It may be Messy but I do it all for You

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Made a little tumblr for ya, on elaine4queen.tumblr.com/day/2014/01/18

And I’ve been updating the Mnemonic Mujer blog weekly, although it took a couple of go rounds to get it set for GMT, but I’ve done it now, and the next one will be Monday at 11.11am. Most pleasing.

AND, and, I have made a MM tumblr to complement the main blog. The blog posts are featured, but there will also be extras, and you can follow either or both or neither or whatever you damn well please. Both this blog and the wordpress MM blog are going through to the elaine4queen facebook page. And twitter. There are tweets. I have it mostly covered, but there is always room for improvement. My online presence is frankly messy.

In Brightlingstone

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“Since we live on an island, and have the sea about us, we cannot want an excellent cold bath”

An excellent cold bath

Do not fear, I have not been out bathing. I have been in bathing, inasmuch as I have bathed, in a bath, but there are those that do, in the sea. All year. No matter the weather. I have met some of them, because a friend of mine made a short documentary about them. But I’ve not seen them this trip.

***

I have napped, and walked, and eaten, and watched a couple of films. I am particularly pleased with my pairing of Manhattan and Frances Ha. I hadn’t seen Frances Ha before, so didn’t know exactly how well matched they were, but they are, and I can recommend the juxtaposition.

***

On our way down to look at the sea yesterday we spotted this tree.

Blending and toning

Here is a closer look.

Monochrome. Classy

On the way back we saw that there were two others, both colour themed.

Blues

Orangery

It’s kind of hard to tell whether this is a grafitti, public art, or community art. Whatevs. There it is.

***

So, and lastly, I’ve made you a little tumblr elaine4queen.tumblr.com/day/2013/12/28

Alone and Existential in Palermo – What to do?

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Ken is gone, and I have 24 hours alone in Palermo. What to do? What to do?

Can you guess what I did yet?

After a solid week of walking the alleyways, closes and vennels of the old town of Palermo I decided to head over to the Botanical Gardens. Partly to make Ken jealous, but mainly because I knew I needed to pass some time before flying and I always like a garden. In fact, not a lot of people know this, but I used to have a membership to Kew and would go there at least four times a year. I had to check out from the hotel, and although they let me leave my bag with them for the day I don’t think they’d have let me have a lie down between excursions, so I had to do something that was both time consuming and in some way restful. Enter stage left (the direction of the goodies, as we now know from the visit to the Puppet Museum) your friend and mine…

Your friend and mine, Carl Linnaeus, inventor of the binomial nomenclature we use for the naming of plants today.

He’s like – Check out the crazy good garlic. I’m going to take some home with me and give it two names. (It is possible this is not garlic, but bear with me, I am no plantsman, I just like eating).

Like the museums we visited, the botanical garden was quite small by UK standards, but probably not because they have less stuff, more probably because they don’t hand over acres and acres to lawn. Also, the plants we need hothouses for they don’t. There’s only one greenhouse in the whole place.

There was also a LOT of potting going on. Presumably they are potting things that don’t need a lot of water, or else they’d have to employ everyone in Palermo just to keep the container plants alive.

Here’s the naughty Ficus Macrophylla again;

Ficus Macrophylla. Famously shit at lining up to create an avenue.

So good they named it thrice.

I had a bit of a sit down in the shade IT WAS SO HOT and took a few snaps from there.

Super sunny nice day.

Pretty.

It was really nice to get the overpowering petrol smell out of my nostrils. The sooner Palermans get into electric cars and bikes the better for everyone. The orange grove smelled lovely.

Oranges may not be the only fruit, but they are *A* fruit.

I still had time to be ridiculously early for my flight, and the rest of the day was rather wearing, so the trip to the Botanics was a good call. It’s hard to imagine that I arrived back in freezing cold London at the end of this splendid day.

Not that I wasn’t pleased to see Ten and Poppet, because I was. But, you know. Palermo! I miss you!

***

ETA – Turns out there is another greenhouse, but I missed it. The one I went into had some cactus going on, but there was also cactuses outside. It really just isn’t that cold.

Doormat Redux

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A propos of I Am Not a Doormat (my previous post) I just thought I’d share with you what happens when a wordpress post’s first picture gets reblogged on tumblr. Before anything else, let me tell you that if you click on these three images you will go to the reblogger’s page… and some of that shit is NSFW and I’m really not kidding. So, despite Yahoo’s policies, don’t assume tumblr has gone all Pinterest, because it hasn’t.

