Sunday, May 25, 2008


It is measles.
It didn't follow the usual pattern and we couldn't see the tell-tale signs so had convinced ourselves LG had a feverish cold.
Then yesterday, the 5th day of him being ill, the rash erupted.

So here's the deal.
We can call it Numerology 2.

90% of non-immune people who come into contact with measles will contract it themselves.
The most contagious times are 4 days before the rash appears and 4 days after.
The incubation period is 10-14 days.
FB's barmitzvah is in 13 days.

In other words, the timing couldn't possibly be worse.

G has swapped beds with LG who's in with me.
We've managed to get hold of the homeopathic preventative remedy and are dosing up FB.
And we're all washing hands in a way that even Lady Macbeth would consider excessive.

All of which could well be a case of shutting stable doors long after the horse has buggered off.
There's nothing more we can do. Except wait.

I anticipate a barrage of criticism along the lines of us being irresponsible parents for not having had our children vaccinated.
But in spite of everything I still think that was the right decision.
(G's not so sure.)

In the meantime, you won't be seeing much of me on the blog for a while.
I have a sick child to care for.

Friday, May 23, 2008

She's back!

Have you noticed that the blogosphere has been a darker, dingier place these last few weeks?

Less colour, less life, less light ...

Just as I'd got to the point when I could no longer hold back the blog squatters, who were all set for a rave in her abandoned comments box ...

She's back!
And she's brighter and more beautiful than ever!

Welcome back, Minxy!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I need cloning

Many many (very many) years ago, a friend did some kind of aura analysis on me.
(No, I don't understand either.)

The only bit I remember was when he advised me, 'One Debi, not many'.
He was responding to the insight that I was too adaptable to whoever I happened to be with at the time and needed to work on developing a strong inner core.

As the years passed I managed to achieve that sense of self and learned how to maintain an ability to adapt while holding on to a fundamental Debiness.

The problem now is that one Debi is not enough.
I need cloning.
Let's see.
I need one Debi to stay home and administer cuddles, comfort and cold compresses to LG's fevered brow.
Then I need another to go to dad.
(I usually visit him at least twice a week, but by a bit of bad timing I haven't been for a week and Big Bro hasn't been able to make it either.)
A 3rd is required to finish the MS appraisal I'm working on.
A 4th can focus on the barmitzvah.
And while we're at it, I might as well have another to start work on Book 6.

Now, it's clear we also need one who can co-ordinate all the others while lying on the settee eating chocolate.
As the prototype, I think it only apt that I should volunteer for this role.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My baby's unwell

Little Guy is currently lying on my bed.
Measles is sweeping round the school felling all the kids who haven't had their MMR jab, though I don't know if that's what the problem is.
(Smell the fear!)

Barmitzvah preparations ... editing ... the progress of my writing career ...
It's at times like this that you know what the really important things in life are ...
ie the health of those you love.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Litbloggers of the world unite!

This is an excellent post about whether litbloggers have anything useful to say.

Thanks to Frank at Books Inq for passing it on.


I know, I know.
Just because it's understandable that I should be totally obsessed about First Born's forthcoming barmitzvah, doesn't mean I should inflict it on all of you here.

But hey, it's my bloggy and I'll try if I want to ...

Let's break it down into numbers:
  • 21 - number of barmitzvah-related Word docs on my laptop
  • 7 - number of barmitzvah-related spreadsheets on my laptop
  • 174 - number of people who have responded to invitation
  • 17 - number of people who haven't responded but I suspect are coming
  • 24 - number of people who haven't responded but I suspect are not coming
  • 149 - number of people who have said they're coming to the synagogue service
  • 157 - number of people who have said they're coming to the party
  • 7 - number of people who have said they'd like to have a live music slot at the party
  • 5 - number of weeks since we said FB didn't have to do the whole huge portion if he couldn't handle it - at which point everything clicked into place and he's going to do the lot after all.
  • 3 - number of hours between the service and the party in which to get to the venue, set up and decorate the space, lay out the tables, set up the sound system, arrange the food etc, make the salads, change outfits ...
  • 3 - number of weeks left before the big day!
  • beyond number - number of wonderful friends who are supporting us. Couldn't do it without you, guys!

The poetry post

Poems, eh?
Truth is, I just can't create them.

I'm too verbose and lack the discipline to restrict my words.
Why write a few lines about something when you can write a whole book?
Or even a series?

But I knows what I likes and I likes what I know.
I have some wonderful poetry books on my shelf.
*waves at Barbara Smith and John Ahearn*

Anyway, First Born had to write a sonnet for his homework yesterday.
I don't know about you, but I reckon this is pretty impressive for a (not quite) 13 year old.

You were like a summer's day,

Warm and relaxing like the air;

So colourful red, blue and yellow but never gray.

Your skin was like velvet, smooth and fair.

When I was in trouble I knew to reach

For you would grab and hold on to me

Your hair was like the golden sand on the beach.

You were as unpredictable as the sea

And as mysterious as a cold misty night.

Like a secret spy under cover

You were stunning but hiding from the light;

I was so happy to be your lover.

I want to tell you before the door closes,

Your life was a shower of sweet red roses.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

The long and the short of it

Elizabeth Baines (fellow member of Bookarazzi) aka Fiction Bitch is a wonderful writer and one of those people I've been happy to have moved from my virtual life into my real one.

But being clever and talented doesn't always mean you get the recognition you deserve.

So I'm absolutely delighted to announce that Elizabeth's beautifully crafted book of short stories, Balancing on the Edge of the World, has been long listed for the Frank O'Connor Short Story Award!

Way to go, Elizabeth. It couldn't happen to a nicer person.
I'm doing the reflected glory and basking thing here ...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Virtual Prayer

Dear Lord of the Cyberverse,

I guess you must be bored or something.
That's the only reason I can think of to explain why you've seen fit to start that irritating nonsense with my emails.

Yes, I have contacted you before about this.
And no I'm not going to bother searching back to find the links.

I'm sure you must have better things to do than to hold onto my emails and play with them.
Don't you know how much trouble this can cause?
I send them off and then wait for replies that never come.

Then I'm contacted by people who say they guess I didn't receive their mail and I have to say that I did and I replied ages ago.
Then, just for an extra giggle, you sometimes (but not always - huh, you're so crafty) bounce them back to me a week or so later.

I really really don't have time for this.
I have a barmitzvah to stress over.

Take pity on me please.

Virtual love,

Debi x

And if anyone reading this has wondered why I haven't responded to them, I almost definitely have!
Just ask the Lord ...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Literally literary alliteration

I do love a good lit launch.

Throw in some blogmates and fellow Bookarazzi buddies (a Disgruntled Commuter, Emma Darwin and Sarah Salway and maybe some others) and a book by Sally Hinchcliffe and my cup runneth over.

This is where I'm going later today.

Truth or Dare

I've never bought a property, so my personal experience of estate agents is limited to their reputation for twisting the truth.

So I was surprised yesterday to see an ad in a window describing a house as 'smells like an ashtray'.

Did they have an attack of conscience?
Had they swallowed some sort of truth serum?

Imagine if such a thing existed ...
It could be force fed to lying politicians, cheating partners, manipulative bosses, flattering friends ...
Though I wonder sometimes if it's better not to know ...

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Lemon Aid

Mr Lemon (spouse of Meloney and not in the slightest bit anorak-y) came round recently bearing a pc which he's kindly set up for FB to do his homework on.

Mr L is a great fan of Linux open source software - free, efficient and safe as well as a challenge to the Microsoft monopoly - so I'm spreading the karma a bit further with a mention here.

Anyway, as we live in a very small and very cluttered space, the arrival of the new equipment has necessitated a clear out.

We now have 2 dead Playstations and some other odd bits of defunct techy toy hardware to dispose of.
I can't bear to just chuck them in the bin/landfill.
Anyone know of an eco-friendly way to dispose of them?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Piping up again

Regular visitors to this blog will probably recall me gushing on previous occasions about Pipe & Slippers, south London's premier literary and music event.
(See here for the post re last November and here's the latest re the one in February.)

The next event is nearly here and is scheduled for 1st June.

P&S is fast approaching cult status.
Come along so you can say you were there in the early days ...

Check the website for details.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Have you been ripped off?

OK - this is the scenario.

A friend tells you they've seen a chunk of your blog reproduced in a national paper.

Do you:

a) Jump up and down in glee at the unexpected publicity
b) Wonder why they didn't have the decency to at least inform you
c) Rant because they should have asked for your permission before using your words
d) Immediately bung an invoice in the post demanding payment?

I have a confession to make here.
When I found out last year that the Guardian had quoted my blog post re Hay, I was really pleased.
It never occurred to me that the way this happened was out of order.

Well, never let it be said that I don't have the courage to admit when I'm in the wrong.

This articulate post by Zoe Margolis on Comment is Free is what persuaded me.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A Day Like No Other

Doncha just love it when life presents you with new and different experiences?
This was me yesterday ...

We arrive at the synagogue soon after 8.00.
Here's how 2 people, working in unison like a well-oiled machine, cook 10 filleted and skinned salmon:
Wash each fillet. Season both sides with salt, black pepper, lemon pepper, onion powder, dried onions and lemon juice. Smear on a little mayonnaise. Sprinkle with fresh thyme. Place fillet on silicone paper and sandwich matching seasoned fillet on top. Wrap loosely in heavy duty tin foil parcel allowing enough space for air to circulate. Cook in relays - half hour in medium oven.

We go to the park for some chill out time.

A family near us groan as their remote control plane gets stuck in a tree.
'I'll get it!' says G, leaping to the rescue.
He throws our football at the plane with unerring aim.
Once. Twice. On the 3rd attempt the ball hits the plane ...
... And lodges snugly in the branches cuddled up next to it.

'It's OK,' G yells, grabbing our cricket bat.
But at 6'4" and with LG on his shoulders, even the combined height of my partner and son are insufficient to reach.

'No problem,' G says, undeterred.
He'll use the cricket bat as a javelin and knock both the trapped ball and plane down.
Once. Twice. On the 3rd attempt the bat shoots into the branches with deadly accuracy...
... And snuggles up cheek by jowl next to its comrades.

By this time we've attracted quite a sizable crowd of gawpers.
And I'm laughing so hard my poor pelvic floor muscles are begging for mercy as G and the other guy attempt to rock the tree.

It takes a passing light, lithe and fearless teenager to clamber up the tree and spare my man from further embarrassment (and me too according to my bladder).

Back to the synagogue to transfer the salmon from fridge to freezer.
Another task crossed off my list(s).

Friday, May 02, 2008

Bad dream

In my dream it's Sunday morning.
I wake up ...
Today's the day I've organised to cook and freeze 70lbs of salmon at the synagogue with the help of a friendly friend.

Only - we've forgotten to pick up the salmon the evening before.

I wake up, shrieking.
'Argh! We've forgotten to pick up the fish ...!'

Only it's not Sunday morning - it's Friday.
And we haven't forgotten.

First Born's barmitzvah - 4 wks and counting ...

UPDATE: No, it's 5 weeks and counting. Doh! Scrambled brain ....