Sunday, December 30, 2007

Deep, total and utter Chaos

While I was doing the supermarket run (yes, I know - what a way to spend a Sunday evening), the boys decided to look out old toys to sell on eBay.

It's now nearly 10 pm, and time the youngest was in bed. Sadly, he cannot go there. You can't walk across the bedroom that he shares with his middle brother.

As for selling things on eBay - I think this is a project that might extend into the New Year!

Meanwhile, perhaps I'll try to get into a researching frame of mind. Might as well get something profitable done!
The image is called Utter Chaos, and is from - I don't think I could afford to buy an original piece of art, but I did like this! I'm more than happy to acknowledge where I found it.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

How to waste time, big time ...

Well, I suppose it wasn't entirely wasting time. Viola Kid just loves his new bagpipe CD, Spirit of the Glen. (It's in the Classic FM charts just now.) He wanted to be able to play Mull of Kintyre.

I have arranged it for viola, saxophone and cello. There isn't a lot of music available for that precise combination, as you can probably appreciate.

I've also arranged a melody composed by Saxophone Kid - for viola and cello.

I've arranged a Tchaikovsky song for viola and piano.

And tonight I arranged Flower of Scotland, for descant recorder, viola, cello and piano. Such productivity!

Oh, and I did all my ironing, too. What a PseudoSupermum! On Christmas Eve I did alterations on three of my favourite long skirts, to accomodate my new svelte figure. So this was me, getting them into a wearable state again...
We made that Asda Frosty the Snowman cake!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I must be the only person whose mince-pies actually SHOUT when I walk past them.

So why did I make them? you may ask. Well, Superspouse likes them. And I wanted to give some to our neighbours. I only tested ONE pie before taking them round next-door.

Christmas and Weight Watchers are nearly incompatible. Less chance to exercise, more chances to sin. Oh, my!

It's 8.25 am on the Sunday before Christmas, and it's frosty outside. Black ice, too. Am I looking forward to the 5.5 mile drive to church? Well, what do you think?!

Saxophone kid is looking forward to going "tubing" at the ski-centre at lunchtime. What's tubing? Cello-kid is looking forward to a baking extravaganza tomorrow, because the free Asda magazine has a fantastic snowman cake. You should see it! I bought the ingredients but will ours turn out as well? (Even more to the point - should I even be BAKING such a temptation!)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Chaos - Festive Fury

I said it last year - and I'll say it again - December is the month when busy working mothers, already overloaded, take on twice as much again and wonder why they can't cope. I should know - I'm one of them.

Well, presents have (mostly) been bought. Food shopping has (mostly) been done. Same for the greetings cards.

I had a mad dash to Norfolk by train on Wednesday (because planes don't fly Glasgow-Norwich on Wednesdays) and back to Glasgow by air yesterday. To add to my father's frailty and health problems, he's now half-blind, too. I'm so sad both for him and for my mother, struggling to cope.

The train south was 90 minutes late by the time we reached Edinburgh. That was a great start. Anyway, the trip back was uneventful. Until I ordered the taxi to take me from home to the garage where my car was getting repaired. It took 30 minutes and three calls before the taxi appeared. Great!

Choir-practice finished off my night, with a 60% turnout. We worked so hard, but it was difficult with such reduced numbers!

Ah, well - I was in bed before midnight, and up bright and early for the last day at work today. All was going fine until I got the phonecall to say that the kids' school was closing because they had a power shortage, reduced heating and no hot water. Would I go and fetch them? Of course - just let me get the subway back to my car, and I'll be there in an hour or so ...

The good news is, my windscreen washer wasn't working when I got the car BACK from the garage. But thanks to a bit of electrical tape, I've got it fixed. I may be the Queen of Superglue, but there are times when glue just isn't appropriate.

Now to hang all those greetings cards, and catch up on mail. Oh, joy. And a happy Christmas to you too!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Believe it or not, going Christmas shopping is good for your diet. My Weight Watchers pedometer registered an extra half an activity point today! I should think so - I've been incredibly active. I've been to the city centre three times, not to mention a wasted trip to Paisley (orchestra wasn't on, after all), dealing with a couple of loads of laundry, making soup and baking a couple of fruit-cakes.

Talking of baking - no-one has found me a seriously low-cal mince pie recipe yet. (Hint, hint!)

Going Christmas shopping is not good for your sanity or solvency. And Cello-Kid and I were just discussing how all this frenetic retail activity and partying bears no relation whatsoever to the birth of Jesus. It's all a bit ridiculous, really!

Shattered pseudosupermum

How many times have I commented that December really is a crazy month. We take all the usual routine chores and events then add twice as much again, and try to achieve it all in the same amount of time - or preferably less!

Viola-Kid had croup last week. Saxophone-Kid had a milder version - just a cough. I have something similar. And I KNOW that no matter how many vitamin supplements I take, I won't get over it as long as I'm twirling round like the proverbial top. If I twirl any more, I'll disappear down the plughole, never to be seen again.

So, what do I do when the going gets tough? I resort to lists. I have too many windows open on my mental desktop, and if I don't write things down, they get forgotten. I still have so many gifts to buy, and I am really running out of time in which to get them.

Next week - easy peasy - I have a podiatrist's appointment on Monday, the car's MOT and staff training at work on Tuesday, go to Norwich for a 24-hour trip on Wednesday/Thursday, have to collect the boys early from school on Friday, and finally collapse into a little frazzled heap round about Saturday. Two days in which to direct the perfect evening Christmas Lessons and Carols service and catch up on anything else I've forgotten, and then hey, folks, it's Christmas!

