Monday, February 28, 2005

Stop press!

I have bought my wedding dress. [Calm down Mum - not THAT wedding dress.] I have found a dress to wear for CJD's wedding in Texas. MS asked me if it had "Looking for a millionaire oil-tycoon husband" written across it. I told him no. But it is figure hugging and strapless - so as good as. You can see a picture of it here (Top left hand corner - Adriana). Now, do you think I should get the matching shoes?

RE.Construction

A weekend of ups and downs. Or, more accurately, highs and lows. The highs largely centred around the visit of a Reconstructionist Rabbi at my shul. I know what you’re thinking. How can there possibly be a branch of Judaism with the word ‘construction’ in the title? Jews are hardly construction experts. The only time you ever hear Jews talking about construction, with any expertise, is when discussing the ins and outs of knocking down a dividing wall to turn two sitting rooms into one through room. This is how you can tell a Jewish house from its non-Jewish neighbours. Non-Jewish houses all have two rooms. A front room (for watching TV) and a back room (what do they do in the back room?). But Jewish houses all have the dividing wall knocked down to create one long through room. That way, all you have to do is borrow a couple of trestle tables, buy some banqueting roll and hey presto – you’ve got a Simcha suite. Perfect for Sheva Berachot or engagement parties.

The Reconstructionist Rabbi did not explain the meaning of the term Reconstructionist. But she (sic) did set out the basic tenets of the movement’s theology, especially its understanding of God. Reconstructionism does not view God as a supernatural being but as, get this, “The energy that drives man towards Salvation”. Basically, ‘God’ is a process. I don’t have any difficulty with this theologically speaking. In fact, if I’m honest, I don’t actually believe in God at all. I’m a car-crash believer. When things go wrong, I happily scream “Oh God!” like some sort of divine expletive. But otherwise, I’m a fairly Godless person. But it’s a little unsettling to think that, next time I’m hurtling down a mountain in an out of control car, imagining the worst, I’ll have to scream out “Energy that drives man towards Salvation!!”

And the weekend’s lows? P came over to set up her travel blog in anticipation of her trip. She’s going to North America for 3 months, leaving in a few weeks time. And this evening I went out for dinner with L and some others for his farewell party. L is off to South America for 4 months, leaving next week. So it’s going to be a quiet couple of months without them. Although obviously I wish them well. Good luck to them both and God bless. Or should that be ‘Energy that drives man towards Salvation bless”. You see, it just doesn’t have the same ring.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Making a spectacle of myself

I am sitting at work wearing my glasses. I NEVER wear my glasses. Since the day I bought my first pair of contact lenses (over 20 years ago?!) I have been a strictly lens-only girl. I wear my specs for the 5 minutes it takes me to get out of bed, nip to the loo and get to the bathroom to put the lenses in. Then again, for the 5 minutes at night that it takes me to do the same rigmarole, just in reverse.

But today I have come into work wearing my glasses. People are looking at me a little funny. I think they must be trying to work out what's different. And I'm amazed how strange everything looks with specs on. First off, I have forgotten how annoying glasses are. They steamed up the minute I got on the train. Then the rain spattered them. And now, sitting at my desk, I'm very aware that I have absolutely no peripheral vision. If I stare at my screen reading my work emails (okay, surfing amazon and ebay) I can't see anything going on around me. It's actually quite unnerving. And for those who don't know me, let me tell you that my eyesight is terrible. Without my lenses in, I can't see a face a meter away from me. Let alone whose face it is. So to lose all peripheral vision is a bit of a bloody handicap.

However, I am at work in glasses. For the simple reason that my lenses refused point blank to sit in my eyes this morning. I wear daily disposables (for which, read THE best thing since sliced bread) and I never have trouble getting them in. I sleep in them. Swim in them. Everything. But not today. The little buggers just weren't having it and I had to admit defeat.

Truth is, I think my eyes are just too knackered and fancy a rest. Thing is, so do I. I have been sleeping really badly. People who know how bad my eyesight is will probably know why. But I have been advised by my legal team not to go into details here. Nuff said. Anyway, for one reason or another (well, one reason…) I'm not sleeping too well. And I need my sleep. If I don't get my 8 hours I am hell to live with. So when I don't get enough sleep it's a BIG problem. I lie awake worrying (favourite pastime) about not being able to get to sleep. And the longer I lie there worrying the less likely it is I'll fall asleep. So I worry even more. Vicious circle.

