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Archive for November, 2006

30 days hath September, April, June and, mercifully, November

30 November, 2006 at 10:34 pm by belgianwaffle

Today is the last day of NaBlPoMo and to celebrate I am going to list my favourites here in one place – rejoice. And yes, I know, you’ve seen most of this already, your point? If you have kindly commented here in the past month and I have not replied to you, it’s not that I’m ignoring you, (are you mad?) it’s just that all my energy has been sucked up by writing a new post every day; no sniggering, it’s harder than you might think. I have great hopes for December so hold your breath.

ex20six

20six was my first internet home and I loved it but it revamped and I left in a huff and so did some others.


Bobble

Bobble is a photographer. Her photos would pin your ears back. They are spectacular. Her blog is an insight into a sophisticated London world of banking, post office fraud (not by her, you understand) and mature students.

Let there be another leaf

Marvellous Norah. The woman who made dull office working into art. Funny art. She is a mother now and not working in an office. This is good. It has cut down on her posting. This is bad. But it looks to me like she’s gearing up to get going again.

Don’t mention the skiing

Heather was the winner of this year’s Swiss blog award. In fairness to the Swiss, this would appear to show them as open minded as Heather’s blog features, in hilarious detail, her attempts to settle in and learn Swiss German. The woman who found humour in Switzerland. Also, she posts, sometimes, about her family history and those entries are fascinating, inspiring and beautifully written. As, indeed, are the comments on the Swiss. Well, perhaps not inspiring, particularly not, if you’re thinking of moving to Switzerland.

Minkleberry

Minks is a friend of Jojo’s (of whom more anon, be patient) and that’s why I went to look at her blog. There she was doing some exciting foodie job and, it seemed to me, having a great time. But she jacked it all in to stay at home with her two children (both of whom were born online, if you see what I mean). I am lost in admiration. She is inspiring about childrearing and it is extraordinary to see her dealing with all her crises with aplomb (including nearly dying in childbirth). And yes, of course, she’s very funny. I like that.

Kate Evans

Kate Evans has moved to Canada. She would like the Canadian nation to stop hugging her. She would like people to stop buying water filters. She has a baby too but she didn’t when I knew her first. Really. She is a cool blogger. I imagine her looking a bit like Kate Moss. I would like to emphasise that she really loves Canada, despite the hugging.

Jojo

Jojo was appointed by the powers that be to enliven 20six, look after us and create a community. She did all that. She commented on new blogs, she pointed us towards interesting things and she solved our problems. When she left 20six, I packed up my virtual bag and left too. She’s a journalist with all sorts of items appearing in real publications that people pay good money for. She also still has a blog wherein she outlines the travails of keeping down a full time job as a free lance while looking after her son. She’s lovely.

20sixers

Geepeemama

The clue is in the title. She’s a GP and a mama. Her daughter is very like mine to my great amusement. In fact, in many ways, her life sounds like mine, except of course, that she is a doctor bringing joy and good health to humanity and I am a worker drone thinking up performance indicators and writing annual reports. As well as writing about her children, she does the odd post about seeing things from the GP’s side of the desk and this is all very interesting. Let me give you a tip, if your doctor has a bad cold don’t say “Doctor, you should be the one taking antibiotics”. Apparently, though she will laugh politely, it palls after a while and, anyway, she will be itching to tell you a cold is a virus.

Pog

When I started posting at 20six, I instantly noticed that there was someone who seemed incredibly popular. Who was this pog anyway? I started to lurk on her site. She was a London party girl, that’s who she was. I started to enjoy a glitzy social life involving all night parties in cool London locations as well as a day job in something mediaish and exciting (though she was rather dismissive about this latter). It was another world. A lot of the blogs I read are more of the same world; I like that, it’s nice to be reassured that you are not alone and it’s entertaining to find others in the same boat as you but pog is a completely different world and I like that too. As it turns out, the cool girl has a heart of gold and now regularly reads my blog (can I tell you how excited I was the first time she left a comment?), which I hope will mean that she will keep up with the partying rather than settle down to produce kiddies in the short term. The cool girl is also a cook and when I was unable to eat anything in the later stages of my last pregnancy, sent me recipes artfully combining the few things I could eat. She also made bread from scratch. Including the yeast which she described as heaving in her kitchen in a large vat. What else can I say?

Lilo

Another working mother blogger. I like that. Unlike me, she is rabidly imprudent and writes about work; immensely enjoyable stuff. I see her doing the juggling thing as well and it is great to feel that you’re not the only one failing to hit all your targets. She has two beautiful small children. Yeah, since you ask, she is funny too. Doesn’t everybody love funny?

Babymother

Nearly won a copy of the LRB from me. Mother of one, nearly mother of two. Watch this bump. Funny and endearing. Sorry, this sounds like bad back of book blurb but it’s true.

Belgians

Bruxelles, Ma Ville (in French)

It is to Thierry that I am indebted for any local information and views about the town where I live. He is a bit of a screaming right winger by Belgian francophone standards (which is to say screaming left by American standards). He also has great Brussels photos.

Peggy (in French)

Peggy is a working mother of two little boys. She works on European stuff but is Belgian. I know this sounds odd, but it is hard to meet Belgians in Brussels. Please trust me on this. Peggy is like a Belgian friend. Through her blog, I get an insight into what it must be like being a Belgian in Brussels. I won’t say anything further because I don’t want to unnerve her by behaving like a weird foreign stalker but I do like her blog.

The infertility bloggers.

No, my twins were not conceived with the assistance of IVF but thanks for asking.

A Little Pregnant

Julie, mother of one after (trust me here), not inconsiderable difficulties. Polemical, opinionated, funny – what’s not to like?

The Ambulance Men

Reynolds

I was directed here by the GPmama and the life of an ambulance paramedic is quite fascinating. The material is interesting per se but he also writes very thoughtfully about it and has plenty of opinions. I’m not the only one who thinks this and he has just put out a book which seems to be selling very well. I heard him on BBC radio 4 the other day reading this post. I recommend that you have a look, even if you think that this may not be for you.

Nee Naw

I found this via Reynolds; know one blog in the ambulance service, know them all, I suppose. This guy works in dispatch. I swear I am totally prepared on what to say on the day I have to ring 999. Good thing not to say is “it’s an emergency”. Apparently, they’re bright boys and girls and they know that already. Funny, interesting and moving. I love this one.

Many Mothers

Dooce

I once read a blog where the writer said words to the effect “if you don’t know who Dooce is, you must be my mother, Mom, please call me”. I think this sums it up quite neatly. That and the fact that if you google “motherfucking mormon”, she is the first site that comes up. Apparently. She said so, it must be true.

Dooce

You think I covered this earlier, but no, this is Dooce for alphamom. Funnily enough, they seem to have barred her from talking about motherhood, it’s about music, tv, concerts. For my money, not as good as dooce.com where her daughter, Leta, gets a lot of airtime but perhaps of more interest for those among you not blessed with progeny.

Finslippy

The delightful Alice: quirky and beloved New Yorker recently turned New Jerseyer. She may be the best writer on the internet. Aside from you and me, clearly.

