Friday, December 21, 2007

naughty or nice

We are off early tomorrow morning to catch the ferryboat, and today I shall be mostly packing and shouting "where's my new camera where where where??" at Amazon. I hope you all have a fantabulous holidays xxx

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I have my course results at last and passed both (well 3 actually if you include the summer school course); for the geology course and its summer school I got a grade 2 (2:1 equivalent) pass for both and for the nasty course I got a grade 3 (equivalent to desmond). So that is all my Level 2 courses completed, next year I'm off to Level 3 chemistry hurrah eek

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

all done (nearly)

well I was just about to post about how the Xmas knitting is now all done (I even blocked those scarves) but I've just remembered that O's dalek still needs finishing. Ah well, at least I have everything else done, and in time to wrap and distribute to peeps in England before we set off to spend Christmas in Ireland
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Monday, December 10, 2007

he doeth protest too much

I think we've taken O on too many marches, demos and protest events at an impressionable age. When he gets seriously cross with us, he barricades himself in his room and makes protest signs. After an altercation on Saturday, his bedroom door is covered with "Keep Out! No Groanups!" posters, and he also stuck one up in the living room saying "Then be crule!"

Friday, December 07, 2007

look at the beautiful blue cuttlefish

go here and look. S'lovely.

Once the Christmas knitting is out of the way I'm knitting some of Hansigurumi's cephalopoda. Or maybe I'll make some socks (these maybe, or these or these or these or these ...... so many socks, so little knitting time)

Meanwhile, I can't get past Level 48 on the free rice word game, let alone reach Grumblemag's 49. Boo hoo.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

my one vanity

Well pretty much my only vanity, my only 'girly-thing', is my hair. I don't do much make up, don't wax or pluck, don't have manicures, don't buy many clothes and certainly don't do shopping-as-leisure activity1. Even with my hair I am well short of the beauty ideal, rarely blow drying and never going near straighteners. But I do like to buy it nice products and now that R has a job (at least until June), I can afford to go to a good hairdressers and even have it coloured. So that's how I've spent my morning, sitting around knitting and listening to podcasts with bits of foil sticking out all over my head. Now my hair is a lovely festive red colour hurrah.

A conversatin with my lovely hairdresser:
her: so are you ready for Xmas?
me: actually I pretty much am, due to my "if I cna't make it or buy it on Amazon you can't have it" policy
her: oh yes CDs and DVDs make great presents
me says: mmmm / me thinks: books, books make great presents that's what i buy from Amazon, the papery things with words in.

Although, my son is a disappointment to me in the reading department. With a pair of bookworms for parents, I fondly imagined he'd grow up an avid reader too. But no. It's not that he can't read - when he has to he reads fluently and confidently for his age, he just doesn't much want to. There's always something he'd rather be doing. But at last, a breakthrough. I've been reading The Hobbit to him for his bedtime story and he has started reading on for a page or two after he's in bed. It's not the easiest book to read and the pictures are few and far between, but he is enjoying it. What with that and having to decipher the backs of his Yu-gi-oh cards, he may just be seeing the value of reading after all.

1. Wool and book shops excepted, natch

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

an xmas-makes update

  • ammonite for T done
  • hat for sis boyf done
  • socks for mum done
  • golf club covers for dad (not actually sure about this one, dad is incredibly fussy and not sure if he'd use them) idea abandoned, bought him a book instead
  • socks for E (on the needles, 1 finished 1 to go)
  • dalek for O (all the crochet is finished, I just have to do some modifications to incorporate a dalek sound maker before stuffing it)
  • hat for R (on the needles, to be knit in seekrit when on train trips etc) I finished this but then fecked it up trying to attach iron-on reflective tape, will try and rescue another time, but for Xmas am now making:
  • socks for R (on the needles, 1 finished 1 to go)
  • felted tea cozies for various peeps (2 made and awaiting felting, more to make if time) abandoned in favour of
  • cashmerino scarves for various friends all made but need blocking, if I can find time and space
  • hat for C (to match her scarf)
  • socks and hat for sis (done, actually I redid the hat as I wasn't happy with the chunky yarn, and redid it in cashmerino. Yes I am in love with cashmerino, a very high maintenance passion)
The Great Anniversary Impasse has not yet been resolved.