After a fortnight of really poor sleep (I now have the bags to match my blue eyes) I decided to do something about it. So I went to Boots yesterday and bought some Nytol Herbal. I thought I'd give it a try. Can't hurt, can it? Turns out, it can. I had an even worse night after taking the Nytol than I did without. They didn't induce a restful night's sleep at all. They induced a fitful night's worry. First of all, I lay in bed worrying whether or not I should take them. Maybe I'll become addicted. Never be able to sleep without them. I'll be like one of those Valium mums who can't ever move house because they're tied to their GP/dealer. I'll become a Nytol addict for the rest of my life. When it's late, and you're tired, and panicking, you lose all sense of proportion. You forget that the likelihood of becoming addicted to Nytol herbal is about the same as becoming addicted to Halib Orange. Eventually though, reason prevails and I decide to bite the bullet. Only they are rather larger than bullets. They are in fact the size of horse tablets. But when you're warm in bed you can't be faffed getting out again to get a glass of water. So I swallowed them neat. The first one slipped down fine. The second lodged itself half way down my throat and just, sort of, sat there. I lay in bed, eyes wide open, panicking that I was going to choke in my sleep. They'll do the post-mortem and find a half digested Nytol Herbal blocking my windpipe. (Is my panic habit becoming clearer?) Anyway, eventually, the bloody thing makes it's way down my windpipe and I can swallow without feeling it scratching against my throat. So I can finally get some sleep.

Suddenly, SHIT! Scrappino has hockey in the morning. Must get to school by 8 am. What if I sleep so well I don't hear the alarm?? Should I make the buzzer louder to make sure? Yes, let's do that. Okay, the buzzer is really loud now. Can't possibly sleep through that. But is it definitely set for the right time? Better check. Okay, alarm is set properly. Calm down. So no worries now. Just lying there nicely. Warm and snuggly. Ready for a good night's sleep. Lovely. No worries.

And actually, bless them, I did sleep really well. Woke up feeling like I'd slept for weeks. Only one problem - my eyes are red raw and sore as. I think they were so rested they just didn't fancy waking up with the rest of me. So they are refusing to accept the lenses. And I've had to come to work in glasses.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

It's snowing

I am at work. Which is actually very suprising. I woke up this morning to find that it had snowed during the night. Don't get excited - it's not going to stick. It was really little more than a light dusting. But that is usually enough to cause the trains to come to a staggering standstill and force me to stay off work for a day or two. Any excuse.

Even more suprisingly, Scrappino's school was not cancelled. Usually, as soon as Michael Fish suggests that there might be soft flurries somewhere in the South East, the PTA volunteers whip themselves into a frenzy of phone calls to call off school the next day. There are five women who divide the school list between them and ring round with the news. It doesn't matter how light the snowfall is. School is cancelled. Apparantly, one of the teachers lives in Elstree so obviously, if it snows, the whole school has to close.

But not this time. Scrappino and friends wrapped themselves up in coats, hats, gloves and wellies and bundled into the yard. Usually, they fight about who hit whom with the snowball and try to make the girls cry by rubbing snowy gloves in their hair. Today, the fights among the kids were more about trying to find enough snow to make a snowball than deciding where to throw it. I stood by the gate and watched Scrappino and his friends make one tiny snowball. It took them over two minutes to collect enough snow. Scrappino held it up over his head to show me, smiling proudly. I told him to put it away. If the teachers catch sight of it, they'll be straight on the phone to the PTA.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Taking stock

I have been trying to gauge opinion among my friends regarding the blog. This is a potentially dangerous thing to do. If you ask for an honest opinion you have to be open to the possibility of an honest response. And it might not be the answer you were expecting.

So I asked L for his thoughts on the blog. “Be honest” I said, gritting my teeth and biting my lip. L asked me why I was pulling stupid faces. So I un-gritted my teeth and stopped biting my lip.

“I like it” says L. “But you might be limiting your audience a bit by focusing on the whole Jewish thing too much”. In other words, L reckons it’s ‘too Jewish’. I am genuinely shocked by this. But a quick re-read of recent posts bears out that L is absolutely right. Turns out, it doesn’t matter how many McDonald Burgers I eat or shopping trips I make on Saturday afternoon, I’m still a lot more Jewish than I realised. My parents would be delighted. Well, the burgers and Saturday shopping notwithstanding.

