Thursday, December 30, 2004


Unthinkable, unimaginable. Don't know what to say but can't let it go unsaid.

  • SEA-EAT blog - The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami blog: News and information about resources, aid, donations and volunteer efforts.

  • Scenes from a disaster - blog entries from some of the worst hit areas

  • how to help - links to aid agencies, to make donations

Friday, December 24, 2004

Happy Christmas


I've gone from being all bah humbug to being all excited about Christmas. We've done all the present shopping and all the food shopping and now it all feels much less stressful. Have masses of stuff to do today, so it's probably a good job I woke up at 5.30 am and couldn't get back to sleep. I think I'm going to be like my mum, lying awake from the early hours on Christmas morning, waiting for O to get up.

D**t news: survey says Exercise 'can't end obesity risk'
Exercise is not enough to offset the increased death risk associated with being obese, research suggests. ...
Excess weight and physical inactivity together could account for about a third of all premature deaths, two-thirds of deaths from cardiovascular disease, and a fifth of deaths from cancer among non-smoking women, they estimate.

Back to the calorie counting and the regular exercise in January, I fear (I haven't done much exercise all this month, cos of being ill).

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Getting There

I have the answer to my question in my last post. yes my friends are the most disorganised people ever. I arrived at their house at 6.30 am, they were still packing. I mean, still doing major packing, not just faffing about with the last bits and pieces. Finally got them out of the house after 7 am, luckily the roads were clear and we got to the airport in time for them to make their flight.

Came home, had breakfast, went out again and threw debit card around in John Lewis. Got pressies for mum and sis. Not totally happy with them but wtf, they'll do. They can always change 'em later. Also went to £-Stretcher for quality Seekrit Santa gift. I'm invited to tag along on my ex-office's Christmas outing hurrah. We're going to a Turkish restaurant - I wonder if I should take my belly dancing scarf along, just in case ....

I have to work this afternoon booo

Belated acknowledgement: thanks to Ann's Place for the Christmas tree gifs

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

ho ho ho

Contrary to the impression given in this blog lately, our house has started getting into the seasonal spirit. We have a tree ...

our tree

We have the obligatory singing Xmas novelty ie that evul looking very loud rubber tree (thank you so much to the person who sent this to O. If you had kids, we'd send them a drum for their next birthday). We have tatty but much loved decorations made by small child at nursery eg the nativity scene (now with added plastic farm animals) ...

tissue box nativity

We even decorated the cat ...

not a happy cat

OK that last bit's not true. But only because I couldn't get them to stay still long enough. Luckily someone did, tho, and made Xmas cards out of it hurrah. We even had a Christmas party. We invited some of O's school friends round for seasonal fare (pizza and jelly & ice-cream) and a few games of musical statues to the sounds of Trojan Reggae Christmas. It made up for him missing out on so much of the big Christmas build up at school (he was even off sick for the class Xmas party awww), I hope.

Car news: it was the alternator. It has a lovely new one now, the bill was quite a lot of UKP but not nearly as bad as it could've been hurrah. We might have to eat beans on toast every night but at least it won't be beans on toast for Christmas dinner [1]. So now I can fulfil the offer I made to take some friends to the airport tomorrow.

Question: are my friends the most disorgnasied people in the world ever? When they told me they were going to visit family Abroad, I happily offered mine or R's services to get them to the airport [2]. They said they were flying out sometime on Wednesday evening. OK no problem, I'm out then but R will take them, we'll finalise departure time the day before. Spoke to them today, oh actually the flight's first thing in the morning. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with getting up to take them - it'd be even more of a pain trying to get there at that time. I'm just flabbergasted that you can be out by 12 hours on the time of your plane journey. Ah well. At least it will get me up and at it early. Also the airport is near a branch of my mum's favourite shop. I have no idea what to get her, but something that comes in a John Lewis box is likely to make her happy.

Ah feck, I just noticed on their website that John Lewis doesn't open till 10am! Aaargh.

[1] Christmas Dinner chez Clazza is, in time honoured vegetarian tradition, a nut roast. Specifically Cashew Nut & Mushroom loaf with Mushroom and Sherry sauce. In case you were wondering.

[2] I know what it's like trying to get kids, luggage, gifts, etc etc to the aiport on time esp. by public transport, and I also know they haven't got much money for taxis (their family got together and bought them the plane tickets for Christmas, so they and the kids could all go 'home' awww).

happy birthday to me!

I now know exactly what I want for my birthday and how I will be spending it. Just make sure to publish on time this time, woman!

Monday, December 20, 2004


Still no news about how sick the car is. This morning's post bought a stack of nasty brown envelopes that threaten to push our ever precarious finances over the edge. But (after a good cry) I feel better. Because in the end, it's only money. We will manage, one way or another. And we will enjoy our Christmas and we will be with people we love and we will be happy and well and safe.

Other news: I have bad taste in music. So I have joined the I have bad taste in music forum on audio scrobbler. The Music Police can feck off.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

starting to panic now

omg it's less than a week till Xmas. Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh. Today I braved shopping hell (only because I had to cos I have to buy something that can only be bought there bah). It was so horrid I left without half the stuff I needed. Starting to worry that the remaining time and money will not stretch far enough. Plus my car died today. Will Not Start. Can everyone please keep their fingers crossed that it doesn't need much work doing to it, cos if it does all those pressies are going to have to go back.

Oh and O's ill again. And so is R. And my throat still hurts. Feck. Proper little ray of seasonal joy ain't I?

Saturday, December 18, 2004

International Migrant's Day

18 December - International Migrants' Day -

More women than ever, about 90 million, are living outside their countries of origin, where most of them are at risk of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation, says the United Nations in a report marking International Migrants Day.

''Whether they are labour migrants, family migrants, trafficked persons or refugees, they face the triple burden of being female, foreign and, often, working in dangerous occupations,'' says the 89-page 'World Survey on the Role of Women in Development'.
Noeleen Heyzer, executive director of the U.N. Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) says women and girls dominate in many of these migrant labour flows, going into domestic service, low-paid sweatshop industries, street begging and commercial sex work.
The study says migrant women boost economic development in both their country of destination and at home, through financial contributions from remittances, improving their own skills or helping to improve the education skills of the next generation.

I usually confine this kind of thing to my other blog, but as today is World Migrant's Day, I'm flagging it up here, too.

Friday, December 17, 2004

today I saw

In town today, I saw a woman not much older than me (maybe 10 years or so) getting out of a taxi. She was very, very fat, and had those really painful looking swollen legs and ankles. Her mobility was obviously really restricted. And I don't want that to be me in 10 years time, or even 20 or 30 or 40 years. I'm getting part of the equation right with getting more exercise into my life. I need to start working back on the other part, the eating, too. I haven't forgotten about it. I'm working on working up to working on it again, if you see what I mean.

Other news: I was in town getting some Christmas shopping. Every year I tell myself to be organised and get my shopping done well in advance. Never happens. This year, tho, it's not entirely my fault. It's a combination of being ill and the fact that my wages payments for this month got fecked up, so we haven't had the time or the money until now. Ah well. At least I got nearly all of O's presents. Look away now if you are not completely fascinated by what small boy is getting from Santa ....

Mighty Movers Crane & Bulldozer setMighty Movers - remote controlled crane and bulldozer thingummy. Major panic when Argos was sold out of them, forced to go to the posh and expensive toy shop and buy one that cost more (and I was lucky there, cos they only had 2 left)

Buzz LightyearTo infinity and beyond. I got this weeks ago, after last year's Woody traumas. (All he wanted for Xmas was a Woody doll, couldn't get one anywhere, luckily my mum tracked one down in Scotland).