Monday, November 26, 2007

unlucky 13?

Today is mine and R's 13th anniversary. It has not started well. He 'didn't have time' to get me present or even a card because the poor man had to look after O on his own all weekend, while I was off having such a good time granny-sitting C's frail, elderly, bonkers mamma so C could have a weekend away. Poor R. Just because he knew a week in advance I'd be away all weekend and did somehow manage to find time to spend Saturday afternoon on a demo, how can he be expected to get to the shops too? And having through no fault of his own (all my fault obv) failed to get me anything, obv it is entirely reasonable for him to get up at 6am to do some work without so much as a cuddle for me. No I'm sure I'm just being irrational, getting upset by it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

what is 'normal', anyways?

I am working my way through my Xmas makes list:
  • ammonite for T done
  • hat for sis boyf done
  • socks for mum done
  • golf club covers for dad (not actually sure about this one, dad is incredibly fussy and not sure if he'd use them)
  • socks for E
  • dalek for O (all the crochet is finished, I just have to do some modifications to incorporate a dalek sound maker before stuffing it)
  • hat for R (on the needles, to be knit in seekrit when on train trips etc)
  • felted tea cozies for various peeps (2 made and awaiting felting, more to make if time)
  • hat for C
  • socks (done) and hat for sis
On Saturday I finished sis's hat in black chunky yarn, then moved onto making the same hat for C but in a light olivey-green aran weight cashmere merino. After a few rounds I felt something wasn't right and stopped work on it. Picked up the work again last night and realised the yarn just didn't want to be a hat, it wanted to be a cute scarf instead.

Perhaps not everyone communes with their yarn but like I say, what's this 'normal' people talk about?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

family fitness fun

Because of his having a history of heart probs, R's doctor does annual tests on him. This year's tests showed up something not-quite-right with his liver, probably due to excess fat/cholesterol. While waiting for some scan results, R's doc has told him to lose some weight (R is not very over his ideal weight anyways). So, what with that and me being between-courses, we have decided to resume Family Walks. O is not impressed at being forced to walk one whole mile around the Water Park. Just wait till we start on hills .... actually we have a cunning plan to borrow dogs and/or friends to keep him amused and whine-free.

Other exercise plans
  • for R: he's started going for runs (well some walk some run for now) around the park while O's at rugby practice
  • for me: me and O have started going to Caribbean aerobics (like normal aerobics except with reggae music, all ages welcome) and I've arranged to go back to belly dancing with a new neighbour, also I'm going to go back to going swimming when O is having his swimming lesson
If I can't get the food right, maybe I can at least get the exercise bit started

Monday, November 05, 2007

I need a rest

I feel like I'm running around running around all the time. This wasn't supposed to happen any more, not now my exams are finished, I was supposed to have lots of free time. But it's been Halloween and O's birthday and a pile of housework and work-work to do and friends and family to see, and now I feel tireder than ever. I've had my LOTR box set for over a week and no chance to watch it yet. Bah.

Friday, October 26, 2007

surplus to requirements

It being half term and my exams being finished, O and I have been away for a few days in a caravan. R couldn't get away from work. C was meant to come with us but in the end she couldn't escape from her various committments. So it was just the two of us. O quickly made friends and from then on only needed me to provide food, dry towels for swimming (indoor pool hurrah) and money for the arcade. Leaving me free to knit, read trashy novels and take the odd stroll down to the sea.

Now I am home alone, O has gone with cubs to Parents Get Lost and R has gone to a conference. The house is a mess yeah right like I am going to spend the weekend cleaning when there's knitting to be done.

Monday, October 15, 2007

3 years down, 2 (or 3) to go

Yay I’ve finished both my exams for this year and fingers crossed have done enough to pass. Now I have to decide whether to do 1 or 2 courses next year. 2 courses this year has been hard, but then I haven’t enjoyed the content. Perhaps 2 courses will be easier when I actually like the content? Plus I have friends who are university lecturers in the relevant field and can help me out if stuck. And if I take only 1 course next year, it takes me an extra year to finish my degree. On the other hand it will obviously be less expensive, less stressful and have less impact on my family if I only do 1 course next year. So I don’t know what to doooooooooooooooooo …........

