Wednesday, June 29, 2005

About to go quiet - loads of research reading to do, an end-of-year review to prepare for, and a conference paper submission to write.

I got to work at 8 am today, for an important reason - to make up some time so I could take time out later. I attended the end-of-year primary school church service this morning, and was rewarded by a great big smile from no.1 son. (I saw no.2, but he didn't see me - and couldn't see no.3 at all, though I'm assured he was there!) Pseudo-Supermum's halo is shining brightly again and all's well with the world.

Gotta go - ironing beckons. Urghhh!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I wonder how much 130 linear metres of books actually weigh? In the past two days, I've shifted that much, single-handed. Why? Because I don't want to make work for anyone else. I'm knackered. My neck, shoulders and arms are still sore - no surprise there. My head aches too, but that's because at home I've been frantically working to a deadline getting research assignments ready for today.

Major panic - I can't find our E111 travel forms. Excuse me - I'd better start looking properly.

Later, much later ... forms found. Godmother's birthday present wrapped (it isn't for another five weeks but I can't risk either our or her own holiday arrangements preventing us from getting it to her on time!). I have a couple of consent forms to fill in, then I can consider the evening finished. Oh yes, and I was going to do some ironing.

It's official - we're lousy parents. We work - we can't get to the school's end of term service tomorrow morning. No.1 son has assured us that he'll break down and cry in front of the school if we aren't there. Now I feel really, truly guilty - but I still have to go to work. We've tried to get a deputy for SuperSpouse, but there is none to be found. I really do despair of what we can do, when we've explored all possibilities. You see? Only a Pseudo-Supermum. Hiding the truth that she's been a Lousy Parent all the time.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Giffnock Ivy is a wonderful small restaurant in East Renfrewshire. SuperSpouse and I went out for a meal there this evening - delicious! (This was our belated anniversary meal. Only ten weeks late, but worth the wait.)

So, we've all had a good day.
  • Cello Boy was involved in 'interviewing' potential youth workers at church this lunchtime.
  • All three boys had a fabulous long and splashy waterfight this afternoon in glorious sunshine. (No.2 son bought a new supersoaker yesterday, and it really is powerful!)
  • I spent the afternoon on an assignment
  • And then we had our meal out this evening. I might do a little more work now, but not much - I don't want to spoil the evening!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

It's not my weekend. Loads of things I ought to be doing, so I'll just give you a speedy breakdown on where we're at:-


  • Cricked my neck on Thursday morning - I've been walking round like the hunchback of Notre Dame ever since. Panadol ACTIFAST is a misnomer - it doesn't relieve the pain of a stiff neck at all, never mind quickly. (How about ActiSlowIfAtAll? Wouldn't sell, would it?)
  • Folk having a heated argument in the street at half-past midnight ought to be shot.
  • Folk breaking into SuperSpouse's car through the rear passenger window at 2.30 am don't even deserve a quick demise. Luckily for them, they scarpered when I banged on the bedroom window, and it took me five minutes to realise that I could have crept out with a baseball bat to far better effect ...
  • SuperSpouse is away to Bothwell to get the window fixed this afternoon. (Look up Glasgow to Bothwell on multimap.com - it's miles, but miles better than waiting until Monday for a local repair.)

Sigh! Now the boys are having a water-fight, which at least gets them outside but doesn't give Pseudo-Supermum very much peace. When do I get these research assignments done?

Don't answer that!

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Italian breadsticks have all been eaten. The verdict from Wriggle-Squiggle was "They're different - but okay".

Well, did I expect raptures of delight all round? Certainly Cello Boy enjoyed them. Next time I'll use olive oil (as per the recipe) and sea-salt or poppy seeds. Should add to the enjoyment!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Shifted about 25 shelves of bound/boxed music at work today. I feel a bit like those Tetley tea-bags monkey removals adverts! (You have to be middle-aged to remember them, I'm afraid...)

But if my shoulders and upper arms are more sore tomorrow morning, then really I shouldn't be too surprised, should I?

I've taken no.1 son to his last piano lesson of the season. I've taken the fruit juice "with bits" back to Asda and exchanged it for smooth juice. I've got boys to bed, done a couple of hours research, and now ...

Oh, wait for this, folks. Pseudo-Supermum has found a bread-machine recipe for Italian breadsticks. If it works, I'll be no.3 son's Favourite Person. If it doesn't (and it might not, because I misread the instructions), then it'll go straight in the bin and he won't know a thing about it!

