Thursday, 28 June 2007

No sex and violence here

Surprisingly enough, I'm a PG blog:

Online Dating

Must be due to my uncharacteristic lack of swearing in blogposts (my cunning plan to make you all think I'm actually not at all a foul-mouthed young madam).

The ultimate gift

Some heart-lifting news at last! Toddler Zoe Chambers today underwent heart transplant surgery. You may have seen or heard Zoe's story at the weekend, when doctors in Newcastle had her placed at the top of the European transplant waiting list, believing she only had a few weeks to live. Even being number one on the waiting list would not necessarily guarantee a match would turn up so soon (or at all), given Zoe's young age and specific needs.

It's truly heartening news and I do hope that baby Zoe recovers well from the operation and that her little body accepts her new heart. But, naturally, happiness for the Chambers family is matched only by grief for the anonymous parents of a small child who has passed away. And they found the courage and humanity to give Zoe another chance at life. Whoever you are, wherever you are, I admire you! I'm praying that your selfless decision to help Zoe, who you don't know and who possibly lives in a country far from yours, gives you some solace at this most difficult time.

These people are an example to us all. Organ donation would appear to be quite a taboo subject, with many people who are registered as donors failing to inform their next of kin about their choice. Ultimately, this can mean their wishes are not respected when something awful happens, as their surviving family refuse to give consent for organ donation. Whatever one's personal views on the matter, we all have a duty to respect the wishes of those we love. I truly hope none of you are ever faced with the decision ... but if you are, remember the chance you have of giving someone else a new life and new hope.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Too much information

I see that the US is still bullying the EU into disclosing air passengers' shoe sizes, favourite flavour of ice cream, and how many vegetables they eat on average every day. It would seem both parties are close to an agreement on sharing data about passengers on US-bound flights. I do understand the security concerns and so on and so forth, but does the US department of homeland security really think terrorists are stupid (well, they are, but bear with me)?

I mean, amongst information they plan to record and keep for 15 years (!) is your email address. If I was a terrorist I wouldn't buy my plane tickets using the same email address that I'd been using to correspond with my fellow terrorists. Would you?

I do think that it smacks of overkill, it is going to inconvenience many perfectly innocent travellers and, yes, I do feel that my privacy is violated by this. I don't understand why the US government needs to know which seat I occupied on board (in most cases, randomly-assigned by the airline anyway).

Pff, I'll probably get flagged up for being some sort of subversive influence now and anyone who reads my blog will be monitored by the CIA for the next 50 years.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Alan Johnston

You may have noticed a recent addition to my sidebar - the Alan Johnston button. Mr. Johnston, the BBC's Gaza correspondent, was abducted on his way home from work on 12 March 2006. His captors today released a film of him wearing an explosives belt.

Mr Johnston's abduction is all the more senseless when one considers that he was the only resident Western journalist in Gaza, deciding to stay on in spite of heightened security risks and when all other correspondents left the territory. He believed that the people of Gaza deserved an impartial media presence to report on stories as they happened and from the region. And because of his integrity he's now being used by an extremist group to attempt to achieve its own dubious ends.

If you too want to express your indignation and your support for Mr Johnston and his family, find out how here.

Are you sure it's June?

The weather recently has been more reminiscent of October than June. The only way you can tell the difference is the late hour at which the sun goes to bed (well, you have to guess at this judging by the relative light of the sky, given that the sun is hidden behind the thick layer of cloud). It's quite depressing.

So I'm feeling a bit cheesed off. Have an unending mountain of work at work. I suppose that'll be why it's called "work". Would rather stay at home with my doggy. Am feeling like a fat little telly tubby. And I can't try to be sporty and go to work on my bike because of this useless weather. Well, I suppose I could but I don't really want to arrive at work completely drenched.

Oh dear, quite a grumpy post this evening. And now it's thundering. I can't quite figure out how that's happening - doesn't there have to be hot air for thunderstorms to form??

Hurumph.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Food porn

My interweb travels lead me to this gallery of foodie heaven. It may induce Masterchef fantasies of the type "oooh, I could do that". In my case, you can't and you should stick to what you know. Still, I can dream and imagine I actually live inside the BBC Food magazine.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

I carried a watermelon

Anyone with any semblance of cinema culture will instantly know what I'm talking about here... What, you don't know? Dirty Dancing of course, which is cult viewing as far as I'm concerned. The other night I decided it had been quite long enough since I'd indulged my sad habit so I stuck it in the DVD player and wallowed in girly nostalgia.

