Thursday, August 31, 2006

And now for something completely different

ego marketing. It's making me laugh and it's also making me sad for all the suckers who get conned....let me explain...ages and ages ago, for a laugh, I found Now let me explain - you can submit any old drivel of verse and they put it up on their website. And then they bombard you with sycophantic emails telling you how talented you are, how you've won a prize, how you are the poet of the frickin millenium and must come to be honoured at their ceremony in some poky hotel in Las Vegas for the amazing price of $xx,000 dollars.

Here is an exerpt from an email: Your poem will be presented at the largest and most prestigious gathering of poets in history and it's so very important for us and your fellow poets to hear your poem read with the same passion and emotion which you intended when you wrote it. This is why we have arranged for a professional poetry reader to present your poem, allowing your poetry to receive the exposure and recognition you deserve. All you need to do to have your work presented is submit your poem quickly. Just imagine -- all of the attending guests at the upcoming International Society of Poets Annual Convention will hear your poetry read.

I'm also being given awards! For my poem! Outstanding Achievement in Poetry Award ($300.00 value), bronze Commemorative Award Medallion ($40.00). My goodness. They must really see how talented I am! I'm an artist. I'm a poet!

Oh.... Additionally, we must ask you to send a nominal fee ($169.00 plus shipping and handling) to cover the expenses we incur presenting your poetry, and to cover the costs to insure and ship all of these extremely bulky and heavy awards to you. For this small fee you will receive over $400.00 worth of ISP membership materials, including your lead crystal Outstanding Achievement in Poetry Award!

That's And here's my you think I'm an artist? (just realised this link doesn't work so search for reeve, sally - it's called Workday Blue)

This evening I received another email that I'm presuming came via this evil website...from Noble House UK Publishers. And this is what they said
As you may know, Noble House is one of the world's foremost publishers of fiction and nonfiction works by new and established authors. Our poetry division in the U.K. has had the honour of publishing the poetry of more than 800 poets over the past twelve years.
Recently I had the pleasure of reading your poetry that you have had published in the United States. I was moved so much by your written words that I have selected you to honour with our most desired and prestigious
Noble House 2006 Lapel Pin.

Oh my gosh - my fellow countrymen have discovered my talents too! I'm so famous....they go on to reinforce this Just imagine the sense of gratification you will feel when others see this Limited Edition pin with 24-karat gold honouring your poetic accomplishments and acknowledge your poetic distinction. What an impressive way to show off your status as an elite member of Noble House Publishers!

Oh there's another nominal fee. $69.95....

BASTARDS! I found this hysterically funny at first - go back and read my poem for god's sake. But then I felt awful because there will be people out there - from depressed angst ridden teenagers to frustrated writers to gullible housewives who will be suckered by this. Who will get self-worth and happiness from buying tatty QVC rejected fake crystal awards in the mistaken belief that someone out there thinks they are worth something. Is $69.95 the price of instant self-esteem. If so, is that a bargain?

Are you repulsed by this or amused? I keep changing my mind. Part of me thinks it's a genius idea to make money by expoiting people's many industries do that, from modelling to acting to writing. And part of me thinks it's evil and manipulative and possibly illegal.

On another tangent - I'm full of em tonight - go watch this - it's fascinating. Click on her videos and start at the beginning. This sweet 24 year old, Lucy, a wannabe actress, has moved from Texas to LA to try and achieve her dream of being a movie star. And is coming down to earth with a bump. She speaks so honestly of all that is sleazy and depressing about our business - being humiliated by a casting director, being sleazed and casting couched by a manager, having to find your niche (her pronunciation is interesting) and be pigeonholed - and yet, when she talks about acting, about going to see a movie that touches her and that makes her want to be part of something magical - I totally relate.

This is me (slightly better looking, thinner, brunette and american) about 10 years ago. When my idealistic dreams of being an actress started to wear down under the pressure of auditioning to be fat nurse in casualty for the umpteenth time. And not getting the part. And working as a temp. And borrowing money off my mum....

She's lovely. Lucy I mean - my mum is too, but I'm talking about Lucy. She's honest and hopeful and funny. She says the word "like" too often for my taste, but she's American. She can't help it.