Saturday, October 13, 2007

praise be to the cephalapoda


Had my first exam yesterday. Part of the practical section is to recognise a 'mystery fossil' and hurrah it was a piece of an ammonite (at least I hope it was). I like to think the cephalogods have smiled on me for my devotion to them and sent me one of their kind to help in my hour of need. There were several other questions where I at least had A Clue what they were on about (although there were a couple of I Have No Feckin Idea questions too).

Now I have to go and lock myself in the library for the weekend to cram for the Monday exam for the vile course. Ick.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Octopus Day

octopus day logo

In honour of the First Unofficial International Cephalopod Awareness Day, I shall be casting on an ammonite (for my long-suffering earth science tutor)

knitted ammonite and belemenite

But that will have to be this evening, after I have spent another day in the library revising for my exams - the first one is this friday aaaargh

meanwhile, please to enjoy some cuttlefish p0rn

Monday, September 17, 2007

a dream come true

I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. I can't quite believe, after all the years of hoping and waiting, it's finally happened. Oh yes. ISIHAC is being recorded in Manchester AND I'VE GOT A TICKET. I'm so so excited. I even think (fingers crossed) Jeremy Hardy might be on the panel. Be still my heart.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

rugby's special

I might not have mentioned it before but I do like rugby, specifically union. It's often perceived as being a very middle-class game and in some parts of England it is. On some levels I think I don't like rugby players but actually what I don't like are tossers England players like this
Brian thug MooreWill Smug Bastard Carling

Many rugby players are actually not bad, in fact all the men in my life are rugby players. In Scotland and Wales (and parts of England and Ireland) it's not just public school rugger-buggers who play. My dad played; as a kid I spent most of my Saturday afternoons on the touchline and one of my greatest heroes was a rugby player. R played all through school. And now O has started playing. We decided to try him on rugby instead of gymnastics. He's been doing gymn lessons for a couple of years now and not enjoying it as much as he used to, plus to be honest he's not really built for it (prop forward yes, gymnast no), also we think it would be good for him to do a team sport.

So it's off down the local rugby club to see if he likes mini-rugby. He went for the first time last Sunday and liked it. R liked it nearly as much, coaching from the touchline, I can see him turning into a rugby dad. Which is good, if it gets me out of cold wet winter mornings on the touchline. I'll settle for knitting in front of the world cup on the telly. And England scored nul points yesterday, even better.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

oh bum

I have made little more progress with the big book since last time I blogged, and the fsking assignment has to be in tomorrow. Must grit teeth. Must finish book. Must do assignment. Must not watch tv. Must not knit. Must not open stash. Must not think about sock wars.

Version: 1.1

KEL++ Exp++ SPM+>+ Steel++ Bam+++ Pl- Addi? Syn- Nov-- Cot++ Wool+++ Lux++ Hemp? Bam+ Stash++ Scale+(+) Fin-- Ent? FI+ Int- Tex++ Lace+ Felt++ Flat Circ DPN+ Swatch- KIP++ Blog+ EZ? FO++ WIP+ GaugeF+ S? DK+ W+ B- ALT Cr+++ Sp?


Friday, September 07, 2007

breathing space

I have two out of 3 of my assignments out of the way, and only a feck off big book to read before I get the third done. I dutifully trekked off to the library this morning to get on with it. But when I got there it turned out I'd left at home the vital dvd that I needed to work through at the same time. I took this as a sign I should go home, dump my stuff, go to the park and knit socks instead.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

just one of the things I don't like ..