Alice in Wonderland

By the people who brought you Finslippy, but with a different slant. Alice is doing politics for the alphamom people. I am bitter, she stole my breastfeeding post which I was hoping to use to pad out the time until November (and the incessant posting) ends. Did her husband carefully read the Burlington Free Press, print down the article for her and leave it on the keyboard with comments about who’d want to be in the Vermont Human Rights Commission? And an arrow pointing to the excellent name which the author of the article has (Sky Barsch, since you asked)? No, I think not. Boycott Wonderland. Since, I’m assuming, you don’t want to fill in a form to see the article (but I recommend the Burlington Free Press, no seriously, we have fond memories of a couple of holidays in Vermont staying with the heart surgeon and reading things like – woman hits moose in car, neither woman nor moose injured), I have reproduced it below. Is there no end to my virtue?
“Nurse-in” to protest Delta Air Lines today

Published: Wednesday, November 15, 2006

By Sky Barsch

Free Press Staff Writer

Upset that a woman was kicked off a flight for breast-feeding, a group of supporters plan a “nurse-in” today at Burlington International Airport’s Delta check-in counter. Sharon Panitch, a Burlington mother of two, said breast-feeding supporters will gather at the airport at 10 a.m. to show support for Emily Gillette, the New Mexico woman who was forced off a flight departing from Burlington. Panitch said the group wants to stage a peaceful demonstration to show they are upset that Gillette was asked to get off the plane after she refused a flight attendant’s request that she cover up as she breast-fed.

Gillette said she was being discrete and was comforting her 22-month-old as they prepared for take-off after a three-hour delay. The flight was operated by Freedom Airlines, which was operating a commuter flight for Delta Air Lines. Gillette says she has filed a charge with the Vermont Human Rights Commission against both airlines, because breast feeding is protected under the Vermont Public Accommodations Law. The airlines said it asked that Gillette cover up with a blanket to be more discreet. A spokesman said the incident has been investigated.

The Sarcastic Journalist

Mother of two, mistress of the hilarious one liner. She once said (more pithily) that when giving out attention, the child who can throw things at her tends to have an advantage. This was a reasonable observation and stopped me worrying about ignoring my sons, thus allowing me additional time to fend off missiles from my daughter. She also observed, oh so truthfully, that when you have a small child, when you’re out, you’re out, which is how she ended up in the post office in dressing gown and slippers. Consider also this post on breast feeding a nine month old. Such an insight into the true nature of parenting and such excellent writing – from one so young too. She is only about 25. I try not to hold it against her.

Wet Feet

This is an odd one, for me, at least. Kateri is the mother of two little girls, who live with her; she also has another little girl whom she gave up for adoption to her lasting regret. It was an “open adoption” but it doesn’t seem to have worked out very well for Kateri who is gutted. I’d never really given much thought to adoption and its implications for everyone concerned before reading this blog and she has made me think a lot about that. She is a very different person from me. She definitely falls in the earth mother end of the spectrum (she doesn’t use disposable nappies, and this is only the beginning, people) whereas I am more at the “what’s your name again child who I only see briefly every day, oh good Lord how many of you are there?” end of the spectrum. I think she’s wrong about a lot of things and I’m sure she would think the same about me but it is interesting to read the (very definite) opinions of someone you don’t agree with most of the time. And also I do admire her coping skills as she separates from her husband and brings up her daughters and tries to do what’s best.

Islay

Separating mother of one who is surprisingly upbeat given the heartache and logistical nightmare of being a single working mother trying to deal like a grown-up with an ex-husband when all she really wants to do is scream. Or I may be overinterpreting here about the screaming bit. I do admire people who can keep so many balls in the air and manage to start over. Amazing. I also like the way that her posts are true.

Alana

Did you know that teenage boys can sound like their mothers? Just warning you, as is Alana. And I have just discovered that she is a poet too. Yes, I know, that sounds like bad news, but it’s not. Truly.

So the Fish said

I love Beth, she’s just so nice. That makes her sound bland but she’s not, at all. She’s hilarious. She’s kind and clever too. She is also mother to the world’s most beautiful child only excepting yours and mine which are tied there at the top also. There are some blogs I love but I’m not entirely sure I would like to meet the author but I would love to meet Beth. That’s why she should be worried about stalkers in, what she foolishly believes to be, her Washington safe house. Doubtless, once you have investigated her blog, you will want to stalk her too, but, hey, join the queue.

Beth Again

Yet different. Because you can’t have too much Beth. Welcome to the friendliest place on the internet. Really. Also, the best advice on the internet (if that’s not a compliment, it was meant to be but I appreciate that the competition is not exactly keen).

Fussy

Inventor of the NaBlPoMo. Do I need to say more?

Petite Anglaise

The famous blog of an English woman fired by her employers in Paris for her blog which barely mentions them. She is a mother of one and has split from her French partner. These are the bare facts. She writes beautifully. I first came here when she was splitting up from her partner (referred by Jack Dalton – Jack where are you? we still love you) and those posts were dreadfully sad and evocative.

Dotmoms

This is a site that features different bloggers every day. It can be hit and miss but I’ve enjoyed some good stuff here. I like their daily round up of parenting news as well you know, this kind of thing: expert blames parents for bratty kids.

Miscellaneous (I don’t mean that in a bad way)

Dervala
From
Limerick and a deep thinker. I started to read her after the best dressed diplomat (a more profound thinker than I am) found her. And then I discovered that Dervala and I had friends in common, so, clearly, I had to read her blog out of sheer nosiness. She is a thinking techie with a huge following and she writes a lot in reflective mode. I think she might be the Charlotte Rampling of the technology world. She writes about an Ireland lost in the mists of time which I always find mildly alarming as she is a couple of years younger than me: this is a fairly typical offering in that vein. And not a mother at all, well fancy that.

Manolo’s shoe blog

Just because I have children doesn’t mean I have lost all interest in shoes. The Manolo, he loves the shoes.

Very Zen

I came across Amanda after Dooce linked to her site following Hurricane Katrina and, doubtless brought her (Amanda’s) ISP to its knees. Amanda is a tall, compassionate Southern pro-gun, pro-gay rights girl. I think that there are a lot of contradictions there and that’s only a couple of adjectives. I’m not sure that the American political system can accommodate them all though I have a dreadful feeling that (gasp) she may be a Republican. She’s having a bit of a rough time at the moment, so, I suspect she would welcome some warm fuzziness from the internet.

If it’s on teh interweb it must be true

Sarky comments about fashion pics and the odd dig at celebrities. Oooh this is excellent.

Miss Snark

I was pointed in this direction by a friend who is writing a book. It’s strangely compelling in a train wreck kind of way. If you are looking for an agent, you may be interested or you may be terrified.

Romy

I have no idea how I stumbled across this blog. Romy is a catholic convert with all the zeal thereof which can be a little alarming. She is an academic and often has funny stories. She lived in France for a long time and litters her blog with French which, of course, I would never do. I realised when compiling this list that I used to read her a lot more previously when her entire posts appeared in bloglines. I am just too lazy to go that extra click. Which doesn’t mean that you should be.

Friends and Relations

My loving sister

Surviving India. Just.

