Wednesday, December 21, 2005

happy solstice

Sorry for lack of recent blogging. We're off on our Xmas travels tomorrow, to the wifi-less wilds of Ireland. Normal service will be resumed next year (maybe even with weight loss efforts included woo).

santa, by O

Big festive greetings and respect to U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III and the Dover parents.
[O]ur conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach I[ntelligent] D[esign] as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom ...

We find that the secular purposes claimed by the board amount to a pretext for the board's real purpose, which was to promote religion

They're partying over at Creation Watch (you can even download the whole trial transcript as a pdf - could come in useful as gift wrap for any ID-ers you know).

Sunday, December 04, 2005

owl cat

I may have mentioned how much I hate my menstrual cycle. Now my PMS has come back with a vengeance, and I have spent much of the past week as an utter loon. How can it be fair that I have to have this on top of already being a nutcase? Not feckin fare. Nor is it fare that my already vast body feels like it is swollen to twice normal size at the same time. Life's a bitch and then you die, eh girls?

Add to that crap eating and no excercise and you have a recipe for me feeling at my worst. I am not eating anything approaching normally. I am working on eating 3 meals a day, with the content of those meals a secondary consideration, but even that is eluding me most days. Tomorrow morning I will eat a normal breakfast. Not much of an aim but a start.

Oh and I'm always tired, and have light headed spells, despite going to bed early most nights. Bah.

Other stuff:
owl cat
We had fab time when Trin visited, her and her girls are stars. O is in love with Danz all over again.

O is arty as an arty thing right now, drawing all the time. An owl cat is but one of his latest creations.

Went to belly dance party and bought myself the most gorgeous coin belt. It was money I shouldn't've spent this close to Christmas, but I couldn't resist. It's my favourite colours (purple) with masses of silver coins, and is heavy, and makes a lovely sound.

Am still doing maths for loonies, currently on Fun With Triangles wooo.

Will blog more soon.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

that's Christmas sorted then

tekstaGot O's Big Present today. I'd got him something else, ages ago, but he wrote his Santa List at the weekend and it seems he has his heart set on Texter the Robotic Puppy. I'd never heard of it, I thought perhaps it was some kind of txting dog thing but a google for 'robotic puppy' reveals the thing's called 'Teksta' and available in Woolies for 30 of our English pounds. So now it's safely stashed in the back of the filing cabinet, along with his other pressies. Most of which are from ebay or TK Maxx. The Chocolate Orange is probably the only one that's new and not last season's. Meanwhile my poor parents have spent all day looking for the "Shark Boy and Lava Girl" DVD for him. They wanted to get him a DVD and asked me what he'd like, I said that one cos he loved it at the cinema and his friend has the DVD, so I knew it was available. So mum and dad have ShopYouths in every dvd shop in their town looking for it, before finding out it's not been released in the UK yet. Oops.

Now I just have to think of something for R's birthday. It's not fair, our anniversary, his birthday and Christmas all happen within a month of each other. Anniversary pressie I have already. Christmas is easy because we've already decided we don't want presents. Well we do, obv (I personally would love an ipod and a nice shiney new bike) but the peeps in Kashmir probably needs tents more, so we've agreed on donations instead of presents this year. Everyone else is getting books or Lush things or something from the Oxfam catalogue (unless we guilt trip them into the Kashmir thing too bwahahahahaha).

Other news: Trin and girls are coming this weekend hurrah! I hope they get here thro the wind and snow eep. Mr Branson's trains not like snow. Better pack wooly hats, a shovel and a hip flask, just in case.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

acceptable face of capitalism

mojo baseball bootsI am supposed to have 0 money. I do have some money but the Inland Revenue quite unreasonably expect me to give it to them soon. Bah. So I'm not supposed to be spending anything (much). Plus I'm up to here with rampant consumerism and there's still 6 weeks to go till Xmas. But today I had an anti-consumerist shopping spree. Went to The Basement for vegan-but-nice lunch and while I was there, got myself some fair trade footwear. Then on to Oxfam books and another few quid spent on lovely lovely books mmmmm books hurrah.

Haven't told Trin yet that it's Buy Nothing Day next Saturday!

Here is an extract Jack and the Bean Stalk by O:

The beans grew and grew. Jack was shocked.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I :heart: sums

math girlI am finding this maths short course worryingly interesting. There is something nice and soothing about manipulating the numbers and watching the answer come out. I'm currently loving algebra.

Be prewarned, I am almost certainly in my maths comfort zone and this time next week I will be tearing my hair out and throwing books around the house and ranting about how stoopid it all is.

Monday, November 14, 2005

come the glorious day

Manchester is over run with, infested with, plagued with, luxury flat developments. You'd think there'd be a limited on the number of feckwits with too much money who could afford urbane urban sophisticate open plan beech and chrome palaces in the sky but no. The skyline is still as full of cranes and scaffolding as ever, ever corner you turn you see old buildings being converted or new buildings going up, to provide more flats for yuppy wankers and more trendy bars for them to drink in. The BBC's northward relocation is going to make things worse. But of all of them, if I get to chose one to be the first to be blown up come the revolution, it will be this one:


This is 'The Hacienda', built on the site of the old Hacienda and marketed with the phrase that triggered a screaming rage everytime I cycled past it "The party's over. Now you can come home". Walking past it yesterday morning, as we walked along the canal into town, I read on the back of it a timeline of the Hac, and then the famous quote "That's all over. You'll never see the hacienda. It doesn't exist. The hacienda must be built".

Now, I wasn't much of a raver even when I were a lass and I only went to the Hac a few times. And I firmly believe Anthony H Wilson is an agent of Satan. But that's not really the point. What I hate is the way the city is being airbrushed and glossed over, everything sleek and clean and airbrushed and corporate. Stop homogenising my world!

Oh and I bet few of the wankers who live there know that where quote comes from, or have ever heard of situationism.

Rant over, back to work.

P.S. Freedom for Tooting!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

you know you live in the big city when ...

... you're watching Britain's Toughest Towns and it shows Donal driving past your house.

And you know you live in a real community when you take your kids* swimming and meet neighbours and kids from school and staff from school at the pool, and the lifeguards are kind and friendly to the kids, and the people in the papershop when you stop to get a paper on the way home know you won't be buying sweets cos Friday is the kids' sweets day and you have lunch in the local cafe and the kids interupt your neighbour's late lunch with his new girlf by telling them bad jokes. And you think, for all its problems, living round here is way better than alot of other places.

* I still only have one, but we took B along with us

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

quick update

sorry peeps, been busy busy. O was 6 on Friday, we had his party on Friday after school. 15 very loud and very lively kids, it was fun but knackering. First thing Saturday me and O drove up to Durham to visit my best friend C for her birthday (R had to stay home and work awww). Our friend M (lovely man) was there too. Saturday as Bommie Night, Sunday we all went to Marsden Bay. I admired the lovely rocks, O insisted on stripping off and jumping about in the sea. The North Sea. In November. I know we are having an unseaonally warm autumn but it was still mad. He warmed up with hot chocolate in the grotto where we had lunch. Then the long drive home. Only the amount I love and miss C could get me to drive up and down the A1 in a weekend. I hate that road. Back home Sunday night and now started on my maths course hurrah (sort of).