So, in a bid to make the blog more multi-cultural I decided over the weekend to make a list of major news items and comment on those instead. Steer clear of anything overtly Jewish. Saturday morning – the leading article in the Times covers the rise in anti-Semitism in the UK. Sunday morning – opening debate on Broadcasting House (Radio 4 – what else?) is on Ken Livingstone’s “war criminal” comments. This morning, Today programme discusses whether or not Michael Howard’s father was an illegal immigrant when he came to the UK. His immigration was sponsored by a London synagogue.

What’s a Jewish girl to do? Everybody’s talking about it...

Thursday, February 17, 2005

It's oh so quiet...

It has been a really quiet week. No meetings. No dates. And no phone calls from my parents. (They are on a cruise. Where else?) I commented on this to a colleague. Not that they were on a cruise. That it had been really quiet because I’d not spoken to them all week. She asked me why not speaking to my parents should stand out. “Because I speak to them once a day. Or, at the very least, once every two days”.

She was horrified by this. Turns out, most people do not call, or receive a call from, their parents as often as this. A straw poll of the people in my office revealed an average number of calls to/from one's parents (after the age of 18) is one a month. Once a month?? If I don't call my parents for three days in a row they think I've fallen out. Or married out.

Once, not long after I left home, they phoned me on a Tuesday afternoon but I erased the message by mistake. I went out that evening and came in too late to check the answer machine. By Wednesday morning (less than 24 hours after the initial phone call) they had called the son of a cousin of a colleague of my Dad (who happened to live nearby) to come round to the house to check that I was okay. I was fine. Just very very embarrassed. I mentioned this to my colleague - I thought it might serve as some kind of explanation. But she merely asked me how on earth my parents knew that the son of a cousin of a colleague lived nearby. Needless to say, my colleague is not Jewish.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Half term super-heroes

I had the day off work today. It is Scrappino's half term holiday. Remember when you were statutorily forced by the state to have a holiday every 6 weeks? And to have over a month's holiday in the summer? Happy days….

So, it's half term and I am frantically searching for 'stuff' to do with Scrappino. When we were kids, we just, sort of, played. We'd wake up on half term morning, 'play' til lunchtime, then 'play' til tea time, then 'play' til bedtime. Except on the last day of the holiday when we would suddenly remember at 5.30 p.m. that we hadn't done our holiday homework. And mum would have to calm us down and sit for hours while we fidgeted and she cut out pictures of mountains or whatever for our half-term project. But mainly, we just played. Mum didn't arrange a series of activities for us. Her only holiday plan was telling us to 'Go outside'.

It's not like that any more. Kids don't just play. They have to have activities. Everything has to be arranged. There has to be a trip to soft-play followed by the park. Or a visit to the museum followed by a film. Of course, they do occasionally just play with their friends - but even that is called a 'playdate'. It's true. Our children are 'dating'. A terrifying thought.

I've made a short holiday itinerary and we are working our way through it. This morning Scrappino and I went to see The Incredibles. It's the latest computer animated feature film and tells the story of a super-hero dad and his super-hero family who have to live a normal life because super-heroism has been outlawed. A clever idea - and the animation was terrific.

Sitting next to me watching the film was an obviously-divorced Dad (you can always spot them) with his 7-ish year old boy. I had to smile at the thought of him watching a film about a father trying to prove how much he loves his kids by dressing up in superhero-outfit, scaling tall buildings and complaining about his wife's views on parenting. I bet they have sponsored screenings at Fathers4Justice HQ. Maybe he thought it was a documentary?

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day

I have just written a stiff email to the chairman of the Post Office. The service they provide is, frankly, shocking. NONE of my valentines day cards arrived this morning! Not one! I blame privatisation. And stretch marks. Meanwhile a colleague tells me she had to physically remove her draft excluder strip from the bottom of her front door because she wasn't able to open the door for the mountain of red envelopes. Typical.

Still, I'm not going to despair just yet. It's not over til the fat lady sings. Or, in my case, buys a family box of quality street and an M&S dinner for one.

If you're in love this morning, enjoy!

Friday, February 11, 2005

It's gonna cost us...

So Charles and Camilla are getting married. MazalTov! But the wedding is in over two months time and I'm already sick of hearing about it. You just can't get away from it this morning. It was first news item on the Today programme, the only news item on GMTV. It was blazoned across every single newspaper on the newstand - even (especially?) the Times.

