28 May 2007

A Meme? For Me? Shut Up!

I was tagged by my swap partner for the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap (hiya, Welsh Dragon!).

I'd complain, but memes don't bother me. Save for that book one (it's 100 items long and I have no patience for what people will and won't read - it all has some value, even if only to let one know what one doesn't value), I think they can be funny and/or interesting - you learn something new about a person, perhaps about yourself. And besides, when bloggers complain about being tagged I cannot help but scoff. Someone finds you entertaining enough to want to know what you think about x and you get to talk about yourself. Face it, you blog, you like to talk about yourself.

The rules of this are that I am to tag seven other people and have them answers these questions on their blog. I can't bring myself to tag other people with the expectation that they will actually do this. Besides, I only know of one other person who hasn't done this. Oh, wait, I'll tag her!

With that said, here are seven random facts about me:
1. I was born left-handed. The woman who ran the daycare/nursery that my sister and I went to was from the South and thought the left hand was the devil's hand, so she wouldn't let me use it. I didn't know this until I was well into my twenties. When I was in my teens, my father made a comment about it, surprised that I was right-handed. At the time, I thought he was a loon. It was more than 10 years later when my mother told me the truth.

I can paint and eat
with my left hand as well as I do with my right hand, but to this day my hand "stutters" when I write.

2. I always put my left shoe on first. Always. If I put my right shoe on first, I don't feel comfortable and I have to take my shoes off and put them on again, left one first. This does not translate to anything else - pant legs, earrings, nothing - just my shoes.

3. I am famously, tremendously clumsy.

4. I am ├╝ber arachnophobic. ALL spiders give me the heebie-jeebies: those creepy, fire engine-red, almost invisible ones to slow-moving, banana bunch-sleeping tarantulas - they all have the same effect. Someone once asked me what it was about spiders that I didn't like and I replied, "Because they've got eight spindly legs and they always look like they're up to something." And they do, too. They're always skulking about, hiding in corners, lurking in wood piles. I don't like it.

5. I don't drink soft drinks. It wasn't a conscious decision. I just woke up one morning and realized that I didn't like them. In the past 17 years I have probably had five or six soft drinks - and then, only because there was no other drink choice. I make an exception for Coke that is mixed with Lamb's Navy dark rum. I will drink a natural soda (basically juice with some carbonation), but I won't drink a regular, commercial soft drink if I have my druthers.

6. I have rented art.

7. When I sneeze I make a sound like a cartoon mouse. It sounds like I'm taking the piss, when that's really the way I sneeze. It, quite literally, stops people in their tracks. They will invariably smile and then say, "Well, bless you!" in an equally high-pitched, cartoon voice because they think I've done it for laughs. I haven't. Honest.

Bonus fact:
I have steered a crew (as in rowing) boat, a canal boat and an oil tanker. Seriously.

26 May 2007

Swap-Bot Ate My Life


It's Saturday night and I am sitting down and I feel super guilty about it. I feel like I should be down on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor or outside in the dark turning over the soil in the beds in my back garden.

Downstairs, there are craft supplies all over my kitchen and front lounge. I am stumbling over boxes and packs of tissue and those bubble-wrap padded envelopes. My DVR only has 70% capacity left because I've set up program after program to record, but don't get the chance to watch them.

Upstairs, there are two piles of washing waiting for me: one that is desperate to be sorted and laundered and one that wants folding so badly it doesn't want to know what to do with itself. My toothpaste is still not in the medicine cabinet. My hair straignteners have been on the bathroom sink for three weeks. I cannot seem to fill the loo roll holder, so I keep taking them one-by-one from the 12-roll package.

Was that an over-share? Probably, but it illustrates the point. I have not been doing the things I need to do around the house. I don't answer e-mails in any sort of timely manner, I read but take days to respond to PMs and I rarely ever hear the text sound on my phone, so I answer all texts about 12 hours too late.

Why, you ask?

It's effin' Swap-bot, I tell you.

Swap-bot is both my Paradiso and my Inferno. In three weeks I've made 17 Artist Trading Cards, one scarf from Filatura di Crosa's Batuffolo Print and three handmade bookmarks (for which I developed a new design); learned to hand sew so that I could make hearts out of hand-dyed velvet, stuffing and lavender; put together three swap packages of mixed teas and a Tough Times package for a pen pal. I am currently, concurrently, working on four Thank You cards, two postcards covered in adjectives and one easy Wishlist swap.

Like I said, phew.