I am vastly proud of O right now. Last week he got two gold star awards for good work at school. On Saturday he managed to see most of a fireworks display - for the past 3 years he has been terrified of fireworks. And as soon as he heard we were going to the beach he was determined to go in the water - this time last year he was terrified of the sea, too, and became hysterical when taken anywhere near it. Now he's a complete water baby. I love my little (not so little now he's 6!) boy.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Eid Mubarak

eid mubarak
Thinking of everyone marking Eid ul Fitr in Kashmir this year.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

note to self:

I am an old married lady. I must not attempt to flirt with the Nice Young Man who works in the cafe. Even if he did wink at me over the falafel.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Festival of Lights


Subh Diwali!

return of the curse

The doctor said I had to have my lovely IUS taken out cos its 5 years was up. After 5 blissful period free years, the reality of the return my real menstrual cycle is coming as a bit of a shock. Where did I put those white trousers, I need to go roller skating.

Monday, October 31, 2005

trickle treat

3 things you need for a happy halloween:

our pumpkin
Our pumpkin


my O in his skelington suit

Pumpkin soup a la Nigel Slater

Sunday, October 30, 2005

rainy day women

It was hard to get out of bed this morning, even with the extra hour From under my lovely warm duvet I could hear it was wet and windy outside. Cyling 35+ miles in it was not an attractive idea. I nearly rang CB to say I wasn't going, but I did go. BananaGuardWe modified our ride down to 25 (less exposed) miles and even fitted in a bit of shopping - I got a BananaGuardTM at last. No more squashed nanas, hurrah! And even tho the morning was wet and nasty, the afternoon was lovely and sunny.

Came home earlier than expected, to find R had forgotten all about the local Apple & Pumpkin Party, so I took O to the end of it and he got to carve his own pumpkin for tomorrow night. It's party party party all week next week - B is having a halloween/late birthday party tomorrow, then it's O's turn on Friday, then we're off to spend the weekend with C for her birthday.

today's 2 things:
  • went out cycling in spite of the weather
  • have eaten reasonably all day (no bingeing)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

something new(ish)

A few years ago I saw a psychologist for a course of cognitive behavioural therapy. A big part of CBT is working challenge and re-setting your automatic thoughts, the ones that tell you you're bad, rubbish, don't deserve nice things, everybody hates you, etc etc. At my last appointment, the psychologist recommended some things I should do to carry on working on my automatic thoughts. One thing was, at the end of every day, write down at least two things I had done that day that I could be pleased with, that I could praise myself for doing. I haven't done it for a while but I've been feeling a bit cr@p lately so I'm going to try and start the habit again.

today's 2 things:
  • took O out to the park for a couple of hours, rather than staying in lazying about all day
  • I did not smoke today

normal service

sorry 'bout the whisky-fuelled pity party last night, and thanks for the comments. I don't hate myself but I do hate quite a lot of bits of my body. I haven't the energy for a big push yet, I don't think, but I will try for a series of small nudges. Starting tomorrow once I've digested this curry ...

Hello Helen (your Manchester-based student librarians can learn the essential moves at these classes) and Fox (haven't been to Enniskillen for years)

I hate adverts. T-mobile, I vow to never buy anything from you ever, you Undertones defilers you. Also curses on whichever other mobile sellers are using the intro to "I fought the law" in their ads. I've just set up my phone to play that when R rings (everyone else is Barwick Green).` Now it sounds like I'm a crazy-frog-alike, to kids who don't even know what the song is or who did it. Gah.

Never mind, there's always gawping in awe at Google Earth to take my mind off it.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I'm fat

Me and O are visiting my parents for a few days. I have been avoiding looking in their full length mirrors. I "forgot" my swimming costume so I didn't have to go swimming with O and them. I have to admit to myself, I hate the feeling of my gut sagging over my thighs. I have to admit I'm fat and I don't like and I don't like myself. I have to get back to the weight loss cr@p. I hate it but I have to. I hate this.

I think I hate myself.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

bright lights, big city

part 1 ...

mammoth crystal
Went to That London yesterday - meeting in the morning but afternoon free hurrah. So of course I went to the NHM to look at rocks. And discovered that the aces thing about having a picture phone is that you can send you friends sms-postcards of interesting things wot you have seen.
big crystal blue john

Sadly Mr Grumblemag was too busy to meet up, so I had to make my own fun after the museum closed. No problem there tho, proceed directly to Diwana and eat fab curry (well, once they had remembered about my order). It serves gorgeous south Indian vegetarian food, the bel poori and dhosas are amazing. I love the north Indian/Punjabi style of curry you get in most curry houses, but having a different style of curry is a nice change.

part 2 ...

Had to go into Mancunium today, to change my mobile phone. Again1. Spent another hour or so in the Orange Shop. 3rd time lucky, I hope. Town was pretty horrible. A new section of the Arndale Centre has opened, featuring the World's Biggest Next and an enormous Starfucks. Ick. Had to go take O to hang out with the kewl kids to get away from the hideous corporateness. Turns out the City Council don't like them hanging around making the place look untidy, tho.
ban everything

1. I love it, but both the ones I've had so far have gone weird on me

Sunday, October 16, 2005

part-time mother

Poor R and O, I have abandoned them this weekend.

Saturday was cycling day. 35 mainly flat miles, stopping for lunch at Tatton. It was a fairly sedate pace, even by our standards, as the peloton included a 76 yr old on a 3-gear shopper. And good on her, I hope when I'm 76 I'm still up to cycling that far. On the way back home after the ride I managed a fairly spectacular fall, doing minor damage to bike and self, and in the process finally laying to rest any ill-conceived thoughts of cycling to Alderley Edge.

So I drove there this morning instead, for my first OUGS field trip. It was brilliant. Meet new people, learn new things, look at rocks and crawl around in the dark 25 metres under ground, a perfect day out.

We went down the mine in the morning. I've been down mines & caves before but only on the 'school trip' kind, with big well lit tunnels. These mines weren't like that. The only light was from the lamps on our helmets, we had to crouch and crawl in some places and even go flat out SAS-stylee at one point. Lots of interesting geology and history and mine facts. Two hours of that (not long enough!), break for toasties and cakes a the Wizard tea rooms, then on to an overground geological tour of the Edge, which was also v. interesting. Came home hungry, tired, muddy, sand and mud all down my front, and very happy. Oh, and inspired to re-read Alan Garner.

Next weekend is planned already. Sunday is cycling, but Saturday O is making me take him to the visiting exhibition at the Science Museum. Bogies!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

you know you spend too much time thinking about bikes when ...

... you have a very naughty dream featuring the man from the bikeshop. I shall never be able to look him in the eye while discussing lube and nipples again.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I love this

OK so I got it from bad Popbitch that I was slagging off the other day. But anyway, the Gallery of Bellydancing Librarians is competely wonderful. My next projec may have to be the Gallery of Bellydancing Geologists.

new friends

A geology blog. And another one. And one over there, too. I'm all 'cited about geology today (even more than usual) cos I got a place on a trip down a mine at the weekend. Hurrah. Now I'm off to play with my new toy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

hide the screwdrivers

Took the side off of the computer this afternoon. The drop of oil worked a treat, and I gave it a good clean whiel I was in there. Puter is lovely and quiet again, and everything seems to still be working fine. This messing around inside your computer could get addictive. Fortunately, mine lives in a cupboard under my desk so I shan't be tempted to get a clear case so I can watch it work. One of these days I'll built my own new puter, tho, and maybe incorporate an aquarium or hamster hotel.

