Monday, 20 February 2012

Tagged

It has been a long long time since I participated in one of these meme things and when I saw this one going round I secretly kind of hoped I'd be tagged in it. Luckily for me Hazel obliged and much time has been spent thinking up my answers and new questions.

First, you paste in these instructions:


1) You must post 11 random things about yourself

2) Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post

3) Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer

4) Go to their blog and tell them you've tagged them

5) No stuff about 'you're tagged if you're reading this' - legitimately tag people.

11 random things about me:

1) For a long long time I collected crocodiles in all shapes and sizes and had a ridiculous number. Then I got older, grew out of it and threw most of them away, apart from 4 little ones. I kind of regret that now although not really, because it would just be another box I’d have to store somewhere.

2) The little finger on my right hand is double jointed. I can do gross things with it.

3) I don’t get the notion of backpacking/travelling for extended periods of time. It has just never ever appealed to me.

4) I hate peanut butter. But only when it’s in a jar. I eat satay and I love Reese’s peanut things. I realise this makes me a little freaky.

5) I was born with a caul. For those not in the know this means I had a membrane over my face which normally breaks during labour. It also apparently means I will never drown. My Dad said I looked like an alien when I was born. Which is nice.
6) If I won the lottery I wouldn’t be one of those people who stayed in their jobs. I would walk straight into work, quit and walk right back out again.

7) I have a weird scar around my belly button which is from a hernia operation I had when I was toddler.
8) I love horror films. So much. I get beyond scared and jumpy but I love that feeling.

9) My Dad once left a crescent shaped scar on my forehead for years after a game of bob-down tig got physical (I didn’t think he’d really tag me so I didn’t bob down and he hadn’t cut his nails, cue wailing child with blood pouring down her face.)

10) My favourite animal of all time (apart from cats obvs) is a tarsier.

11) I know Professor Brian Cox.

Hazel's Questions for me to answer:

1. What song always makes you happy when you hear it?
LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem. That song is just pure brilliance, it cannot fail but put me in an awesome mood. One day I swear I will learn to shuffle.

2. What movie would you most like to be in and why?
I will be in the movie of my own life. But I won’t play myself, I will play my witty best friend. I’ll get someone way more attractive than me to play myself. Plus I’ll have written the film so I’ll be all tired from doing that and won’t want a starring role.

3. If you were a Disney character, who would you be and why?
Tricky one for me because I'm a freak who doesn't really like Disney which means that a) it's hard for to relate to any of the characters and b) I don't know who any of the freaking characters are! A friend however pointed me in the direction of this online quiz and apparently according to that I'm Belle. Which must make The Person, The Beast. I'll break that to him later.

4. Do you have any nicknames?
Thanks to the fact that there were 4 of us in the same year with the same first name, I had a nickname for pretty much the entire time I was at school which was a derivative of my surname. I won’t share it here because I like to try and keep my privacy but it was used so much that one girl who joined the school many years later actually thought that was my name. I am pretty thankful I no longer get called it.

Within the family I am called Beedlebum. No-one can adequately explain why this is. Apparently it was because I had a little stripy romper suit thing but no-one can explain how this got me my name.

5. What one thing would you take with you on a deserted island?
A knitting bag crammed full of wool and hooks. (I realise this might be stretching the “one thing” part of this question) Then I would crochet things and then pull them out and do something different. Should keep me entertained. Plus I can crochet myself up a bikini if I really wanted to.

6. Who would you snog, marry and kill?
Snog: David Beckham (I walked smack bang into someone the other day because I was gawping at a photo of him in H&M in his pants.)
Marry: Gary Barlow (no explanation needed surely?!)
Kill: Robert Pattison (He really really can’t act and I feel this is the most effective way to stop people casting him in films.)

7. What do you miss most from your childhood?
Going to the library on a Saturday morning with my Dad.

8. How do you spend a typical Sunday?
Sundays are split into 3 kinds of Sundays thanks to being in a long distance relationship. One is Sunday with The Person and one is Sunday without The Person.

Sundays with The Person in Preston:
- Get up late
- Trip to Morrisons to get lunch and get some dinner for me to have when I get home.
- Mooch about feeling sad that I have to leave.
- Spend 3 hours travelling back to Hull
- Get home about 6.30pm.
- Eat dinner
- Feel sorry for myself.