She's incredibly popular on You Tube. So maybe that will be her ticket to dreamland. Who knows. I'm just interested by her. And it's taken my mind off the business for an afternoon.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The trial was....

a trial really - in all senses of the word.
...the act of trying, testing, or putting to the proof; a tentative or experimental action in order to ascertain results; experiment; subjection to suffering or grievous experiences; a distressed or painful state: comfort in the hour of trial; an affliction or trouble; a trying, distressing, or annoying thing or person.

Lots of things went wrong (which is kind of what we wanted - for us to work out what they were so they wouldn't happen next week when we're officially open). The most annoying thing was that the person at the venue who we've dealt with wasn't there. It was her day off. And considering the whole point was that she could see how we wanted the space laid out so it could be done for us next week....I couldn't believe she hadn't told us she wouldn't be there. And the room was still laid out as it had been this weekend for a wedding. So we had to spend a good 30 minutes moving chairs.

Julie's friend who runs a nursery was there to give us some advice but I must admit I don't think she understood that we're running a temporary creche - not a nursery. We had to set up the room differently than we would normally as we had quite a few toddlers with us yesterday (friends we'd invited who have older children). On a LAB day we can only take under 1's in the creche. So she kept criticising and telling me how it wasn't going to work and no matter how many times I told her this wasn't how we are going to have it normally, she didn't listen. She's very...erm....blunt.

And we hoped the boss of the agency who is supplying the staff was going to be there - she said she would. But when I rang after 2 hours she said she was too busy - it would have been nice to get a call.

There was so much lifting and carrying and building of gates etc. I've thrown my back out - am in pain today! We decided we need to hire a "runner" to do all the heavy lifting and help mums up and down stairs with buggies.

We learnt a lot. It wasn't what I expected and I'm quite scared about next week. But we know what we have to improve....I just hope we have enough time to do it.

Sometimes I think I'm crazy doing this.....

Monday, August 28, 2006

Not quite as planned....

Oscar's party that is....the weather let us down - surprise surprise. My friend Andrea rang just as I was packing the picnic in the car to tell me it was chucking it down where she was (10 minutes away from us) and maybe we should relocate. Our house was a tip - I've had to get rid of the cleaner as we can't afford it and it's really showing....

But it was clean up or get soaked...and with a few people bringing little babies as well as 2 year olds there was no choice really. I managed to get hold of Jemma just before she left Guildford to tell her to come to my house...Rob was a star and cleaned and tidied....I rang round everyone - and so many people weren't going to come anyway - said they thought it was the week after or thought it was cancelled. Which was actually a relief as I hadn't wanted to have a house full of 2 year olds. In the end the Kelly family, the Morrisons, Julie and Mya and my friend Kelly and her daughter Savannah came - only 6 adults, 4 two year olds and 2 little babies to deal with. It was enough though!!

We had fun! The kids loved the trampoline (the weather of course cleared up once everyone was here). Oscar had a tantrum and had to go to bed after about half an hour but woke up in time to get cake and presents.

It was nice to spend some quality time with Jemma and Stu - they got on very well with my other friends Andrea and Gerard - I knew they would - Gerard and Stu were like a double act!! Very very funny. Since we'd bought stuff for picnics, everything was disposable so there wasn't much clearing up to do afterwards.

(I've been trying for 30 minutes to upload photos onto blogger and it won't let me - I'll try later)

Sunday I had a monkey music birthday party - for 1 year olds - about 8 of them who weren't that interested to be honest. I sang my butt off for 45 minutes but it was hard work - I didn't know any of the children or the mums so there was no rapport or feedback. They were very passive. I have no idea if they liked it or not - hope they did!

Don't know if I'll do another one as it knackered me out - but it was £60 so I can't winge. Oz slept at mum's last night which was lovely so Rob and I had a takeout and an early night ;) and another lie in this morning.

We're having a tidy up and clean day today...oh how I miss my cleaner! Though she's left us with a broken hoover - god knows how long it hasn't been working properly....I'll have to take it to be fixed this week.