... when people don't say 'thanks'. At work, people email us with problems and we email back with information and advice that helps them do their job better; about one in ten of them emails back to say thanks. And at home, this week I've sent things to a couple of people (one something I knew someone needed, and one at the person's request and I had to go out of my way to get it) and neither has picked up the phone or emailed to say they've arrived or say thanks. It's not that I want people to grovel with gratitude, just a quick email saying 'ta' is all I ask.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

bribery, works every time

R is away this week at a learned conference, so I am trying to get my masses of work I'm behind with, caught up with, I have deadlines coming out of my ears. It's also the last week of the school holidays and O has remembered I promised to take him to Gulliver's World this holidays. So I promised to take him on Friday if I got all my work done, on condition that he let me get on with my work all this week (ie no friends round playing noisily, no constant 'muuuuuuuuuum'-ing, etc). Well half of the equation worked, he has been really good at letting me get on with stuff and not mithering me too much. If only I had actually got on with work in the mither-free time. But that's not his fault, so we are off to Gulliver's tomorrow. If only I could incentivise myself as well as I can incentivise O.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


So, I have 3 assignments due in the next 3 weeks, on top of which R is going away for a few days next week for work. So this is a really good time to have a big family gathering sprung on us for this weekend. And an even better time for the washing machine to pack up. All in all an ideal time for me to burst into tears and run roudnt the house panicking about stuff and shouting at everyone, which I find is always a good way to handle a crisis.

oh dear

How did it get so long since I last posted? Partly because I have been away for quite a lot of the past month (summer school/holidays/conference) and when not away over night, I've had to travel around quite a bit for work. I think my life is feeling a bit crazy at the moment. Or perhaps it is my head that is going a bit crazy? I am not getting much constructive done. My studying is behind, so is my work, my house is a tip and I am usually found sitting knitting/crocheting. Actually crochet is the worst, I find that gets a bit obsessive sometimes. Goes without saying if my head is in a bad way, my eating is too. Which all reminds me, I must ring up for some more anti-crazy pills.

PS does anyone know if it's possible to stay logged in on two different google accounts on one computer? I have clarrie@ for blogging and realname@ for igoogle, and it's a right pain logging in and out between the two

Saturday, July 21, 2007

here today, gone tomorrow

tomorrow morning me and my sock knitting and my HP7 and my waterproofs are off to stand in quarries and look at rocks for a week. I should probably read the course book instead of kntting and Harry Pottering on the train tomorrow, butI've kind of gone off rocks. Studying them has been a bit of a let down after looking forward to it for so long. I think there is a chemistry-shaped hole in my brain and I shall be happy to get back to my lovely molecules next year.

Friday, July 13, 2007

birthday countdown starts here ....

well started last night actually, we went to see the fantabulous Ojos de Brujo, they were amazing, shame about the venue. The Bridgewater Hall is not the best place to experience radical flamenco, you don't just want to watch it you need to dance to it too.

Tomorrow we are not having a party but some people might come round for a drinkette in the afternoon, Sunday I have to catch up on 3 weeks of study and Monday being the nasty day itself my parents are coming up to go out for lunch. Bah to rainy weather and being nearly 40.

Monday, July 09, 2007

a grand day out

We went to London for the Tour, saw the Prologue on Saturday. The weather was fab for once (even got sunburnt) and the crowds were huge & friendly & enthusiastic. We settled on a spot in Hyde Park so we could watch the big screen as well as the individual riders flashing by. It was an amazing event and I’m so glad we went but there is a big but – we couldn’t get to Greenwich / Kent to see the first stage of the race ‘proper’, so we didn’t get the spectacle of the peloton in full flight.

So I am marking this thing as ‘done’ and putting up a new thing – “see the Tour de France live again”. We’ll be looking at next year’s route to see if it co-incides with likely-looking holiday destinations …. ooh lookey lookey it starts in Brittany …

Monday, June 25, 2007

sick of this

I went to buy some new shoes last week but the ones I really wanted were too narrow for me - or to put it more honestly, my feet were too fat for them. I eventually got some Dr Marten sandal-type shoes which I do love but am cross my fat feet stopped me getting the ones I really wanted. And much more cross that I am forced to admit that my great fat stomach is making it hard for me to do up the buckles on my new shoes. I will be 40 in less than a month and I don't want to be this fat person any more but I don't know if I have the strength & energy to do what it takes to change.