RobodocRobodoc. I think it's like Operation but with a robot. or something.

how much? for a piece of wood? wtf?brio part no. 33370. Will enable trains to go under the swing bridge. Hurrah.

Sparks Racera sparks racer. it makes sparks when it races. it's cheap in asda. yay

tube of sea creatures Ocean Toob. Featuring 3 different kinds of sharks and several species of whale, plus assorted other denizens of the deep.

colouring pencilssome colouring pencils

still to get

Thomas the Tank Engine Thomas or James. James or Thomas. James the Red Engine Who knows? Decisions decisions. He has a Thomas, but it's broked and its face fell off awww.

chocolate orange The chocolate orange. V. important, he mentions it every day.

Thomas AnnualPower Rangers Annualan annual. Opinion is divided on whether this should be Thomas annual, Power Rangers Ninja Storm annual, or Other annual

omg my child is spoilt. look at all this stuff.

back on the ribena

boo we is poorly again. My sore throat has come back, tho not as bad as before (not yet anyways touch wood fingers crossed) and poor O is poorly again, too. He missed his school Christmas party yesterday, awwww.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

white christmas?

I remember reading, years ago, an article by a Black British woman recalling how in the school nativity play she was never chosen to play Mary. Mary was never played by anyone who looked like her. The part always went to the blondest girl, the part of the angels to other blonde girls, and so on.

Today was O's school nativity play, and it was a joyously diverse production. Mary Black Madonna & Childwas played by a Black African girl, and Joseph by a white boy, and yes the Baby Jesus was played by a suitably mixed race baby doll. The choir of angels were an adorable line of girls of every colour, dressed in the traditional tinsel, and the three kings came from England, Korea and Somalia. The shepherds, their sheep, and the supporting cast reflected the diversity of our local communities. Poor O didn't have a costume part (he was off ill during casting and rehersals) and was in the 'choir' with the other non-actors, and they all sang their hearts out.

If you believe the Daily Mail, white, 'educated' parents like us are meant to fight tooth and nail so our kids don't have to go to inner-city primary schools like ours, where white kids are in a minority. Me, I'm pleased my son is growing up surrounded by all sorts of different people, from different countries and cultures.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

for Sarah

Thinking of you & Lorraine.

Irises are my favourite flowers, I think.

new motto

Read in The Calorie, Carb and Fat Bible of all places, but still a good theme for how I want things to go:

Never give up on a goal because of the time it will take to achieve it -
the time will pass anyway

Weight loss is proving to be a longer and more difficult process than I expected. And my efforts are kind of 'on hold' right now. But, I haven't forgotten about it, it is still important for me and I will start back at it. Keeping this blog going, even when I'm not actively dieting, is part of reminding myself to keep working at it.

I've also started down the long route to achieve two of my other ambitions - get a university degree and become a teacher. I'm start my course in February. In the past, studying has always been accompanied by cigarettes and chocolate. I'm over the cigs, but can I do it without the chocolate? Maybe it will take my mind of biscuits ...

Monday, December 13, 2004

I nearly forgot

what with being poorly and all, I forgot to mention that R has had his viva and so he is, more or less, now a Doctor! Yay! He has to rewrite a couple of sections but that's not a problem. So he'll be donning the red gown and special bonnet in the summer. And then for his graduation ceremony, he'll really dress up. Ho Ho.

Academic dress-related asides: I was trying to find a picture of the robes to show you, and came across The Burgon Society "Founded to promote the study of Academical Dress". I know that some academics go in for twitcher-like robe-spotting at graduation ceremonies, but I didn't know they'd formed a society.

The most impressive robes I ever saw were worn by the Dean of Something-or-Other at R's MA degree ceremony. He had an honorary degree from the University of Ulan Bator, which entitled him to wear Mongolian-style bright red and blue felt robes with gold trim and a fantastic pointed conical hat. It wasn't exactly like the men pictured on this page, but it gives you an idea. If I was entitled to wear Mongolian robes, I'd wear them every day even to pop to Asda (although apparently, being made for Mongolian conditions, one does get rather hot in them).

I think I'll try for a set of these first, before aiming for the Ulan Batorean look. I've registered for science 101 with the OU, starting in February. So between now and then I have to become super organized and efficient, and learn how to spend less time on line and more time in productive pursuits. No problems there, then :hollow laffter:


eep my blogg has gone all grey. Is it sulking because I have been ignoring it? awwww :gives blog cuddles: I've been pretty icky, getting over nasty bug. Apparantly, I had tonsilitis. But I didn't get my jelly and ice-cream boo. Anyways I have of course put back on all the weight that came off when I didn't eat for several days. And I haven't felt up to excercising yet, I still have some residual bugginess hanging around.

I have ignored my poor blog and every one elses blogs for the last couple of weeks. I am going to try and make up for it now. Hope everyone is good and I'll catch up on your blogs soon.


Monday, December 06, 2004

how to lose 10 lb in a long weekend

Thursday: contract new and interesting virus (could be an addition to, or mutation of, pre-existing cold virus)

Thursday night: throw up repeatedly

Friday: glands swell to ludicrous size, throat constricts in protest and stops working. Ingest nothing but co-codamol and occasional sips of ribena light, and even getting them down hurts like hell. Stay in bed all day.

Saturday: as Friday. Also, do not attend wedding you have been looking forward to for weeks and so do not consume masses of food & drink calories.

Sunday: manage to nibble on a piece of toast and drink warm tea, feeling like a Victorian consumptive (no lacey nightgown, but plenty of coughing up crap).

Monday: feel hungry for first time in 4 days, eat piece of toast, feel full. Worry that I am addicted to warm ribena. I might go mad and have another whole piece of toast later. With peanut butter. Wooo. Seen doctor and got some antibiotics, so now I have thrush to look foward to too, wooo.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Dear Santa

MP3 gogglesO wrote his letter to Santa today [1]. I haven't written mine yet but when I do, these are defintely going to be on it. MP3 swimming goggles. Must. Have. Now.

[1] it's here if you really wanna see it .... page 1 page 2

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

typical males

pandas in 'who can p*ss highest' competition. Tsk. That panda, can't take him anywhere.

 Posted by Hello

koff splutter sneeze

We is poorly sick. I've got a nasty cold and O's got a horrid koff. Hurrah for Tixylix & calpol for O, and fancy tissues with balsam for me (otherwise I think my nose might've dropped off by now).

Saturday, November 27, 2004

lots of good fun that is funny

fun things to do on Friday/Saturday

be taught to hoola-hoop by a gaggle of 5 year old girls, meet Jude woooo, drink with Jude, eat with Jude, gossip with Jude, go shopping for shiny things at Claire's Accessories, discover fabby shiny glittery eye-shadow, have nice long Lush-enhanced bath, get dressed up in new shiny things and go for Big Night Out, eat nachos twice in one day, enjoy dub music as it's meant to be (ie pumping out through enormous speakers that are in breach of several international conventions), drink orange wkd through a straw, get the night bus home, have a Saturday morning lie-in cos your child slept at someone else's house hurrah, stage puppet theatre re-enactment of the GingerBread Man (after retrieving child)

Thursday, November 25, 2004

post for jude

everyone else move along, nothing here to see

zinc, map 1, map 2 (with 'helpful' notes)

can you leave me a message or txt me to say you got these OK?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

who do you think I am?

Copying off of Jude (again), I have made a quiz all about me me me hurrah

Take my Quiz on!

