Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Chicks

I know we're supposed to be on a pre-wedding romantic holiday, and right now we should be whispering nauseating sweet nothings to each other over champagne or Horlicks. And trust me, I would be doing these things if it weren't for the fact that Robert is glued to David Sedaris's book 'Naked' laughing so much he is bent over double. So while he slips another disk, I thought I'd blog.

Tonight we ate in the local tavern, which does excellent food, though not quite as bankruptingly expensive as the hotel restuarant. A large American man who had the exact same tone of voice as the brother in 'Everybody loves Raymond', boomed his many opinions at his date throughout dinner, and on one ocassion actually 'shushed' her for having differering political views. From what I could make out he was a Bush supporter, and there was a lot of talk about Gore and corruption, though I can't be sure if the latter two were related or not. He also referred to his ex girlfriends as 'chicks' one of which was 'almost a model' with 'huge tits.'

Another man, an Italian, spent most of his meal barking down the phone on what appeared to be a business call, while his much younger and attractive partner tried not to appear embarrassed at his blatant disregard of her. Personally I would have got up and walked out, but I guess that's why women like me are referred to as high maintenance. God forbid a woman, or anyone for that matter, doesn't understand why a man takes her out and chooses to talk on the phone instead of to her for most of the evening.

After dinner (which was incredibly tasty) we esecaped to the hotel bar to play cards and were there for a mere 15 minutes, before Mr Pro-Bush and his American-Asian girlfriend reappeared. She walked over to us drunkenly and introduced herself, while her large boyfriend loudly exclaimed to the waiter that he wanted a cigar, 'but not a strong one', for the 15th time. I have done a few waitering jobs in my day, and there isn't quite anything like the drunken slob who adopts a superior attitude and makes your life a misery. We stayed another five minutes before beating a hasty retreat, incase he tried to expound any of his views to us.

Steak Frites

When I first expressed concern about losing weight to fit into my wedding dress, my mother told me not to worry. She described scenarios where the bride is so stressed out that she drops dress sizes, right up until the week preceeding the wedding, frustrating the poor seamstress who keeps having to take it in. "But losing the weight isn't the only thing," she warned, "there's the bad skin that happens from worrying about losing the weight. So whatever you do, don't worry about it." I imagined myself walking down the aisle with severe acne and exposed collar bones, a nervous wreck in a white frock that balloned around me.

Well, my mother needn't have worried. Stress I've experienced yes, but that's to do with me being a perfectionist, a control freak, and wanting to throw a good party with all the details taken care of. As for worrying about marrying Robert, if my diet is anything to go by, I don't think that's somehow on the forefront of my mind. Saying yes to someone I love, and more so, like more than anything in the world (even reinforced elasticated underpants), is the easy part as far as I'm concerned. Meeting him was like meeting a version of myself, only a much much better model - a sort of aspirational me. The idea of spending the rest of my life with him is therefore something I look forward to a great deal, and if anything causes pangs of excitement rather than weight-shedding angst.

The rest of the stuff - is just a bunch of details. And that's what I have to remember while I'm laying awake over the next few nights praying that everything goes according to plan and that my dress will in fact fit me, despite the steak fritte and pina colada I consumed for lunch today. And then there's dinner later ... .

Steak Frites

When I first expressed concern about losing weight to fit into my wedding dress, my mother told me not to worry. She described scenarios where the bride is so stressed out that she drops dress sizes, right up until the week preceeding the wedding, frustrating the poor seamstress who keeps having to take it in. "But losing the weight isn't the only thing," she warned, "there's the bad skin that happens from worrying about losing the weight. So whatever you do, don't worry about it." I imagined myself walking down the aisle with severe acne and exposed collar bones, a nervous wreck in a white frock that balloned around me.

Well, my mother needn't have worried. Stress I've experienced yes, but that's to do with me being a perfectionist, a control freak, and wanting to throw a good party with all the details taken care of. As for worrying about marrying Robert, if my diet is anything to go by, I don't think that's somehow on the forefront of my mind. Saying yes to someone I love, and more so, like more than anything in the world (even reinforced elasticated underpants), is the easy part as far as I'm concerned. Meeting him was like meeting a version of myself, only a much much better model - a sort of aspirational me. The idea of spending the rest of my life with him is therefore something I look forward to a great deal, and if anything causes pangs of excitement rather than weight-shedding angst.