Friday, June 08, 2007

strange passions

Socks (sorry sockophobes) - I am developing a dangerous addiction to knitting socks, and an even more dangerous (and expensive) one to buying sock yarn. But it all so lovely and colourful and just a few quid for enough to knit a pair, and socks are such a handy portable knitting project ideal for train journeys, never mind that my stash looks like I am planning to keep the British Army in socks this winter (assuming they like multi-coloured ones) and pandas are going hungry as I buy up all their bamboo in the form of needles. OK so I might have to send O up chimneys to pay my Violet Green bill but that's a small sacrifice compared to the joy of hoarding all those lovely brightly coloured balls of wool, and fondly imagining I will transform them all into lovely socks in time for Christmas.

Thermodynamics - gotta love a discipline that having set up 3 rules, decided there was another more important one so called it the zeroth law. Bless. I am really struggling with one of my courses, so much so that I have actually been happy to see some thermodynamic equations. So much of the course feels like an assemblage of facts describing trends (it's the worst bits of inorganic chemistry magnified), it's nice to have some equations to get ones teeth into. You know where you are with an equation. All together now, heat can't move from a cooler to a hotter.

Monday, May 21, 2007

small miracles

In the interests of 'looking on the bright side' and trying not to drown under all the stuff in my life that remains undone, some small successes in my life:
  1. I scored 82% on my last assignment, despite doing it in a mad rush and guessing some of the answers, so I might even pass at least one of this year's courses with a grade 2 pass.
  2. On ringing the tutor on my other course in despair, I discovered everyone else feels the same way - it really is hard, not (just) me being idle.
  3. Because 4 needles aren't enough, I have managed to juggle 5 (4 dpns and a cable needle) to start on some cabled footies for bedsocks for Gran.
  4. since I took up knitting I have lost half a stone. You can't eat and knit at the same time.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

badges, I love lovely badges!

beaver uniformO was officially invested as a Beaver Scout last week - they let him off the bit about promising to love god - so I had a handful of badges to sew onto his uniform. It made me feel like a Proper Mum, sewing on badges.

Not to be outdone, I have been invested into the Order of the Science Scouts of Exemplary Repute and Above Average Physique and so far entitled to proudly display the following badges:

science scouts

talking science the Talking Science badge: yes I talk about science at the slighest provocation, particularly of the chemical or geological variety. Those close to me have learnt never to innocently remark upon some interesting looking rock or building stone, unless they really want an in-depth talk on its geology. This is good tho becuase it deters my mum and my sister (both semi-professional shoppers) from dragging me round shopping centres - vile temples to mamon but often featuring beautiful and interesting decorative stones; also R's whining about being forced to go shopping can be deflect by threats of lectures on depositional environments. R's mother still regrets idly wondering what kind of rock the Giant's Causeway is made of.

arts and craftsthe Arts & Crafts badge: I knit nautiloids and will shortly be crocheting a dalek, I think that qualifies me for the arts and crafts it the name of science badge. Also adapting patterns to one's own reuirements invokes fairly high octane maths skills.

open famethe I'm pretty confident around an open flame badge: awarded for proficiency around open flames in laboratory settings. My glass-melting capilliary-tube making bunsen-burner skills were legend at summer school last year.

quackerythe Destroyer of Quackery badge: as a devoted follower of The Ben, I spend a lot of time battling quackery, pseudoscience, fuzzy thinking and all forms of whoo-woo. The edge of my logic is rapier sharp (particularly after half a bottle of rioja).

harasser the "will glady kick sexual harasser's ass" badge: well, natch

squid: the "inordinately fond of invertebrate" badge: oh yes. Yes yes yes. And did I mention the knitted nautiloids?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThe “pharma shill” badge: yep, medicine does work.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThe “I know what a tadpole is” badge

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThe “I’m into telescopes astro” badge (LEVEL I): we have a telescope and we look at shiny things in the sky with it. I am hoping to go to Jodrell Bank soon and qualify for Level II

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThe “I may look like a scientist, but I’m actually also a pirate” badge: aaaaaarh etc

and so O doesn't feel left out ...