Monday, November 22, 2004

baby steps

Going to aquarobics on a cold wet night (and missing first half of IAC as a result boo). Having thai bites @ 100 cals instead of pistachios @ 500 +. Thinking ahead and buying something reasonably healthy for tomorrow's lunch. Baby steps ...

tech talk

I'm thinking of adding a dvd writer to my puter - does anyone know if it's hard to do it myself, or should I start baking [1]?

[1] I pay my tech-support hippy in vegan baked goods

busy doing nothing

had a very lazy weekend, just lying around being blebby. Hardly even went outside since Friday. No exercise and a load of eating. I'm beginning to perceive a pattern to the eating madness. I get this huge urge to binge when I know I'm going to be alone. So, on Saturday, I stocked up on piles of cr@p and gorged myself. I know this behaviour has its roots back in how food was managed in our house when I was a kid. But that was then and this is now. I need to stop letting my past control my future. Yeah cos that's so easy to do . I'm going to try to reign it in this week. Today, I'm promising myself that if I don't go out and buy cr@p, I can have lunch in the cafe.

Apologies in advance if this blog suffers from I'm A Celebrity fever - posting here may slow down somewhat but it's only for 2 weeks.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

you can never be too rich, to thin or have too many blogs

Hurrah I have started a I'm a Sleb blog (it's called Clazza's for now but that may change if any special guest-star bloggers join me)

Saturday, November 20, 2004

belly ballroom dancing round the living room

owing to feeling extremely lazy, I lay on the sofa and watched Can't Sing Won't Sing and then Strictly Come Dancing. (I have avoided them so far, and do hope I'm not going to get hooked now. I don't have room in my life for more (un)reality tv, not with IACGMOOH starting tomorrow). Anyways, I was trying to laze about but two of the couples danced to (horrid house band stylee covers of) songs we have most weeks at belly dancing - Simarik (Kiss Kiss) (actually they did a cover of Holly Valance's English language cover ouch!) and Whenever, Wherever. So my attempts to laze about were wrecked by an outbreak of involuntary shimmying (tho I did resist the urge to don any of last night's sparkly gubbins).

Random IAC factoid of the day: Brian Harvey is afraid of water (he can't swim), spiders, heights. Makes total sense to go on the show and face those watery spider-rich Bushtucker Trials, which you have to cross high up rope bridges to get to. Nice to see him prepared to pay a high price for a couple of weeks' coverage in Heat magazine fame.

Belly dancing news: had fabby time at the party last night. Most people were dressed up and looked fantastic, and a room full of women dancing and enjoying themselves makes for a wonderful atmosphere. My sis loved it, it was different to her expectations (she'd been expecting something more Carry on Cleo ... all together now "infamy, infamy ... "). If she lived near by, she'd be signing up for classes.

Undertones news: got the house to myself this afternoon. Sis went back home this morning, R's at a conference and O's gone to a party. Have been nursing very slight hangover (curse those alcopops - when you've shimmied up a thirst, orange WKD with a straw slips down all too quickly) by lying on the sofa reading the paper and listening to the Undertones (watch out for that link - great band, crap site - it plays music at you without asking first and is all frames grrr) at high volume.

I do love the Undertones. They were the first 'proper' band I was really into, and their second album was the first proper (ie not Top of The Pops) album I bought. Teenage Kicks has been played so much recently, I suppose it will always be the John Peel Song. I love that they did not re-release it as some kind of 'tribute'/cash-in. Pop stars with ethics, how old fashioned is that? I do like some of their new stuff, too. Shame that Feargal Sharkey went off and turned into an arse after he left the band (those deck-shoes-without-sandals photos in Smash Hits make me shudder just thinking about them. I know it as the 80s but there are limits), but the rest of them have kept on rocking and their new singer's not at all bad. We saw them live in Derry last year.

You know how some bands get all precious about their back catalogue and insist on doing their latest work in its entirety before grudgingly doing one of the old hits? The Undertones are not like that at all. They played all of everyone's faves and threw in a few of their new ones, too. It was a bit of shock seeing those (whisper it) old blokes up on stage, tho. If they've gone and aged in the past mumble mumble years, maybe that means I have too. Eeep.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

on being professional

Working from home means, most of the time, you can wear what you want. After a while though, the novelty value of going to work in your jim-jams every day (even the snuggly fleecy ones with fluffy seals on them) wears off. Nowadays I just settle for whatever's clean and comes to hand first in the morning.

Scary FlyLady would not approve. She says you have to dress smartly at all times and put on proper lace-up shoes (they absolutely must be lace-ups, no slacking about in slip ons) the minute you get up in the morning. I dread to think what she'd make of my new stripey slipper socks with detatchable Eeyores but I don't care. They are snuggly and keep my toes warm, and make me happy and cosy in a way even my beloved DMs can't.

I once signed up for the FlyLady's email service, despite being strongly advised against it by the person who told me about her in the first place. Big mistake. My hotmail account was overflowing with emails on the importance of wearing lace-up shoes, how to achieve the perfect shiny sink, and proper care of a feather duster. Dear FlyLady, life's too short to blow dry a feather duster. If anyone who knows me found me doing such a thing, they'd march me straight down to the doctors to get the OCD diagnosis officially confirmed. Which reminds me, there was a really funny article about living with OCD in the Observer magazine on Sunday.

Eating news: ack. still bad.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

new deal

I've made a deal with myself. I can let the eating go for now but I have to keep up the exercise. I didn't make it to aquarobics on Monday due to being forced to go to the pub instead, but I'm definitely going tonight. Cycled a few miles this morning, visiting the Asian markets in search of Shiny Things to shiny up my outfit for the belly dancing party on Friday night.

I've paranoid about being horribly under-dressed. I know some of the women at the other classes spend most of their spare time constructing elaborate home-made costumes, and I suspect even my sister, who's going to go with me, is bound to have something very glam to wear. Ah well. I'll just load myself up with shiny hair clips, just-about-fit-if-forced-on-with-aid-of-soap Indian bangles & jangly fabric trim with teeny silver bells and shimmy with the best of 'em.

Other news: I just found out that dub legend the Mad Professor is live at the Band on the Wall a week on Friday. A week on Friday it will be 10 years to the day since R & I first met. And guess where me first me? Yup, BotW (although at a very different kind of gig). So I guess that pretty much sorts out what we're doing for our anniversary.

Other other news: IACGMOOH4 line up announced wooooooooooo hoooooooooo! I love IAC. I become easily addicted to (un)reality tv shows. Even R, brainiac intellectual who hardly watches TV, has gotten addicted to the past 2 series. Still gutted that they didn't let Frank Carson on it, tho. He had his own wellies and everything.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

in need of some religious guidance

Good point well made, Mr. Duncan. As you clearly say, it states in Leviticus Chapter 18 Verse 22 that homosexuality is an abomination. Which reminds me—there are a couple of things I need guidance on. Firstly, If I wanted to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7, how much could I expect to make from such a deal? Also, my colleague Pete insists on working on the sabbath. Exodus clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or is it OK to get some outside help? Lastly, does the whole city really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side. And when I burn my mother for wearing garments made from two different threads, do I torch her whole or just a bit?

Jeremy Hardy
(thanks to the The Unofficial Jeremy Hardy Page for this)

it's good to get nice surprises

Like when you're dragged to 'jam night' at the local pub, sit through some stripey-jumpered-trombone-and-sax j*zz combo (nice!) and then up gets some elderly Jamaican bloke, borrows a guitar and sounds like he's stepped right out of a Trojan ska cd.

