Aging Gracefully


Yesterday at lunchtime I got a text from my friend S. ‘Send a topless picture to A, ‘ it said. ‘She’s having a bad day and it will help her. I just did it and I told the others.’ I am a strong believer in the power of community ridiculousness,  and so I took a selfie in which I tried to pinch my own nipple with a pair of kitchen tongs. In fact I overcooked my eggs trying to get the shot. (It’s harder than it might sound. Try it! I’ll wait.)

I sent off the picture, and that afternoon, up at school for the Book Fair parade,I saw A and asked if my nipples had pleased her. She was confused – her old-school phone doesn’t accept pictures! So I had to pull up the photo on my own phone and show her there. We looked at S’s photo too; more involved than mine. S had actually wedged her phone in the fork of a tree and taken a video where she ran towards it through the bushes. At least, I think that’s what was happening. I didn’t have my glasses on and it’s definitely the kind of thing S would do. School mums, you know what they’re like.

A was very pleased. It did lift her mood, so the job was well done. Just another day in the sisterhood.

After school, though, I ran into the deputy head, and offered to take her pic with my little Peanut. (They were dressed as the same book character.) I snapped the photo and then said ‘I’ll text it to you!’.

Have you guessed what is coming?

My toes are curling at the memory.

I opened my messaging page, and while the teacher looked over my shoulder, up came  a picture of me, close up, topless, looking very serious and manipulating myself with a kitchen implement. I quickly stabbed buttons to get rid of the image, but I am not the quickest at this.

My only hope is that she was not wearing her glasses. I can’t even imagine what story her brain would fit to that photo. Do you think they will discuss it in the office?

Please god, let her not have been wearing her glasses.

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Sex Tips From The Past: Sexual Positions, For Mediaevalists or Modern Multi-Taskers

I missed last Wednesday’s Sex Tips From The Past post. I meant to write it, but it was such a busy week, and I was so tired; you know how it goes sometimes. I should have just scheduled it in – but I didn’t. Really, I should have just got started, right? I would have gotten into it once I started, even if I didn’t feel like it at first…

This train of thought has gone to a place I had not intended.

Enough about me!

Back to historical sexytimes.

German philosopher, theologian, alchemist and astronomer Albertus Magnus, also known as Albert the Great and Albert of Cologne….Cologne…not that one needs an excuse, but what better a time to insert the Old Spice Man?

And hello again. Magnus died in 1280 AD, but before that he ranked five sexual positions from ‘most acceptable’ to ‘least acceptable’ as follows:

1) missionary

2) side-by-side,

3) sitting,

4) standing and

5) a tergo (a well classy Latin way of saying ‘in the style of the dogs’). 

Magnus said the missionary was the only completely “natural” position; and the others were on a sliding scale of naughtiness.

The Karma Sutra, ancient erotic Indian text, contains such a total of 64 positions (known as the 64 Arts) that include the Galloping Horse, the Rutting Deer and the Congress of the Cow. Should you be in a gourmet rather than anthropomorphic mood, Cosmopolitan Magazine’s offerings include ‘The Linguini’ and ‘The Sensual Spoon.’

Missing, in my opinion, the common positions ‘Wait, Did You Hear That Noise?’, ‘You’re On My Hair’ and the ‘God, I Really Should Wax my Legs’.

But, prego, allora,  if you have a busy week ahead, here are some brilliant ways to multi-task getting on the job with, um,  getting on with the job. (Cartoons found here.)

The Yardwork Position

The Good Food Mood


And finally, one I’d like to send out to my dear friend Shelley: The Doing Your Taxes

As always, my friends, happy Hump Day and all the very best with your climax.


Other Sex Tips From The Past:

The Hairy Joy of Hairy Sex

Sex Tips From 1962: Register your reluctance to do ‘unusual practices’ by outraged, silent acquiescence

Sex Tips to Avoid (doughnuts, forks.)

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Brief, Amusing, Non-Stressful Viewing for Sick-A-Beds

If you are stuck in bed,  sick,  sore or recovering from surgery, chances are you have only enough attention for short and non-stressful viewing. (Take a hot tip from me and don’t watch Game of Thrones while coughing up blood.)