It feels like time for a snooze. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

If any of my friends out there would like to send me a cyber Christmas present, please find me a recipe for low-calorie Christmas mince pies! We're talking seriously low, here. I haven't lost nearly 2 stones in weight to put them back on again over Christmas. I have a feeling that filo pastry is quite low-cal, so I shall be investigating that for a start. But the actually filling is unlikely to be calorie-free, isn't it?! Weight Watchers say the best solution is to eat mini-mince pies. Okay .... do I need to go out and buy mini-mince pie trays to bake them in?

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I woke this morning to find I had lost my voice, which was odd considering it was certainly there last night. I decided to award myself a restful day, and sure enough, the voice returned.

This evening I went carol-singing at an old folks' home, with my church choir. We were well-appreciated, which was nice.

I was spending a few idle minutes on the Weight Watchers student chatline this morning, as I had discovered a whole load of weight-watching students in the performing arts. I asked if anyone else was submerged in carol-singing, and back came the comment, "I'm so sick of singing O come, O come, Emmanuel." Strangely enough, I've only done that once this season. But if I hear the radio play "In the bleak mid-winter", with choristers breathing in all the wrong places, one more time, I shall explode ...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ah, Christmas! the merry sound of jingling cash-registers and jangling pianos ...

I've just spent the evening accompanying a choir and soloists in a carol concert, but I had never practised any of the pieces with them before, and only started practising them myself yesterday. The piano at the venue was lovely - it was the pianist who wasn't.

Cello-Kid turned pages for me - what a cherub!

It feels as though I've spent most of the day at a keyboard of one kind of another, so now I'm going to have a nice relaxing bath, then a sherry and some cherry liqueur chocolates. Yes, yes, I KNOW I'm in Weight Watchers, but I'm also human, it's Saturday night, and I'm tired.

I can't be Pseudosupermum all the time - and the boys are in bed ...

Incidentally, if you could have seen me yesterday, you'd have seen a saintly woman sadly wronged. I had my hearing tested yesterday afternoon, because SuperSpouse is always saying that I just don't listen. Correction - it is now official - I just don't hear 50% of what goes into my left ear.

When I told SuperSpouse, he quipped that he would now have to work out which 50% I hadn't heard and which 50% I still hadn't listened to. HUMPH!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

There were two in the bed, and the little one said ... Well, substitute "car" for "bed", and you get the picture.

Normally, four of us go to church together - SuperSpouse is an organist elsewhere. But today, Cello-Kid stayed in bed, sleeping. (He needs the rest.) We dropped Viola-Kid off in town to go to a music course.So Saxophone-Kid and I went to church alone. It was quiet!


Now, as you know, I'm on a diet, so I'm shrinking. Soon my work colleagues won't be able to see me.

"People are saying" (how I hate that expression) that I play too loud at the end of the church service, so today I made a deliberate effort to finish QUIETLY.

It follows that, in addition to my work colleagues not being able to SEE me, the congregation at church won't be able to HEAR me, so very soon I shall achieve my goal of total invisibility.

And then when I go to a bar (even a coffee-bar), I will no longer have to wait ages getting served. With a height of 5'0", I've grown used to that.

No - I simply won't get served at all. I am a figment of your imagination!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Three Cheers for George @ Asda! I've just bought not one but two pairs of Asda basic jeans for a rock-bottom price. The size 12's fit on the hips but are marginally loose at the waist. (The size 10's are going to fit me soon, honest!)

I feel a bit guilty. How CAN Asda sell jeans so cheaply? Okay, you could argue they're loss-leaders, and they probably are. But are they fairly-traded, or have I just condoned some poor third-world worker being exploited? I do hope not.

It's been quite a good day. Viola-Kid should have gone to orchestra, but he spent the morning in bed feeling slightly off-colour. Miraculously, he rose from his stretcher and walked, at the mention of burgers in buns for lunch. (Ah, well - that's kids for you.) Meanwhile, poor Cello-Kid has been stressed to the max with too many musical and school demands this month. They all went out and bought a new guitar-playing game for the Wii this afternoon, and de-stressed most enjoyably together when they got home!

I spent most of the unallocated time this day working on a research paper for a conference that's coming up in Surrey after Christmas. The paper is still a little long, but I believe I'm now covering the subject-matter in an order that my supervisor will approve of. I'll show it to my clarsach-playing friend tomorrow. (She got her doctorate years ago, so she'll know if my paper is an acceptable standard.)

Now, at 22.57 pm, all my kids are in bed and I am about to tackle the Ironing Mountain. Fetch me the grappling irons and hard hat!

PS I spent half an hour removing the clothes that are positively too big for me, from my wardrobe this morning. And discovered that the suit I bought eight years ago ACTUALLY FITS ME AGAIN!!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Introducing ... my slimline self!

The picture's a bit severe-looking, but what do you expect from a self-portrait on a mobile phone? I wore this dress to the Queen's Garden Party at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, about 7 years ago. Within a couple of years, the dress no longer fitted. So - I wore it all day last Sunday, to prove that it really DOES fit me again, and it was still comfortable after I'd cooked a decent Sunday dinner for the family and a couple of good friends of ours.

You know, I've bought new clothes, but I still need more. Half the stuff in my wardrobe is now too big. I don't know if I'm up to altering it all - would take so long to make a good job of it ...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's Official - I never listen!

Must be true - Himself says so. Today (I was informed), he had a hospital appointment about his arthritic knee. And he was busy this afternoon, so I would have to take the day off to look after Cello-Kid, who is slightly under the weather with a throat virus.

However, my diary - and the wall calendar - said his appointment was on Thursday. "That", quoth he wisely, "just goes to show that you simply don't pay attention."


SuperSpouse refused to discuss it. I was Wrong, because I Didn't Listen. He had arranged a deputy to cover for him at work this morning, and that was that.

I decided that I'd shut up. If he ended up at the hospital with no-one waiting to see him, then so be it.