Monday, November 15, 2004

you may say I'm a cynic, but I'm not the only one

... a quick round-up of some alternative views of BandAid 2004

20 years ago perhaps we could get away with a naive belief that the 'hey kids, let's put on a show!' approach could do anything about solving world poverty. Well, I could get away with it at least, cos hey I was 17 and didn't know any better. But in the last 20 years I've learned some stuff. Including that whatever St Bob of Geldof says, it's not about the money. Not about the money raised for charidee, at any rate. If current patterns of world trade and global inequalities remain, no amount of charidee records will stop millions starving.

And even 20 years ago, I wasn't completely naive. A short list of things that annoyed me about the original BandAid/LiveAid:

1 - David Bowie complaining that 'the government' wasn't giving enough money to famine relief. Scuse me Mr David 'lives abroad in tax exile' Bowie, where exactly do you think the government's going to get some money from to do owt about owt?

2 - the picture created of all Ethiopians, all Africans, as helpless starving victims. The first time I met someone from Ethiopia, the year after LiveAid, I was genuinely surprised to meeting a non-starving Ethiopian. (It's a little publicised fact that more money now flows into the developing world from the remittances of migrant workers, than from foreign aid).

3 - Bono's famous 'tonight thank god it's them instead of you' line always disturbed me. Of course I am profoundly grateful that it's not me, but I don't want it not to be me at the expense of 'them'.

Letter in Observer Music Monthly from Bert Erikten Cate
Leaving aside the artistic qualities of such a project, I wonder why these artists are so keen to lend their voices. Is it because they care about Africa, or about their own image? If they really cared, surely they could have found the words and a tune to vent their anger about the inequality in the world.

Piece on the Guardian's newsblog by Jon Dennis
Yes, yes, yes, we all know it's a good cause. Dur. But why should we be so grateful to these millionaires for their precious time? They could just donate a large chunk of their not-so-hard-earned cash if they care so passionately about it. Just a suggestion.

From the Chumbas (who released the 'Pictures of Starving Children..' album in 1986)
... the song remains the same: carefully scripted emotion, tears instead of anger and no explanations of why the world is in a permanent crisis. Twenty years ago Band Aid reflected a peculiar brand of ignorance; Africa was portrayed as being at the mercy of the weather. We had video shots of fly blown children, dry water holes and popstars arriving at recording studios. Anything else like the West''s over consumption, the way that free trade exploits, collusion with military dictatorships and corrupt governments on all sides was probably deemed too complex. Twenty years on we have a better understanding of what 'free trade' actually means in terms of diverting resources like land away from food production and towards goods that are shipped and consumed in the West, we know about the deals that go on behind the scenes, we even know that Western governments fund terror, after all the C.I.A. trained, threw cash at and aided and abetted Bin Laden in Afghanistan. We can do without returning to an age where we pretended popstars can solve famine by fighting over who sings the chorus.

Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records

And no, the irony of a diet blogger, blogging about starving children isn't lost on me.

is your MP doing what s/he said on the tin?
a site that grabs Hansard by the scruff of the neck, shakes it up and republishes it in a slick format that's easily accessible to political junkies and casual surfers alike. Want to find out what your local MP thinks about Iraq? Or how likely they are to vote against their party? Or how safe their seat is? Just enter your postcode and will tell you all that and more.

go stalk your MP and start making the democratic process a teeny bit more accountable. (Site found during my morning gruaniad-browse).

Sunday, November 14, 2004

if it's Sunday it must be ..

... Observer [food/sport/music/other]* Monthly day hurrah. Music Monthly today, so I can stock up on ideas for musics to download purchase this month. Also there was a feature on Trin's eldest and her bessie mate, which was nice.

I am so not sending OMM an email pointing out that they got the name of the band in Eastenders wrong [1] because that would be sad. I'm not going to do it, really I'm not ... /turns off puter & goes for a bath and a lie down before the urge overwhelmes me ...

* delete as appropriate

[1] they were called The Banned not The Band - so called because they got banned from playing in the Vic. Yes I knew that without googling. I'm not proud but then again, this was way back in the mists of time, when I were a lass and Eastenders were good. Ask yer parents about it kids, they'll tell you all about Ye Goode Olde Dayes in Ye Square.

fairground attractions

So, it's Eid this weekend and O is still disgusted that we are denying him his Islamic heritage, on the flimsy grounds of his having exclusively Scottish/Irish, (formerly) Protestant/Catholic (both now atheist) parentage. What kind of exuse is that? A party's a party, after all, so last night we decided to take him to the fun fair that's on in Rusholme as part of the Eid festivities.

O was so excited. I think he was under the impression we'd finally recognised his Muslim identity. Plus, when you're five, going out after dark is an adventure in itself. He was nearly bursting by the time we got to the fairground. Seen through the eyes of a five year old, fairgrounds stop being seedy, tatty, tawdry, over-priced disappointments, and go back to being magical, exciting places full of lights and colour.

O went on a couple of the little-kid rides, but was feeling grown-up enough for some of the 'real' rides too. We went on the bumper cars twice, and even on the waltzers (I used to love waltzers, but I'm sure they must have got faster since I were a lass, I felt a bit queasy after last night's ride). Very disappointed that there was no proper candyfloss onna stick, tho - only stoopid bags of it. I was going to buy O some candyfloss n'all, but not if it's not onna stick! That bag candyfloss is vile and tastes like sugared cotton wool, not like the proper fresh stuff onna stick that makes your whole face sticky. Bah to progress, if progress means candyfloss in a bag.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Friday, November 12, 2004

top telly!

completely ace fab brill night in front of tv in store tonight ... new [1] Simpsons, the genius that is Peter Kay in new show, new series of Peep Show and then classic Fr Ted. I realise this is old hat to you lot with proper new-fangled telly-boxes, but to us terrestrial only magic lantern types, it's a night made in tv heaven.

Happy Diwali

about Diwali, from the BBC

things can only get better

Firstly, thanks to everyone who commented on yesterday's woe-filled post. I've been trying to think positive about things, which is hard for someone like me whose default position is doom, gloom and disaster. However, when I compare how I am now to how I was two years ago, I can see how much progress I have made.

Two years ago I probably weighed a little less than I do now, but I smoked 20-30 cigarettes a day, took very little exercise and binged on cr@p (although I didn't call it bingeing then). Now, I don't smoke and I exercise regularly. I feel much fitter and healthier. In terms of losing weight, I have now at least idenified some of what I am up against, realising that I have compulsive eating issues, and so weight loss for me is not as simple as some like to make out. And as Marla said, "Sometimes the only progress you can make towards a dream is just HAVING it".

Other good things that have happened to me today:

  • R made that doctor's apppointment and went to see his GP this morning (doc says he should deffo stay off the grapefruit juice)

  • a while back I was whingeing about being bored of my musics: well, I read in the gruaniad yesterday about this audioscrobbler oozit, that tracks what you listen to and then gives you recommendations for other stuff you might like. See sidebar for link to what I've been listening to ...

  • this morning, I went into O's bedroom to give him the usual nagging about why he should be getting dressed for school instead of playing with his toys. But he wasn't playing with toys, he was sitting on the floor reading Green Eggs and Ham. I was amazed and pleased and proud, it's the first time he has ever voluntarily read a book to himself. Despite being the child of a pair of bookworms, he's never been much of a one for reading/looking at books on his own (tho he does love his bed time stories). To see him reading to himself was such a joy. And he was really reading, not just reciting the story - he was stumbling over words as he tried to work them out, whereas if you asked him just to say the story he'd be able to recite most of it off by heart. Proud Mum Moment.