Nicholas

I met Nicholas when I worked as an election monitor in Bosnia for a couple of months; I know, the glamour. Then years later I met him in a cafe in Brussels. It turned out that Mr. Waffle knew him too. It’s a small world and all that. And he had a blog and I have become a devotee. I tend to ignore the Dr. Who stuff though (and you can too, unless you’re into that, of course). His blog is fascinating. Lots of international politics but seen through a prism of Nicholas. And I scored 320 on this language test to which he directed me. I’ve been waiting to tell someone that since September. No, I don’t know what he was doing on a dating site either.

And Anne

Nicholas’s wife who has, alas, a stop start approach to blogging. I suppose minding three kids full time gives her less scope to write than trotting off to the caucauses (I’m saying nothing Nicholas). I think that this is a real pity because I enjoy her posts and, as you will be well aware, it’s all about me, me, me.

Swish

The woman who created the beautifully designed website you see before you here today. She used to post a lot more but I think now that she must have channelled her energies into more useful things. I still enjoy her occasional posts but I wish she would post more, I used to really like her blog, especially fun in the days when she was playing around with formats.

People I should have mentioned earlier but am now too tired to describe

Gin and Teutonic, Manuela, Surgeon’s blog, Jordana and the Squid, 3×3

Unhappily defunct

Chez Miscarriage (who had a baby, way hay, but I miss her blog, I wish she’d come back)

Brother Lawrence (the only blogging religious brother who was hilarious)

Fluid Pudding (but hang on a second, she’s back, but different)

Jack Dalton (ah, the doctor)

Silveretta (it seems so long ago that the skinny within was out jogging)

Locotes (the Cork man who explained to me how the whole blogging thing works)

Open Brackets (the woman who read all the articles in the LRB and not just the personals)

Cancer Baby (in a different category; she died, tragically, at 33)

The intellectuals are IN

29 November, 2006 at 9:14 pm by belgianwaffle

Him: You’re reading a Maeve Binchy book.

Me: Yeah, I find her soothing, everything turns out right in the end and she’s a good storyteller.

Him: I didn’t know you read Maeve Binchy.

Me: What do you think we’re doing with all those copies of her books?

Him: Um, adding intellectual gravitas to our bookshelves.

Glum

28 November, 2006 at 9:30 pm by belgianwaffle

One of the worst things about living in an expatriate bubble is that almost everyone leaves in the end. When you are in your 20s this is great as the converse is also true and you have a constant supply of new friends pitching up and that makes up for the pain of departures and also, as you will be aware, the childfree can travel at the drop of a hat so they friends are not really gone, they’re just establishing new locations for short breaks.

In your 30s, you don’t make as many new friends. Some friends are decamping to Stockholm on Wednesday and I am gutted. I think it’s time we thought seriously about decamping ourselves.

In other gloom, I came home yesterday to find the Princess parked in front of the telly on the couch and the boys peering fixedly at it from their playpen and the childminder nowhere to be seen. In fact she was in the bedroom folding clothes. I know I might well do the same after a day with three children, I know it has never happened before, I know that it is nice to come home to a tidy house (and also mildly miraculous given the odds that C has to battle against) but it was a depressing little tableau.

Finally, we were chatting to the Princess about school and asked her who she slept beside for her nap and she said “Ines” and then she said “she doesn’t like me, she says ‘t’es pas mon ami'”. “I have no friends”, she continued sadly “at school nobody wants to be my friend”. Alas.

A source of never-ending entertainment

27 November, 2006 at 10:11 pm by belgianwaffle

From the Irish Times birth column:

“…To Philip and Rachel, a daughter Philippa Trinity Dale…sincere thanks to our Hypnotherapist..and our midwife for all their encouragement and support” [emphasis added].

Mother of 3, running late, prepares for first party of the Christmas season

26 November, 2006 at 9:46 pm by belgianwaffle

Stream of consciousness – ok, Winter, those nice boots, what would they be good with? Right that black skirt, where is it, where is it?  Could it be in the bottom of the wardrobe with the good stuff?  Surely once you have something five years, it should be demoted, but no there it is.  OK, does it fit? Excellent.  Jesus, what is that sticky stuff on the waistband, is it something from last Christmas?   Oh God, I bet the children have got their stickly little mitts on it and all the other stuff in my good drawer.  My wedding dress is there.  Well when am I going to be wearing that again?  And the hem of that skirt is coming down.  Tum ti tum, where are the safety pins?  It’s a feature really, those little twinkling silver thingies around the hem.  OK, a top, a top.  That navy one with the sparkly bits.  Is it a bit low cut?  It’s a party, for heaven’s sake.  Goodness, that’s a lot of exposed flesh, not a lot of chest though.  Where have my breasts gone, why did I give up breast feeding?  Let me see, can I root out that ancient wonderbra.  Yes, excellent, here it is. OUCH, OUCH.  God, the underwire is poking out, goodbye ancient wonderbra.  Maybe a nice necklace to perk up the top then?  That pearly one that came free with a bottle of mineral water?  Yes.  But navy and black?  No, no.  OK, the denim skirt, sort of dress up top half, casual bottom half and at least the denim skirt isn’t sticky.  Gosh, that top really is indecent, where’s that silvery cardigan thing?  OK, that’s OK.

I emerge and face my husband.  “You look very nice” he says obediently.  “No, I want you to tell me what you really think”.  “What’s my range of options?”  “Just tell me what you think”. “Um, is the top a bit dressed up for the bottom?” “Fine”, I say and depart with something like a flounce.  The doorbell rings; it’s the babysitter.

Back in the bedroom the torrent of consciousness is reaching a crescendo.  OK, not the denim skirt, black trousers.  But they don’t go with the navy top. OK, not the navy top, the black top.  OK, but now there is actually no flesh visible of any description.  Is that good?  Hang on, with the black top, I can wear the sticky skirt.  Yes, excellent in a sort of deep mourning way.

Roll on the next party.

Beautiful and Brilliant

25 November, 2006 at 9:07 pm by belgianwaffle

This afternoon, the Princess and I went to see Azur et Asmar.

It’s the most beautiful film I have ever seen. My hopes were not inordinately high; it was a French language, animated film for children and, to boot, it looked arty. If I had known in advance that lots of it would be in arabic with no sub-titles, this would have confirmed my forebodings. It was fantastic. Within two minutes, I was fascinated and cajoling the Princess to stay (“I want to go home, I’m scared”). She was a little young for it but she stayed to the end and the ending was gorgeous and she came home babbling about the details, not all of which she understood, to her father.

Unfortunately, there is nothing I can write that would persuade me to go to this film, so I fear, I won’t be able to persuade you, but if you get a chance, you should really go, it’s spectacular and I know that people who go on about wonderful films they’ve seen are tedious but I have never seen anything like this before. Recommended as the critics say.

Correction

24 November, 2006 at 4:00 pm by belgianwaffle

Me: Yeah, that’s right.

Young L: Don’t say yeah, say yes.

Me: Do you like your chocolat chaud ?

Princess: Mummy, in English, I would say hot chocolate.

How are the boys?