Sundays with The Person in Hull:
- Get up late
- Go out to greasy spoon for full English
- Mooch about feeling sad that he has to leave
- Wave goodbye and then spend the rest of the day feeling sorry for myself.

Sundays on my own:
- Get up ridiculously early
- Put on Andrew Marr Politics Show and pretend to watch until I realise I’m just not that intelligent and switch over to watch a rerun of Gok’s Roadshow or Supernanny US.
- Clean the house with The Scot because Newbie and Peter Pan seem to miraculously go missing at the first whiff of cleaning fluid.
- Catch up on all the TV I’ve missed during the week thanks to iPlayer/ITVPlayer/4OD.
- Bemoan the fact that I’ve done nothing with my weekend/bemoan the fact that I’ve had too busy a weekend

9. What 3 celebrities would you most like to invite to dinner?
1) Sarah Millican – she makes me laugh and just had a nice voice to listen to
2) Kate Moss – I feel there’s something more about her than the public sees
3) Tom Cruise – I want to know if he really is that crazy.

10. Name 3 things you cannot live without
1) My Mum (I realise this might be a problem at some point)
2) Reading (I literally don’t understand it when people say they don’t read at all)
3) Cross-stitch/crocheting/embroidering/craftiness (I will come close to freaking out if I’m not doing something when watching TV. I cannot abide being totally idle.)

11. What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid?
A police dog handler! I have no idea why but that was 100% what I wanted to do. And not Springer Spaniels sniffing out drugs, I wanted to look after big mahoosive German Shepherdds and make them chase bad guys. I still love German Shepherds.


My 11 questions for the people that I tag:

1) You win millions and squillions on the lottery, what is the first thing you do?
2) Cats or dogs?
3) If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
4) If money/qualifications were no object, what would your ideal job be?
5) What was the last thing to make you really really laugh?
6) What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
7) You can only eat one meal for the rest of your life. What is it?
8) What is your worst habit?
9) What was your best holiday?
10) Marmite: Lover or hater?
11) What do you do best?

Who I am tagging:

Heather, The Curious Cat, Petit Filoux, Lucy, Bella Bee and Me, Grateful4Crochet

Obviously, should anyone else want to take part then please feel free, don't be like me and sit there waiting in the wings. And equally obviously, if any of you lot above don't want to do it then I promise I won't hold it against you. Much.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Things and Things and Things

I’m not a huge one for just generally bumming around the interweb and finding things. I’m often sent links by The Person which always force me to ask him what the hell he was doing on there that made him arrive at a video of a dog wearing boots.


 
I’m pretty standard, I come home, check e-mails, Facebook, Google Reader and that’s about it really. I don’t browse Etsy, I’m still not on Twitter (I don’t need anything else to distract me thank you very much), I don’t frequent cool online stores, I haven’t requested an invite to Pinterest.

 
I read link posts that people do and I often wonder how they find so many, how they see so much cool stuff, I’m clearly failing at the internet here.

 
But I thought I would show you some things that I’ve been clicking on this week (and I apologise that 2 of them are to do with cats).

 
Cat Scan - Cats + Scanning machines. For reals. And my Mum totally has a scanner – I’m thinking I know what I can do when I look after the cats next week...

And in other cat news - Larry the cat that was adopted by Number 10 Downing Street from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to be a mouser, has been doing his job for one whole year today. Not only is that cool, but he also has his own photoset on Flickr where you can see him getting ready for his party. There is a photo of him at the top of the stairs that made me screech with laughter it looks so cool. Good work Larry!

Did I ever tell you one of the Stitchettes got married in November last year? Well she did and her wedding was so homemade (obvs) and awesome that it’s been featured on Rock N’ Roll Bride, the most awesomest wedding website ever.

You may remember that it’s one of my Not Really Resolutions this year to learn how to do French Knots. But I’m also feeling the need to expand my embroidery techniques generally and learn some new stuff. Enter the Feeling Stitchy blog which showcases all the coolest stitchery out there. They Stitchalongs every month and January’s was all about couching. This stuck in my head and I decided to give it a go for The Person’s Valentine’s Day Card this year – but I forgot to take a photo of it, sorry. But expect to see more couching in these here parts because it is a) fun and b) quite quick to do.