  • I spent this morning how I'm going to spend most of my Friday mornings from now on - helping out in O's class. Only people very, very close to me know this, but I am thinking of becoming a teacher. If I do want to, I will have to start by getting a degree (I have part of one, but left university without finishing), most likely part time with the Open University. That would take me at least 4 years, then I'd have another year of teacher training, so it's a long road if I decide to go down it. Spending time regularly in school will help me see if it's really what I want, plus the experience will give men advantage when applying for training places. And most importantly, I enjoy it!

thought for the day ...
This coat my royal gown
A stolen hand-me-down
No need to scrape and bow
We can be heroes now
For more than just one day
Here's how
Look both ways when crossing roads
Don't wear slippers till you're old
Never do what you are told


Thursday, November 11, 2004

the great pretender

Another day of Bad Eating yesterday. Somewhere around 3, 000 cals consumed ffs. So I'm feeling like this blog is a bit of a fraud and I should rename it to somethign like "Clazza's rambling about the first thing that pops into her head and occassionally making half-arsed efforts to eat less lard Blog" .

So many other diet bloggers are doing great things, working hard and making real changes, I feel like an imposter. I'm not keeping to a proper eating plan, I can't (won't?) stop binge eating, I do some exercise but don't keep to my targets, I'm gaining wieght not losing it.

I'm not saying any of this looking for sympathy or whatever. I know what I'm doing wrong. I know that I am not putting the necessary mental effort into changing things. I suppose I have to work out how much I want to change, and if I want it enough to do the work.

So, I'll keep on rambling about Stuff for now, but am not sure if weight loss will be a central focus for a while ...

Other news: in 1986, the BraggMeister recorded the song 'Help Save the Youth of America', which includes the lines: This is the land of opportunity, and there's a monkey trial on TV. I cannot begin to express how profoundly depressing it is that 18 years later, there are still monkey trials taking place in the US. It's the kind of thing that we Brits snigger at, roll our eyes and say 'only in America, eh?'.

If only. Creationism and biblical fundamentalism are being promoted at state-funded schools in my own country, and our prime minister has refused to take sides. No wonder him and Georgie are best mates.

Oh and while I'm bush-bashing (and why not?), I really don't want the world's great superpower run by someone suffering from sleep deprivation.

Pandas (and others) apologise to the world ...

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

ok now I'm really worried

Colin Powell says 'US to remain 'aggressive' abroad'
The US Secretary of State has said that his country will continue to pursue an "aggressive" foreign policy. ... This policy had traditionally been "aggressive in terms of going after challenges, issues", Mr Powell added, and the president was "going to keep moving in this direction".

yesteday Afghanistan, today Iraq, tomorrow Iran?

when O grows up he wants to be ...

... a Muslim. He is not happy that we've told him he isn't one now, and that he can be one if he wants but he'll have to wait till he's grown up. They must've been doing about Islam at school as it's Ramadan, and also there are lots of Muslim children in school. O is further not happy that mummy and daddy say that while some people believe in god, and there are different ways of believing in god of which being a Muslim is one, we don't actually so believe ourselves. Ah well, first religious debate of many, no doubt.

Made me think, tho, about fasting. Every year I am impressed by all the people I meet who fast all day during Ramadan. No food, no drink, nothing. I don't know how they do it. I am even more impressed by a couple of women I know who work in restaurants and are preparing and serving food all day, and not eating themselves. Amazing will power. Not that it helps them lose weight tho - they reckon they eat more during Ramadan, not less, as their mothers stuff them with food from sun down to sun up.

Ramadan Mubarak

get your spam off my blogosphere!

Wired News: When the Spam Hits the Blogs

bad! referral log spam is bad! I've just started using a new site meter, mainly because I wanted better referral logs. But fecking feckers are spamming referral logs! Go away and leave our blogosphere alone.

yesterday and today

Yesterday wasn't bad, although I couldn't go to usual Monday night aquarobics because R had a meeting. Dunno how today will pan out, I have a pile of work to get done and so no time for morning walk boo. Will try and eat right, at least.

Review of Yesterday
food/cals ~ 2165; fruit ~ 3 (apple, 2 bananas); exercise ~ 20 mins walk, 9,872 steps on pedometer for the day; water ~ 1.5 l; booze ~ 2 vodka & diet cokes oops

Monday, November 08, 2004

if at first you don't succeed ... move the goalposts

I am not keeping up to my plan right now. Part of me, my Inner Fat Girl (nods to Shrinking Gurl), is telling me "well, look, you can't keep to that, it's too hard so you may as well give up now". But I have an Inner Slim Fit Girl struggling to get out, and she says that if I can't do the full plan, I could do an easier version of it for a while, which would at least keep me in some kind of focus. So here goes ...

  • calorie count! - weigh and write down what I eat calorie count as much as possible, but not mind giving up if the numbers get too depressing that day
  • aim to eat 1500 - 1750 1750 - 2000 calories per day
  • drink at least 1 litre of water a day
  • eat no crisps
  • drink no sugary fizzy drinks
  • think before eating - am I really hungry? what will this food do for me?
  • eat at least 3 pieces of fruit a day (together with the veggies I usually get at meal times, that will put me on target for 'Five a Day')
  • remember to suck my tummy in as much as possible!

  • try and reflect on how eating cr@p food affects me - how I feel when I'm eating it, after I've eaten it, next day, etc

  • exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5 3 days out of 7, normally to include including at least 2 from:
    • 1 aquarobics session
    • 1 belly dance class
    • 1 swim
    • do my belly dance video once a week
  • walk for 30 mins, at least 3 days a week
  • go by bike (instead of car/bus) whenever practical
  • do something active with O every weekend (eg bike ride, walk, go swimming)
  • weigh myself once a week only, on Monday mornings

  • lose 1 lb a week on average (the 'pound a week' club) lose whatever I lose, and be happy not to gain
  • set a monthly challenge

Other News: Dead Ringers, while funnier on t'wireless, is the highlight of my Monday. Doctor Who on the Eurostar, Dubya's Bushisms and alternatively as Beavis/Butthead, v funny. But the Cheyney sketch was just scarey.

Don't you just hate it...

Inspired by Mr Steve @ Grumblemag, I too feel the need to vent some spleen. Things I have been just hating today ...

... when US congresspersons warn of 'lesbians invading school bathrooms' and say openly gay teachers should be banned from schools, and the Bush victory makes the US gay community fear 'a new era of intolerance'

... when Sunday supplement journos put on at least 3 pairs of rose-tinted glassed everytime they go near France (see below)

... when men who should (and usually do) know better, fall into male stereotypes. R has a heart condition, for which he takes various drugs daily. One of those is cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin, so I was concerned to read that simvastatin users should perhaps avoid grapefruit juice - grapefruit being R's juice-of-choice. Then I read that there are questions about the efficacy of atenolol, which he also takes. I am duly wary of taking health advice from t'interweb, but these seem like proper medical studies, and I think warrant at least a chat with his doctor. Has he made an appointment so to do? No. Do I feel like his mother when I remind him about it? Yes. *sigh*

... when people have their kid's birthday party at some gawd-awful just-off-the-motorway impossible-to-get-to-by-bike-or-public-transport souless nestle-sponsored 'fun' venue. Join me in the Campaign for Proper Kids' Birthday Parties and stop this tide of evil!

... when I have an Avril Lavigne song stuck in my head - it's all O's fault

bear with me ...

