Sunday, December 24, 2006

I'm not overweight, I'm an eco-warrior

Apparantly, being a lard arse is good for the planet. Pass the pringles, I shall be a one woman carbon sink. That should get my carbondaq account in credit.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

happy holidays

I have spent the last week doing very little - after several weeks of being constantly busy and running round the country for work, I had that 'I'm comin down with something' feeling. At least for the first time ever I am ready for Christmas, hurrah for on-line shopping. But we do have to go into town this afternoon, O wants to skate at Picadilly Gardens. And the new permanent ice-rink is nearly finished, so maybe he will get to fulfill his 'Dancing on Ice' dreams.

In other 'my son's a gay' news: we spent yesterday morning baking biscuits and listening to Abba's greatest hits. We had a friend's 4 year old with us; at one point O was choreographing dance routines for them.

Tomorrow we are off to my parents' for Christmas. This will be the first time we've been to them on the day itself since Owen was born - on the years we're not in Ireland, we have Christmas at home and then go to my parents' on Boxing day. But this year I thought it would be nice to see them on the day, my mum is very happy and has invited my sister & boyf and my aunt & uncle too, so we will have a house full and it will be fun.

If I don't blog again before then, I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas (and may you not have to listen to 'Wonderful Christmas Time' as often as I do, it being O's new favourite seasonal song that keeps supplanting the traditional Trojan Christmas on the cd player).

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I rock

Got my course results - passed my residential school (10 points) with a grade 2 pass and my main 60 point course with a grade 1 (ie distinction), scored 91% on my final exam. Go me. Am now verr' drunk having just got in from office xmas outing.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

theology 101

O had joined the school choir to take part in the Christmas musical 'Hosannah Rock' (he now says he does believe in god, or perhaps he doesn't, so he is going to be an agnostic for now).

In the spirit of primary school nativities everywhere, all the children are getting 'a part' but it seems all the good parts have gone to the juniors, leaving the infants to dress up as a motley collection of farm animals. Yesterday O was allocated a pig costume. For some unfathomable reason he is devasted about this (although not, one suspects, as devastated as little Mohammed's parents are going to be when they hear he's being a pig too). He wants me to go and see the head to find out if he can be a sheep instead, but I am a mean mum and told him he should ask himself if he can change costumes. O is terrified of getting in trouble, I have been trying to reassure him that the worst that can happen is she says 'no'.

I also remarked that pigs were unlikelly to have been found in a Bethlehem stable because Jewish people don't eat pork, and perhaps he could say that to the head. We got out the bible to check for references to pigs at the birth of Jesus. Unfortunately it fell open at the parable of the prodigal son1, which in the Good News version has an illustration of him swineherding. So much for the 'no pigs in biblical Palestine' line of argument.

1. One of my least favourite bible stories. I never liked it even when I was a god botherer. Killing the fatted calf to celebrate the bad boy's return while ignoring good one who stayed at home and did the right thing, never seemed like a good message to send out to me. Same with the lost sheep, all that being happier about one sinner who repents than 99 who never did anything to repent. Bah.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

in the name of research

Get Thunderbird
In my new MS-office-free world, Thunderbird has introduced me (at long last) to RSS feeds. One of my regular reads is "Adventures in Ethics and Science" - she's a philosopher with a PhD in physical chemsitry, what's not to love?

Whence I read about this experiment investigating the speed of a meme, being conducted by a graduate student. As I understand 1 that 'graduate student' is left pondish for PhD student, and PhD students being a subject close to my own heart, I thought I'd join in too. Go on, click the link to Scott's post, do the things he asks and help another poor student become a doctor.

Other news: eating bad. Bad bad bad. But I have a new book on my bedside table and I am going to work on it. I wish my course books for next year would hurry up and come, so I could have something to do to occupy me. I've been so used to having studying to do, I don't know what to do with myself between courses.

1. aka as I found out from wikipedia

Monday, November 20, 2006

half hearted

Things have generally been OK this week. Oh except for Tuesday when I was away from home and feeling like crap and ate two packets of hula hoops in contravention of my 'no crisps' rule. And last night I broke the 'no booze' rule - Rob & I finished the holiday whisky while watching "Return of the King" on teevee. But there was only the merest sniffter left. Also there were rather more cals/points in Hugh F-W'sstuffed squash than I anticipated. I've been bellydancing and swimming this week, and I tried to go to pilates but the instructor was ill; also took O and some mates to the park on Sunday.

My mood has been a bit low for a few days, tho, which I need to keep an eye on. Maybe I'm still on a come-down from being so busy for the last few months. In the run up to my exam and then the holiday I had to put lots of effort into keeping my energy high, so I could throw myself into getting everything done. Now I just want to throw myself onto the settee and watch repeats of "The Practice". Except ITV3 have stopped showing the Practice boo hoo hooo.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I went belly dancing last night, and as a result missed the first IACGMOOH, because my personal trainer said I had to go. My personal trainer is on at me to take more excercise generally and won't let me use the lift, I have to go up the stairs instead. My personal trainer is 7 and calls me mum.

Monday, November 13, 2006

blah blah blah

Oh flick feck arse. I hate all this dieting cr@p. But also I hate being a bleb so back on the path of rightousness I attempt to go. Weighed self this morning, as expected am heaviest ever, weighing more than Liza Minnelli. Plan of sorts:
  • no alchohol for 2 weeks
  • no crisps
  • exercise: Monday = bellydance, Thursday = pilates, Saturday = swimming
tis a start. Today I shall be mostly taking my mind off crisps by playing with my computers - wireless network tends to play up so arrival of shiny new laptop is a good time to reinstall it from scratch. Also am trying an MSOffice-free experiment on new machine, have got open office installed, now need to try playing with it to get Thunderbird and Lightning (very very frightening) to work too. Then I'm getting a feck off big external hard drive to back up all my puters on.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

anyone wanna babysit?