If it works, I insist on being nominated for a Domestic Goddess award, at the very least. So, I'd better log off and get kneading. Okay, it's 11.15 pm, and I haven't even reached the kneading stage yet. This mightn't have been my brightest, most time-saving wheeze.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Now I really have seen it all! There was a leaflet about the Oakley Thump at the opticians' on Saturday. Cool gadgetry, I thought, and pocketed a leaflet so I could visit the website later.



So you download music from your PC, load it up onto your sunspecs, and head off to the beach. Yeah! (At $499? Maybe not so cool, after all. Cello Boy likes them - why am I not surprised? He is son of Gadget Man, after all!)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Father's Day. I remembered! I bought cards and gifts for SuperSpouse and my own father. Got Pa's posted on time, and it arrived down south yesterday morning. Wrapped SuperSpouse's gift, got the boys to sign the card, and put both items in my desk drawer.

Bad move. We got to church this morning, and it wasn't until the minister mentioned Father's Day that it hit me - WE'D FORGOTTEN TO GIVE SUPERSPOUSE HIS CARD AND GIFT!!! (Sorry to shout, but it hit me like a bolt of lightning. The congregation must have wondered why the organist suddenly paled.)

I primed the boys carefully. When Daddy arrived home from his organist post, they were to apologise, frantically and sincerely, as I would too. "But Mum, you're always telling me to stop apologising", protested Son no.1. "On this occasion", I assured him firmly, it is perfectly in order, in fact obligatory, to apologise."

Thankfully, SuperSpouse saw the funny side of it - he had forgotten too, until his minister mentioned the dreaded day ...

Oh, what an embarrassment! At least my Sunday lunch was good enough to redeem the day.

The day began with thunder and rain in stair-rods. Turned fine enough to hang out the washing and do a bit of weeding after lunch - and SuperSpouse mowed "the lawn" [aka green pocket-handkerchief] after tea. Some of the washing dried.

I even did a tiny bit of research. And that marks the end of the day...

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Any overworked parent is likely to laugh at this one:-

Supermarket supergiant Asda (Walmart) has a sense of humour. How did I work that one out? Why else would they put condoms next to sleeping tablets?!

Decisions, decisions...
Did I say I was keeping The Undomestic Goddess for summer holiday reading? Hah! I felt so stressed on Thursday and Friday that by Friday evening I decided it was chill-out time, big-time. I read the whole book, and it was great.

There were echoes of "I don't know how she does it" - only this time it's a single career-girl running herself crazy, rather than a working mum. But crazy is the only word for the heroine's lifestyle. Totally undomesticated, she appeared to have grown up to be remarkably successful - considering her professional but disfunctional family background.

"In my day", said Mrs Farley (the neighbour on Samantha's landing), "all well-educated girls were taught how to sew on a button, darn a sock and turn a collar". To which high-flying Samantha retorts that girls at her school were taught to pass exams and use their brains.

Coming from a school where you couldn't do domestic science unless you sacrificed a second modern language (because it meant spending a morning at a nearby technical college, since we had no kitchen other than the one used to cook our lunches) - I could sympathise. I didn't do any domestic sciences, because I took two modern languages and Latin, then in my sixth-form, took Spanish O-level as well as 3 A-levels and a S level. They didn't like Their Girls to have time to spare!

However, where I differ from Samantha is in having a domestic science teacher as a mother. So I'm proud to boast that MY mother taught me to sew on a button and darn a sock, and I have been known in more impoverished days to turn a collar. Only once or twice - I discovered it was easier to remove the worn bit of collar to create a grandpa-shirt.

I also differ from Samantha in having a family that WOULD be with me on my birthday if I didn't live 400 miles away.

Yesterday we got three very good school reports for our boys. Lots of "Very Good"s - in fact, sons nos.1 & 2 only got one or two "Good"s, and all the rest were Very Good. I liked the dry comment "he's not bad at the cello" for Cello Boy! No.3 - sigh! - got a good report but the comment that he'd get on better if he LISTENED more attentively. Tell me something new!

The same child is just back from a trip to the optician. Rewards a-plenty were promised if he was good. He got one of the rewards, but I can assure you, he didn't deserve it. I just couldn't face taking him home wailing and empty-handed. Blew it again, didn't I. He wouldn't cooperate. "Huh, do I have to sit on that blooming chair and look at those blooming letters again?", he demanded loudly. Wriggle. Squiggle. I thought the optician was very patient. Having ascertained that Fraser could read halfway down the chart easily, and read a piece of text intended for adults, the optician didn't bother with the heavy metal specs and little lenses - just said he thought Fraser was "probably managing fine". Ah well. Exit one embarrassed Mum.