... while I get myself back in gear. The first half of last week was OK but then it all went down hill. There was the party, which was kind of to be expected, but that's not the real problem. The real problem is I've been bingeing again. I felt crappy when I got up this morning, which I suspect is due to the amount of crap and salt and sugar and additives I've ingested in the past few days. Unsurprisingly I haven't lost any weight this week, although I haven't gained either. It's a good job I've kept up doing some of my exercise, at least.

I'm back trying to be 'good' today, but I'm not sure I've got the energy. Feel quite 'bleurgh' in myself today. My 'problem', if it is a problem, is this. My priorities for my health are:

1. stay sane
2. stay stopped smoking
3. lose weight/get fit

So, if I start to feel a bit wobbly, the 'eating right' part is the first thing to go, closely followed by the exercise. Which is stupid, I know. Logically, I know I feel much better when I eat good food and get regular exercise. But it's not a question of logic, it's all about emotions and my emotions are fairly fecked up. Ah well, I will just keep trying to do the best I can. Which will better some weeks than others.

Maybe I should learn to eat like a French woman? Cos obv that story reflects the experiences of all French women and not just the kind of smug upper middle class ones that smug upper middle class Sunday supplement journos come into contact with. And so what if they admit "most French women smoke instead of eating". Being thin is way more important than emphysema or lung cancer, obv. Gawd how I hate the attitude of smug Sunday supplement journos that everything is so wonderful in France and so dismal in blighty. Smug feckers.

a pune or play on words (with associated gratuitous pandas)
panda bears bear with me:

Saturday, November 06, 2004

having kids is great

You get to watch kids tv without having to feel embarassed about it. Hurrah.

Top 3 Saturday morning kids tv shows, in reverse order ...

1) Dick N Dom inda Bungalow
manages to be that very rare thing in kids tv - genuinely silly and even a little anarchic, without being self-consciously wacky - also features the mighty Baby Race in which real babies race each other while the watching kids place bets. Genius

2) Going Live
the show that brought us Gordon the Gopher and Trevor & Simon. Does anyone else remember the Curtis's Tigers [1] phone-in? Kylie swinging her pants in the Singing Corner? The Hair Cupboard

3) Tiswas
nuff said

The TV Cream guide to Saturday morning TV

Other news: we went swimming this morning, cycled there and back too. It's a miserable horrible day so I think we're staying inside for the rest of it. Didn't get to see much of bommie night last night, as O was too scared of the fireworks and ran back inside as soon as he heard any bangs. Ah well. Eating is going OK - after a few dodgy days, I'm back calorie counting again.

[1] Curtis Steigers

    Friday, November 05, 2004

    burfday presents - breaking news

    O got back from school to find one last present for him to open, brought by the postie this morning ...

    Elizabeth is a Sentinel steam tipper wagon.
    She's also the first lorry the Fat Controller drove as a young man. Stubborn, proud and a touch regal, Elizabeth doesn't suffer fools gladly. Nimble and efficient, she can move lots of material in a short period of time.

    Now she's now hurtling round the living room and joins the 'fave presents' list

    panda news

    for sentimental reasons (which I'm not going to explain but which some people will understand), snippets of panda news may appear from time to time.

    China Daily reports Giant panda cubs set world records
    Shulan, 10-year-old, was pregnant for 200 days before she gave birth. Her pregnancy is the longest ever recorded, as giant panda pregnancies usually range between 83 and 181 days.

    Yes Mr DaddyPanda, it's the longest pregancy on record honest, happens all the time, humans have 10 month pregancies sometimes too hemm hemm koff. Good job male pandas can't count innit.

    Silly panda site of the day:


    Keen-eyed readers may have spotted that there was no calorie count for yesterday. Ummm. Guess what I ate jelly and cake and such at the party. But also guess what, I didn't completely pig out on it, and did make sure to eat some of the veggies and fruit we'd put out too. I was on my feet all day, getting ready in the morning and then running round doing party things all afternoon. When all the kids finally left, I was completely knackered, so I'm hoping that correlates with calories burned.

    I missed something off the list of O's fave presents - he also loved his pop party cd - I think we had it on 5 times yesterday and then he had to listen to it this morning before skool. Oops I seem to have scratched it by accident oh dear it won't play anymore what a shame.

    Thursday, November 04, 2004

    O's favourite burfday presents

    in no particular order...
    • Trainbot is it a robot? is it a train? transformer robot train = boy heaven.
    • spiderman costume good old fashioned fun
    • Power Ranger Ninja Wind Morpher wha'??
    • bike nuff said
    • Hotwheels T-Rex playset The Most Ludicrous Toy In The History Of The World Ever. A two and a half foot tall plastic dinosaur, with a (stupidly loud) motor at the bottom that fires cars up its back into its mouth, until (with the aid of the seekrit Attack Lever) you fire a car at the right angle to make the dinosaur roar, open its mouth and spew cars all over the room.
    • ocean book I've been reading it all evening, it's top

    what the British papers say ...

    3 of today's front pages

    (and the Daily Mail thinks this is A Good Thing)

    ok, back to cleaning and cake baking ...

    Wednesday, November 03, 2004

    ooh I nearly forgot

    what with all the running round preparing for O's birthday and the miserable news from Left-Pond ... R had a meeting with his PhD supervisor yesterday, and she not only thinks he should aim to get his dissertation published in book form, she also thinks he should write a text book! Wooooo. S'great recognition for his talent and hard work.

    just to cheer me up

    R remarked that George W now has control of the Senate and House of Representatives, and doesn't have to worry about re-election as he can't stand again anyway. Feck.

    handy guide to the US political system for brits

    added later: even more depressingly, the thought that even tho Bush has run out of terms, America hasn't run out of Bushes occurs.

    she looks how I feel

    Kerry admits US election defeat

    I thought I wasn't really that bothered about who won the US election, because it won't really make much difference who's in charge. But in the end I do care, very much. I find it so profoundly depressing that so many people went out and queued for hours to vote for George W. Bush.

    From the Big Church to the Big River
    And out to the Shining Sea
    This is the Land of Opportunity
    And there's a Monkey Trial on TV
    Help save the youth of America
    Help save the youth of the world
    Help save the boys in uniform
    Their mothers and their faithful girls

    Listen to the voice of the soldier
    Down in the killing zone
    Talking about the cost of living
    And the price of bringing him home

    what the ....

    This can't be right, surely. It can't be the case that Barack Obama is the only Black member of the US senate?
    He will be the only black member among 100 senators when Congress convenes in January and only the fifth African-American to serve there.

    Only the fifth African-American to be a Senator! That's unbelievable. Tell me it's a mistake.


    I was reading about the joys of interval training.

    ... which involves alternating high- and lower-intensity work bouts

    Turns out I've been doing interval training for months and I never knew, I just call it urban cycling. You get to alternate bouts of steady pedalling in slow moving traffic with bouts of furious pedalling to keep your place when the speed moves up or just to avoid some near-death situation. You get even more intensity for your work out, actually, with free added heart racing adrenaline pumping surges of fear and rage induced by antics of cagers or the 'design' of the latest cycling farcility.

    Rest is also important: a minimum of 90 seconds is required for energy replenishment in between your high-intensity intervals.

    yep you get that too eg waiting at traffic lights, doing emergency stop when some twunt in a white van pulls in right in front of you to park in the cycle lane [1], etc

    I got my quota of interval training [2] this morning, instead of my morning walk, cos I had to go shopping for the various bits of tat that are essential to a child's birthday party. When did party bags become mandatory? Some time between me growing up and O getting to party age, anyways. We just got a bit of cake, and a balloon if we were really lucky, now you have to provide bags stuffed full of tat and sugar. Bah. I am aiming to keep the tat quotient down by providing useful-but-shiny things eg fancy little notebooks and holographic pencils.

