Monday, April 30, 2012

A-Z Challenge: Z - Zebedee

Z is for Zebedee

Most of you are probably thinking "Who the hell is Zebedee?" Well, he was in a seemingly innocent children's TV programme in Britian in the 60s called The Magic Roundabout. He always bounced everywhere, just in the nick of time, to save the day. There was a famous saying at the end of every episode, when the narrator announced: "Time for bed, said Zebedee."

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A-Z Challenge: Y - Young Ones

Y is for the Young Ones

I absolutely loved this show. It was a British sitcom which first hit our screens in 1982 with all the subtlety of a bull in a china shop. It had such a big impact on me that I hadn't realised, until I googled it for this post, that they only made 2 series, a total of 12 episodes. I still quote some of their catchphrases to this day ... like, "Have we got a video?" and "You complete and utter bastard!" ... which is kinda random as no-one in California knows what the hell I am going on about and just look at me like I am some kind of weirdo with a bad case of Tourette's.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A-Z Challenge: X - Xenophobia

X is for Xenophobia and others

Xenophobia: An irrational fear of foreigners or strangers

Well, although I don't have a fear of all foreigners, I feel sick to the stomach and terrified every time I spot a Californian cop. After getting four (yes, four) tickets in the three years since I got here, is it any wonder I feel a shot of guilty adreneline every time I spot one.
They're like ferocious crocodiles hiding in the swamps all day, just waiting to pounce out and catch us for the slightest infringements. They give out tickets like touts at a rock concert: driving without any due fashion sense, driving under the influence of rap music, or being in possession of a dangerously bad haircut (watch out Paul Weller). Just the sight of a CHP badge can get my heart rate going - and not in a good way. Give me the good ole English bobby any day.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A-Z Challenge: W - Weller

W is for Weller

This part two of my "I love Paul Weller" post. See here for part one. Today I am finishing the story with songs from The Style Council and his solo career.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A-Z Challenge: V - Verbose

V is for Verbose

I looked through a lot of my posts for this A-Z Challenge and decided I have been decidedly Verbose. I looked up this word and was horrified. Here are some of the definitions I found:

In the interests of being the opposite of verbose, therefore, I am going to shut up. Instead, I am offering you Virgin and THE funniest complaint letter I have ever read. It makes me laugh every time I read it. It's brilliantly written. This guy should win an award. Apparently, Richard Branson replied personally. I have to warn you, though, it's a little verbose.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A - Z: U - Useful and Useless


U is for Useful and Useless

Useful: Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty
Being a rather Unorganised, but Ultroneous (that's spontaneous to the Uneducated) person, I obviously have not properly thought through this A-Z Challenge. Apart from the first 3 or 4 posts, I have not written posts ahead of time. I have not even listed ideas of what I might write. It has been an interesting exercise in thinking on my feet, to say the least. So, as we arrive at the bottom end of the alphabet and the letters become a bit more difficult, I find myself somewhat panicking. What do to with 'U'? Ultimately, what Utter nonsense will I come up this time? Not one to disappoint, I have decided to Unearth and Unlease and, wait for it, Unbosom some Useful tips and some Useless sayings for your general amusement and jollification.
I thought this was a ridiculous saying when my husband first said it and mocked him cruelly. Now I know the error of my ways as it is the ONLY way I can tell how to turn something on or off. I find myself saying it to others. Does this mean I am now officially "An Old Fart"?

Monday, April 23, 2012

A-Z Challenge: T- Teenager

T is for Teenager

I have a houseful of hormonal teenagers. Terrible, toxic, bad-tempered teenagers having tantrums and eating us out of house and home. I always thought the terrible twos were bad, but they've got nothing on the terrible teens. I wouldn’t wish teenagers on my worst enemy.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A-Z Challenge: S - Spirituality

S is for Spirituality

Now, you may not realise, judging from yesterday's post of lavatorial lewdness, but I actually have quite strong spiritual beliefs. Many years ago, when I was at boarding school, we were forced to go to church every Sunday and it was unutterably boring and completely put me off organised religion. If we so much as smiled the vicar, who must have had a sense of humour lobotomy, would give you such a look of horror, you would have thought we had shouted "Phuq!" (see R) at the top of our voice. God forbid, if one of us farted, it was like we were sacrificing a small child. So I decided that anywhere that didn't have a sense of humour was no place for me! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