I have to do the supermarket run tonight. I've got the second load of washing out, and it hasn't started raining yet. Give it time ...

Meanwhile, SuperSpouse and the two biggest boys are out, and Wriggle-Squiggle is playing on his gamecube, so I'll make some scones for tea. Three cheers for domesticity. (I can see the appeal of tranquil domesticity, but I bet you Samantha would have got tired of it eventually!)

I shall have to put my research student hat on later this evening.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The day began well - my computer spotted (and seems to have dealt with) a virus, and our non-stick frying-pan stuck. Cooking little sausages for the boys' packed lunch suddenly became a major drama. Humph!

I had a hard-working, mundane day at work- but I got good news from a colleague at lunchtime, so that brightened up the day.

Finally - and I'm sure it isn't the 13th today - I got to church for choir-practice, only to discover that half of them were going to a meeting fifteen minutes' later. We practised for fifteen minutes. Then I went and replaced the frying-pan. Every cloud has a silver lining.

I need to do some research now, so I'll just quietly go and get on with it!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Pseudo-Supermum and Recycled Postgrad go out for a drive.

How so? I needed books from the University Library. SuperSpouse was out, and I couldn't get a babysitter at such short notice, so I took the kids to the Uni Library. With the bribe of a McFlurry if they were good, they filed into that library, tiptoed past the odd studious student, and waited while I found three books. Tiptoed back downstairs again, and out we trecked to the car. Easy-peasy.

It was annoying to say the least, that our local McDonalds had closed its doors at 7.55 pm because it technically closed at 8 pm. Fortunately, there's another outlet only a mile or two away, so we did get our McFlurries - and very nice they were, too.

Now, I have various things I need to look up. (It's now 25 to 11 and the kids are all asleep, so this is when I have to try to achieve Something Studiously Significant.)

So - I'll post this, then Recycled Postgrad can concentrate on the tasks in hand.

Friday, June 10, 2005

A depressingly mundane day. Oh, I got a whole mountain of work done - rather repetitive stuff. I am grateful that I've got a steady job. And that I and my family are healthy. But there are times when I can't help reflecting that if I'm 47 and jaded, and have to work until I'm 70, then I don't think there will be much spark left.

How I wish I could do something noteworthy, praiseworthy, or just get some recognition! But then, that's why I'm doing this doctorate - it won't make any difference at work, but people who know about such things will at least appreciate that I'm trying to prove I have a brain. I'm tired of being nondescript. I'll never make waves in the world now. Let's face it, I'm not going to write a best-selling novel, give a first-class performance, compose something fabulous, create something beautiful. I'm never going to be stunningly attractive or effortlessly popular, and I'm never going to have an ideal home or a fast car. This is the reality of being middle-aged. And I don't like it!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Hey, look at me, I'm dancing! Please note and admire:-

Finally (well, actually, I did this first, before I started fiddling around with my links) - tired of having just one blogging page, I decided it was time to branch out. Let me introduce my new page, Recycled Postgrad. Same Pseudo Supermum - just teasing out the different aspects of my life.

Now, onto today's concerns. Keep praying for my friends' daughter. I don't have any news yet about how the operation went. It's a tense time.

Meanwhile, Super Spouse decided to have his birthday bash early - literally.



As they would say in Glasgow, See they Citroen C5 airbags? Well, they really work, sure they do!

The car in front of Super Spouse stopped very suddenly. He did an emergency stop, stalled ...

... and the next thing he knew there was an almighty bang and clouds of smoke, as the airbags were activitated. Had he smashed the front of the car? Damaged the radiator or worse? What about the other car?

He leapt out of that C5 with the agility of a gazelle. (Are we talking about my Super Spouse?)

The other driver took one look at his ashen face and suggested an ambulance. Then they examined the cars. Barely a whisper of a scratch on either car!

The Citroen dealer thinks the airbags may have been over-sensitive. I'll say! Lucky my Super Spouse didn't have a heart attack. (He had one over 20 years ago. We really don't want a repeat!)

Monday, June 06, 2005

If I get to do any research stuff in the morning, then it has to be a Good Start to the Day!
I went and did some reading at the University Library; in fact, I got through it quicker than I expected. Stupidly, I hadn't brought my other notes with me, so I couldn't continue making notes on the other books I'm interested in. (I wouldn't have known where I left off last time, and when it's a set if indices, then that kind of matters...)

You'd be amazed how alert and awake I feel when I get the chance to do research before 10 pm at night ...!