    OK now I shall get back to checking BBC news every 2 minutes to check that the stuff about Bush probably winning was just a bad dream work.

    [1] this is actually legal, provided that you have your hazard warning lights flashing. It says so in the White Van Drivers Highway Code, right next to that bit on how indicating to pull out gives you the right of way over all other traffic

    [2] while clad in my Stealth Costume. It is a little known but scientifically proven fact that wearing a bright red waterproof, flourescent yellow leg bands and a silly hat renders you invisible to motorists. The SAS dress in a similar way to go into seekrit combat missions.

    Tuesday, November 02, 2004

    how the other half votes

    I've just been watching the US election coverage on Newsnight. I can't believe Americans have to queue for hours to vote! In the UK, we usually just walk straight in, get our voting paper, put our X in the box and walk about again.

    I'm tempted to stay up and watch the results as they come in. I'm a bit of a news junkie and a complete sucker for election night coverage (yes I was still up for Portillo). I :heart: Peter Snow, with his swingometers and stockinged feet. But I have a vile headache (see below) and a pile of stuff to do tomorrow, so need a good night's sleep.

    D**t News: bleurgh. Things went a bit wrong and there were cr*sps. Lots of. Bad. I feel like cr@p now, and I put the above headache down to the quantity of salt and artificial flavourings consumed. One day I will learn my lesson ....

    So anyways calories sky high today, but at least I got some exercise in. Some walking, plus some cals burned up cleaning the house in readiness for O's birthday party on Thursday. So I'd better get to bed, I need all the sleep I can get in the run up to a house full of 20+ kids in a sugar frenzy.

    Good luck, America.

    Daily Review
    food/cals ~ 2600 cals, bad things eaten bad bad; fruit ~ 3 (melon, banana, grapes); exercise ~ walking & housework; water ~ 1 litre; booze ~ 0

    don't get fooled again

    Article from Sunday's Observer about why food won't taste as good as it looks. Apparantly the food manufacturers cheat so that the photos on the packets look way better than the food you actually get. Hard to believe, isn't it. Food manufacturers setting out to deceive and seduce us? I was shocked.

    Monday, November 01, 2004


    either wine or pistachios. Well, ideally neither obviously, but if there has to be indulgence, make it one or the other, not both. From such small choices is weight loss born. It'd better be, otherwise I've passed up rioja for nowt.

    Daily Review
    food/cals ~ 2025, mostly good(ish); fruit ~ 3; exercise ~ walking, aquarobics; water ~ 1 litre; booze ~ 0

    not just me, then

    I'm not the only one who fell into the clutches of the sug@r demons this weekend. They even got to Juju over at Skinny Daily:

    And no, I didn’t indulge in a bite or two of a favorite treat. And I didn’t enjoy one whole serving of a lovely dessert only to get right back on my eating program the next day. This wasn’t a reasonable sort of indulgence. Over the past few days of parties and play, I consumed more sugar than I have in the entire previous year.
    What bothers me more than the same old stuff that always bothers me in these situations— remembering that I don’t have control over certain foods, that I never will, that I have to be smarter, that I’m not like other people — is knowing that it will take days now to remove this stuff from my system, and during these days I’ll be craving sugar and sweet stuff. The cravings will occupy a chunk of my brain that would come in handy this week for other things.

    amazingly ...

    ... and inspite of all the cr@p consumed this week, I have lost 1 lb. Wooo.

    Also I think I may have learnt my lesson about the evuls of sug@r. I did feel really dreadful after eating way too much of the stuff over the weekend. Last night I found a large bar of chocolate in the cupboard (left over from party preparations). I stared at it for a minute then demanded R take it away and dispose of it (ie bin it or, if he wants to eat it, hide it from me and take it in to work today). Non-scale victory for me, I think.

    Sunday, October 31, 2004

    Happy Halloween!

    We've had a fab day, and even my eating has been better. I think I ate so much sug@r yesterday I made myself a bit ill, and today my body was looking for some food with some nutrient content. So I had omlette & salad for lunch, and pumpkin soup at the party, and while I wasn't exactly an angel (some cakes were consumed) I did pretty good in the circs. Even so, come the Moment of Truth tomorrow morning I don't expect to have lost weight. Ah well, I'll work on getting it right(er) next week.

    These are our pumpkin lanterns - one made from a garden-centre pumpkin and one from our own, small but perfectly form, home grown pumpkin (of which we are inordinately proud).

    Halloween party was great. We made them do traditional halloween games like apple bobbing and the pancake game [1] and the chocolate game [2] before letting them out to do modern new-fangled left pondish trick or treating tsk. They got a good haul, as some of our neighbours are nice kind people. And while they were doing that, we tried to explain to the Korean parents of one of the children what it was all in aid of.

    [1] aka the treacle scone game (it uses scotch pancakes, which in Scotland are known as drop scones).
    Eating treacle scones strung from a washing line hung across the kitchen is a long-established Halloweeen game. The treacle scones should be ... daubed in sticky treacle before being hung up. (It is a good idea to put a newspaper down on the floor to catch the drips.) All competitors should then have their hands tied behind their backs and the idea of the game is to see who can eat most of their scone. (The Scotsman)

    we didn't tie them up, tho, just insist on hands behind backs.

    [2] ok so it's not a trad halloween game but hey it's fun and it involves chocolate.

    Saturday, October 30, 2004

    tricks and treats

    No calorie logging today. Safe to say the number of cals consumed is approximately Huge. Well when you're baking, you have to lick the spoon and test the finished product. S'quality control innit. Ghost biscuits [1] and poison buns and toffee apples and pumpkin lanterns and halloween party cd all made.

    O is nearly bursting with excitment at the day full of halloween excitement he has on tomorrow. First, in the morning there's chocolate coated apples to be made and poison buns to be iced. Then after lunch there's the apple & pumpkin party at the local community garden centre, straight from there to the halloween party at our neighbour's that we've been doing the baking for, then out trick or treating. We :heart: halloween, although possibly not quite as much as this woman.

    And once all that's over with, he has his birthday on Thursday. I bought his present from us today, and my sister rang earlier to say that she's bought him the ludicrously overpriced and over packaged pile of plastic he has been coveting lately. We delivered the party invites this evening, and as soon as halloween's out of the way, I've got all the party cooking to do. Diet, what diet?

    [1] is it wrong to use the Xmas Dove biscuit cutter [2] to make 'ghost' biscuits for halloween?

    [2] that may be 'cookie cutter' to you.

    Friday, October 29, 2004

    I hate this

    I have a bar of chocolate in the cupboard. A very large bar of chocolate. It's there for making choccie apples for halloween. It's trying to make me eat it. All round the supermarket the chocolate demons were after me. I hate this, it feels exaclty like stopping smoking, and I don't know if I want to do that kind of hard work all over again.

    Daily Review
    food/cals ~ 1960 - over 1750 boo but under 2000, not bad considering biscuits, wine and nuts have been involved; fruit ~ 1 banana tsk; exercise ~ 30 mins bike, 20 mins walking; water ~ 2.25 l; booze ~ 2 glasses red wine

    going out

    Had to go Out today. I did really well in the morning, lunchtime was OK (well ok-ish considering vegetarian option was egg mayo sarnies or cheese sarnies). But by mid-afternoon I couldn't resist the M&S luxury choccie biscuit assortment any more. Ah well, I think I burnt them off cycling there and back.