23 November, 2006 at 10:25 pm by belgianwaffle

At the creche, when they reprimand one of the boys, the other looks crossly at the person reprimanding. Which is not to say that they do not fight, because they do. Daniel’s approach is to slap Michael round the head. Michael bites, everyone. The other evening, however, I noticed bite marks on Michael’s arm. The biter bit. Mind you, I wouldn’t be surprised, if he bit himself. I find, somewhat to my chagrin, that when Daniel refuses to eat (which he almost always does), Michael shakes his head and starts to refuse also. Michael can now climb up on the bed. Unfortunately, he can only get down by sitting on the edge and toppling over. He can also stand up unaided which he enjoys hugely until he ends up falling over on his bottom.  Both of them are cruising round the furniture with a certain amount of panache.  And Daniel regularly sleeps through the night; last night we slept, uninterrupted, from 11.20 to 5.50.   We get through  24 litres of milk a week up from our previous regular total of 18 – if you care, this is over 6 US gallons.   Only 16 litres of it is for the boys.

Ms. Malaprop

22 November, 2006 at 10:39 pm by belgianwaffle

Daniel: UH OH

Me: What did you drop sweetheart?

Princess: He didn’t drop anything, he’s lining.

Precious and base metals

21 November, 2006 at 11:09 pm by belgianwaffle

When I came home from work today the Princess said to me “Mummy, I was as good as gold today, not as bold as brass”.

And here is our heroine “reading” Snow White in the dark in three installments while ignoring barracking from her brothers.  You’d want to be really keen to look at these.

Ex-boyfriends

20 November, 2006 at 9:58 pm by belgianwaffle

I was reading the Irish Times birth announcements the other day, blithely perusing the daft names people choose to give their innocent children when I saw that one of my ex-boyfriends and his wife have just had a baby girl. I felt a distinct pang of regret that we parted on such terms that I am not now in a position to call him and annoy him by passing on a great deal of smug advice about childrearing.

Another ex-boyfriend was from Rome and we have stayed in contact and about 8 or 9 years ago Mr. Waffle and I attended his wedding outside Rome. The reception was in a spectacularly beautiful castle. Which is, presumably, why Tom and Katie went there too. The excitement.

NaBlPoMo – You have seen all the blogs I regularly read.  Are you relieved? Yes, so am I.

Jet setting

19 November, 2006 at 4:00 pm by belgianwaffle

I spoke to my sister yesterday afternoon. She’s gone to Singapore for the weekend (a five hour flight from Delhi, who doesn’t care about her carbon footprint, then?) to see a friend. “What’s it like?” I asked. “The city’s ok, I suppose, but the airport is amazing”.

NaBlPoMo – Still at it.
Swish

The woman who created the beautifully designed website you see before you here today.  She used to post a lot more but I think now that she must have channelled her energies into more useful things.  I still enjoy her occasional posts but I wish she would post more, I used to really like her blog, especially fun in the days when she was playing around with formats.

Babymother

Nearly won a copy of the LRB from me.   Mother of one, nearly mother of two.  Watch this bump.  Funny and endearing.  Sorry, this sounds like bad back of book blurb but it’s true.

Little Demons

18 November, 2006 at 10:14 pm by belgianwaffle

L, the glam potter’s daughter, has been around at our house a bit over the past couple of days. Not only is her mother recovering from pneumonia but her little sister has chicken pox, so they need all the breaks they can get.

I stuck the girls in the kitchen standing on chairs with a sink full of soapy water each and spoons, bowls, forks, knives and straws. I then sat behind them trying to finish off my book.

Siri Hustvedt: Where do they come from, these chatterers who talk to me before I fall asleep?

L: MY FORK, it’s sunk, I can’t get my fork.

Princess: Me too, my FORK.

Siri Hustvedt: My characters. I am making them and not making them, like people in my dreams. They discuss, fight, laugh, yell, and weep.

L: I’m all wet. I need to turn off the tap. How do I turn off the tap?

Princess: My hands are all soapy. I need more water. AAAH, my sink is overflowing.

SH: I was very young when I first heard the story of the exorcism Jesus performs on a possessed man. When Jesus talks to the demon inside the man and asks for his name, the words he cries out both scared and thrilled me.

Princess: My chair is MOVING, I can’t reach the sink.

L: My chair is MOVING too.

SH: The demon says: “My name is Legion.”

Me: You’re not kidding Siri.

Later in the evening while Mr. Waffle and I were putting the boys to bed we heard the sound of hysterical laughter in the bathroom where we had been imprudent enough to leave a bath full of water. When I went to investigate I found them both gleefully splashing their suede boots in the tub. Alas.

NaBlPoMo – And still they gazed and still the wonder grew..

Romy

I have no idea how I stumbled across this blog. Romy is a catholic convert with all the zeal thereof which can be a little alarming. She is an academic and often has funny stories. She lived in France for a long time and litters her blog with French which, of course, I would never do. I realised when compiling this list that I used to read her a lot more previously when her entire posts appeared in bloglines. I am just too lazy to go that extra click. Which doesn’t mean that you should be.

Alice in Wonderland

By the people who brought you Finslippy, but with a different slant. Alice is doing politics for the alphamom people. I am bitter, she stole my breastfeeding post which I was hoping to use to pad out the time until November (and the incessant posting) ends. Did her husband carefully read the Burlington Free Press, print down the article for her and leave it on the keyboard with comments about who’d want to be in the Vermont Human Rights Commission? And an arrow pointing to the excellent name which the author of the article has (Sky Barsch, since you asked)? No, I think not. Boycott Wonderland. Since, I’m assuming, you don’t want to fill in a form to see the article (but I recommend the Burlington Free Press, no seriously, we have fond memories of a couple of holidays in Vermont staying with the heart surgeon and reading things like – woman hits moose in car, neither woman nor moose injured), I have reproduced it below. Is there no end to my virtue?
“Nurse-in” to protest Delta Air Lines today

Published: Wednesday, November 15, 2006
By Sky Barsch
Free Press Staff Writer

Upset that a woman was kicked off a flight for breast-feeding, a group of supporters plan a “nurse-in” today at Burlington International Airport’s Delta check-in counter.

Sharon Panitch, a Burlington mother of two, said breast-feeding supporters will gather at the airport at 10 a.m. to show support for Emily Gillette, the New Mexico woman who was forced off a flight departing from Burlington.

Panitch said the group wants to stage a peaceful demonstration to show they are upset that Gillette was asked to get off the plane after she refused a flight attendant’s request that she cover up as she breast-fed.

Gillette said she was being discrete and was comforting her 22-month-old as they prepared for take-off after a three-hour delay.

The flight was operated by Freedom Airlines, which was operating a commuter flight for Delta Air Lines.

Gillette says she has filed a charge with the Vermont Human Rights Commission against both airlines, because breast feeding is protected under the Vermont Public Accommodations Law.

The airlines said it asked that Gillette cover up with a blanket to be more discreet. A spokesman said the incident has been investigated.

Quick, eat it before November 24

17 November, 2006 at 3:05 pm by belgianwaffle

Princess: I am going to eat my pasta.

Me: You’re not eating it.

Her: It’s in my mouth, look.

