Can I have that?

It's time. I've sat on my Flo stories from our US trip for a few weeks now, and it's patently unfair to deprive you all of their magnificence.

I really cannot be arsed to find the old links with all the tales of Flo and my odd family, but there is a label for this post, and momentarily I'm going to go back and label all my family-related posts as something dazzlingly creative - "FAMILY". I have a reader base of about 12 and a half people, all of whom know the ins and outs of my family dynamics, so if you've stumbled here after googling "What does IVF mean?" or "first comes love, then comes marriage" (the two most popular searches leading here), please check out some of those links - I promise you won't be disappointed.

Would you believe that though I only saw Flo and her gentleman caller once during our nearly month-long trip, that I have stories to tell? I'm cheating a bit, as one happened after we left, but it's too good to leave out.

Flo was, as one would expect, invited to P's American birthday party. We had quite a few guests, so I didn't have an opportunity to spend much time with any one person - a blessing not so disguised. Flo was inoffensive for most of the occasion, that is, until she told my brother that he should abandon his girlfriend at the party and mingle a bit more. The woman's physical composition is surely at least 80% narcotics, so I don't know why we are ever surprised at her lack of tact. My brother's girlfriend, T, is new to our family events, poor soul, so it would have been desperately unfair to leave her drowning in the sea of abject insanity that is my family.

I think that had she said it in a joking tone with no intent to offend, you would be under the impression that it's just a passive aggressive comment and move on. However, Flo does not mince words. The passage of time has dulled my memory of what I was told of this event and thus I will paraphrase, but roughly she said to my brother quite pissily, "You hardly ever see your family. Maybe you should stop hanging out with T so much and go talk to them." Ahhh...you gotta love her.

Flo wasn't done with T yet. Flo's creepy ass, most-likely-Asperger's "friend" has an odd preoccupation with what T eats and how she exercises in order to maintain her nice figure. Flo caught wind of this conversation, which has also taken place at another gathering, and by all accounts was really giving T the old hairy eyeball. You know, because T, an attractive 26 year old, secretly wants to get with a guy in his late 50s who wears glasses like this:

Hats like this (unironically, I might add):

...and his tube socks pulled up to his knees - likely wearing sandals as well. Who wouldn't want that??

When it was time for her to leave, Flo asked my Mom if she could have a "little bit" of food. Obviously she wasn't going to leave without asking to take something with her, which I suppose is better than just assuming an item like she usually does. This time, a "little bit" translated to most of the cold cuts (Central PA loves their lunch meat - holla!) and a vat full of fruit salad. We weren't quite aware of the large amount of missing meat until we tried to make some sandwiches later that evening. My brother was livid, because there isn't much that boy likes more than his food.

Fast forward a few weeks - I'm on the phone with my Mom. Flo had just been down for a visit, and they had an uneventful and rather brief visit. My Mom just found out she won a gift basket from a local business, and when she returned from collecting it she was showing it off to Flo. Rather than sharing in her excitement, Flo just looked at the basket wide-eyed and said, "What can I have?" The woman is in her mid 50s; even P wouldn't presume an item from someone else's presents could be hers, and she's a dictatorial three year old.

I despair of Flo, but goddamnit if she doesn't make trips to the US more entertaining.


Music Monday: Loves Music, Loves to Dance

I guess that since I'm kind of a mother who blogs I should, at times, blog about my kid. I have one you know. She's three. Yep. She thinks she's 15, but I'm pretty sure I didn't have her when I was 16, so I'm confident she is in fact three years old. The line, "No, you didn't offer a choice!" when told to choose between not shouting (keeping recently purchased Peppa Pig DVD)/shouting (returning the Peppa Pig DVD) is not something which usually slides off the lips of a three year old.

My kid loooooves music, and cuts a rug at every given opportunity. The music-listening I attribute to me, the dancing, to her grandmother (god help us). Unfortunately she seems to have her father's taste in music, with slight mother-influenced picks here and there. I decided the other day that now that she's three, it's high time I made her her very first mix cd. I felt like Rob Fleming/Gordon until I actually started adding the tripe to the CD to burn. Then I just felt cheap and dirty. I managed to squeeze some of "my" music in there which will hopefully redress the balance.

Regardless, it's not about me. I'm all for P listening to grown-up music, and much as it pained me and made me feel a bit Tipper Gore, I even got the clean versions of the songs. Oy, it has come to this.

P invites you to get down at your computers at the tunes she loves. That, or turn your speakers off and pry your eardrums out with skewers. Either or, really.