The rest of the stuff - is just a bunch of details. And that's what I have to remember while I'm laying awake over the next few nights praying that everything goes according to plan and that my dress will in fact fit me, despite the steak fritte and pina colada I consumed for lunch today. And then there's dinner later ... .

Monday, August 28, 2006

And so

I spent this weekend catching up with my my mom and sisters in London ahead of our wedding. This included some shopping in Covent Garden, and of course lunch at Ozer - which does the best set lunches. They took every opportunity to remind me that just because I'm getting married, doesn't mean I'm not still their baby sister and they can't take the piss when they want to. This included surprise karata-inspired attacks from Chantell, to which I had to repond, "Not now Kato!"

Robert and I are off to France and are going to try and catch some R&R before the whirlwind that is Friday. Our planner has instructions of finely-tuned military proportions - the poor man, he must rue the day he agreed to take on our wedding.

I'm feeling OK - sort of cautiously relaxed. I've packed way too much though - for practically every eventuality. So in case we get granted an audience with the Pope, or are air dropped in the middle of the Amazonian jungle, I have the perfect outfit, with matching shoes.

I'll be posting our wedding photos up for those that are interested, but will also be dropping the occasional post from France before that.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Oh la laaaa

I spent most of yesterday at the Red Door Spa in Mayfair. Robert had bought me a sort of day package there for my birthday, and I'd been saving it up to use ahead of the wedding.

I arrived like a tightly wound clock, and left as though I'd spent the afternoon doing something of a more illegal nature – drifting along with a contended expression on my face. In total I had a facial, eyebrow shaping, all-over body massage, and pedicure. I also had a conditioning treatment for my hair and had it blown out. The all-over body massage performed by Margarita was superb by the way – highly recommended!

Since we started planning the wedding I had been determined not to morph into a Bridezilla who's every sentence starts with, “My wedding...”.

Friend: So, I've been told by the doctor I need a quadruple bypass
Me: Well, at my wedding I'm having a quadruple bypass table, there'll be four of you in total – so don’t worry about it.

No Siree, that wasn’t going to be me. So I decided I would only talk about it if someone brought up the subject first, and then keep it short before steering the conversation onto other topics. After a year or so of this, I finally decided to give in and spent most of yesterday talking to the various beauticians who tended to my body about the planning, how Robert asked me, my dress, my shoes, the food, the this, the that - etc. These women were a willing and captive audience, and whenever I thought I was done, they’d fire yet another question at me: “So is it worth having a planner?” or “Are you having a singles table?” or “Are you having a Brazilian wax before?” etc. In the case of the latter, the answer was a resounding "No." Been there, suffered the great pain and indignity of it, not going back, thank you very much for asking.

My hairstylist was a lovely young slip of a thing called Isabel. With dark hair, and a certain willowy English rose quality, Isabel had the misfortune of recently having split up with her boyfriend of three years. She confessed that she'd driven the man away by forcing the 'let's get married' issue one time too many. The chap had gathered his belongings and headed for South Africa - though, in fairness to her, it was work related. But I imagine the timing felt like he was not just breaking up with her, but moving as far away as possible to escape.

Isabel was determined to wait for him, and was passionate about the fact that they could still make things work, despite the fact that he had told her "You might meet someone, I might meet someone" - usually a sure-fire sign that a guy has no intention of doing any waiting on his part. I imagined him sitting at some or other bar in Kimberly buying the girls drinks, and thinking to himself - “I’ll just have my fun, and if nothing comes of it, there’s always Isabel back at home – bless her”.

She expressed her passion and hopefulness for a reunion through her treatment of my hair. And my head massage (something which usually has me feeling like a cat in a catnip field) felt as though she were trying, with great gusto and dexterity, to scalp me. Every time she mentioned his name, she issued another vigorous bolt of pain through my head.