Yesterday evening, AFTER I had arranged my day off, he found a piece of paper lying amongst his heaps on the stairs. (I do not have heaps on the stairs, but he does. Invariably.) Somewhat to his surprise, it told him his appointment was on Thursday. Hah! I was almost disappointed that he wasn't going to show up at the clinic this morning after all.

Anyway, I had a day at home working on a research paper, and very nice it was too. Cello-Kid slept a bit, read a bit, and did some maths homework. And I saw my supervisor late in the afternoon, then we were taken out to a string quartet by friends this evening. Altogether most satisfactory.

I have arranged a hearing test for myself. Not because I Don't Listen, but because sometimes I Don't Hear. And then I do get into trouble... life isn't fair, is it?!

To change the subject - I'm proud to say I have lost nearly 1.5 stones and that means I've lost 15% of my former weight. Three cheers for Weight Watchers and their Core Plan! (No cheers at all for SuperSpouse, who blotted his copy book by telling me that before I started all this, I had a protruding stomach and looked pregnant. It's a gross exaggeration. I was NOT obese - just a little over the recommended weight for my height.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How many clothes does a girl need to buy from M&S? Quite a few, when she's shed nearly 1.5 stones. Not just a Weight Watchers Slimmer, then - an M&S Weight Watchers Slimmer. Had to flex the credit card again today - I have to have some trousers that won't fall off me!

I went to Strathpeffer to the Centres of Excellence concert last weekend. What a trip!

  • Train Glasgow to Perth
  • Replacement Bus Perth to Inverness
  • Late arrival in Inverness due to road works - 2.5 hours waiting at station
  • Train Inverness to Dingwall
  • Bus Dingwall to Strathpeffer

It was an excellent concert, and I'd found a great B&B, so I enjoyed myself. Enjoyed my Highland breakfast, too! Best porridge ever!

Fortified, I spent the morning with a friend who'd been assisting with the concert, which involved walking, coffee, walking then a soup lunch, before going back to Dingwall for my train back.

Oops! I got to the station 1.5 hours early, and boy, was it chilly on that platform! No waiting-room on a Sunday, no refreshments, no toilets ...

  • Train to Inverness
  • Replacement bus to Perth
  • Roadworks still a problem - missed connection and had to wait half an hour on platform ...
  • Train back to Glasgow.

Would it surprise anyone to learn that I was knackered yesterday? Which wouldn't have been so bad if SuperSpouse hadn't also been ill yesterday and somewhat incapacitated today. I'm still convinced the sudden cold spell affecte his arthritic knee. He wasn't well at all. And he was grumpy with it!

Having seen the doctor now, he is somewhat better. (Different painkillers and some peace of mind.)

I took the boys swimming this evening. No, it's not a good way of getting a thesis written, but even would-be doctors of philosophy need exercise!

Monday, November 05, 2007

'Why peel a carrot?' and lentil soup

I haven't posted much on PseudoSupermum recently. Things are just a bit hectic. Added to which, my Dad isn't at all well, so we took the boys down to Norfolk to see their grandparents this weekend. Dad's a poor old thing, and Mum's stressed more than she can bear. She isn't a natural-born carer, and finds it terribly difficult. They were both very pleased to see us, and to see their grandsons, whom they hadn't seen for a couple of years - largely because Dad is housebound (and a bit confused) and Mum can't leave him.

We got back this evening. I dashed to Weight Watchers (bad idea, after a weekend of inactivity and Mum's cooking), then back to take two of the boys to music lessons. When we got back, SuperSpouse got sausage suppers for himself and all three boys. I nobly did without, and started sorting out laundry.

Eventually, I decided I was hungry. While the youngest boy was in the bath, I created a new soup. Introducing - ' Why peel a carrot?' and lentil soup:-

In ten minutes flat, I sauted a few spring onions, washed and sliced two carrots, flung in a handful of lentils and a stock-cube, and some mixed herbs. Added about half a pint of boiling water and simmered it all until the carrots were soft. Then mashed it. Believe it or not, it was delicious. So - there you have it. 'Why peel a carrot?' and lentil soup.

There will be people out there who never have peeled a carrot. Good for you! You probably think I need to get a life - well then, I'm trying, see?!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Earth-shattering News!

To my amazement, the boys have just polished off a bowl of home-made Scotch broth (that's a handful of dried pulses, soaked, then cooked in chicken stock with carrot, onion, celery, garlic and herbs), and declared it delicious. They've decided they must have consumed at least three helpings of their "five a day" fruit and veg by now.

I was dumbfounded. I haven't seen a child eat vegetable soup for at least thirteen years! That's when I last put it in front of Cello-Kid before I admitted defeat.

SuperSpouse's old Aunt May would have been so happy to see the day. For years, she'd demand, "Isn't that boy eating vegetable soup yet? Why, he used to eat my vegetable soup when he was still a baby!" And indeed he did. It was just as he moved towards toddlerdom that Cello-Kid clamped his lips firmly shut and refused anything other than dairy or carbohydrates. We consulted the health visitors and doctors, but no-one seemed particularly bothered, so eventually we relaxed, and exclaimed with amazement as the childminder patiently introduced fishfingers, burgers and sausages into his diet. Admittedly, things have got a lot better since his pre-school days. He's now a big fourteen-year old, and - as you see - eats just about anything put in front of him.

If anyone reading this blog has a fussy eater in their family, then please - be reassured. I'm sure there's a Biblical saying about "everything cometh to him who waits." And in time, kids learn to eat normal food. See?!

Image from, with thanks. (There's a recipe there, if you're interested.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Knowing I was cooking for a dinner party last night, I bought a new chopping knife. (Okay, I'm the last of the big spenders, but I haven't bought a new one for years and years ...)

It's very sharp. I sliced the top of my right thumb. Got through several Elastoplasts by the time I'd finished cooking. With a sigh, I drained the vegetables for our main course, and ...