Track 1: L.E.S. Artistes: Santogold

Track 2: Dancing Queen: Abba (I'm more of the Priscilla Queen of the Desert, "NO MORE FUCKING ABBA!" line of thinking, but what the kid wants, the kid gets)

Track 3: Bulletproof: La Roux (or in P parlance, "Hoolaypoof")

Track 4: Hollaback Girl: Gwen Stefani

Track 5: Hips Don't Lie: Shakira

Track 6: Ring of Fire: Johnny Cash (aside from occasional confusion regarding who is Obama and who is Johnny Cash, she generally knows who JC is)

Track 7: I Kissed a Girl: Katy Perry (I hate myself for this one - bisexuality as a gimmick drives me mad)

Track 8: In For the Kill: La Roux

Track 9: Beautiful Dirty Rich: Lady GaGa

Track 10: Boys Boys Boys: Lady GaGa

Track 11: Paparazzi: Lady GaGa

Track 12: LDN: Lily Allen

Track 13: Mamma Mia: Abba (I had to put this on her CD so she learns more lyrics than the "Mamma Mia, here we go uh-gain, my my dah dah dah dah dah dah" and repeat)

Track 14: Mama Do: Pixie Lott

Track 15: Furry Happy Monsters: REM

Track 16: Umbrella: Rihanna

Track 17: So What: Pink

Track 18: Lollipop: The Chordettes

Track 19: You Are My Sunshine: Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan

Do your kids listen to kid-specific music, or are there other heathens like me out there that largely shun such things in favour of music of the parents/radio?



I am back on the soil of Albion, as bloated as a goose fattened for Christmas. I ran once in my trip to the US and ate copious amounts of junk food, so I suppose this is my comeuppance for lethargy.

Jumping from excess to books, perhaps not seamlessly, I'm going to rabbit on a bit about what I've been reading. As you may know, I got a Kindle for my birthday. I stroke it lovingly every evening, whisper sweet nothings into its USB access port, and write it tender poetry every fortnight. It's a marvel of modern invention and I might make it an honorary second child.

My mind is awash with the many possibilities of what can be put on this thing, and I was initially unsure what to make my first official purchase. However, I am easily swayed and bow very easily to peer pressure, and young Molly had been talking favourably about Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series for some time. Neither one of us are fans of the romance genre, but as the series is also classified as historical fiction, we have assumed this umbrella instead, choosing to assiduously ignore the dreaded "r" word.

Let me just tell you - I couldn't get enough of the first book (Outlander) in this series. Despite being jet-lagged, forced into going back to work within 24 hours of my return from a month-long trip to the US, an at-times needy husband, and a demanding, tyrannical toddler, I read this book in less than a week. This book is nearly 700 pages long friends. That's some heavy reading for a flighty, ADD-addled person like me.

I admit, there are some cheesy as hell sex scenes. To wit:

"'Aye, Sassenach,' he muttered, answering my movements rather than my words. 'Ride ye I will!' His hands dropped to my breasts, squeezing and stroking, then slid down my sides. his whole weight rested on me now as he cupped and raised me for still greater penetration. I screamed then and he stopped my mouth with his, not a kiss, but another attack, forcing my mouth open, bruising my lips and rasping my face with bearded stubble. He thrust harder and faster, as though he would force my soul as he forced my body. In body or soul, somewhere he struck a spark, and an answering fury of passion and need sprang from the ashes of surrender. I arched upward to meet him, blow for blow. I bit his lip and tasted blood.

I felt his teeth then on my neck and dug my nails into his back. I raked him from nape to buttocks, spurring him to rear and scream in his turn. We savaged each other in desperate need, biting and clawing, trying to draw blood, trying each to pull the other into ourselves, tearing each other's flesh in the consuming desire to be one. My cry mingled with his, and we lost ourselves finally in each other in that last moment of dissolution and completion."

In Gabaldon's defense, can a sex scene in a non-erotic novel be written well sans "thrusting" and "savaging"? There is no "throbbing" in this passage, but I'm sure it's around somewhere.

Now I'm trying NOT to buy the second book in the series right away, because that's surely lame, right? Molly and I are book snobs perhaps, but seriously, it's hard to admit you really enjoy a book whose first edition cover was this:

It looks like one of my Mom's beach romance books from the early 90s; books that she fondly referred to as "crotch novels". That's one classy broad right there.

