27 July 2012

What's in a Name?

Changing your name is a lengthy process, full of millions of letters and in the case of passports and driving licences, lots of money.

I have been thinking for a while now of changing my name.  Well, when I say changing it, what I actually mean is reverting back to the name on my birth certificate.  Given the time, documentation and money involved, as well as the emotional ramifications, this decision has taken a while to reach.

I was eight when my dad died and just over a year later my mum remarried.  Although I was happy to see her resettled, and he was and is the best stepfather I could have hoped for, from then onwards I felt disjointed.

Maybe it was the little girl’s way of thinking, but I remember at that time feeling that I wasn’t a proper member of a family anymore.  When the holiday tickets used to arrive each year with the different names on it felt strange and wrong.  Like I was a leftover from an old relationship. 

When I reached 11 after talking about how I felt it was decided that I would change my name to the new surname.  Given my age I didn’t need to bother with change of name deeds and I didn’t want to go down the adoption route, so I simply started using the new surname.

Years down the line and now I’m 33.  Whilst I understand my reasoning for wanting to change my surname when a child, I now miss my old surname.  I miss the connection it gave me to my dad and I’ve found, that although I call myself by my stepfather’s name, I still think of myself in terms of my dad’s name.

I don’t need the sense of belonging like I did when I was a child.  Taking back my former name is in a sense reconnecting with my younger self and that is something I want.  So much of my life went awry after my dad died and now I think I have finally dealt with all that, I want a new start with the old me.

So, after I have a long talk with my step father, whom I love a lot and want him to understand, I will be going back.  

Hello Vicky Cooper.  I’ve missed you, a lot.

23 July 2012

No to the Finger

Everyone who knows me and knows of my love of Formula One will be well aware of my dislike of Sebastian Vettel.

This weekend has given me another reason to dislike him.  In my opinion, he is proving to be a bad ambassador for the sport. 

For the second time this season Sebastian Vettel has publically insulted a fellow driver, in this case Lewis Hamilton calling him "stupid".  The first occasion was of course the much publicised "cucumber" insult to Narain Karthikeyan.

He is the reigning world champion and as such is also a representative for the sport.  Maybe a little more PR training, together with a course in bad manners may be in order?

I understand that Lewis has now commented on Vettel calling into question his maturity and I have to say I agree.  Throwing your toys out of the pram every time something doesn't go your way is not the right attitude for a double World Champion.

9 July 2012

My Legal High

 Someone asked me today on Twitter what it was about shoes that girls like so much.  Maybe because my current profile picture is this:


I replied saying that this was a question that could not be answered in 140 characters other than saying that shoes are pretty and they make us happy. But why do they make us happy?

When you go out and buy clothes, you buy them because they looked good when you tried them in the shop. If you are like me, then at some point in the future after you have bought the item, sometimes immediately upon returning home, you will look at it/try it on and wonder why in hell you ever bought it.

Suddenly the garment looked good on you in the shop, is all wrong. The dress that you thought looked elegant has turned into a hooker dress. The top that looked great for a night out with the girls turns into something your grandmother would wear. The jeans that are a perfect fit until you get them home and suddenly you look like you are pregnant.

This doesn't happen with shoes. They will always look the same.

The shoes in the picture above are shoes that I have envisaged and wanted since my love of shoes began. Bright red Mary Janes with ribbons, and with heels high enough but not so high that you can't walk. I've had those shoes in my head forever.

Since finally finding and putting my own stamp on them, I have worn them on multiple occasions and I still get the same big goofy smile on my face that I did the first time of wearing.

Shoes will always look the same as they did in the shop. No girl will ever turn to you and say "Does my foot look big in this?" Shoes always fit. I put a pair of shoes on that I love and my mood improves. I look down and see them or catch their reflection in a window and I have a smile on my face.

The "fun" shoes
The “I feel sexy when I wear them” shoes 

The “today I want to goddamn sparkle” shoes 

Shoes - are they the best legal high there is?  I think so.  
They make smile, and that’s what counts.