I buy the Times every day from Annie in my local station kiosk (hello Annie). She always offers a few free words of wisdom with the paper. Today's words were 'disgrace', 'tax-payers money' and 'self-indulgent emotional cripple'. She is convinced that we will end up having to pay for the wedding. And I don't ever dare argue with Annie.

I had to turn to page 15 (15?!) of the Times before I reached the other news items of the day. Ordinarily, of course, I don't actually read any of the news items in the Times. I occasionally read part of T2, but never the main newspaper itself. Why? Two words - Su Doku. It's a ridiculously addictive number puzzle that is published every day in the Times. It really is the only reason for buying the paper. It is also very addictive. Ignore what you've heard or seen about Pete Doherty's heroin habit. That's nothing compared to my Su Doku habit.

The puzzle is published in increasing degrees of difficulty as the week progresses: easy on monday, mild on wednesday, fiendish on friday etc. I have mastered easy-mild-medium-difficult. So that's Monday through Thursday sorted. But Friday is fiendish and it's beyond me. I've tried a couple of times, but it's just too frustrating. And commuting into London from the sticks every day is aggravating enough without torturing myself with impossible number puzzles.

So, being Friday, I read the paper. Well, I didn't really read it. I sort of loudly and visibly turned the pages and tutted in obvious disgust. How can you possibly write 14 pages of newsprint on Charles and Camilla?? And it's not just the papers who have gone mad. Sitting at my desk this morning, I have had to avoid the BBC website because guess what? That's also gone into forelock tugging overdrive. So I trawl through my 'on line favourites' and end up at Amazon. Where else? Sometimes I think I should arrange for my wages to be paid straight to Amazon via direct debit. After 25 minutes browsing, I am now £35.48 poorer. Looks like Annie is right. This wedding has already cost me...

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

We're S.H.O.P.P.I.N.G

I have been shopping for clothes to wear for the wedding in Texas. I normally love shopping. Not today. First of all, I have to buy four different outfits, which sounds nice in theory but in practice is an absolute bloody nightmare. I need a ‘smart casual’ outfit for Friday Night Dinner, a ‘casual’ outfit for Shabbat service/lunch, an ‘evening wear’ outfit for the Rehearsal dinner, and a ‘formal’ outfit for the wedding. All fairly straightforward you might think.

But then you have to bear in mind that although the wedding is ‘formal’, it’s taking place at 11 a.m., so you can’t wear an ‘Oscars’ dress (evening if you can fit into one). Meanwhile, the Rehearsal dinner is at 8 pm, so perfect for a floor length dress but actually needs to be less dressy than the wedding. The ‘smart casual’ outfit for Friday night dinner needs to be smart but not too ‘office wear’. And the outfit for the Shabbat service (“no hats – trousers permissible”) is complicated by my tallit, which has grey and maroon stripes. They seemed like a good idea at the time, but there’s nothing worse than sitting in shul worrying that your tallit clashes with your shoes. (I know a woman who has a matching tallit for every outfit she owns. It sort of beats the object and possibly blows wind in the sails of the United Synagogue. But you have to admire her style). Anyway, I digress. Where were we? Oh yes, Brent Cross.

So, I’m wandering up and down the concourse in Brent Cross with a (very) vague idea of what I want to buy. This is compounded by the fact that I am a different size in every shop. The various members of staff explain this by pointing out that ‘we go by American sizes’ or ‘our clothes are cut very generously’ but it’s all very unnerving to the casual shopper. In the space of four shops I go from a 6 to a 12 to a 34.

The shop assistants in John Lewis eventually realise they’ve got a live one, and deign to offer some casual assistance (in a very similar manner to that scene in Pretty Woman. Only I’ve yet to buy something fabulous and tell them they’ve made a ‘big mistake. Huge’). They ask what I’m looking for and I mumble something about ‘wedding…texas….posh…dressy…casual…smart…tallit’ and they stare at me as though I don’t know what I’m doing or what I want. Which of course I don’t.