sprogthe Special Auxiliary Child Member of the Order of the Science Scouts badge: becuase he does like science and maths and enjoys finding out more about how the world works (except the bits with rocks in)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

wooly objects of desire

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This is Sublime Angora Merino. It is 80% extra fine merino and 20% angora and it is the softest most gorgeous thing in the whole world. I met it in the wool shop when I realised the yarn I orignally bought for my bolero was too bulky. So I returned it to the shop and asked if they had any angora (as suggested by C). The lovely yarn shop ladies took me over to the Sublime and as soon as I touched it I had to have it. I didn't actually have to give them too much of your actual money for it, because I got a refund on the other stuff and also a bolero doesn't take too much yarn anyway. But as I crochet with it, I love it more and more. It is the colour of clotted cream and it feels like working with cream, it's so smooth and rich and decadent. I really really want to knit a jumper or top or cardigan with the clover colour; there are a couple of items in Big Girl Knits that would be perfect. But there is a lot of me which means it takes a lot of wool to cover me. The cost of the wool would be way, way more than I'd pay for a jumper. But then I'd get hours and hours of pleasure from making it, not even counting the joy of wearing it. I need this wool.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Dear Mr Next PrimeMinister

O is very happy that Tony Blair is fecking off at last, but is concerned about the policies of his successor, and so would like to know your position on the following:

  • SATs - do you think it is a good thing for a normally happy school loving 7 year old to have tummy- and head-aches because he's so worried about his SATs and seems to think they won't let him go into class 3 if he doesn't get all the answers right?
  • car seats - will you end the humiliation caused by forcing self-respecting seven year olds back into sitting in a 'baby seat'
  • casinos - they look such great fun on Sonic the Hedgehog games but completely unfairly children are banned from them
  • Kids' Day - it is wholly unfair and unjust that there is a Mothers' Day and a Fathers' Day but no Kids' Day
  • The War - O has no position on the war as such, but would very much like it to be over so that his parents stop dragging him on demos against it1
Of all of the above, car seats are his number one policy concern. On being told he would have to go back into one and that it was because The Government said so, he uttered the immortal lines "I wish the government would f*ck off". Whereupon he was sent to his room for as long as it took for us to stop laughing and put our serious swearing-is-very-bad faces back on.

1. Poor kid is unaware that we can and will always find plenty of things to go on demos for/against

Sunday, May 06, 2007

robbing Peter to pay the wool shop

Yarn buying is a necessity of life, much like book buying. This month I am skinter even than usual, as I have had to pay Mr Branson several hundred pounds I have not yet got back from work. But I'm not letting that stop me from buying yarn, even if it means shuffling money out of the paying-bills-joint-account before going shopping. Yesterday I got some horribly expensive but gorgeous Rowan aran silk to crochet a little bolero, to wear with my posh frock to a weddin, plus some normal wool to knit the sleevless jumper with vest that O wants. Also I have some recycled sari silk yarn on order, to make a bag for a leaving present for an friend.

My current crochet project is about half way through, and I really wish I'd taken it along to the cinema this afternoon, as I sat through Spiderman3 with O. There was probably just about enough light, and it would've passed the time. O loved every minute of course (except the soppy bits). So yes I am obsessed with crochet. I am behind with my studies and in danger of developing RSI but hey it makes me happy.

Actually I think my mood is lifting a bit, and I've got my 43 things routines going again, having let them slide for a while. I am doing small bursts of studying and am on top of my work. Even better, when work was getting all a bit much a couple of weeks ago, I managed to talk to my new boss about it before things went critical. Baby steps as ever.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday afternoon

It's a lovely sunny day, but I am stuck inside with my microscope while O is outside doing magic tricks for bare chested lesbians.

Monday, April 09, 2007

all by myself

R & O have gone to Ireland for Easter. I elected not to go this year, so I could stay at home and catch up on my knitting studying. 10 days on my own with just two cats, one hamster and the TMS commentary team for company. It is very weird being in the house by myself over night, very weird indeeed.

Monday, April 02, 2007

reality gap

what I should have been doing:
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working hard on my coursework and getting my assignments done

what I have actually been doing:
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learning to crochet, crocheting coin belt, knitting fossils and socks. Although knitting ammonites and belemnites pretty much counts as doing geology, I think.

Oh and playing with my O's new hamster
a Russian Winter White Sapphire imaginatively named Snowy

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Manic Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday ...