Being how we's old and dull me and R hardly ever go out together. Now we have 2 nights out in as many weeks and no-one to babysit since our regular babysitters went to college or turned into single parents bah. And it's on school nights so sleepover not a good option but it'll probably come to that. We've to two lots of comic genius to see - Mark Thomas on the 15th and then Jeremy Hardy on the 30th. I've quoted this before but it's well worth posting again ....
Good point well made, Mr. Duncan. As you clearly say, it states in Leviticus Chapter 18 Verse 22 that homosexuality is an abomination. Which reminds me—there are a couple of things I need guidance on. Firstly, If I wanted to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7, how much could I expect to make from such a deal? Also, my colleague Pete insists on working on the sabbath. Exodus clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or is it OK to get some outside help? Lastly, does the whole city really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side. And when I burn my mother for wearing garments made from two different threads, do I torch her whole or just a bit?

Jeremy Hardy
(thanks to the The Unofficial Jeremy Hardy Page for this)

And then deep deep joy, the HMHB fans email drops into my inbox to tell me they're playing in Manchester next February! Yay hay, see you there Nigel. I think I'll wear a black tour jacket over my Dukla Prague away kit and, if it's cold, keep warm with me Joy Division overgloves

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

spend spend spend

Now that R has a proper job (at least until next summer) we is not poor all the time anymore hurrah but the downside is I now have to pay for my OU courses myself boo hoo. So today I shelled out for next year's courses - geology and extra geology.

clarrie's shiny new laptopI need to book the summer school too but that will have to wait because I spent the rest of the money on a new laptop instead. Our old one is all old and slow and cranky with a battery life of about 10 minutes, the new one is all shiny and speedy and lovely and long lasting, and my new best friend. Tax bill, what tax bill?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Well I've been back for over a week but life just keeps happening and getting in the way of important computer stuff.
portsoy harbour panorama
Our holiday was great, NE Scotland is beautiful and the fishing village we stayed in was lovely. Other lovely places include Hopeman (top quality rockpooling) and Pennan (spot the Local Hero phone box)
We had far better weather than we had any right to expect in October, the first couple of days were glorious. It wasn't so good after that there was still lots to do; we went to the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses - it was amazing to see the lenses and reflectors close up, I'd never really thought about what they're like
reflectorsspiral stairsrainbows
and to the MacDuff Marine Aquarium - which is small but perfectly formed. It's really interesting that all of their fish etc are indigineous, and the staff are really lovely and helpful and interesting
tanksea pensstarfishgiant anemones
Owen's favourite thing of all was the ice-rink, we went twice (plus once to the swimming pool). One thing we didn't get to do was go on a boat trip to look for whales and dolphins and sharks - they weren't sailing because of the weather. We did see a seal close up in the harbour tho, awwww. Oh and visited "the world's leading malt whisky specialist" to get a pressie for R - tho he had to slum it with a bottle of GlenKeith rather than one of the malts with a 3 or even 4 figure price tag.

So, a great holiday but too much driving (C doesn't drive so it was all down to me). Going up was OK as we did it in 3 hops (Manc-Durham / Durham-Dundee / Dundee-Portsoy) but the drive back down all the way from Portsoy to Durham in one day was too much really. Then when we got back it we had to get ready for O's birthday, he was 7 last Saturday. He was very happy with the roller blades we gave him, he is very keen on honing his skating skills to perfection. He didn't have a party this year, we had a few kids for a sleepover and cinema trip instead, plus a surprise visit to the chocolate fountain.

Weightwise things are quite bad, I suspect I am now at my heaviest ever. I have been bingeing quite badly. I think I am going to spend some time working on my bingeing behaviour and try once again to get that under control, and also to increase my exercise, but I'm not going to go on an actual diet for now.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

holiday shopping

Tomorrow, me & O are off to pick up C, then on to NE Scotland for a half term post exam holiday. I have been working on holiday preparations, today I went into Waterstones for an OS map and emerged with:

Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski
A History of Modern Russia: From Nicholas II to Putin by Robert Service
- I've read a bit about Russia, including Gulag: A History of the Soviet Camps by Anne Applebaum (fascinating but harrowing) and I've read Imperium before but I can't find my copy (Ryszard Kapuscinski is one of my favourite writers); currently I'm working my way through Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag-Montefiore

Fire Sale by Sara Paretsky
- hurrah hurrah for a new V.I. Warshawski novel

OS Map of our holiday area
- it is very strange going to Abroad and finding out they don't have a national ordnance survey and no official national OS maps.

Top Trumps Sharks
the Puffin Monster Joke Book
- Hopefully these will keep O amused for part of the long car drives ahead (we also have a travel Guess Who? set yay). He has just discovered Top Trumps at his mate's house and came back raving about. I used to love Top Trumps too.

Now the only things I need (which I will hopefully be able to get when we get there) are a book of local walks and a book about the local geology.

I am told some people think you have to buy clothes and have your hair done and stuff in preparation for holidays but that is just wrong. The most important thing is to make sure your holiday reading is sorted. Then your holiday listening. Everything else takes care of itself.

Monday, October 16, 2006

getting angry

Now my exam is out of the way1 I can lift my head back out of my books and look around. And risk getting angry about stuff I read in the papers. Like all this cr@p about veils and crosses. Obviously as a card-carrying atheist I think no-one should get themselves up in a religious stylee. However to focus the debate so narrowly is to entirely miss the big picture. Only the tiniest fraction of British Muslim women wear the veil; if the 'Muslim community' is isolated from the 'main stream', lets think a tiny bit about who is isolating whom? Who is it who moves out when Asian people move into an area? Who is it who don't want to send their kids to schools with significant numbers of non-white pupils? White people that's who. And while we're at it, who's radicalising who? All this cr@p in the papers lately is making me angry as feck and I'm a white British atheist. If I was remotely of the Islamic persuasion I would, these days, only go out wearing a full veil and one of these t-shirts and carrying a copy of The Chemistry Of Explosives under my arm.

Oh and don't get me started on Madonna ...