4 July 2012

Texas Chilli Cook Off

This is a joke email I received.  It says it is a true story, but whether it is, or it isn't, it made me giggle, a lot. 

If you can read this whole story without laughing then there's no hope for you. I was crying by the end.

Note: Please take time to read this slowly. If you pay attention to the first two judges, the reaction of the third judge is even better. For those of you who have lived in Texas, you know how true this is.

They actually have a Chilli Cook-off about the time Halloween comes around. It takes up a major portion of a parking lot at the San Antonio City Park.

 Judge #3 was an inexperienced Chili taster named Frank, who was visiting from Springfield, IL. Frank: 'Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking for directions to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in.

I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted and became Judge 3.'

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:_

Judge # 1 -- A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.
Judge # 2 -- Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
Judge # 3 (Frank) -- Holy shit, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.

Judge # 1 -- Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.
Judge # 2 -- Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
Judge # 3 -- Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver . They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.

Judge # 1 -- Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick.
Judge # 2 -- A bit salty, good use of peppers.
Judge # 3 -- Call the EPA. I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting shit-faced from all of the beer.

Judge # 1 -- Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
Judge # 2 -- Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.
Judge # 3 -- I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the beer maid, wa s standing behind me with fresh refills. This 300 lb .woman is starting to look HOT...just like this nuclear waste I'm eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac?

Judge # 1 -- Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground,adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
Judge # 2 -- Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.
Judge # 3 -- My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off.  It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming.  Screw them.

Judge # 1 -- Thin yet bold vegetari an variety chili. Go odd balance of spices and peppers.
Judge # 2 -- The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic.
Judge # 3 -- My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I shit on myself when I farted and I'm worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Sally. Can't feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my ass with a snow cone.

Judge # 1 -- A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
Judge # 2 -- Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. **I should take note that I am worried about Judge # 3. He appears to be a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.
Judge # 3 -- You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing it's too painful. Screw it; I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.

Judge # 1 -- The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.
Judge # 2 -- This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 farted,passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself.
Not sure if he's going to make it. poor feller, wonder how he'd have reacted to really hot chili?
Judge # 3 - No Report

1 July 2012

I Did it My Way!!!!!!

By my reckoning, this Monday will be 10 weeks of not smoking.

I have been asked by some why I chose this particular point to stop smoking.  Previously when people have asked if I wanted to quit I have always said no, that I enjoyed it and that I couldn’t see a point in the near future when I would want to stop.

I’m a bit of a odd combination in that in one way I am very easily  led, usually into mischief, but when it comes to making decisions and being forced into something, I am very clear.  I have my own way that works for me and I stick to it.  Tell me that I should be doing something and I will generally do the opposite. 

My best friend ran smoking cessation classes for years.  But she knows me well, obviously being my best friend, and so never mentioned stopping smoking to me.  She knew that I would come to the decision in my own time and, as I have a strong will, I would do it my own way, not the prescribed way.

So the day I decided to “have a go” at quitting, I had made no preparations.  It was more of a wondering of can I do it as opposed to a serious attempt to quit.  Probably the reason I decided to go cold turkey.  I didn’t want to spend money on patches etc when I would probably be back smoking in 2 days.  That’s faith in myself isn’t it!!

All through the quitting process I haven’t followed the prescribed rules.  I haven’t used any aides (apart from reading a quit smoking book) and I purposely have not avoided places where smoking occurs.  I decided from the start that I would not change my life one iota and I haven’t.  I probably haven’t made my life easier by doing this, but that’s me.

Typically, this weekend for instance.  I went out on Friday night and there were three smokers in the group.  I could smell the smoke and yes, it still smells good.  But I become curious.  What would happen if I had a puff?

Most people would then think no, don’t do it, who knows what will happen, you might still love it.  Me though, I follow my whimsy so I had the puff.  I was immediately taken back to my first puff at around 13.  Except I didn’t feel cool doing it, it tasted bad and I got an unpleasant head rush.

So yes, 10 weeks in, on my terms, and I’m doing it my way.  The idiot guide to stopping smoking Winking smile