Every time I see something I vaguely like, I have to do a mental calculation – ‘great for the wedding but no good for the rehearsal dinner’ or ‘if I wear the grey for the Friday night I can’t wear the red for the Shabbat lunch’. Every outfit hinges on every other and I can’t run the risk of buying anything, even something that’s fabulous, just in case it upsets the whole smart/casual/dressy balance. Eventually of course I realise that what I want is a personal shopper who will be able to present me with a whole wedding weekend wardrobe without my having to wander aimlessly up and down the mall. But that’s not going to happen.

The nearest I get is some overly friendly assistants in Monsoon who tell me I look ‘fabulous’ in everything I try on, when I clearly bloody don’t. I know this because the mirrors in the changing room never lie. They are brutally, grotesquely honest. The assistants, on the other hand, are not. I tested them just to see. I tried on a pale pink (NOT my colour), A-line (makes me look like a rhomboid) V-neck (does nothing for me) taffeta dress. ‘Fabulous’ says one assistant. ‘Gorgeous’ says another. ‘Liars’ says me, and I leave the shop. I know they work on commission but frankly that’s just ridiculous.

I try Top Shop – well, you never know. But the place just makes me feel middle aged. It’s full of teenage shoppers, all of them Sienna Whatsername look alikes in turned up jeans, boots with pom poms and brown corduroy jackets. And the staff?? They’re all dressed like extras from ‘Rita and Sue and Bob, too’.

So I make a sharp exit, by this time rather frantically trying to find anything that vaguely resembles a glamourous party dress. I find myself muttering under my breath, “what would Trinny do?” like some meditative mantra and I catch myself weighing up the pros and cons of various dresses on the basis of Susanna’s rules.

In total, I visited 12 stores, tried on 18 different dresses, was lied to by 3 shop assistants, ignored by 4 and patronised by 2, and made a grand total of 3 purchases – a cup of coffee, a can of coke and a packet of neurofen.

Guess where I’m going next Sunday…..

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Q and A

I have a confession to make. I went to a supper quiz on Sunday night. A charity do for some youth group or other. And it doesn't end there. This was the second supper quiz I attended this month. The last one was a fundraiser for a local hospital. My friends are (rightly) horrified by this downturn in my street cred. And let's face it, I had little to start with.

The thing is, a supper quiz is one of the only places you go to where you really appreciate being single. You don't have a frustrated partner poking your arm mid-question and whispering (often too loudly) "Oh, I know this". Or worse, pointing the finger of blame when the answers are announced and screaming "I told you it was Italy! Why did you insist on putting Spain!?"

But there is a certain set of givens with a supper quiz. Some of which are:

1. The person who is writing the answers down has to confer with the rest of the team before he commits to a particular answer. Even if he knows full well what the answer is. And if he knows what the answer is and the team don't - he's got trouble. You try convincing a bunch of people, blouted on supper quiz food, that the capital of Peru is in fact Lima and not Chile. He has to go through the charade of asking the rest of the team before he writes down every answer or he risks being sacked.

2. As a result of rule #1. the person writing the answers has to say, at least once every round, "does anyone else want to write?", or "I'm not the captain, we're all equals in this team" etc. until it drives you mad.

3. There is always a moment during the quiz when you know the answer is x while the rest of the team thinks it's y. But you don't want to press the point too heavily just in case you're wrong (though you know you're not). You don't want to run the risk of being wrong and the whole team groaning loudly when the answers are read out. So you either mumble the answer quietly or don't bother speaking up.

4. As a result of rule #4. there is always someone who says, in very accusing tone, "I told you it was Lima" and then sulks for the rest of the evening. This is compounded when the results come in you never hear the end of it. "How was the quiz?" - "Fine. We came second. Lost by one point. We'd have won if they'd bloody listened to me about Lima!"

5. The names of the rounds have nothing to do with the content of the questions. So the 'If music be the food of love' round is never about music, or food or love. It'll be about quotations, or shakespeare or furniture.

6. There is always one team who takes it all far far too seriously. It's usually a men-only team. They challenge every answer. Then demand a recount. They ask their long suffering wives (who have cleverly stayed at home) to fax over a copy of the map of Burma, or page 247 of 'A History of British Pop Music' or this week's issue of the JC. And you overhear them using the words 'farce' or 'fiasco' on your way out.

7. Every team has a player who knows all the answers after they've been read out. Each correct answer is followed by a muttered "yes" or "I knew that one" or "I thought so". When the questions are being read out, this person doesn't say a bloody word. But afterwards, they score 100%.