OWCH!!! I was holding a plastic sieve in my right hand, and somehow must have lost my grip because I wasn't using my thumb normally. I poured a pan of boiling water over three more fingers on that hand. I held it under cold running water. Wrapped it in a cloth-covered ice-pack. One of our guests carved the lamb for me. And when we finished the meal, I sat with my hand in cold water for the rest of the evening.

Maybe I should insure my hands? I was bothered how I'd play the organ this morning, but my emergency measures must have done the trick - I can barely tell that anything happened to the scalded fingers. The sixth plaster on my thumb was a blooming nusiance, though ...
Hot water image from

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I sat my exam for the IOSH Certificate in Managing Safely, today. I'm told I passed. I don't yet know if I passed the project which forms the other part of the assessment.

So now, Pseudosupermum is shattered. I got up at 6.10 this morning so I could take a coffee back to bed and revise. Took the two younger boys to the childminder before going to work myself - it's their mid-term break.

After tea, I took the younger boys to the swimming baths. Remember last Wednesday and the fire-engine outside? Tonight, it was different baths and a different emergency. We got there, got changed, and went to the pool only to find everyone standing beside the water in semi-darkness. They'd had the second lighting failure of the day, only this one was at night so there was only the emergency lighting to go on. I'd have found that quite restful to swim by, but I can appreciate that you can't let kids swim in semi-darkness in case there's an emergency that you don't notice. We waited until the lights came back on again and swam for half an hour.

Half an hour doesn't make much difference to your Weight Watchers activity points, I can tell you. Why, even 45 minutes only amounts to one Danone Activa yogurt! Measly, isn't it?!

SuperSpouse and Cello-Kid are back from their trip to Hitchin to collect a Benslow Music Trust cello. They're twice as tired as me!

Once the boys are in bed I can have a bath and get to bed myself - I can hardly wait!

Images thanks to :// and - NOT a picture of me!

Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm in disgrace. I gained half a pound. And I'm not having a good night! To add to the ignominy of having put weight back on, I have the challenge of revising for a Health and Safety Exam. It is 10.46 pm and I am DETERMINED to get to bed by 11.30 pm. Better get back to my books ...

... a "safe system of work" for me would definitely be away from computers, because it's all too easy to be distracted by them ...

Image thanks to

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Words fail me

I've rushed around all weekend. Parental taxi-driver, delivery service, Cook, Laundry-woman (remember Toad of Toad Hall?) ...

However, we also went swimming yesterday, and had a wonderful and appreciative guest to lunch today - an inspirational student with such a positive attitude that she simply can't fail to do well.

All that remains is for me to revise all this Health and Safety stuff for my course tomorrow. I've downloaded loads of leaflets. Now to finish my own handy notes.

Tomorrow, all hell lets loose. SuperSpouse and Cello-Kid are off to England. I have to take the younger two boys to the childminder (in one direction) before I go to work (in the opposite direction). And I absolutely must not be late, so we'll have to go out very early indeed. It's a shame, but there you go. If I'm on a course, I can't take annual leave, so there's no choice this time. I hope it'll be fine enough for the boys to be able to play out in the childminder's garden...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pseudo Supermum turns Pseudo Single Mum for the weekend!

I seem to have been abandoned. SuperSpouse is out for his monthly enthusiasts' meeting this evening. He's working tomorrow morning, out with the guys tomorrow afternoon, and out to an enthusiasts' fayre on Sunday afternoon.

So much for me being slim (well, slimmer) and gorgeous at home!

Ah well - since getting home from work, I've been to Toys 'R' Us, ferried two boys to Boys' Brigade, been to buy boots (for me) and trainers (for Saxophone Kid), been back to collect the other two, home again, AND done most of SuperSpouse's ironing. My halo is growing heavy.

Saturday? Only a guitar lesson and a birthday party to fit in. I might manage a trip to the baths, but I also have to revise for my Health and Safety exam next week. Who mentioned my own research? Can't see when I'll have time for it!

Say a prayer for my Dad. He fell/ fainted early this morning and has been under the weather all day. There are times when being 450 miles away is not good. I can't be as supportive as I'd like to my mother, whose birthday it is tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rejoice! I've lost a stone in five weeks. So, after Weigh-In at Weight Watchers on Monday, I skipped the meeting and went swimming.

I tried to go swimming again with Viola Kid this evening. We took Ocarina-Kid (aka Saxophone Kid, as from tomorrow) to Boys' Brigade, then headed for the pool. It seemed a good idea at the time.

There was a fire-engine there, lights a-flashing, and everyone was standing outside on the forecourt. We didn't think we'd be welcomed with open arms, so turned round and came home instead. Evidently, I wasn't meant to exercise this evening!

Tomorrow evening there will be loud sounds in Bearsden - it's time for the first saxophone lesson! There's great excitement in our house, I can tell you. Listen carefully - you might yet hear him!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Weight Watchers urges more exercise ... so I start walking more. Then the physio tells me that whilst more walking won't actually hurt my heel, it will certainly slow down its recovery. Huh!

I did swim 33 lengths on Tuesday evening. Impressive, huh? Well, I did 20 lengths, had a little rest, did another ten, and then another three. I surprised myself. The trouble is, it is more difficult fitting in a trip to the baths, than it is to walk an extra fifteen minutes before work!

What a weekend we've had. We had a major crime incident at the end of our street on Friday night. Mob violence. Not a douce suburb!

Things looked up on Saturday - Ocarina Kid went off on a sponsored walk and came back to find I had bought him a saxophone and fixed up his first lesson! He was so excited. He's waited two years for this moment.

Then came SuperSpouse's choral concert last night. I was accompanist - I didn't get much time to look at the music that the choir was singing, but I only got the music from the second soloist, HALF AN HOUR before the concert. I sightread it. Or should we say, it was a combination of sightreading and busking. I still don't know how one of the songs goes.