    Thursday, October 28, 2004

    all i want for christmas

     Posted by Hello

    much excitement

    new options flavour discovered today! limited edition banana flavour mmmmmm also I have re-discovered low-cal cranberry juice huurraah I was getting bit bored of having just water at every meal, now I can have juice-and-water for only a teeny number of cals. Oh and I came in under 1500 cals today without even trying. I even said no to a biscuit. I have also invented a new tofu recipe which I may share with the world at some point.

    Daily Review
    food/cals ~ 1307 omg; fruit ~ 2 (bananas) oops tsk; exercise ~ belly dancing class; water ~ 1 litre; booze ~ 0

    dear work people

    please do not ring up and mither me when I am having a BRMC moment.

    slight blip

    I dunno what got into me last night but anyway that was last night and today is today and I am back on track wooo. I am in danger of crossing bridges far to early again, worrying about the halloween party I've offered to help organise on Sunday and the cakes and choccie apples I'm going to be making for it. So I will forget about all of that for now, except to burn a few calories laughing everytime O talks about going "trickle treating".

    Wednesday, October 27, 2004


    bingette cals + b*llsh*t cals = way too many feckin cals

    I. Want. Chocolate. Now.

    that is all.

    teenage dreams, so hard to beat

    'Teenage Kicks: the lyrics I want on my tombstone'

    Sheila, my wife - I wanna hold her, wanna hold her tight - knows that when I die, the only words I want on my tombstone, apart from my name, are:

    'Teenage Dreams, So Hard To Beat.'

    What more do you need?

    Mark Radcliffe on John Peel:

    He made us realise that you did not have to mellow with age - music could continue to mean as much to us now as it always did.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2004

    on letting a 4 year old dictate your meals

    Lunch was going to be soup and bread. Till O said he really really wanted omlettes. So, cheese omlettes it was, thereby doubling my calorific intake from that planned. But, on the other hand, at the greengrocer's he insisted we buy a cabbage and a cauliflower. As I am treating non-starchy vegetables as 'free', our tea of cauliflower cheese (with low fat white sauce) and buttered cabbage came in at 200 cals. Then again we did have pudding tsk. Oh, and there was b*tt*r ...

    Thanks to everyone who posted encouraging comments for my restart bid. Especially to Marla, who helped me look on the bright side. Like she said, I have not gained weight this year. Who knows how heavy I would be now if I hadn't been working at it, all be it intermittently.

    Another bright side to look on - my calorie intake for today may be over-budget, but it's still under the number of calories someone my weight and activity level needs to maintain their weight.

    Daily Review
    food/cals ~ 1960 eep; fruit ~ 3 (banana, 2 pears); exercise ~ 20 mins walking (at child pace), 20 mins belly dance vid; water ~ 0.75 litre; booze ~ 0


    John Peel died.

    After announcing Peel's death on Radio 1, the station played his favourite song, Teenage Kicks, by The Undertones.

    /sheds a tear and spends afternoon listening to FabricLive07

    Monday, October 25, 2004

    one day at a time

    Today went good. Calories within budget, exercise done, all good. Even betterer, my aquarobics instructor said she thought I'd lost weight. Makes me think that even though I don't always do so well with weight loss, at least the exercise is making me a better shape.

    Off for an early night now. Gotta get up early tomorrow to try and get some work in, before a fun filled day of rainy day child care. Feckin half-term holidays bah.

    Daily Review
    food/cals ~ 1530, eating 'good' things; fruit ~ 3 (apple, banana, melon); exercise ~ aquarobics; water ~ 2 litre; booze ~ 0

    yo-yo no-no

    So here I go again. Clazza's Weight Loss Programme, Take 3.

    As of today, I weigh a whole 2 lb less than when I started all this 10 months ago. I thought I had it sorted then. Just eat less and move more, and I'll be sylph-like for Xmas. Easy-peasy. Hah.

    At least I now have more idea what I'm up against. I have learnt some stuff, and I also have the wonderful world of all you lovely diet bloggers, too.

    So, here I go again. I've decided to go back to calorie counting. It's such a feckin bore, but it's the only thing that seems to work. Big Sigh.

    new plan

    An update to the orginal plan.

    • calorie count! - weigh and write down what I eat
    • aim to eat 1500 - 1750 calories per day
    • drink at least 1 litre of water a day
    • eat no crisps
    • drink no sugary fizzy drinks
    • think before eating - am I really hungry? what will this food do for me?
    • eat at least 3 pieces of fruit a day (together with the veggies I usually get at meal times, that will put me on target for 'Five a Day')
    • remember to suck my tummy in as much as possible!

    • exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5 days out of 7, normally to include:
      • 1 aquarobics session
      • 1 belly dance class
      • 1 swim
      • do my belly dance video once a week
      • walk for 30 mins, at least 3 days a week
      • go by bike (instead of car/bus) whenever practical
    • do something active with O every weekend (eg bike ride, walk, go swimming)
    • weigh myself once a week only, on Monday mornings

    • lose 1 lb a week on average (the 'pound a week' club)
    • set a monthly challenge (starting November)

    Sunday, October 24, 2004

    quick note

    Have had fab weekend. Gave Trin guided tour of where we live, then we all went for lunch in our local caff. After that Trin had to go home booooo but C came to stay yay and then we all went on train to the PRY [1] to see some other friends. Stayed there overnight, came back this evening. Then I acted as a taxi service for a bit, and am now going to slob out with new book and nice wine.

    And no, Jude, I haven't forgot about the Diet-restart-on-Monday Pact. Nor have I started yet either.

    [1] People's Republic of Yorkshire

    Friday, October 22, 2004

    Thomas 'worse than crack', mother warns

    A warning for all parents of young children. Do all you possibly can to avoid the Cult of Th*m*s gaining a foothold in your home. It starts innocently enough, a book here, the odd video there, perhaps a trip on the Sodor express and you kid yourself it's just a harmless bit of fun. Then comes the train set for Xmas. The train set is the point of no return. From there it is only a matter of time till you find yourself in the kind of situation I was in today. O, 3 years on from getting his first train set, still a Th*m*s-phreak. We already have a huge box of track and associated paraphernalia (4 different bridges, water tower, turntable, coal hopper, moving points, buffers, stations etc) and another huge box of trains.

    Having acquired some funds of his own to be spent as he saw fit, O headed for the toy shop. He looked at the Power Rangers and Spider Man and Action Man and Thunderbirds and etc etc boys toys, pronounced them all 'kewl', then said 'lets go and get a train now'. Wouldn't you like a powerranger/ spiderman/ turtle/ etc? No, I want a train, lets go mummy. Then another half hour of deciding which of the myriad engines to get [1]. Then he took it to the station and played happily with his train while watching trains while waiting for a train to come in. I do try to be interested in things he's interested in, but there's a limit to how many times you can feign fascination with another train pulling into the station.

    For small boys, Th*m*s is more addictive than crack. Don't say I didn't warn you.

    Other news: Trin's here woooooo. She arrived safe and sound and on time. We came home for cup of tea then spent a couple of hours worshipping at the local Temple of Mammon. She was most impressed, I don't think they got shops like that down south. They certainly don't got them with faux Grecian statuary and a food court modelled on the deck of the Titanic. She also v impressed with O's beautiful diction. I think she's wrong to say that O loves her for the chocolate, tho - it was the über-kewl cars that did it. A lovely evening of eating, drinking, chatting and chocolate followed, marred only by the Voice of Th*m*s turning up on TV.

    [1] He decided on Gordon in the end