Another thing that's addictive is buying things for my lovely new phone. Apparantly I can buy a bit of software that'll mean I can have my Outlook diary on my phone! Whooo, where did I put my credit card ...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

teenage dirtbag babysitter

hoodiesSo, tonight we're off out to the El Salvador benefit, leaving O in the hands of a neighbouring 16 year old. J keeps his head covered at all times - the one time I saw him without a beanie or hoodie on, I didn't recognize him. He is trying manfully to grow a facial hair feature but it's a bit too bumfluff yet. He looks like the kind of youth the Daily Mail warn you about, and he is an extremely nice young man. Did well in his GCSEs1, just started college, wants to go to university. Is nice to the little kids, even plays with them sometimes. Is of course O's all time hero, who makes him want to be a dude.

So I am not worried about leaving O with him (plus I know he has babysitting experience, and his mum will be at home a few doors away). I'm just worried about what provisions to supply. My mum always laid out a tray with snacks etc for the babysitter. I'm not going that far, but as I can't get in wine like I do for grown up babysitters (much as I'm sure he'd like it!) I txt Trin for advice on what to feed teens. Apparently their staple diet is coke, dorritos and jaffa cakes, so I'm off out to Asda to stock up.

J looks like he spends his weekends hanging out with in Cathedral Gardens. I hope he does, it's goth-sk8r-mosh2 heaven (Abby needs to go there, as soon as she's finished in Afflecks [noisy link] - it's like a walking advert for Afflecks). They all dress up like freaks (or is that phreaks?2) and hang out. Yay. I would a hundred times rather O grew up like that (whatever the version is of it in 10 years time), with some spark of individuality, than some anodyne top-40-listening, topman-wearing, consumerist, trafford-centre-hanging-outer, kind of teen.

1. Showing my age there, nearly typed O-levels
2. Excuse any inappropriate use of teenage vernacular, but you get the idea

Monday, October 10, 2005

one for trin

The ChavTest1, question 38:
Have you or has anyone you know got an outdoor hot tub?

I do hate the word 'chav', it's so feckin snobby, all that popbitch laffing at the oiks crap. But then again, there are some people who are .. just ... I mean, they are shopping in Primark at 11 o'clock on a Monday morning with their kids. Madam, seriously, Chantelle, Chardonay and little Kyle should be at school, not having you screaming at them while shopping for poor-quality leisure wear.

1. my result:
You are 18 % chav
You clearly know you are not, nor will you ever be anything even closely resembling a bonafide chav but that doesn't stop you from jumping on the bling bandwagon every now and then. There's nothing wrong with a bit of pretending though you'll never be able to hold your own with the true Burberry brigade.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

close to home

Earlier in the week, I arranged to call in and see my friend A today. When I got there everyone was glued to BBC News 24 for news of the south Asian earthquake. I've never seen so many phones in one place, outside of a phone shop, as I saw there today. A's landline, her mobile, her son and daughter's mobiles, her son-in-law and daughter-in-law's mobiles, all lined up on the coffee table. A is from Kashmir, as are her son- and daughter-in-law. They have family and friends there, so many people they are so worried about. Some they've heard some and some not. So they're waiting and worrying and hoping.

Meanwhile my neighbour, who is from El Salvador, is organising a benefit night on Tuesday in aid of those affected by natural disasters there, the volcano and the hurricane. Hopefully we'll get a babysitter so R & I can both go - I can't remember the last time we went out together without O.

Techno news:
  1. communicatorfed up of my mobile's battery not staying charged for longer than 30 minutes, I went and bought a new phone. The first 'proper' (ie not off the man on the market) phone I've ever bought. Wooo. It had to be clam shell, natch. Beam me up Scotty and I'll change those laws of physics. At least I will when I've been back to the shop to sort it out cos one of the menus has stopped working and also, despite Trin's best efforts, I can't get picture messaging to work boo.

  2. feckin' ZoneAlarm. Since I installed the latest updates, neither of our puters work properly with t'interweb (Firefox cannot get online at all, so I am reduced to reverting to IE. I miss my tabs!) Turns out I am not alone in this. Happy few hours to be spend uninstalling and then installing an earlier version. Joy. And no I haven't sorted the fan business out yet. Nor have I taken my bike to have the broken spoke fixed, either.

Friday, October 07, 2005

ho ho hmmm

Only 80 days to go! FFS. Bah humbug mutter moan etc. santa-online.comHowever, for the first time in my entire life, I have actually started thinking ahead about Xmas. Oh yes, Santa's been to Ebay - so far I've won auctions for a pair of walkie-talkies, a kid's City shirt and a good-as-new Junior Monopoly set. I also have my eye on Pokemon games for his gameboy colour and some other bits and pieces. Actually, I probably need to cut down on the ebaying, I'm becoming slightly obsessed. But I have had some top bargains, incl. clothes for me. And O is growing out of his bed, so I have my eye on a couple of auctions for 'high sleepers'.

I didn't get around to fixing the puter in the end. In fact I didn't get round to doing anything much. I was struck by some kind of Lurgy and spent much of Wednesday and Thursday sleeping. Still not feeling 100% today but have to get some work done, then am looking after friend's son later. I'm a bit worried about him, I think he's a bit backward. Nearly 3, and doesn't know his Percy from his Oliver! Fortunately, O is having a mini Sodor-relapse and so will be able to give him some intenstive coaching before he goes back into rehab.

In other news: My Son, The Next Jamie Oliver:
  1. At my parents' do, O happily ate cabbage and carrots. When I suggested he have some green beans cos he usually likes them, he said no because he'd already tried them and they didn't taste of anything much. Assembled aunties and uncles were astonished! "Our grandchildren will only eat chicken nuggets!" etc etc.
  2. We went out for lunch on Saturday, O insisted on ordering the Skelington Fish (Grilled Trout) he'd seen R have before. 5 year old child eats trout shocker! Even if he did insist on playing with the poor dead fish's skeleton first.

OK, I know I'm being a bit smug here and quite a lot of it is luck. He's a generally well behaved child, and is not particularly fussy (unlike his mother *blush*). But there must be an element of "If you feed 'em chicken nuggets, that's what they'll eat" to it, too. Where did this idea come from, that children need special food of their own and can't possibly be expected to eat real, normal food?

And finally, top xmas shopping tip: TK Maxx have ace tins of ammaretti-type biscuits in now. The tins are v nice and decorative. Ideal pressies for aunties and such.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

ooh lookie

As an engineer's daughter I should've known, you can fix anything with a drop of oil, although apparantly squirting the Sacred Spray around your puter is not recommended (Dad, put that can down right now!). *Wonders if bike chain oil will do the trick ...* Failing that, there's always the trusty Brummie Screwdriver.

I may be gone some time

Eep my puter is making horrible noises and sounds like it's about to blow up. I think it's probably the fan, so I'm gonna replace it this afternoon when I finish work. Mind you, I have no idea what kind of fan I need. Are they much of a muchness or do I need to get the right kind of fan for my CPU? Plan for today is:
  • Make backups
  • Go to puter shop
  • Find screwdriver
  • Wreck Fix my puter
S, if I fall off on t'interweb for a while, you'll know why.

Other news: Life Imitates Art: Turn it up to 11, Mick

Monday, October 03, 2005

afternoon off

My course is finished. I of course left finishing the final assignment to the last possible minute, ended up staying up most of Friday night, but got it in the post on time on Saturday morning. I think, I hope, I've done enough to pass. One year down, four more to go. My next course starts in February, so I'll have a few months off. Or at least, I will if I don't sign up to do Maths for Loonies Science over the winter.

When I came back from the Post Office on Saturday, it was a weird feeling to think I had no more studying to do. I spent the afternoon lying on the settee reading, completely guilt-free, no nagging thoughts that I should be doing something else. Sunday was bike ride day (33 miles, very flat and easy going). Today I am getting my tax return sorted out.