A-Z Challenge: R - Rude

R is for Rude

Today I am going to briefly introduce those of that don’t know about it to Viz magazine. Well, I suppose to be more accurate, it’s more of a comic. A rude comic. In fact, a very rude comic. For adults, not kids. Definitely not for kids! It bills itself as “a rude parody of British post-war comics”.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A-Z Challenge: Q - Quirky Quodlibet

Q is for Quirky Quodlibet

Once upon a time there was a quacksalver who was a terrible quidnunc. Her main quiddity was that she was a very quiddle person. She also loved quarenders.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A-Z Challenge: P - Paul Weller


P is for Paul Weller

I have decided to split this into two posts: 'P' and 'W' as Paul Weller really is too good to fit in just one. So for this post you have the introduction and The Jam, his first band. I am a little bit obsessed with Paul Weller. Can one be ‘a little bit obsessed’? Or is that an oxymoron? Anyway, he is one of my favourite artists, if not the favourite. He is a ROCK GOD (and has, actually, received the Godlike Genius Award at the NME Awards).  He's a working-class hero, an incredibly talented singer-songwriter, has won more awards that I’ve had hot dinners, has successfully reinvented himself three times and to top it off, he’s also a bit-of-alright (meaning eye-candy, sex-on-legs, yummy, get-yer-pants-off-gorgeous ... except for some really dodgy haircuts).  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A-Z Challenge: O - Obeliscolychny and Others

O is for Obeliscolychny and Others

I thought for the letter O it would be fun to pick some unusual words and see if you can guess their meaning if I describe them to you (no cheating and looking up the words in google).

For example, obeliscolychny: 
“Ahoy thar, me ship-mates. Wha’ be that flashin’ light in t’ distance?”
Yes, well done – Lighthouse.

Ok – you get the idea. Answers are written small at the end.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A-Z Challenge: N - Naughty, but Nice

N is for Naughty, but Nice

Ice cream
I have a massive weakness for ice cream. It's one of those things that tempts me out of my diets. My husband has even started making ice cream - delicious, yummy, creamy homemade ice cream. Arrgh!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A-Z Challenge: M - Marmite

M is for Marmite

You either love it or hate it. Which one are you? I am mostly a hater. I can occasionally eat it, sparingly, on eggy bread (that's French Toast to all you la-de-dah's). But I have to share this amazing Nut Roast recipe which one of my veggie friends gave me, as the secret ingredient is Marmite.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A-Z Challenge: L - Lizard-Face

L is for Lizard-Face

When my daughter was young and going through the terrible twos, my sister, Sue, used to come round and try and cheer her up by making silly faces. The one that worked every time, without fail, was “lizard-face”. Well, it made me laugh a lot anyway. Then my whole family started doing lizard-faces whenever we wanted to make someone laugh. Now it has become a bit of a family tradition and we do it all the time - forgetting that other people have no idea why we suddenly look like creatures from outer space, while cackling hysterically. Probably not how most people expect a Buddhist nun to behave either, which somehow makes it all the funnier.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A-Z Challenge: K - Kiss

K is for Kiss

Today I am delighted to introduce my friend, Barbara Alfaro. She is an amazing writer who I met through the Scribd community. She wrote this lovely poem all about her first kiss. It is the title poem for her collection of poems, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle. More of Barbara's writing can also be found on her blog. I particularly loved a short story she wrote called "Resistible Impulse" about a robot called Shelley. She has published her memoir, Mirror Talk, about growing up Catholic, her experiences in New York Theatre, her marriage and the healing power of humour.

First Kiss

Teddy O’Connor, I dreamed of you last night.
You were the age you would be now
and still handsome in your quiet way.

Remember us, in our Easter Sunday best,
beside my father’s mint green Chevrolet,
holding torch-shaped ice cream cones.

Ten years later, I’m wearing a prom dress.
You are Cary Grant in a rented tux.
You broke my heart that night,
being too attentive to another.

Somewhere between the Carvels
and senior prom, probably
when we were twelve, we paused
in a Long Island woods and
sat beside each other on a fallen tree.
You surprised me with a kiss
and I fell silent as a log.

In the dream, you said you live in Delaware.
I wonder how you are now.
The fool part of me is tempted to see
how many Theodore O’Connors
live in Wilmington but if I found you,
what could I say?

