Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'll start where I left off - with Cello-Kid's cake.

So - the harmony teacher was leaving, and suggested all the kids should have a cake-baking contest. The fact that half of them live in residence, not at home, didn't seem to have occurred to anyone. Could they ALL have made cakes in the residence kitchenette this evening? Precisely.

We baked our cake late on Sunday night. I froze it.

This morning (Tuesday), I got a phone-call - very early.

"Mum - you're going to kill me!"
"Try me."
"See, that cake we baked?"
"Well, the teacher isn't leaving after all, and ...."

After a very hectic day today, I bought a large jar of strawberry jam on the way home. Before I went out again this evening, I sandwiched together the two halves of the now-defrosted cake. And took it to the residence, so it could be taken to school tomorrow.

On top of that cake is a piece of kitchen-roll, with the words, "I was conned!" (Or, in Glaswegian, "Ah wiz conned.")

You have to see the funny side of it, though. The teacher who was leaving suddenly had a Damascus moment, realised he was going to miss the kids too much, and changed his mind. He's apparently now going to spend his time commuting between his OLD job and his NEW one. I presume both always were intended to be part-time, or he'll never sit still.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Stressed to the max!

I have only two observations to make. You know those buns I made for the school "home-baking" stall?

What did my darling family bring back from the Christmas Fayre? A pack of 12 Traditional Fairy Cakes from Sherwood Forest Bakeries, sell-by date 3rd March '07. Clearly just as fresh as the ones I'd baked ...

This evening I was playing at church, so at 17.40 I started to get ready to go out.

"Oh, Mum! We're having a baking contest for our music harmony teacher." (Eh? Yes, right!) "So could you nip into the supermarket and buy a packet of quick cake-mix so I can make a cake?"

At 7.56 pm on a Sunday, Morrisons were closing. Pausing only to note that there was a nail in my front tyre which might mean a flat tyre in the morning, I drove home without a quick cake-mix.

Supervised the making of a cake from scratch, cooled the two halves and froze them. To be dealt with.

You've absolutely no idea the chaos I am surrounded by. And that's nothing to the chaos in my head. It is 21.58 and I have at least four hours' research to do, but I don't somehow see myself lasting until 2 am. So - er - if I have to get a flat tyre repaired, AND go to the osteopath, AND go to the orthdontist, AND get to work for 1 pm (not possible), AND work until 8.30 pm tomorrow night, what are my chances of getting that abstract written for the Bristol conference which takes place after Christmas...?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thursday saw me getting all my work totally up to date, so I could fly down to visit my family in Norwich with a clear conscience on Friday.

I had choir-practice on Thursday evening, nipped in to the supermarket for baking ingredients, and arrived back home in pouring rain. Got a neighbour to babysit while I ran the babysitter home. Baked buns for the school Christmas Fayre, and a cake for the family. (My sons set great store by the fact that their mum does real “home-baking” for the stall, rather than raiding Iceland at 8.45 am. Who’s the sensible mum, though? Not me!)

Rang my mother from the airport on Friday morning to learn that Dad, who has been hospitalised for 6 weeks already, had just suffered another mini-stroke, the day before his 80th birthday. There would be no birthday meal at our local restaurant - medical permission was cancelled!

The next 24 hours passed in a whir. I visited Dad twice. The second time, I had to persuade my sister to stop at a garage for oil, or we’d have been stranded in deepest, darkest Norfolk in the middle of the night. Her car took nearly 3 bottles of oil - I shivered at the thought of what might have been!

Every time I see my Dad, I'm painfully aware it could be the last. Yesterday evening I tucked him up in bed and kissed him goodbye - the wheel turns full circle. Is it REALLY all those years since I was the one being tucked up at bedtime?

(It's hard to believe that it's 45 years since he tucked a three-year old up in bed after having demonstrated, practically, why it wasn't a good idea to drink orange squash then milk in close succession. You try mixing the two together, and see if its very appearance doesn't turn your stomach! Of all the bedtimes, the funniest occasions stick in one's memory. Another vivid memory is his bedtime stories - of Esmerelda and the flying carpet, or the wicked witch who disappeared when a little boy got all the villagers to throw water at her.)

Saturday evening - I should be at a concert. I’m too d… knackered! I did the supermarket run and am about to do my nails. That’s my idea of indulgence. It's rather sad, isn't it?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A better day

It was necessary to get to grips with new blogging software at work, as we're adopting wordpress.com, as opposed to weblogger.com - which I've used for several years now.

I created a new weblog for experimental purposes. Introducing ... Multi-taskers Anonymous.

I hasten to add, this is just a trivial blog while I get the hang of wordpress. It's not the one I'll eventually set up! I just want to compare functionality, ease of use, and what all the different tabs and buttons do.