Me: Yes, but you’re not chewing.

Her (chewing slowly): Look, now I am.

Me: But, you’re not swallowing.

Her (swallowing an infinitesimal amount): I am.

Mr. Waffle: That child has a future as a Sinn Féin negotiator.

NaBlPoMo – Where do I get the time to read all these blogs?

Petite Anglaise

The famous blog of an English woman fired by her employers in Paris for her blog which barely mentions them. She is a mother of one and has split from her French partner. These are the bare facts. She writes beautifully. I first came here when she was splitting up from her partner (referred by Jack Dalton – Jack where are you? we still love you) and those posts were dreadfully sad and evocative.

Dotmoms

This is a site that features different bloggers every day. It can be hit and miss but I’ve enjoyed some good stuff here. I like their daily round up of parenting news as well you know, this kind of thing: expert blames parents for bratty kids.

No false modesty here

16 November, 2006 at 11:11 pm by belgianwaffle

Driving home from the creche the other day, the troops got a little restive, I sang a number of popular numbers to try to keep them quiet, as I ran out of English songs, I began to resort to Irish numbers I had learnt in the Gaeltacht many years ago. The boys seemed to like them but the Princess interrupted me “Stop singing in Irish”. “How did you know I was singing in Irish?” “It sounded like Irish.” I was amazed “You’re a genius.” “Yes” she replied in a bored tone “I’m a genius, I know.”

NaBlPoMo – Sing along with me “Way hay, we’re half way there, way hay, we’re living on a blog, take my virtual hand and we’ll make it, I swear”

Nicholas

I met Nicholas when I worked as an election monitor in Bosnia for a couple of months; I know, the glamour. Then years later I met him in a cafe in Brussels. It turned out that Mr. Waffle knew him too. It’s a small world and all that. And he had a blog and I have become a devotee. I tend to ignore the Dr. Who stuff though (and you can too, unless you’re into that, of course). His blog is fascinating. Lots of international politics but seen through a prism of Nicholas. And I scored 320 on this language test to which he directed me. I’ve been waiting to tell someone that since September. No, I don’t know what he was doing on a dating site either.

And Anne

Nicholas’s wife who has, alas, a stop start approach to blogging. I suppose minding three kids full time gives her less scope to write than trotting off to the caucauses (I’m saying nothing Nicholas). I think that this is a real pity because I enjoy her posts and, as you will be well aware, it’s all about me, me, me.

Pushing my luck

15 November, 2006 at 9:45 pm by belgianwaffle

Last night and the night before I have been out for work dinners. This morning the Princess was sick and couldn’t go to school and Mr. Waffle stayed home and minded her. On the way to the creche I scraped the car. Was he delighted to hear, after returning home from his afternoon at work, that tonight is bookclub?

NaBlPoMo – Will it never end?

Miss Snark
I was pointed in this direction by a friend who is writing a book. It’s strangely compelling in a train wreck kind of way. If you are looking for an agent, you may be interested or you may be terrified.

My loving sister
Surviving India. Just.

When is Christmas?

14 November, 2006 at 11:59 pm by belgianwaffle

The Princess is a patient child in some ways. When she sees sweets in the shops, she asks “can I have those for my birthday?” Her birthday is in April.

Since July, she has been asking me “when is Christmas?” She’s a bit like one of those annoying newspaper ads that encourage you to book your Christmas party in July while there’s still time. Mercifully, in Belgium, Christmas decorations go up in December so, for the meanwhile my considered response “not for ages” has been acceptable. I shudder to think what would happen, if we lived in Ireland where the Halloween barrier has been breached and Christmas merchandise is now available from your local department store from October. Dear God in heaven. Over the past number of months, the Princess has been mentally preparing a list for Santa Claus which she is anxious that I get down on paper for her at the appropriate moment. I trust that some of the elements discussed over the past months may elude her when the time comes, but I fear the worst, sometimes, she has a mind like a steel trap.

NaBlPoMo – It lasts all month you know

Very Zen

I came across Amanda after Dooce linked to her site following Hurricane Katrina and, doubtless brought her (Amanda’s) ISP to its knees. Amanda is a tall, compassionate Southern pro-gun, pro-gay rights girl. I think that there are a lot of contradictions there and that’s only a couple of adjectives. I’m not sure that the American political system can accommodate them all though I have a dreadful feeling that (gasp) she may be a Republican. She’s having a bit of a rough time at the moment, so, I suspect she would welcome some warm fuzziness from the internet.

If it’s on teh interweb it must be true

Sarky comments about fashion pics and the odd dig at celebrities. Oooh this is excellent.

Quantity not quality

13 November, 2006 at 11:54 pm by belgianwaffle

Just back from a work dinner and dashing to the computer to make it for today’s post. The content is not spectacular but I feel that this display of devotion to duty must make me a prime contender for a NaBlPoMo souvenir mug.

So instead of content, you may feast your eyes upon a video of the Princess and her siblings sharing an ice cream. Or not, if you prefer.

NaBlPoMo – Miscellaneous

Dervala
From Limerick and a deep thinker. I started to read her after the best dressed diplomat (a more profound thinker than I am) found her. And then I discovered that Dervala and I had friends in common, so, clearly, I had to read her blog out of sheer nosiness. She is a thinking techie with a huge following and she writes a lot in reflective mode. I think she might be the Charlotte Rampling of the technology world. She writes about an Ireland lost in the mists of time which I always find mildly alarming as she is a couple of years younger than me: this is a fairly typical offering in that vein. And not a mother at all, well fancy that.

Manolo’s shoe blog

Just because I have children doesn’t mean I have lost all interest in shoes. The Manolo, he loves the shoes.

Thank you and good night.

Reasons to love Belgium

12 November, 2006 at 10:13 pm by belgianwaffle

Firstly, there is this picture. Then the other day in the Princess’s school I saw a poster encouraging us all to go to something arty which was supported by the “Ministère des classes moyennes”; disappointingly when I found the Ministry site, it is translated into English as self-employed which is not the same thing at all. Finally, do you know that all children who go to school in Belgium whether rich or poor are entitled to a “classe de neige” which is a week of school on the ski slopes? Subsidised by the State, as appropriate. What a fantastic thing for taxes to go on – let’s hear it for the Belgians please.

NaBlPoMo – Still with the mothers and as Paul McCartney said in one of his less successful numbers, “what’s wrong with that, I’d like to know”

Alana

Did you know that teenage boys can sound like their mothers? Just warning you, as is Alana. And I have just discovered that she is a poet too. Yes, I know, that sounds like bad news, but it’s not. Truly.

Dooce

You think I covered this earlier, but no, this is Dooce for alphamom. Funnily enough, they seem to have barred her from talking about motherhood, it’s about music, tv, concerts. For my money, not as good as dooce.com where her daughter, Leta, gets a lot of airtime but perhaps of more interest for those among you not blessed with progeny.