Once I have no study stress and no tax-return stress, I'll have no need to keep comfort eating and will be able to concentrate on getting back on the path of d**t righteousness. Won't I?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

how does it feel?

You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.

Someone I know, in a friend-of-a-friend kind of way, got evicted from her house today. She's a smackhead, her kid's in care, her life's a complete feckin mess. Today I am grateful that however fecked up I might feel my life is, I've been able to hang on and not sink into that kind of horrid pit.

Yes I have been transfixed by No Direction Home. And so should you. If you've missed it, watch it at the next available opportunity. Then listen to his music. Every day. If by some oversigght you do not already own (and/or are not word-perfect on) the complete works of Bobby Zimmerman, what are you playing at? Go get those records now!

And it makes a change from Megablocks Dragons.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Sorry for lack of posting, been all busy, what with study and work and shopping. Gah I hate shopping but it had to be done, for to look all lovely at Mum & Dad's meal tomorrow (thanks for the advice on that btw). But here is some random stuff to be going on with ...

  • World's Thickest Man in "Who's the daddy?" shocker
    Emma finally tells Ed that Will (his brother and her husband) is not the father of her baby - Ed is. Shock horror omg etc. FFS, how is Ed supposed not have noticed that this woman, the love of his life, who shagged him on her hen night then still married his brother, gave birth 9 months after their tryst? Ed may be a Grundy, and may not be the sharpest tool in the box even by Grundy standards, but he wouldn't even need to use all of his fingers to count to 9. And he's a stockman/farmer type, cows and humans have the same gestation period (true fact), it wouldn't've taken much for him to work it out. Or even to just wonder, just a little teeny bit. Anyway, it's poor ClarrieLuv I feel sorry for.

Monday, September 19, 2005

help needed

Next week it's my parents' ruby wedding anniversary, so they're having A Bit Of A Do. The question is, should I (and/or my sister) make some kind of speech? Our family doesn't go in for big gestures, speeches, being demonstrative, etc. I was thinking maybe just proposing a toast to them might be the thing to do? Feck, I hate that I am nearing 40 and still have no idea how to behave in public. Nor any idea what to wear (I am about to go and throw myself at the shops and hope something vaguely suitable sticks).

Blog of the day: BadScience. I :heart: Ben "serious fuck-off academic ninja" Goldacre.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

in the big city ....

... you go to pick your child up from school and find the road closed by the police because someone's just been shot. Feck.

today's 'to do' list

  1. Finish assigment
  2. Talk to O's teacher about how hard he is finding the move from Reception (skool-lite) to Year 1 (skool-proper) - so much so that he claimed to be too sick to go yesterday and this morning was crying and wailing about how he wants to 'quit school'
  3. Watch 2nd episode of Nighty Night
  4. Return a stack of emails
  5. Type up some minutes
  6. Write a report for work
  7. Draw bootiful flowchart for above report for extra brownie points
  8. Stop going over and over what happened yesterday with the neighbours
  9. Stop ebaying for new clothes as a diversion from all of the above

Monday, September 12, 2005


bah! 1: Ingurland win Ashes

bah! 2: just had stand-up row with neighbours over their 11 year old daughter's behaviour. We see her picking on, being nasty to and generally bullying the younger kids, her parents see her as an ickle angel.

bah! 3: still not finished my assignment, it has to be in tomorrow so I think I'll be up all night and stalking my tutor by going to her host to post it.

bah! 4: weighed self. Have settled back to my default weight ie 17.5 stones.

proud to fail the cricket test

Feck off Tebbit, we're rooting for Horny Warnie. I have applied the Ceremonial Sun Block.

horny warnie in action

R has taken the day off work so he can watch the last day of the last test of the Ashes series. I'm working but listening to TMS - cricket is always better on the wireless, but it's not the same without Johners.

What's your Aussie nickname? (Mine's "Sandgroper").

Saturday, September 10, 2005

my cat is back!

He came home at 2 am this morning, very hungry and thirsty but otherwise seems OK. Maybe he read my blog and realised we were worried about him?

my cat's gone

One of our cats is missing, we have't seen him since Wednesday. Hope he comes home soon.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

back to normal

O went back to school today, very excited about being in Year 1 and allowed to go on the Big Climbing Frame (off limits to Reception class & nursery, he's been desperate to get on it for 2 years). He has 2 teachers again this year, splitting the week between them. The first-half-of-the-week teacher unfortunately reminded me of Jill from the brilliantly awfully horribly painfully hideously brilliant Nighty Night. Candy pink eyeshadow is so not a good day-time look for anyone over the age of 12.

I have been Open Universiting like mad, got to get the last assignment of the course in by next Tuesday and it is v. hard physics eep and no chance of an extension, then straight after that we have to get an end of course assessment in. And this weekend I am already committed to visiting an old friend who's having a rough time, plus the usual Sunday bike ride. And a pile of work work to do, too. Oh and some work I have to do for the community association.

And I s'pose I'd better think about re-starting the weight loss groove thang, if only so I can improve my cycling times. My fat club meeting was cancelled but seems to have started up again. I can't go tomorrow (meetings meetings) but I should go next week. And start thinking about getting back to at least eating like a normal person instead of a crazed binger from hell.

In other news: my neighbours seem to have broken up then got back together, and added another woman into the mix, too. That's another thing on my to-do list: invite their 6 yr old round for tea and get the inside track on the menage-a-trois.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

done it

It was the day of the 100 km bike ride today and we did it. I cycled to the start in the morning (and got a puncture on the way boo) so in total I've ridden 67.5 miles (108.5 km in new money). R & O were at the finish to cheer me and take a photo and buy me ice-creams. I've raised £250 for charidee - thanks to everyone who sponsored me xxxxx. CB and I have already agreed that next year we're doing the 100 miles.

In other news: we had a great holiday and I'll post more about it another day. Now I'm off to have a lovely bath and then eat the yummy tea R is cooking.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

here comes the summer

this afternoon I've been pogoing round the living room to listening to *noisy link warning* Undertones CDs. They were the first proper band I was into. They come from the same part of the world as R, and I was wondering if him sharing an accent with my girlhood heroes was part of what attracted me to him? R comes home this evening, we are going to pick him up later. Meanwhile, my essay on the rock cycle is not getting written. I need a Mars Bar.

Ah well, if I don't get my degree in maths, physics and bionics, I am considering alternative career options. Inspired by heavy metal belly dancer Tazina, perhaps I could be come a punk rock belly dancer. Hmmm, maybe Rachid Taha has vacancies ...

Friday, August 19, 2005

16 days!

Looking at the little count down thingy in my side-bar tells me that it's only 16 days till I do this bike ride. OMG. It's 62 miles and I haven't done over 50 in one go yet (tho' I have done 47+ twice). Ah well, it's all for charidee I s'pose. Just better make sure I get some biking in between now and then. We're going away for a week but hopefully we will hire bikes and spend a day cycling.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

in touch with my inner primate

O and I have got hair bugs. Again. So it's out with the nit comb and the leave-in conditioner. There is something strangely satisfying about spending half an hour combing and grooming one's offspring.

Although in the wild, I suspect mummy orangutans don't keep the kids quiet with a Power Rangers video while they do it.
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Awwww. Just never call them monkeys ...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

my baby takes the morning plane

Up early yesterday to take R to the airport, for his flight to Brazil. It was a hell of a long trip - 17 hours with 2 changes - he probably worked his way through all of the new sudoku puzzle book I gave him for the trip on the way. But he got there safely in the end - we had a quick email from him this morning.

So O and I are on our own for a week. I'm trying to work and study and get stuff ready for our holiday next week and feed O and all that stuff. I have no idea how people manage who have to be parents on their own all day every day for ever. The thought of doing if for longer than a week scares me. Respect to single parents everywhere!

O informed me today that he is a 'dude'. I can't join his dude gang. To be a dude you have to wear shades, like rock 'n' roll music, be a daredevil and be a boy.

Friday, August 12, 2005

an important message for everyone

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leaves me plenty of scope

other news in brief: R is getting ready to go Brazil, I am mad busy with work and course work, and R is addicted to playing SuperMario on his Gameboy. OK back to work now ...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

when I grow up I want to be

Genteel Lady Geologists
Back from summer skool, had a fantastic time. Did lots of science, met lots of interesting people and saw some lovely rocks. But now I have work to do for that course on top of all the course work I was already behind with before I went. Which means no more time to blog for now, boo.

Friday, July 22, 2005


This blog has gone to summer school. See you in August xxx

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

it's all going horribly wrong

I need a time turner. I have a pile of work to do, several overdue assignments for my course, meetings to go to, kid/s to look after, the house is a mess, I'm playing Single Parents for a week while Rob's at a conference, I have to get everything finished by Friday cos I go to my summer school first thing on Saturday. So naturally I have been spending every spare minute reading the new Harry Potter book. Finished it last night, feeling most smug that my guess at the identity of the Half-Blood Prince (made before I started reading) was correct.

Oh, and I have also been stuffing my face. Bad bad bad. Why is it that when I start to panic, I immediately feel the need to stuff my face?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

coming out-rage

I am this: angry.

Today I found out that a neighbour's son is gay. Hopefully you know me well enough to know I'm not angry about that. What I'm angry about is the reason I found out was when his dad rang me to cancel a meeting we had arranged, because he had to go visit his son in hospital. Because his son had been queer-bashed. Unbelievable. It wasn't in Manchsester but in another large English city. I somehow fondly imagined such things don't go on anymore but they do. Bastards. I've known the lad since he was 12, now he's 19 and studying medicine at university and seems to have grown into a nice young man. He's going to be OK and will probably be out of hospital tomorrow, but he shouldn't have been there at all. The idea that someone would beat him up for any (or no) reason is bad enough but for it to happen because he's gay makes me so sick and angry.

I am also this: stunned. By the fact that the London bombings seem to have been carried out by some lads from Yorkshire. I don't know why that makes it worse than them having been carried out by some highly trained Al-Qaeeda cell from Abroad, but it does. Maybe cos I know lots of lads like them, second generation Asian lads, and can't begin to imagine how one of them would become a suicide bomber.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

do believe the hype

HP6I'm so excited, only 4 days to go till I can read the new Harry Potter book. I don't think R realises I am actually serious about being in the book shop at midnight to get my hands on my copy. I know it's all a bit of a hype, that the HP books are rather derivative, that there is better children's literature about. But. I still love the HP books, I need to find out what happens next and most of all I'm glad to live in a time when people can still get so excited about a book.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Tour de Cheshire

Cycled 47.5 miles today, earning nearly a day's worth of points hurrah. We won't mention the ice-cream stop hem hem.

CB kindly donated me a spare pair of cycling shorts in size mumble mumble. I was most grateful, both for the extra padding in crucial places and for having shorts in this weather. The people of Cheshire were probably not as grateful to see my lycra-clad @rse pootling through their lanes, prompting the local youth to shout 'humorous' remarks as they zoomed past in their max-power mobiles. Yes I have a fat arse but I'm on this bike working it, whereas you are just sitting on yours.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

horrible day

It's still very confused, hard to know exactly what's happening, looks very much like bombs have gone off in London on the underground and the buses, people killed and injured.

Thinking of everyone I know in London, emailing to check they're OK, wishing people with blogs would update them with a line to tell us how they are. Hoping everyone, and everyone they care about, is safe.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

begin the day with a friendly voice

Woken early this morning by banging and loud music, and began cursing my new upstairs neighbour until I realised the noise was coming from downstairs and from inside our house. While looking for CBeebies on the digibox, O had come accross Kerrang Radio and was happily pogoing round the living room.

My mum and my sister are coming today to help me choose new glasses. I can't tell what suits me by myself, and R was no help, he just said 'fine' or 'do you like them?' to all the pairs I tried on. At the moment I have quite chunky plastic frames but I might go for something light and metal. I've always had to have plastic cos of a nickel allergy, but now the titatium ones are in my price range wooo.

Eating has been going OK. Not brilliant, as I've been over my points most days, but much more under control and I am pointing (mostly) so going in the right direction. FatClub tonight eep.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Everyone coming here looking for info on making scoubies might want to take a look at this - it's the new black, apparently. Which reminds me, I read this article in my parents' Sunday Telegraph (the shame, the shame) which sounds eerily familiar (can't link it cos stoopid Torygraph insists on login to access articles) ...
Like life, you start with 'DNA'

Making a Scooby may be child's play, but it sure ain't easy.

"Now, just watch me this time," instructed six-year-old Mia Seabrook. "Make a white loop. Now make a blue loop. Put the white string through the blue loop, put the blue one through the white loop. Now pull all the strings."

She gave the threads a yank and added yet another perfect segment to her keychain.

I was in a north London garden for a crash-course in Scoubidouing. Mia and her four friends were surrounded by garish key-chains and bracelets. With guides like this, how could I fail?

I followed Mia's example, made my loops and gave the strings a pull. The threads slipped helplessly past one another. "You have to concentrate really, really hard," said Mia.

I concentrated really, really hard and failed again. The girls began to laugh and my self-esteem plummeted.

"A Scoubidou pattern's always a big challenge when you first start," said nine-year-old Georgia Hayden. "That actually makes it more fun. And then, once you've learned how to do it, you can teach other people."

The other girls nodded. "Now try it slowly," said Mia. I went slower than a sedated pensioner in a Robin Reliant. I gave the strings a cautious tug. Suddenly the scoobies were irreversibly tangled in an ungainly knot.

"Tony, I just don't think you're ready for the square Scoubidou. You should probably try something a bit easier," said Georgia.

And with that I was unceremoniously demoted to the "DNA" model. DNA might be pushing it - the pattern looked more like a winding staircase than a double helix - but at least it was much simpler.

"Hey," I cried. "Look. I can do it. I can do it."

The girls were supremely unimpressed. "Of course you can," said Greta, Georgia's little sister. "That one's easy."

Children can be so cruel.

Lots of bike stuff on the cards today, tho not actual riding thereof. All our gears need their indexing sorted (all hail Mighty Sheldon, who knoweth all things) and we'll be watching stage 2 of le tour.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

it had to happen

sooner or later I knew it would happen, but it still hurts when your child criticises you for being fat. I asked O why he plays games with N's mum but bans me from his games. "She's not so fat as you" was the answer. I don't think that's really the reason (and I'm certainly fitter than N's "greener than thou has a bike but drives 2 miles to the organic shop" mum). But it is true and it hurts.

On a happier note, in between feeding kids and trips to the park, I've been looking for where we should go on holiday. It's not certain we can go - R has to pay a lot of travel expenses for conferences up front, and if he doesn't get the money back in time we won't be able to afford to go anywhere - but hopefully we will be able to stretch to a week's camping. I now have my heart set on going to this part of Pembrokeshire, there is perfect sounding campsite there.

make capitalism history

Live8 leaves a bad taste in my mouth. In what way is fatcats paying £599 to listen to Dido going to change the world? The original LiveAid didn't. It's not about making really change, it's not addressing the real inequalities in our world that make people poor, it's not saying anything about the wars ravaging parts of Africa, it's not telling people that if we want 'them' to have more then 'we' might have to have less.

change the worldLive8 ain't the only game in town, pop along to Dissent Network, G8 Alternatives and Indymedia for 100% ageing rock-star free protest. Me, I'm staying home and running a creche so parents can go protest. O is going to be so p1ssed off to find out some parents don't make their kids go on demonstrations with them. We've done our (tiny) G8 bit by going on the G8 bike ride critical mass. I couldn't go cos of work boo but R and O went, I think O even enjoyed it.

OK so that's what I won't be watching on TV today. Guess what I will be watching tho? Hurrah for the power of digibox!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

still fat

Fat Club last night, put on a pound. Boo. Not surprising as I haven't been pointing and haven't been being mindful about what I eat. As of today I am starting pointing again. It's sooooooooooooooooooooooo boring. Boring boring boring. I can tell I'm on a diet, cos I'm drinking options drinks again. New flavour whoo, tastes just like a bounty bar in a mug.

Hello Robin, nice to meet you. I'll put you on my blogroll as soon as blogrolling lets me.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

'that' question

O asked me The Question this morning. He already knows that to make a baby, daddy gives mummy a seed. Now he wants to know how the baby gets inside mummy's tummy. So I told him (in age-appropriate lack-of-detail, obv). Oh, he said. Then, can I have an ice-pop?

In diet news: things were not so good yesterday. Had to catch a train at 6.45 am, got up a little late so not enough time for breakfast. Grabbed a couple of bananas and thought that would see me through but the train was delayed and my tummy was rumbling and I ended up snacking innapropriately from the on-board shop. At least I was kept busy all day and had little time for eating biscuits during coffee breaks. Plenty of fresh fruit on the lunch buffet, which was good except that the apples were a horribly bland and mushy variety ick. A not-perfect but could've been worse purchase from M&S did for my tea. So not too bad a day. Not getting any exercise this weekend, tho - cried off bike ride so I can catch up on my studies. Which I'd better get back to, I spose

Thursday, June 23, 2005

touch my buns

Thanks to everyone for the nice comments yesterday. DG is not the only one to have commented on the effect of cycling on my gluteus maximus. I was at the doctor's this morning for a smear test and the nurse remarked on how muscley my bum is.

Am feeling positive today about eating right. Won't be able to go to belly dancing tonight tho, cos I have a meeting booo. And I have to go to a conference all day tomorrow. But I have plans for a bike ride this weekend, at least.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

fatclub night

Weigh in tonight, and I've lost 4.5 lb. And I wasn't even pointing! This week I've been concentrating on sticking to normal eating patterns. I think the loss is due to 2 things. Firstly, a lot of it will be water. I have been eating so much salty rubbish recently, now I've cut back on the rubbish my body probably notices the difference. Second, I've cycled about 75 miles in total in the past week. My average speed is just under 10 mph, so that's seven and a half hours exercise.

For the coming week, I'm still not ready to point everything yet. I'm going to work on getting my fruit and veg intake back up, keep on working on the water, and keep on exercising. Pointing the week after, maybe.

Monday, June 20, 2005

keeping busy

Busy busy busy here.

Saturday: Bike ride, with our new cycling companion so now there's 3 of us, and we did 40 fairly flat miles.

Sunday: Father's Day so we took the bikes on the train and cycled the 10 miles along picture-book English country lanes to see Dad. We were planning to cycle back to the station but summer thunderstorms hit and we got a lift back instead.

Today: Lots of work to get through. While I've been in binge mode I've been in the habit of going out to buy cr@p before starting any work or study. I thought of doing that today, then I made myself think about it some more, and eventually talked myself out of it. After school O and I cycled to his gymnastics class - a lovely 9 mile round trip through the beautiful heart of Shameless country I was helping out with the mats, and one charming little girl kept commenting on my large stomach. She even asked me if I was having a baby. Sigh.

Friday, June 17, 2005

the awful truth

yes Jude, I went to FatClub. I got weighed and actually it wasn't as awful as it could've been. I weigh below (just) my heighest weight from last year so tho I have gained nearly everything back I lost, I've not gone over what I weighed before it all started. Must be the excercise that's doing it, as I have been stuffing my face for months now.

I'm breaking myself back in gently to FatClub mode, tho. This week I'm not going to point things, I'm just going to work on getting my eating back on keel and reverting to something approaching normal healthy eating patterns. Our FatClub leader used the Women's European Championship as the basis for a rather strained extended metaphor likening dieting to football, but she did end with a suggestion I found really useful: that we should issue ourselves with dieting red and yellow cards. Red for something you must definitely stop doing and yellow for something you need to be careful of or limit. These are mine:
  • RED CARD - mindless eating
    I will be mindful of what I eat and drink, and I will stop and think before eating
  • YELLOW CARD - limit wine and nuts to Fridays only
    somehow this has crept up to several nights a week, from now on it will be limited to wine and pistachios on BB eviction night only
So far I am not doing too badly, have been eating normally and drinking plenty of liquids (not all water, lots of sugar free squash), went belly dancing and have two long bike rides planned for this week.

Other news: O saw me looking at stuff on ebay and asked what it was, I said it was a power rangers duvet cover. Since then he thinks that PR Duvet Cover is another PR series, like PR Ninja Storm or PR Dinothunder, and has been asking his friends to play PR Duvet Cover with him. It is very sweet and very funny, I just hope none of the other kids laff at him.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

who needs feminism?

We're all equal now, right?

Yeah, right. That's why I had these conversations yesterday with 2 different women, about my own age, who I really expected better of

Neighbour: I was just wondering if O's daddy knows much about computers
Me: No, not really
Neighbour: Oh, OK, it's just that my son's trying to fit this new doo-dad to his computer and he's not sure he's doing it right.
Me: Sorry, O's daddy doesn't know much about computers. O's mummy has installed new hard drives, set up a wireless network and fixed most computer problems she's come accross but hey, what would she know about it?

OK so I didn't say the last bit. And she did at least look embarassed when the gender of our household geek was revealed. Tho I didn't fit the doo-dad (he'd bought the wrong thing, he needed a thingummy instead).

Me: so, we all cycled 25 miles yesterday, O did really well on his trailer bike
Friend: yes and well done to R for cycling all that way and towing the trailer up hills
Me: umm, R wasn't towing the trailer, I was

Gah. Where did I put that t-shirt?
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Sunday, June 12, 2005

fun for all the family

This being National Bike Week, I made O and R come on a guided ride to Styal. It was 'only' 25 miles in total. That's the furthest O or R have ever cycled. I towed O on the trailer bike and feel like I've ridden twice as far, particularly as my seat post slipped down without my realising it - my knees and bum are paying for that now.

I have done sort of ok-ish trying to get myself kick started to losing weight again. Of the three things I said I would do:
  • no crisps - I have actually managed to keep this up! I haven't overcome my passion for salty snacks (there have been nuts) but I've said no to crisps all week.
  • drink 500 ml of water a day - I've done this about half the days this week. Some days I have omitted to get the water bottle out of the fridge at all.
  • go to belly dancing and do 1 other excercise - did go belly dancing, but didn't to any other (the bike ride falls into this current week not the past week). I was going to go swimming on Friday evening but ended up going out to eat pizza and drink wine and listen to music instead

My aims for this week are going to be:
  • stay off the crisps and limit other salty snacks
  • drink 500 ml water a day
  • do 3 exercise events this week (bike ride today counts as one)
  • go to FatClub on Wednesday

Sunday, June 05, 2005

every day in every way ...

Back to baby steps. Again. 3 things to do this week:
  • no crisps
  • drink 500 ml water every day
  • go to belly dancing (not been for weeks) and do 1 other excercise

Am trying to be positive rather than dwelling on how cr@p I've been lately. I might even go back to FatClub next week (can't this week, have a meeting on Wed eve).

Went on a bike ride today, something else I haven't done much of lately. 42 miles to Pemberley. There were hills (some I had to get off and push up) and now my bum hurts. But at least I can ride 40+ miles now - a few months ago doing 13 miles killed me. I need to at least keep up my excercising, even if everything else is out of control.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

an omen?

This morning I received a card from Fat Club, teling me I could re-join and not have to pay for missed weeks. I haven't been to FC for about 2 months now. I have been stuffing my face with anything I can lay my hands for about 2 months now. I know I'm using food as a drug right now. Question is, will going back to FC help me regain some self control?

In other news: O has got chickenpox. He's not actually that ill now, not after the first day of fever and such, now he's just spotty and itchy and bored of not being allowed to play with anyone (he's in quarantine till Tuesday). Trying to keep him amused with games and puzzles and such - today we built our own volcano Most unfairly, he is hogging the freeview box to watch C bloody Beebies all day long, when I should be watching Big Brother live streaming on E4! The sacrifices we mothers make for our kids ...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

didn't we have a lovely time

Had a fun and busy couple of days with Trin and girls visiting us. Spent Tuesday morning in teen goth heaven, went bowling in the afternoon and had a fun evening with a house full of kids (during which O came up to me to ask if I'd "sexed anyone?"). On Wednesday we just hung out and had lunch in the cafe. I tried to learn to do scoubies but small girls laffed at my efforts. Danz is scoubiemeister and was giving masterclasses in the cafe. O is a in love with Danz, because "she speaks in a beautiful way and she can make scoubies".

Friday, May 27, 2005

bye bye life

Well I have had an amazingly productive past 3 days.
Got reports written for work, studied some and done some other stuff that needed doing. But this rare bout of efficiency will end at 9pm tonight. If you don't see much of me for the next few weeks, you'll probably find me over here.
panda hat
Not gonna be the same without panda *sigh*.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

bizarre phone call of the day

Ring Ring
Me: Hello?
Complete stranger: Hello, my name is Lucia, I am ringing you from Spain as part of some research.
Me: ummmm
Complete stranger: Have you drunk any beer during the past month?
Me: No1
Complete stranger: Thank you very much, goodbye


1. S'true. I drink only wine. Me is classy innit.

Monday, May 23, 2005

wtf was i thinking?

O has been lobying for this pop jr cd pop jrhe's seen advertised on the telly box, so I 'obtained' it for him. Yuck. Apologies in advance to Trin et al. At least our copy comes without the Fast Food Rockers. One has to maintain some standards.

I will be mostly spending this evening disinfecting my brain by listening to the new SOAD album very very loud thro' headphones. I laff in the face of tinitus. I might be a bit pished, listening to Tony Christie over and over again has filled me wth an urge to nip to the corner shop for half a pint of sherry.

miracle diet?

The key to successful weight loss revealed: one must ask ones self What Would Jesus Eat?
If you truly want to follow Jesus in every area of your life you cannot ignore your eating habits. ... He followed the Levitical laws. He would not have eaten pigs and rabbits or fish that did not have scales, such as crabs and shrimps

Must be eating all those gier eagles and chameleons that's made me fat, then. Maybe I should commission Danz to make me a WWJE? wrist band out of scoubies. I wonder what the biblical position on Pringles is?

Saturday, May 21, 2005

this could be a job for ....

.... SuperDanz! I know two poor deprived little girls whose mum only bought them scoubies the day after they were banned at school. So the poor little things have no-one to learn scoubie-skills from. They need a visiting scoubie expert to guide them.

so many books, so little time

Bloomin' Waterstones and their 3 for 2 offers. Get me every time. Went in for 2 books, came out with 8. My bad, cos I shouldn't have any other reading materials apart from my course books in the house right now.

Commotion in the Ocean Dig, Dig, Digging The two books I originally went in for - birthday presents for friend's two-year old twins, as loved and recommended by O. They come with free cd of the books and obv it would be v bad to copy the cds before giving the books so I won't.

Fleshmarket Close

The latest Ian Rankin, out in paperback at last yay. But I officially bought it as a gift for R so I will have to wait my turn to read it booo.

The Mapmaker's Wife

Another one for R. Caught my eye on the 3-for-2 table, about maps and the amazon and such, so I thought he'd like it.

(Gave him these by way of an acknowledgement and 'thank you' for how ace he is, particularly when I was freaking out a bit recently).

Boudica: Dreaming the Bull

Because it was sitting on the 3-for-2 piles looking interesting, and I think I heard a good review of it a while back.

Empress Orchid

"strong on both sexual chicanery and violent conspiracy". Oooooh.

Aberystwyth Mon Amour
EDIT (added because I forgot to include this book in original post d'oh) Not a 3-for-2 book shock. The first one in a series - I've read Last Tango in Aberystwyth, picked up on a previous 3-for-2 without realising it was the second in a series. I really hate reading a series out of order bah. But anyways Last Tango was excellently bizarre Welsh-noir detective fiction with added druids. Looking forward to reading the first one now, then onto the third.

Eye Wonder: Eye Wonderfor O. I've always loved DK, they publish the most excellent, inspiring, fascinating reference books. O loves them too. He has Eye Wonder Ocean & Eye Wonder Rainforest, and said he wanted the others in the series (Space & Dinosaurs). He loves non-fiction, he adores gathering facts and information about things. He's such a boy. Mind you, if I get through this course it will be partly thanks to O's DK books. And partly thanks to everyone who's helped make Wikipedia's science entries. The entry on ecosystem productivity is really helping me out right now.

Can you tell we've got some money at last? Actually we don't have any real money in our pockets yet, but I banked a cheque yesterday so cheques written from now on will be safe hurrah.

Sleep over went well yesterday, despite bouts of crying and wanting to go home from the various parties concerned. My sister said I'm such a Progressive Parent, letting my son sleep with his beloved under my roof.

Friday, May 20, 2005

the excitement mounts

O is so excited he's fit to burst. Tonight has three (three? THREE? wtf was I thinking ?) coming for a sleep over - including our future daughter-in-law. On Sunday he has a party to go to. And the week after next, at half-term, Trin and gurls are coming to visit. Every day he asks 'is it half-term tomorrow?' The only cloud on his horizon is that Trin's not bringing her kitten with her.

Me, I am struggling womanfully to catch up with my course work. I didn't go belly dancing last night, so I could do some. My eating's still shot. Must get on scales soon but I know they'll say something bad. Ah well, back to oak woodland ecosystems.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

and when they were up they were up

Starting to get back on top of things, and feel like my life is under some kind of (very poor quality) control. Got my work finished and emailed off, got my OU assigment handed in at tutorial last night, can see the floor for toys, and know that there is money in the pipeline for me soon. So things looking better hurrah.

My OU tutor is ace. She is very understanding and encouraging with me when I get behind, her mobile ring tone is 'Paranoid' and she comes up with great activities and experiments - last night we were making fruit salad to illustrate some fundamental concepts in chemistry. I'm really enjoying this course, science is definitely more 'me' than social sciences (all that post-moderism *shudder*). I am still behind tho, so I have to whack quickly thro the next couple of units to catch up. So, back to the books ....