I have this ongoing web-series list that I sometimes update, and I  like to send it to sick  friends. I don’t think I’ve ever posted it here, though, so here here go: short shows, funny and offbeat, suitable for all illnesses including man-flu and homicidal PMT. (It’s a thing! Science says it’s a real thing!)

Drunk Histories - actors get shitfaced, re-enact scenes from history.

High Maintenance: a pot dealer makes his daily rounds, reviewed by one critic as ‘Girls, but hazier’.

Park Slope: two superficial, homophobic lesbians from Brooklyn are hilarious.

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee: Jerry Seinfeld does, you know, what the title says.

7 Minutes In Heaven: comedians share a short, awkward and outrageous moment in a closet with Mike O’Brien, ending always with his attempt to make out with them. His pash with Ellen Degeneres is a particular highlight.

Know any more? Let me know and I’ll add them to my list. And if you’re not well, I hope you feel better soon. It sucks to be sick. It bites the weiner, as Shakespeare said.

A Great Date Night Movie

I have a lady crush on  Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who just keeps getting better with age. She is hilarious in Veep as a foul-mouth, hapless Vice President, and she was so compelling to watch in the movie Enough Said.

This was such a lovely date night movie. Louis-Dreyfus is so endearing to watch, so natural and charismatic. She’s adorable in this film – I think partly due to great writing and partly to the chemistry she has with her co-star James Gandolfini of Sopranos fame. (He died only a short time after wrapping Enough Said. It adds a sad poignancy to know this gentle, warm performance was his last.  )

Here is Louis-Dreyfus as the Veep.

And here as Elaine,  dancing.

And here in an excellent Fresh Air interview.

She’s fantastic.  Team Dreyfuss for the win!

As for us, tonight I am thrilled to report that SBS online is playing Borgen Season 3. Joy, your name is Birgitte Nyborg. I have a hot date with the couch, half a Crunchie bar and a scientist who smells like Dencorub (soccer injury, don’t ask.) We’ve got an extra toddler sleeping over tonight (feel better soon darling Jen), so I am also indulging  my 4-child fantasies… Wish me luck that all four sleep through the night!


It Will Be Sunny One Day: Stephen Fry’s Advice On Depression.

Amongst all the sad reactions to the death of Robin Williams this week, I particularly loved Terry Gilliam’s words: ‘Robin Williams, the most astonishingly funny, brilliant, profound and silly miracle of mind and spirit, has left the planet.  He was a giant heart, a fireball friend, a wondrous gift from the gods. Now the selfish bastards have taken him back. Fuck em!’

In a sadly prescient interview, the new Slate podcast The Gist recently talked to writer Amy Solomon about the link between comedy and mental health. You can listen to that podcast here. Last night busy baking cakes and wrapping presents (another little one’s birthday in my house today), I listened to the Mark Maron interview with Williams from 2010, where the two comics discuss his life, career and struggles with addiction. Williams is candid, warm and funny.

Ah, we are poorer without him.

Finally, from the lovely website Letters Of Note, this advice that Stephen Fry wrote to a fan with depression. It is so apt and moving. I am committing it to memory in case I should ever need it.

Long may Stephen Fry live to bring beauty and wit to us all.

And vale, Robin Williams.


No More Babies (And A Giveaway Winner!)

My tiniest cabbage turned three yesterday.

My heart!

She has moved into a toddler bed and for the first time in seven years, there is no cot in my house.

Photo: There is no cot in ny house anymore! Somebody send me a baby immediately. I will accept two.

I feel it deeply, this sense of moving away from the baby zone our family has been immersed in for so long. The pull to have more babies is a deep, deep desire in me. But my last pregnancy was so tough I could not put my body through that again. And Keith and I started making children late – so, although we both feel sad about it, I am done with birthing babies.

One day, when the kids are all bigger, I want us to become a foster family. But for now, the land of nappies and mashed pumpkin and late nights spent walking the halls are over. No more dummies and strollers and bottles. No more trying desperately to interpret the cries of a distressed little one that can’t speak. (Pudding is so far past this that she critiques my outfits. ‘Aw thats a cute pants Mama.You look a cute Mama. But I not like your hair.’)