1. Trying not to think about it now, too late to worry about what I wrote, gotta wait 2 months for the results waaaahaaaaahhhaaaaahahahahahahah

Friday, October 06, 2006

questions questions

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingHave I had my blood test results? Yesh and both glucose and cholesterol were normal. Which is thanks entirely to a fluke of my excellent genetic inheritance - someome with my appalling diet thoroughly deserves diabetes and heart disease.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingHow long have I been belly dancing? I started going about two and a half years ago, becuase I needed to do some weight-bearing excercise and it beats the cr@p out of aerobics classes.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingHow is the rate of an SN1 reaction affected by (i)the nucleophilicity of the nucleophile, and (ii)the structure of the substrate? waah I dunno help I have an exam on this stuff in less than one week

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Diet what diet?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

who are you and what have you done with my hair?

There is a strange woman in my mirror. This morning I went for a haircut, and for the first time in years spent more than a tenner on it. I asked a neighbour with good hair where she goes, and went there. The cut is good, but then the stylist decided to dry it straight "just for a change". And then she got the straighters on it. So now I have the ubiqitous straightened layers with wispy ends look that I generally pride myself on not having. The number of women who iron their hair flat1 these days is scary.

D**t news: there is no diet. Not this week anyway, the past two days have been a disaster. I have been to bellydancing, tho.

1. darn it why can't I find a still of Tracy Turnblad ironing her hair?

Friday, September 22, 2006

oh bollox

Gained a pound this week. Bah bah bah. Because I had two bouts of bingeing and did no excercise. Done it all wrong this week, need to do it less wrong next week. Angry with myself.

hamsterOther news: we might be getting a hamster yay. O is on an incentive programme to stop sucking his fingers. If he gets enough stickers on his chart over the next 6 weeks he gets a hamster. He actually wanted a dog but we negotiated him down. I'm very excited. We had a hamster when I was a kid, they are so cute. Plus I've always wanted rotastak. rotostak funfairOur poor Peanuts had to slum it in a wire cage, but I've been reading that plastic ones are better for keeping cats at bay so I've been looking up rotastak on ebay. I don't think R has noticed I actually want this hamster more than O. Perhaps he could make a sticker chart for me and if I lose a pound a week in the next 6 weeks I get a really fancy hamster palace.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Being under massive pressure of work and study, I react like any normal person ie spend inordinate amount of time prowling stationery shops looking for the perfect note book or pen or desk tidy or file or post-it, something that is the holy grail of stationery and will miraculously transform me into a super-organised straight-A student. Still haven't found it, but did find some fancy pens ideal for drawing curly arrow mechanisms and a lovely new Black'n'Red notebook.

Had my blood taken this morning (eventually, after 3 goes) and she decided to test for lipids too. So now I have a week to wait to find out how much damage I've done to myself with my crappy eating.

Monday, September 18, 2006

It's that time again, yes the students are back so I took refuge in a student free zone today ie the university library. It was nice and quiet, although I suppose later in the week it will be temporarily busy with first years being shown around ("this is the library where we keep the books - you know, the big papery things with words in - do try and remember where it is so you know where to come during that last week before exams panic and sit round with your mates talking and txting and thinking that's revision").

I have a mass of studying to do myself, the last assignment of the course is due in on Friday and extensions are not allowed. I expect I will be stalking my tutor, sneaking up his drive late Friday night to put it through the letter box. At one point I decided not to go to bellydancing tonight so I could get some more work done but then my back started twinging. Plus I remembered I have an appointment for a fasting glucose test tomorrow morning. I know I will entirely deserve diabetes if I have it, but I need to keep making healthy choices about food and exercise - becuase if I don't got it now I soon will if I don't change.

Friday, September 15, 2006

this week

Lost 2 lb hurrah. Ate over my points again boo. Excercise was 1 bellydance class and some pottering about on my bike ho hum. Next week I aim to stay within my points and do 3 lots of exercise.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I don't want to shock anyone who thinks I'm all sweetness and light, but I like a spliff as much as the next woman1 (provided it's made with 'tobacco' from those vile herbal fags rather than real fags, Mr Nick O'Teen being a far more evil villain than Ms Mary Jane). I've always been squeamish about the kind of cr@p you have to through to get. I've always got poxy little sixteenths off of friends who got if off someone else who got it off someone else who had the bottle to go and see the dealer for a big(gish) lump. And that's the trouble with draw, what with it being illegal and all, that somewhere along the line you have to deal with some fairly unpleasant people to get hold of it.

I was thinking about this yesterday while chatting with some local peeps over at the ramps, people who are all anti-corporate this and fair-trade that but smoke fags, smoke draw and probably lots of other stuff to. Yeah cos cigarette companies are so ethical innit? And drug dealers, too. We were talking about the young lad who got shot dead last weekend, not so far away from here. Almost certainly by gangs fighting over the local drug trade (tho the kid himself wasn't in a gang and ffs even if he was, he was 15, no-one deserves to get gunned down in a park at 15 years old). OK I know they're fighting over the heroin and crack trades, but the draw is part of the same system. And it's not exactly produced in an ethical manner2. Wtf is the point of rolling up a Camberwell Carrot with a the baccy from a Silk Cut and experiencing a warm smug glow as you drink your mug of CafeDirect?

Sorry about the rambling rant. Partly I am angry about the kid getting shot and worried about what will happen to O if he grows up round here, and partly I have been having the odd twinge of smoking-lust (particularly when seeing someone unwrap a fresh pack of Marlboro Lights) that I'm talking myself out of. Plus my usual ongoing rage at fluffy minded hippy foolishness.

Oh yes and I am also angry cos the council have tried to bulldozer down our ramps. Something local people have put lots of time and effort into making, something that gives kids on bikes something to do other than be drug dealer's runners, something constructive, and the feckers want to knock it down.

So no more fags or other drug's for me. I leave you with the words of Nigel Blackwell:
She stayed with me until
She moved to Notting Hill.
She said it was the place she had to be.
Where the cocaine is Free Trade
And frequently displayed
Is the Buena Vista Social Club CD.

