Thursday, August 28, 2008

In Cleavage and in Saggage...

I've noticed something in the last couple of days.

Something that is not entirely good, something that indicates that I'm... not as young as I used to be. Something that has obviously snuck up on me (or slumped down on me) when I wasn't looking.

I generally expect my figure to be a little flatter and lower hung on washing day. That's only to be expected because I wear my 'Washing Day Bra' A.K.A. 'The Oldest, Least Favourite Foundational Undergarment Available' to avoid the 'why didn't I wash that one?' regret later in the week. In fact, you probably don't want to visit me on washing day because I'm just sitting here trying to remember the last time I washed my Washing Day Bra. Hmmm.

Anyway, back to the story. When I looked down earlier this week, I was slightly disturbed to think that things were just not quite right. It was even worse when it then hit me that not only was it not washing day, but that I was wearing my absolutely favourite, newest bra.

Since then (and I'm not entirely free from embarrassment mentioning this) I've been checking things out. Yep. There is definitely a softening, and I'm very nearly certain that things are a bit lower than I remember. Things seem sort of flatter, and that maybe the recent decrease in my bust measurement is nothing to do with my latest fitness craze and that I've lost some fat across my shoulder blades, but that things just aren't as firm as they used to be. Then I panicked thinking of all those little old ladies who only have the belt of their granny-dresses holding them up.

OK, so it's not that bad...yet. And there is no reason that I ever have to wear a granny-dress.

I asked Hubby for his opinion. He didn't want to go there, and I really can't blame him. It does remind me of a line from a book I read ages ago where the wedding vows read,
"For richer, for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
In cleavage and in saggage,
As long as you both should live"
You're stuck with me now, sweetie.

In some ways this is worse than when my best friend from high school and I realised that we were starting to get little lines around our eyes. This sign of aging can't be removed by skin creams or taking off my glasses.

The chances that it's not all 'downhill' from here?

... Approximately None *huge sigh*

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Who'da thought Wile E Coyote was based on fact...

I gave our Little Black Dog the last of the anti-inflamatory tablets today.

It's a task I've got quite good at, particularly compared with the early days when I gently placed them on the back of his tongue, held his mouth closed and madly stroked under his neck to get him to swallow.

Now it's a case of confidently slipping the tablet between two fingers, prising his jaws apart and shoving the thing down his gullet. I've found that it saves me from scrambling around picking up slobbery bits of pill from all over the place and having another go, hoping that I've found it all so that he's getting the correct dose.

These tablets have to be given with food. I prefer before food. Usually I have his full bowl with me and put it somewhere out of reach until he's had the pill.

Today I put the bowl down first. The LBD has been trained not to eat until given the magic word, so it would be fine.


Do you remember poor ol' Wile E Coyote chasing the Road Runner? That image of him in full flight - eyeballs turned to drumsticks, knife and fork out and ready, serviette tied round his neck, and drooling.

The drooling part seems to be correct.

How many times did I want to put my fingers in his mouth?

...Approximately None.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Found: One pair of rosy tinted specs

... And I'm not giving them back!

Last week seemed long. Very long. And more importantly, nothing seemed worth blogging. In fact, the writing part of my brain didn't seem to be functioning at all. I couldn't write reports, I couldn't write my journal, I couldn't do anything about a church service I'm involved in this week. Blank. Unmotivated. Unable to use the English language or higher level brain functions. Unable to make myself do anything very much - even those things I usually enjoy.

The weekend was pretty good, though. Sunshine that was warm without scorching. Blue, blue sky. The first time I could spend a morning with no shoes on after what seemed to be a very long winter. Making time to be out in the sun to hang out the washing and walk the dog.

Apart from the fact I had a day of possibly controversial, adversarial meetings hanging over my head for today, life became remarkably good. And now I'm at the end of that day. The meetings over without aggression (just the brick wall of politics), and the post-meeting rush to get my part of the subsequent work done.