In fact, this film holds a special place in my heart. When I was sixteen I visited Wisconsin, USA on a youth exchange trip. Students from Wisconsin University have the possibility to study one semester in my home town, and from there came the idea that a youth exchange between our town and UW towns could be a good idea. So off we went. I stayed with Jim & Marcy along with my friend Jane. (I'm getting there, hang on.)

One evening Jim & Marcy were invited to their GP's retirement party so Jane and I were home alone. In a big house with a big garden mostly surrounded by corn fields. In the middle of a tornado weather warning. And we, for some unfathomable reason, decided to watch America's Most Wanted on TV. Naturally we worked ourselves into near hysteria, and had to watch Dirty Dancing to calm ourselves down. Later that same week, we bought watermelons at the supermarket. And carried them. :)

It has since become a truly cult film for Jane and me. Brings back many happy memories.

8 random facts - tagged by Miss Despina

I have been tagged by the lovely Miss Despina, so here goes with the random facts:

1. I'm desperately impatient, in particular when people fall asleep at the lights. As in, the light is green, why aren't we going anywhere...

2. I frequently fall asleep with the light on and a book in the bed.

3. I sing loudly and very badly when I'm alone in the car. I avoid singing in all other circumstances.

4. I'm desperately trying to be green.

5. When I was little I wanted to be a fireman, or a pilot, or a vet. I'm not any of these things.

6. My eyes are photosensitive.

7. I have a personal pension plan but I keep forgetting to pay money into it. Oh dear.

8. I'll be 29 and 13 months old at the end of the year.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Drip drip drop

And just to make me feel even cheerier, it rained really really jolly hard last night and we are the proud owners of a leaky roof in the second bedroom. Whoopee.

White collar slave

Back to work today. :|
Don't really like it. I don't know how many messages were in my Inbox this morning after two and a half weeks away. A lot. A big lot. And of course there's always one who hasn't figured out what the Out of Office Reply message means. When you send me a mail and an automatic reply comes back straight away, saying I'm back in work on 20 June and telling you who to contact in my absence, that means I am not in the office and I cannot read your message. So there is no point in sending THREE more messages over the next two days asking for a file that I cannot send to you because I am not in the office and have no knowledge of your file. Sending lots of messages will not make me suddenly appear.

Hmm, sorry for that minor rant, it's just that the whole not understanding the Out of Office Reply thing really bugs me. It's not that difficult a concept, is it? Anyway, there were plenty of other messages from people who knew full well I wasn't there but had nevertheless decided to ensure I wasn't short of stuff to do on my first day back. Hey ho. I suppose it is better than sitting there with nothing to do... Isn't it?

And while I'm having a grouse, amongst the huge pile of paper mail awaiting me (ha ha paperless office), most of which was invoices, was a letter from a supplier we stopped working with at the end of last year. Early this year they emailed to say they had outstanding invoices. A quick check revealed we'd never received them, so we asked the agency to send some duplicatas. They finally came while I was away. And in the bundle was an invoice dated 30 April 2006. Surely that's taking the pee a bit, no? That gives you some idea as to why we don't work with this particular supplier any longer - poor organisation.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Photos

I've cleaned up a few of our "holiday" pics and posted them over on fotothing. If you fancy a look.

Homesick gardener

So today I've been trying to catch up round the house after two weeks away. Most urgently in need of attention was the garden, or the jungle as it could more accurately be described. I succeeded in cutting the grass but it was so long I did it in two gos, allowing drying time in between. Also tried to trim the hedge but I'm too much of a wimp to climb on the ladder so I couldn't do the top (which is where it's really scraggy and overgrown, of course). I rewarded myself for trying at least with some raspberries (yes, the foetus raspberries are all grown up and are quite yum).

After this bout of landscaping activity I took refuge inside. From both the increasing heat and the pollen, which was causing much sneezing (love summer but hate the runny nose). Moped about feeling homesick and dreaming up ways to repatriate to Scotland. None of my ideas are viable. :(

Later Doggy and I went for a walk round the block then we sat in the sun for a bit. But it was hot so we went back inside. I'm feeling homesick but do I really want to go and live in Scotland where it's about 10°C cooler than it is here and I would wager it's probably a good deal wetter too?!