The blow-drying after was not much better. I struggled to hear her over the noise of hot hair being blown into by ear, not helped by the fact that she would dramatically mouth certain words over the din such as: 'His mother' or 'His ex-girlfriend' as though someone might be listening in. She was also in the habit of exclaiming, 'That's lovely!' to almost everything I said, and is the only person that I've ever come across, apart from low rent comedians trying to put on a French act and failing miserably, to use the phrase, 'Ooh la laaaa'. This was repeated a number of times when inspecting the finished product that was my head of hair. In all fairness to Isabel, and despite the great pain I suffered as a result of her passionate unrequited love - my hair looked fantastic. Shiny, well-conditioned, and a great blow job. Oh la laaaa.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

And the beat goes on

It's just gone 11.30pm and I have FINALLY finished my work. There is no greater feeling than pressing the 'send' button on an email knowing that you won't have to deal with something again for a good three weeks. Sheer bliss.

Today was another day of almost farcical proportions in terms of interruptions. There was the man who came (unannounced) to check our water meter, the phone call from a reporter at the Wall Street Journal for an interview about my interest in the TV series ‘The Office, ' and a call from the venue where we are having our ceremony asking what our schedule was, and expressing surprise that they were in fact responsible for serving champagne and canapés. In the case of the latter, to say that I had something short of a shit fit is to put it lightly. We're getting married there in a week - and they didn't know what time were were getting married, and that they were watering people after?! Isn't this what we pay our planner to do?!?

Then there was the out of the blue call from my mother telling me she had purchased a stick-on plastic bra for me in a D cup. This may not seem strange to some people who frequently discuss underwear made out of flammable materials with their mothers, but I had never expressed the need for, nor mentioned my desire to own one of these contraptions to her - ever. I have no idea why she did it, but I didn't want to appear rude or ungrateful. I did however subtly mentioned that the possibility of something that was (a) plastic, (b) stick on, and (c) lacked industrial-strength straps or some sort of corseting, had little chance of supporting my bust in the gravity stakes, but she remained optimistic, so I said I'd give it a try.

Tomorrow I am confirming final numbers with the caterer, including three vegetarians and one person who is lethally allergic to fish, fish sauce, in fact anything that has even been near a fish. Then there's the table plans to email through so the Japanese calligrapher can start on the place names, and a reminder to the DJ that the birdie song or anything that inspires people to adopt any bird or animal characteristics on the dance floor will not be required. Ditto re. any sort of spontaneous group/square dancing of the Lionel Ritchie 'Dancing on the ceiling' or Macarena ilk. Oh, and my sister Chantell has requested 'Can't touch this' by MC Hammer.

Bill Gates hires David Brent

Microsoft UK have hired Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant to make their UK training video, featuring Gervais's David Brent character from The Office. It's like 40 minutes of David Brent talking to camera, making politically incorrect comments, while Merchant acts as the sensible Microsoft spokesperson attempting to keep Brent on topic while simultanously promoting a positive company image.

Check it out here.


Picture c/o pandasport.co.nz

The chipmunk at the center of the earth

"There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, and nothing worth killing for.” Tom Robbins
I spent yesterday trying to work to a deadline and kept get getting interrupted by things like the phone, emails, and personal disputes. At the end of the day I was ready to pack a small bag and run to the hills screaming, pulling out great tufts of my hair along the way. Sometimes I think I need to simply my life - I feel like an elastic band being stretched way too thin between too many people. It doesn't help that I still have a ton of work to do, and wedding stuff that needs taking care of, not least of all some sort of bust support apparatus so I don't get a black eye walking down the aisle.

By midnight I was sending off the last of that days' notes to my wedding planner - crossing off things on my to do list, and feeling thoroughly fed up with everything. And then I discovered some great quotations from Tom Robbins, who is probably my favourite writer of all time, next to David Sedaris in terms of putting things into perspective and making me laugh.

I've resigned myself to the fact that I think there really is no way of living your life without someone, somewhere, judging you or using your existence as a sort of comparative meter. Unless of course you go and live in a cave somewhere, though I imagine that would involve a lot of cold hard floors and no hot running water, and I doubt they’d deliver my copy of Now! magazine either.

Furthermore, I think email should be banned for most people, and only phone conversations allowed. I am so entirely fed up with the amount of shit that is perpetuated simply because people are reticent to pick up the phone and have a conversation. God knows it would save so many misunderstandings, and indeed relationships.