I got SuperSpouse's birthday present en route to work - another job well-done. I ought to make a birthday cake tonight, but he's supposed to be on a diet. That's a bit of a problem. (He's too heavy for his heart, and I'm too bulgy for the beach. We've got 3 and a half weeks to do something about the situation.)

In the interest of getting all my other tasks done, I'm going to keep this posting short tonight. Please read yesterday's posting. Whatever your faith, and however small, please echo that prayer in your heart, for the sake of my friends' daughter.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The prayer below is from a website called WorldPrayers.org . It's a personal prayer by B.Madaras. The people at World Prayers are very happy for me to share this with you.

In my church, a family is suffering terribly right now because a daughter is seriously ill, about to have yet another operation. This prayer is dedicated to them.

Heavenly Father, I call on you right now in a special way.
It is through your power that I was created.
Every breath I take,
every morning I wake,
and every moment of every hour,
I live under your power.
Father, I ask you now to touch me with that same power.
For if you created me from nothing,
you can certainly recreate me.
Fill me with the healing power of your spirit.
Cast out anything that should not be in me.
Mend what is broken.
Root out any unproductive cells.
Open any blocked arteries or veins and rebuild any damaged areas.
Remove all inflammation and cleanse any infection.
Let warmth of your healing love pass through my body
to make new any unhealthy areas
so that my body will function the way you created it to function.
And Father, restore me to full health
in mind and body so that I may serve you the rest of my life.
I ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

I'm a wicked, shameful time-waster! All day, I've dutifully done the things needing doing - feeding the washing-machine, doing the orchestra-run, the supermarket-run, generally doing the weekend catching-up routines. Now I ought to be doing some research reading.

So, before I start chasing boys to bed - after Dr. Who, of course - I shall get on with it. Email me and ask me how much I've got done - I have 500 pages to skim in the next four hours, other duties not withstanding!

Gulp!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Surprise, surprise - my arms don't ache any more.

Coincidentally, I've got a whole load of stuff done that has been hanging over me:-
  • 2 music research presentations over Easter
  • 2 librarianship presentations this term
  • doubly-revised music article resubmitted
  • librarianship article submitted
  • music presentation turned into an article, and submitted
  • librarianship presentation turned into an article, and submitted

Now if my carpal tunnel syndrome was playing up, you'd think all that would have made it worse. Yet, I haven't been doing a huge amount of typing, and now the stress is over, my arms are now fine. Maybe it was more stress than CTS?

Just think what all this is doing for my CV! Pity I'm not going anywhere, but at least it keeps the CV refreshed in case one day the unforseen, unexpected Perfect Post comes up somewhere.

No.1 son is due back from France just before midnight tonight. SuperSpouse is going up to school to meet him. The boy'll be totally shattered.

Now, theoretically we ought to be at the swimming pool at 9 am tomorrow morning. There are a few problems, though:-

  • no.1 son will be too tired
  • no.2 son has verrucas, which we only discovered a couple of days ago. I went on a Verruca Sock hunt today. The lady in Boots said that they had stuff to treat verrucae, but not to cover them up for going swimming. (Very helpful, don't you think?!) So I tried the sports shop next door, but they only had large or small but not medium socks. Went back to work with my hands stinking of latex, having examined the large socks and found them too large. Went to three local chemists after work, but there were none to be had anywhere.
  • no.3 son always complains at going swimming anyway.

The obvious solution is to skip swimming lessons, but we still have to go later on to sign up for the next course after the school summer holidays. And no.1 son still has to go to orchestra, because they've got a concert coming up.

Excuse me - I must go and set up the video to record the Karen Dunbar Show. No.1 son (and no.2, and SuperSpouse) are her unofficial fan-club, and I dare not admit that it hasn't been recorded for the Triumphal Homecoming. And here's our claim to fame - our family goes to the same hairdresser! (I can tell you're overwhelmed.)






(The picture comes from the BBC Scotland comedy web-pages.)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I feel a bit like a volcano. I wake in the morning and before I know where I am, I'm coughing and spluttering like nobody's business. Blooming summer cold! This morning I'd have loved to have phoned in sick and stayed in bed. What did I do? I staggered in, and felt better after the third cup of coffee.

(What have I been told about cutting down on caffeine? To be fair, only one cup was caffeinated. As for cutting down on liquid intake - well, forget it. I needed those coffees, urgently!)

After a miserable, wet day, I am happy to report that the sun has come out. It's only coming up to 7 pm, and there's every chance I should get a few hours' research done tonight. So, excuse me folks, but I think I'll go and get cracking.