To digress somewhat, a recruitment agency contacted me last week to see if I wanted to apply for a translation project manager position in Luxembourg. The job does look tempting but I don't have the right software skills (Framemaker, Quark Xpress, Trados). I think I will decline. Still, nice to be asked.

Party under the sun and clouds

We just spent the weekend at Hubby's dad's farm in the Sologne region of France (just south of the Loire around Orléans). Saturday he held a family party to celebrate his 60th birthday and our wedding. It was another lovely day and interesting to meet many of Hubby's family. There is quite a strong family resemblance actually it's rather striking. And one of the cousins gave Hubby a book of his family tree. They have managed to trace back to 1609. Fancy that!

We (hubby, parents and I) arrived on Friday early in the afternoon. Immediately got to work blowing up balloons and making them into sort of balloon arrangements and attaching them to the picnic shelter down at the pond (well, it's a small lake really). Unfortunately we lost a few in some heavy rain showers. So we changed tack and just filled the Clio with balloons ready for the next day and last minute decorating.

Once the car was full, the menfolk helped the marquee people to put the marquee up (they only turned up at about 5.30pm!) and Mum and I took Doggy round the farm. Poor Doggy, she unwittingly tested the electric fence round the corn fields (used to keep wild boar from getting in the fields and scoffing the tender corn shoots). She got such a fright I felt so bad for her.

Bro, whom we had expected to arrive for dinner, got stuck in some especially nasty Paris traffic and they finally turned up at gone 11pm. Super nephew was in a good mood though and had been really good on the whole journey (from Selsey to Romorantin!).

Fairly early start on Sat. to lay the tables and empty the balloons from the Clio. Weather looked ominous but in the end the sun shone nearly all afternoon, with only one heavyish shower. Yet again, step-mother-in-law had orchestrated a veritable banquet. She should go into events hosting, I swear. We had giant pike (from the currently-drained pond), two whole legs of ham, various yummy salads and some rather magnificent cakes. The French are quite good at eye-catching cakes.

All in all it was a lovely day and a pleasant weekend. I just wish we could have stayed for longer. Parents and Bro and his hangers on are spending the week at the farm the lucky things. Wish I could have stayed on to enjoy super nephew. Of course, Doggy doesn't reckon much to him. Stumpy little person, she probably thinks! He is quite fascinated by Doggy, but fortunately for Doggy his attention is often quickly distracted. I have plans to teach him to pull the hairs on his dad's legs. :)

Weegie City beckons for Bro

In other news from the last couple of weeks, Bro has been offered a job by JP Morgan, in Glasgow city centre. This fits neatly in with their plans to move through to Wegie City. All they need now is a house. And a buyer for their flat. Of course I'm delighted for Bro and I know that Sis-in-law is excited. I suppose I'll get over my nephew growing up with a weegie accent too!

While we were home Hubby ventured west not once but twice. On Thursday he went with Bro to play BF2 (network game thing) with some of Bro's weegie friends. I think maybe they were from somewhere like Bearsden because Hubby said he understood almost all of what they said. He also joined the Broxburn clan on Sunday to visit their new church. I couldn't go because I was one of the living dead :-/ Again, Hubby reckons he understood most of what people said. Maybe all is not lost. And as some would say, moving from West Lothian to Weegie City can't be that much of a culture shock! :-p

Wedded at last

Time to do some catching up here, but where to begin? We are now back at base camp after two weeks away, first in Scotland then in the Sologne region of France (where hubby's dad lives).

So, Edinburgh... We had a great time but it was a bit of a big rush as usual. The main reason for the trip was Anne and Garry's wedding. Anne and I have been friends since playgroup. Anyone around my age will know what playgroup is and will thus know that means we've known each other since we were about 3½! So I couldn't possibly miss her wedding. Especially as it has been such a long time coming and was postponed from March to allow for the arrival of baby #3! See some pics here. It was a lovely day, warm and sunny and very enjoyable. I was really pleased to see two school friends there too, we'd somewhat lost touch but I am determined not to let their email addresses disappear from my contacts list this time! Hubby and I had such a good time. I had a bit too good of a time and was one of the living dead the next day, but that's another story not to be told here.

S'me! I'm back!

Back from my travels and might do some blogging later. :)