8. The members of the team must fall out at least 3 times during the evening. An argument has to break out over a) when to play the joker, b) whether the quality of the food justifies the price of the ticket and c) whether it's fair that there are other teams with more players.

9. On the way out of the quiz you realise that actually you're not as clever as you thought you were and that there are gaping holes in your general knowledge. And you quietly resolve never to attend another quiz.

10. Within a few weeks of making your resolution, you've bought a ticket to the PTA supper quiz. Bring it on.


Monday, February 07, 2005

I-pod watch - update

It's a few days since I last wrote. Don't get excited - this is not a sign that I've been enjoying a frantic sweep of activity. On the contrary - I didn't think you'd be at all interested in my work;sleep;tesco;tv routine.

Having said that, I thought I'd quickly touch base; i-pod watch today was ridiculous. A total of 34 i-pods spotted between my front door and the office building. There are pros and cons to this. The upside is that i-pods are clearly a lot less rare than I thought (so much for my attempt to be cutting edge and hip). This means that I am now less likely to be mugged for my i-pod than I imagined. But this has not stopped me worrying (my favourite pastime). I am now concerned that if I am mugged the thief will look at the tracks I've downloaded and think I've got rubbish taste in music. How humiliating.

I will have to tell you about my weekend later on today (work beckons now). But I'll leave you with this thought that struck me this morning. Reading about the Michael Jackson circus I saw the following quote "I've become immune in a way, too. I have rhinocerous skin, but at the same time I'm human." Ah, that explains the face then. It's the rhino skin. And we thought it was just a botched plastic surgery job.

Laters.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Childbirth is a pain in the....

So I received an email today from an old school friend – Ajay – who tells me that his wife has given birth to a healthy baby girl. 7lb 3 oz – mother and baby are doing fine. All very nice you might think. Except the medical details didn’t end there. For some reason Ajay saw fit to tell me (and the 100+ other multiple recipients of his round robbin email) that labour began at home with mild contractions, that the baby was born in the pool of the local birthing centre and that his wife delivered her as-yet-unnamed daughter without the assistance of any pain relief.

It was the first message I read when I got to the office and I was half way through eating an egg muffin. Lesson of the day: Do not eat a hot egg muffin while reading about the ins and outs of someone else’s obstetric experiences. You lose all appetite and the yolk ends up running down your shirt. Not a great look.

And why tell us that she gave birth without the assistance of any pain relief? What is there to boast about?? Why would you go through the most painful procedure known to (wo)man without pain relief? Can you imagine a man doing this? Have you ever heard of a bloke who opts to have his tonsils out without anaesthetic? And yet somehow, we women have convinced ourselves that the truest experience of childbirth has to be pain-relief-free. Why? When did childbirth become a competitive sport? Have these wimmin any notion of how it makes the rest of us lesser mortals feel? I have spoken to so many new mothers who feel that they’ve let themselves or (worse) their babies down by relying on gas and air, or pethidin, or – god-forbid – an epidural. And as for anyone who’s had a caesarean. They’re made to feel like utter failures.

Childbirth is painful. You spend hours looking rubbish, in a room that smells of dettol and feeling like you’re being ripped apart by a red-hot machete. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. And anything that alleviates the pain has to be a good thing. Convincing women that childbirth is actually a beautiful experience that would be ruined by pain-relief is, at best, inaccurate and, at worst, cruel. Pain relief does not make you a bad mother and does not affect how well you bond with your child. Raising pregnant women’s expectations about their birth experiences only serves to make them feel disappointed when the reality proves to be very different. And it causes them to waste precious emotions that should be showered on their new baby. So bring on the pethidin, the gas and air, and the epidural needle. I’m having all three next time.

And don’t even get me started on the birth pool! Where were these people when we learned the difference between land mammals and amphibians??

Okay. Rant over. I’m off to wish Ajay congratulations on the birth of his baby daughter. And ask him how the placenta tasted.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Angels and I-pods

Does this ever happen to you? You read a word for the first time and look it up because you don't know what it means. Then, in the next week, you come across the same word five times? Or somebody tells you about a place you've never heard of or a film you've never seen. And then for the next month you see references to that place or film everywhere you go? It happens to me all the time.