Anyway - I had a workout with Guy this morning - the first in about five weeks due to his holiday, my illness, and working in Barnes. I was dreading it - absolutely terrified of the lethargic lump my muscles had developed into, but actually it was fine. In fact, it was pretty good, and it felt great being able to work all of yesterday's frustrations out. Poor Guy - I don't think he was prepared for my rage.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Gothic Bride

Last night, more specifically, in the early hours of this morning, my dressing gown hanging behind our bedroom door magically transformed itself into a gothic bride. Specifically, a gothic bride who appeared to have been covered in cling film of sorts. The poor thing looked dead and not very happy. I stared at her long and hard, but she never transformed herself back into a dressing gown, despite my rational mind trying to resurface telling it was so. Also, my loud exclamation upon waking up, of, "What the f**k is that!?!" failed to wake Robert and thereby have him verify that I was in fact just staring at my dressing gown, and not some poor lost soul who had hanged herself on the back of our door.

I hope like crap this isn't some sort of omen, and is rather just a product of my stressed-out disturbed state of mind. It probably didn't help that I watched an episode of
Britain's Next Top Model last night (taped) featuring the girls on a photo shoot as gothic brides. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm loving this year's show. Thank god they got rid of Lisa Butcher, who had about as much personality as a wet lettuce, and don't even get me started on her fake tears when booting out one of the girls. Cringe worthy!

Lisa Snowdon is a lot more down to earth and likeable, and does a good job of presenting the show. Man, there's a lot of bitching in this one - those girls don't make any bones about their feelings, and I think their cat-fights are as much a reason people watch it as anything.

Picture c/o: wikipedia.org

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

It never rains


On Friday it's one week until we get married. I should be spending these last few days running around getting final fittings and worrying about breakouts, but instead I've got a ton of work on. As a freelancer you can never have too much work, but in this case, the timing could be better. During the day I'm working on ideas for washing powders and designing websites, and my evenings are spent making final preparations for the wedding, and hoping that the very visible spot I've developed on my forehead goes away in time.

We caught up with our friends Theo and Lowri in DC this weekend, which was a treat. I've known those guys since we were at university, and it's always grounding to be in the company of people who knew you when you had a very bad spiral perm (is there any other kind?) and a lousy dress sense, and still chose to hang out with you in public.

While we were in America, the new development in the JonBenét Ramsay case broke. I don't think this John Mark Karr did it. I don't doubt for a second the guy is a disturbed individual with an unhealthy interest in children, but I think in this case he's delusional, and has obsessed over the case and child to such a degree that he believes he was somehow involved in it. The facts just don't add up. Read more about the original case here.

I got to see the Project Runway window in Macy's which was soooo cool, in a very sad way I'll admit. I just love that show - the people are really creative, and it always inspires me to expand my wardrobe past my current T-shirt and jeans phase - but I'm finding it tough going. I assure myself that when I am a best-selling author that has to attend book signings, or invent a cellulite cream that actually works and requires my appearance on the Larry King show, I'll make more of an effort. But working from home with only the postman to see me currently provides little incentive.

And on a parting note - check out K-Fed's debut at the Teen Choice Awards. Awesome doesn't quite begin to describe it.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The art of travel without luggage

We've just returned from Washington via New York, and I'm nursing a cup of decaf tea feeling sorry for myself. The thing is, we had a perfectly lovely flight - no turbulence, an abundance of good wine to ease the journey, and almost flat seats. But for some reason my body refused to give in to sleep; my legs ached and I had paranoid visions of deep vein thrombosis caused by too-tight jeans.

The latter was the result of eating a load of crap this weekend. I can't help it - I can be all muesli and smoothies in London, but as soon as I hit American soil, I want the blueberry pancakes, hash browns, and side order of Canadian bacon, with maple syrup over everything. American breakfasts are my tragic flaw, and also don't help a normally stubborn digestive system. Nothing like a load of deep fried food or refined carbs to block the pipes.

We had a fantastic time in New York, primarily shopping at Macy's - which we now know like the backs of our hands, despite it boasting to be the largest department store in the world. We justified our excess by the fact that we didn't take any luggage with us, apart from one or two items of clothing and underpants. Because of the extra security measures last week, 10 thousand bags were stranded at UK airports by Thursday. Robert suggested therefore that we take only hand-luggage, which with current restrictions meant only a laptop-sized satchel, and no liquids or gels, so no cosmetics.

Having had our luggage lost/delayed three times in the past, I normally travel with my cosmetics - those travel-sized ones are ideal. And I'll admit, the idea of flying without even lip-gloss and a bottle of perfume did frighten me, but I decided to see the whole thing as an adventure - a sort of feminist existential journey. It goes without saying one of the first things we did upon waking up on Friday morning was hit Duane Reade - a kind of New York Boots, and stock up on essentials like root boost and moisturiser. If you want posher cosmetics, there are shops such as Sephora and of course the bigger department stores that stock the likes of Shiseido, Chanel, Estee Lauder etc. But having just restocked on Dermalogica at home, Dove facewash and daily moisturizer for a weekend did me fine.

I also always buy toilet seat covers in America. I cannot seem to find them in London, though Louise assures me they are available at Harrods. In the USA they are cheap as chips, and they do these great little handbag sized pouches, so whenever you are faced with a public loo, or one of questionable hygiene, you don't have to squat and risk wetting the sides of your legs. Yes, the joy of being a women in the face of a germ laden toilet seat. For someone with public toilet phobia, these little covers are a heaven-send.

But back to Heathrow. We got there relatively early, which I think was a wise decision. There were airport officials everywhere directing human traffic, and it seemed orderly and under control. The security check took a while, because everyone was required to remove shoes, and nearly everyone got the body check too. The bags went through the X-Ray machine fairly slowly, but as a whole, people in the line appeared to appreciate the importance of the procedure, and there wasn't much in the way of exaggerated huffing and puffing. The staff at Heathrow were also efficient and even good humored, which made the wait a lot more bearable.

Most hand-luggage bags were checked again just before boarding, and our plane was delayed by about 40 minutes due to extra security checks on check-in luggage. I didn't care if it meant we had a safer flight.

Briefly, some things that annoy me when traveling:

- People who treat the moving walkways in airports as escalators and don't walk. Worse still, those that stand side by side chatting, blocking those that would actually like to use the things for the purpose they were designed for.

- People who are paranoid about checking things in and pack way too much hand-luggage. Somehow they manage to conceal it at the check-in point, and then get stopped just before boarding the plane, and told they need to check in some of their stuff. This usually elicits great indignation and sometimes arguments. How dare the airline staff suggest they check their precious cargo into the luggage hold!? Their exaggerated reshuffling of bags to show what an inconvenience it is, inevitably holds up the line for the rest of us who just want to get on board, put on our complimentary socks, and get stuck into a book. I hate to say it, but women are usually the worst culprits.

- Taps on airplanes. Ever tried washing your face on an airplane? Those taps only work if you push down on them, which means any washing becomes a one-handed enterprise - usually resulting in soap in your eyes, dripping down your neck into your shirt, etc. For this reason, I almost always travel with face-wipes, and of course anti-bacterial hand wipes - just in case.

- Stinky feet guy/woman. I haven't encountered this one in a long time, and in all fairness we can't always help the things our bodies get up to. But people with smelly feet can be an unpleasant addition to a long journey, even short ones for that matter, and as luck would have it, they are usually the first ones to scoot off their shoes upon boarding.

- People with overly complicated travel arrangements and or requests. These people will take ages and ages at the check-in, shifting their weight from one leg to the other, while the rest of us wait in line behind them, only guessing at what could be taking so long. They almost always appear to be completely oblivious to the queue forming behind them, or the exasperated expression of the exhausted airline employee.

- And finally, my favourite, the talker. Traveling alone, I almost always get seated next to the one person on the flight who suffers from verbal dirreah. Once, while traveling between South Africa and London, I sat next to a coke addict who only stopped talking long enough to make an umpteenth trip to the bathroom to powder his nose, or empty the contents of a mini bottle of J&B down his throat. Eventually, when my stock of politeness had run its course, I had to feign an exaggerated state of REM before he left me alone. Another time, on a domestic flight, I sat next to someone who bragged that he was a drug dealer, and kept trying to offer me his wares and 'set me up', once we landed. Of all the people on the plane he chose the most disinterested party he could find - drugs have never been my thing, and his stories of a life lived on the edge were so exaggerated as to be boring. I've heard having a book is a good way to deter unwanted talkers, but some of these people are ambitious and will ask you about the book as a way in to a conversation. In this case, the trick I think is to pretend you don't speak English or failing that, that you are a lunatic of some description.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cherie Blair in her bathing suit. More self loathing anyone?