Sometimes I wonder if there is a tinge of mania mixed in with my madness; I don't know, is it possible to be a little bit bipolar? I do go through patches full of manic energy, lots of rushing about and always needing to be doing, like now I have taken up knitting again and I have to be knitting all the time, can't sit still can't just do nothing, need to knit and read and watch tv and surf t'internt all at the same time. And I am extremely techy and irritable, so much so that I look at the calendar and am surprised to find it's not 'that time'.

o in his tank topOh well at least knitting is productive, I have finished O's tank top and he wants another one in red and orange; also I am going to knit something for R and a cardigan for myself but first I am going to teach myself to knit socks while goggling at tonight's tv-fest.

Monday, March 05, 2007

here's one I made earlier

mirror in the bathroom Crafting is the new black, apparantly, all the kewl kids are doing it. I have finally got around to making something with some of the sea glass I pick up on beaches, I mosaiced around a mirror with it. Getting the grout on is far easier than cleaning it off afterwards.

I also want to learn to crochet. I can't quite believe I just said that, but I do, because the cardi I want to knit will need to be edged in crochet if it's going to look how I want. I'm two-thirds of the way up the back of O's tanktop already. Maybe knitting will keep me from eating, who knows?

None of which is getting my course work studied. My bad.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


  • Lost a bit last week and got back to my pre-London weight
  • I need to give more priority to getting my exercise it, apart from the belly dancing it's slipping already
  • Have decided to move my GTD weekly review day to Monday, I think it will work better for me
  • I am at last doing my 29th thing - at the moment I have a sleeveless jumper (for O, black with white star on front) and a scarf (for me, thick wool in peaty colours) on the go

Monday, February 26, 2007

fat end of the wedge

All of the meedja are up in arms at this story, that a child could be taken into care because he weighs 14 stone1. He's lost weight since Christmas so it doesn't seem to be Praeder-Willi syndrome. I do feel for the kid's mum but I also want to shout at her. The child is 8. He only gets to eat what adults give him to eat.
Ms McKeown, 35, told the BBC: "Connor had a mouthful of apple once and he didn't like it. a mouth full? once? he's hardly been encouraged to give them a go

"He refuses to eat fruit, vegetables and salads - he has I buy, prepare and give him processed foods.

"When Connor won't eat anything else, I've got to give him the foods he likes let him understand that that's all that's on offer and he can chose it eat it or not. Perhaps then he will try more than one mouthful of apple."
I know I'm not much of a one to lecture on healthy eating, but I have taken a strong "don't do as I do do as I tell you to" line with O. He doesn't have to clear his plate (urgh I hated that when I was a kid) but he does have to try a mouthful of everything and stay at the table till everyone's finished (it's amazing how often a plate pushed away as being disgusting ends up getting eaten), and he knows we're not going to make him something else if he doesn't eat it. Oh and there are apples in our house most days, also oranges pears bananas grapes persimmons plums apricots pomegranates etc etc, so eating them is not some exotic new experience, it's part of normal life. Now I know I've had it quite easy with O (a child who loves cabbage and brussel sprouts!2) and other parents with similar regimes struggle to get their kids to eat healthily, but that doesn't mean you have to indulge their every whim.

I suspect there's a lot more to this situation than we are being told, and that the child's weight may be a symptom of the reasons why social services are concerned, rather than the cause itself. The mum has free reign to present her side of things but social services are not so free to publish the detail of their concerns. Social workers are not all the pc witchhunt brigade they get painted as - although I might be biased as my mum was one. I'd like to discuss this case with her actually but her and me dad have galivanted off on a 5 week round the world ski-ing trip.

1. 14 stone = 196 lb = 98.9kg
2. Another reason to hate SunnyD is there 'no child is like Max Wild' ad campaign, based on the premise that normal kids don't like fresh fruit and veg so caring parents have to give them vitamins laced with sugar instead.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

study Sunday (not)

god almighty hates book lerners Gah the weekend's nearly over and I still haven't done any studying yet. I am having one of those omg I can't do it gaaaah days or 3. The fact it's that time and that I've been forgetting to take my anti-loonie pills (unisex) and my anti-loonie pills (gurls only) won't be helping much. Or perhaps it is the my just desserts for failing to observe the sabbath.