Today, we had the 50th Centenary Service of the church where I am organist and choir trainer. A good time was had by all. Not many organists play "Raiders of the Lost Ark" as an outgoing voluntary ...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Weight Watchers urges us to take more exercise.

I started walking the extra subway stop to work last week. (I now get off at St George's Cross, not Cowcaddens.)

This evening, I excelled myself - I took the boys swimming. Unbelievably, I did 33 lengths. (That's 20 without stopping, then 10, then another 3.) Hope I'm not too tired in the morning.

Despite all that water, I'm about to go and have a bath - I deserve bubbles after all that chlorinated exercise!

I finished reading someone else's thesis last night. Tomorrow - with any luck - I'll start back in on my chapter again. No excuses now - I know as much about George Thomson's Scottish folk songs as anyone not specialising in George Thomson needs to know - and that means I can write a few paragraphs about him without making any idiotic mistakes!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Shrinking violet

In total, I've lost 10.5 lb in a month! When I realised this is ALMOST two bags of potatoes (2.5 kg or 5.5 lb a bag), I was quite impressed with myself. That's a lot of extra weight to have been carrying. But I'm not done yet!

Now then, although this is a great achievement, I have yet to achieve something even bigger tonight. I need a room for the night in Strathpeffer (preferably) or Dingwall (at a pinch) in a couple of weeks' time - but there was "no room at the inn" at the first place I emailed last night...

Here goes ...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Whirling like a spinning top

Phew! What a weekend! Yesterday? Took one son to Xscape for snowboarding, made soup, took another son to Paisley for orchestra rehearsal, back to Xscape to collect no.1 son, baked buns before lunch. Took middleman to his guitar lesson, nipped into Morrisons, and after tea, went to Asda in search of useful stuff like an extension cable and freezer labels. Cable - yes, eventually. No freezer labels.

Today was marginally better. To church for Boys Brigade service and "march past", then home briefly. To Godmother for lunch and a very pleasant afternoon. Home, eventually hungry enough to need tea. I just had soup, as I'm over my limit for Weight Watcher's points at the end of the week, and I don't see how I can exercise enough to put it right!

WHY do boys decide at 8.55 pm on a Sunday, that they do have work to be done for school on Monday morning?!

Meanwhile, I have done a little research reading. I'll finish the reading and get back to writing, tomorrow or the next day. About time too!
Thanks to for the image.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Officially a Clown! (Pseudo Supermum, not the child)

Remember Ocarina-Kid lost his new jacket? While at the school today, I asked about it. Was invited to double-check the lost-property basket, and found ...

... a sweatshirt with his name inside!

I proudly removed it, and headed for the car. It wasn't much consolation to realise he had actually lost something else!

Back home, there was a minor problem - no sweatshirt. I must have dropped it in the playground. What a clown!

Fortunately for me - and for Ocarina-Kid - one of the school secretaries retrieved it, and sent him home with it at the end of the day.

You might well ask whether he got his carelessness from his mother!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Those illusive "exercise points"!

Weight Watchers allow you gain yourself extra points for treats if you take exercise. Yesterday and today, I got off the subway a stop early and walked in to work. This is supposed to be A Good Thing. Indeed, yesterday I had walked for 45 minutes by the time I had been to see my research supervisor. Today I only notched up 20.

So - I have to leave home earlier, to allow time for the walking. I only took a short lunch-break, and after work I went back - by subway - to where I'd parked the car this afternoon, then drove back into town so I could attend an early evening event at work. (I needed the car to get me home again quickly afterwards, but city parking is expensive so I didn't want to be parked in a multi-storey all day.)

This is where the wheel, metaphorically, came off. I spent 50 minutes in traffic getting back to work! Finally got home to gulp down a small coffee then take Small-Fry to Junior Boys' Brigade. I got my dinner at about 8 pm. By that stage I was tired, hungry and my feet ached. I'm going to be late at work tomorrow too, but you can be sure that I won't bother trying to fetch the car. I'd rather use the underground and hope it doesn't break down!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Encouragement Needed!

Went to see my research supervisor today, and assured him that - gastritis notwithstanding - I really was going to write some more of my chapter before I see him next.

So - if you're reading this now, please send a Comment and encourage me to get on with it. (And NOT to write long Pseudosupermum postings or get embroiled in Weight Watchers message-boards!)

Looking forward to hearing from friends and supporters!


Image thanks to

Monday, September 24, 2007

I'm a Survivor!

Well, we had our party. Considering there were 9 boys at the table, they were really quite civilised. The beefburger beanbake went down well, as did the Arctic roll and chocolate crackling sauce, and of course the cake. Plenty of fizzy drink, too (but no caffeine - I knew they'd be hyper enough without it!).

I even slipped away afterwards for a weigh-in at Weight Watchers. Another 2 lb lost, so that was quite satisfactory.

I'm learning the hard way that quite innocuous food can upset my poor tum - I had canned spaghetti in tomato sauce and fishfingers for lunch. Within an hour, I sensed it was causing problems. Gulped down some natural yoghourt, and what do you know? Problem gone. Simple! But it's a bit depressing when I thought I was on the mend.

After the party, and the clear-up, Cello-Kid and his friend went back to their hall of residence ready for the rest of the week. He to the music school and the friend to the dance school. But I'm knackered - there was no way I was going to do any research reading tonight! I did a bit of gentle preparation for tomorrow's evening meal, and the bedtime routines for Viola-Kid and Ocarina-Boy, then a pile of ironing. Do you see my halo shining?

My own bathtime now - must take care not to get the halo wet!

Angel thanks to
Bathroom image thanks to

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Oranges ...

Had to dash to the Orange phone shop this afternoon with Cello Kid. He had 6p left on his top-up, but the top-up card was locked in his hall of residence. Not a lot of good. Now we have a spare card, which I'm going to keep - and his phone is operational again!