Teddy O’Connor, I dreamed of you last night.

   ~ Barbara Alfaro

Isn't that a great poem. Can you remember your first kiss?

Monday, April 9, 2012

A-Z Challenge: H - Hungry and Homeless

H is for Hungry and Homeless

I had a wonderful experience at Christmas that I never got around to blogging about. A friend invited me to join her annual feeding of the homeless in San Francisco. I wasn’t sure what she meant at first. Were we going to dole out soup in one of those homeless shelters? No, apparently her and a friend had started a ‘give back’ tradition over 20 years ago, which entailed the following:

  • Spending a fortune buying top quality, fresh, organic ingredients
  • Taking an entire day off work to prepare a delicious Martha Stewart recipe chicken salad 
  • Making up 150 sandwiches with said Martha Stewart chicken salad as filling
  • Filling 150 lunch bags with about 10 different items, all top quality and as healthy as possible
  • Driving down to San Francisco and handing them out randomly to homeless people.
I joined them for the sandwich making, lunch bag stuffing and handing out to random homeless people in SF. (Luckily they had already done the extravagent food-buying as my bank balance was a little thin.) I was a bit nervous beforehand wondering what sort of reception we would get. Would it be dangerous (or smelly)? Would we get shouted at or attacked even? Would they think we were patronizing, middle-class do-gooders? I needn't have worried. Everyone we handed a lunch bag to was so grateful, thanking us profusely and wishing us a Happy Christmas.

Some people were fast asleep under newspapers or blankets, some were stoned or drunk or out of their minds on something, but the vast majority were simply hungry. It felt great to be giving them quality food and not just a dry, stale bit of bread with a limp piece of ham. It was so rewarding to see their faces transform into smiles of joy, especially when they realized we were just giving them free food - no sermon or lecture or religious diatribe.

What I noticed, however, was that the vast majority were black. Or is the proper description, African American? I’m never quite sure in this politically correct world we live in now. But really, who cares what the correct term is – surely the point is that these people are hungry and homeless and it seemed that a certain skin colour was more prevalent than others. I am sure there are worse places to be homeless than California, but there were a lot of people of all ages, with no home and no food. Now I know some people make a 'choice' to live like this, but I'm damn sure most of them don't. There was a definite sense of community though, with groups of people looking out for each other, making sure their 'sleeping' friend had a lunch bag for later and so on.

I don't know how much good it really does in the end, but my friend says that she likes doing this because she hopes they will realise that someone cares. That their situation isn't entirely hopeless. That they have been noticed. She is a lovely, caring person and perhaps if there were more people that did something like this it would really make a difference. I am glad she asked me along. I had a great time. It made me feel like I had done something good with my day. I definitely experienced a rosy glow from my good deeds, but I couldn’t help feeling guilty that I was ending the day by stuffing my face in a delicious restaurant, and going back to my loving husband and a comfy bed in a warm house.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A-Z Challenge: G - Grammar

G is for Grammar

 I recently stumbled across
The Fumblerules of Grammar
by William Safire - listing 54 self-contradictory rules of writing -thanks to Lists of Notes. I think they are not only hilarious, but extremely informative. I have picked 10 randomly but they all worth a read. For the full list, go here.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A-Z Challenge: F - Funny

F is for Funny

I love to laugh. I think it's on a par with an orgasm, but without the wet spot (unless, of course, you've given birth and then you have no pelvic floor and uncontrollable giggling can frequently cause embarrassing wetness). And no-one makes me laugh quite as much as the fantastic, fabulous, fart-makingly funny Dawn French.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A-Z Challenge: E - Elbow

E is for Elbow

Time for some music! Love this band. I was first introduced to them by my hubby’s brother and thought their name was fab. They looked like a bunch of accountants though. Then they won the  (British) Mercury Music Prize for their album The Seldom Seen Kid in 2008 and went from being virtual unknowns (although they'd been around for years) to overnight megastars. They are even composing the BBC’s 2012 Olympic coverage theme tune – can there be loftier heights for a band to aspire?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A-Z Challenge: D - Dog

D is for Dog

I inherited  was forced to live  agreed to look after my husband’s dog when we moved to the US, along with his children. Although the dog (who is tail-less and called Stubby) was psychotic, she was less frightening than my new step-children. At least I had had a dog before.