Talking of dessert, there is a good chance we will be enjoying a delicious edible Devonian marine ecosystem in the near future (seen over on Pharyngula).

Ooh look, molecules

(1S)-cis-4-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-N-methyl-1-naphthalenamine aka sertraline 4,5-bis(hydroxymethyl)- 2-methylpyridin-3-ol aka pyridoxine

Friday, February 23, 2007

ging gang gooley

It seems to be deeply unhip to admit to liking scouts/guides. Most blogs I read or people I talk to, if the subject comes up they take delight in recounting how short a time they were members for, how much they hated it and, for bonus points, what heinous crime they got expelled for.

Me, I loved it. I was a Brownie and then a Guide for years. I loved the badges and the camping trips. OK so I'm not a big fan of some of B-Ps views and there's the god-business, but generally I think it's A Good Thing that organisations exist where young peeps can go and learn new things, meet new kids and new grown ups, find out a bit about responsibility, and maybe even have fun and a bit of an adventure along the way. Oh and YAY for the grown ups who give up their time to run things.

So I am happy that O has joined beavers. The pack/colony was recommended by friends and their Raskha says they can accommodated atheist beavers. Took him for his first meeting last night and it turned out they were having a sleepover, O wanted to stay and had a great time. He's a joiner-inner like me, I think he's going to like it there, so yah booh sucks to the kewl kids who turn their noses up, they don't know how much fun they're missing.

another week another gain

Blurgh inspite of my good intentions, a combination of London and TOTM has given me a gain of 3 lb this week. Oh well at least I will be mainly at home for the next few weeks so can get back to trying to learn how to eat like a normal person.

And Friday wouldn't be Friday without my GTD review. In some ways I find the weekly review the hardest part (well apart from actually doing the work) and am still playing around with how I do it. At the moment I
  • make a cup of tea
  • process anything outstanding in my in-tray
  • pull out all my @action files and my project files, open up my email folders and 43things
  • get out last week's project/review list
  • look at my diary for the week/s ahead
  • work through my paper & email folders, checking for things done and things outstanding
  • synchronise my main diary (sunbird) with my paper diary and the family calendar
  • list my ongoing projects and note the 'next action', highlighting the things I really need to move on in the coming week
  • make sure the reminders are put in the proper place in the system - eg putting a bill in my tickler file so it 'pops up' when I need to pay it, noting it on a post-it and sticking it to the right list (eg calls)
  • put all my folders away again
  • have another cup of tea
One thing I know I need to work on is my longer term planning. I'm getting pretty good at next actioning stuff but many projects also needs some work on planning them out. That's something I'm going to work on this week.

And because I know how fascintating all this gtdness is, here are some photos to go with it:

project/review/action listnotebooksPhotobucket - Video and Image Hostingpost itstickler file

More stationery news: I am currently in love with the Paperchase's stripey range.
my stripey stationery

because she's worth it

This year's winners of L'Oreal Unesco awards for women in science announced. Winners include:
  • Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, University of Mauritius, Reduit; organic chemistry
  • Margaret Brimble (left), University of Auckland, New Zealand; organic and medicinal chemistry
  • Tatiana Birshtein, Russian Academy of Science, St Petersburg; macromolecular compounds
  • Ligia Gargallo, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Santiago; physical chemistry
  • Mildred Dresselhaus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, US; electrical engineering and physics

loreal award winner margaret brimble
Margaret Brimble's work involves the synthesis of biologically active molecules from natural products including shellfish toxins and algal blooms. She told Chemistry World that her work synthesising these 'beautiful molecules' was enormously satisfying and that she was surprised and delighted to receive the award, adding that she hoped it would stimulate added interest in science amongst young women in her home country.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

be afraid

welcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlords

Fisherman have landed a colossal squid in Antarctica. I am stocking up on t-shirts. His squid brethren will be angered and I want to be in their good books when they come looking for him.

giant squid size chart

Is it heresy to suggest that their tentacles remind me of His Noodly Appendage? Are squid perhaps his earthly aquatic form? Is the future invertebrate?

welcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlords