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HAPPY New Year :-)

When planning my New Year's Eve dinner for eight  I decided to go for a simple menu that would leave no room for error and would allow me to enjoy the evening rather than stress over the cooking. As most best laid plans go awry it stands to reason that my crab claws were mushy, my beef was overcooked and my FOOLPROOF potato bake was semi-raw. My husband then decided to add hot water to my mushroom and wine sauce after Genius declared that "the gravy was too thick" so naturally I wanted to kill them both. I sat down to eat feeling like a total failure and despite the protestations from my lovely, gracious and polite guests that everything was delicious I couldn't really enjoy the meal. Oddly enough when their oldest son agreed that perhaps the potatoes were a little undercooked I started to feel a bit better - my gripes vindicated.

This past week after a few seasonal spats my husband and I agreed that we were a team and therefore we would subdivide the chores each morning in the true spirit of co-operation and in the interest of maintaining harmony in the home. What I did not realize was that he now thought we were on a level playing field and that his little culinary improvement suggestions would be welcomed. I'm not quite sure how this completely DELUSIONAL state of mind developed but it was guaranteed to piss me off. Seriously this is a man who has no business in the kitchen except for washing my dishes. I am not prepared to reconsider my position until he has completed a year long residential Cordon Bleu course preferably in Paris. In the twenty-five years we have been together the only time he has cooked anything resembling a meal is when I have been out of the country and the boys got sick of take-outs. Apparently on one such occasion (in the middle of a boiling summer) he cooked an ENTIRE Christmas lunch, turkey, roast potatoes etc. and invited all the boys friends over to share it. I know that this meal was produced in the spirit of rebellion and in part to taunt me as I flat out refuse to make turkey at any time other than Thanksgiving and Christmas and he would dearly love to eat it at least once a month. It's amazing how whenever the subject of his cooking skills (or lack thereof) comes up, this story gets wheeled out and the boys get all misty-eyed about Dad's Michelin five-star achievement yet I have cooked (a SUPERIOR) version of this same meal at least FIFTY times and no-one thinks it's a big deal.

Fortunately I still have a sense of humor so we are able to laugh ourselves silly over all these incidents. We spent the rest of the year watching stand-up comedians and so thanks to Michael McIntyre Bill Burr and Rohd Gilbert I was able to welcome in 2012 in a state of great joy. Laughter really IS the best medicine for most situations including acute indigestion and family spats.

Happy New Year.


T'was The Night Before Christmas.......................

T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the house

Not a creature was sleeping except for MY SPOUSE.

The stockings needed stuffing but he didn't care

He was peacefully resting, it seemed so unfair.

I had baked and I'd Roasted, my fingers burned red.

While visions of pinching him danced in my head.

Replete from the dinner and triple nightcap

He had settled right down for his long Winter's nap.

When back in the kitchen there arose such a clatter

I thought he'd jump up and ask "what was the matter?"

But nothing could wake him, no flood, fire or flash

No soft muttered curses or glasses I'd smash.

I banged every saucepan and made SUCH a noise

but got no attention from him or the boys.

Then what to my wondering eyes should appear?

But a bottle of sherry from Christmas last year.

Without really thinking, I opened it quick

And knocked back four glasses which made me feel sick.

Now even MORE bolshy  and tired of this game

I whistled, and shouted, I called out his name!


"WAKE Poppet! WAKE Stupid! So I can stop bitching"

"Our floors all need mopping, before friends come to call

PLEASE wash away! Wash away! Wash away ALL!"


As most overwhelmed wives, will for sure testify

When they meet such an obstacle, they need a good cry.

So up to the bedroom, for sulking I flew

And lay there a sniffling as resentment just grew.

But then from below, I thought I could hear

The crunching of nuts and the swilling of BEER!

I leaped from the bed, some new energy found

Down the staircase in fury I came with a bound.

He was all wet and soapy, from his chest to his knee

But the sight of him working, just filled me with GLEE!