I suppose there's a certain freedom associated with starting something from scratch, if it weren't for the frustrating inability to upload a new banner image and do basic things like format a bog-standard template that is. I'm putting it all down to fatigue - rather than any technical inability on my part. *cough*

Right, and now onto Cherie Blair. I was quite shocked by the outrageous response to pictures of the PM's wife on holiday last week, wearing, god forbid, a bathing suit. One columnist wrote:

"I defy any woman not to have cringed when she saw pictures of Cherie Blair sunbathing in Barbados." And "the sudden decision to abandon the sarong and let it all hang out is baffling." And best of all, "Perhaps she believes that currently, when being 'fattist' is so politically incorrect, her dimples are above speculation. Such arrogance."

Such arrogance indeed. I mean, how the hell can Cherie Blair have the gall to think it's OK for her to get into a bathing suit and have fun with her children and husband on holiday? Doesn't she know this isn't allowed? I mean, has she gone quite mad? Or is she, as the columnist pointed out, simply too damn arrogant?

What a load of crap. Sorry, but this really annoyed me. I wasted I don't know how many years of my life not getting into a bathing suit (and missing out on fun) because I was shy of my body. All those university trips to the beach, or sneaking into the student union pool to skinny dip at night? Forget it - I wasn't going to let anyone see my dimpled thighs! So instead I stayed in my room and drowned my sorrows in pizza and beer, when I could have been out having fun, and ironically, getting some well-needed exercise.

Yes, I was a bit surprised to see that Cherie Blair appears to have gained weight. More specifically, I don't think I ever knew what she looked like before, because she's always so tailored - and a well cut outfit does a good job of concealing a bit of extra weight. When R first saw the holiday snaps, he said, "That can't be Cherie Blair! I've seen her, and she's tiny." Well, clearly she isn't - but does it really matter?

I think not. I think good on her for not giving a shit and allowing her pins to get some sun, and more importantly, for enjoying herself with her family. When I was a kid, we had a near-to-impossible time trying to get out mothers or aunts into the pool to join us for a swim. We didn't care if they had a bit of cellulite or fuller thighs, god knows we probably wouldn't even have noticed - we just wanted them to play with us.

Some people are justifying their criticism by saying that she should have covered up not because she's got a fuller figure, but because she's the PM's wife. And I say - that's a load of bollocks. I don't recall anyone ever having a go at the late Princess Diana when she was snapped in a bathing suit on a yacht. If Cherie Blair had a body like her everyone would be on about how amazing she looks, and her choice of bathing suit would probably spark a style trend.

I think the worse thing about all of this, is that most of the criticism has come from other women. Jesus, like we don't hate ourselves enough, we need to get it reinforced by other people too?

Picture: c/o Closer Magazine 19-25 August 2006

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

One more thing

I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to salvage coolnina97 - so it may be the case that 'letters from london' becomes my new blog. This means at some point I'll need to fix the overall look of it, sort out my links - that sort of thing. But I'm not giving up on coolnina97 just yet. Either way, I can't get too down about it, and one way or another, the blog will go on! *Violin music fades out*

I've got a good one lined up all about Cherie Blair, but I'm so knackered and worn out from trying to salvage coolnina that I think I'm going to hit the sack. I'll be back with more gobby shyte tomorrow morning. Tra laaaaaaaaaa...

Shit shit and more shit

I'm feeling very depressed. I tried switching over to the beta version of blogger tonight and landed up screwing up coolnina97. At first it was merely a case of it not doing the switchover and so about a year and a half of my stuff wasn't visible. I say merely, because although it was inconvenient and annoying, I could still see all of these non visible entries in my post directory, so though not published, they were not lost per se.

What's happened subsequently is a whole lot worse. As it turns out, my gmail and blogger username happen to be the same. Blogger doesn't like that for some reason, and when I try and log in, it keeps re-directing me to a beta error window. So now I cannot even log in - I cannot access coolnina97 or xxthing - because they all fall under the coolnina97 account.

So, effectively, I am screwed - shut out from my blog, which feels kind of like being locked out of my house and having to sit on the doorstep. Unless of course, those wonderfully smart and handsome chaps/ettes (please god let flattery work!) manage to sort it out and let me back in again, with, hopefully, the whole thing working again. Could it happen? I can only pray.