Saturday, February 26, 2005

I need a sense of achievement. What have I accomplished today? Trip to Elderslie for swimming lessons. Home again. Trip to Paisley for no.1 son's orchestra. Home again. Wrapped birthday presents, wrote cards, wrapped the whole lot, back out with sons 2 & 3, to go via post office on the way to collect no.1 son from orchestra.

Home again. Phew! Fixed lunch. Put a load of washing through, tumble-dried towels, washed car. Cleaned a couple of grubby window-sills. Prepared beef casserole. Indulged myself in a spot of web-surfing.

What I haven't accomplished, however, is any research - still less, any writing. My research abstract has been accepted - I now have ten days to Get That Paper Written.

I wonder ... if I improved my diet with loads of phyto-oestrogens, would I get so much extra energy etc that I'd literally zip through the research paper? It's surely worth a try! Watch this space.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

I'm not happy! I realise it's too much to expect an 8-year old boy to have much sense about dodgy websites. However, this little boy was banned from the website by his parents. So - probably inevitably - he told all his friends about it.

Luckily, SuperSpouse was in the room when sons no.1 & 2 accessed the site. It started with funny music that made them giggle. Then it changed to cartoons of babies swallowing razor-blades and bleeding profusely. That is absolutely disgusting! Gross, in fact. It makes me sick to think about it, and the boys were very upset by it. Our boys have also been banned from the website.

We give our kids sensible warnings about safe internet use. Basically, if you see something that disturbs you, or that you know is not right - get out of the website, and tell a parent. And don't go looking for things that you know we wouldn't approve of. Well, this just serves to reinforce all that we've said. They won't be visiting that website again.

Research-minded Pseudo-Supermum has started writing a paper for a research conference that takes place after Easter. It's ironic that I probably write far better than I did aged 24, but have a lot less confidence in myself. What happened to the confidence that maturity is supposed to bring? 47 next birthday - I'm looking for some age-related benefits here!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Coming home early is an eye-opener. Howls of anguish. "Why hasn't my new comic arrived? They said 21 days - you told me!

Further howls from no.3 "Do my homework? Now? But I want to play on the Game-Cube.

No.1 (sanctimoniously), "Hey, I haven't been grumpy, Mum - you can't say we're all bad-tempered ..."

I thought it would be a nice, domesticated gesture to have tea ready for my family for once. (Usually, Super-Spouse has to do it, during the working week.) Listen carefully. I've cooked mince. No-one dislikes mince. But you can be sure you'll hear protests from someone, as a matter of principle. No matter where in the world you're listening from!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Let's face it, none of us enjoy leaving the house at 8.30 am on a Saturday morning for a swimming class. However, that is the time it has to be. We got up. Son no.1 protested he didn't feel too good, but conceded that he's just a bit congested with cold, and would feel better when he was up. He did. Son no.3 overheard. Oh,he felt ill too.

We reached the pool. Two minutes later, a boy dashed out. "Your son's just being sick." I thought it might be son no.1. But no - son no.3 appeared, tears in his eyes - but not [yet] actually sick.

I got him dressed again (me standing in the male changing room, where I wasn't meant to be). We watched the others for 20 minutes, during which time the "invalid" was fine.

I got him back into his swimming trunks for another go. Sent him through to the pool and went back to the viewing area myself. Five minutes passed - no sign of him.

(Thanks to and for the images.)
I enlisted a male coach to go and look for him. He managed to get him to stand by the pool, but not to get in it. Then ...

"You'll have to go and find your son. He's gone into the female changing room."

I scoured the place. Looked behind every curtain and in every cubicle. No boy.

Ran him to earth in the male changing room (luckily there was still no-one in there). Would he swim? Nope. The coach and I tried reasoning with him.

"But I might drown".

"No-one would let you drown", said the coach.
"You've been fine going swimming for the past 6 months - why should today be any different?", I added.
Later, at lunch, we were talking about it. While I was in the kitchen between courses, he whispered confidentially to his father, "I was faking it, Dad."


It gets better. Son no.1 announced that his friend's Dad was calling a "band practice" at 1 pm. So I immediately started cooking lunch. We were finished on time.

He was back 15 minutes' later. "My friend's Dad is out, and we couldn't get the electric guitar to work." Had a "band practice" been called at all, or was it in the little friend's imagination?