I feel the next phase of family life starting to envelop us, as little Pudding inserts herself with such confidence into the activities of the big ones. I can see that life with kids, rather than babies, can have a whole different rhythm. Times are changing. We’ve all been curled up together lately on the big couch watching Modern Family. The big kids can both kick my arse in card games. They can swim. We’re talking about travelling, spending time on the floor together poring over maps. We’re going to buy a canoe.

They still need me, these kids – they are still so small! – but I can see that they are one step further along in their process of childhood – which is, after all, a journey of cumulative independence. Day by day, they are becoming more able to survive by themselves, and day by day, they don’t need their Mum like they used to.

It all make me so happy. I love these three children with every cell in my body, and I am thrilled and proud to see every step they takes towards adult life. But still, I feel like I want to cry.

Like a baby.

ps – In a crazy-eyed organisation frenzy over the weekend,  I unearthed a Baby Bjorn carrier that I ran a giveaway for and never drew! Because highly professional blogger, etc. So – late , but with love – I have closed my eyes, pointed at the screen and picked a winner: Emma Woodley, interiors guru, it be you!  If your brother’s baby is now too giant for sling-land, let me know and I will take it to a local mums-and-babies charity.

Morning Rituals: Cocaine, Penis-Cleansing and Capering About The Room

Guten morgen, mein little cabbages! Are you up, ready to grab this fine Monday by the rambutans? How are you starting off this week? Does your day hold a formidable smorgasboard of drink and drugs like Hunter S Thompson?

3:00 p.m. rise

3:05 Chivas Regal with the morning papers, Dunhills

3:45 cocaine

3:50 another glass of Chivas, Dunhill

4:05 first cup of coffee, Dunhill

4:15 cocaine

4:16 orange juice, Dunhill

4:30 cocaine

4:54 cocaine

5:05 cocaine

5:11 coffee, Dunhills

5:30 more ice in the Chivas

5:45 cocaine, etc., etc.

6:00 grass to take the edge off the day

7:05 Woody Creek Tavern for lunch-Heineken, two margaritas, coleslaw, a taco salad, a double order of fried onion rings, carrot cake, ice cream, a bean fritter, Dunhills, another Heineken, cocaine, and for the ride home, a snow cone (a glass of shredded ice over which is poured three or four jig­gers of Chivas.)

9:00 starts snorting cocaine seriously

10:00 drops acid

11:00 Chartreuse, cocaine, grass

11:30 cocaine, etc, etc.

12:00 midnight, Hunter S. Thompson is ready to write

12:05-6:00 a.m. Chartreuse, cocaine, grass, Chivas, coffee, Heineken, clove cigarettes, grapefruit, Dunhills, orange juice, gin, continuous pornographic movies.

6:00 the hot tub-champagne, Dove Bars, fettuccine Alfredo

8:00 Halcyon

8:20 sleep

Perhaps you’ll start your day like Floyd Mayweather, who hired people to announce ‘The morning penis is clean’?

Me, I incline towards James Boswell’s technique.  In 1763, he advised:

‘As soon as you have huddled on your clothes, open your chamber window and throw your head out, keeping your mouth wide open in order to feast upon the fresh air.  In this posture remain for near the space of a quarter of an hour. Then proceed to bodily exercise by dancing and capering about your room for near twenty-five minutes.’

Overall l, I find it very, very hard to go past the fine morning work of Rogerant Tshibangu, and I think I shall combine systems: ingest cocaine, clean my morning penis, feast on some fresh air and then shake what my mother gave me while I iron my sharp, sharp suit. Happy Monday, my friends! May it continue on well, however it begins.


Breaking Bad: The Aftermath

Keith and I just  finished watching the final season of Breaking Bad. It got so stressful at times I thought I was going to have a minor heart attack. One friend told me that she just kept saying ‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe…’ and another advised me to buy some adult nappies.

