Friday, May 27, 2011

...and I can bake bread!

I don't have many talents - special gifts that you are born with. I can't sing. I don't dance. I am fairly artistic but no Picasso (mind you - he was crap!). The natural talents I have that others can not do - even with training and practice seem fairly pointless. I can touch the end of my nose with my tongue - handy if you are short of a hankie but not much use otherwise.  That's how I know snot is salty! I know you are all now seeing if you can do it too. Are you special enough and talented to do this? No? Well luckily for you a long tongue isn't really a useful asset, is it?! I find a sharp tongue can come in handy though!
I am also quite bendy. When I was younger  I could lie on my stomach and bend back to place my feet on my head! I can climb stairs in the lotus position. I can still put my foot behind my head - I used to be able to do both legs at the same time! I feel I really should have been more popular in my prime! Useless talent but great party trick. My ability to do it these days correlates to the amount of alcohol I have consumed. My willingness to do it has always been in direct proportion to alcoholic intake! Another useless talent for which I have no use or application.
In the absence of talents I have to rely on skills - things learned and practised and of use. I confess I have many useless skills too. When I gave up work a year ago today to come to America I decided I would use my time wisely to learn many new skills and become a more educated person. I thought I might do a Masters (being rather fed up of being a Jack) or maybe even a PHD (So I could become a Doctor. 'Which Doctor?' you may ask - not a Witch Doctor - a real one of something useless - PHD in literature or history or some shit like that) or an MBA. MBA's are really expensive and I realised even if I liked the title I didn't have an ounce of interest in 'Market segmentation analysis' and 'Net promoter scoring'. People who do must be very dull!
I decided to develop other skills - maybe go to an art class.Maybe... I haven't yet!  I joined a belly dancing class having already got some skills in shimmying. The teacher was recovering from a hip replacement and her son took the lessons instead. I didn't think the need for a hip replacement was a good advertisement for Belly dancing. Her son was very serious and focused on technique. It was no fun at all. I wanted to shake my coin belt and tassels like shakira and he wanted me to understand the difference between 'raqs baladi' (proper belly dancing) and 'raqs sharaq' - westernised belly dancing. I didn't care - I just wanted to have some fun! 
I have mastered one skill I never thought I would develop. I may not be a Master of literature or a Master of Business Administration but I am now a Master baker! The standard white sliced bread in the US is grim. It is sweet and nasty. Anything edible by good bread standards (Italian, French) costs a fortune. There is a very trendy bakery near where I live that bakes on the premises, has pretentious French signs and a bistro type cafe and charges $13 for a freshly baked spelt loaf! $13!!!!
Within 3 days of being in the states, having no furniture or belongings to speak of, I decided to try something really radical. I made a loaf of bread...without a bread machine! Delia told me what to do. At first I was confused - with words like 'clenched knuckles',  'good pummelling', 'punching all the gas out' and 'knocking down'  I thought she was training me for Fight Club. It turns out you have to be angry to make good bread and I was fairly pissed off at the quality of American bread, amongst other things, so I was ready for the challenge!
My husband buys me comedy wedding anniversary presents. He knows I don't like to be considered 'a wife'. I don't like the connotations of marriage and didn't even change my name so he plays on this. One year I got an steam iron. Another year he got me a water butt! I pretended the dough was his head, for a really airy loaf. If you are wondering what I buy him - I don't - I'm more than he deserves (and don't forget, I can put my legs behind my neck and have a particularly long tongue- what more could he ever want?!)
I just read this to him and he said 'if only that were even half true.' It is true - I can do those things - sadly for him 'willing' and 'able' are two different things
Anyway - last year he got me a 'Kitchenaid Mixer' to piss me off. It backfired. I loved it!  I have to confess I have always wanted one - not to use - just as a kitchen accessory. Nigella Lawson has one so it is a must! My mixer has a dough hook. According to Delia you can use this to knead bread 'if you are lazy, weak or just tired' (pompous or what!). As I am all three most of the time, my dough hook is a godsend.
As a skill is learned and can be practised and honed to perfection, my bread making skills have developed. From the first days of doing it all by hand, painstakingly measuring everything out and and watching it 'prove' for an hour (well I had f**K all else to do) to knocking a loaf out so the kids can have fresh bread for lunch every day I feel I can now say I have a skill that I didn't have before I came to America. So, in a year off work I have in fact mastered something of use!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

End of an Era! Oprah Talks out of her Arse! (in Southpark!)

