31/12/2010

Christmas leftovers

Jesus it's been a long time. Two weeks since our last post. You'd think it was Christmas or something. Anyway, not that I have any thing in particular to relate, but I thought I would clutter your readers a little with a few random thoughts and pictures.


We had friends over for Christmas from Istanbul. We don't have a spare room, so we decided to sleep in the living room so that the children could come jump on us and open their presents first thing in the morning. Strike that. We didn't actually want them to jump on us. We wanted them not to jump on our guests.
We had a lovely time opening presents. 'Im indoors and I ended up giving each other the exact same gift! But more on that some other time.
We wanted a breakfast that was special, but didn't take any time to prepare and wasn't too much of a mess to clear up afterwards. So bagels and salmon it was! Special because it's not that easy to get bagels in Ankara, and because smoked salmon is, well, christmassy.





After that it was prepare, prepare, prepare. We were expecting twenty people for dinner so there was plenty to do. Of course some of it was already done: the mince pies you see on the breakfast table, the pudding, and most of the vegetables that had been cooked, peeled and pureed during the week. We had pureed celery, quince and black carrots. Yep. And if you don't believe me, here they are:



'Im indoors also made some red cabbage and apple, but, ever so unfortunately, could not find horrors, I mean brussels sprouts, in the shops this year. So, we had to do without. (Who on earth is responsible for the idea that brussels sprouts are a treat that should be served at Christmas? Because they're seasonal, you say? What's wrong with oysters?)

And of course there were roast potatoes, to go with the duck. And the two geese.

Because I nipped to Paris just before Christmas, I brought back a tin of foie gras and some cheese (Brillat Savarin, the kind that you spoon out). So we made that into little canapes (why are they called that? Canapes are things you sit on, in French).

'Im indoors, on these occasions, is mostly responsible for manning the oven. I'm in charge of the carving knife (to serve the birds but also to threaten people who skip line to get a second helping, which does happen when you've got a lot of guests). He managed to get two geese this year by ordering them from a butcher's in town and picking them up before the butcher had sold them to someone else, which he is prone to do. So here's a picture of the man and his bird.





 The birds in question are a fair amount of work to prepare. First, a goose is never plucked properly, so you always have to singe it before you do anything else. Then the little fuckers have this huge digestive tube that, for some reason, you have to take out. This involves sticking your arm up its arse, fiddling with the inside of its neck till you find the cartilage thingy and then pull. And pull. And pull some more till the bloody thing comes out.

Then you have to find the bits inside and sort the ones you can eat from the ones you can't. And from the ones your husband would quite like you to keep but you think it's too much of a hassle to prepare them so you bin them quickly while he's not looking. And all of this must be done at least a day before so you can soak the livers overnight before making the stuffing.

Then you make the stuffing. That's ok, provided you've already peeled the chestnuts. Not having brussels sprouts helped there, as we didn't have to keep whole chestnuts and it didn't matter if we made a mess while peeling them, or overcooked them before. And you need pork, of some kind, of course. And calvados. (Don't even mention breadcrumbs, rice, or sage, please. I do brussells sprouts and pudding for Christmas. Don't think that's English enough?)

The last bit of the bird preparation is the bit that makes me think I'd make a good mortician. You have to saw up the cavities and any bits of skin that may have torn. That's very important people! Don't skip that! Then you cover it with foil (until the last hour of cooking), stick it in the oven for the appropriate amount of time, and let someone else take care of it (which I believe involves getting some of the fat out so the beast doesn't drown. You can keep the fat afterwards as it's nice for cooking potatoes.)


After dinner we normally force our guests to sing carols. They sort of feel obliged to, because we've just fed them goose and foie gras. I'm not sure it's a great idea though, as some of us are very bad singers indeed, and without a piano or a guitar to keep us going, we tend to sing in different keys and keep different times!
So, no recording, but here's a couple of pics.






After that, it was mostly clearing up. Thank god I'd bought some paper plates so didn't have to wash up much. On boxing day we were up as early as usual and sat down to a relaxed breakfast, with leftover mince pies and a pomelo, which is now all gone.


So, you'll understand, I think, you'll forgive us, even, if I say that tonight, we'll be seeing in the new year in bed, preferably with our eyes closed, after a light family dinner and no fuss. But tomorrow we have some friends coming over. And we're doing duck. See you next year. Have a good one.

15/12/2010

sparkling tree





This is sister3's entry for tara's gallery, week 39, "sparkle"





I failed.
Twice.
Fisrst because I'm late this week, and Sandrine was king of angry...she just said I was "vilaine" wich is like "naughty", and that she was expecting a soon post...
2nd because I intended to make the same picture than Tara (click on week 39 link), and my picture is just an awfully ugly stuff

So here's my post for this week
It's a very nice christmas tree though ! And the kid's eyes are really sparkling when they look at it ! and under it !!!!

12/12/2010

I think we live in Narnia...

So Max and I took our usual Sunday walk through campus - except I dragged him on the sled. Here are some of the sights and creatures we met on the way.







So cold.
Funny how I always forget that.

11/12/2010

A lovely day in December.

What a wonderful morning! Max and I woke up early - he could tell by the luminosity that the first snow had come. Proper snow too. The ploughs came around 5.30, and by 6, everything was white again.
Bill and I didn't really fancy going outside, as we were both recovering from colds, so we wrapped up the kids warm, and sent them out to play in front of our building. They took the sleigh and a carrot, and off they went.

Now Charlotte is gone to her gym class, Max to his therapy. I have a pot of carrot soup simmering and some pastry resting for mince pies. Later Max and I will make biscuits to take to friends tonight.

Aside from that the Christmas spirit is well and truly up.
Sinatra has been crooning seasonal tunes for ten days now, our tree is decorated, as is the doll's house tree. Max is expecting Santa daily, asking to have Christmas stories read to him, and putting pictures of Snowmen up on our walls.