It’s taken us a few years to get through the whole thing because we needed long breaks between seasons.I feel the same about Game Of Thrones. I love it, but it kills me. We were watching the latest season after I had sinus surgery recently. There I was, blood running down the back of my throat, face throbbing, holding Keith’s hand and whimpering ‘No, no. No torture the baby…’ I drew the line.

I’m a Borgen girl. A good hit of Scandi political drama and I am happy for days. No need for adult nappies or preparatory Quaaludes. My mother-in-law just sent me ‘Miss Selfridge’ which looks like it has a British Mad Men vibe. Anyway, after that last lot of Breaking Bad, Keith and I have decided that we will watch nothing but sunshine and unicorns until 2015. Care Bears is a good start, he thinks. Lots and lots of Care Bears.

What are you watching? Talk to me about Borgen.


Sex Tips From History: The Hairy Joy Of Hairy Sex, 1972

The original 1972 edition of Dr Alex Comfort’s ‘The Joy Of Sex’ might just as well have been named ‘The Joy Of Bush’.  The hairy glory of this how-to-do-sex manual is shocking and fabulous to to our sanitised modern sensibilities, whereT pudendas and ball-sacks everywhere are as naked and vulnerable as plucked chickens. From armpits to beards, bums and fannies, the fascinating illustrations of the Joy Of Sex celebrate the hairy beast animal that lives within us all. joy cover Joy, touted as ‘a cordon bleu guide to lovemaking’,  is split into sections from ‘Starters’ to ‘Main Courses’ through to ‘Sauces and Pickles’ and the smorgasbord is vast, covering horse-play (apparently one of Comforts own favourites) to spanking. Oral sex is coyly and creepily referred to as ‘mouth music’. Helpful advice included “Never, never refer to pillow-talk in anger later on (‘I always knew you were a lesbian,’ etc.).” Dr Comfort himself is an interesting man. He blew off most of his left hand while experimenting with gunpowder (leaving only his thumb), and gained not one but six degrees at Cambridge.  Later in life, he hated being known as ‘Dr Sex.’ Joy of Sex 1972 But in the 70′s, Comfort liked to spend time at the Sandstone, a Californian nudist retreat famous for its sexual shenanigans. He’s described by author Gay Talese as a sort of avuncular, eccentric scientist. ”Often the nude biologist Dr. Alex Comfort, brandishing a cigar, traipsed through the room between the prone bodies with the professional air of a lepidopterist strolling through the fields waving a butterfly net”. joy_of_sex_1_press_image_280x200

The Joy Of Sex is absolutely an artifact of its time, and you can almost smell the spirit of the sexual revolution rise from its pages. (The revolution did not use deodorant.) joyofsex
Grab yourself a copy. It’s a classic – dated in so many ways (with only four pages about the clitoris and almost no mention of homosexuality, writer Ariel Levy called it a penis propaganda pamphlet’), but it’s anthropologically fascinating. And so hairy. So wonderfully, wonderfully hairy.


As always, happy Hump Day, and all the best with your climax.






Happiness Is An Unfair Burden To Place Upon Your Children

A great TED talk from Jennifer Senior, the author of recent book ‘All Joy and No Fun’, which examined the social science of modern parenting in all its anxious competitiveness.  The ultimate goal most of us aim for our children is ‘happiness’ – a crock, says Senior.

“…as Dr. Spock points out, raising happy children is an elusive aim compared to the more concrete aims of parenting in the past: creating competent children in certain kinds of work; and creating morally responsible citizens who fulfill a prescribed set of community obligations. The fact is, those bygone goals are probably more constructive–and achievable. Not all children will grow up to be happy, in spite of their parents’ most valiant efforts, and all children are unhappy somewhere along the way.”

It’s what it means to live in an age where our children are ‘economically worthless, but emotionally priceless’, says Senior. We are all just improvising as we go here – we’ve got no script. So why not let go of ‘happiness’ as a goal and rather help our children to be moral and productive people? If it’s meant to, Senior says, ‘happiness will come to them by virtue of the good that they do, and their accomplishments, and the love that they feel from us.’

On that note, happy Mondays to you all.