So the thing is that when I hit ‘publish’ on WP all sorts of magic happens. I get an auto generated tweet, elaine4queen on Facebook goes into action, and I get *something* on tumblr. It looks like this when it comes into your dashboard (reading page) and not much different when it pitches up in my tumblr, because I have a ‘one at a time’ kind of theme – which, if you ever click through to my ‘collections’ you’ll know about because you’ll have scrolled to see pictures much as I do on my dashboard, one at a time.

 

This is not always the case. I don’t make a massive effort to get reblogged, I virtually never post pictures I have taken unless they happen to be the first image in a WP blog post. And even then, that’s not my choice, it’s just how tumblr metabolizes what it gets – shows the first pic, a few words, and some tags.

When I am scrolling through my dashboard I see when someone has reblogged something, and often click through to see what company the image is now keeping. A lot of  the time it’s a picture of Poppet keeping company with other dogs. Here’s what Angie’s “I AM NOT A DOORMAT” is rubbing shoulders with this week.

 

sex, music, violence

politics, poetry, emo

smoking, drinking, emo

More when I have a brain cell. OH WAIT! I’ve been having a bit of fun on fb this morning with 7 Ways to be Insufferable on Facebook which I can recommend as a funny read.

I Am Not A Doormat

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This morning I was talking about anger on facebook. And my difficulty metabolizing it… At one point I said I’d been a doormat in the past, and that I didn’t want to go down that road again and my friend Angie posted this on my timeline;

“she’s not a doormat!”

This made me laugh. And THEN she posted THIS!

“OR MAYBE SHE IS!”

Needless to say, these provided me with proper laugh out loudzes.

Coming off the psych drugs is a thing in itself, but then you also have the return of the repressed and it would be unhealthy and pointless coming off the drugs if you weren’t prepared to do *something* with it…

Imma keep this short for now, but I expect this theme will be back for an airing. Just wanted to share Angie’s LOLZERS with you.

Paris is a Trip

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I am back from la France. It was brilliant. There was cake and cheese and shoes and bees. We met la Messy Nessy Chic and we gained muscle mass on the hills. Everything with ‘Mont’ in the name? That’s going to be a hill, it turns out. And hills go up as well as down. It’s good though, because it made me feel like I was burning off the cake, and also it helps with getting your bearings.

i forgot to mention – i have spidey skills

Before we went, Terri said “How do you feel about Montmartre?” How could I feel anything about it since I had no idea what it was going to be like? Well, it turns out to be very pretty, pretty central, and she got it for a deal, which was good, because although it’s not the MOST expensive neighbourhood it would have been no deal at full price, probably.

I knew about the trip in plenty of time to brush up on a few words, so I had some books beside my bed which lay unopened while I watched Eddie Izzard instead. His advice, to take a monkey, a mouse, a cat, and a chair with you so that you can work them into the conversation at the hotel was spot on, I simply can’t fault him.

One of the language moments I had was when Terri was reading out the rules of the hotel for me – and I mistook drink for fish. I had a fairly surreal moment wondering why anyone would need hot fish bringing to their room, and thinking well, if they are going to all that trouble offering hot fish, perhaps it would be rude not to order some? before realizing it was boisson not poisson she was talking about. Easy mistake to make.

warning – bees. bees, that is, with swords.

I’d been delegated to make the Eurostar bookings but there were questions and time passed and there was an air strike… as I watched the cheaper seats disappear I had to make le decision executive and make an effing booking already. So, by this time we could have stupid early or quite late, and I went for stupid early. I was quite worried about it because if they didn’t let us in our room early we were going to be knackered and snappy and hanging around, but happily the room was ready so we had a little lie down and then a sort of bonus walkabout in Montmartre. Imagine if there was a pretty hillside with a fancy building on top next to Kings X? It would not only be nice, but also handy for orientation.