Also, the children are in a Christmas band, the Specs. (No, nothing to do with Max being on the spectrum, these are initials. Although I agree, it is fitting). Our friend the fantastic Erin, who organises the Christmas Carols night at our local is giving Julie Andrews a run for her money by having four children sing and play various instruments. Max is lead singer and percussionist for 'Jingle Bells', and he was actually able to rehearse with the other kids, wait for the right time to come in, sing in tune, and not speed up half way through. I'm impressed.

So now I'll just put my feet up and watch the Christmas Glee episode. Have a lovely December weekend everyone!

09/12/2010

Enchanted

For this week's writer's workshop at Mama Kat's, I chose prompt #4 "Enchanted".

Last Sunday, I took the munchkins to see Rapunzel. Great movie. It really felt like watching a good, smart romantic comedy. Lots of hilarious scenes, lovely songs -and not boring, loved it. Now of course the children want a cameleon, but other than that, I highly recommend it, even for grown-ups.

When I got back home, I wondered how come I'd enjoyed it so much, why it felt like magic and then it struck me. Not only did I believe in the love story, but I also knew I could have it. As in, it could happen to me. Not that I want my hair to grow like that nor meet a thief who fights with a horse, but I thought "hey, this could be me, falling in love, feeling that again".

I realized that each time I saw a movie, say, during the past five years, I was sad whenever there was a big love story. I just couldn't help thinking that it could happen, sure, but not to me. I had a good life, I did love my husband, but well, you know.

I'm a big girl, I know those are not true stories, but I also know that one should never give up, that love is right there, somewhere, that true love can happen, that things can be simple, easy. I'm not talking about ideal love for life, I'm talking about two people finding each other, soul-mates. I somehow always knew it was a possibility, but I was sad because I wasn't going to get it.

Now that I'm single again, I want that. Nothing less. Just not now. But someday, yeah, I'll meet my thief. I just hope he won't fight with horses.

Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left), or by email at the bottom of this page? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever.

06/12/2010

WHITE




This is Sister3's entry for Tara's gallery, week 38
The theme is White






Anyone wants an hug ?

Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left)? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever.


05/12/2010

Boxes

I went to a Montessori school today. The company I work for has a partnership with them and I was invited for a full tour.

When I got there, I was taken aback by all the children. I know, a school is supposed to be a place filled with children, but usually, when you enter a French school, it's as quiet as a cemetery and all the kids are in class, listening to the teacher.

The school system here makes our children go to school as early as 3 years old and it becomes mandatory at age 6. Since most parents cannot stop working for six years, the majority of French kids attend l'école maternelle and then go to l'école primaire the year they turn six. They are asked to stay there from 8:30am to 4:30pm and only get two breaks. Days are long and exhausting, and they also have homework the minute they start l'école primaire.

My kids, Alexandre and Roxane, go to school. Alex is in his 2nd year of primaire and Roxane just entered la maternelle. She's happy enough, she loves her teacher, has a BFF and a fiancé. Alex, on the other hand, has had troubles for a long time. It started during his first year, actually. He hated school and I had to tie him up to take him there. As in, force him in his stroller and put my hand on him while I was locking him up.

Now it's a little better. But basically, he's been bored to death since day one. Most teachers don't get him. He doesn't seem to think like others, doesn't count or understand the same way his friends do. He has buddies, but the schoolteacher told me recently, like they all did the previous years, that somehow, he didn't belong. That the classroom stuff were of no interest to him.

He needs to go to school, because he has a lot to learn, but that little boy thinks outside of the box, and school is the place where you must enter the box. I was always happy at school. Lazy as hell, but I liked my friends and the teachers. Those are not good enough reasons for him.

When I went to that school today, I saw kids who talked freely, who were doing different things, who looked happy. And they knew so much, you'd be amazed. I could picture Alex with them, I just knew he'd belong. I knew that was the place for him.

That school is not only far away from home, but it's also extremely expensive. I can't see how I could afford it for my kids. And I thought that was so unfair. Let this be my plan, I want my kids to have that, I thought. I was trying to figure out how I could make them have it when I thought maybe I ought to think outside of the box, too.

I think ALL children should have access to that. I think our educational system has serious flaws, even if it has its good sides, too. So I decided that instead of trying to make more money or marry a billionaire, I should try and do something to bring Maria Montessori's method into public schools.

Big plan, I know. A little hopeless. But it matters. I'll try. And maybe I'll also marry a billionaire and he can help me a little ;)

03/12/2010

Portrait of Autism #14

It's one of those days when the sun is shining through dirty window panes and the heating is on full blast everywhere. It makes me feel a little sick, and not nicely predisposed towards to the people around me. There's a lot of them today - parents, siblings, grandmothers, everyone has come out for therapy. All women today - which is unusual - and most of them covered - even more unusual.

There's a child screaming, somewhere. He was whimpering just before his class started but now he's howling - has done for fifteen minutes.

Opposite me there's a tiny boy in a pushchair. He's waiting for an older brother, but it looks as though he's on the spectrum too. He's shaking his head violently from side to side. His grandmother who encouraged him at first - maybe he's trying to say 'no'? -  is trying to stop him now, as he looks like he might hurt himself. God, that child must be hot! He's wearing woolly tights under warm trousers, and what looks like three layers of polyester on his back, plus a huge blanket for going outside that hasn't been moved off him properly. I want to get up and undress him and the only reason I don't is that I remember what it was like having strangers coming up to me in the streets, telling me my children weren't dressed warmly enough, pulling their trousers down so their ankles weren't exposed. How can something like being too hot be a cultural variable?

The mother is fussing with little plastic bags containing food and drink. I can see her think 'If I get  the right combination of drinks, and food into my boy he won't act out'. I know, I've been there.

On the other side of the room, there's another group of women sitting around the laptop, arguing over how to make it work. 'Is it plugged in?', one of them keeps asking. It turns out it's not. A teacher comes in and helps them put the plug in the hole. Now they need to decide who is going to watch their child on the webcam. Normally it's all pre-arranged, but today is chaotic.