... and Lemons

I've baked the 2nd birthday cake, and it's covered in bright yellow, lemon-flavoured icing. With the dolly mixtures all round the edge, and the appropriate lettering in the middle. Should be a winner. One guest has a nut allergy. No nuts have gone anywhere near that cake. But if any of them has an allergy to E-numbers, then I hope they know not to eat bright yellow icing!

Me and Ten Men (or, the Feeding of the Five Thousand)

When I pointed out to SuperSpouse that tomorrow afternoon's party entails me cooking for ten men, he accused me of exaggeration. One man (that's him) and nine boys, he said, is not the same as ten men. No, I suppose not. Otherwise I might as well invite a football team home to tea. Which could be more entertaining, I suppose ...?!

Right now, as well as my own four males, we have an Aberdonian here for a sleepover tonight. That's five males to breakfast. Then they have to go and collect a sixth from Milngavie - he needs transport to and from the cinema outing tomorrow afternoon, so he's coming to lunch. Six males to lunch.

And however you look at it, a grand total of ten to tea. I haven't yet worked out what they'll all sit on! Hmmm ....
Picture thanks to Melrose Troop 68

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Enter the Catering Corps!

Cello-Kid is having a birthday outing on Monday. They're going to a film then coming home for Beefburger Beanbake - something my Mum used to make for us. I can do Beefburger Beanbake for ten - no bother. But it suddenly dawned on me I needed a catering-sized birthday cake, too. Oh, he had one for his hall of residence last Tuesday (the actual birthday) - but how can you have a birthday PARTY without a cake. So now, there is one. Last week it was a square chocolate cake. Tonight it's a round plain sponge, to be iced tomorrow. And he wants dolly-mixtures to decorate it. Big kid!!
Boot up the backside!

That's what I need. I discovered the Weight Watchers message boards. What a good way of wasting time! Right now, I'm going to get back to some research reading. Feeling unwell for a couple of weeks has really set me back, and it's hard getting back into the swing of things.

But I do know that lurking on message boards is unlikely to win me a doctorate! (Neither is baking apple and blueberry muffins this morning - 2.5 Weight Watchers points - but it sure was tasty!)

Friday, September 21, 2007

The highs and the lows ... Hallucinating about Chocolate

On Wednesday night, I made a garden vegetable soup out of the Weight Watchers book, which even the boys (who don't do a lot of vegetables) said smelled good. It looked a bit weird, once I'd cooked it thoroughly, but it tasted okay when I had it for lunch yesterday, and didn't affect my digestion. Fine. Then I had plain fromage frais, and a slice of bread, and felt quite full. In terms of the bland diet, it wasn't quite a white meal, but it was pretty pale! I've had a lot of porridge and plain yoghourt recently, too!

Today, I was disorganised. I had a low-cal packet soup and Go-Ahead biscuits for my lunch, and that doesn't really fit into either of my diets. However, it didn't disagree with me. I must be getting better. Imagine my chagrin at not being able to share the wine and chocolates which my colleagues had at teabreak this afternoon, though. I had herb tea and tried to feel virtuous. Boy, it was hard!

Meanwhile, back home, Viola-Kid has muttered fitfully about a sore stomach - with no fever or other symptoms - and was very disconsolate when we suggested going to school yesterday. Both SuperSpouse and I simply had to be at work (short of appendicitis or a broken leg!), so Viola-Kid went to the childminder. He doesn't seem very ill to us! Today was a school holiday, and he got checked over by our GP. There doesn't seem to be much amiss. Bland diets seem to be de rigeur in my house!

Image thanks to and

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm still working out what I can eat that fits in with Weight Watcher's Core Plan, AND fulfils doctor's orders for "a bland diet". If I see another crispbread with cream cheese, I shall SCREAM ... Anyway, I've made a garden vegetable soup and hope it won't disagree with my poor tummy tomorrow lunchtime!

We had whole-college staff training on Monday, and the choice of fruit and sandwiches would have gone down well with most people there. Sadly, it didn't agree with me. How I suffered!

We had half-college staff training on Tuesday too, but I nobly took my own crispbread and cream cheese, followed by yoghourt. I had herbal tea instead a couple of cups of coffee, and I was fine. Bored, hungry, but fine.

Today - go on, look at your calendar - had "Pseudo-Supermum, this is not your day!" written across it. I'd signed up for a meeting at Uni. It was changed but I seem not to have been told. Various things didn't go according to plan at work, and Smallest Boy lost his NEW waterproof jacket during morning playtime. By the time I got home, I was ready to chew off the head of anyone that accidentally crossed me.

Helped at Junior Boys' Brigade this evening - not feeling at all like going - and ended up very glad to have had a diversion for a couple of hours. So I'm all smiles again, even though I'm starving!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Of course, you can pick up news about Maddie McCann just about anywhere! Yes, maybe I was naive to state that the BBC was reliable. They've had that reputation for so long, but there has been evidence of unreliability this summer, hasn't there?

So, how do we know when there is bias? Maybe there's bias throughout the media, one way or another.

Try the Mirror, and see what you make of that. And the Portuguese press gives you yet another slant.

It's amazing what's coming out. Nine adults, copious bottles of wine in Praia da Luz that night, a little girl crying for her Daddy on evenings prior to her disappearance. A mother whose diary says she can't cope and isn't supported with the burden of childcare. (I know what it's like having three children under five.) The strong suggestion that Maddie was overdosed on sleeping pills - by someone who shouldn't have been administering sleeping pills to a child, but was medically qualified to get it RIGHT - if, indeed she did it. Of course, after a couple of bottles of wine, maybe it wasn't so easy.