Exhausted

11 November, 2006 at 10:10 pm by belgianwaffle

Please put together the following elements and write a description of my day because I am too tired to do so: Michael is sick, the Princess has abandoned her afternoon napping for good (insert weeping and gnashing of teeth here please), it rained most of the day, November 11 is a bank holiday for armistice so absolutely everything was closed except the video shop which didn’t turn out to be as much of a mercy as you might think since I chose to take out Mary Poppins for which the Princess is a little too young and which is very, very long. Indirectly, however, this provided the only entertainment of the day. The Princess picked up a pink (think moth to a flame) flyer in the video shop. On closer inspection this is advertising “the greatest Belgian lesbian party ever”. Belgium is the home of the European Union and the English favoured by this august institution tends to flavour that of the locals so the party is further escribed as being “in the framework of the loveball”. Indeed.

Today also afforded me an opportunity to reflect anew on how children seek to diminish any romance or mystery you might previously have enjoyed in your marriage. For me, one of the great things about working is going to the toilet alone. At home, the Princess likes to keep me company; this morning, having warned me not to put too much paper down the toilet in case I blocked it, she ran out of the bathroom to her father shouting an information bulletin “Papa, Papa, Mama a fait pipi et caca”.

NaBlPoMo – More Mothers

Islay

Separating mother of one who is surprisingly upbeat given the heartache and logistical nightmare of being a single working mother trying to deal like a grown-up with an ex-husband when all she really wants to do is scream. Or I may be overinterpreting here about the screaming bit. I do admire people who can keep so many balls in the air and manage to start over. Amazing. I also like the way that her posts are true.

Beth Again

Yet different. Because you can’t have too much Beth. Welcome to the friendliest place on the internet. Really. Also, the best advice on the internet (if that’s not a compliment, it was meant to be but I appreciate that the competition is not exactly keen).

New jumper

10 November, 2006 at 10:14 pm by belgianwaffle

I was away for work for a couple of days last week and Mr. Waffle carried out crowd control in Dublin. When I got back, I had a look through the photos taken while I was away so that I wouldn’t miss even a moment of my children’s lives.

Me: What’s the Princess wearing?

Him: It’s a new jumper I bought her.

Me: You needed to buy her a new jumper?

Him: Hey, while you was gone, I was raisin’ this family.

NaBlPoMo – More Mothers

The Sarcastic Journalist

Mother of two, mistress of the hilarious one liner. She once said (more pithily) that when giving out attention, the child who can throw things at her tends to have an advantage. This was a reasonable observation and stopped me worrying about ignoring my sons, thus allowing me additional time to fend off missiles from my daughter. She also observed, oh so truthfully, that when you have a small child, when you’re out, you’re out, which is how she ended up in the post office in dressing gown and slippers. Consider also this post on breast feeding a nine month old. Such an insight into the true nature of parenting and such excellent writing – from one so young too. She is only about 25. I try not to hold it against her.

Wet Feet

This is an odd one, for me, at least. Kateri is the mother of two little girls, who live with her; she also has another little girl whom she gave up for adoption to her lasting regret. It was an “open adoption” but it doesn’t seem to have worked out very well for Kateri who is gutted. I’d never really given much thought to adoption and its implications for everyone concerned before reading this blog and she has made me think a lot about that. She is a very different person from me. She definitely falls in the earth mother end of the spectrum (she doesn’t use disposable nappies, and this is only the beginning, people) whereas I am more at the “what’s your name again child who I only see briefly every day, oh good Lord how many of you are there?” end of the spectrum. I think she’s wrong about a lot of things and I’m sure she would think the same about me but it is interesting to read the (very definite) opinions of someone you don’t agree with most of the time. And also I do admire her coping skills as she separates from her husband and brings up her daughters and tries to do what’s best.

Happy Birthday

9 November, 2006 at 9:28 am by belgianwaffle

Me: I think I’ll ring Aunty Helen.

Her: NOOO, talk to me, I hate the telephone.

Me: Nope, I’m going to call her.

Her (snorting): Big meanie.

I ring her work number.

Indian Gentleman: Hallo.

Me (Somewhat surprisd): Oh hello, I was looking for Helen.

Him: For Hindi?

Me: No, for Helen.

Princess (loudly): Big meanie.

Him: Oh OK. Where from?

Princess (loudly): I hate the telephone.

Me: From Brussels. From Belgium.

Him: Wait ok?

Long pause.

Helen: Is something wrong?

Me: No, just rang for a chat.

Princess: Big mean old Mummy.

Helen: Oh, because, I’ve just been pulled out of a difficult meeting that I’m chairing.

Me: Oh right, you better go back then, I hope that I didn’t undermine the professional tone of the meeting.

Helen: No, I think that that was fatally compromised by the stream of employees coming in wanting to play table tennis.

Me: What?

Helen: Well, we are running late and after work there’s a table tennis club here.

My sister is 31 today – fancy that, and though the Princess won’t let me talk to her, she did sing happy birthday for her.

More famous mothers – NaBlPoMo

So the Fish said

I love Beth, she’s just so nice. That makes her sound bland but she’s not, at all. She’s hilarious. She’s kind and clever too. She is also mother to the world’s most beautiful child only excepting yours and mine which are tied there at the top also. There are some blogs I love but I’m not entirely sure I would like to meet the author but I would love to meet Beth. That’s why she should be worried about stalkers in, what she foolishly believes to be, her Washington safe house. Doubtless, once you have investigated her blog, you will want to stalk her too, but, hey, join the queue.

Fussy

Inventor of the NaBlPoMo. Do I need to say more?

Happy Families or there was no television when I were a lad

8 November, 2006 at 11:21 pm by belgianwaffle

For the past couple of weeks after the boys go to bed, the Princess, Mr. Waffle and I have played a game together. She has mastered snap but aeons can go by before she notices that the cards are identical and she can “snap”. Funnily enough, she’s much better at dealing the cards than you might expect in a three year old. And I am delighted that I have managed to induct her into the world of card playing. I now say (when she finally snaps), “ok you’ve won the trick, now lead”. And she does. I am entertained which is just as well, really, because I don’t think I’ll ever be allowed to snap more than once per game without a collapse into furious sulks.

On evenings when snap palls (why? I hear you ask. Why would snap pall?) we sometimes play a board game with elephants which is quite mind-boggling tedious but boasts the significant advantage of being entirely uncontentious. Lately we have started playing a game which she received from tactful friends on the boys’ birthday. It is called “Tottering Towers” and in all the language versions of the instructions, except English, is described as being suitable for children aged four years and up. Anglophone children have to wait until they are 5 to tackle it. How we wish we had heeded the sage advice of the instruction writers. She loves it but we spend our time locked in mortal combat. It is, essentially, a memory game. You have to remember which towers other players have (acquired on a roll of a coloured dice). The Princess has no hesitation in asking us for our towers but when we even hint that we might like one of hers, she buries her bag of towers under the cushions on the couch and sits on top of them. I once tried to wrestle a tower from her but gave up in despair when she began to collapse in tears. Given that the Princess will inevitably win, the battle for second place has become increasingly intense (“Oh, but, I think you do have the yellow tower”. Audible sniff). Ah, did you perhaps think the mortal combat might be with the three year old?

We’re getting snakes and ladders at the weekend.