Tomorrow we're running a test-run of the LAB - for 2 hours in the afternoon with some friends - just to see how it works. So we can be all professional for our launch next Tuesday....EEEEEEK!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Just a quick addendum to yesterday

..after I blogged that and started to get ready for bed....Rob yelled from the kitchen. He'd sliced his thumb open - TO THE BONE - on the breadknife. He was white as a sheet.

So we ended up in Casualty (ER for you yanks). We got there about quarter to eleven. I left about 12.30 cos we were still waiting....Rob got home at 2.15am. They didn't even stitch it or give him a tetanus - just a plaster.

I've spent the day today exhausted - running round picking up LAB deliveries, getting stuff for Oscar's party tomorrow.....I'm going to bed now and putting ear plugs in - I need sleep!!!

I'll post the party goss tomorrow...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Happy 2nd Birthday Oscar!

Wow. He's 2. Where the hell did that go?

Lovely (but KNACKERING) day. As I type this I'm trying to put together my first montage - inspired by Jemma, Kelly et al. - so bear with me...

So - to start at the very beginning, a very good place to start...(that "how do you solve a problem like Maria show is getting to me) He came downstairs this morning to a stack of presents and cards - many many thanks to everyone - we'll be doing proper thank you's soon....First he opened Lesley's pressie which I'd been saving since our last trip to Guildford - PERFECT for him - 2 little wooden cars - a fire engine and a police car - both complete with "nee naw" noise. And a magnetic articulated lorry. We couldn't actually get him to open anything else for about 10 minutes as he was so enamoured. Then a lovely Eric Carle book from Ursi - I love Eric Carle - Hungry Caterpillar was my favourite book as a child - this one - The Little Seed - is beautiful. We opened cards from Moxie, from NCT friends, a present from my neighbour. Then the family gifts.

He did like the teaset and tried to eat each plastic cake. The motorbike held his attention for about 10 minutes, then it was back to the fire engine and police car! He was a bit overwhelmed. As you can see from the photos, I hadn't even changed his nighttime nappy - he wouldn't let me - he just wanted to play.

So after a manic morning, we went to Bromley to meet....ESS!! I was so excited. There she and Al were, along with Jack, Jade and Joe (I think I should have renamed Oscar Joscar for the day). It was brilliant to see her in the flesh - even more gorgeous in real life - such a smily twinkly (and getting damn skinny) woman! Jade was an angel - Oscar fell in love instantly. We got more lovely presents - some fab clothes from Ess, pjs and a brilliant drinking cup from Al and a snazzy benetton t-shirt and a sherriff outfit from Jackie. Susannah popped by to give Oscar another highly appropriate gift - a pop up book about diggers and cement mixers.

The boy has done well this year - such thoughtful appropriate gifts. I'm so grateful.

We went to Adventure Kingdom where they all got sweaty and ran around like mad things. Then to McD's for lunch where Oscar lost the plot - he was tired - didn't eat a thing just tried to steal Joe's happy meal toy. So we regretfully left. It wasn't much time with Ess but that's the wierd thing about meeting up with online friends - you'd think we'd spend time getting to know each other, being slightly formal and shy but it was like we've known each other for years - because we have! And though it WASN'T enough time, it was like meeting an old friend - we just dived right into conversation. We talked about everything from IBS to irritating in-laws! And it was precious and lovely.

Oscar fell asleep before I'd even backed the car out of the parking space - he was shattered. He slept for a couple of hours while I tidied up as we had more people coming round.

My friend Marion and her daughter Kristina came over with a lovely dancing Boo toy for Oscar (which took us ages to work out how to activate it!). Then my mum arrived and we had cake and candles -and Oscar blew them out himself! I was so proud.

Mum stayed and played with Oz for a while as I was so shattered by this point. He wouldn't eat dinner - he hadn't really eaten all day - but when Rob came home he ate a few sausages....his appetite has been rubbish the last few days....ah well.

So that's it - he went to bed. I'm exhausted as usual and will be in bed soon. I must make the effort to eat something first and I want to call Moxie cos I haven't spoken to her for ages.