A ragged old tea towel, slung over his back

Dishes rinsed, dried and placed in a sparkling clean stack!

His eyes how they twinkled, his demeanor quite merry

His cheeks were like roses, as he knocked back MY sherry!

The oven was gleaming, the food put away

The place looked quite perfect, so what could I say?

A nice plate of snacks had been laid out for me

My favorite crackers and a ripe wheel of brie.

When I saw what had happened, I was shocked to my belly

He was no longer sleeping in front of the Telly!

In my frilly green apron he looked like an elf

And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself!

A wink of his eye and this man that I wed

Let me know that he loved me though nothing was said.

He spoke not a word, but went back to his work

Of proving forever he's not such a jerk.

And laying his finger aside of his nose

He rolled up his sleeves, to the challenge he rose!

He sprang back into action and got down to his cleaning

Every pot got a scrubbing, Every surface was gleaming.

And he heard me exclaim as I slunk out of sight

Happy Christmas my Darling and thanks for tonight!


The Nightmare Before Christmas

Dec. 22nd 7 a.m.

This is the list of things I need to do in the next 48 hours:

1. Gift shopping

2. Gift Wrapping

3. Fill Xmas stockings

4. Food Shopping

5. Food Preparation

6. Laundry (tons)

7. House cleaning

8. Prepare guest bedrooms for arrival of friends

9. Bake mince pies for office

10. Bake Peanut blossoms for Rockstar & Genius

11. Fight with RTG about missing sofa cushions

12. Get repair completed on broken fridge (which would be better if done before # 4.)

13. Order dog food (of course Blew is allergic to anything you can buy in a store and requires a super expensive unique brand available only from Mars.)

14. Order coffee (of course Husband is apposed to anything you can buy in a store and requires a super expensive unique brand available only from Jupiter.)

15. Do the finances (AGAIN! To see if the cash can be stretched a little further - which would be better if done before # 1.)

16. Get repair completed on broken marriage (crumbling under the strain of #'s 1 through 15 and would be better if done before Dec. 25th)

17. Morph myself from bedraggled Cinderella into glamorous Domestic Goddess ready to welcome the boys home on Friday looking relaxed and serene and like all of the above required absolutely no effort.


Bah Humbug

After listening to Andy's version on the radio EVERY day this week I was DRIVEN to write this.............



It’s the most wearisome time of the year

With the kids really yelling

And everyone telling you “Be of good cheer”

It’s the most wearisome time of the year

It’s the crap-crappiest season of all

With carols repeating and much overeating

When friends come to call

It’s the crap-crappiest season of all

You’ll be way overspending

The lines never-ending

As off to the mall you must go

There’ll be Dad’s boring Stories

Reliving his glories of

Christmases long, long ago.

It’s the most wearisome time of the year.

There’ll be liberty taking

And hearts will be breaking

When loved ones don’t show

It’s the most wearisome time of the year

There'll be many Mom's snapping

As Dad's are caught napping

And they are left running the show

There'll be much loot shop-lifted

And presents re-gifted 

From Christmases long, long ago

It's the most wearisome time of the year

There'll be excessive bingeing

And plenty of whinging

From loved ones, I fear

It's the most wearisome time

It's the most wearisome time

It's the most wearisome time................ of the year


Modern Family

So just like that Rockstar has left home. I had about two weeks warning but frankly until he actually started loading stuff into the car I didn't really think it would happen because it involved signing leases, credit checks, accounts for electric and water and a ton of other grown up stuff that I had no idea he was ready for. Of course whenever something is that well organized you can be SURE that there is a woman at the heart of it. Rockstar is sharing the new abode with his girlfriend Delicious, her two year old son Mini-D, one of his band mates and the dog. This is what is now known as The Modern Family and I sincerely hope they can make it work as I don't want our darling puppy to be the product of a broken home. Of course he is in truth Rockstar's dog but being of sound mind my son readily agreed to a shared custody arrangement (I get him at weekends) as I think he knew that taking him away completely would be the one obstacle to his own escape and an action more or less guaranteed to send his mother spiraling into a state of TOTAL depression  just before Christmas.  Additionally he is smart enough to realize that the pay off of having me continue to pay for his food and vet bills is WELL worth it.