NaBlPoMo – Famous Mothers

Dooce

I once read a blog where the writer said words to the effect “if you don’t know who Dooce is, you must be my mother, Mom, please call me”. I think this sums it up quite neatly. That and the fact that if you google “motherfucking mormon”, she is the first site that comes up. Apparently. She said so, it must be true.

Finslippy

The delightful Alice: quirky and beloved New Yorker recently turned New Jerseyer. She may be the best writer on the internet. Aside from you and me, clearly.

Y a pas de place

7 November, 2006 at 10:30 pm by belgianwaffle

The Princess loves it when our childminder brings her own two daughters to our house. Unfortunately, she can’t always do that because they have other things on and, I presume, she (the childminder) would go insane, if she had to mind 5 children 3 afternoons a week. We were talking about this last night.

Princess: I love it when they can come, we can play.
Me: Well, yes, I know but you can play in school too.
Her: No, I can’t.
Me: Why not?
Her: Because when I go up to them the other children say “y a pas de place” even though there is room.
Me (gutted): Really?
Her: Yes, really and then they push me.
Me: Surely not.
Her: And then they poke me in the eye.
Me: In the eye?
Her: Yes, with an elephant.

She isn’t an entirely reliable witness, as you may have gathered, but I suppose I’d better go and talk to her teachers about these elephants.

More for NaBlPoMo – Ambulance men

Reynolds

I was directed here by the GPmama and the life of an ambulance paramedic is quite fascinating. The material is interesting per se but he also writes very thoughtfully about it and has plenty of opinions. I’m not the only one who thinks this and he has just put out a book which seems to be selling very well. I heard him on BBC radio 4 the other day reading this post. I recommend that you have a look, even if you think that this may not be for you.

Nee Naw

I found this via Reynolds; know one blog in the ambulance service, know them all, I suppose. This guy works in dispatch. I swear I am totally prepared on what to say on the day I have to ring 999. Good thing not to say is “it’s an emergency”. Apparently, they’re bright boys and girls and they know that already. Funny, interesting and moving. I love this one.

Travelling back

6 November, 2006 at 11:35 pm by belgianwaffle

We came back from Dublin yesterday. I am still a shadow of my former self. On the plane back, the Princess sat by the window, Mr. Waffle sat in front of her with Michael on his lap and I sat beside her with Daniel on my lap. As we were sitting on the runway taxiing about, the Princess and I had the following conversation:

Her: I want to do a poo.
Me: You can do a poo when the fasten seatbelts sign goes off.
Her: But I want to do a poo NOW!
Me: I’m afraid you’ll have to wait.
Her: But the poo wants to come out.
Me: Well it will just have to wait. What is that awful smell? And those funny damp brown marks on Daniel’s back?
Her (giggling): I think he did a big poo Mummy.

Once airborne we retire to the toilet where the Princess sits on the toilet while I try to stop Daniel eating anything dangerous. When she is finished, I change Daniel’s nappy and all his clothes. He wriggles. The toilets on planes are small. That’s probably all the detail you need. When we got back to our seating, the long-suffering man on the outside stood up to let us troop in.

Him: Three children – a lot of work, eh?
Me: Hmm. I suppose. Princess, sweetheart, can you get up off the floor please.
Him: I have two sons 27 and 29.
Me: That’s nice. Are you from Belgium?
Him: Yes from Mechelen.
Me: I like Mechelen.
Him: It’s handy for my work. I travel a lot. I was in Ireland for work. It’s very expensive.
Me: Yes, isn’t it? Sweetheart, what are you doing down there?
Princess (muffled but indignant): I’m picking up papers to put them in the bin.
Him: Are you working in Brussels?
Me: Yes, what do you do yourself?
Him: I’m a businessman. I sponsor the IMPAC literary prize.
Me (vaguely aware that this is the largest literary prize in the world): Goodness, that’s very impressive.
Him (pleased): You’ve heard of it?
Me: Absolutely. Daniel will you please stop pulling your sister’s hair? You must be very interested in literature.
Him: No, it’s really for the publicity. My passion is art collecting. When I’m in my New York office, I like to go to the art galleries.
Me: What kind of art do you like to collect? Are you biting him?
Princess: NO, I’m kissing my little brother.
Him: I like Cobra and I have a lot of these works.
Me (faintly): A lot?
Him: Yes. I also collect….[inaudible]
Daniel: Waah, a bottle, waah, I need a bottle, also she did bite me.
Him:…and a small Picasso that I keep in the kitchen.
Me: Good for you. Here, sweetheart, have a bottle.
Daniel: Glug.
Princess: I WANT a bottle.
Me: Well, I haven’t got a bottle for you.
Princess: Can I have some crisps then when the “any drinks or snacks” lady comes?
Me: OK, then.
Him: I’m also really interested in the symbolists.
Me: Oh yeah, did you see that whatshisname, Belgian symbolist, um..
Him: Khnopff?
Me: Yes. Horsey, horsey don’t you stop, just let your feet go clippety clop…
Daniel: Big grin.
Princess: When will it be MY turn to sit on your lap?
Him: Did you see that picture of his sister in the dress with all the buttons?
Me (warily, considering that almost all the pictures were of his sister – Khnopff appears to have a number of issues here): Yeees.
Him: Do you collect at all?
Me: No, not really, no.
Him: I had my house repainted in the colour scheme on that painting. Why not, eh?
Me: Why not indeed, um, do you have a very large house for your large collection?
Him: Art nouveau house, 600 square metres.
Me (swooning from envy): Lovely. Sweetheart, look out over England, see all those things sparkling, they’re fireworks (it was November 5 and the English like their fireworks for Guy Fawkes – it was an extraordinary sight).
Daniel: UH OH.
Me: Princess, could you pick up your brother’s bottle?
Her: No, I’m looking at the fireworks.
Him:Have you been to see the Spilliaert exhibition?
Me (holding Daniel on the chair with one hand while rooting round on my knees on the floor for the missing bottle): No, not yet, though I do like Spilliaert. He’s interesting in a weird Belgian kind of way.
Him: You think Belgians are weird?
Daniel: The bottle woman.
Me (inserting bottle in indignant mouth): The home of surrealism, I think so, yes.
Her: Can I see Aunty Publishing Exec’s house?
Me: No, sweetheart, we’re too high up and anyway, we’re over Belgium now.
Him (pensively): Having children, it’s a lot of work; I’m not so sure about having another baby. I think I will offer a million to the first of my sons to have a grandchild.

I’m not sure whether he was serious or not but I bet he wished that aer lingus hadn’t dispensed with business class for the weekend flights.

More blogs for NaBlPoMo 

Peggy (in French)

Peggy is a working mother of two little boys. She works on European stuff but is Belgian. I know this sounds odd, but it is hard to meet Belgians in Brussels. Please trust me on this. Peggy is like a Belgian friend. Through her blog, I get an insight into what it must be like being a Belgian in Brussels. I won’t say anything further because I don’t want to unnerve her by behaving like a weird foreign stalker but I do like her blog.

A Little Pregnant

Julie, mother of one after (trust me here), not inconsiderable difficulties.  Polemical, opinionated, funny – what’s not to like?

Roomservice!