I’ve been merrily cross stitching away at my fairy castle but then managed to run out of thread. Mostly because I was too lazy to go out and get more. When I had to stop I had a mild panic attack at the realisation that I didn’t have anything crafty in my hands, but then Heather’s Elmer-inspired baby blanket popped into my head and ever since then I have been feverishly hooking up solid granny squares....I don’t even know why, I just can’t stop!

I wish I had longer hair. If I did I would do things like this to it.  (Incidentally this blog is awesomecakes and her hair tutorials are brilliant, in particular the half up fat twist and full up fat twist which is a way of getting super classy looking hair quickly.)

That American Girl knows me well. She sent me this for Valentine's Day - 14 Ways an Economist Says I Love You. These are pretty hardcore Economics things, I had to dig into the recesses of my brain to work out what half of them were originally based on.


 Right that's your lot, get off the internet, you'll use it all up!

Monday, 13 February 2012

The big day

I can’t really avoid talking about it can I? It’s everywhere you turn at the moment – pink and red tones are assaulting my eyeballs with every blink and I’m wading through posts in Google Reader which are trying to show me tutorials about making biscuits or cake pops or cards or secret boxes to give to my Valentine.


I have found that the 14th February seems to bring out an often hidden side to people. Some reasonably normal friends suddenly turn into sop monsters, heading out to buy the latest CD of love songs and brandishing fluffy teddy bears in your face; other reasonably normal friends turn into snarling monsters, leaping down your throat at the mere mention of love and hearts and flowers.

It’s probably not too much of a stretch to realise that that the former are those people in relationships and the latter are those currently single.

Personally I’m not incredibly fussed about the day. I’m not bothered about going out for an over-priced meal, sitting with smug-marrieds and people with no sense of appropriate public displays of affection (by the way, there are no appropriate PDAs, keep it behind closed doors people). I don’t want a barbershop quartet sent to work. I’m pretty happy with a card, not one the size of my head, just your average card that says “Hi. I love you. And I have used this day to make extra special mention of that even though I tell you all the time anyway.”

I’ve done Valentine’s Day single before, and whilst it isn’t a barrel of laughs, it is actually much easier because there is no expectation from anyone else that you’re going to have an embarrassingly large bouquet of flowers turn up at reception at lunchtime. When you are with someone you start to view the question “Are you doing anything for Valentine’s Day?” with increasing hostility as you try to pitch your answer according to the person that’s asked it. Is this a lover or a hater? If they’re a lover are they going to judge you a little bit for not really doing anything? If they’re a hater are they equally going to judge you for not taking advantage of a romantic day (I point blank refuse to call it a holiday, a) it is not a holiday and b) I am not American) when it’s on offer?

Oh the stress.

Cast your mind back to last year. People asked me all day long what I was doing and what The Person had done for the special day. I was forced to admit that not only was I not doing anything (not surprising given that we live 3 hours away from each other) but I hadn’t received anything either. No my friends, last year, despite being with someone, I still received no token of appreciation from my love. One hideous temper tantrum discussion later and I think The Person has had this February marked on his calendar in capitals, highlighted, with stars around it.

When it came to a game of not expecting anything to expecting and not receiving, I know which side I’d rather be batting for.

So whether you’re a lover or a hater I hope you enjoy tomorrow – whether it be just another Tuesday or a day of over-the-top romance.

(And maybe say a little prayer for The Person that he hasn’t messed it up this year.)

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Erm....it's my body innit?

People always seem a little shocked when I say I have tattoos. And their incredulity grows when they realise I have 3 (now 4) of them.

I guess I can see why as you’re unlikely to have seen any of them – my latest acquisition (acquisitions? Does it count as 1 or 2 tattoos?!) is the most visible of them all. But it isn’t a reaction brought on by the fact that they haven’t seen them, it’s more that I don’t appear to strike people as the “tattooed sort”.

I don’t know what it is about me that doesn’t make me appear like I might have tattoos, I didn’t think I was that boring, but the perception is there and that’s fine by me really because I can be safe in the knowledge that I know I’m getting tattooed for me and not to live up to a stereotype that I’m trying to perpetrate.

I have 3 other tattoos – 2 on either side of my stomach, and one on my back. The first one I got when I was 18, a present from my Mum for doing well in my A-levels. She thought that if she bought it for me and had some control over it I wouldn’t get something ridiculous. Little did she know that it’s hard to stop at just one – as soon as you have one you want more. And more. And more.

The second one came along after my first year at uni. A fairly standard kind of Celtic knot, kind of tribally business. And the final one were 3 stars going down the other side of my stomach that I got just before I went back to uni to do my MSc.

I wouldn’t say that I particularly regret any of my tattoos as such but part of me tends to downplay them, I’ll say that I know they’re not really good etc etc. But actually, each one reminds me of an period in my life, there is a meaning behind them, a reason I had them done and even though they were done from flash and aren’t unique to me, the meaning is. And yet I feel not particularly proud of them because I know that certain people would look down on them. Snobbery is rife in every walk of life and tattoo snobbery is rampant, especially amongst those who would consider themselves the “tattooed sort”.

But then the more I thought about it, the angrier I became. It’s actually no-one else’s business what I get tattooed on my body. Because it’s my body. If I want to have the name of every guy I’ve slept with tattooed down my forearm then that’s fine. If I want to get Winnie the Pooh put on my shoulder blade then that’s fine too. Whose business is it? You don’t think it’s cool? That’s awesome, I’m not asking to put it on your body.

Having said that, there’s something to be said about the wisdom of age – I would recommend taking your time over it, doing proper research and finding an artist whose work you admire. This wasn’t something I knew about at all when I got my first tattoos done and hence the quality of them could be better. And there’s definitely something to be said about thinking about it. Herbert the cat had been in my head for a good 6/7 months before I got him tattooed and even though I knew I was getting it done and had thought about the placement and knew where it was going, there was still a moment the next day when I looked down and realised that I would never again see my feet looking like this...


And had a mild “My god woman what have you done?!” moment. But I love him. And I love him because he was all my own idea. I came up with the idea myself and I know that no-one else has him – that means a lot to someone as creatively challenged as me. And I love him because I chose a great person to do it, someone who is immensely talented and has given me what I consider a piece of artwork.

Just in case you didn't see him last time round (this was literally just after I'd had them done, hence the redness!)

I love tattoos and I suspect I’d have many more in the future but unfortunately I work in the professional world and I have to consider that. Like I said, although attitudes are changing, we’re not quite “there” yet. Give it a couple of generations I think. Yes I think it’s bad that people would judge you on your tattoos and no it isn’t fair but it’s a fact for the time being.

And before the whole “What happens when you’re an old wrinkly woman” argument crops up...yes I am sure that when I’ve had children and when I’m old and wrinkly my tattoos might not look so great. But my god, if I’m going to live the rest of my life worried about what I might look like in 50 years time then what’s the point of living at all? Besides, who’s to say I will have children and I will get old and wrinkly, how sad would it be if one of your last thoughts was...”I really wish I’d gone ahead and had that cat tattooed on my foot....”?

I think my message is clear – you do what you would like to do with your body and I’ll do what I would like to do to mine, ‘kay?

-----------------------------------------

Also: It really wasn’t that bad getting the tops of my feet tattooed. I think people are squeamish about it because it feels like because the skin is thin then it’ll hurt more and I did get a bit hyped up about it but it was really fine. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not painless, ( those people that tell you tattoos don’t hurt are lying) but it’s not horrendous at all. It’s impossible to describe the pain to someone who hasn’t been tattooed before, I find it more of an irritating feeling than an immensely painful one and I’ll tell you this – I’d rather have a tattoo a million times over then have another pulmonary embolism. THAT was painful. Remember however that my tattoo is not huge and not massively detailed so that will play a factor too in how painful it is I would imagine. Put it this way, if it was that painful, why would people go back for more?!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Superbowl XLVI Stream of Consciousness

So last year I decided to stay up and watch the Superbowl. It's my way of being close to The Americans. (I miss them you know.) It was all kinds of funny, mainly because I had no idea what was going on and because by the end I was almost delirious with lack of sleep. I kept a running commentary on Blogger as I watching it to record my thoughts and it made me laugh. You can read these random thoughts here.

This year it snuck up on me, I didn't see it coming and didn't realise it was on until the day before. I would be all set to stay up again but I've been a sick person for the past couple of weeks (hi tonsillitis!) so I kind of need to sleep and not go into work on 4 hours sleep. But I thought I would just see how long I last this year and keep a note of my thoughts again.

So here we go.....

Pre-game

- Still don't really know who I'm supporting. I decided to go for the New York Giants because they're based in New Jersey and I like Jersey Shore. It's tenuous but it's all I've got.

- HOLD UP. I just saw a ridiculously fit bloke called Tom Brady. He plays for the New England Patriots, I might switch my allegiance. (Seriously, Google Tom Brady and look at the images. He's very all-American looking which isn't normally what I'd go for but I won't lie, I wouldn't say no.)

- Aaah apparently Rob Gronkowski suffered a high ankle sprain 2 weeks ago - remember Eddie the Ankle Egg? That was totally a high ankle sprain! Look at me with the same injury!

- Oooh Kelly Clarkson singing the National Anthem. She's looking good. Some of those kids singing behind her need a good slap though.

1st Quarter

- Ok the same thing happened last year - why are they wearing the same coloured pants?! I know that one team has blue shirts on and one team has white shirts on, but would it be too much to ask for both teams not to be wearing silver pants?!

- Seriously. I had a year to learn the rules of this game. Why didn't I do it?!

- Some of the players seem to have little white rags hanging out of the back of their pants. What the hell is that about?!

- Best thing about watching The Superbowl on the BBC is the way they have to keep jumping back to the studio every time there's an ad break in America. This time they went back to the game, there was the 1st down (see! I'm learning the terminology!) and then they came back to the studio - it took about 30 seconds.

- Should probably listen to what they're saying in the studio instead of writing blog posts...

2nd Quarter

- Aaah the white rags are for wiping their hands. Good thing, it would be a shame to get those silver pants dirty.

- I've found this website which I'm desperately trying to read to make sense of things. It's ok I guess but it's not helping massively to be honest.

- Good lord, Stephen Tyler quite literally looks like a woman. A woman who's had bad plastic surgery. I'm almost positive that is not the look he's going for.

- I think I have a winner when it comes to explaining terminology to me. For ages I've never understand this 3rd & 6 and 2nd & 9 etc etc. This page just explained it to me! Bonus. I'm on it now, I might just have more  of an understanding.

- Someone named their child Wes Welker. Seriously?!

- It has just occurred to me that although I might be all smug about understanding 'downs', I have absolutely no idea how they actually score points...

- "He's not a normal human being" - quote of the match. About this guy. Apparently because he moves too quickly for someone of his size - good point, he's almost 20 stone, he shouldn't be spritely.

- Brilliant. You know that American Football is made up of very large men when you see someone who looks like a complete midget and he turns out to be a kind of average 5'8".

Half-time!

-  Screw the football, it's all about Madonna. What an entrance!

- Holy feck she almost fell.

- Waaaaaaaah! LMFAO are on stage with her!! PartyRock!!

- Hell yeah, break out Like a Prayer. Hang on a minute though, when the hell did she put that long coat on?

- Awesome. What a show. Proper dicked on the poor effort made by the Black Eyed Peas last year.

3rd Quarter

- Oh sweet jesus. That break was so long I'd kind of forgotten that there was a game even going on.

- Touchdown for the Patriots! I now know that you get 6 points for a touchdown. At this rate, it'll only take me another 14 years to learn all the rules.

- I'm officially flagging. But it is 1.40am so I'm not going to be too hard on myself.

- Good lord. They're talking about play cards. This might be the most hugely tactical game I've ever seen. It appears it isn't just about big men throwing themselves at each other. It's massively complicated. Major respect for these guys.

4th Quarter

- Ooh I fell asleep for a bit and now there's only 2 points in it. No idea what happened but I'm sure I should be excited.

.......

And then I missed the rest. I went off to the land of nod and missed the rest of the final quarter - "You couldn't stay awake for 15 minutes?" I hear you say. True, but 15 minutes of play in The Superbowl takes about 45 minutes to play out.

I woke up briefly to see ticker tape flying about everywhere before nodding back off again. Too bad because it means I missed the Giants turnaround.

I might not have managed to stay up and watch the whole thing but this year was the year that I think I finally began to 'get' Superbowl. I'm beginning to understand the rules, I have absolutely bucketloads more respect for the game than I did and next year, next year, I swear to God I will have figured it all out.

Probably.