Monday, May 16, 2005

your children are not your children

Walking to school this morning, I was telling O I could smell one of my favourite smells - how the world smells after rain when it's been dry for days. O replied that his favourite smell is meatburgers.

Big Sigh. We've been having this conversation on and off for weeks now, about how he wants to be Meat. He says he's tried meat and likes it. I've explained why I don't eat meat, told him over and over that meat comes from dead animals and they kill lambs and fishes and such to make it. He still wants to eat meat. "Daddy is Meat" he says and it's true. We are vegetarian at home but R is a meat eater sometimes, and has meat and fish when we eat out. If we were both veggies it would be easier to stand firm against O's carnivorous desires. As it is, if he keeps on about it, we might say he can eat meat at other people's houses and possibly when we eat out. But our house is staying veggie, and ideally I would like him to stay on veggie school dinners. Ethics aside, I suspect that veggie school dinners are less suspect than meat ones.

Network news: now I am the household network admin, I am understanding where the BOFH is coming from. This morning R complained that he couldn't access the main pc from the laptop. I start running through what the problems could be before it occurs to me to ask "is the main pc switched on?" D'oh.

Your children are not your children
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself
They come through you but they are not from you
And though they are with you
They belong not to you
You can give them your love but not your thoughts
They have their own thoughts
You can house their bodies but not their souls
For their souls dwell in a place of tomorrow
Which you cannot visit not even in your dreams
You can strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you
Strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you

'On Children' : performed by Sweet Honey in the Rock
Lyrics: Kahlil Gibran, Music: Ysaye M. Barnwell
listen to an mp3 at

Sunday, May 15, 2005

my bad

Yesterday was my mum's birthday, so we spent the day with her. My parents are the only people they know on their street who don't vote Tory and don't read the Daily Mail. So of course O and I both wore evul hoodies. O on swingboat

I did wonder if we'd get slapped with an asbo before we even entered the village, but no we were allowed in and even allowed to be the only chavs at the village festival. Festival was v nice, O loved the old fashioned swing boat rides and the puppet show was ace.annoying flashing spinning noisy ball thing

My mum got her own back on my for the hoodies by buying O the type of horrible vile tacky toy we would never have been allowed as kids, a spinning light-up ball thingy that plays the same 2 lines from a bangin' choon over and over again. It's like having a fun fair in your living room, deep joy. The mean cow even bought spare batteries for it! Wish we'd kept that chocolate cake we made her for ourselves, now.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

emergency: send chocolate

It's looking like I will be up all night finishing some work that absolutely has to be finished tomorrow morning. This is entirely due to my ability to never do something today that can be put off till next week/month/year. I have coffee but there is no chocolate in the house and I need chocolate. Need. Chocolate. Now.

thursday randomness

slap happy: last week, O announced that something 'very sad' was happening at school. The Head had spoken to the whole school at assembly about incidents of 'happy slapping' in the playground. O didn't really know what it was, but this week it's been all over the meedja. Turns out Happy Slapping is the latest evul yoof craze. That and wearing a hoodie in a threatening manner. Young people today, asbo the lot of 'em, like what that nice Mr Blair says. It's a disgrace, didn't happen in ye goode olde dayes oh no. Bloomin' chavs, bet they can't even spell deviancy amplification spiral.

whale watching: there were some amazing photographs of whales in last Saturday's gruaniad magazine, and they're available to see on-line.

hair envy: the Afro-Caribbean girls in O's class have the most fantastic hair. They have braids and cornrows and mini-dreads and styles I don't know the names of, and they change the style and pattern every week. Their mums/sisters/aunties/grannies must spend hours on it, and they end up looking completely gorgeous. I think I have dreadlock envy. Not that I'm going to be growing my own - generally speaking they lookie pretty naff on us white folks. That said, one of my neighbours has beautiful long blonde dreads but in looking cool rather than crusty (or, even worse, Hoxton), she's very much the exception.

now for the science bit: if it's Thursday it must be Gruaniad Science Day. Bad Science column rocks, as ever. This week: can molecules speak English? Elsewhere, they publish extracts from Richard Feynman's letters:
I am sure of nothing, and find myself having to say "I don't know" very often. After all, I was born not knowing and have only had a little time to change that here and there. It is fun to find things you thought you knew, and then to discover you didn't really understand it after all.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

not teacher's pet

O has 2 class teachers, who teach half a week each. One of them has gone on maternity leave. Since she went off there have been supply teachers covering the class, and now we have a 'permanent' (til the end of term) replacement.

Each week the kids have a reading book to take home, and letters or words to learn. O's reading day is Monday, when he's supposed to have his reading heard, his spellings tested, get a new book and new words, and generally (so I thought) have an opportunity for someone to spend a bit of one-to-one time assessing his progress.

Since his teacher went off to have her baby, his reading has been heard (when someone remembers or we remind them) not by the supply teacher, not by the teaching assistant, but by the learning assistant who is there primarily to support a child with special needs. Well OK, things were a bit up in the air but I assumed once the replacement teacher was in place, the teacher or teaching assistant would hear the reading. But no. So I asked the teacher about it and she seems to intend to carry on with having this support worker doing the reading, because there isn't time for her to do it and run the class.

Well how did the last teacher manage? And how can the teacher know how my child is doing if she spends no one-to-one time with him in the course of the school week? So now the first-half-of-week teacher doesn't like me for being too stroppy, and I am scouring websites and wondering if I should take it up with the second-half-of-week teacher or even with the head.

I'm cross and frustrated and don't know what to do for the best. Apart from the issue of how she can know how my child is doing, I also find it frustrating that hearing the children read is something to be fitted in where you can and devolved to the lowliest adult in the classroom - how does that help children value reading, and feel valued for work they have put in on their reading and spellings at home? I feel like saying if she can't be @rsed to hear his homework then I can't be @rsed to do it with him. Obv I'm not going to do that, it would be counter productive, but I'm just so peed off with the situation. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Monday, May 09, 2005

I, like, totally rawk

for I have configured firewalls and routers and all sorts and now my network totally cooks on charcoal yay.


Cycled 48 miles yesterday and things hurt this morning. We rode with a group to Lower Loxley Arley Hall, had lunch there then pootled to Tatton Park for coffee & cakes. Cafe stops v. important in the life of the cyclist.

Am still making no progress whatsoever on the d**t front. Haven't been to fat club, haven't even weighed myself at home for the past 2 - 3 weeks. Motivation in temporary abeyance.

Network news: I figured out that it's my firewall making things go buggrup. If I turn it off network is lovely. Now I just have to fathom how to set the firewall to let the network work.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

my new best friend

why I am a Bad Mother: reason #253: I spent more time today talking to tech support mens in India that I did talking to my own child. And my network still isn't working quite right booo. Tech support mens v helpful tho, which was a nice change. I'm not going to blame India for all the woes of the modern world, but I find it deeply annoying that call centre staff have to pretend not to be Indian. Why do they have to say 'Hi this is Michael' when they're really Metin or Mohammed or Mohan? Are my compatriots really that narrow minded, that they'd rather not be helped by someone with a foreign name?

Gotta go bed now, got first 40 mile bike ride in the morning eep.

Friday, May 06, 2005


My network won't work properly and I have no idea what I am doing and my tech support hippy has gone to a field somewhere. Gah. Worse, R is going out for the day tomorrow and taking the laptop with him! Nooo. We need 2 laptops.

O is a very happy bunny this evening. He's been to his beloved's to play. His future mother-in-law's a goth, complete with pet snakes.

Election news: insert witty/satirical observations here.