My son knows me so well which is clearly why he sold the whole moving out idea to me in several parts waiting until I had absorbed and accepted each concept before introducing another significant piece of information. It was like being part of a mini-series docu-drama. Consequently it was only in episode four that I found out that the location of the new pad was in the GHETTO. There had to be a reason that the rent on a three bed/ four bath townhouse in Wellington was SO affordable and now I know why - the house is in a development that has a VERY bad reputation for crime and vandalism. Rockstar quickly averted my inevitable meltdown by pointing out that he could easily be living in LA or New York and that he has already survived touring the entire US sleeping in dodgy motels and Walmart parking lots so a little bit of rough five miles down the road from our gated bubble was hardly something I should be losing sleep over. 

Despite the fact that there have been three cars loaded to the gills going back and forwards from our house for the last two days there is still enough Rockstar paraphernalia here to furnish a small mansion. The exodus from Egypt was less complicated and I can see that unless I start packing a few boxes myself I am going to be left with a pile of crap that he doesn't actually want but that I am not allowed to throw away. So later today I will move the remaining contents of two rooms into the garage where no doubt they will sit for several months until my husband gets fed up of looking at them and musters up the energy and courage to deliver them to The Modern Family residence @ The Hood.


Cabin Crude

Just when you thought air travel couldn't get any worse Ryan Air have announced their new money making in-flight service, porn. 

No, that is not a typo or a sick joke they are SERIOUSLY going to be offering porn movies on their 'cheap' charter flights. They have delivered this alarming piece of news in the casual manner that one would expect to be informed that they will be giving out free popcorn. Although nothing is actually free on Ryan Air who also dreamt up the pay-to-use toilet. 

Apparently they think that this latest OUTRAGEOUS affront will not really offend anyone because they won't be broadcasting it on the headrest screens but transmitting it directly to passengers (smart ass) phones. The customers will also be provided with blankets to put over their heads and bodies while they ..........well let's not go there. I am still in a state of TOTAL shock that this could be allowed; obviously I will NEVER fly with Ryan Air again. I can barely tolerate the (usually smelly) person next to me eating fast food or taking off their shoes. Currently the worst case scenario is being stuck next to some moron who is determined to get drunk and then bore everyone to death with three hours of belligerence. Now we can all look back on THAT sort of behavior with an air of nostalgia as we are confronted with this new all time low. What has happened to Great Britain? The country seems determined to portray itself to the rest of the world as a nation of foulmouthed, badly dressed, YOBS. 

I suspect that Ryan Air recently got rid of their fifty-something CEO and hired some whizz kid straight out of college, you know the type? Full of bright new ideas born from an upbringing and education with no moral standards WHATSOEVER. Call me old fashioned but sitting next to some sweet old lady doing her knitting is all the in-flight excitement I need. 

Actually I am surprised that Ryan Air were able to pull this off without serious concerns from airline security. It seems to me that this might be an ideal reason for terrorists to blow up a plane. Not that losing a hundred or so people who can't live without porn for three hours of their pathetic lives would be such a terrible thing.

So the airline that have always had a reputation for cheap tickets will now have a reputation for cheap thrills. Can't see this being a huge success so my advice (for what it's worth) to shareholders? SELL NOW.




Our Lives in Their Hands

Everyone's job is important but there are some vocations that carry the ultimate responsibility - protecting someone else's life. If I have a bad day at work a sofa that would have looked better in red might be green but if you are a pilot or a brain surgeon an off day might result in a TOTAL catastrophe. These thoughts are always forefront in my mind when (like now) I am thousands of feet above ground and have entrusted my well-being to someone I have never met. 