Tomorrow is another day. I have a few painful things to get out of the way, but I've done today's work, so hopefully I can get tomorrow's done tomorrow. Time for bed.

Just so you know, later in the week I'll be disappearing for a fortnight - I'm off on holidays to my Grandad's. I might sign in while I'm there, but I might not. Who can know? You'll have to live in the mystery.

What were the chances that I would get around to posting after a very full, hard thinking day?

...Approximately None

(but I did anyway!)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pooch Paw Physio 'plied by Parent

I found out at the vet's today that I'm going to be getting on good terms with some parts of my pooch.

It's been a couple of weeks since the LBD's surgery and although he will sometimes use his bad leg, most of the time he sort of hangs it up like this:

This is not good. We paid good money for surgery so that he would regain the use of that leg, and by gum, he is going to use it!

The good thing is that nothing appears to be giving him pain. His range of movement in the effected hock is really good, and the pin is holding the joint nice and firm. The vet can touch it and manipulate all the joints and LBD sits there and takes it with no sign of concern.

He won't put his full weight on his bad leg when she picks up the good one, though. No, what weight can't be shifted to the front legs is carefully balanced on the vet who is holding him.

It appears to be some issue with his pointy little ballet toes. After the weeks in the cast, then only using that leg for occasional balancing, he has forgotten how to walk on a flat foot. It seems there might also be a little problem with arthritis (which the initial x-ray showed for the hock, so we know it's around - even if he shows no behavioural symptoms).

This means Mum to the rescue! I'm going to get really acquainted with this:

Yep. Twice a day, ten times per each toe I have to put each joint through a full range of motion. While I'm at it I also have to do his hock - since I'm in the area and manipulating.

And I'll have my continuing diet of slow walks, trying to get him to use his bad leg. Although he's keen to get out, I feel terrible walking along with a limping dog, feeling waves of judgement from by-standers (whether they are even looking at me or not).

So if you happen to live in southern Queensland and see a Little Black Dog limping along at a snail's pace (with an increasingly plump owner because she's not getting enough exercise) - say G'day. I'd love to meet you. And please don't get mad at me for walking my poor, injured LBD.

How much pride do I feel when people look judgmentally at this horrible woman taking her injured dog out for a walk?

... Approximately None

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Unfinished Home Furnishing Project #89938...

There is a reason that I have't posted for a few days...

Let's start at the beginning.

Most of my friends have bought existing homes where they may want to replace some things, but everything they need is already there in the interim. Some bought new houses that were built by project builders and have everything in them all shiny and new. They are painted, have the driveway included, all the door furniture installed and even turf and garden beds.

We moved into our brand new house the Christmas before last and have been slowly working on things that we decided to do ourselves in order to save cash. My advice to anyone considering it - just get the builder to do it. Here is our list:
  • Internal painting (most of it done by the time we moved in - thanks expert-master-painter-extraordinaire Mum - but the architraves, doors and the final coat on the spare bedrooms are yet to be completed)
  • External painting (can't be entirely finished until we get the yard level enough for trestles)
  • Door furniture installation (generally not a problem as there are only two of us in the house)
  • Driveway concreting (thankfully we got this put in before the rain last summer, but we still want to get it stencilled when we can afford it)
  • 'Proper' fencing to the back yard (we're relying on star pickets and dog wire at the moment)
  • 'Nice' fencing around the front yard
  • Battening in under the front part of the house where it isn't the full 2 storeys (most of it is now done, except where we want to have gates)
  • Insulating the underneath of our floor (which I've requested Hubby to get done before next winter)
  • Landscaping and garden beds (although we have one garden bed down the side of the house, the side and front yards need to have dirt brought in to level them out, and we have a mess in the front yard where we've left rubble to go under the necessary dirt)
  • Curtains (We have a very nice selection of old sheets and towels combined with the odd old curtain that we've borrowed from family who have upgraded)
  • Carpet in the bedrooms (which would be nice before next winter, but probably won't happen)
  • Mirrors for the bathroom and ensuite (done - thank you, wonderful hubby)
  • Sliding cupboard doors for the built-ins in the bedrooms (who needs cupboard doors?)

That's all I can think of for now, but it is a significant list. Things are slowly getting done, but we still have a long way to go. And every now and then, something actually happens.

My husband's father's cousin's wife, a lovely lady whom I shall call Em, offered to come and sew curtains for me. What a sweetie.

Now I was certain that I could actually work out how to sew curtains, but I couldn't find the time to complete such a huge job. The other option was to break it down into little bits and the house would be a mess of curtain manufacturing effort on and off for months. But Em said that when they came to Queensland on holiday they could stay with us for a week and she would sew. Bless her cotton socks.

So during this year I have searched for and selected fabric that I loved, and bought all the thread and lining and other bits that she'd need. We ordered the tracks and they arrived last week so that Hubby could get them up before our visitors arrived Thursday (tomorrow).

Now we get to the reason that I haven't posted for a few days. Monday morning I was madly trying to get a report finished for a client so that I'd be able to assist with the sewing party at the end of the week. My husband's father's cousin rang to say that Em wasn't feeling well, so they wanted to get home sooner, could they come to us after lunch that day (Monday)? Then Em could sew on Tuesday to get something done, and they would leave Wednesday.

There was no problem with that, I had a couple of hours to get the essential housework done ready for their arrival, then we had a cuppa. I said that if Em wasn't feeling well, she didn't have to sew, but Em was keen to get some done. We started with the lounge because the fabric I'd bought didn't have backing, and I had bought separate lining - this made them more complicated, so a more experienced seamstress was an advantage.

Things started out OK, but got ugly quickly. Em wasn't feeling 100%. I don't know enough to be much help in working out the maths. It turns out that I could have saved heaps of time by getting the fabric shop to cut the drops, rather than getting it all in one piece. I didn't know they would do that. The pattern wasn't straight across the fabric, but not off by much. This ended up with us crawling around on the floor with my trusty old high school set square in an effort to get the drops straight.

An added complication was that when I'd ordered the material the girl had told me the wrong width for the fabric. Fortunately it was wider than I thought, but that then meant I didn't have enough lining.

Also, I had taken the shop-girl's advice over the phone about what sort of lining to buy. She steered me away from a cotton twill, saying it would perish and that she had some fabrics with thermal/blockout properties. It sounded good to me, so I fell for it. What came in the post was rubber-backed stuff. I haven't done much sewing, but knew enough to avoid anything that was rubber-backed because it perishes. Of course, I didn't open the package until Monday afternoon when we needed it. It felt icky, and kept grabbing onto the face fabric and skewing it all over the place.

Unfortunately it wasn't until the first windowful of curtains were finished that the worst of it became apparent. The horrible lining had skewed, and then stuck onto the fabric at the wrong locations. As a result, the curtains had sort of static-ed themselves into weird shapes, and the hem had gone off straight (unless I pulled it down). It had to be unpicked. The horrible rubber stuff grabbed onto the sewing thread, too, which made that a cow of a job.

We finally admitted defeat. It wasn't worth doing any more. I decided to give the horrible lining to Hubby to use at work to keep his glass and security screens from getting scratched when they deliver them to site. I will unpick the finished curtain and redo it later on with good lining (once I've found out precisely what constitutes good lining).

The photos show an overview of what the house now looks like.

So how many curtains did we get finished during the last two days?

...Approximately None

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Why I don't want to be a dog

The gauntlet has been thrown down. I've been asked if there is any reason that it is better to be a human than a dog who lives only to eat, sleep and chase things.

Obviously there are many reasons why not, most of which are associated with work, stress, money and my regard for the opinions of others. There are also some of the icky jobs associated with dog ownership - such as 'poo patrol', giving dogs pills and cleaning up vomit. But there are also reasons why it is good to be human. I had to think for a very long time, but... (In no particular order):
  1. I wasn't de-sexed at 6 months old.
  2. I get a greater range of choice in my food selection - not everything has to come either tinned, dried, raw, or leftover bits of someone else's food.
  3. I get to shower in warm water when I want to, rather than cold water in the backyard when someone else wants to. Humans dry faster, too.
  4. I don't get left behind when my family go on holidays.
  5. My temperature can be taken orally.
  6. I get to eat chocolate. Real chocolate, not the dog stuff.
  7. I get to sleep in a bed in a nice, warm house - rather than the cold garage.
  8. I don't have to lick myself (In fact, it is physically impossible for me to do so).
  9. I don't have to put up with people talking 'baby talk' at me.
  10. My ears work all the time, they don't turn off just because I saw a cat (or a motorbike, or a trailer, or another dog, or a horse, etc).
  11. I am not likely to be mistreated, surrendered to the pound, or put down just because nobody can be bothered with me anymore.
  12. I'm not forced to make the impossible choice as to whether I most want to roll in or eat the manure I just found in the garden.

However, of all these reasons I think the chocolate is enough to tip over the scales for me. The LBD would also agree. He would really like some chocolate at any time I'm eating it. The chance of him getting any of it?
... Approximately None

Friday, August 15, 2008

Working like a dog?

At the risk of turning this into a doggy blog:-

Our Little Black Dog usually keeps me company in the office in the afternoons. While his leg has been out of action he's been keeping me company for most of the day.

So while I'm at my computer trying to turn a mess of thoughts into comprehensible English that the people at Council can understand and (hopefully) approve, he has his own way of entertaining himself.

How many people would give up an opportunity to have this lifestyle to become a mere human?

...Approximately None

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Things that go squeak in the night...

Our Little Black Dog is very cute. He spends a fair bit of time asleep in my office, and the funniest things happen when he's having a really good dream.
Now I know other people's dogs. When they dream their feet twitch a little bit.
The LBD on the other hand can look like he's having some kind of fit. Whole legs go wild, his ears and nose twitch, his mouth 'eats' things, his chest heaves and his eyes roll back and forth showing the whites as if there is some form of demon possession involved. There is obviously a plot to his story, because these things happen in a logical sequence. You can see him chasing something down, then having a drink to revive himself before he's off and running again.
Sometimes it gets even funnier when he has to bark at something in his dream.
I was sitting at my computer a few months ago and heard the cutest little squeaky wuff sound repeatedly coming from the prone, dreaming dog. You see, he doesn't open his mouth, but his vocal chords are producing noise. It is very, very cute and incredibly funny. Then, sometimes he has to growl at something. Can I just say it is not threatening at all - but again very cute and amusing.
It was not, however, at all cute last night. I've been struggling a little with a snuffly nose that I think is allergy related - there is something in the air at the moment, and anti-histamines are the only thing keeping me from suffocation at night. Add to that I'm not a heavy sleeper, so when my nose blocks or my sinuses get painful it wakes me up. So I'm down on both sleep quality and quantity.
Last night, TWICE last night, I woke up to a strange sound. It was a little squeaky wuff sound. It took me a while to place it the first time, once placed I realised it was not threatening. It was also not an awake LBD desperate to go outside to answer the call of nature. It was an entirely asleep, dreaming LBD. I also had an entirely asleep, undisturbed hubby. I wish I'd been asleep, dreaming and undisturbed.
What are the chances that the dog will continue to sleep in our bedroom once his leg is entirely healed (and the cold weather has broken)?
...Approximately None

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Great Big Olympic Double Standard

OK, so here is my confession. I have not watched the Olympics. Any of it. Well, apart from some highlights that I saw on the news the night before last - so maybe that means I've seen 'approximately none' of the Olympics.
You see, I've been burnt before. You have to sit through HOURS and HOURS of tedium to see the one thing you wanted to see, which is inevitably only 30 seconds of it at the end of 3 hours of coverage.
And I know my country. Channel 7 will show us some highlights of the rest of the world and then the Australian performances. The coverage will be skewed to what we're good at. There will be interminable hours of watching people swimming up and down a pool, for example, because that's where a significant proportion of our medal tally will come from.
Now, I could sit through the gymnastics if I had a few hours to waste. There's plenty going on within the space, and they can flick between contestants in different components. It is also very watchable and constantly amazes me with what some people can do with their bodies. I can also sit through the diving on the same principle. Skill, grace and strength combined with visual interest.
But I have to admit what I would like to sit through is the equestrian section. Hours of it. Preferably without the recognisable name co-commentator who has no clue about what is going on. I love the that same skill, grace and strength of the diving or gymnastics, with the added complication that it's a team event between horse and rider where one of them doesn't speak English. Come to think of it, for some duos neither may actually speak English, for example the human may speak German, French, or American or something - but you get my point.
I'll admit that a bit of it does get shown in Australia because we do OK in the three day event, and the cross-country and showjumping components do have excitement factor. It's usually sandwiched between everything else that is happening, but there's a little bit there.
I want the dressage. Not the dressage that is the first stage of the three day event, but the REAL dressage. Yes, I know some have compared it to watching paint dry, but it is beautiful. Power, obedience, beauty and grace - communication without words. *sigh*
The real difference between watching a horse circling in an arena with perfect engagement and a swimmer doing laps with perfect technique (apart from the viewer's area of interest)?
...Approximately None

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Return of the Return... please

I am having some formatting woes in Blogger.

Jen, who has mastered Microsoft Word styles; created her own report, letter, fax and other templates; can get by on tables, spreadsheets, layering images to create illustrations for reports, and beat Publisher documents into submission - can't always get a space between paragraphs in Blogger.

The main problem lies with the ALWAYS in that last sentence. Why does it work sometimes and not others? Sometimes, just for variety, it ends up with two lines between paragraphs (or actually one double-spaced line). I've tried using the Enter key at the end of one sentence, and then at the beginning of the next. Doesn't seem to make any difference. I've tried multiple Enter keystrokes. I've resorted to putting small full stops on each line to keep the spacing. I've checked out the 'Help' section of blogger, and it doesn't come up as an issue. There is no friendly formatting button that would allow me to review what is different about how the computer is reading my Enter keystroke.

It seems to be one of those arbitary computer things where there is probably a simple answer and I JUST CAN'T FIND IT!!!!

This does cause me problems. I'm one of those horrible, proof-reading nazis. I've developed these skills over years of producing technical reports. I can spot the accidental double-space, the accidental change of font size or paragraph that's out of alignment. I like my work to be spaced out, not only to look pretty, but to make it really easy to see changes in ideas. It is driving me nuts!

What are the chances that now I have vented my spleen publicly the computer will take the opportunity to never, ever do it again? Thereby causing me to loose face in the daily war 'twixt me and machine?

...Actually quite close to 100%

...Unless it thinks I'm trying to double-bluff it, and reads this blog as an attempt to get it to behave, in which case

...Aproximately None

Monday, August 11, 2008

Good Morning, Mum!

I have a number of friends who are Mummy Bloggers (or should that technically be Mommy Bloggers given that the term originated in the US? But then again, my friends are not from the US, so I think Aussie spelling should stand for the purposes of my Blog).

They have recently had me in stitches with the multiple ways their lovely children can awaken them to a new day. Some of them were real beauties. Now, I must stipulate that I do realise that being woken as a once-off from a Saturday morning sleep-in cannot compare with the sleep deprivation that daily EARLY awakenings could produce, but it was just too cute not to share...

On the downside, this photo is a reenactment of the original incident. There was in fact tongue and doggy morning breath involved. The chances that I ever want to sleep with my face right on the very edge of the bed ever again?

...Approximately None.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


I am a Queenslander. We don't have many places that get all that cold in this state, but I live in the general vicinity of them. It snowed a couple of weeks ago just south of here (which doesn't happen all that often, the locals were very excited). The night temperatures have been circling around zero and those cruel negative numbers all week, heavy frosts, cold fingers and I really can understand why the blokes in the 'olden days' used to wear the same underwear all winter - getting dressed is just plain painful.

Despite the cold nights the days have mostly been lovely. Cold, yes, but sunny and bright. I'm tempted to move my computer out into the sun, because our house is a modern insulated one, and the sun just doesn't warm it up - it relies on the application of heat from the inside, and I'm too much of a scrooge to put the heater on in the morning when it should be warm from the sun. It's supposed to be more energy efficient?! Don't see it myself.

Anyway, being a Saturday I have heaps of housework to do. Between loads of washing I potter about doing other things that need doing like watering my plants. I went to the trouble of getting the garden hose rather than bucketing today (no watering restrictions, yay!). I detached it from the tank tap, as the hose broke and wasn't then long enough to reach the garden bed anymore. Then I pulled it around the side and attached it to a closer tap, stretching out the hose as I went. Hubby turned it on for me, and I waited for the water. There was a miserable trickle, so I asked for more pressure. I got it and after a few gurgles and splurts my poor little rosemary bush saw its first snow fall. Look - ice - no wonder the hose broke. This was at 10.30 in the morning!!!
I must admit that after taking the photo I did scrape the ice away from my poor plant. The winter has not been kind to it. How much good would the ice have done?
...Approximately None.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Introducing our Little Black Dog

I mentioned in my profile that we have no kids, but we do have a dog. He is a seven year old Border Collie and we love him to bits. We got him from the pound when he was about 13 weeks old. He has a serious little face that was really too old for him when he was a baby puppy (but very cute). He is mainly black, hence the nickname Little Black Dog (or LBD for short).

He likes to sleep on his mat in my office while I work and he LOVES to go for a w. a. l. k.

I'm spelling it because he's very excited about that word at the moment. For about the last month he's had a poor sore paw (well, really it's more his leg, but it didn't sound as good). He's suffered serious ligament damage from one of his quick pivot turns and it wasn't getting any better. This week was the first time since surgery to pin the joint that the vet OKed him to have one and he was very excited.

Needless to say, I need the w. a. l. k. as much (or more) than he does. While he's had to be confined to the house my exercise regime has been at a standstill. I couldn't go without him, as that seemed like the ultimate betrayal. Also, he was supposed to be kept quiet and I can guarantee that it would have been impossible for that to occur if he was left behind. He's still been trying to chase the postie from inside the house, what would he have done as I walked down the street?!

So for the first time in a month we were off. If he hasn't had a w. a. l. k. for a few days he can be hard to keep hold of, so I was ready for anything. I found the secret for my new and unexpected role as dog physiotherapist was to start walking at our normal brisk pace. He hops along on one back leg excited to be out and sniffing things, pulling me along behind. Then gradually I slow down to the point he's game to start to use his dodgy leg. After a few steps he either stops to sniff something, or turns to look at me in confusion as if to say, 'what sort of walk is this, woman!', and so we are off at a brisk, hopping pace once more.

This is still not precisely exercise for me. I am gradually increasing the distance we cover each day, but we don't go very far. And as he will only use his bad leg when we are crawling at a pace a tortoise could overtake I don't think it gets my cardio-vascular system pumping at all. It's nice to be outside in the winter sun, but how much exercise am I getting?
...Approximately None.

Make like a teabag

There are times in my life when I seem to step back from myself and get a whole new perspective on Jen. I had one of those incidents this morning.

I was standing at the sink doing the washing up. That behaviour is natural enough for someone who doesn't have a dishwasher. So far I'm normal.
I was up to the elbows in hot soapy water, making it about the first time my hands had been warm since I got out from under the blankets this morning. Unfortunately, my nose was at that stage of cold where I can never be certain if it is (a) just cold, or (b) if it is starting to run. The act of blowing (which would satisfy my curiosity as to whether it was a or b above and probably make me more comfortable) would involve the removal of wet rubber gloves, and the trip to the bedroom to find a tissue. Then the nearly impossible task of getting wet rubber gloves back on, made worse by the fact that my hand size is too small for one size of gloves and on the brink of too tight for the next one down (If I buy the larger ones I drop things because the fingers are way too long).
So this is where the whole thing falls down. You see, the stainless steel sink doesn't keep the water hot for all that long at this time of year, so I don't have the time to blow my nose because I will have lost the hot water window. So I soldiered on, trying to get the dishes finished before the water reached the official temperature range known as 'tepid at best'.
Several deep sniffs later I realised that having my hands in warm water was encouraging my inner Jen to process and desire to release all the liquid I'd consumed at breakfast. But with only a few more things to go, and the water still reasonably hot I couldn't go just yet. That's when the voices in my head started (and where I began to realise I'm not as normal as I like to think)...
The first was some talking head advocating the small ways we can be more energy and water efficient. Running another lot of hot washing up water was not an option. (I hope the planet appreciates it!)
The next was my Mum, 'you should have gone before we came'. (Thanks, Mum.)
The third was some miscellaneous doctor on TV saying that women end up with bladder problems because:
  1. we go when we don't need to on the off chance that we'll need to go later when it would be inconvient, and
  2. we hold on to finish tasks when we should go.

(Surely that's not correct?)

It was then that my mind stepped back and I found myself jiggling (and still sniffing). My hands working as quickly as they could to finish the designated task, but the rest of me doing a little dance on the spot. Like a three year old who doesn't want to stop playing a fun game just to go to the toilet. Except that I don't even like washing up.

Let's just say that it was a relief to finish on more than one level. Oh, the sacrifices we make for the planet. And the difference this particular sacrifice would make?
...Approximately none.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Let's have a crack at this thing...

OK, this time last year I had certainly heard of blogs, but I didn't know anyone who actually had one. Since then, my good friend Givinya has been entertaining me on a regular basis. I don't know how she does it, but in amongst all the things that happen around her she manages to create a space where the world is more manageable, and in which I would like to live. So here goes my attempt...
Well, nothing interesting has actually happened to me...
Oh, there was...
Maybe I should start by explaining why I chose my blog title. In the 1980s BBC sit com "Yes Minister" Jim Hacker, the Minister for Administrative Affairs, decides to do something about equal opportunities for women in the British Civil Service. In the time honoured practice of bureaucrats everywhere his Permanent Secretary (Sir Humphrey Appleby) tries to evade questioning - on the principle that stalling will make the undesirable issue go away.
'How many Permanent Secretaries,' I asked Sir Humphrey, 'are there at the moment?'
'Forty-one, I believe.'
A precise answer.
'Forty-one,' I agreed pleasantly. 'And how many are women?'
Suddenly Sir Humphrey's memory seemed to fail him. 'Well, broadly speaking, not having the exact figures to hand, I'm not exactly sure.'
'Well, approximately?' I encouraged him to reply.
'Well,' he said cautiously, 'approximately none.' (1)
Ever since I first saw this on TV, my sense of humour has been tickled. 'None' is absolute: There are no shades of grey. And yet, it is possible to pretend that there is a modicum of degree. In my previous life in Local Government I have seen people trying to create the same illusion of choice or degree where there is precisely none.
It follows into my non-work life.
'How many children do you have, dear?' asks the little old lady at church.
My brain madly searches for any reference to Children of My Own, which I am obviously meant to have by my age. As if I could have somehow missed the tiredness, body-swelling, nausea, or excruciating pain apparently caused by pregnancy and childbirth, 'Approximately None' I quip.
Why do I never get recognition for my witty literature/TV references? Sigh.
So here I sit at my computer, ready and waiting to blog. During the last couple of weeks, while I've been thinking about this whole concept of blogging, ideas have come from everywhere. Some touching, some amusing, all worth putting finger-tips to keyboard. How many can I now remember?
... Approximately None.
(1) Ed. J Lynn & A Jay (1987) The Complete Yes Minister Salem House Publishers