. Upon further reflection, I do think it's a good idea. It will be a great way to keep track of what she has read and is currently reading. How very 21st century of us!

In reading these gallons and gallons of books, I've come to notice a disappointing theme - DEATH. These are toddlers for god's sake, do you really need to whip out the "d" word at every opportunity? My kid doesn't even know what that is yet, and I'd like to keep it that way for awhile. You want some proof?:

The book, The Selfish Crocodile

The gist is that this crocodile doesn't want the other animals frolicking in his river, the hateful bastard. Karma gives him a toothache, whereupon all the other animals are getting ready to dance on his grave:

That bird is a biiiitch!

The next, perhaps most depressing book is Gentle Giant Octopus. It was in the Information Books section for kids much older than my own, but she is obsessed with sea creatures and had to have it. Now she dispenses random pieces of octopus-related wisdom throughout the day like, "Octopuses don't have bones!" and "Octopuses have eight legs - called TENTACLES!"

The book focuses on the life journey of a female octopus. The tone of the book is that octopuses are magnificent creatures! They are so unique! Let us show you how! It gets a bit brutal at one point, with the octopus having a tentacle pinched by a crab, and another tentacle TORN OFF by a wolf eel. Quite rightly, P says, "Well, that's not very nice!" when we get to this part of the book. Thankfully the capture of this occasion is not too graphic:

The only problem is, this is all building up to the octopus' inevitable demise upon the birth of her children. Charming.

The picture isn't great, so in case you can't make sense of it, it says, "A gentle Giant Octopus shrinks in the shadows. Her life is over as their lives begin." You know, just a little light nighttime reading for the kids involving parental death! Twitterfolk were talking the other day about Disney films' obsession with the death of protagonists' parents, which apparently extends to (seemingly) harmless kids' books as well.

P also has a copy of "The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly". You don't need photos since I'm sure you know the song from your own childhood. Suffice it to say, each line ends with "Perhaps she'll DIE!" Why not? We're all going to die eventually anyway, so you might as well get used to the concept kiddies!

Perhaps a bit less forward with the concept of death and infirmity is Lucy Goosey -

Lucy Goosey strops because she doesn't want to migrate with her family. Her family pisses off without her, but then her Mum feels guilty and comes back. They have a heart to heart, and everything is honky dory again. They discuss their mutual love and Lucey the kid comes out with this nugget:

I'll transcribe due to my dodgy photography/flash issues -

"Will you always search for me?" asked Lucy Goosey
"Always," said her mother.
"Even when you're old?"
"Even when I'm old."
"When you're very old, said Lucy Goosey, you might lose your way and be scared."
"I might," said her mother

Hi Anne James, author of Lucy Goosey. Why don't you just rip out my heart with your bare hands before you stick the sharpened knife in it?

The other book issue I sometimes struggle with is innocuous language which I have chosen to make perverse. There's a lot more of it out there than you'd think. Ok, maybe I'm just looking for it. Yeah, that's probably more like it. C'mon though, check this out -

The first one is from The Selfish Crocodile, bounty of death and perversity that it is. Remember how the crocodile had a toothache? Well, a mouse comes to the rescue and pulls the bad tooth. Obviously.

There's nothing untoward there you say? The crocodile had a NICE JUICY NUT WAITING FOR HIM! A JUICY NUT.

This tale of nut lust continues...

Not only does the crocodile lure small mice into his mouth with the promise of some of his juicy nuts, but he likes to watch as well. Sick old voyeur.

The next occasion for perversion is a library book we've recently gotten for P - Ebb and Flo and the Sea Monster:

I genuinely have a hard time uttering the words without laughing. Do you think you could?

Again, not a great photo. Ebb, the dog, loves this ball. "Ebb sucked it, and tossed it." I didn't take photos of the rest of the book, but rest assured that Ebb did a lot of sucking and tossing. I don't think "tossing" means anything in the US vernacular, but it does here, hence my enjoyment. Seriously people, sucking and tossing. How could I let that go?

I feel I should say more, because I know if I plumbed the depths of her book collection I could come up with even more death and sex fodder. It's something to look forward to (dread?) for future posts!

*For those who missed my post mentioning my own Goodreads account due to Bloglines' inability to function as a proper feed reader, I'm on there and I want friends. My account is under my "real" email address, so send me an email at my gmail account (barrenalbion at gmail dot com) if you want to be a book BFF.


Music Monday: Run, run, run

Oh, how times have changed. This is my third, count 'em THIRD Music Monday centred around workout music, this coming from a reformed lumpen, inactive complainer. Admittedly, when I did the first one it was all theoretical - I had the music, but not the actual working out.

Not that most of you care, but before I launch into my running playlist that I haven't already covered in previous posts, I'm going to tell you how my running is going. I had a two month break from early December thanks to my mental fragility and overall pervasive shitty feeling, and did not start running again until two and a half weeks ago. Since then, I have been a running machine. Well, for this casual runner anyway. Last Monday I ran my longest distance yet - 8 kilometres. For the non-metric heathens amongst you, that's 5 miles. If I can push myself for an additional 2 kilometres one night, I'll hit my goal of 10K.

Speaking of 10K, I have only gone and registered on an ACTUAL 10K RUN. Help. It takes place in July, which is keenly scheduled right before I leave for the States (aka Location of the Holy Grail Loubs). Now, because the British love charity runs, this one will be for Cancer Research UK. I'm nervous as all hell that I will collapse in a stupid heap of pale flesh and sweat, but I would love it if you could throw a few dollars/pounds in the direction of Cancer Research UK. I've got a widget over in yonder sidebar, so just follow the directions. Yes, non-UK residents can donate, and UK residents, please don't forget to add the whole gift aid thing.

I know it's a big ask in these troubled times and all, but I don't ever ask for anything more than professions of your undying love. Additionally, you have lots and lots of time to save up a few bucks since it doesn't happen until July. I'm going to keep mentioning this over the coming months because of its importance to me, so get used to me yapping in your ear about it.

Ok, you come here for the music, not the boring talk of running. Yawn, I know. As usual, no judgement!

Bootylicious: Destiny's Child

Survivor: Destiny's Child

Bulls on Parade: Rage Against the Machine

God's Gonna Cut You Down: Johnny Cash

Hot N' Cold: Katy Perry

Tambourine: Eve

Womanizer: Britney Spears

Drop It Like It's Hot: Snoop

Break Stuff: Limp Bizkit

Club Foot: Kasabian

I'm open to any new suggestions. My running playlist is quite stale and needs a bit more...action.