Adding to my morbid reflections, I just overheard the flight attendant telling a story about a passenger who mixed Ambien with alcohol and then tried to open the emergency exit while the plane was airborne. (So now the circle of trust extends to the other 300 people on this flight.) I will recline my seat and visualize the pilot as someone middle aged and solid with a VERY happy marriage and three beautiful children. If in fact he had a terrible argument this morning with his ex about alimony I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT. Fortunately since all his announcements relate to our altitude and the weather conditions I am not likely to find out. I sincerely hope the air traffic controller at Newark is completely focused on his task today and not distracted by thoughts of his recent lottery win and how he will spend his millions.

The point is, who of us (in all honesty) can say that our personal lives do not encroach into our working ones? Yet usually we do not have the opportunity or the right to ask personal questions of those who could affect our VERY existence. I think it is entirely reasonable to enquire of the dentist BEFORE he does your wisdom tooth extraction, whether he is suicidal about the fact that his boyfriend is cheating on him? Don't you want to know if the guy doing your tire change has just about HAD IT with living at home with his parents? If HE doesn't tighten those nuts properly this day might be YOUR last.

I am INCREDIBLY grateful for the good and competent work done by ALL those that cross my path. Whenever I am on a flight that lands safely I feel like running down the isle and showering the pilot with kisses. I always tip far too much in taxis in simple gratitude of a journey safely completed. Ditto in restaurants although of course I will not find out till several hours later if I have food poisoning. Taxis are great because you can chat all you like to the driver and if you discover something sinister you can bail out at the lights, whereas you don't often get to meet a chef and it might seem odd to your fellow diners if you were to enquire about his emotional state while he is reciting the ingredients of the veal cordon bleu. 

Everyone's job matters but some matter more. If MY life is in THEIR hands then I think it matters quite a lot. Now please excuse me as there is someone I need to hug - we just landed safely at Newark.


Matchmaker Matchmaker

Now that I have two adult sons I find I am TOTALLY in favor of arranged marriage. Prior to becoming a parent I thought the whole concept was barbaric and inhumane but all of a sudden it seems to make PERFECT sense. After all who knows a child better than it's Mama and Papa? And who else really has their best interests at heart? Watching your kids date a bunch of LOSERS while smiling and pretending to like them requires enormous restraint and a lot of patience, neither of which are qualities that I have in abundance. 

Although several of Rockstar's girlfriends have been perfectly LOVELY they have all fallen at the first fence and in fact his average relationship endurance time seems to have reduced from three months to about three weeks. Meanwhile on my travels around the world I am meeting wonderful young women who are strong contenders for the honor of bearing my future grandchildren. I currently have my eye on some Prada wearing twin Interior Designers who despite being a few years older than Rockstar and Genius would make absolutely IDEAL wives. The Prada Twins are tall, skinny, beautiful, talented, intelligent and funny but most important of all they actually seem to quite like ME which as any mother of sons knows is probably the SINGLE most important quality for a prospective daughter-in-law, if one is not to be cast as That Dreadful Woman We Have to See Twice a Year.

Of course as per traditional arranged marriages the most promising matches for one's offspring are the children of your BEST friends. The REASON they are your best friends is that you share the same values so OBVIOUSLY they raised their children correctly (by your standards) otherwise you would have stopped speaking to them YEARS ago. Now those children are all grown up and are potentially perfect mates for yours. After all they got along just fine when they were five years old and playing in the sandbox so I can't think of one good reason why they couldn't learn to love each other now. Just think how WONDERFUL family occasions would be if your in-laws were your best friends? And I am quite sure planning the weddings would be a lot less stressful and a lot MORE fun.

On this basis I believe that the Lacey, Bell, Stuart, La France, Cotterell and Benson girls should ditch their current beaus and start dating Rockstar and Genius (not simultaneously.) Unfortunately (like the Prada Twins) they all live on different continents so my meddlesome interference is unlikely to bear fruit (or Grandkids) which is probably a great relief for all concerned. Still, one can dream.........................