1. Unless the next woman was C in her heyday. No-one like a spliff better than C in her heyday.
2. Also that hydroponically grown stuff is bad nasty stuff. And anyway I don't need an attack of the munchies either

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

being a good mummy

to my cats, at least. Spent a hundred quid on them at the Vee Eee Tee. They both have fleas urgh and poor Fergus has a nasty flea allergy aww so they needed pills and lotions and injections and what not. He wasn't talking to me after, at least not until I produced the shiny new brush I got them in the hope of fending off the hair balls.

In O's books I have not been such a good mummy to him lately. Having noticed how cheeky he was becoming, and particulary his habit of wailing and whinging to try and get his own way, we are having a bit of a clamp down. Poor boy ended up doing himself out of the packet of jaffa cakes he was looking forward to. I can but hope he'll get the message eventually ...

Eating is crap, or rather I am crap at eating. I cannot seem to break the bingeing habit. I have been eating better this past week or so, since I re-started my WL efforts, but still overeating. Sigh. At least I'm getting the exercise, 2 belly dance classes a week plus bits of cycling and pilates too hurrah, also we are trying to keep the house clean (and will have to have a massive anti-flea hoovering effort) and even loathsome housework burns calories.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingHaving finally got the dreaded inorganic chemistry assignment out of the way (stayed up all night on Friday to finish it, it was v poor in the end but hey ho it's finished and in) I can now move onto cramming 6 weeks' of organic synthesis into 2 weeks. But at least it is my beloved organic chemistry hurrah (plus if I'm really stuck I can impose on poor long suffering K again). Then it's 4 weeks of revision for my first exam in 20 years waaaaah. But at least I am booked on a cramming weekend although very unfairly R is going to Leipzig that same weekend. Unfair, he gets all the fun.

No chemistry was done yesterday, cos we had a family day out - me, O & R plus my mum & dad who got in free cos it was grandparent's day - at Gulliver's World. O said it was even better than the last time cos he got to go on the Antelope roller coaster and not just once but twice. Plus he had his grandad with him and they adore each other - dad had even given up golf to be there, that's how much he loves no. 1 grandson.

Eating has been not brilliant but OK, apart from one binge on Friday. We went out on Saturday night and there was wine, pizza and pudding (although the diet gods must have been watching as there was only one piece of cheesecake left so we had to share it). Took a picnic with us on Sunday, not a perfect weight loss picnic but better than eating fried sh*t at the theme park. I have to keep remembering it's all about babysteps and must not expect to undo years of poor eating in a few weeks.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Weigh in day today, I've gained a pound boo. But it may be a totm thing. My eating wasn't ideal (I ended up a day's worth of points over on the week eep) but exercising has been good (cycling, pilates x 2, belly dancing x 2) and I've been trying to drink more water. Next week will be better, I'm sure.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Everything is kind of getting back to normal. O has gone back to school and I have gone back to dieting. Had a blip yesterday - I was out all day (6 am to 11 pm) and while I was more careful that I would have been, it wasn't a good day foodwise. But apart from that I have kept at the pointing and the drinking water and such so far, and I've been exercising too - cycling, pilates, belly dancing.

Went for a bike ride on Sunday and during our 20 mile trundle, crossed paths with some riders out doing the Manchester 100. What with one thing and another we didn't do enough miles to go in for the 100 km this year (never mind the 100 miles). Maybe next year ...

Monday, September 04, 2006

g'night mate

StevoSteve Irwin died in freak stingray-sting-to-the-heart incident. I loved Steve Irwin, he was mad as a box of frogs but so phenominally enthusiastic about the dangerous animals he got ludicrously close to.

O has made me promise we will never go to Australia. His current wildlife loon hero is Austin "Snakemaster" Stevens, a high-camp, hammed-up, Irwin-lite, who runs around the bush annoying deadly snakes and getting all dramatic about how quickly their venom would kill him, because obviously his film crew and production company aren't standing right next to him with a bottle of anti-venom. He does that ludicrous thing you never see anyone else do any more, of pretending he is all alone in the wild. Bah, he don't wrestle crocs and he ain't a patch on Crocodile Hunter Steve (or Crocodile Nutter as I misheard on the radio this morning, but it's quite apt really).

Friday, September 01, 2006

good start

Weighed myself this morning - I know I only did it on Monday but I want to have Friday as my regular weighing day - and I've lost 2.5 lb hurrah but erm I may but some of that back on tonight as we are going out to our friendly neighourhood Malaysian eaterie.

OK gotta go and observer the local street theatre - the council are trying to take away a neighbour's car for some reason (probably it's not taxed etc) but has they were winching it up he got in it and locked himself in, so now there's bit of an impasse.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

the North East coast - a users guide

I had to work oop North-er, so we all three piled in the car and went to see how C's leg is doing. She is out of plaster but not really mobile yet, so we did a bit of whizzing about shopping and such. But mainly we did tourist things. O was thoroughly spoiled with sweets & toys from C (plus a trip to the fab cheap charity shop for games & books), plus masses of trips out and about. We don't usually go on trips to theme parks and such, certainly not 4 in as many days!

On the day I was working, R took O to DiggerLand, which was a great hit. He absolutely adored it, said it was as good as Gulliver's World. Cost of entry: £12 each (but if you take your lunch you don't need to spend anymore money if you can avoid the gift shop). Having the best day of your life twice in one month and you get to boast to every other small boy you meet about how you've driven a real digger: priceless

Next day was sunny so we headed for the coast. C came along for the ride, she couldn't get about much but her leg means she hasn't had much chance to get out and about this summer. We went up to Seahouses and had a proper British seaside day out. First up, (fish &) chips followed by ice-creams. Next down to the beach for some light rockpooling and then we took a boat tripour boat to the Farne Islands. There are several boat operators but C advised that Billy Shiel is the best, so off we went on Glad Tidings V to see some seals. And we did see seals, and birds too, tho we were too late for puffins boo. I always wanted to see a puffin, so we'll have to go back earlier in the year next time. Anyway the boat trip was great on a sunny afternoon and afterwards, O got some candyfloss (did I mention C spoils him?) then we had a round of crazy golf, which was fun but not very crazy.