5 November, 2006 at 11:20 am by belgianwaffle

The Princess likes the world to come to her. The other morning she was lying in bed shouting “Mummy, mummy” with increasing urgency while I was dashing around seeking to accomplish various tasks. When I, eventually, er, sped to her side she said “Mummy, could you send in Doggy, please?”

More blogs for NaBlPoMo

Lilo

Another working mother blogger. I like that. Unlike me, she is rabidly imprudent and writes about work; immensely enjoyable stuff. I see her doing the juggling thing as well and it is great to feel that you’re not the only one failing to hit all your targets. She has two beautiful small children. Yeah, since you ask, she is funny too. Doesn’t everybody love funny?

Bruxelles, Ma Ville (in French)

It is to Thierry that I am indebted for any local information and views about the town where I live. He is a bit of a screaming right winger by Belgian francophone standards (which is to say screaming left by American standards). He also has great Brussels photos.

More from multicultural Ireland

4 November, 2006 at 12:18 pm by belgianwaffle

I had to go to the local shop to get a packet of tampax. To avoid theft and to torture customers, small shops in Ireland keep tampax behind the counter. I looked at the crowded shop and thought “I am 37 years old, I have given birth to three children, I can surely ask for a packet of tampax without undue embarrassment”. I came to the top of the queue and faced the Chinese man behind the counter. Two elderly men in flat caps stood patiently behind me.

Me: Could I have a packet of tampax please?

Him: Sorry?

Me: A packet of tampax.

Him: What for?

Me: Sorry??

Men behind me in queue: Cough, cough.

Him: What it for?

Me: Um.

Him (enlightenment dawning): Ah, sorry. Small, medium or large? (I love that question).

Me: Medium.

Him (triumphantly smacking a packet of thumbtacks on the counter): Here you go.

NaBlPoMo – Still on 20six

Geepeemama

The clue is in the title. She’s a GP and a mama. Her daughter is very like mine to my great amusement. In fact, in many ways, her life sounds like mine, except of course, that she is a doctor bringing joy and good health to humanity and I am a worker drone thinking up performance indicators and writing annual reports. As well as writing about her children, she does the odd post about seeing things from the GP’s side of the desk and this is all very interesting. Let me give you a tip, if your doctor has a bad cold don’t say “Doctor, you should be the one taking antibiotics”. Apparently, though she will laugh politely, it palls after a while and, anyway, she will be itching to tell you a cold is a virus.

Pog

When I started posting at 20six, I instantly noticed that there was someone who seemed incredibly popular. Who was this pog anyway? I started to lurk on her site. She was a London party girl, that’s who she was. I started to enjoy a glitzy social life involving all night parties in cool London locations as well as a day job in something mediaish and exciting (though she was rather dismissive about this latter). It was another world. A lot of the blogs I read are more of the same world; I like that, it’s nice to be reassured that you are not alone and it’s entertaining to find others in the same boat as you but pog is a completely different world and I like that too. As it turns out, the cool girl has a heart of gold and now regularly reads my blog (can I tell you how excited I was the first time she left a comment?), which I hope will mean that she will keep up with the partying rather than settle down to produce kiddies in the short term. The cool girl is also a cook and when I was unable to eat anything in the later stages of my last pregnancy, sent me recipes artfully combining the few things I could eat. She also made bread from scratch. Including the yeast which she described as heaving in her kitchen in a large vat. What else can I say?

Reasons to stay in private practice

3 November, 2006 at 10:11 pm by belgianwaffle

Me: I have to think up performance indicators for the office.

Friend (who as only ever worked as a solicitor in a law firm): What are they?

NaBlPoMo – More ex20six

Kate Evans

Kate Evans has moved to Canada. She would like the Canadian nation to stop hugging her. She would like people to stop buying water filters. She has a baby too but she didn’t when I knew her first. Really. She is a cool blogger. I imagine her looking a bit like Kate Moss. I would like to emphasise that she really loves Canada, despite the hugging.

Jojo

Jojo was appointed by the powers that be to enliven 20six, look after us and create a community. She did all that. She commented on new blogs, she pointed us towards interesting things and she solved our problems. When she left 20six, I packed up my virtual bag and left too. She’s a journalist with all sorts of items appearing in real publications that people pay good money for. She also still has a blog wherein she outlines the travails of keeping down a full time job as a free lance while looking after her son. She’s lovely.

Setting

2 November, 2006 at 11:42 pm by belgianwaffle

I am reading an excellent collection of essays by Siri Hustvedt. A freebie from my kind sister-in-law, the publishing exec. Everyone should have a relative who works in publishing. I digress. Siri Hustvedt is married to Paul Auster whose books I do not like very much but let us not hold that against her.

Almost every sentence she writes makes me think differently about the world. This one made me laugh, though:

“I can’t remember how Paul [Auster] and I started our discussion of place in fiction or how we arrived at his startling comment about Pride and Prejudice. But I clearly remember him saying that Austen’s novel had taken place in his parents’ living room in New Jersey.”

Blogroll celebrating NaBlPoMo – More ex20six

Don’t mention the skiing

Heather was the winner of this year’s Swiss blog award. In fairness to the Swiss, this would appear to show them as open minded as Heather’s blog features, in hilarious detail, her attempts to settle in and learn Swiss German. The woman who found humour in Switzerland. Also, she posts, sometimes, about her family history and those entries are fascinating, inspiring and beautifully written. As, indeed, are the comments on the Swiss. Well, perhaps not inspiring, particularly not, if you’re thinking of moving to Switzerland.

Minkleberry

Minks is a friend of Jojo’s (of whom more anon, be patient) and that’s why I went to look at her blog. There she was doing some exciting foodie job and, it seemed to me, having a great time. But she jacked it all in to stay at home with her two children (both of whom were born online, if you see what I mean). I am lost in admiration. She is inspiring about childrearing and it is extraordinary to see her dealing with all her crises with aplomb (including nearly dying in childbirth). And yes, of course, she’s very funny. I like that.

It’s a hobby

1 November, 2006 at 11:45 am by belgianwaffle

Me (looking up from typing): We get so little time together without the children.

Him (looking up from the paper): Hmm.

Me: Do you mind that I seem to spend most of it playing with my blog?

Him: No.

Me: Do you think I’m obsessed?

Him: No, it’s a hobby.

I’m very relieved. So, as part of my hobby, I intend to participate in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) as suggested by Mrs. Kennedy. I will post every day for the month of November. Go on, admit it, you’re delighted. No sarcasm, please. In the spirit of the event I have decided that I will go through my bloglines blog roll and talk about each of the blogs I read two by two. I know, you’re looking forward to it already.

Here we go with the first two:

ex20six is my first category. 20six was my first internet home and I loved it but it revamped and I left in a huff and so did some others.

Bobble

Bobble is a photographer. Her photos would pin your ears back. They are spectacular. Her blog is an insight into a sophisticated London world of banking, post office fraud (not by her, you understand) and mature students.

Let there be another leaf

Marvellous Norah. The woman who made dull office working into art. Funny art. She is a mother now and not working in an office. This is good. It has cut down on her posting. This is bad. But it looks to me like she’s gearing up to get going again.


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