But then again, what would I know? Two glasses of wine is plenty for me! And right now, I can't even have one, on doctor's orders. Blooming gastritis!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

... so I spent most of today in bed, getting dressed in time for the boys coming home from school. I was shattered after yesterday's gastric flare-up. I wrote a couple of letters, read the newspaper, then slept for several hours. Who on earth would have thought that canned kidney-beans would prove so indigestible for someone with gastritis? Then when I woke up, I had a splitting headache because although I'd remembered to take the acid-inhibitor this morning, I'd forgotten the regular medication to help prevent headaches. What a cloth-head I am!

(Image thanks to

Of course I should really have been attending two events in Edinburgh, and I'd been looking forward to both of them. But, given that I was under doctor's orders to report immediately to the health-centre if I had another recurrence of yesterday's torment, it would have been a bit daft to propel myself 90 minutes in the opposite direction. Apart from feeling ill!

Have you been following the Madeleine McCann case? All along, we've wondered quietly whether the parents had anything to do with her disappearance. You don't like to voice your suspicions for fear you come across as unsympathetic or disbelieving.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A slice of pizza and a piece of chocolate birthday cake. Tummy fine, weight-loss unaffected. Indeed, I lost 4 lbs in my first Weight Watchers Week.

A lamb chop, carrots and cauliflower. Whoa! Owch! Approved by Weight Watchers but not bland enough for the tummy.

Okay, then. What about a packed lunch for today? Homemade vegetable soup (with very well-cooked kidney-beans), canned pears and a yoghourt. From 2 to 6 pm, I seriously thought I was going to end up in Casualty. I got home, made a hot-water-bottle, phoned my doctor, and doubled up the medication.

SuperSpouse went out to a committee meeting then a choir-practice, and I hoped I wouldn't have to take the boys to Casualty with me. Luckily, the tablets kicked in before I had to take any decisions.

Friday, September 07, 2007

How can a sore heel lead to stomach pain this bad?

A couple of weeks ago, I was prescribed anti-inflammatories for my foot. This kind of tablet haven't agreed with me in the past, but the doctor hoped these sugar-coated ones would be safe enough. They weren't. I stopped taking them a week past Thursday. Then, late last Sunday night, I had one glass of wine before bed. And snoozed a bit.

Suddenly - OWCH! On a scale of 1-10, I'd give the foot 1.5, and the stomach 6 or 7. Not good. SuperSpouse wondered how bad it had to be before you called for an ambulance.

By Monday afternoon, I had a diagnosis of gastritis, different tablets for the stomach, and nothing for the heel. Oh, and a recommendation to eat a bland diet. I also joined Weight Watchers on Monday evening, so I'm eating a bland diet off the list of approved foods. I can hardly FAIL to lose weight!

Unfortunately, I still have the sore heel (predictably) but also the sore stomach intermittently. At least I've left a message for the physiotherapist about the heel.

None of this must get in the way of two family birthdays this month, so I have just baked a chocolate birthday cake for the first event. Looks good, smells good, but I won't be touching it. Humph!
Image from, with thanks.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The geriatric hamster is still going strong - he's clearly unaffected by his accident last Friday.

Pseudo Not-so-Supermum excelled herself today. Cooked, washed, changed the boys' bedding from lightweight summer to normal duvets, did a spot of gardening ...

... just don't ask about the bread-machine.

Yesterday, everyone was delighted by my home-made bread rolls and lentil soup. Just before lunch-time today, I decided that they'd be even more delighted if I set more dough going for another batch of rolls for our tea.

Well, the machine did its stuff, and "beeped" to tell me the dough was ready for my attention. I covered the worktop with flour, greased the baking trays and melted some butter to brush on the rolls. Then opened the bread-machine.

(Need I say more?! We had Hovis for tea.)
Thanks to for the image. Appropriate, huh?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Oops! I dropped the hamster!

I've taken the day off so I can play for a wedding this afternoon. I'm doing research this morning. The hamster cage didn't smell too good, so I took the lid off, and took the cage itself through to the kitchen and put it on the worktop. As I turned to lift the lid of the kitchen bin, I must have caught the cage.

You can guess the rest. Litter tray, stinky litter and hamster (fast asleep in his house) ended up upside-down on the kitchen floor.

Right. Never mind about "I'll just sort out the laundry and clean the cage then sit down to work". Out came broom, dustpan, kitchen mop and bucket ...

Oh, you're worried about the hamster? Seems fine. The somewhat shaken and stirred veteran spent the next fifteen minutes gleefully feeding his face with fresh lettuce and hamster seed mix. I tell you, he's a survivor, that one!
How much autonomy did Robert Burns have with writing his songs for George Thomson? I've got the gist of his responsibilities with the James Johnson collection, but I'm still working it out with regards to Thomson. Got more books from the library, so I'll plod on.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


We lead an interesting life in one of Glasgow's rougher neighbourhoods. After a weekend of three arson attacks on empty council flats just down the road, the council saw sense and had the burnt-out shells demolished the following week. Leaving one family in the middle, presumably awaiting an eviction order. I wouldn't want to be them, knowing the next fires could affect their home.

The fire-brigade's efforts, and then the demolition team's efforts, have provided more community entertainment than we've had laid on in decades. Local youths have swarmed in to see the fun.

Anyway, all is still and peaceful at our end of the street ... most of the time. Our own neighbours have been doing extensive renovations, and have had massive piles of rubbish in their front yard in between trips to the nearest dump. Today, there was just a big cardboard box of rubbish - a mere nothing, compared to what has been thrown out in the past.

Sniff, sniff - hmmm, a smell of burning. Yes, someone had set fire to it. I grabbed the nearest bucket, which happened to be the plastic wastepaper basket that we keep in the dining room, and did my neighbourly bit. Our neighbour suggested that it could just have been a carelessly discarded cigarette stub. Yes, it could have been. But the odds are that it wasn't.

Meanwhile, at work, I've been doing library inductions for new users again. This time, it was to foreign students currently learning enough English to start their course in September. I devised what was essentially a portable flip-board with useful words and illustrations. (Sometimes I even surprise myself.) Luckily, it worked!


I intended to read up what Robert Burns had to say about Scottish folk-tunes, this evening. Somehow it hasn't quite worked out how I planned. And now, nearly 11 pm, I need to hang up some washing and have a bath. Sorry, Rabbie - some other time ...

Monday, August 27, 2007

PseudoSupermum has discovered GradBritain, an online magazine for British postgrads. There's lots of good stuff there, though PseudoSupermum found herself grinding her teeth when it came to an article on "the academic assault course" that is actually the library. An assault course? The UEA Library? (For God's sake, I worked there once. I never knew that students regarded it thus.) The short-term loan lady is "the fiercest staff they can find" (yikes!), sternly "patrolling" her desk and barking from time to time. Good grief, and there we were thinking we were approachable ...

Then there's another article about whether or not to start a family during your doctoral studies. I feel another article coming on - whether or not to start doctoral studies during the raising of a family whilst working full-time already...

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Brian May, rock-star from Queen, has finally got his doctorate, only 37 years later. He therefore officially qualifies to be my hero. Only he had a glam career in between times. As for me - I'm still a librarian. Sigh!
Image is from Brian's website -

Saturday, August 25, 2007

No more Mrs Nice Guy!

That is to say, I'm TIRED of putting away everyone else's stuff, TIRED of asking everyone else to put their stuff away, TIRED of people's complaining, and especially TIRED of being taken for granted by a grumpy teenager.

The two who have not yet got teenage hormones have not yet got the idea of healthy food. "This bread has BITS in it!" Pick, pick, pick. (Yeurghhh)

And I bake a cake - not quite Domestic Goddess stuff, but tasty enough - and proudly produce it at tea-time. I ask for forks to be fetched. Not a big deal, really.

"You should have brought forks through when you brought the cake. Why should I do it? You should have thought of it."

Right. Or should I say, NOT right. Tomorrow I'm going to be a normal, not supermum. I work all week. They can eat plain white sliced bread and shop-bought cake. Do I care?

And I'm auditioning for a spot on Grumpy Old Women next week. (It's a TV programme, and they forgot to invite me.)

Friday, August 24, 2007

I've just been on a staff development day to Edinburgh. The sun shone, and after an interesting visit, we rounded off a good day with ice-cream in Princes Street Gardens. Back to Glasgow - I snoozed on the train - and a meal out before making my way home.
It's hard to see why I'm now so tired. I did a couple of loads of washing, and put away a Tesco home delivery. Changed the hamster cage, got the boys to bed, filled in a clutch of start-of-term consent forms ... and that's about it. I could no sooner start thinking doctoral thoughts than fly! Maybe tomorrow might be more promising.
Small feet - big words

Blame it on the holiday. We spent so long standing in queues at the airport on the homeward journey that my feet have ached ever since. So ... six weeks later, I went to the doctor. I'd already worked out that I have plantar fasciitis. And it's official - I have.

So I now have anti-inflammatory tablets for my foot. Clever, that - the medication knows it has to make its way to my heel. How does it do that?!

I wouldn't have gone to the GP, if it wasn't for the fact that we're nearly at the end of August. I can wear my Orthoheel mules to work in the summer - painted toe-nails look quite pretty, and no-one bats and eyelid.

But when it's chilly, and the students are back at college - and I want to wear smarter clothes to work? No, I don't think Orthoheel mules will do. So I have to get my feet back to feeling comfortable again!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Last night I posted a cartoon from the website. I acknowledged it, as a matter of principle. If you saw it yesterday, but found it had disappeared today, there's an explanation. I realised I should check out what they do. They write or edit your papers and thesis for you. Nice idea, guys, but I don't believe in that kind of thing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

560 words!

Now, who would be impressed by the fact that I sat and wrote a mere 560 words for my thesis this evening? It might not seem much, but it is significant because it marks the first tentative steps to overcoming a severe case of writer's block!

The more I read, the less I know. The more I read, the less I remember. The more I read, the denser becomes the mass of information and theories that I have to sift through and reduce to some kind of sense.

So if I've written a paltry 560 words, then I'm happy. It's a start, and if I wrote 560 words every night, I'd make progress at a rate of knots. I doubt I'll manage it that fast.

Cello-Kid has gone back to music school this evening. He couldn't wait to get there. You know, I won't be able to use that epithet soon, because the kid is maturing into a youth, and his attitude to his playing is that of a young professional, not a kid who happens to play the cello. On Sunday evening, he played his cello, unaccompanied and amplified through great big loudspeakers in George Square, Glasgow. The Cancer Research charity was holding events nationwide, and the Glasgow branch wanted a soloist to play for a few minutes before they had their 5-minutes' silence, during the Candle of Hope ceremony. Dressed in a smart dark striped shirt, he looked every inch the composed young man (no-one would have guessed that he had thrown a wobbler at the suggestion, just 48 hours earlier ...), and played like a pro. I was so insanely proud of him!

Okay, so Cello-Kid is becoming Youthful Cellist. On Monday afternoon, his train-track braces came off and he now only has a retainer for the next few months. His teeth are perfectly straight and look fantastic, after just nine months. He and the orthodontist are both very proud of themselves!

Viola-Kid wants to follow in Big Brother's footsteps. It's possible. There is no certainty, though, because you don't know exactly what the audition panel are looking for. You can be good, but not get in. Or you can show promise, and get in ahead of someone with more skill but less promise. Who knows? All he can do is practise. All we can do is encourage, and provide lots of different opportunities to get musical experience. Pushy parent? Who, me? I don't think I'm particularly pushy, but I suppose it depends where you're coming from.