Then the next day it was off to The Alnwick Garden. Which is nice but not eight-quid-a-head's worth of nice, even if kids do get in free. O in waterThe treehouse was a great disappointment, it's just a glorified caff. Presumably with glorified prices, but we had our own sarnies hah. The leaflets asking to help them fundraise for the 'next phase' stuck in the craw after the price of the entry, too. And don't get me started on the overpriced gift shops at every turn ... Still, the water features are good for kids on a warm day - although we could get wet at home for nothing.

Saturday we went home 'via' Hull (my grasp of UK geography is tenuous, unfortunately I had mentioned this trip to O before checking with R that Durham and Hull were actually relatively close because they're both on the east coast). Why Hull?
Photobucket - Video and Image HostingPhotobucket - Video and Image HostingPhotobucket - Video and Image Hosting
The Deep of course. Go. It's fantastic. Well if you like fishes and sharks and such it is, and what's not to like?

Back home, back to normal, back to course work avoidance. I have piles to do and I can't face it. I have been putting it off for days weeks. It's so dull. Inorganic chemistry is so dull. I realise that to normal people, differentiating levels of dullness within chemistry seems unnecessary, but chemistry types will understand. I'm also sure there are people who love inorganic chemistry but I'm an organic gal at heart. At least it has decided me against taking inorganic as my second level 3 course. It'll be physical for me, hard sums and all.

I'll tell you how bad things are. Not only am I writing long blog posts as a displacement activity, I've even been cleaning the house. Even the dreaded FlyLady would approve of my house right now. That's how bad it's got, even housework is preferable to the elements of the p-block.

Back news: it's much better than it was, but I have to be careful to look after it. No more slouching and slobbing, now I have to sit up straight help help I am being assimilated by some kind of Stretford Wife droid waaaah. I :heart: my squishy cushion that I use to support my back tho, it's lovely and squidgy and it helps. I'm going back to belly dancing from next week (I haven't been for months because I didn't have time but if I want to not to be crippled with backache I have to make time) and I'm going to start going to pilates on Saturday.

Diet news: is going OK, but I must remember that buying oatcakes is the diet equivalent of a false economy. I eat and eat and eat them. Question is, is it better to 'binge' on a few oatcakes than run out for Pringles? OK I think I just worked that out ...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Day 1 went OK, stuck to my points etc. Day 2 hasn't been bad so far, either. I am not looking forward to the long haul, tho. But I suppose the trick is not to think about that but only about the next day or hour or 10 minutes.

No chocolate or crisps for 2 days is an unusual acheivement for me, from my recent eating habits. I've even clocked up all my water today wooo.

Monday, August 28, 2006

could've been worse

scalesDay 1 of Project Restart Weightloss Efforts. I've decided to follow the WW plan (using their on-line tracking) but not go to the actual Fatclub Meetings. I've tried a few and have never yet found a leader who inspires me (not £5 a week worth of inspiration, anyway). So I bought some new scales and weighed myself this morning. Have gained half a stone since I last looked, but haven't gone back up to my previous highest.

Jolly bank holiday full of cleaning, studying and cooking vats of low-calorie vegetable soup to get on with now, hurrah.

Monday, August 21, 2006

oh b*gg*r

I've done me back in. I just bent over to pick something up and ow it hurt. It still hurts. I went to the doctor; of course she told me my weight is probably the reason for back trouble. So, I have to start the weight loss thing again, perhaps this will be the incentive I need. I certainly don't want to go on having back problems, it is horrible and makes me feel about 92 years old.

How many calories in co-codamol & ibuprofen?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

bad blogger's bullet points

  • Graduation was stressful but worthwhile (also the house now looks nice for once), R looked great in his robes and funny hat and is a doctor at last hurrah, and I thoroughly recommend Le Petit Blanc for a family celebration

  • Summer School was last week, it was fraught and frantic and far too hot, I nearly lost it in the middle of the week but fortunately the work let up slightly and the weather got slightly cooler and it became more bearable, so I made it to the end. And I did enjoy being back in a lab again. Now I just have the assignments to finish

  • School Holidays are here so we have to look after our own kids bah. Took O to Gulliver's World yesterday, he said it was the best day of his life.

  • Work Work Work is still always here, I have a report to write for Work-work and an assignment to finish for OU-work, before we go on holiday.

  • Summer Holidays are next week, we are off first thing on Sunday for 2 weeks. Waah, half of me wishes I could stay at home and catch up with my life.

Friday, July 07, 2006

not waving but ...

... drowning under a tsunami of flat packs, paint, assignments, worry about shoes and the exact shade of green for the pashmina my fashun consultants tell me I need to get to go with my New For The Graduation dress (as picture but brown with cream spots instead of black & white), reports, meetings, trips to London, trips to Ikea, power tools1, cleaning products2, broken legged best friends, free vodka, trips to the tip, new white goods, washing & ironing, booking tables at posh restaurant, being too hot, fretting, worrying and panicking

my frock

I haven't even found time to order my copy of Key to the Identification of Academic Hoods of the British Isles, so sadly I shall miss out on the opportunities for academic twitching. Although I am hoping the Mongolian robes make another appearance.

1. tip of the day: do not let stressed, pre-menstrual, sleep deprived, living on diet pepsi, peanut butter, pitta bread & bananas, women lose with industrial strength hammer drills. They get very upset if the wall moves and makes their hole not straight.

2. several pods of dolphins have been sacrificed already

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

well it's not like I was busy

I gave C a quick ring yesterday (need second opinion on the exact wording of the engraving to be engraved on R's graduation pressie), only it ended up not being quick as she'd broken her ankle that morning (and this time, for possibly the first time in her long history of injuries, she hadn't even been drinking). She tends to not pay much heed to advice to 'rest' so wisely they have refused to give her a weight-bearing cast for at least a week. In fact they have told her she must lie down for a week, she can't even sit up. OMG. one day at a timeAnd she is the carer for her 80+ year old mother, who has limited mobility although fortunately (in this context at least) her primary care needs are emotional rather than physical. Unfortunately they live 120 miles away and I cannot get away from work this week and then I have a dayschool on Saturday, but I'm going up there on Saturday evening for a few days to get the shopping in and stuff. Oh and I've been volunteered for another working group on local issues. Ah well, ask a busy woman and all that (right up until the time she starts screaming hysterically ...)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

must ... breath ... deeply

must ... not .... panic

Until today my to-do list for the next month looked like this:
  • catch up on course work I am behind on
  • complete assignment for main course
  • do preparation for summer school
  • do assignments for summer school
  • draft poster presentation for summers chool
  • go to summer school
  • write 1 long report for work
  • write 3 short reports for work
  • spend several days working away
  • do stuff with O (eg swimming, bike rides, theatre)
  • spend a couple of hours a week on community committments
  • lose several stone
  • try to remember to do shopping, wash clothes etc

... the thought of all of which was starting to stress me out but I thought no, I can manage this if I get myself organised, it is do-able. And then today, I find out that I have to add
  • gut house from top to bottom (or move)

R is graduating this summer after all. I had convinced myself that it wouldn't be until the winter now, because the assessment boycott meant that his external examiners hadn't looked at his revised thesis. But now the dispute is settled and the examiners have examined and he is going to graduate on July 12. Which I should be happy about, as it's been 5 years of hard work for him to get to this. Instead I have been in floods of tears at the prospect of his parents coming to visit in less than a month.

We don't actually know if they are coming yet. Although it's unlikely they would want to stay at home for the traditional cultural events, they are going to forn parts the week after so maybe they might not come. It sounds horrible to say it but I hope they don't, I do not need the hassle. R suggested we pay to put them up in a hotel, which sounds a terrible thing to do, but would be better than them staying here, at least we wouldn't have to make the bedrooms fit for parental habitation.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

doing the timewarp

My life has regressed 20 years. I've listened to Half Man Half Biscuit non-stop for 3 days and tomorrow my friend K is coming over to help me with my chemistry. I met K at university the first time I went; unlike me he paid attention, did his homework and became Dr K and now senior academic Dr K. So I'm taking advantage of our 20 year friendship to blag some tuition, to help me catch up. I hope he can help me understand how to calculate the energies of Frenkel defects in silver halides (and also why one would even want to).

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

gratuitious random rant

I hate stoopid feckin hippies with their soya milk and their non-functioning tvs and their dirty messy vile white 'dreads' and/or asymetric hair-don'ts and their meals of vegan slops and their utterly self-centre self-obsessed 'hey let's not get heavy' world view which causes them to take no concern for or responsibility for the impact of their actions on others.

Thank you for listening.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Me and my zen are experimenting with new music from my audioscrobbler recommendations. Playing with my toys beats working hurrah (and boo to my now-overdue assignment err ...). Meanwhile O has been doing lots of maths experiments in the week long Maths Circus his teachers held in class last week. He loved doing all the counting and weighing and measuring, and says maths is his favourite thing at school hurrah (his fave thing in class at school, obv playing with his friends in the playground is his main motivation for turning up every day)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

happiness complete(-er)

To make things completely perfect I've now got one of those doo-dads from maplin that looks like a tape and means you can play your mp3 player on your old car stereo. Hurrah for no more having to burn mp3s to cd then tape them in order to have choons on the move.

PS BB7 starts tonight, I may be gone some time ...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

in love

creative zen microphotoOK so it's not quite as small or slim or pretty as an ipod. But it's got a much bigger memory, and brains always beats looks in the end. I totally adore it. The only thing I didn't like was the earphones. It is so double plus ungood to have white headphones on a not-ipod mp3 player. Plus they didn't sit nicely in my ears, and had quite poor reviews for sound quality. But with my trusty sony earphones, the sound is beautiful (and doesn't leak much hurrah). And to make my happiness complete I got a cable so I can play it through the stereo. This bout of consumerism has made me a happy bunny. So what if I go deaf in 10 years time?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

here comes the summer

Poor balcony, it has been much neglected since I stopped smoking and so no longer sit out on it every day in all weathers. However, a few days of sunshine has finally shamed me into doing something about it. We chucked out the mouldering peat free gro-bags, dried up empty pots and assorted weeds, and planted some nice new pots. balconyIt doesn't quite look like this picture yet (this is from 3 years ago) but hopefully it will be looking nice soon, and we'll even have some homegrown produce (just in time for us to go away for a few weeks and it all to get parched when the neighbours forget to water it while we're gone). I even got a hanging basket and some flowers for outside the front door. Just watch it stop being sunny now ...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

coming over all cultural

last night we all went to the theatre, for what I think is O's first time seeing a real play in a real theatre (I don't know how that happened, that we've never been before, must make sure to look out for kid friendly plays to take him to in future). We went to see the fabulous Skid 180, written by our fabulous friend & neighbour. It was really impressive. The words are brilliant, the production is excellent and the on-stage bmx-ing is stunning. Go see it if you're get a chance, in Manchester or Australia. Several of our neighbours were at the show last night too, so O is now out on his bike, playing 'Skid 180' with his mates who've seen it too.

Friday, May 05, 2006

oooh I'm so 'cited

I've been thinking for a while that I must enter the century of the fruitbat and get one of these newfangled mp3 players, and almost bought an el cheapo one t'other day. Now some kind person has given me some £££ which they insist I spend upon myself and their £££ together with my existing ££ may add up to ipod £££ whoo. I'm thinking of getting a 4gb ipod nano. Anyone got one, are they as good as the hype? Or should I maybe go for a non-appley one? Even tho they look so kewl and sleek and mmmmmm

edit: I'm tempted by the Creative Zen 8 gig model now ... slightly less good looking maybe but twice as much gigs and good reviews ... decisions decisions

Monday, May 01, 2006

making your own fun

So, I was googling to see if there was anything on t'interweb yet about the bmx dirt jumps mounds track thingy the local bike punks have been building near our house1 (they have made a fab job of it, and are also trying to teach the local scrotes some skills and some manners if they want to use it too, so no doubt the council will come round and flatten their unofficial fun boo), and inadvertantly discovered a local car park is a prime d0gg1ng location. Ewwww. But then in the process of finding the explanatory linkage, searching bbc news for d0gg1ng found the news that K9 is getting his own series hurrah although this is going to provoke several months of 'when's the K9 show on?' then several more of 'but why haven't we got jetix on our tv?'. Boo.