Apparantly there is a Kabbalistic idea that the angels sprinkle a new idea into your head which, until then, you were completely blind to. It's not that the word or place or film wasn't there. It's just that you didn't see it. I don't know if this really is a Kabbalistic idea or not. We'd have to ask Madge. Personally, I'm not really a fan of Kabbala. To be honest, I think it's all Kabbollox. And I'm not sure what it actually means to say "the angels sprinkle an idea." I live by the maxim that if you can't see it or draw it it probably doesn't exist. And since you can't draw an idea being sprinkled I'm going to remain sceptical.

For all that, I do find myself constantly seeing things for the first time and then subsequently being bombarded with the same image over and over. Today, it's been ipods. I bought one this week - I think I told you. And this morning, on the tube, I saw hundreds of people wearing those white tell-tale ipod earphones. I counted 19 on the platform, 7 in the carriage and 4 as I was walking from the station to the office. A total of 30 altogether. The day before I bought my ipod, I don't recall seeing any at all.

So I'm going to count how many ipods I see on the way home today. Let's call it 'pod watch'. If anyone beats my record of 30, let me know.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Congratulations, y'all

Did I tell you I'm going to Texas? CJD (they really are his initials - I'm not suggesting he's a mad cow) is getting married. I thought long and hard about whether to go or not. It's a helluva long way. And a bloody expensive time of year to travel (Easter weekend). But at the end of the day, he's one of my closest friends. And I'm not sure I'll be 100% convinced that he's actually married unless I witness it with my own eyes.

So I've booked the tickets - economy class. I'm beginning to think it might be a mistake to travel for 10 hours non-stop three-passengers-abreast in an upright position. It's just asking for DVT. I think I might turn up at check-in early, dressed to the nines and try to wangle an upgrade. Apparently they offer most of the upgrades to female passengers traveling alone. And there has to be some advantage to being a single female, doesn't there?

It'll be a fleeting visit. Travel out on Friday and return on Monday on the night flight. But my God they cram in a lot in between. Friday night dinner, Shabbat morning service (at which I'm leyning - talk about a busmans holiday!), Rehearsal dinner on Saturday night and then the wedding itself on Sunday. There won't be time to visit the Ewing ranch or [insert place in Texas worth visiting - I can't think of any]. I'll be too busy eating roast chicken and toasting the "happy couple" (why do people insist on calling the bride and groom "the happy couple"?) to do any sight seeing.

And if all that is not scary enough, I've been asked to emcee the rehearsal dinner. That's emcee - not MC - I'm not really the "BIG IT UP" type. The rehearsal dinner is a new phenomenon to me. Apparently they're very common in the States. It's not a rehearsal at all. It's a full on dinner with a band and dancing and the emcee has to introduce a series of songs/poems/sketches all in honour of the happy couple. And each little introduction has to be funny. The problem is that the audience will be a mixture of Americans and Brits. It's very hard to make both groups laugh because we each put very different things in our comedy. For example, we Brits tend to put humour in ours. But I'm sure I'll find something to say. And it's an honour to be asked to participate in their big day. So, if they're listening, congratulations (or, as my Mum would say, a hearty mazaltov) to CJD and FM on your impending wedding. I hope that you will be as happy as I thought I'd be….

I-pod angst

Feeling very groggy and bleary eyed today. I was up til gone midnight last night importing my cd collection onto my laptop to transfer to my new, beautiful, ipod. It really is a thing of beauty. I brought it home and just sat on the sofa for ages, stroking it. It's the little things in life, isn't it? Scrappino looked at me like I was mad. I debated for ages in John Lewis on whether to get the mini or the regular. In the end I decided (okay, the chap in the store convinced me) to opt for the regular. Then I had to decide whether to go for the 5,000 songs or the 10,000. Yep, you guessed it. 10,000 songs it is. By 12.13 am yesterday I'd transferred 145 songs. So I still have room for 9855 more. Are there 9855 more songs?? If I listen to all 10,000 songs how old will I be by the end? I reckon by the time I get to the end of the listing my taste will have completely changed and I won't want to go back to the beginning anyway.

I listened to the first few tracks I'd transferred on the way into work. But I was convinced someone was going to mug me (those white earphone leads are so bloody obvious). I stared at all my fellow passengers in turn, giving them shifty glances for the entirety of my journey in. I'd worked up a sweat by the time I got to work. I even worried that someone would lift it while I nipped to the loo. And I only needed the toilet because I'd spent the morning panicking nervously about becoming a London crime statistic. They don't tell you that on the apple website do they?