So that was Oscar's second birthday. The picnic is still on for Saturday as the weather says sunny intervals as of this evening. So I live in hope. Tomorrow I'll be running round shopping for the picnic and party bags, plus running to printers to get our LAB membership forms and posters printed. So an early night is needed.

Ok - I can't seem to do the fancy montages like the ones I've seen with zoom ins, close ups and fades - so please someone leave me instructions on my comments if you know what I'm doing wrong. This is the best I could do!



Ok those don't seem to be's the link....
Morning -


Monday, August 21, 2006


Still haven't updated for days.....what have I done....erm....been working hard on LAB as we launch in a couple of weeks (eek!) which is where I think all my creativity and energy are at the moment! Been spending lots of time with Kirsti - well she's also been shopping like a demon so haven't spent as much time with her as I'd like

Had a hospital appt and heard baby's heart beat which was lovely. Did more Monkey Music holiday classes which were chaos - they'd over booked so I had 17 kids in 1 class and 16 in the other -madness. Mum had Oz for a sleepover at the weekend which was much needed. Had a very rough and tiring day on Friday as Oscar was in a foul mood. Sunday we went for lunch at my favourite restaurant - Royal China - and had a dim sum feast in honour of Dad's birthday (he was in Tblisi but we toasted him with jasmine tea! He was missed)

I went to the gym this morning - I've never done aerobics when pregnant before - and if I thought I went red in the face anyway - blimey - with extra blood flowing in my system I was like a tomato! It was good though - did lots of alternate things instead of sit ups!

It's Oscar's birthday on Thursday - can't believe he'll be 2! We went to ToysRUs this weekend and bought him some presents - a remote control motorbike and a teaset - he loves teasets! I'm not being gender biased in toy choices - why shouldn't he have a boyish motorbike plus a slightly girly teaset! We also got him a little box of toy plastic cakes - he's cake mad. And loves pretending.

We're supposed to be having a picnic for him on Saturday but I'm not sure what the weather will be like - if it's bad I'll just cancel it! He won't notice....

Right - off to shower and then Julie is coming round to talk business....

Monday, August 14, 2006

Neglecting my blog

I know I should be writing a bit more....but my brain is reason! Just uninspired really. I'm having a lovely time with Kirsti - working hard on the Lab - not doing anything earth shatteringly interesting. Went to a birthday party on Saturday which was lovely....erm....blah blah blah - my brain is grey...

All I can do is share my new favourite pic of Oz - flying on his Daddy's feet (yes Rob's feet are enormous)....I'll try and muster some enthusiasm and write something scintillating soon!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Thanks Mox!

I love the Pirate names...try this one! (love my punk band name)

Your movie star name: Chocolate Ernest
Your fashion designer name is Sally Paris
Your socialite name is Boing Sydney
Your fly girl / guy name is S Ree
Your detective name is Monkey Churchfields
Your barfly name is Peanuts Daiquiri
Your soap opera name is Elizabeth Beckenham
Your rock star name is Turkish Delight Cheetah
Your Star Wars name is Sallib Reerob
Your punk rock band name is The Sleepy Potato
The Amazing Meganame Generator


Ok - Kirsti is taking photos every ten seconds - so here are some from yesterday....we had a lovely day going to Catford in the morning, then to Steve's house in the afternoon:

Having his morning milk and looking cheeky

Chinese for lunch - Oscar's first prawn cracker!
Eating a tomato he picked himself from Steve's greenhouse!
Posing his head off with Steve's teddies!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I know, I know, I should be posting photos....but I haven't taken any! Kirsti is here and is lovely and HOORAH she got her visa so she can go back to America. We had a marvellous time at Olivia's birthday party in the park yesterday so thank you Susannah for that.

Am wrestling with Oscar who is sitting next to me but will try and post a more detailed (and photographic) post later. But I just had to share this

Your Pirate Name Is...
Mad Hairy Legs

Monday, August 07, 2006

Hot weekend

As Al has already told it much better than I can (and with pics) you can read about our trip to Jaya's party here. Traffic jams and heat aside, it was lovely.