1) please insert correct young persons' vernacular, but you get the idea.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

so how was your day?

This is how O says his was:
glitter graphics

"a shiny rainbow star, all colours of the rainbow"

And what makes a shiny rainbow star of a day? A 2 mile 'walk' in Grin Low Woods on a slightly damp day, in which he and his best friend climbed trees, looked for bugs, played with sticks, explored Gruffalo caves, ate jam sarnies and moaned about being cold; sleep on the way back in the car; get home and play cars with best friend for another couple of hours; have ice-cream for pudding. Hurrah for shiny rainbow days.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

big boys do cry

K9 & Sarah JanePoor O was emotionally drained by tonight's Dr Who. He was alternately delighted to see K9, terrified of the BatPeople, devastated when K9 was destroyed, and finally choked with tears when K9 reappeared right at the end. Followed by rummaging in the toybox to find Teksta. Awwww.


I know I shouldn't be surprised or even care about this, but I can't help being yet another person who'd burn my White Stripes records if I had any (threatening to delete my mp3s doesn't have the same ring). Bill Hicks put it best:
Do a commercial, you're off the artistic roll call, every word you say is suspect, you're a corporate whore and eh, end of story.

Friday, April 28, 2006

talking of procrastinating ...

... today I finished my first Gruaniad hard sudoku puzzle hurrah

you talking to me?

I found an interesting article while surfing instead of reconfiguring investment strategy. It all sounds very familiar:
Procrastination is not just an issue of time management or laziness. It's about feeling paralyzed and guilty as you channel surf, knowing you should be cracking the books or reconfiguring your investment strategy. ...

"The main reason people procrastinate is fear," says Neil Fiore, Ph.D.. ... "Procrastinators fear they'll fall short because they don't have the requisite talent or skills. "They get overwhelmed and they're afraid they'll look stupid." ...

Children of authoritarian parents are prone to procrastinate. Pychyl speculates that children with such parents postpone choices because their decisions are so frequently criticized--or made for them. Alternatively, the child may procrastinate as a form of rebellion. Refusing to study can be an angry--if self-defeating--message to Mom and Dad. ...

Several symptoms of depression feed procrastination. Decision-making is another problem. Because depressed people can't feel much pleasure, all options seem equally bleak, which makes getting started difficult and pointless.

I looked in vain for the second page telling you how to stop being a procrastinator :-(

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

hurrah for t'internet

everyone to whom I am related and most people with whom I work now think I am a World Expert on all things computerish. Little do they realise the Seekrit of My Awesome Geek Power comes down to 3 things
  • RTFM
  • push all the buttons just to see what happens
  • if you don't know, google knows someone who does

Thus when R shamefacedly confessed to jamming the cd drive, I fixed it armed only with an unbent paper clip

More fun with paperclips:

Sunday, April 23, 2006

climb every mountain

well, for certain values of 'climb' and 'mountain', where 'mountain' = 'west pennine moor' and 'climb' = 'drive up to the top of hill and then walk along on the flat'. Took us over 2 hours to go 3 miles around Blackstone Edge but it was fun. O brought B along with him (for O, anything experience is better if he can bring a friend) and they ran about getting muddy in peat bogs and climbing up embankments and generally having fun. Next weekend we're visting the Nine Ladies (weather permitting).

Now I should be devoting myself to curly arrows but have distracted myself with the aid of wine and sing-a-long-a-Bill on the headphones. I really must remember not to listen to music I really like while working.

Friday, April 21, 2006

as if that wasn't enought ...

... woke up this morning to find some little scrotey b@st@rds had tried to break into my car and knackered up the door in the process. So that's going to cost me £200 and also cost me a morning sorting out it out (and another morning or two next week dealing with the garage, tho luckily garageman = very nice man so that's not too stressful). A morning I should've spent trying to get to grips with kinetics again. I read this stuff and I understand all the words but I don't understand what it means. We have a day school tomorrow, which is good, but I'd get so much more out of it if I had a grasp of the stuff already. Which I now have this afternoon and this evening to do. But this afternoon I have to work and this evening O has a friend sleeping over aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh I want to cry

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

panic stations

Image hosting by PhotobucketToday I've been to that London & back. Tomorrow I've got to get up early again and go to sunny Brummie1 to work, so tonight I have to get ready for that, so my studying is falling behind again, so my house is a tip, so I am panicking and fretting that I won't get everything I need to do done, so I am worrying instead of working, so I am eating to quell my fears. So this is my life pattern. I know I need to change it, but it won't be today.

1. noisy but highly recommended: Bostin' Birmingham

Sunday, April 16, 2006

if at first you don't succeed

A couple of years ago we decided to go on regular family walks. This decision was reversed after several miserable afternoons spent coaxing and bullying a whining whinging O for a couple of miles in the great outdoors. But today being Easter, I decided we all needed to go and find a big hill to roll our eggs down, so we headed up to Darwen Tower. O loved it and wants to walk up more big hills hurrah! Edale here we come.