I phoned the outdoor sports shop first thing this morning and got them to leave aside a bigger jacket - so I was able to pick it up at lunchtime. No.2 son is ecstatic. It's plenty big enough - the sleeves are actually too big, but he'll grow into it. And it has a removable fleecy lining so he can wear it in the summer as a rain-jacket, too. Success!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ever had a Bad Shopping Day?

Honestly, I wasn't even Christmas shopping. I was just getting a few things in my lunch-break.

  • I needed an 80th birthday present for my father, who has been in hospital over a month after suffering a stroke. Mother told me he needed jog-pants. I found some, perfectly suitable. Bought them, and some other things to make the parcel more exciting. Then went on my next errand.
  • A waterproof, cosy winter jacket for no.2 son. He is 10. The choice was a jacket for 9-10 years, or 11-12 years. The latter looked much too big, so I took the former.

Back to work - where I cried at the thought of my father, a retired school-teacher and minister, reduced to shuffling around in jog-pants.

And eventually, home at the end of the day - to discover that the 9-10 jacket is too tight. I'll have to take it back. Bother!

  • This evening I nipped into Asda to buy a birthday card. Surely I couldn't get that wrong! But I did. I found a lovely card, not humorous, just tasteful - after all, you can't buy a jokey card about getting old, when someone is in a stroke rehabilitation ward - however, it wasn't until I got home that I realised I hadn't got an envelope with it. And it wasn't a cheap card. My fault, of course, but the till assistant didn't notice either. Annoying as this is, it seems a bit drastic to drive all the way back to to Asda at 10.20 pm, to claim my envelope. I've found one that j-u-s-t fits, so that will have to do, unless Super-Spouse can find something better.

My horoscope didn't say "this hasn't been your day" - but it might as well have done!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Don't you just love wet Sunday afternoon shopping outings?

I'm afraid I don't! However, it was necessary to buy a new lunchbox, so out we went, and came back with a nice Doctor Who one. Along with sugar-free flavoured spring water, cheese chunks and cheese strings for no.1 son, who is realising too late that there are dietary restrictions when you get an orthodontic brace!

Someone show me a website with "healthy, sugar-free snacks for people who wear braces", please!

Talking of dentists, let me give you a piece of advice. If you're attending an osteopath for neck tension, do NOT go straight from the osteopath to the dentist. I had to have a filling replaced. Reclined in the dreaded chair, opened wide for the injection, and - Zing! (or should that be Ping!?) Every last ounce of tension returned, just like that, all at once. Do I feel better for going to the osteopath this time? No, I don't. But I've learned a valuable lesson.

image from dentalphobiaf2g.net

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Stressful times ...
Things aren't going too well in our house at the moment. Or should I add, it's not what's going on in the house, so much as what's happening to the people who live there.

Overstressed, I flung a wooden spoon into the washing-up bowl last night. You wouldn't think that would hurt either the spoon or the bowl, now would you?! Luckily, it wasn't hard to replace a bowl. The lady in Asda looked at me kind of strangely when I told the new bowl solemnly that it was about to go into a battle zone ...

But I can assure you that it looked me in the eye and assured me that it was more than equal to the task. And strode forth bravely, without a care in the world. I'll have to stick to flinging dishcloths, in future. (I still have memories of my mother being so enraged at Dad that she flung a wet dishcloth at him. Scary stuff! I had such a traumatic childhood.)

Further web rage!

Just who does "Maria McGinnis" think she is, to be advising me, "Make yuorself more attractive to others". [Yes, she did say "yuorself".] Maria - take a piece of advice from me, now. Make YUORself more attractive to others and go get a life away from sending futile spams to clog up the internet. Or throw YUORself off the nearest high-rise building!

And it gets worse. Later the same day, Lois Roberts tells me summer is almost here, so I must "be raedy", and Cary Allison tells me three times over that I should "Watcht he pounds disappear". AAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Web Rage!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't you hate them? The spam emails that announce, "We can help you lose weight!"

(or wieght or weiht or weigt or any other misspelling that enables them to dodge your spam-blocker)

THEY don't know me. THEY haven't even seen me. THEY don't know whether I want to lose weight, and frankly, if I wanted to lose weight then I'd sort it out all by myself. Not with THEIR help. So someone, somewhere sits there assuming that we all want to lose weight and will therefore open their stupid spam.

There should be a way of bouncing their infuriating, unhealthy spam back. Preferably down the senders' throats. And if they choke on them, well, they deserve it!

When, oh when will someone devise a way of ensnaring spammers and dealing with them in an appropriate way?