Sunday Rob took Oz to the Horniman (on public transport!) so I had a morning to myself. Which I slept through mostly! In the afternoon we had a photo shoot (daaaarling) at Snappy Snaps. I'd "won" it in a prize draw that I'd stupidly filled in ages ago in Bromley. So we got a free shoot, one free 6x4 pic and then they'll try and sell us lots of pictures. I'll have to be very strong not to buy them as they took 300 odd - and some brilliant ones I'm sure. They are expensive to buy extra - not quite as expensive as some, but still outrageous - £10 for a 6x4. What they're trying to sell is their "package" where for £150 you get 10 different sized ones. But we haven't got £ I'll make sure I leave my credit card at home!

Kirsti arrives today. Very excited. And happy cos Oscar woke up at 6am, we tucked him back in and he went back to sleep till 8.30! Nice lie in for me (and for Rob unfortunately cos he'll be late for work). I love it - the morning seems much shorter now - I'm waiting in for my shopping to be delivered and then we can go round and see Auntie Kirsti! Hoorah! More later. With pics!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Thank you all so much

Your comments on my previous post were amazing. Insightful. Thoughtful. Sympathetic and understanding. I felt so much better just reading them all. I also had some lovely invitations and got to spend a morning with Al and Susannah (who also brought me flowers to cheer me up) and and afternoon with Ursula which was a huge treat.

I feel very blessed and lucky to have such good friends. I totally appreciate you all and wish I could give you all a hug in person.

So thank you. For making it all better. And making me feel listened to, appreciated and loved. You're wonderful.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Am I being over-sensitive?

Tell me please cos I'm feeling upset but then again I'm so bloody hormonal at the moment that I have no perspective.

I'm very close to my NCT gang - we all met when pregnant and shared so much together - our kids have grown up together. We don't see eachother as much as we want because everyone is working plus 2 moved away from London - 1 to Tunbridge Wells. We often go down en masse to visit her in Tunbridge. Two of the group have also had second babies within a month or so of eachother. One is the Tunbridge Wells mum. (Getting it so far?)

We'd planned a visit to Tunbridge this Friday but then one of the other mums can't make it so we've postponed it for a week. Then the one mum with the second baby emailed to say she was going to go anyway this Friday so the two new mummies could catch up. So I emailed them both to see if I could come too - it's been a bit hard this week - my first week without teaching and I've had not a lot to do - I'd blocked this Friday out as a day trip and without it, I'm stuck with nothing to do and nowhere to go. And I hate being on my own or stuck in with Oscar.

But I got an email from the Tunbridge Wells mum to say they want to talk about their new babies and that she doesn't want me to come. And I'm really upset about it. Feeling left out. And pissed off. But I'm worried it's just cos I'm very hormonal (I cried at the Jerry Springer show earlier....I mean...really!)

It feels cliquey. I know they've shared another pregnancy. They have become closer because of this. But I feel really hurt....

Am I being over-sensitive? Answers on a postcard to my comments box please....

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Happy Birthday to Moi

I'm feeling very spoilt. I thought it would be a blah birthday but it's been lovely so far. Rob bought me a cd player for my car - hoorah! And lovely cards from him and Oz. Mum and I met in Bromley and had coffee and muffin in Starbucks. She bought me lots of bits and pieces and slap up dinner from Marks. We put Oscar in a creche for an hour (bliss!) so I could read Heat and have another coffee in peace. I love that creche!

Oz fell asleep on the way home and I slept too - I had a very broken night last night - whizzy brain for some reason - then we went to Monkey Music - I wasn't teaching - it was for Oz!

I've had lots of cards (thanks Al and Mox!) - lovely pressies (thanks Pearl for the Sanctuary goodies) and texts and phone calls. I feel very loved.

We weren't planning on going out tonight (hence the dinner courtesy of Mum) as we couldn't get a babysitter. But my friend Marion rang to wish me a happy birthday, asked what I was doing tonight and offered to babysit. I got some money in a card from my in-laws so we can go out to my favourite Hello Tokyo all you can eat japanese buffet for dinner!

Hoorah for birthdays