tezzer dans l’atelier

The reason I could afford to go, and indeed Terri herself, was that she’d got a grant from her University to put together a proposal for a kind of cool hunting image pool for her students. We went to la Goutte D’Or and she took some shots which I can’t show you yet, but there was one of a woman in a knock off Burberry jumpsuit which was horrible and fabulous at the same time. Because this is a kind of rough neighbourhood it was tricky to get shots even with a phone, so I didn’t take any with my camera, but as we were leaving the area we found this street which had been given over to designer/makers and we went off on a totally other tangent, also useful for her college purposes. We found these people reviving the art of bespoke shoe making in l’atelier Maurice Arnoult – which was a cool story because it had apparently been quite a macho trade, and the last surviving practitioners decided they wanted to revive the trade and teach women, so that’s what they did. The oldest of them is over 100 years old and is now seeing the dream come into fruition. The only near equivalent we have in the UK is Cordwainers which was taken over by London College of Fashion in 2000. At Cordwainers you can learn how to design and make – but here in Paris you do it from scratch for the individual client. A cost price only, without labour, pair of shoes from the college starts from 800 euros.

yeah, that receipt is for a video not for anything remotely going towards having a shoe made

shoe lasts

The next day we went off to meet Nessy. She’d arranged to meet us in a Cafe in a fancy part of town, and because of Metro connections and probable walking distances we set off early and went to a further away stop, which involved fewer changes, and walked. This was the horror part of the trip. The area around the Champs-Élysées is like, say you were walking down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace and then times the whole thing by a kaleidoscope. It was blastingly hot, with little shade, and although there is some green space it’s mainly all massive colonial buildings with statues covered in gold leaf reflecting off the sun and burning your retinas. In Paris people drive pretty fast, and there are also a lot of motor bikes and I saw something which made my otherwise happy heart shrink like a raisin. Among the traffic on what was, and I am not exaggerating, a six lane highway, was a horse pulling a trap. It’s not an uncommon tourist thing but it was super shocking to see this poor horse in the middle of all this really hideous fast noisy traffic. Terri tells me that even the Central Park are being wound down.

GOOD.

Anyway, after we had escaped the cruelty and statuary, we hit the Seine and found the cafe. We went via Avenue Montaigne which is where all the full size stores for Prada and the like are lined up. If you have ever been to Bond Street forget it, because those are ‘fun sized’ stores by comparison to these monsters. We were still hungry and a bit worried about how much it was going to cost us to eat in this neighbourhood, and when we got to the Savy I was totally afraid to buy food there, but happily there was a cheap and quite good place next door, so we could stuff our faces before we went to sip coffee and be urbane. On consideration I wished I’d left room for cake, though, because once I had got over my fears I started to like the Savy a lot, and I suspect they do good deserts.

bloody glum lion

I saw this lion just after I had seen the sad horse. I felt his pain.

It was so bloody hot out there, and then, naturally, just as we left Vanessa to head for the Metro it utterly pissed down. As I entered the Metro totally soaked to an audience of dry Parisians waiting for the hell to stop a man asked me “Il pleut?” Which was very bloody funny of him. (It was, quite).

cake

Here are some cakes, they come earlier in the story, but I wanted to put them beside the picture of cheese.

cheese and meat

Terri asked Vanessa where she would eat on her last night in Paris, and rather than guide us towards some insanely posh place, or even somewhere French, she told us to go to a little (tiny) Italian on rue Lamarck which was conveniently located on the street we were actually staying on (and anyone who knows my sleeping hours will realize this was what meant it could actually happen) called Babalou. This was the entree we shared before eating so much that I could not manage a desert, not even a tiny one.

kitteh

Enfin although I have more photos, here is a little kitty eyeing me from across the way from our room. I also saw a very fit half naked man a few times, but refrained from photographing him. All the windows in Paris seem to be FRENCH WINDOWS which is a kind of window I approve of wholeheartedly and wish I had throughout my flat. We had ours wide open throughout our stay and were treated to many noises. But they were French noises, so that’s okay.

As well as being stuffed with kitties, there are also LOTS of dogs in Paris, and most of them walk off leash. This is now illegal in the UK, but it has been a long time since most dogs even knew how.

Now that I am back from the France since one day, I am minded to share with you this Armstrong and Miller sketch.

And even more enfin I seem to have put my hand up to be in the third Have a Word in Brighton in August.

nic collins’ lovely graphic for ‘Have a Word”

Moving stuff around, Jeans for freedom, and ALL THE FRENCH STUFF

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I have fiddled with the layout of my bedroom the past couple of days. This wasn’t what I started out thinking I would do – I wanted to take the rug from under the bed and put it in the sitting room, but once things had been shoogled about a bit I liked what I was seeing.

cozy, comfy, change of scenery

This layout avec rug is super cozy, AND, as Ten pointed out, good for yoga. Which I did this morning for the first time in ages.

old layout. hooks not for sexytime – olly had a hanging headboard arrangement.