R & O are going out to eat later, I'd love to go too but the books need me. So I will stay in with just kinetics and my one little easter egg (from my mum) for company. I will not be distracted by the temptation to play with my new magnetic sudoku game (easter pressie from R in lieu of choc). I love these magnetic games, much fun has been had in tents with their little tins of ludo and snakes & ladders.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


just like my house, my car, my life, this blog badly needs a spring clean. It may make a good assignment avoidance activity in a few weeks' time ...

today I have been mostly

buying books. I :heart: charity shops1, this morning I got a big pile of books for under a tenner. 4 assorted 'young puffins' and a Dennis and Gnasher 'Gnock Gnock' book for O - the only book he reads voluntarily at the moment is his Horrid Henry joke book, hopefully the Dennis book will be as popular. I am determined to get him reading by any means necessary. I also got '101 Cool Science Experiments' (for me and O) and 'How to get a good degree' (hopefully it'll tell me how to stop using reading study skills materials as a diversion from actually studying);

no-one is illegal
demonstrating against the destitution, detention and deportation of refugees, asylum seekers & migrants;

9th drcalming a 6 year old boy who has been waiting for the new series of Dr Who since Christmas and is in danger of bursting with exctitment within the next 2 hours (or alternatively of getting burst eardrums from me shouting "NO!" when asked for the 125th time if it's time for Dr Who yet). I am looking forward to it too, although the 10th Dr isn't a patch on the 9th

studying chemical kinetics - if the Dr is ever looking for a new assistant, I want to be ready

1. that may be'thrift store' to you

Friday, April 14, 2006

I want to believe

bingo jesusWatched "The Manchester Passion" this evening - an updated passion play set in Manchester, with a Madchester soundtrack. It was quite good, despite the involvement of Keith Allen (also I thought they were going to mime to the original songs, which would've been betterer IMO). In fact it was even a bit moving, made a bit of me want that kind of security of a faith again. But a bigger bit of me remains a rationalist and an atheist.

this week's feeble excuse for postlessness: I made a critical error by 'just having a go' at a sudoku puzzle. Now I am hooked. It is the opium of the geeks.

this week's feeble excuse for poor eating choices: [insert here]

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I am

You Are Barney

You could have been an intellectual leader...

Instead, your whole life is an homage to beer

You will be remembered for: your beautiful singing voice and your burps

Your life philosophy: "There's nothing like beer to give you that inflated sense of self-esteem."

Simpsons Personality Test, via this weeks New Favourite Blog. It's not very accurate, tho. I am well known for having a terrible singing voice.

Monday, March 13, 2006

want that one!

A geologist's tricorder!
I will settle for nothing less for Mother's Day (a day which I will be celebrating by leaving my child with my mother while I go on a field trip hah)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

happy christmas

Last night we went to a Christmas party. My neighbour L hasn't seen her son since November. Her ex (who has residence) decided she wanted to play happy families with her new partner, so she moved 25 miles away and wouldn't let L see their son anymore - and they used to have shared care! It had to go to court but at last L has a court order giving her contact, starting this weekend. Because she didn't see her son at Christmas she decided to do Christmas now, to give him him his pressies and see his friends and family. It was one of the best Christmas parties I've been to. Why the feck do some people use their kids like that?

It's been half-term this week so we have been busy busy busy. This week O has been ice-skating, swimming 3 times, to the park twice, to the museum, to the cinema, to Pizza Hut and had two sleep-overs. Back to school and back to normal next week.

As it's just been Xmas I will make a new resolution - be a better blogger x

Monday, February 13, 2006

roses are red, violets are blue

Image hosting by Photobucket

thanks to for their rather wonderful anti-VD messages, of which this is just one

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I am old (official)

Being an OU student means I can use the local university library, so I used my day off today to go and study there. Studying in the library works well for me, as I can't eat in there nor can I use their t'internet, so I am forced to look at my books instead. However it does mean I have to be around large numbers of young people. And their mobile phones.

They use their phones in the library (letting them ring and then holding loud conversations), they use them while they're on the loo, they hold a loud conversation on them in the cafe about how their alcholic mum has gone back on the game.

As I heard someone say on the wireless yesterday, the worst thing about Young People Today is that they make you feel like your parents, moaning on about Young People Today.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Manchester a Young Person is blogging about the fat old witch giving him evils in the library today.

3 years

I have not smoked for three years, 8 hours, 33 minutes
27408 cigarettes not smoked
£6,852.23 saved to spend on books instead of paid to evil death dealing tobacco companies
Life saved to spend with new books: 13 weeks, 4 days, 4 hours, 0 minutes.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

where did she go?

When I was in London last week, I used a tube station I haven't been to for years. Took me back to how I was then, and who I was waiting for - the person I thought was the Love of My Life. Actually, he probably was and a little corner of my heart will always belong to him, but he was never interested in me, when I got up all my courage and asked him out I got the 'like you as a friend' routine.

But the main thing I remember is how scared I was. Back then I think I was scared of everything, scared all the time. I know I still get scared of things now, but I'm not scared of my whole life, like I was back then.

So it got me thinking about my life, and the way everything's turned out. And so did going back to studying chemistry. I feel a little silly and a little regretful that I didn't learn this stuff properly when I had the chance, the first time round at university. But then I think, if I'd've stayed and got my degree and got a job and a mortgage and a husband, I'd be going quietly insane in some suburban hell.

Instead I got thrown out of university, had a twisty turny life path, met some fantastic people, learnt a whole load of stuff, go policitics, and most importantly I got R & O. So now I go noisily insane in cyberspace bwahaaahahahahahah.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

poor little boy

Aww, my poor O. He's had a temperature and been vomitting, and spent the day in bed. He got up for a bit this evening to watch the wildlife programmes, one about elephants and one about Ants. hail ants

Then I put him back to bed, but he woke up an hour later, feverish and raving about the ants in his bedroom. Awww.

Friday, January 20, 2006

my week

Finished my maths course, started my chemistry course, had a cold, looked after O with a cold, lost 2 lb, fell in love with green tea

Sunday, January 15, 2006

lycra & sadness

First real bike ride in ages today, and it wasn't very long. 10 mile round trip to visit CB, whose bad knee is still stopping her cycling. Wore a black armband in memory of the four North Wales cyclists killed while out on a club ride last week.

Have started back at FatClub - going to a different meeting as my last leader was pretty bobbins really. I hate having to go to FatClub (and pay for it!) but I think it's the only way I can keep focussed on weight loss. My stats might make a reappearance in the side bar soon, also I need to spring clean my blog roll.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Happy New Year. Back home from Ireland, back to work, back to fat club. I reckon, last year I did the excercise thing, the year before I did the eating thing, maybe this year is the year I can get them both going. Oh and work on the bingeing thing too. But don't know how much blogging there will be for a while, am busy with trying to fit it all in, plus work, study and obssess about Celebrity Big Brother. Some kind of service will be restored sometime.