I dared to criticise the promised land of Disney in my blog. I said at the time it might earn me a Salmon Rushdie type fatwa for doing so. I have since learned that not all Americans love Disney. It might be a ‘snob’ type thing- some people consider themselves above the magic of Disney. I certainly did (and I spent my childhood in Butlins! – maybe for me it is some sort of inverse snobbery) any way – I digress. Today I am going to do something very dangerous. I am going to ask if anyone cares that the Oprah Winfrey Show finished today. My Mom calls her 'Opera'. Well, she is very Grand. (Oprah, that is). Like everything I make fun of I do so from a position of ignorance and bias. I have never really watched an Oprah Winfrey show but don’t feel I need to in order to comment on it. I don’t like car crash TV and seriously question the value of voyeuristic and exploitative dissection of people’s lives for the advancement of the host/ess. Jeremy Kyle does it to the hapless and bewildered in the UK – people so desperate to appear on TV and have their 15 minutes of fame that they they don’t just wash their linen in public, they dirty it first on live TV! It is like Victorian melodrama where everyone boo’s and hisses at the villain – only set with the modern day underclass!
Oprah, I believe, does exactly the same thing with the rich and famous! Famous people come out of the closet (and get their own chat show as a result) on her show, make a twat of themselves on the couch (Tom Cruise- like no one thought he was a space cadet before he jumped up and down on Oprah’s couch) and ex royalty explain how pissed off they are for not being invited to the royal wedding. Celebs like Oprah. She doesn't ask challenging questions like 'WTF were your daughters wearing on their heads to that wedding and why would you be invited, you old slapper?' Oprah does 'big love' so that stars feel safe telling her, and 60 million viewers their secrets - as long as is secures them self advancement without risk (although Tom Cruise couldn't help himself, he didn't need the self advancement and he is very, very mad). According to some, Oprah secured the Presidency of Barack Obama over Hilliary Clinton by backing him.   She has had 5 presidents on that couch! Eugh!
Such is her influence Oprah featured in the 2011 list of Time 100 – the 100 most influential people in the world according to Time magazine; ‘artists and activists, reformers and researchers, heads of state and captains of industry. Their ideas spark dialogue and dissent and sometimes even revolution’
How does Oprah fit in to that? Because 62 million people sat on their fat arses watching Micheal Jackson claim he suffered from a skin-pigment disorder (but didn’t sleep in an oxygen chamber or own the bones of the Elephant Man) on her show. Tabloid celebrity crap! Important stuff! I don't know about sparking a revolution but I feel moved to Blog! She apparently transformed daytime TV – America’s Chat show Disneyland to Jeremy Kyle’s Butlins! Apparently she ‘has also made extraordinary contributions to our global community through her philanthropic efforts’. This may be true but she does so in her name. Oparah’s Angels, Winfrey's Leadership Academy in south Africa and  the Oprah Winfrey Foundation. Her philanthropy also includes giving the studio audience gifts – she once gave everyone in the audience a car. Perhaps even I would have joined the live studio audience. She is not only one of the most watched TV shows she is one of the richest people on the planet! If I got paid for talking bollocks all day I would be seriously wealthy too! Wait a minute... I do talk bollocks all day... where is the fame and fortune? Thousands of philanthropic people do amazing things on a daily basis and require no publicity or payment in the process. She has turned herself into a brand!
She has made other people rich too. If featured on her show you can expect a boost (with the exception of Tom Cruise). Books are best sellers with her ‘book club’. Good job she is finishing today – I’d be buggered if she started a blog club. One author whom she featured became a best seller. When she found out he may have made some of his story about drug addition up (shock horror - a writer embellished the truth - I'd never do that!) she invited him back on her show and and publicly humiliated him. Bitch! Her show is all about being good – unless you cross her! Bugger, I'm done for! I'll keep an emergency supply of donuts to placate her!  South park must be high on her hit list after they parodied her fall out with the author in a very funny episode where Oprah talks out of her arse ...and other orafices! Actually she talks out of her fanny - US and UK versions!
she has her place in the top 100 people because she provides ‘smart, enlightened, informative content’ (oh yeah!) and has had Celine Dion on the show 27 times. That must tell us something! (someone is desperate). America should be outraged that the Queen of Daytime Chat wields such power (it would be like a tabloid newspaper in the UK deciding who the next Prime minister is going to be...) and question why she is considered deserving of an accolade given to world leaders ...and Justin Beiber.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Guilty Pleasures!

I had a friend once who was very handsome – the girlies loved him but he was a good catholic boy and never indulged in all that was on offer to him. He really had the catholic guilt going on. He never seemed to feel guilty about flirting with the girls outrageously and then leaving them, without even bothering to love them first, at the end of the night. I like to think that is why he never succumbed to my charms but maybe he just didn’t fancy me!  What I could never really understand was why he didn’t take advantage of the whole confession and forgiveness thing open to all Catholics. Surely a night of hot sex was worth a few Hail Mary’s in the morning? Me? I always find ‘bloody Mary’s’ do the trick!
I am loathed to suggest that without the shackles of religion you might have more fun. I know I am a little critical of the devout, but one thing that I really struggle with is the assumption, by some godly folk, that atheists lack a moral compass. I truly believe your religious beliefs have NO bearing on your goodness or morality!
I was sent a link from LJ (thank you) that shares the findings of a study in Kansas of the correlation between good sex and religion. It confirmed that atheists have better sex lives than religious people, mostly because believers feel guilty afterwards and rated the quality of their sex lives as lower. Mormons feel the most guilty with a score of 8.19 out of 10. I wonder if that is because of the polygamy thing – like committing adultery on your wife with your wife! Catholics scored 6.34 (lower than Baptists) and atheists scored the lowest at 4.71. Catholics didn’t feel that guilty! I guess my catholic friend was just using the catholic thing as an excuse! Maybe I was his fag hag! One commenter on the report obviously felt all righteous about this and said of atheists:
You might find that you are accountable for your life on this planet. There might be hellfire and brimstone for those who jump into bed together just for lust. I reckon Henry VIII Must already be there’
Poor Henry – gets such a bad press – and he was a devout Catholic (that had 6 wives and died of syphilis)! The commenter didn’t read the full report. It said religious people feel guilty about their sexual behaviour ‘but that does not stop them’!!! I think people might feel bad about kinky sex and if you are truely religious and believe God is omni-present then you either have the psychological effects of 3 in a bed or of someone watching!  I think it all depends who you are having sex with (and perhaps where and when! There is a time and a place for everything! – see joke at end) I am again reminded of Monty Python’s Meaning of Life; ‘We’ve had sexual intercourse twice and we’ve got two children’
I tried to research how often Americans thought of God and wanted to compare that to how often they thought about sex. Not a good search if you want to avoid being tagged by federal agents as a potential sect leader. I did find a report that said men think of sex every 52 seconds and women think about it once a day. Remind me again why EVE is criticised. It was all Adam! …unless he was catholic and she was an atheist!

A couple went to mass and took confession. The husband went into the
confessional and said "Forgive me Father, for I have sinned."
The father asked him the nature of this - to which he replied "While my wife
was bending over the freezer I had lustful thoughts and had my way with her."
The Priest tried explaining that having sex with your own wife was not a sin
and forgiveness was not needed. Still, the man insisted that he felt guilty.
The priest told him to say three Hail Mary's and be on his way.
Next, the wife went into the confessional and said that while she was leaning
over the freezer her husband had had his way with her. The priest asked her how
long she had been married. She replied it was three years now. The priest
tried to explain to her that it was quite proper for married people to have sex
and that there was nothing to be guilty about. Still, the woman insisted that
she felt guilty so the priest told her to say three Hail Mary's and think no
more about it.
As she turned to leave, the woman asked the priest if her and her husband
would be banned from the church. "Banned from the church?! Whatever gave you
that idea?' the priest queried. "Well," she said, "they banned us from the

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Show some Modesty and Restraint! For Fuki-Sake!

Many ‘Sub-Divisions’ have community pools - a pool for the housing estate. Our community pool opens on Saturday after being closed for the winter. It will be great if it ever stops raining! The weather has been rubbish for days. When we first arrived in the US last June, we went to the pool for a few days before we got asked to show our passes. We drove home to get them. Upon return we got chucked out for gate crashing the wrong pool. Turns out the pool for our ‘sub-division’ was literally at the end of our back garden and across the road. I had wondered what the green corrugated roofs were that I could see from the patio– the sunshades and the club house! Close enough to walk – which I did for a week or so until I got the mother of all insect bites on my calf. I felt something and flicked my other foot across my leg. The resulting bite grew to be the size of a tennis ball! It takes longer to drive than walk but is worth it!
The pool is lovely – last summer it was virtually empty most of the time. Perhaps the snakes didn’t help! It felt like I was on holiday for months – pool and sunshine. Room service wasn’t up to much though! I had to make my own bed and cook my own food!
At the pool, all the ladies of a certain age wear tankinis or full swimsuits rather than bikinis. I rebelled last week and brought a new bikini – If I am not brave enough to bare my belly at the pool I might wear it to the beach (but my tumkin will be white when the rest of me will be bronzed -if ever it stops raining!) Perhaps I should be more modest! Perhaps I should show some restraint! I found out recently that you can buy ‘modesty swimwear’ that covers you from head to toe so that you can swim whilst preserving your modesty. I’m  not sure if you can preserve something that has long ago departed! It would however be one way to hide my developing bingo wings and I wouldn’t have to worry about a five o’clock shadow on my bikini line. On the downside I might get mistaken for a terrorist!
We were at ‘Dinner club’ and the theme was ‘Japanese’. It may have been too much Fuki-Sake Japanese rice wine but I had one of those mad conversations that lead to me knowing all about ‘Modesty Swimwear’. In answer to the inane ‘So what do you do for a living?’ one of the dinner guests revealed that he was editor for a TV show. Exciting enough and a departure from the norm (which is IT, insurance or baking cup-cakes around here). He was editor for ‘19 and counting’. I tried to look impressed but I had never heard of the show even though the 4th season is about to start on 7th June in the USA. It is a reality show and ‘19’ refers to the number of children that Jim-Bob and Michelle Duggar have. 19! 19 FFS! It may even be twenty by now, I think they have lost count.
I found a blog that is written about them. It said that the Duggars have spent 75,000 hours playing music. I think they have been making sweet music far too often. I think Michelle Duggar must have spent that long pregnant! ‘We’ve had sex 19 times and we’ve got 19 children!’ All the children have names beginning with J – 19 of them and not one buggar – sorry Duggar- has the lovely name of Jane – They are very religious – Jane isn’t in the bible, or maybe it short for Jezebel! I think it is a name that would suit me! On the TV channel website you can play a game ‘Name That Duggar’. I wonder if the parents play it to see how many of the fruit of their loins they can remember!
Now you know me – mostly my blogs are ill informed or I make them up as I go along – and this would be no exception so I don’t want to say too much about the Duggars – someone else already writes a whole blog on them and Mommy Duggar writes her own blog- (not on the things that you really want to ask her…or maybe that is just my morbid curiosity! After having two children some things have never been the same again! …19 ..nnnnnineteen. Show some restraint for fuki-sake!) besides I have never even seen the show. All I will say is that the combination of 19 kids, religion, USA and reality TV means I can safely assume they are weird! If you are wondering how they afford all those Duggars – you can buy the book from their website, at a discount, to find the  answer. You can also buy a whole host of other shite too!
So out of the Fuki-Sake fuelled conversation I found out all about Modesty Swimwear because apparently the Duggars wear it when they go swimming.  So, they do show some restraint! Do I try out the modesty swimwear or do I think Fuki-Sake it, buy an itsy bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini and let it all hang out? After 19 -20 ish kids (including 2 sets of twins) I guess that is one thing Michelle Duggar has no choice about!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Commercial Break #4 Des Res

I have recently acquired, well actually BUILT a house... for my daughter. It is based on the beautiful houses I saw in Charleston – but a mere imitation! Very southern, 3 stories with two porches and 6 rooms. Pink, lilac and white! I’m not about to sell it but if I was I would be apprehensive about selling it in the US- it can be quite an expensive process here.
There are many qualities I would look for in an Estate Agent (called ‘Realtors’ in America) but what their hobbies are isn’t one of them. I just looked on a website to search for realtors and you could refine your search* to find a suitable realtor by selecting their desirable ‘hobbies’ and ‘Civil Activities’. Mmmm, yes, I feel a yoga practicing member of ‘Pheasants Forever’ (they were search choices) would help me sell my house much quicker than a ‘Hospital Volunteer’. They would be too busy volunteering! I expected to find ‘miracle worker’ as one of the search options as they charge up to … Wait for it… 16% of the final sale price of the house. I’m not very good at maths but that is significantly more than the 1 ½ -3 % they charge in the UK.
I think one vital quality to have here as a realtor is to be a particular shade of orange. They all seem to sport the orange look. The selling thing here is done on a ‘personal’ basis – so rather than a brand you can trust individuals set themselves up as a person you can trust. Maybe that is why you can search for them by hobbies so you can find a like minded person and connect on more than one level. Sell my house and discuss knitting techniques. MMmmm what I really want is a ‘ham radio’ enthusiast… or better still a writer. On second thoughts they might write blogs and be completely untrustworthy! As a basis of the trust building process the realtors all share a photograph of themselves. They are on flyers, billboards and websites ‘selling real estate for 12 years’. They look out at you all orange and smiley with big teeth saying ‘I’m your friend, trust me, I’ll sell your house, share your hobbies and take the shirt off your back in the process’.
Putting your photo on anything is a dangerous strategy. If it is true that interviewers make up their mind about whether they will employ you within the first few seconds of seeing you then some realtors are seriously going to be at a disadvantage if house sellers select on the same basis. First impressions count. They could be dismissed on a whim unconnected to their ability to sell… MMmm too orange! Maybe they will be forgiven their looks if you share the same hobby!
I was very tempted to phone and get a quote for putting the new house on the market but who knows what sort of estate agent bus nutter realtor I might encounter (for non-British readers a ‘bus nutter’ is someone on public transport who has an empty seat next to them despite the bus being very full. The second you sit down next to them you know why the seat was empty. As soon as you make eye contact with a bus nutter your life will never be the same again. If you ever leave the bus – you will leave fundamentally and profoundly altered!). The agent might be miffed if they actually tracked me down, turned up to do a valuation and found that the house I was selling wasn’t quite what they expected – unless of course I had pre-selected them on a search for their ‘residential sub-speciality’ being new construction, their hobbies being ‘all things Lilliput’ and their civil activities being involved with SADD/MADD. If I had filtered on that basis, not only would I have a fully committed realtor but a new BFFL!
My newly constructed Des Res

(*Would you believe I only made one search option for realtors hobbies and civil activities up in the whole blog!)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Once in a Life Time!

Having been treated with topical steroids for mere mossie bites (which the doctor thought might be Brown Reclusive spider bites they were so bad) I have developed what I consider a healthy fear of insects here in North Carolina. I have always had a rather silly fear of moths, partly because they are all dusty when you squidge them. Last night I saw what looked like a large moth flying manically around the kitchen. I followed manically with the bug spray. I always feel bad when I spray the bugs because they seem to have a slow painful, tortured death. I suppose I shouldn’t given that lots of them here have the capacity to inflict that on me! It eventually plopped on the kitchen island, span around a little and fell off into the cat’s water. The cat was eating at the time and stepped back, sat down and looked up at me as if to say ‘Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup’
I scooped it out with kitchen roll expecting it to turn to dust. It didn’t. It wasn’t a moth. It looked like a cross between a cricket and a cockroach. It was a Cicada. I felt bad for killing it. They don’t bite or sting a
nd being ugly in itself shouldn’t really be a reason to die. I should have just stuck a small bag on its head.
I felt really bad for killing it because it had just got up, after a 13 year doze! I know this because i-neighbors told me. ‘They’ know everything. We had the head cheese from i-neighbors at our BBQ yesterday. Not only is he a great guy who makes wicked margaritas but he is ‘The Man’. He claims he is just the administrator but we know he is the Godfather of Azalea Lane. He is the font of all knowledge and the good folk ask all manner of things of him, from which dishwasher tablets to use to yesterday’s query:
‘It started catching my attention that there seems to be a siren like noise I hear every time I am out in my yard. This started a week or two ago. Has anyone noticed this? Any information on what this could be?’
The fun you could have answering that! Noise? What noise? In truth, I had wondered this myself over the last few days. At first I thought the noise was an over zealous water sprinkler mixed in with a house alarm. Both ideas were stupid, no one has house alarms and it has rained for days so no one would be stupid enough to water their lawn …would they?! I was able to ask i-neighbors in person. Turns out the hideous noise that has been going on for days isn’t sprinklers, alarms or amorous bull frogs (cos they are bloody noisy too!) but ‘an enormous brood of cicadas that covers parts of 16 states is beginning to wake from its 13-year slumber underground’ In fact it is the world’s largest ‘periodical brood’
We are one of the ‘lucky’ states to experience this phenomonem. There are billions of them (a million per acre) They went to sleep 13 years ago in the forests. While they were asleep someone turned much of where we are from forest to huge housing developments. We have a tiny bit of woodland at the back of our house. I think the cicadas are all concentrated there and the noise is unbelievable! It is the males singing for a mate! The things boys will do to get lucky! Thankfully they are not the ones that appear every 17 years – I think they might be locusts. A plague of cicadas- while failry gross is better than locusts. Cicadas only suck sap from trees and are themselves edible. Perhaps a side dish to some road kill? If I had known I could have captured a bowl full for the BBQ.  Mind you , even the cat wouldn’t eat it and cats diets are 20% insects. (note to self – you’ve got 4 years before the locusts arrive)
I feel really really bad for killing it as after lying underground for 13 years it only had a month to strut its stuff before it dies. An amazing life cycle with a short burst of life and I cut it shorter with bug spray!

Friday, May 13, 2011

America Has Decided!

America has decided. I should have known the outcome.  I lived in hope!
The first blog I ever wrote was because of the dislocation I felt at being in America while ‘The X Factor’ was on in the UK. Everyone (well, not everyone but a fair few) were posting on facebook and chattering about the results each week. I hadn’t watched it and couldn’t join in. Today I feel a similar dislocation having got in to American Idol. Well, TV is really shite here. That’s my excuse. I want to discuss the results and no one in the UK will know what I am wittering on about! (even less than usual!)
I watched American Idol last night and I had a revelation. The end of the world and Judgment Day isn’t 21st May 2011. It is 12th May 2011. Today! Harold Camping got the numbers the wrong way round. The final conflict was played out on the screen between good and evil, between Rock and Jesus on American Idol on 12th May! This epic battle was personified by two contestants:
James is the Rocker. For the first time on such a show a contestant sang real rock, not just pseudo anthem rock like Queen songs. Amongst his influences James sited Ronnie James Dio. A Rock God! As a student I had a monster Dio poster above my bed. It was one of those huge promo posters. The artwork on Rock stuff was fantastic then. This poster showed a child innocently sleeping in bed with a f**k off massive devil looking on. A ‘friend’ tried to save me, saying the devil was sending subconscious messages to me through the poster and that I should find Jesus. I lost the friend and turned up the volume!
James the contestant sang Judas Priest on American idol! Judas Priest FFS! Judas Priest was accused of being responsible for ‘self inflicted gunshot wounds’ that killed one man and seriously disfigured another America (adding those two simple words 'in America' immediately makes something believable). It was alleged that after listening to Judas Priest’s subliminal messages, heard if the music was played backwards, the two took ‘do it’ to mean blowing their heads off. Drugs and alcohol were not seen as responsible culprits by the prosecution! The lead singer told the court that if he was going to insert subliminal messages it would be "Buy more of our records."
Apparently speech reversal is a naturally-occurring phenomenon on records and Priest songs contained gems such as ‘‘f**k the lord’ and 'You silly f**k'. I listened to the American Idol singer backwards and indeed I got a subliminal message. It said ‘WTF, Get a life, FFS!' . Oh and ‘Give rock a chance’. I took it all personally.
Singing Judas Priest was always going to be a risky strategy for a wanabe pop idol.  Added to the ‘take your daughter to the slaughter’ type rock image that doesn’t go down well in the southern states, the lead singer of Judas Priest is gay. I don’t think that is allowed in America. They don’t like Judas much either. He was such a Judas! And priests are catholic! None of these factors are vote winners, in the south at least!
James said ‘I just want America to give Rock a chance’ (I heard him, backwards). I suppose it wasn’t so crazy given Steven Tyler is a judge. Judas!
After the other contestant’s performance last night I thought Rock and James really had a chance. The other contestant pesonifying the epic battle is Scotty. Scotty is a country singer. A very good country singer. There is something unnerving and incongruous about a deep country voice coming out of a 17 year old with barely any bum fluff. That voice belongs to a much hairier man! Scotty is from North Carolina. He played a blinder for the home state when he sang a song ‘Where were you (when the world stopped turning)’. It was about 9/11 so it would get a patriotic sympathy vote. Then he did the chorus – all about being a simple man. He crooned ‘I know Jesus and I talk to God’. I was open mouthed. NC might love him and his sentiments but he was going home. The Bible belt is surely just that – a belt across America with some sanity above and to the West. The rocker is from California (of course). They wouldn’t buy that in CA, would they? If anyone on the UK versions of this show did that (mention the 'J' word on popular TV) they wouldn’t wait till the results show, they would get their coat as the music suddenly stopped, the spot light went out and the tumbleweed swept across the studio. Competition Suicide.  I played Scotty's song backwards and heard ‘WTF, Get a life, FFS!’ It was a message for 'American Idol' voting America! 72 million of them on Wednesday night. Scotty’s favourite quote according to the Idol website is ’Philippians 4:13 I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me’. Lady Gaga was on the show, helping the contestants. She gyrated with James the Rocker. Scotty kissed his cross round his neck when she left the room.
James has an amazing, versatile voice and chose rock as the medium, Scotty is a one trick pony – albeit a very good one. Scotty isn’t alone. Another ‘country’ contestant from Georgia, Lauren, seems to have the same quote. She sang an Elvis song ‘Trouble’ but was reluctant to sing the lines:
‘Because I'm evil, my middle name is misery, Well I'm evil, so don't you mess around with me’
It’s a song! Doesn’t make it so. Singing about being good doesn’t make it so either! The final showdown should’ve been Scotty and James. Lauren wasn’t a patch on either but was strengthened through Jesus. Seems Jesus is a bigger vote winner here than talent!

So – you can see why I saw this as an important and pivotal moment. What America decided would impact on my perceptions in an important way. Well, America decided:

Good v Evil
Sense v Nonsense
Credible v Discredited

You all know who went home don’t you?!

I think it is time I did!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Buck ($) Tooth!

My son has his first loose tooth. It has been loose for days. He's behaving like an invalid and refusing to eat. Correction, he is refusing to eat anything but chocolate. He can manage that! I shall be glad when the soddin’ thing finally falls out. Americans are very keen on their teeth. My 5 year old son has already been questioned on his flossing habits at school as part of his personal hygiene lessons. He can barely wipe his own arse properly. Flossing was way down on my list of things he must be able to do! I have been advised that in America I do not have to take him to the dentist for a wobbly tooth but I do need to take him as soon as the tooth falls out so that he can be checked! Really? Only in America! Well, given I haven’t found a dentist yet, that might be difficult! And yes! I am months over my 6 month check up now! I just can’t face going through the same hideous rigmarole I had finding a doctor.
A few months ago I was at the bus stop when one of the Moms asked ‘How much do you leave for a tooth under the pillow?’ I was horrified. My 8 year old daughter, who very much believes in ‘hidden people’ was standing next to me. I made a quick recovery but for the Mom my answer was unsatisfactory as I do not know what the fairy would leave under a pillow in America. I have always believed (sorry, made up!) that the tooth fairly leaves gold. Easy in England because £1 coins are gold and when my daughter lost a tooth in Finland she got a gold Euro.  My poor son suffers from second child syndrome – His older sister got a gold ring when she lost her first tooth (ridiculous I know, but I wanted it to be special!) and the fairies also left her a gold necklace once. He will be lucky if I remember to collect the tooth at all! I can just hear the excuses now ‘Fairies are unionised in America, they don’t work on Saturdays.’
There are no gold coins in the American currency and my tooth fairy cannot leave notes – too vulgar! So what do I leave under my son’s pillow? Well perhaps I could leave him a special dollar.    For just $4.95 + shipping I can buy a $1 note with a picture of the tooth fairy instead of Abraham Lincoln. It is legal tender – spend $8 and get $1. I can also buy him a ‘tooth fairy loves me’ button (badge to non-Americans) from the same website. More like the ‘tooth fairy did me out of $7 – What a swizz! Bitch’!
A ‘recent’ survey' of 2 million children by the American Dental Association found the average value of a milk tooth was $1 but it ranged from a US Quarter ($0.25) to $20.00. One respondent in Manhattan had given $1.2 MILLION for a first tooth. Makes my gold ring look a bit shite in comparison.
It would be easier to put a value on the tooth if I had an idea what the teeth were for.
According to one toothfairy website:
‘I use the teeth I collect to make everything for me and my helpers.  These items range from chairs to cars to the computer I am using to write this blog.  We need teeth to create new items and repair old items, so I must collect many teeth every night to keep up with everything we need.’
WTF?! How is that supposed to ignite children’s imaginations? Seems a bit sick to me. A world made of milk teeth! Gross! Actually though - I am a bit like that fairy - she collects teeth to help write her blog, I collect shite to write mine!
Alternatively maybe the teeth are used to make shoes:
Much more satisfying was the suggestion that they made stars in the sky but each kid loses 20 teeth. That is a lot of stars. (perhaps the shoe idea was better!).  I have told my daughter they are used to make fairy dust! Maybe she will grow up disturbed. What will the discovery of the truth do to her? There is no tooth fairy. I found a letter I wrote to my parents when I was 8 years old. I was on holiday with my friend and her ‘nan’. Here is the documented end of the tooth fairy dream for me (word for word!):
My tooth came out and I got Five P. and nan put it therer Because She was figiing about under my pillow and wen nan went out of the Room I Felt unde my pillow and there was 5p. Well by for now Love and Kisses
I remember the excitement of losing a tooth and the fairy visiting. The truth didn’t seem to be too traumatic a discovery. My hubby on the other hand has no memory of a tooth fairy at all. He said there were no tooth fairies in his house. How sad! I want my son to have some magic ...If ever the damn thing comes out. I might try the string and rocket suggestion below to assist in its removal. He’ll certainly remember that if not the fairy!
(what was scary was the number of YouTube clips with similar things - dogs pulling teeth, doors, rockets - all in America!)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Once bitten...

I woke this morning with very itchy legs. At first I thought it was the ‘Dark Kiss body lotion’ I had purchased yesterday for a treat, causing some sort of reaction. On closer inspection, and I didn’t have to look that closely – it was glaringly, painfully obvious, it turned out to be 9 mosquito bites, 4 on one ankle and 5 on the other. They were already the size of 50p pieces (for people who do not know how big a 50p is – it is bloody big for a mossie bite). I would like to think they were not quite my first bites of the season but they were certainly a nasty reminder that with the arrival of warm weather there are drawbacks!
I have horrible reactions to them. The bites swell, go really hard and are bright red. Eventually they get a horrible yellow blister head which if I scratch they get even worse. Not scratching is torture. They are soooooo itchy!  Attractive! I’ll be wearing trousers for f**king days! Not having seen the film this may be a little flippant, but my legs are so itchy I am beginning to appreciate the sentiment behind '127 hours'!
Why me? I’m not sure why they bite me and leave everyone else alone. According to an article in the Telegraph, mosquitoes have very sensitive and powerful noses, finely tuned in to the different chemicals that make up human body odour. To the mosquitoes ‘some people’s sweat simply smells better than others
Talk about adding insult to injury! The suggestion here is they bit me because I smell! They like my odour! Well I had put ‘Dark Kiss body lotion’ on, ‘a seductive blend of voluptuous berries, tempting blooms and night musk to unleash your most primal passions’.
It worked. While hubby lay snoring, oblivious to my seductive odours, the mosquitoes were digging their prongy thing in all over the place. They loved it and gave me a few ‘dark kisses’ all of their own. An orgy no less! (Actually though – it is only the females that suck your blood…)
So – prevention is better than cure but have you smelled Mossie spray? I got some off-the-shelf stuff last year that contained 5% DEET. I had been in the states a very short time and been bitten mercilessly when I upgraded to a spray with 98.25% DEET. Takes your breath away! (No really! It can cause seizures!) Apparently mosquitoes intensely dislike the smell of DEET. I’m with them on that one. I can vouch for them that they much prefer the smell of ‘Dark Kiss’.
According to Wiki   (so it must be true) ‘manufacturers advise that DEET products should not be used under clothing or on damaged skin, and that preparations be washed off after they are no longer needed or between applications’. Difficult when you have no idea when the buggers bite! Don’t believe those who say 'between dusk and dawn'. I looked over my shoulder today, in broad day light to find one on there with its prongy thing in my arm! Cheeky F**ker! They love me! I’ll have to spend the whole summer smothered in DEET!
DEET can act as an irritant. Well, so can mossies. It seems to be the lesser of two evils but in 2002 in Canada they barred the sale of DEET products containing more than 30% DEET! Given it can dissolve some plastics, synthetics and varnishes I guess I should be cautious of my 98.25% DEET. I don’t want to dissolve the polish on my pedicure.
I checked the ‘Mosquito activity forecast’ (really – there is one!) for my area and it is ‘moderate’ tonight! That is because the bastards had a frenzy on me last night. They are taking it easy tonight. Sunday night in after a binge weekend! All that passion ignited from the voluptuous berries and blooms and musk! I got the whole sodding set – the shower gel, lotion, hand cream, body spray. I’ll have to wait til winter to use it!
My dad swears that they don’t bite if you use Vaseline Intensive Care lotion. Maybe they just don’t bite him but given it smells much better than DEET it has to be worth a try!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ask a stupid question!

We went to get my son some new shoes on Sunday. The assistant presented us with some sandals – light blue camouflage. My son gets mistaken for a girl on occasion. His hair is longer than the standard issue military crew cut and it is very blond. He has a bit of a surfer dude hair do. He is also very pretty! Having said that, only a buffoon would mistake him for a girl and offer him girls’ sandals. I told the assistant this. He was clearly offended as he pointed out that the sandals were for boys. I contested ‘but they are girly blue’.
‘That, madam, is the official military camouflage of the American Navy.’
It was a good job SEALs (The United States Navy SEa, Air and Land) were otherwise occupied in a top secret mission that day or I might have been in trouble. My hat off to them! Brave people who are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifices.
The death of Osama Bin Laden has of course been welcome news in America, for those who knew who he was. Apparently the fifth most popular search on google on Sunday night was ‘Who is Osama Bin Laden?’. Might seem like a really stupid question to most of the Western world but 66% of those asking this question were between 13-17 years old! Young enough not to care but I would have thought old enough to remember the horror of 9/11.
Just as an aside the conception of my children have a curious link to the twin towers. The first was conceived on the day the towers collapsed (I hope it doesn't become one of those classic questions like what were you doing the day Elvis died) and the second child was conceived three years later, the day we visited Ground Zero in New York. Perhaps it was something to do with the absence of those phallic symbols that lead to two erections in their honour… I'm reminded of a Monty Python sketch from the Life of Brian 'we've had sex twice and we've got two children...'
Anyway - you could say it was good that the the teenagers on Sunday night were interested and asking ‘who is Osama bin Laden’ and that the only stupid questions are the ones you don’t ask. That is something I would encourage my classes to believe when I was a teacher. I would encourage them and suggest that they would only be asking the questions other people were too afraid to ask. It is part of learning but there are stupid questions that really shouldn’t be asked and no one else is wishing someone more confident would stick up their hand and ask it - like when someone asked ‘Do those twins share a birthday’ or ‘Going anywhere nice on your holidays?’ No! I’m going somewhere shit! Or ‘Do you know Sheena Easton? Or ‘Do I look good in these jhorts? 
One stupid question on twitter was ‘who is Osama? Is he in the band as well?’ WTF!!!
One commenter, horrified by the stupidity of his peers not knowing who Bin Laden was, said:
If you saw the movie Super Size Me, you saw the alarming demonstration of kids who could identify Ronald McDonald, but not Jesus. Wow.’  
I wanted to ask – now who is being stupid? Ronald McDonald is a registered trademark. What does Jesus look like? – I wasn’t aware of any official descriptions, pictures, portraits of the man. I would be alarmed if kids could identify Jesus and not Ronald MacDonald. (Saddened too that Ronald has infiltrated their little minds). Who can identify Jesus from a lineup? Not me! I defy anyone to!
Now people might be forgiven for asking ‘who is Osama Bin Laden?’ because suddenly he is been referred to as Usama rather than Osama. There are several possible reasons for this. One for the conspiracy theorists – for which there are many, in the absence of photographs, that the real Osama bin Laden was not killed. Perhaps, rather than tell an out right lie they (them conspirators) are saying 'Usama' is dead. Could be a different bloke.
Another reason could be that they have got his name wrong for the last 10 years and have finally got it right!  Perhaps they called him Osama to piss him off while he was alive. He probably sat in his cave screaming at the TV ‘It’s bloody Usama you bastards’.
The most likely reason for the name change is that it is very close to Obama, As in President Obama of the USA. Fox News, notoriously extremely right wing, have made a few gaffs in the last week, announcing ‘Obama is dead’ and ‘Let’s kill Obama’. I’m sure they didn’t do this for cheap political point scoring and school boy sniggers (Osama? Obama? Whatever!) but if they didn’t then they are just stupid rather than mean and stupid and need help…Usama is different enough for them not to confuse it with their President! The eighth most popular search on Sunday from Yahoo! and a very stupid question was 'How tall is Osama bin Laden?' Maybe this was Fox News presenters still trying to distinguish between the two men!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's Pimms O' Clock!

The first I knew of the Royal wedding was months ago when I was asked in Wal-Mart by the Cashier if I was attending it. I said I couldn’t find a hat to wear so I doubted if I would bother. The Cashier, bless him (or strike him dead for his stupidity) asked – in all seriousness if I knew William personally. I said, ‘If William knew me, do you really think he would be marrying Kate?’ I could see the agony of the man as he totally believed what I said and was trying hard not to disagree but he also wanted to be honest. What he really wanted to say was ‘Now you are being silly, you ugly old trout’ but he was nothing if not gullible and polite, an unfortunate combination of traits that were clearly getting him nowhere.
I can’t tell you how often I used the ‘can’t find a suitable hat’ excuse over the last few months when I was asked about the wedding. It is a pity Princess Beatrice didn’t decline her invite at the 11th hour on that basis and give the hat back to lady Gaga!
When I went to the UK at Easter, shops were heaving with Union Jack paraphernalia – some nasty and tacky, some very tasteful. I really like the vintage stuff. I wonder if the Middleton partyware internet business had exclusive sales for the event. It seems a little unfair that they would have had the heads up on the date and everything! Insider trading! I bet their ‘Best of British’ range went down a storm at the buffet afterwards.  I wonder if all those themed ‘princess parties’ gave Kate some mad idea…
Nothing to do with the impending nuptials I bought a lot of red, white and blue. I did this for two reasons; one, because of my sudden patriotism since moving to the USA for all things British and two, because it is my turn to host ‘dinner club’ on the 4th July weekend. I had this wicked idea that I would deck the house out with the Union Jack for this USA national holiday commemorating independence from the British. The look of horror on someone’s face at a mere hint of my plan made me think I should put my bunting to more appropriate use on the day of the royal wedding.
I was invited to a fellow Brit’s house to watch the wedding in the morning. Being 5 hours behind it was to be recorded.  Unlike almost everyone I spoke to that day, I did not get up at to watch it live. I got up at because I was still a little jet lagged. I couldn’t resist  turning on the news for a sneak preview. I heard the voice over, describing guests at the Abbey, identify Sir Elton John ‘and other people’. The only other person in the picture was David Furnish but the commentator seemed at a loss as to what to call him! Gay Marriage is not legal in the state of North Carolina. I decided to wait til later to see ‘the dress.
My friend had gone to lots of trouble for the occasion, best china, bucks fizz (I had no idea why Americans were drinking mimosas and not bucks fizz! What are they anyway?) strawberries and scones, and digestive biscuits – a rare treat in these parts! There was a lovely atmosphere. Royalist or not, there was a sense of pride at the pomp and circumstance and tradition that we were part of, if only from a distance.
We watched the arrivals at the Abbey. The two Prince’s both with hair like their dads… Kate, with her stunning dress and veil. I was reminded of my sister’s wedding when my mother did a last minute run of the iron over her veil, leaving an iron shaped hole in the front. Sometimes the creases are best left - something for ‘Pippa’ to appreciate when she watches the wedding video!  (although the men might have liked an iron shaped hole where the chief bridesmaid’s dress had creased!) Kate arrived at the church and … the recording ended. Bugger! It had recorded in ‘programme slots’ and had not recorded the next slot, the actual wedding! No matter – there were always the highlights on the internet. The funniest voice over I heard was describing Kate and William leaving for their honeymoon as ‘just a normal couple’, she went on to describe their car ‘like a little dodgem car’! Perfect description for the future King and Queen and the Aston Martin they drove away in! I have just read in Time magazine that their wedding cake had 17 fruitcakes. Their wedding party had considerably more, with Prince Philip leading the way!
Most Americans are surprised by my indifference to the Royal Wedding. I guess they were equally surprised by my last minute change of heart. I had nothing else planned but decided it was too much of an opportunity for a piss up to waste. I had a bottle of Pimms, bunting and beer! I invited neighbours round for a ‘British’ celebration involving popadoms and all the trimmings, Chicken tikka and other Indian starters. A big jug (retro union jack design!) of Pimms and a cool box (American sized before you start tittering about girl sized portions – they have BIG cool boxes) full of beer and we were away. We had to explain that Indian food constitutes the national dish and explain what to do with the popadoms, onion salad and mint sauce. It went down a storm! As everyone brought children I started proceedings at thinking everyone would leave around . In true British fashion, five hours later, cool box emptied and without so much as a toast to the royal couple we waved goodnight to all. Can’t wait to wet the baby’s head!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Blog Spot!

 I think there may be cause to file for a divorce on the grounds of mental cruelty. My hubby would have you believe that it is he who has had to endure days of mental torture but I think I can quite clearly illustrate what I have to endure from him on a daily basis.
I went to bed with a sore red chin the other night. I don’t get spots. Never really have. Very lucky, so I suppose I will get little sympathy from any zitty people when I tell you I woke up the next day, Sunday, with a very large spot on my chin.
My husband took one look at it and said ‘you can’t go out today, unless it is to go to church. They will pray for you. Everyone is accepted in church.’ A nice man would have pretended not to notice. I accept this would have been difficult given it was very large and red, so a caring man may have shown some sympathy with an ‘ohhh, you must be run down, rest while I make you a cup of tea’ but no! My hubby saw maximum pay back time for every time I have called him fat. He offered to make two cups of tea, one for me and one for my new friend. He suggested I name it. He did make me a lovely bacon and egg sandwich and said ‘you will need to break the yolk’. Of course his giggles at his own hilarity meant he was talking about the spot and not my egg!
Grounds enough for a separation – this relentless meanness, but he wasn’t done. Not by a long way. He suggested I sit out in the sun to ‘ripen the spot and bring it up like a volcano, ready to erupt’. He compared my spot to having a baby. He said I would soon reach dilemma stage:
Induce it: use a sterile pin and ‘break the water’
Natural Birth: let it pop all by itself
Assisted birth: squeeze it but that would risk bruising and tearing if done too soon or with too much force.
He really was on a roll. Arse! According to him I should now know what it is like to have big tits. ‘How so?’ I naively asked?
‘Because everyone will be looking at your spot and not you – just like big breasted girls get their tits spoken to’ (note the added attempt to insult because my tits are not big!)
He went on, advising I disguise it and of course he had several suggestions:
- A corn plaster to prevent catching it
- Paint it brown – so it looked like a beauty spot like Cindy Crawford has. Now if you think he was being kind suggesting I could look like Cindy Crawford, he had already pointed out earlier that I had transformed in the night into Nanny McPhee.
I tried saying it was a mosquito bite. I have terrible reactions to mossie bites and they turn into boil like mounds. Really horrible – a bit like my poor chin! Hubby howled at this defence. He said it was a common-or-garden spot, then after pondering this he decided spots that size were not all that common!
He tried to predict what it might do next: dissipate and spread and become flat and wide or get angry and pointy. I was getting angry and pointy.
This went on all day. I told him that by the morning my spot would be gone but he would still be fat. More hilarity when he dismissed this and asked if I could take a photo of the spot when I got up the next day as he was out early in the morning and wanted to see its development!
Every cloud has a silver lining. Today my poor little son was off colour. Why is it that children seem so much smaller when they are ill? I kept him off school and he lay very still and quiet for most of the day. Very unusual for him. The silver lining of course wasn't that he was quiet for once - it was that I had an excuse not to leave the house at all. Fortuitous given my spot had taken a turn for the worse. The greenish sickly glow was something hubby was quick to notice when he returned from work (and it wasn't my son he was looking at!). I am now convinced that it is my first grim mossie bite of the season - as my chin has followed the pattern of the bites I got on my legs this time last year when I arrived in North Carolina to embark on a new life! I have made it worse by listening to hubby and trying to squeeze it – You can’t squeeze bites!
Of course hubby won't back down and the jibes have continued. He would maintain the mental cruelty was his for having to look at my chin. You may well sympathise with him given some of the mental images I may have left you with. I disagree. Well, I would, wouldn’t I? I need sympathy and instead he tortures me relentlessly! I think it is clear that my husband is a bad and mean man who is just not funny at all!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Blog 100!

I was about to write a blog on my experiences of the Royal Wedding, State side but then I noticed it was to be my 100th post! Does that make it a special occasion? Special enough to displace a royal wedding blog? Not really but I’ve started now so, like Magnus Magnusson, I’ll finish.
100 blogs! Some mad, some sad and some downright bad! I mostly set out to amuse on the strange things I encounter as a Brit abroad. I like to keep it light-hearted and silly. Occasionally I spout about other stuff, more serious and even more opinionated than I usually am. Sometime I take strong stances and don’t always consider the consequences! Sorry!
Most of my blogs might well offend Americans. My American readership is growing at an alarming rate! It is only a matter of time before I will have to move! Sorry!
None of my blogs are meant to offend individuals, but I know some things can be taken personally. I have a friend who is still put out (mostly because I said he was an aging relative - he isn’t – a relative, that is!!! x) that I misquoted an email from him, about my blog, for comedy effect. As I did this anonymously, only he knows – that was until he told everyone! Sorry!
Did you know that ideas cannot have a copywrite? What you say and write can, so I have probably broken lots of rules by quoting people and things without permission. Sorry!
I pilfer ideas from all over the place – like my favourite bird, the bowerbird who collects blue things and builds a beautiful bower to attract a mate. The bird with the bluest, brightest show gets the girl. If I lived in Australia I would leave a pile of blue things for the Bowerbirds in the same way old ladies in the UK leave fat balls out for sparrows! I hope my collection of shiny ideas attract and amuse readers. Sometimes I take things that I shouldn’t, like a magpie, I steal it from somewhere – like the occasional picture. I did that recently and I think I upset a friend – probably not with the visceral nature of the blog but by taking something connected to them, especially when they have given so much, so many ideas for my blog for free! Only they know - it's all anonymous - but if they know, it makes it personal. Sorry!
Sometimes I get the most amazing comments, more often emailed or inboxed in facebook to say something really positive about my blog. It has been referred to as LOL funny, educational, entertaining, embarrassing (sorry), thought-provoking and upsetting. Given those were intended outcomes I am amazed that the blog works and humbled by the feedback!  Thank you! (I would love you to write it on the blog though. I can understand why you would not want to be officially associated with the blog but don’t be shy – you can comment anonymously! I have also added a ‘reactions’ tick box so you can just say whether you liked it or not!)
I have some regular commenters: My mother, the Mrs Magoo of blog comments, bless her! I know I can always rely on my Mom! And to commenter(s) who is (are) far funnier than I could ever hope to be – Thank you! And to everyone, friends and strangers who are moved to say something… anything… Thank you!
Thank you also to all the people I know, especially in America, who remain my friends, knowing that they are at risk of being blogged by a passing comment, verbally, on facebook or email or by a shared experience! Thank you to all who supply me with endless material, knowingly or unknowingly!
Thank you to everyone who admits to 'following' my blog.  I have regular readers (many who do not openly admit it!), who read my blog on a daily or regular basis. I know this can be difficult as I churn them out almost daily – Those who have had the misfortune to work with me will know I place unreasonable expectations at work. I do this with blog writing – deadlines, quantity (occasionally quality). I have to remind myself when I get stressed that I haven’t posted a blog, it isn’t work… I don’t have to. Thank you for reading it and sticking with it and to the occasional visitors who dip in and out! Also to friends who read it when it really isn’t to their taste. I have dear friends, who I know would be horrified by the swearing and crude, lewd and rude content, who read it anyway for me (sorry and thank you).
And finally - to my husband who made it all possible by dismantling my life in the UK and not quite reconstructing it in America and driving me to madness - you owe me some 'sorrys' and 'thank yous' ! Jewels and exotic holidays will do!

Gushing enough? Too many sorrys? Too many thank yous? Not mentioned? I can’t name you personally.  All roads lead to perdition!

Here’s to the next 100! All you need to do is hope I never win an Oscar – my speech would be worse than Gwyneth Paltrow’s (top 10 worst speeches ever!)  for best actress. At least if you plugged your ears she was ok to look at!