And then, just like that, nearly everyone's gone. The only people left in the room are Charlotte and myself, and a woman and her daughter. The sun's shining a bit less too, and I'm beginning to feel more comfortable. I whip out my pad, and start to write about the weather, and the crowded waiting room. I feel this is going to be a bad-tempered post and I think it's just about okay, it will show that parenting an autistic child doesn't make you immune to pettiness and trivial peeves.

But as jot down the first paragraph, the woman at the laptop speaks to me. She's asking me if I'm French. I look at Charlotte for confirmation that I've heard right. The woman is covered, wearing a long coat as well as a headscarf - not a bright peasant outfit, but not a typical city covering either. Sort of quiet and cheerful at the same time, with a little grey fabric flower pinned on the breast of her coat. People don't normally ask me if I'm French. They assume I'm German, or American. They either speak to me in what they think is my native language, or ignore me completely. I'm a foreigner.

So I say yes. And I volunteer that my husband is English. She says something else: 'Why are you here?' I'm not sure I've understood so I turn to Charlotte again. I expect she wants to know why I'm Turkey, why I bring my son to a Turkish speaking therapy centre. It turns out she wants to know who my autistic child is, and what his diagnosis is. So I tell her. And I ask about her. She says her son is sixteen. Non-verbal. Does not communicate in anyway, just likes to sit by himself, playing electronic games. They've been coming here for four years now. Before that, they used to go to a place near their home, which is a village by the airport, a couple of hours from here. But that place wasn't any good, so now, they come here once a week. It takes them the whole day for a two hour session.

She asks me what I do with my son during the day. She asks if I work. If I've found someone to help look after him when he's not at school. She doesn't work, she has to stay at home with the boy, as he won't allow anyone else to look after him. Her husband is a mechanic for the local 'jendarm' the army run rural police. She has two other children, both daughters, both very bright. The youngest, who is here, is fascinated by Charlotte's ability to speak three languages. She's not shy about talking to us either, and, like her mother, she's understood that she needs to speak slowly, clearly, and use simple words when she addresses me.

The mother asks me what I think 'caused' the autism. I say I don't know. I hear it's partly genetic. She says: do you have any autism in your family? I say no, not that I know of. She says, me neither. We both shrug. She says: 'What can I do? I come here every week, but nothing changes, he never makes any progress.' I ask 'Is he happy?' She says 'No, except when he's by himself. Or with his sisters. He loves his sisters.' The little girl looks to Charlotte: 'Do you and your brother love each other too?' Charlotte says yes, emphatically. The two girls look in each other's eyes, and something passes between them.





Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left)? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever.

02/12/2010

This is the face of Fu Manchu (it makes no sense at all)

I never got lyrics. When I was a teenager, my understanding of English was mostly better than my peers, just because I spent so much time in the UK. No, scrap that. I just picked it up because my brain thought I was English - crossed synapses or something.

Anyway - if I listened to the lyrics, I knew what they meant. I just couldn't hear them or remember them. My friends would sing entire songs they'd heard once or twice on the radio, faultlessly, with the right accent, intonations. I went through a phase, like most teenagers, of feeling pretentious about Pink Floyd lyrics. Now I can't listen to them too closely or I cringe... Sometimes I write down the lyrics of a song I like, but to this day I can't remember the lyrics of my favourite songs...

It's not like I think it doesn't matter: some lyrics are beautiful and add to the song. Some are crap and take away from it. One of my favourite tunes at the moment is Cee-Lo Green's 'Fuck You'. Not 'Forget You' cause that doesn't even fit. Since when does Pop music get bawdlerised? But the song is about a boy whose girlfriend left him for someone else and he's accusing her of being a gold-digger, of prefering the other guy because he's got more money. And he's 'like, Fuck you, and fuck her too', and we're, like, going along with it, cause the tune is so damn catchy, and the beat so arse-twitching. But the lyrics do bother me, a little, and they mean that my enjoyment of the song isn't as pure as it would otherwise be. Nothing a beer or two wouldn't fix - my principles tend to be soluble in small doses of alcohol- but you see what I mean.

Then there's the song of the same name by Lily Allen -  the kind of lyrics you want to shout along with, and the tune is good too. But the music just isn't up there with Cee Lo's. It's a nice tune, no more.


So I say, forget the lyrics, and revert to words that don't make sense and that you can forget. That's what the Beatles were to me for years, and I'm glad to see, now that I am familiar with them in their written form, that they don't actually make any sense most of the time. This is great. Just what I need.

But let's face it, the master of the nonsensical, non commital lyrics has to be Desmond Dekker with his Israelites and, my favourite, the Face of Fu Manchu. As he says with (so little!) eloquence: it makes no sense at all!





This was my entry for Josie's Writing Workshop. The prompt was 'Get Lyrical'.

01/12/2010

Friend or Foe?

For this week's Writer's Workshop at Mama Kat's, I chose prompt #1 "Have you ever had a fight with a long time girlfriend and never made up?". Of course I did. We girls have lots of friendships and they can be very exclusive during teenage years.

I met Sarah (not her real name, of course) when I was in High School. We didn't hang out together much, I was pretty popular and she wasn't: I was one of the cool kids, dating the pretty guy and always surrounded by friends. It was a relief after the disaster that middle school was. Anyway, we met again at University, where we both studied English, and became friends.

Friends, as in, I tell you everything, we're twins, we're always together. Cute. Except that we were 18 years old, not 14. Makes it less cute.

Even less cute when you know that she suffered from bulimia, that she tried to make me break up with my then soon-to-be husband (and now soon-to-be-ex-husband).

Not so cute when you know that she started to say nasty things about me to all my friends, with whom she had made friends with because she had none of her own.

Not cute at all and even scary when the long haired brunette she was turned up at my door one day with short blond hair, I swear, my exact shade.

Just creepy, in fact, when you know that she went to my hairdresser to make sure she got the exact same look.

I told her to go see someone, to get help. I called her mother, telling her that she needed to take care of her, that she was in bad shape, that I just couldn't do it any more. When my friend found out I had done this, we had this huge fight. She yelled and screamed and I kicked her out, telling her I didn't want to see her anymore unless she started seeing a shrink or something. My other friends kept seeing her for a while, and some even had me pegged as the "evil girl who won't help her friend." But they soon let her go when they realised she was repeating the same pattern with them.

I think of her, from time to time. I wonder how she's doing. I wonder if I was a bad friend. I wonder what else I could have done. And then I shrug and I go back to my life, thankful that I don't have to deal with Single White Female anymore.

Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left), or by email at the bottom of this page? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever.

It's no longer too early for Christmas and my advent calendar's ready!

UPDATE: You can check out our 2011 calendar here

So a while back I wrote about my struggles to find an idea for an advent calendar. Then Maggie from Red Ted Art pointed me to her Christmas Crafts post, and there I found something I really liked. Gail from That Artist Woman had made a citiscape, with little boxes on a piece of cardboard, and with presents (or, rather more cunningly, bits of papers saying where the presents are hidden). So I thought it would be nice to try.

29/11/2010

let's celebrate




This is Sister3's entry for tara's gallery, week 37
The theme this week in celebration ! Any one

Kind of dificult for me to post on celebration, as I'm strictly forbidden to post pictures of husband (except for his nose actually , as I'm really pleased to say each time I speak of him...)and child, and friends...
So all I have is my sisters...Not too easy , n'est ce pas ?


We were celebrationg, I swear !
Marianne is crying because it was the last day together,
(or because Alexander dpfjiofjzio didn't call her back ?)
 and Sandrine and her family were flying back to turquie, Marianne staying in Paris and I behind my camera...
But we were celebrating ! It was our Mum's birthday,
 and it was the 1st time since very long we were together
Now, since february, we are together in an other way, our blog
And our blog our posts, are the best celebration !!!!
Come on, let's celebrate !

Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left)? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever.

28/11/2010

The proof in the (Christmas) pudding

A week late, as always, we stirred the pudding.

Our ingredients:

750g mixed dried fruit, bought at the market in Urgup, Capadocia, including currents (i.e. 'Corinthian' grapes) Sultanas (or 'Smyrna', i.e. 'Izmir grapes'), black and white raisins, that had to be seeded, prunes, soaked in Jameson so they're soft enough to stone (yes, not because I want to up the alcohol content. No, not at all), figs, dates, black apricots. Then there's the usual: sugar, bread crumbs, a bit of flour. Some butter (I'll be f****d if I use beef fat or margerine), eggs, black beer, our own limoncello imbibed candied peel, some white grapes pekmez (molasses) bought in Urgup. And spices: allspice, cinnamon, and, my favourite, mango armchoor powder. Don't ask.

So now it's boiling. It needs to be in for ten hours. We'll do five tonight and another five tomorrow. Then it sits on a shelf till Christmas day when it has to be boiled again (only three hours, though).

But before wrapping it (greaseproof paper over the bowl, tied with string, foil covering it), it had to be stirred, by all the family.
Starting with the youngest: our very own (very literal) Jamie Oliver:


And of course you have to have a sixpence in the pudding. They're not that easy to come by here, so we use a nazar boncuk: a bead for chasing away the evil eye.


So now, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. But the nice thing about traditions is that you do the same thing over and over again - so we're not overly concerned about how it will come out. Now all we need is for our friends from Istanbul to get going with the brandy butter!

25/11/2010

Oops and some gratuitous cuteness

I posted a partial draft by mistake earlier. If you got it in your reader, please ignore!

In the meantime, here's a bit of gratuitous cuteness, just for the hell of it.

Portraits of Autism #13

Last week I asked my boy what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.
He broke into a huge grin and said: 'A present!'
So I push: 'what would you like your present to be?'
He looks puzzled for a second, then he understand and the grin is back: 'A bus!'
- A bus for your playmobil?
- Yes!
- And anything else?
Now he can barely contain his joy:  'A car and a taxi too!'

This is not something we've had before. Apart from a good long period between his second and seventh birthday, where every time he walked past a sweet shop he would scream, Max has not asked for presents. His interest in receiving them has been on and off - never on for long enough to open all the gifts he would be given on a birthday or for Christmas.

So contrast last week  to my attempt at getting any kind of answer to the same question last year and his reply then: 'No! No Santa! Santa is ill! There will be no presents!' And then he covers his ears - the autistic signal for 'I don't want to be around this sort of shit, I'm in danger of freaking out big way, get me out of here now.' Ok. Santa is ill. He can't make it.

Now he was happy enough when presents were handed to him - as long as there was no Santa in sight. But after he'd opened a couple that was enough. And then, of course, there is no garantee he'd play with them - not straight-away in any case, and sometimes not for months. 


Last summer he got the idea of presents. My mother was visiting and he anticipated opening up her case and finding presents. He even stipulated that the present would be a plane. It turned out he was right - I managed to sneak in a quick phone call to her while she still had time to buy one. When his other grandmother visited, she was already in the plane when he told me she was bringing a bus. Oops. So I bought one on her behalf and that seemed to go down ok. Ish.

We've been working on his materialistic streak since July. After each session of homework, he gets a sticker. Five sticker means he can choose a small gift.  The first few times he asked for bottles of bubble mixture, the only non-edible thing he'd ever really asked for. Then it was drawing pencils. Then  in August, he got a brilliant idea. He asked for his very own water dispenser, tea-glasses and tea-spoons, so he could make himself (very watery) Turkish tea. Later that month, he dragged my husband into a toy shop. Full of apprehension they went. Max picked up a small plastic airplane that he'd spotted through the window: the cheapest thing in the shop!

Now every Sunday, after he's completed his sticker chart, we go to the toy section of the supermarket. So far he has had a dozen small airplanes and half a dozen small buses.

I don't know how to feel about his lack of imagination when it comes to gifts. He really does seem to enjoy the buses and planes. And he loves playing with his other toys as well, but just hasn't gotten around to thinking that he might like to play with other things he hasn't got. This might also be a function of the fact that he's just not exposed to that much advertising. His sister never really asks for much either. For Christmas she wants the Dr Who Annual, the Guinness Book of Records, and a couple of novels. That's it.

When I walk into a toy shop, or even a book shop, I see all these little plastic things that boys, younger than Max even, lust after. I don't know what they are, but I know they are hugely significant to little boys in terms of their social positions at school. If you don't have the latest 'thing', you know, the one with the lethal rabbit that turns into an atomic coffee cup, then you're nothing, your friends won't play with you, and you will be miserable. Max doesn't even know what these things are.  Part of me is glad that he's missing out on mindless materialism and the exposure to toy weapons. Part of me is sad that he doesn't belong in this way. On the other hand, I frequently find marbles in his pockets - that all important primary school currency. If I ask him where he got them from,  he'll give me a girl's name. Clearly some kids at the school want him to belong!

But now, finally, it seems he's understood that presents can be chosen, and asked for in advance in order to guarantee their arrival. This weekend, between finishing up the Advent Calendar and making the Christmas pudding, we are going to write our very first letter to Santa together.

Now I'll just have to figure out a way of explaining letters...







Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left)? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever.

Not a thanksgiving post

For this week's writer's workshop at Mama Kat's, I chose prompt #5 ('That time you fell down') because I'm French and we don't do Thanksgiving. But we do Beaujolais Nouveau. It's a national celebration that takes place every third Thursday in November every year and it's all about drinking wine that's not even good and way too expensive for what it is, but there you go, we're French.

So I have to tell about a time I fell down. Choosing one is pretty hard, because I fall constantly. I also hit myself all the time, but that's another story. I think there are two times I fell down that I'll remember forever. Here's the one I picked.

When I was in "Collège" (your Middle School), my mom was an English teacher there. I know. Not easy. I think nothing even remotely embarrassing should happen to you as a teenager. I mean, you're already ugly, either too fat or to skinny, with parts of your body that grew before others - and it's usually not the ones you want to see growing faster, so I think that's enough to deal with.

Of course we all were teenagers, excepts for perfect people who were always good looking. Well, as gorgeous as I am now (I AM almost dating Alexander Skaarsgard, I can call myself gorgeous) I was horrendous. My hair was permed and made me look like a sick poodle, I had no pimples, thank God, but I did have 20 extra pounds and that doesn't make your life easy. I kept a few ones, you know, just to remember those days. Right. Anyway. I was madly in love with a guy named Jeremy who did have pimples, so many that his blue eyes was all I could see (there wasn't any space for anything else, you see, because of the red marks. Am still wondering why I ever liked him).

When the bell rang in the morning, we all had to stand in line, outside, grouped in classes. I was late that day during my second year, because I had spent too much time trying to make my hair look better in the bathroom. I was fully aware it was a disaster, you see. Just a tad of good taste remaining, although certainly not something you could see in my choice of clothes.

So I was late, everyone was already in line, two by two, and he was there and OMG (to be read with a very high pitched voice) he looked at me. Of course he did. I was the only one there, walking, but at the time I just couldn't wait to write this in my diary.

So I walked, eerily, floating a little, trying to look cool, trying to pretend I didn't see him, trying to hide my hair. Now that's lot of things to think about when you walk. So I fell. As in, stumbled and collapsed on the ground, in front of the whole school. I tried to get up as fast as I could but my knee was apparently dead, so I just lay there on the ground.

Humiliated is not a strong enough word. Of course it makes me laugh now, but that day, I was mortified. Strangely enough, nobody laughed. They just stared and finally, someone came and helped me stand up. It wasn't Jeremy. He made fun of me for ages after that. He knew I liked him - I wasn't very subtle, you see, drooling whenever I saw him.

Of course Jeremy never dated me. But I did see him a few years later, perm and extra pounds free and told him he wasn't cute enough for me. Boy, that felt good. If only he could see me with Alexander now... I know. I know. We're not really together. But we could be. Definitely.


Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left), or by email at the bottom of this page? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever.

23/11/2010

BLACK AND BLANC





This is Sister3's entry for tara 's gallery, week 36
And this week's theme is: Black and White.


So,





I took this picture this summer, we were in France, in a little town you might know : Saint Tropez...!!!
(Yes, you can hate me now)
And over there, there is no way you can go out without THIS hat
So I bought one (quite cheap actually)
It was perfect, except for wind
It travelled since this summer in the car
It is now a pancake, as flat !

Salad Bar Philosophy, anyone?

I was listening to woman's hour again today. It was a program I'd meant to catch on the day it came out but didn't in fact listen to for a while because my computer got virused (and all...) So I listened to the podcast here. The reason I was so keen on listening to it was that they'd announced it on twitter as being about women in philosophy. As in academic women philosophers. In actual universities, teaching in actual jobs. Why there are so few of us.

So the women interviewed were saying, surprise surprise, that it's all down to cultural stereotype. Women aren't supposed to be good at abstract reasoning, and cold stuff like logic and maths. Which is sort of what Rousseau said. And Aristotle, those pillars of the sexist bastards community.

20/11/2010

Why you shouldn't just turn away when you see I've posted about zombies, again.

I wanted to start by saying 'some of my best friends are zombies'. But then I though some people might feel kind of targeted. So let me try this instead:

Some of my best friends don't like zombies.
Ok, that doesn't sound all that shocking. No one likes zombies. Except maybe other zombies. But even that's dubious as zombies don't really have complex emotions and tend to respond positively only to things they can eat - hence not zombies.

But I disgress. What I meant is that my friends don't like cinematic or fictional zombies, so that when I tell them I've written this really cool post about the zombie apocalypse, or about an eighteenth century feminist philosopher and zombie fighter, they just smile and say 'zombies aren't really my thing'.
Aside from the inanity of their reaction - zombies aren't any body's thing! It's more a matter of who will know what to do when the apocalypse comes and who will just get eaten -  they're missing  out on a whole lot of rich and fascinating social and ethical commentary. 

17/11/2010

Dear Alexander Skaarsgard

For this week's Writer's Workshop at Mama Kat's, I chose prompt # 4: "an open letter to a celebrity".

I was very tempted, no, extremely tempted to write on the other prompt "that time you met your online friend for real" but it's way too personal. For those who've been reading me for a while, it has to do with Kiss #4. Yes.

And since I promised myself to write a book about this story, I'll just keep it to myself for now.

So here's the letter.

"Dear Alexander,

You are, by far, the most beautiful man on earth. I haven't met all men, true, but I can tell. You are just perfect.

Even though I know I'm not as perfect as you are, I'd like to draw a list of the reasons you should start dating me:

1- I'm French. This does not need more explaining, I think.
2- I think you and I would be perfect together. And I'm never wrong.
3- I'm not totally crazy. I think most of your fans are. Think about it for a second. Most fans believe in vampires and drool a little whenever they see you. I don't believe in vampires and I only drool when I sleep, sometimes.
4- I'm not photogenic at all. Which means you'd always look great in the pictures we'd send our friends from our vacation spots (by the way, the Bahamas, next February, is that O.K. with you?)
5- I am smart. I'm not sure you are. No offense, sweetie, but you're way too hot to be intelligent. So if you're not that bright, I can be the one talking at dinner parties and you'll be the cute one. If you are intelligent, it's also pretty cool, because we will need to do other things, you, besides, well (cannot write this here, as evil sisters will probably censor me but you know what I'm thinking, right?)

I only chose 5 points because I'm sure you're pretty busy with the shooting of True Blood and trying to look gorgeous at all times. I'm not even slightly worried that you won't answer because, truly, we're soul mates.

You and I are meant to be. (I repeat, though, I'm NOT crazy)

Yours,

Marianne."


Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left), or by email at the bottom of this page? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever.

12/11/2010

Day of remembering

I asked my daughter whether she'd done anything at school on 11 November. She looked at me in that way she's wont to now she's a pre-teen, full of disdain and shock: 'No, she said. You're wrong. It was 10 November we celebrated'.
And of course 10 November is an important day in Turkey - it marks the death of the first leader of the Turkish Republic, Ataturk. But I'd thought that in a French school they'd at least mention Remembrance Day. So I told her, briefly that it was the date of the Armistice signed at the end of WW1, my husband added something about veterans and poppies, and that was it.

Then I read Julie's post at the Mom Slant, in which she gets a little annoyed with  Penelope Trunk's claims that there shouldn't be a Veterans Day.

I like Julie and I'm not terribly impressed by Penelope Trunk. Julie was in the US army, as was her husband, so she's got a thought or two on the question of whether Veterans should be remembered.

Now my one clear thought about the army is this: I don' t like it. At all. Get rid of it, please. I get a sick feeling whenever I see a person carrying a gun with a purpose other than killing rabbits (or other edible animals - for some reason hunting does not bother me in the slightest, and I like a good rabbit stew).

I've called myself an anti-militarist in the past. Not a pacifist - although, to my ears, that sounds more attractive - because I'm simply never sure  what to say if someone asks me whether I think I would fight back if I were under attack, or if someone else was under attack.

So I know, it's not a terribly consistent position to find oneself in - unless you believe rather implausibly that if there were no armies, there would be no wars...
But there you go, that's how I feel about things.

Now that's a very different position from one that denies that veterans are worthy of rememberance.

I'm happy to remember that a lot of people have died to deliver Europe from the Nazis. I'm happy to remember that in any war, many young men and women go through incredible hardships and give up their lives because they want to protect us, to protect justice, and they are told that this is the right way to do so. I am happy to remember that a huge number of people died in the first world war because they were sent there by superiors who valued the lives of soldier very little indeed.

So when I do remember, it's never with pride, sometimes with gratitude, but more often with sadness that lives should have been wasted and gambled by men playing little soldiers from the comfort of their armchair.

Publish Post

The logic of zombie apocalypse

In times of great stress, when the world is on edge, reporters often revisit the more unlikely myths. That is the time to interview the man who spotted Nessie, the little girl whose dog was abducted by aliens.

This is a good thing - as otherwise we would never get to find out anything about the lochness monster or alien abductions then where would we be when faced with actual danger? I refer you to the endless horror movie scenes in which the irritating skeptic is eaten by the monster from space. 

So I want to do my bit towards helping you be better informed. Here goes.

Why you shouldn't despair if a zombie apocalypse happens. 

We've all heard it. If - when - the zombie apocalypse begins, we're all gone.

There are two main reasons for this. First, we are bound, by the laws of horror, to do the wrong thing every time, just like we are bound to go and look in the attic if we hear strange noises caused by a demonic entity, or to open the front door and step outside to look when a murderer is lurking in our garden. Nothing can be done about that. If you would like to know before hand which stupid things you will find yourself doing in the event of a zombie apocalypse, then head over to the Oatmeal who offers a fairly comprehensive guide.

The second reason we are led to believe by the literature on the topic that zombies will eventually exterminate us is more dubious. Zombies, it is said, will reproduce faster than us. There will be millions of zombies for every pocket of surviving, shivering, arm-missing humans.

But what exactly are our grounds for thinking that this is the case?
It's not entirely clear how, precisely, zombies are created and how they reproduce. The consensus seems to be that zombification is the result of an infection, of sorts, kind of mixed up with voodoo magic, and maybe extra-terrestrial influence. Any way. 

The point is, how exactly does the infection spread? Does it spread only to corpses? Corpses that have been exposed to zombie saliva? This makes sense. So: if you are bitten by a zombie and then die, you will in turns become a zombie. But that requires contact and chance. The zombie must catch you. It must bite you. It must kill you. A zombie may well be lacking mobility or speed. A zombie is traditionally a rather clumsy heap of rotting flesh. Not as fast as your average unfit, overweight, stroller pushing, shopping carrying forty year old. So, unless you're actually stuck in an elevator with a couple of zombies and no blaster (not sure whether these are actual weapons or just things they have on Buffy, but they seem like they would be kinda effective on zombies - messy, mind you) - you'll be fine.

The part of the story that usually scares people is the thought that all the buried dead will come back as zombies. This is no where more obvious than in Halloween parties where people see fit to dress up as Victorian zombies. I mean, come on, people, use your common sense. Why do you think zombies are all torn off limbs, leaky eye ball, and exposed bone? Because they are rotten corpses. And how long do you think it takes for a buried corpse to fully decompose? (I can't believe I googled this). The flesh is gone within a year and in fifty years, so are the bones. So Victorian zombies? I don't think so. All you'll get out of a graveyard is the recent dead.Only those corpses that are sufficiently complete will become zombies. The rest may want to get out and eat our brains, but they won't have the means to claw their ways out, or if they do, to bite us.

I'm sorry to be blunt here, but, as a philosopher and a blogger, it befalls me, in these troubled times, to set the record straight. To believe that we would be suddenly invaded by armies of zombies is the result of a simple error of reasoning.

Of course, there are still ways in which a zombie epidemic could go bad. Zombies could attack a hospital, finding thousands of potential victims tied to their beds, and, let's face it, probably glad of the opportunity to become brain eaters so they don't have to swallow any more hospital food.

Another bad stroke of luck would be to have an epidemic in Egypt, where corpses tend to keep longer. But then it's not clear whether that would count as a zombie apocalypse rather than a mommie apocalypse, and if the latter, it's outside of the topic of this post.


So I will conclude by advising my readers not to be overly worried in the event of a zombie apocalypse, but to get a blaster, or, if you can't get hold of one, avoid getting into lifts with people who are obviously rotting corpses.

10/11/2010

Confessions of a blogaholic

For this week's writers workshop at Mama Kat's, I chose to write about confessions. I'm supposed to write about mine. Now that is a hard thing to do. Not that I have nothing to be ashamed of -I've been acting so crazy and stupid lately I could write a BOOK, but I really don't know where to start, since I've never actually confessed in a church.

I love churches. Always have, always will. Not as much as I love cemeteries, and that was quite disturbing for my parents when we had to stop on the road to visit new ones I'd never seen, I guess I'd worry too if y 4 year-old daughter did that, but see how well balanced I am, now, as a grown-up, hum... Well, back to churches. Don't you need like a priest to confess? That's how they do it in movies. I was raised an atheist, so I wouldn't know. Now that I can think by myself, I like to say I'm an agnostic, because I still haven't made my mind up about the existence of a higher being.

Confession. Interesting word. Did you know it came from fateor, in Latin? To admit that you've committed a sin, that's what confession is all about. I don't believe in sins. I don't believe in the whole "Let's meet up when you're dead and do the math between what you did right and wrong". I respect religions, all of them, but seriously, I couldn't care less about my afterlife, I have enough on my hands with the present one. I'm only trying to do my best, and I live. As in, I love, hate, laugh, cry, eat chocolate, envy others sometimes, but I don't need to confess those things, because doing them just means I'm human, and that's not something to be ashamed of.

So I guess you'll have to go on someone else's blog to read proper confessions. But it was nice talking to you. As usual.

Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left), or by email at the bottom of this page? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever.

Halloween in Cappadocia

A few pumpkins were spotted in the fields.




Treats were shared


Tunnels were investigated



Pebbles returned to the river



Saints visited


Strange artefacts discovered


Scenes from Star Wars re-lived


Spices were bought


And a good time was had by all



Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left)? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever.

06/11/2010

saisons





This is sister 3's entry for week 34 of Tara's gallery. The theme this week is seasons
As usual I tried to find a different editorial line. So no leaves or flowers for me. (too bad, because I took awesome pictures this week of green orange and red trees!)
Here goes my interpretation of the seasons




 PRINTEMPS



ETE



 AUTOMNE



HIVER

Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left)? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever




05/11/2010

Portraits of Autism #12

So I meant to have this posted on Monday for Speak up on November 1st!
This was a reaction to the communication shutdown advocated by an autism charity on that day, which was designed to raise awareness of autism by modelling what it feels like to unable to communicate with others. People would donate to the charity and put up a badge on their sites, shutting down virtual communication for the day. A few contrary people, like Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg who wrote the Speak up post, Varda, and Jen thought this would be a good opportunity to speak up about autism. I was definitely going to join them. Then I got virused, so went through an enforced communication shutdown. (Although I may well have sent out a few hundred thousands emails about penis enlargement...).

Anyway, as this is a Portrait of Autism post, let me take you back to the waiting room at the centre where Max gets his special education twice a week.

03/11/2010

I'm already regretting this

For this week's writing workshop, I chose prompt #2 "A post you regret publishing". I thought it was really cool. I also thought it was funny I had none. I don't regret any post I published. I thought I should give it a shot, posting something I'd immediately regret publishing. Daring, I know.

So there you go. I feel like shit. My life totally sucks. I miss my kids when I don't have them with me, I keep myself from crying everyday because I strongly believe crying is for pussies, I drink way too much, I either don't eat or stuff myself with chocolate, I either can't sleep or wake up at 2pm, I fall in love every two seconds, I wonder what the hell was wrong with me to end a marriage that, after all, wasn't so bad, I lose friends, make new ones, try to understand what got me here, who the fuck I am, I work like crazy and never feel like it's enough, I am full of guilt for my lovely children who never asked for this shitty situation, I think about me as a 4-year-old, remember what my parents' divorce did to me, what it did to them, what it did to my sisters, I feel like I'm the stupidest, shallowest, ugliest person in the world. I have no self-confidence left, no hope, no nothing.