Also this morning, I got THESE in the post – S01 & 2 of Barquo. I now feel confident that my immediate tellywatching is catered for.

vids in the post. also NHS letter referring me to the headache clinic at the neuro hozzer

***

Meanwhile elsewhere in France - les feminists francais Femen are celebrating the repeal of a 200 year old legislation against the wearing of trousers.

FEMEN celebrate the legalization of pants in Paris. In their joy, they walked through the city center in the pants!
But the happiness was rudely interrupted by police patrol as a barbaric act to go out lot topless in Paris has not been canceled yet. This and many other shameful discriminatory laws FEMEN promises to win, even if for the sake of it will have to break the legal pants.
We remind that the residents of Paris officially permitted to appear in public wearing pants. The ban, which was introduced in the year 1799, cancelled by decision of the Minister for women’s rights Nejad Vallo Belkasem, The Daily Telegraph reports.

not my photo, obvs. taken from their fb page.

Kimono – ‘A Thing to Put On’, a Tumblr Collection, and Rosebud, All the Fun of the Snow

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I’ve been rather frustrated by the craft/knit/crochet revival mostly because I simply don’t have the energy, but also partly because even if I could get it together to make something there is the issue of skills… Reader! I do not crochet! And quilting is a mystery. And I only hand sew, my sewing machine remains box fresh despite my intentions.

Then this picture came along in my fb and I thought – HANG ON! I could certainly make that!

Irina Anufrieva in knitted KI-mono by Ki-mono Reconstruction (Joanna Bo) , photo by Eva K, feb*2012

It’s not even stocking stitch, just plain knit – hence the texture, and it’s made on big needles so would be the work of MOMENTS, and I have two ‘normal’ kimonos, and they are really just made of rectangles, so no fancy stuff whatsoever!

What I am thinking is that if anyone has any spare wool or knows of ends of line sales involving any yarn that is any kind of blue and any kind of white/cream/beige then i could make a boro inspired one.  A ‘boro’, for those of you not obsessed with kimonos and with blue, is a peasant’s kimono, dyed with indigo and mended with patchwork. Naturally, they are now considered antiques and are very valuable.

can i borrow your boro?

Last time I did ‘big knit’ I was at art school and I made my needles out of doweling. I was inspired by a friend who knitted a lot with drum sticks. I’d need to acquire or borrow some big needles, and I might even vary the size of stitching. I’d certainly want to double up the wool at the top and make it lighter as it went down, and then maybe do some tighter or heavier rows at the bottom of the sleeves and body to weight it.

Yesterday I made this  inspired tumblr collection a propos my obsession with blue…

elaine4queen.tumblr.com/day/2013/1/19

for your perusal.

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Ten found this in his house

the sled, not all the other gumph

It was left there by his dad who is a serious scavenger. So he swiped it for our little chum here depicted with his friend Poppet.

besties

As we speak, there is a whole lot of sledging going on at Springfield Park. Since I managed to fall on my arse and head this morning out with Poppet I wasn’t tempted to go along, despite the potential for photo ops. Ten is at a CRUCIAL stage with my laptop, so he didn’t want to go either. As it stands, my Sony Vaio’s main brain died (just out of guarantee). My previous laptop, generously patronessed by Terri had had a premature retirement because of something going wrong with it’s energetic metabolism, but the brain was ALIVE so ten put the Dell brain in the Sony. Acourse, then there is the problem of getting Windows onto the damn thing…

HRT? No thanks, I’ll pass.

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First of all, the last thing a migraineur needs is dosing with oestrogen and second of all the last thing a spoonie needs is a new slew of drugs and their side effects on top of whatever nest of medications they are already juggling. Woah – there’s a mixed metaphor for you, and as good an illustration as any of just how MESSY things can get with multiple medications.

Anthony Goicolea. Pathetic Fallacy Drawings. Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing II

A quick look, then, at what symptoms HRT attempts to address;

  • hot flushes
  • night sweats
  • vaginal dryness
  • loss of sex drive (libido)
  • stress incontinence: leaking urine when you cough or sneeze
  • thinning of the bones: this can lead to brittle bones (osteoporosis)

(from the NHS page on HRT)

I started getting night sweats a couple of years ago. What with my already multifarious symptoms I kind of put it down to more fibro crap. I’d wake up with wet hair and a soggy duvet. It’s worth sleeping alone if this is going to be exacerbated by a partner, or if they are in any way irritated with you – their irritation is something you can probably live without. It did pass, though. I don’t get it any more, so it wasn’t forever. I have a bath in the morning anyway, and really, that seems to me to be good enough. That is to say – not worth taking a drug for.

Hot flushes. Hard to say when this started since it overlapped with getting too hot taking the dog out, ending up sweating and then having cold sweat next to my body. By the time I had problem solved the dog walks the spontaneous hot sweats were only an addendum to my problem solving prowess. This is what I did – I bought merino wool thermal vests. These can be worn on their own in the summer, since they don’t look particularly like underwear, and can be worn for exercise as well. Like cashmere, merino wool is excellent at dealing with sweat AND it’s smell. Cotton tops just get wet and stay wet and are horrible. They also have to be washed after one wear. Not the merino or cashmere garment. The fibers wick away the wetness so you stay comfortable, and don’t stink up, so you can wear them for several days. They wear well, too. I bought my black long sleeve ones a few years ago now, and they are still going strong, and I have just bought a cami vest to try out, and if it is good I’ll be getting another couple. Because you don’t need to change them you don’t need to buy many.

My other thing is that rather than have my hair short I just always have a hair grabby thing handy. If I am hot I put my hair up, if not I let it down. I wash it most days. Evidently ‘late’ middle aged women seem to have taken to having short hair in droves. It’s up to you, it’s not the LAW.

Be careful if you get vaginal dryness. I haven’t had a problem with this so far, but having worked at Sh! I happen to know that lubricants have different properties so it’s worth getting a bit of advice on which brand to go for. Some people’s bodies are a bit trigger happy with thrush, and I know that some lubricants are more advisable than others for this. You can get a basic one on prescription, but it’s not a medication as such, so has no systemic effect. Also, again with the cotton, or even worse, man made fibres. Silk knickers are the most breatheable.

Sex drive? Meh – it’s not brilliant, but I’m alright once I get going. Not being very sexually driven is a bit of a relief actually. I wouldn’t medicate for it. In any case the female version of Viagra is a massive dose of hormones – which for the migraineur, again a no no.

Stress incontinence is not something I have a problem with, but then I’ve never given birth. Kegels. I guess? And those disposable gussets? Develop a no sense of humour rule? And no sneezing. Definitely no sneezing.

Brittle bones. This is something women can be prone to. The answer is weight bearing exercise. If you want to, or you are too posh to do your own housework then go to the gym. Personally, I’m doing what I can within the limitations of my spoons.

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HOWEVER!

I do use one hormone. And it’s a good one. Because of the migraines, and the really AWFULNESS of hormonal ones I have used  progesterone based contraception for many years. I have had injections and pills over the years, but eventually I started getting some side effects so I was offered the Mirena coil. I’d never fancied coils much, since I always imagined they would stab you to death from the inside. This despite there NEVER being any headlines about women being stabbed to death by their coils. Regular coils are, again, a no no for the migraineur, since they actually make periods heavier (and with endometriosis in my picture, too, any blood is too much blood, so too much blood is WAY too much blood). The Mirena coil, however, has a tiny release of progesterone which near enough stops periods entirely. This genius piece of engineering is staying in until it is ALL OVER. It’s quite new, and maybe it’s a bit expensive, because it was slightly tricky to get, but you know, they actually use it instead of hysterectomy, so good it is at it’s job. And this, bubs, can also be good for seeing off any cheeky little womb cancers that think they might like living in your pouch.

So that’s my plan, anyway, and so far it is working for me. It’s up to you what you want to do, but HRT is not the only game in town. It’s an option, but not for everyone.

This Year, Last Year, Sometime, Never

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austin kleon

And good morrow to you! I take it we have all given up on resolutions? Good.

GrrrlFever Zine Issue #1

I reject virginity and I reject nominal ‘New Years’. Since I am a bit of a howler what I don’t reject is the full moons and the shiftings of the year. Straight after the solstice I was heartened to think that the days will, though still dark, be getting lighter forthwith.

I am not good with anniversaries of any kind. I find them… implausible? I keep a count of how many years I have had Poppet – it’s easy because I went to get her on xmas eve three years ago. I know I am fifty, but when I was forty I had to be 39 twice because I’d lost a year somewhere. This is as it should be, in my opinion.

And now I give you a tumblr collection by way of a new year’s gift elaine4queen.tumblr.com/day/2013/01/03

donald edwards