I have some works more appropriate for a book snob on my Kindle - Anna Karenina, The Early Stories: 1953-1975 (Updike), Jane Eyre, Native Son, Pride and Prejudice, Sister Carrie, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and a number of books obtained from what might be the best e-book website ever - http://manybooks.net/ . I've gone majorly nerd overboard there and I don't even want to visit there now as I know I won't go to bed until at least 3am if I do.

What are you reading? What do you want to read? If you have some written guilty pleasures, what are they? This isn't a pathetic appeal for comments, I want to know. Well, that, and I miss you. Not having a regular line to tweets and blogs for over a month has made me all wistful and what not. So, what say you?

*UPDATE*: Because I need more books like I need my left ovary to be more posterior, I stopped by my favourite charity shop today and bought four more bloody books. Oops. For the princely sum of £7.50 ($12.40) I now have "World Without End" by Ken Follett, "The Shipping News" by Annie Proulx, "The Edible Woman" by Margaret Atwood, and...and...er, "Lord John and the Private Matter" by one Diana Gabaldon. God help me.



I usually stay a safe distance from Facebook quizzes*, as they are often riddled with spelling and grammatical errors along with a penchant for grade school-like phrasing.  I don't really need to know what Sex and the City character (Miranda) I am anyway.  However, I noticed my Cheese Hand did a political quiz and I just had to have a go.

I have an abject fear of doing quizzes like this and finding out that I'm much more right than originally thought.  I dissect the questions to ensure I'm answering them properly, because seeing a graph with a red dot lingering perilously close to "Neocon" would no doubt trigger a brain aneurysm or other striking brain bleed.  Thankfully, I scored quite left, notably in social and cultural issues - who knew?

The purpose of this is not to flaunt my liberalism to gain hipster cred; that's what my Johnny Cash middle-finger-at-San-Quentin t-shirt does for me.  I'm just concerned that Neo-Con Pru is right around the chronological corner.  My Mom is an ex-hippie, those who know my real name would have some indication of this.  Somehow, over the past few years particularly, she has become increasingly conservative despite erroneously believing that she remains very liberal.  

Mom is retired, but works as an educational consultant for developmentally delayed children.  One of her clients is a little boy with a less than ideal home situation - his mother is mentally disabled, a drug addict, and rather keen on pregnancies.  Lots of pregnancies.  She's 21 and has been pregnant five times.  The house is apparently a complete mess, with roaches scurrying up the wall and floors sticky with unknown substances.  I think it's evident that children should not grow up in such an environment, but my Mom seems to believe that as someone hired to help this child with his developmental issues, she should also act as a social worker - she has actually told the mother that she should "keep her legs closed."  

I always confess to being less sympathetic to poor (as in quality, not financial circumstances) parents who manage to reproduce successfully numerous times despite not being in an ideal position to do so - it's my job as a recovering infertile.  The difference between my Mom and me is that I would never, under any circumstances, actually TELL the offending person this.  Being all liberal and shit, I acknowledge that it's not my responsibility to tell anyone how to live their lives.  Aside from professional boundaries overstepped, I can't believe she has justified to herself that it's ok to pass her own views so strongly on this woman.

Within this discussion, she mentioned that some people (presumably women) should be forcibly sterilised, thus eliminating the possibility that so many people will become rubbish parents.  I couldn't quite tell if she was exaggerating, but I don't doubt that she wasn't.  Not long after she trotted out tired cliche of "People need a license to drive a car.  You even need a license to fish!  Somehow, you don't need a license to PARENT!"  Goodness.  I suppose she has at least contributed to the assembling of some meaningless phrases for the inevitable weekly Letter to the Editor submissions she will be writing in a couple years' time.  

After presenting her case to The Dude and me, she remained convinced that she is in fact, "really liberal."  I happen to think that this is simply in relation to the population around here, which isn't saying much.  My Mom believes herself to be liberal due in part to her presence at PrideFest a couple of weeks ago.  She, in her words, has "no problem" with homosexuality, so the gay population of the world should release a big sigh of relief there.  It's so magnanimous of her, I know.  Speaking of her abiding liberalism, I bet even some of her best friends are black!

I feel horrid picking on my Mom as it's just another one of her eye-rolling idiosyncrasies, but I can't help feeling this is my future.  Are the liberal among us staring down the barrel at impending conservatism?  Am I a mere two decades away from ranting about how most women just use abortion as a method of birth control?  Will I take a quiz on the '29 version of a social networking site which firmly allies me with neocons?

*My real-life exists on FB, so any of you blogging types who know me there - please don't mention this little place!