Meanwhile - let's have another chocolate, enjoy life a little and not be made to feel guilty for indulging ourselves!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Our middle son is a hypochondriac - or should that be, just a humbug!

In twenty-four hours, this fit, healthy child with an equally healthy appetite has had:-

  • a cough

  • a headache

  • sore eyes

  • sore legs

  • a pain in the chest

  • a failed attempt to throw up!

I don't think he understands about "the boy who cried 'Wolf!'", though we do. Are we going to rush to the doctor? Probably not. Are we not giving him enough attention? Well, I'm pretty sure we pay all three boys plenty of attention.

So - watch this space. My cure for all ills is either an indigestion tablet, or a spoonful of Calpol - or an early night. He got the early night this time!

Friday, November 10, 2006

I'm a convert!

To what? I've visited an osteopath for the first time ever, today. Wow!

Years ago, when I was expecting the boys, I was bothered with carpal tunnel syndrome. It never totally went away, but up until fairly recently, it hasn't been much bother. Waking up with numb, tingly fingers became normal. The aching arms were a bit more bothersome, but it wore off quickly enough once I was out of bed and moving around. And the pins-and-needles feeling was only really triggered by carrying a heavy bag - or a laptop! (That was easily solved - I got a case that I could wear as a backpack.)

However, recently my fingers have been numb, tingly and burning nearly all the time. My arms have ached more. I've even resorted to pain-relief. And, eventually conceding to myself that it wasn't going to get better unless I did something about it, I went to my GP, who promised to refer me to the orthopaedic specialists at our local hospital.

The National Health Service is a wonderful facility, most of the time, and if you have a crisis, they really rise to the occasion. But for non-emergencies, you can wait for ages.

Speaking to a colleague the other day, she recommended her osteopath. I phoned up yesterday, and got an appointment today. I do believe she has made a difference already. I may not have carpal tunnel syndrome, but extreme tension in my neck and shoulders. Indeed, this may be causing my tension headaches, too. Whatever the cause - I'll be going back - oh yes, I'll be back!

I have some simple exercises to do at home meanwhile. If it helps as much as the treatment helped, then I won't forget to do them.

Oh, happy days ...

Sunday, November 05, 2006


SuperSpouse is out all day today, too. And the two bigger boys are due back from their respective sleepovers any minute now. That left me and Ocarina-Kid to our own devices all day.

We went to church. We came home, and I made soup. (Yes, made it. From scratch.) Supervised homework while the soup simmered, then went back to the kitchen to liquidize it. It is too easy to knock the on/off switch. Guess who did it? With scalding hot tomato soup. It went everywhere, including my own bare arms.

We went swimming after lunch - I think Ocarina-Kid enjoyed having Mum to himself for a change. All was calm and peaceful, until ...

Both boys are home again - within 60 seconds of each other. And the bickering started immediately.
Give me strength!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


It was just a normal Saturday ... only with more in it. SuperSpouse was out all day, so this is what I did:-

  • Glasgow to Paisley for Viola-Kid's orchestra
  • And home again, to do the ironing
  • Glasgow to Paisley to collect Viola-Kid, with the other two along for the ride
  • Paisley to Milngavie to collect Cello-Boy's prize book from the bookshop
  • Milngavie McDonalds. Before you accuse me of being a Bad Mother, think of what you'd have done to feed your kids in the middle of a day like this!
  • Milngavie to Partick for Viola-Kid's guitar lesson
  • Partick back home to pack bags for the older two to go to sleepovers
  • Glasgow to Paisley to deposit two boys in different parts of Paisley
  • Home again. Prepare casserole in 10 minutes flat, and stick it in the oven
  • Guzzle pork casserole. NB this is Real Food prepared from scratch by my own fair hand
  • Back to Paisley with SuperSpouse and Ocarina-Kid, for a fireworks display
  • Finally, home again. Got Ocarina-Kid to bed then opened a text-book. By this time my headache was so bad that I just took strong painkillers and went to bed. I slept like a log.

Image source acknowledged with thanks http://static.flickr.com/4/4505395_26a360939f_m.jpg

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! Would you believe it? Remember that Ocarina kid messed up my car door a couple of weeks ago? And I bought that replacement lock, cost £148 (non-returnable), only for the blasted lock to sort itself out a week later, before the ordered replacement even arrived?

Well, guess what? He has gone and done it again. I could scream. You should have heard me scream. Actually, that's untrue. In good, middle-class maternal style, I just told him he was a very naughty boy - and asked how many times I was supposed to tell him before he'd remember what he was told. But inwardly, I screamed. Silently and with deep pain.

I think I'll leave it a week or so before I go running to get my new £148 lock fitted, just in case it sorts itself again...