But you know what? I'll survive this. I'm gonna make it. I've been through worse.

No one knows that. No one ever knows when I'm really down.

Which is why I already regret publishing that post, and why I'll deny any of this was ever true.

If anyone asks, I'm doing O.K.

Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left), or by email at the bottom of this page? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever.


02/11/2010

Abstinence

It's like being a smoker, stuck in some far away cottage on a bank holiday, and when you reach for your last pack, it's soaked.
It's like realising you've caught an STD. First you think it will pass, that's it's just some minor thing. Then you realise you can't even walk without pain, let alone sit down. You try various over-the-counter cures, but nothing works. You have to see a doctor, but you know you'll be judged. Chances are you caught it doing something you weren't supposed to. You've told your partner, and you're eyeing him up, wondering if he'll get it too, or if you caught it off him.
You know the cure, whatever it is, will involve abstinence for a while, and then, taking precautions you don't like to take.
You feel bereft, but mostly, you feel stupid. And whatever happens, you know it won't be that bad, because it's not your body, it's your computer that's affected.
Yep. I'm virused. Not the computer I'm writing on, fear not. My lovely pink mini laptop.
Fuck. Is all I can say.

28/10/2010

Happy Halloween

This is my entry for Mama Kat's Writers'Workshop


We'll be away in Cappadocia this Halloween so no trick or treating for us.
As a family we're not particularly attached to Halloween - neither my husband nor I grew up with it, as it just wasn't a big thing in France or the UK in the seventies and eighties. But where we live now, there is a sizeable American community, so there are parties and events every year and we usually take part and enjoy it.


So here's some crafty Halloween stuff in honour of the celebration we'll be missing.

This is a witchy pinata, recycled from a Christmas Angel. We actually made it for an Easter party but everyone commented that it would be better suited for Halloween, so...


It's not always easy to find whole pumpkins here, we usually buy them sliced, and when they're whole, they're often the pale green variety and huge. Last year we found one, so we got carving and Zombie school girl and witch boy were able to take a jack o' lantern to the party.

Finally, no Halloween is complete in our household without Doctor Who monsters. Here are some Dalek cookies Charlotte and a friend made:


Happy Halloween!

27/10/2010

Mean people are dumb

I was listening to a Women's Hour podcast this morning at the gym. While I just love Jenny Murray, I sometimes get pretty upset at the things I hear, especially now everything is going pear-shaped in Britain with the conservatives and all.

So I just wanted to remind myself and you all, that not only are the bastards trying to put us down mean, they are also pretty stupid. So here goes.

24/10/2010

Too early for Christmas... part II - the candied citrus peel.

We normally do our Christmas Pudding on the last weekend of November. We normally manage to miss the real Stir up Sunday by a week. Don't ask how that works.
That means, we normally chop up our dry fruit (and make the mince meat) and make our candied peel on the day before. It's usually a rush. A panic, even.

This year Charlotte has been asking to start proceedings early. She's generally been pestering people about Christmas since 1 October. Yesterday I finally gave in, because she's right, she's annoying, and I saw a Pomelo at the supermarket.

A pomelo is a huge, slightly misshaped citrus fruit. 'Im indoors reckons it's a prehistoric Citrus fruit, before they started the kind of genetic manipulations that led to the tangerine and - I believe - most of the citrus fruit we actually eat. He's in fact been buying them for Christmas for two years running. The first year, it just rotted on the balcony. The second year, we got around to using some of the peel for the candied peel. Then we planned to use it for some mythical thai dish that 'Im indoors had seen on the internet, and it rotted in the fridge. This year, we've used the peel, and I'm planning on juicing it. We'll see what comes of that.

Anyhow, here it is (next to a lemon so you can see how big it is):



Yesterday I set my daughter to work. I juiced three oranges, two limes, one lemon, two grapefruits, and she took off the remaining flesh and the pith. 'Im indoors and I have a running dispute as to how much pith should remain. He thinks it tastes nicer with some. Quite how he knows that, seeing as I've always removed most of it, is a mystery. Anyhow, I say I'll leave some, I don't, and that's that.



Then I got her to slice it. Small. (Again, 'Im indoors reckons bigger is better. Same principle as above applies).



Next step is the syrup. For that you need equal quantities of water and sugar (how much depends on how much peel you have. Duh.) And some limoncello. Even Charlotte reckons it tastes better if you add alcohol. She'd like not to go on record as having said that.)

If you want to know how much we used here's our measurements.
First we decided to try measuring out 150 of something called Haferflocken. Then as it didn't seem to be enough, we added 125 of GrieB. (Yes, we have a German measuring jug.) For the limoncello, I put in a bit. Then, as the bottle was nearly finished, I decided I might as well put the rest in. Don't worry, we have another bottle in the freezer.

Bring the syrup to the boil, bang the peels in. Stir, and basically stick around until it looks right - or until you get bored, whichever comes first. Another possibility, one I'm currently exploiting, is to leave your daughter in charge - after all, she was the one who wanted it done today! That's not panning out quite as well as I hoped though, as she keeps calling out to ask if it's done yet.



Once the peel is in the pan, she complains a little less: it's sort of fun watching the colours become more vivid and the peel more transparent as it cooks.


When you feel that it's done (it looks and tastes right, you're bored, your kitchen elf is getting bored) you put the fruit out to dry on some grease proof paper. For an hour or two, maybe. Either until you remember to do it or need the space in the kitchen. The you put it into jar.
How long does it last? Well, I've just found some of last year's batch in the back of the fridge. It's fine. Want some?



Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left)? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever.
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