My neglected house and chores shame me. Now, people who know me know - given the opportunity - that I am, like, Monica Geller neat. I can't start to clean anything before I'm meant to be doing something else because. If I start, it won't be just a quick wipe and a sweep away, I'll end up using a toothbrush to get into the cracks and crevices and I will wear out a roll of those striped towels while using as much EcoSquirt as is environmentally-safe to use (which, considering it's an eco product, is a lot). So you can only imagine how the mess is wearing on me.

But, have no fear, it is slowly getting better. I am actually nearly a week ahead on swaps, I (decadently) vacuumed the floors and the kitchen (at least the floor is clean) and scoured the downstairs loo to within an inch of its life. Thanks to my SIL, my mock orange and aquilegia are in the ground, not in plastic garden centre pots, and there is lobelia instead of bare compost in one of my planters.

I'm getting there.

If I owe you e-mail, I swear I will answer. If I owe you a phone call, it'll probably be later this weekend or over the holiday. If it was a text, I promise you I'll check my phone (as soon as I charge it) and send you a reply (that will more than likely be a two-word reply or the word "okay" before I just end up calling you because it's easier for me than trying to work my cell phone while brain-numb).

Okay, lady, I love you, buh-bye.

I gotta go log into Swap-bot.

24 May 2007

Tumbling Dice

I was all set to post tonight, but I am going to go to bed instead.

This morning, at around 5 A.M., the mistress wanted to be let out and I got up to open the back door for her. I put my foot on the first step and it slipped out from under me. I never got the chance to put my other foot down.

I hit the top step with the better part of my coccyx and then slid - step by stair - to the bottom of the staircase, landing with a goodly thump on the hardwood floor at the bottom, in our front hall.

It seemed like a very long way down and I seemed to slide for a very long time. All I could think to say on my bumpy declension was, "Shit, shit, shit..."

I was able to stand and miraculously, not a thing was broken or sprained. I don't remember hitting my head or my scraping my hands, but now my neck hurts and I have the nagging sensation that usually accompanies carpet burns on both arms and the sides of both hands. My left thumb hurts. My back is stiff and it feels like I have a burn there, too. I cannot get the muscles in my right calf to loosen.

Still, if this is all I have to contend with after that fall, I consider myself lucky indeed.

I knew I wasn't going to die. Nothing flashed before my eyes - no tender moments, no past regrets, nothing - as I travelled. I was very much relieved until I realized that there could be more than one reason for that: either I wasn't going to die so there was no reason to do the highlight reel or I've been wasting my time.

I e-mailed the husband to let him know what happened and he told me to have the great British elixir - a cuppa - with sugar in it to help with the shock. What?! So, there is some basis of truth to Madame Pomfrey recommending chocolate to hurt or seriously scared persons. I sent a second e-mail to ask him that and if sugar would really help. He said, "Yes sugar in tea helps with shock. Put your Hogwarts uniform on then you'll feel better when you have your tea!"

Funny guy.

So, I'm off to bed with a glass of water and the miracle drug that is naproxen sodium.

The cat is outside for the night.

18 May 2007


It's official. I've lived in England for one year.

Did I say the thing about how time flies?

10 May 2007

Alone Again, Naturally

I've been on my own for a full week now. The husband has gone back to sea and it's just me and one wayward cat for the next four months. It's amazing how the time flies.

It's weird, too, because it seems as though the days have just passed and that I haven't done a thing this past week, but that couldn't be less true.

I've made 4 "Pink, pink and more pink" ATCs, 4 "Black & White" ATCs and learned to sew (sort of). I went to a meeting of the Altered Arts club (of which I was the only attending member that day), saw Spiderman, went shopping in Cheshire and Fleetwood, bought new bedding plants, two jasmine plants and a lavatera. I've been to Stitch 'n Bitch, a giant hobby store and the Wray Scarecrow Festival in (unsurprisingly) the small village of Wray.

This time last week, I was having a day of domestic responsibility. I spent almost the entire day going through the finances and bills, making sure that we're on track, adding all of the correct notations to my organizer, making the phone calls that needed to be made.

Honestly, I'd complain save for the fact that, thanks to British Telecom and the invention of the wireless network, I did all of this sitting outside at my table, which looks like this:

on a deliriously glorious day in my back garden, which looks like this:

Ah, and it's only Spring.

It's also hard to believe that in 8 short days, I will have lived in England for a year. 365 days. A whole year.

My, but how the time does fly.