No.2 son is - today - blame-free. And doesn't he love it?!!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Today I told the boys that I felt like a sheepdog rounding up sheep - or, at best, like Nana on Peter Pan. You know? The dog that herded them up and got them ready for bed. Thanks to for the image.

Well, NO MORE! Time to get tough. Homework gets done before tea. Bed-time means just that. And I'm not going to be placed in a position where I have to give the same instruction ten times before it's acted upon. Pseudo-Supermum has spoken.

Had a dull day at work. Nothing to complain about - it just felt lack-lustre. Had a meeting with my research supervisor at the end of the day, which was fine. I even got home slightly earlier than usual. Tomorrow is a trip to Edinburgh to do research for the whole day. That makes a nice change. I run the risk of losing my place, if I don't get enough done. It's a bit like "losing the thread" - you forget what you were doing, and (worse still), why you were doing it.

So, why am I doing it?

Because I want with all my heart to do this research. And to complete it this time. Is there anyone out there? Hey, please encourage me!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Aaagh! Am I a control-freak, or do the boys just make me feel like one? I've been trotting around like a sheepdog, urging them to do homework etc. They come home from school and spend HOURS on computer/gamecube/gameboys - then want to watch TV after our evening meal. If they'd only do their homework when they get home with SuperSpouse, then we wouldn't have a problem later on in the evening.

When did no.1 son finish his family tree for school? 10.40 pm! He hasn't done any cello-practice, in spite of having an audition coming up.

Did I get any research done after he'd gone to bed? Well, what do you think? I don't think I'm selfish. A boy of eleven SHOULD be in bed before 10.50 pm on a school-night. And his mum shouldn't have to spend half the evening politely asking him to get his homework done.

Aw, shucks - it hasn't been a good night. In between rushing around getting everyone to do homework and get ready for bed, I've done a white load of washing - but not seen the MAROON sock that got in the load. Huh! I've had two attempts at making a spicy tomato sauce for tomorrow's evening meal - the first one got burnt. Double huh!

Now it is 11.20 pm and I've had an email from PayPal saying they may have lost my account. What next?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Sleepy Pseudo-Supermum had the luxury of a lie-in yesterday morning, whilst SuperSpouse took the boys to their swimming lesson. Of course, there was then the trip to string orchestra for no.1 son, and after that we went to McDonalds for lunch. SuperSpouse took no.1 to Paisley McDonalds, as he was going to an event at the Abbey after lunch. The rest of us went to our local branch. What a family!

Sunday saw no.1 son going to Edinburgh - again, with his cello. Sounds as though he's had fun. Sleepy Pseudo-Supermum snoozed after lunch. Will I ever catch up? Call me Dormouse!

With a music audition coming up, we're going to research the composers whose pieces are going to be played - just so our budding cellist can say SOMETHING intelligent about the music, if asked. Have Horrible Histories comics ever been used for historical background research before, I wonder?!

Must finish cooking tea....

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Last week was a write-off. I should have taken the rest of the week off work, because I really wasn't well. However, I took the attitude that if there was a mountain of work waiting for me after three days off on holiday, then it would be an intolerable mountain if I took a further three days off sick. So I worked slowly and snufflingly instead! Cough, splutter. Eh? What did you say? Still couldn't hear you ...

Church on Sunday was entertaining - well, for me, anyway. I couldn't hear the choir properly, only heard the minister when he was preaching - missed hymn announcements - and then, after the service, the general hum of coffee-time conversation was just an unbearable rumble of noise. (I think they call it "white noise" in the audio trade. But I could be wrong.)

Ah well, I have been back in Scotland for a week. I can just about hear normally again, only cough occasionally and we won't talk about my snuffly nose.

Today, the computer system at work was unwell. It was upgraded, first thing this morning. Apparently purely coincidentally, it developed a fault when everything was turned back on again. I understand it is on the way to being fixed again and everything will be better in the morning. We were very busy trying to cover the system's failings today, though. You can't find the books on your reading list? Ask me, and I'll think of a number. Not there? Oh dear, let's see where it might be. Hmmm.....

It's difficult maintaining an excellent service when you have to guess all the shelfmarks. A library catalogue is actually a very useful system. You don't realise until suddenly it's not there!