Thought for the Week

"A hug is a perfect gift - one size fits all and nobody minds if you give it back."


As you know, I occasionally like to share the dreaded email 'funny' with you all if it appeals to my sense of humour, then I guess it might appeal to a wider audience too.

One of my college friends from last year sent me this beauty. I could almost have written it myself!!! All male readers may like to hit their 'back' button at this point!

This is an actual letter sent to American company Proctor and Gamble regarding their feminine products. She really gets rolling after the first paragraph...

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your Always maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the Leak Guard Core(tm) or Dri-Weave(tm) absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favourite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from "the curse"? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my "time of the month" is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call "an inbred hillbilly with knife skills." Isn't the human body amazing?

As Brand Manager in the Feminine-hygiene Division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers' monthly visits from "Aunt Flo". Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behaviour. You surely realize it's a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend's testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey's Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy! The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants... which brings me to the reason for my letter.

Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed
on the adhesive backing, were these words:

Have a Happy Period.

"Are you fuc * ing kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness - actual smiling, laughing happiness is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything "happy" about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local Walgreen's armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory. For the love of God, pull your head out, man!

If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's actually pertinent, like "Put Down the Hammer" or "Vehicular Manslaughter Is Wrong", or are you just picking on us?

Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bull sh*t. And that's a promise I will

Always. Wendi Aarons, Austin, TX

Don't you just love men!

Good Morning

The evening was warm, having just finished the darts match, a couple of friends, G and I headed back to our local pub for a swift one before heading home for the night.

The mood was jovial. Other friends in the pub when we arrived greeted us cheerily and the guys were exchanging banter, like only guys can.

I had a very interesting, and hopefully rewarding conversation, with one of the football lads. His father-in-law is a wedding photographer, and he lives at the bottom of my road. A couple of months ago, before I completed my course at college, he said he would be happy for me to accompany him on a job or two, but nothing had come of it.

Tonight, this lad asked me if I was still wanting to shadow him. I jumped at the chance. This could be the push I need to give me the confidence and some basic knowledge to go for it myself. He explained a little bit about his F in L and how he works. A bit about his pricing structure and how he plans it out. He talked about having produced his father-in-laws website too. It's what he studied at Uni apparently.

He is going to check back with his F in L and hopefully, very soon, I will go on my first official Wedding Shoot!

Tonight, a friend of mine came round to discuss her wedding plans for next year. She asked me about a month ago if I would do her photographs. She has seen a lot of my work, being the soon to be wife of one of the footy lads, and says she has every confidence in my ability as a photographer... shite.. this earning a living at it is getting serious now!!!! Help!!! lol

Arriving home, I realised how quickly the clock had spun round that dial, and G and I went straight to bed. In no time at all, his breathing rate changed. It became much slower, and much heavier. Why, oh why, oh why can't I fall asleep that easily? I so often lay there, listening to his rythmic exhalations and cursing that I am still wide awake.

I even, briefly, thought about getting up again and writing here. I thought better of it. I know once I am ensconsed in front of this screen I am here for far too long for my own good. So there I lay. At some point, not too long after, the sleep fairy came and turned my brain off.

1 am
2 am
3 am
4 am
5 am

"Aagghh, AAHHH, AAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHH" *flailing around the bed*

G sat bolt upright. Startled. Eyes wide.

"ssssSSSSSS, Ooouchhhhhh" *squirming, face distorting in pain*

His sub-conscious was assessing the danger, whilst the consciousness caught up.


"What's up" the words came quickly. The eyes still trying to focus from their rude awakening, but the brain had woken at the first almighty scream. His face was full of concern and maybe a little bewilderment. Hardly suprising really.

"Leg. aaAAGGHHHHH. Cramp. Jesus Christ, shit, fekking hell aaHHHHHHHHHHH" *still flailing around like a child having a tantrum. The pain was so intense. It felt like I imagine being branded with a ret hot, glowing iron would feel. Seering, unbearable, unimaginable pain.

"Which one"?

"Left" I whispered, gritting my teeth and trying not to scream again. 5am is not a particularly convenient time to wake the household.

Without another moments hesitation, G grabbed my leg, and began to lovingly massage my calf until the physical effects of the cramp had subsided sufficiently for me to relax enough to stop reeling and swearing.

"Thanks darling"

"Morning" he replied, bright as a button.

Why I am still in love with my husband - Reason Nº 157

Parental Pride?

Today's entry is quite possibly the best entry I have ever written.

Unfortunately, the brick wall that stands between me and the typed word will prevent you all from ever reading it!!

So instead...

A news piece here in England caught my attention this week. Entitled "2 year old girl joins Mensa", it made me wonder how the hell that could be possible.

Here is the version from the net:

Brainy toddler Georgia Brown has become the youngest member of Mensa – aged two. Georgia has an IQ of 152, putting her in the most intelligent 0.2 per cent of the population, reports the Daily Mirror.

Mum Lucy, 44, said: "She was crawling at five months and walking by nine months. She would sit and read with a book."

Prof Joan Freeman, who set the IQ test, said: "She swept right through it like a hot knife through butter."

Lucy, boss of charity Disability Initiative, said Georgia benefits from having a large family – siblings Ben, 24, Sophie, 22, Charlotte, 20, and Olivia, 16, plus carpenter dad Martin, 51.

She added: "There is always someone around to offer her something." Georgia, from Aldershot, Hampshire, can count to 10, draw a near perfect circle, and knows all her colours and the difference between a square and a rectangle.

Maybe I am just a cynic, but I beg to question how crawling at 5 months and walking at 9 correlates to being in the most intelligent 0.2% of the population!! I realise that it is a fairly early age to accomplish these tasks, but by no means are they unprecedented in baby world.

Now, at the age of 2 she can apparently count to 10 and knows all her colours. Is it just me or does this not seem all that remarkable?

Maybe it is an indication that she absorbs information easily, and retains it well. Maybe it is indicative of what might be if her thirst for knowledge continues as she grows older. It certainly makes a mother proud when her tot learns these things for the first time. I remember beaming when mine did it too.

She is obviously, at least for now, a bright girl, but it seems to me the British Press are blowing the story up for the sake of having a story. Not at all like the Press!!!

The other thought, that I can't shake off, is that bright, intelligent youngsters are rarely catered for in British Schools. Their love of learning, and their sheer ability to absorb and retain knowledge is all too often stripped away from them once they begin mainstream education. A teacher, with 30 pupils, cannot teach each one individually. If there is one unusually bright child amongst 29 average children, you can bet your life the bright infant will soon be bored and frustrated at the lack of anything challenging. The enthusiasm shown in the early years often wanes, until the good old British Education system has brought them down to the level of her classmates.

I hope for Georgia's sake, if she is potentially as intelligent as the report suggests, that she can be an exception. You go girl.

Holiday News

A little bit about my holiday to Tossa de Mar. Tossa lies at the heart of the Costa Brava, 95 kilometres north of Barcelona and 100 kilometres south of the French border.

Apparently, Hollywood arrived here in the early 1950s, shortly before mass tourism, putting Tossa on the map with the shooting of The Flying Dutchman starring screen idols Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra, and a statue of the actress was erected in the old town in honour of her stay here.

The most attractive part of this historic town is the Villa Vella (old quarter) with its ancient defence walls and towers still in tact. Medieval Tossa dates back to the year 966 and in 1187 the castle was built on the headland to defend the town against sea borne invaders.

Today it's invaded by foreign tourists who delight in the sense of history and wonderful views to be had from the highest point of this ancient town. The walled enclosure, built in the 12th and 14th centuries to guard against pirate raids, has been preserved along with the original defence towers which have become the emblem of Tossa. The enclosure, accessed via an arched portal, is the only surviving example of a fortified medieval town on the whole of the Catalan coast. It's a delightful labyrinth of medieval alleys peppered with shops, restaurants and ancient houses, some of which are still inhabited.

These two photo's were taken from various points along the pathway of the walled enclosure on the way to the top.

We had a trip into the wonderful city of Barcelona and visited 3 of Gaudi's magnificent buildings together with a bit of shopping.

The Sagrada Familia, thought to be Guadi's greatest work of all and the number one tourist attraction in Barcelona.

Originally called Casa Mila, and now known as La Pedrera, this building was originally built to house apartments, but the owner had trouble renting them because prospective tennants thought that the irregularly shaped rooms would be difficult to furnish.

Can you imagine being able to live in such a magnificent, unique building?
Never mind about the shape of the rooms, I'd have a whale of a time arranging my furniture in there!!

Casa Batlló, on the same road as La Pedrera is another magnificent example of Gaudi's work.

From the outside the façade of Casa Batlló looks like it has been made from skulls and bones. The "Skulls" are in fact balconies and the "bones" are supporting pillars.

The building was originally designed by Gaudi for Josep Batlló, a wealthy aristocrat, as an upmarket home. Señor Batlló lived in the lower two floors with his family and the upper floors were rented out as apartments

In amongst the site seeing, I did spend some time relaxing on the beach, a novelty for me with my previous sun allergy!! Cruising on a glass bottomed boat to a hide-away cove, Medieval Jousting and Flamenco shows, and visiting nearby towns.

I flirted with the waiters for Elaine, and I have to say I took some stick from my girls for it, who were insistant I fancied one in the town in particular. A very nice Dutch born gentleman, who was living and working in Spain, but had also spent a few years in America and had that lovely 'twang' to his accent. Dreamy!

Another 1st - a photo of me, after my sister and my girls accused me of showing too much leg when I was seeing to an itch, just because I fancied this waiter. So I was going to do a repeat performance!!

Michael, I didn't forget your donkey either honey, I bought a lovely Spanish donkey. His name was, well I couldn't pronounce it so I called him Fred. I stashed him away in my hotel room, no mean feat as there was four of us fighting for space as it was.

After a couple of days though, he disappeared. I just got this note that said he needed more freedom and had run away to join the circus. I tracked him down and tried to convince him to come home with me, but he refused.
So here is a photograph!

Holiday 55

This may be my final post before I leave for my holiday, and as it's Friday, I used that as my subject to base my 55 on.

Don't write to many entries each in the next week, you just know I'm gonna have to read them all somehow when I get back.

On a final point ... don't miss me too much ... what do you mean you'll hardly notice I'm gone?

The attraction was instant. Her heart pounded, he was gorgeous. They strolled across the shimmering moonlit sand, danced and laughed. They were inseparable for three days. On the flight home she smiled, as she recalled the night their two bodies became one.
At home, the drunken fists of her father knocked her back into reality.


The week is half way through and my mind is firmly on my upcoming holiday.

I fly out to Spain on Sunday and still I only have a packing list in my head. That really isn't a safe place to store anything in my world! More stuff gets lost in there than in the Bermuda Triangle, I swear.

I really should start making a list, on paper. Better still I should actually start putting things in a suitcase.

My first ever 'girly' holiday. No men. My travelling companions are my 2 daughters, aged 17 & 21, and my younger sister. The plan is simple. Get to Spain, behave like teenagers. That's it!

Of course, as is life's way, there's always more to consider than just the preferred 'simple' plan! Other plans involve copious amounts alcohol, food and factor 60 sunscreen for me. I have an allergy to the sun. *help*

I have just checked the weather forecast for the next 10 days and the temps are ranging between 77 & 85º *ouch*, for the rest of the world thats 25 & 29º. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that a high dose of sun early in the summer builds a little resistance to it for the rest of the season, so I have been having sunbeds for the last 3 weeks in the hope that I won't get bitten quite so violently when I get out there. We shall see if it works.

I am so excited, I already feel like a teenager. My youngest and my sister have never flown before and so the excitement for them will begin immediately. I have only flown once, 2 years ago when I visited the east coast of America; nothing like jumping in at the deep end with a long haul!!!

The diet of course will go out the window, totally!!! 'All Inclusive' holidays seem like a good idea at the time, but I'm sure it's just a pen name for 'I'll make you all friggin fat you greedy fekking gits' holidays. What are you to do? You pays your money ... you makes your choice! Why does my brain already tell me that because I am on an all inclusive holiday I have to eat and drink as much as possible to get my moneys worth!!?? lol.

The drinking definitely won't be a problem, but the food, I really should make myself behave. I should make that inner voice go on it's own flippin holiday, the other side of the world, but I know it won't. Food is one of my few vices in life, and I'm addicted to it.


I have one friend, (no, I have a few, but this is about one of them),well actually it's my husbands boss, who emails me absolutely EVERYTHING he gets. He obviously has a group setting on his email and just forwards everything without a second thought. A lot of it is not very funny at all. Some of it is quite amusing, but the point is, there is no assessment in what he forwards. Normally I guess this wouldn't be so bad, but the mail account he uses I only check about once a month, and the average content would be about 250 emails, from him alone!!! I just don't have the time to read them all, so I select my viewing material by title alone.

It seems like an ungrateful way to treat the kind thoughts of including me in all his jokes. On the other hand, only a small percentage actually appeal to me anyway.

I personally, try not to forward everything I get, rather just the emails/jokes which touch me in some way, whether thats by thought or laughter, or both (I'm a woman, I can multitask!). What follows is one such email I received. Although I have read this before, it still makes me stop and think when I read it again, so I am sharing it with you. (That, and the fact I have no time to write anything else today!)

Smiling is infectious; you catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.

I passed around the corner and someone saw my grin,
When he smiled, I realized, I’d passed it on to him.

I thought about that smile, and then I realized its worth,
A single smile, just like mine, could travel round the earth.

So if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected,
Let’s start an epidemic quick, and get the world infected!

I'm Fine Thanks

What do people really mean when they say "How are you"?

Life lately seems to have revolved around people and their unfortunate medical related problems. It never fails to amaze me how different people react when faced with the unthinkable, and it has made me think about this question again.

My thoughts, obviously, are very much with TME at this time and the magnificently positive attitude she has portrayed to us all in facing every womans worst nightmare. I'm sure she has had many ups and downs in her journey to this point, but her positive mental attitude will see her through, I know.

My sister has recently gone through a tough time medically, suffering for several weeks at the hands of doctors who couldn't/wouldn't/didn't diagnose her condition correctly and gave her completely inappropriate treatments. She ended up hospitalised. Thankfully the consultant at the hospital correctly diagnosed her instantly, and having been given adequate treatment, is now well on the road to recovery.

My daughter too has gone through more than her fair share of 'womens problems' which, whilst the immediate danger was dealt with earlier this year, is still an ongoing scenario, and a cause of great concern to me and the rest of the family. At the tender age of 21, she shouldn't be worrying about these things.

My brother is currently in hospital, quite poorly, and as yet has no definitive answers as to the cause of his illness, or even the actual illness. All he has so far is that his stay is likely to be 2-3 weeks. He has lost 2½ stone in weight, which can only be good for him as it happens, but the underlying cause is obviously a concern.

One of the managers at work has been battling cancer for the last 2 years. Pretty seriously. He has had a host of operations, radio therapy, intrusive surgeries and the like. To look at him, you would never know. He reckons he has a maximum of 3 years to live.

He talks to people on the phone daily, people he has dealt with for years and years. Work calls, much like intermittant friends I guess, usually begin with the niceties of "How are you"? His answer is always the same "I'm fine, are you well"?

I could go on with the list, but you get the gist. This isn't meant to be a 'lets feel sorry for myself' post or for them, but merely the stage set for the meaning of that little question.

A much used, and very broad answer, in response to the question "How are you"?

So what does it really mean? I'm fine thanks.

In a family setting, the answer to the question "How are you"? is much less likely to involve those 3 little words. Much more likely, is that it will lead into a frank discussion about the current state of play with regards to the ailment/illness you are suffering, and how it is affecting you this week.

It might even lead to more details than you had intended to pass on, but all in the name of love. Being comfortable in the company of the question asker, and wanting to give them an honest answer.

Unless of course, it's a husband asking his wife!! Come on girls, we all do it.

"What's up" he asks.

"Nothing" we say.

Who are we trying to kid? Ourselves? He only asked because when he came into the room, you walked out. Not only did you walk out, but you took the door off it's hinges as you went. The kitchen cupboards are being used as almost the entire percussion section of an orchestra and the cutlery you just hurled in the draw makes a poor stand in for the symbols. The neighbours have turned their music up 5 levels and even the dog is in hiding.

Still, he knows he's got you on the run now.

"Well obviously SOMETHING is up" he comes back

"I'm fine" is your sharp retort.

"I'm fine". What it really means is shut the feck up, leave me alone, and don't even think about asking what's for dinner if you know whats good for you.

Men already know this is the answer they will get, but they just can't resist playing the game.

If you arrive at work, with a serious demeanour, or are less than your normal cheerful self and someone says, "Good morning, how are you"? The standard response is, yep, "I'm fine thanks".

In most cases this should suffice. You may be thinking to yourself, "I wouldn't know where to begin" or "what the heck as it got to do with you". Sometimes you just don't want to share these things.

What happens though, if you do decide to share?

"Well actually boss, I didn't sleep much last night to tell the truth, little Tommy was rushed into hospital last night by ambulance after I found him in a coma. The ambulance crashed on the way there, killing the occupants of the other car and we had to wait for another ambulance to get Tommy to A&E. To top that off I spent half the night at the police station making a statement about the ambulance driver who crashed, and when I finally got back to the hospital, little Tommy, God rest his soul, was dead. I then had to go home and break the news to the rest of my family."

This is fictitious of course, but what reaction do you get then? Maybe a caring employer would send you home again after dishing out tea and sympathy. Generally though, people don't know how to respond when you let go and empty your heart out unexpectedly. I have experienced this myself, and the general conversation line is

"That's awful. Have you got the figures for the Open Order book I asked you to prepare?"

People don't know how to react, so they don't. When they ask "How are you"? they don't ACTUALLY want to know how you are, it is just an alternative way to say "Good morning" or to recognise that you have arrived at the office etc., and even if the question is asked in all sincerity, the outpouring of your emotions is not allowed to interfere with your work.

So blogging buddies, I ask this one thing of you today. Don't ask people how they are, unless you genuinely want to know!

Fridays 55-Fiction

Crikey, Friday has come around again so quickly! I'm sure I can't have had 7 sleeps, 7 eats and 7 ... well, I can't believe it's been a week since my firt 55-Fiction.

Fiction is not my strongest writing form, not that I don't have imagination, but writing about feelings from the heart and experiences in life, is always easier for me. However, spurred on by the encouraging comments last week after my very first 55-Fiction, I have written this one for all those who requested something 'happier'!

Their greatest desire, to have two children, though even the first seemed elusive. Each month, another failure. IVF failed 3 times and was not offered a fourth. Desperate, they took the road of adoption.

One month after their new daughter came to live, a miracle was discovered. The family of four would soon be complete.

I'm cheating here a little maybe, but brainblock is a terrible thing! I need suggestions for broad based topics on which to base my next 55-Fiction... all ideas greatfully received.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend.