Thursday, July 30, 2009

They just don't get it! Mum has apparently finished her thesis and handed it in, so - what more could there possibly be to do? Prepare for a viva? Surely not.

What they don't understand is that I now have to read, learn and inwardly digest the relevant writings of my examiners, and then read, learn and be able to regurgitate all 100,000 words of my own.

So - excuse me, but does this not imply I might need some time for private study?

In a word - No. I can forget that. I closed that textbook at least ten times in half an hour, until I am so exceptionally weary and distracted that I am going to close it, finally, and concede defeat. Does anyone in my family care that I'm getting very edgy and anxious because I cannot get near my reading?!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Aaaargh! Got home from the 9-5, took boys to climbing centre, back home and supervised Small-Fry's piano practice, fetched big boys from climbing centre, had tea.

Dashed out to buy a new battery charger and rechargable batteries before boys battered each other to bits over the hot question of Who Used The Last Battery on the X-box controller ... (!) Not to mention Coca-Cola which was apparently a necessity. ('That's four for me and one each for them', says genius-rated Cello-Kid. Eh? I thought he was good at maths ... or is ethics his Achilles Heel?)

Watched one TV programme. Chased Small-Fry to bath etc. It is nearly 23.30 pm and I haven't read a single WORD of the book I'm meant to be reading.

How on earth do my family think I'm going to do what's needed for my viva and sleep, eat, keep the whole domestic edifice going and go out to earn a living?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Any mum with three boys will understand my motivation in producing this A-Z of Bathroom Etiquette:-

  • Aerosol masks smells

  • Boys can do all the following stuff:-

  • Condensation causes mildew – open window!

  • Dad’s throne (a frame with handrails) stays put

  • Eco-warriors have quick, Economical showers

  • Flannels are there to be used!

  • Gratitude (what you get from Mum)

  • Hair does not get left in bath or basin

  • Independence is encouraged

  • Just do the same away from home!

  • Knock if door is shut!

  • Loo-brushes are for anyone to use

  • Mum appreciates your help

  • No-one likes to find a dirty loo

  • Open window after a shower or bath

  • Pee IN the loo not behind it!

  • Quick showers save water & electricity

  • Replace empty bottles, toothpaste, & loo rolls

  • Sponge shelf and Squeeze sponge after shower

  • Towels have homes; Tidemarks get cleaned

  • Underwear goes in dirty basket

  • Very bad smells need aerosol spray

  • Windows can be opened!

  • X (kisses for helpful boys)

  • You read it here – now do it!

  • Zebras don’t need to know any of this.

Posting from

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pseudo Supermum is feeling glum. Awaiting viva date, and not shortlisted for the post I applied for.

Nearly, but not yet a doctor, and condemned to be 'just a librarian' a bit longer! It's a bit like going up a flight of stairs, a step at a time, getting to the half-landing, then realising that the stairs round the corner are steeper - or turn into a ladder with rungs missing.

It may be some years since someone outside our department told one of my colleagues that they were just a librarian - but it just sums up how our profession is regarded. Notwithstanding my professional qualifications.
Image from LoftShop, with thanks.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Viola-Kid, aka Guitar-Kid, loves his new guitar pedal. Now he wants earplugs. Why? So he can play loud and not damage his hearing...

I reminded him that the volume control would work just as well!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The book that was never published

Only a librarian would get interested in this! A book proposal was published in 1781. The book was never published. End of story?

Not for me! I want to know at what point the would-be author abandoned his project. I need to go back to Edinburgh to peruse various old documents and records. I'm only just back at work full-time after being at home with Convalescent Super-Spouse, and I was in Edinburgh on Friday - I can hardly disappear off there again!

But I love quiet days spent researching in libraries. It makes me happy. And I meet interesting scholars. Who could want for more?

This evening I went to the library in Glasgow just to check an annotated bibliography about writings on Scottish music. My 1781 man wasn't there. That's exactly the outcome I was looking for!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Oh my, isn't TV a great way to waste time? Last night, I indulged myself by watching TWO programmes in a row. (Horror!)

First came Wife Swap - quite civilised this time, and you could see where each wife was coming from. Then a programme about lazy, idle spoiled teenagers, used to sponging off Mum, but forced to live in a house together and experience some 'real-life' challenges set by their parents.

Tonight, it was the Hotel Inspector. The annoying thing is the repetition at the start of each quarter of the programme after the commercial breaks. But it's quite interesting viewing, and tucks in some sensible observations about customer service alongside the comments about decor and good management.

Did this enable me to get a lot of reading done? What do you think?! (I still had to run Mum's Taxi Service and Mum's Laundry Service, after all!)

However, the good news is that a contact I made at the National Library of Scotland last Friday has informed me that someone at NLS has found something for me - hopefully the missing document! - and I am hoping that the promised copy will drop into my in-tray at work tomorrow morning. Please, St Anthony, please, please p-l-e-a-s-e!!! let it be a copy of the missing document, ie, the prodigal printed book proposal!

Image from Olathe Libraries, with thanks!

Crash, bang - there I was, about to close down the blog for the night, when there was a sound like dustbin lids being clattered outside. Correct. Next-door's cat has caught a field-mouse and was chasing it around our galvanised steel incinerator out on the patio. Hopefully he'll have taken it next-door as a trophy by the time we get up tomorrow morning!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My mundane life

  1. Taxi boys to town
  2. Laundry / cleaning
  3. Taxi Sax-Kid to climbing centre
  4. Online Tesco order
  5. Taxi back from climbing centre
  6. Courier SuperSpouse's choir music from town
  7. Monitor convalescent's exercise regime
  8. Cook

"What do you have to do tonight?", he asked.

"Research reading."

"But you need to chill!"

"But you lot have left me no time for reading during the day ..."

There were eight bullet-points above. I remembered to remind them to thank me twice. M is for Mother, not Maid. And not Mug.

This comes from the Companions of St - friends, please note that he's holding a book. My book, hopefully. (Well, it belongs to the National Library of Scotland but they've lost it...) Should I sign up to the Companions of St Anthony, if he's the patron saint of Lost Things? But I'm a Church of Scotland organist - what would the Presbyterians say if they knew I was checking out saints?! As a matter of fact, you don't have to look far for prayers to Saint Anthony of Padua. There's a small problem in that Presbyterians don't pray to saints. But would this one be so very bad?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
St. Anthony, St. Anthony
Please come down
Something is lost
And can't be found.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The irritating thing is that I consider myself to work in the No.1 Scottish Ladies Detective Agency. But clearly my detective/clairvoyant powers don't work on the East Coast of Scotland, only on home ground.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Once upon a time, in 1781, an Edinburgh antiquarian published a book proposal. He never published the book. There's apparently only one copy of the proposal in the whole world, and it's in the National Library of Scotland.

Well, it is actually missing from where it should be, in the National Library of Scotland. I've just been to Edinburgh - had a great day, read other useful stuff - but didn't see the one, unique thing I set out to see.

Who is the patron saint of libraries? Or of lost causes? Because I really, truly do need that book proposal to be found! Urgently!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

So much for climbing as a way of allowing the kids to burn off some energy! I picked them up to find World War 3 had erupted.

Am I cut out for motherhood? I begin to wonder!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Morning - work
Afternoon - son to orthodontist, spouse to visit former workplace, boys to climbing centre, collect Cello Kid, cook tea.
Back to climbing centre for Cello Kid, home, go for walk with spouse, book climbing sessions.
'I don't know what you're complaining about', says SuperSpouse.

Kids driving you up the wall this summer?

I came up with a solution - book them up with the climbing centre, and they can climb up someone else's walls! In theory, they'll be nicely tired out and will then sleep well at night, too.

That's the theory. Watch this space!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pseudo-Supermum has one tooth less tonight. But oh, the relief of not having a wobbly tooth, and better still, being able to close my mouth again without feeling that the teeth don't properly fit together.

Which just goes to show that I shouldn't have been such a coward for a year or more!

You know, I have this sneaky suspicion that the Tooth Fairy may not come my way tonight. Just to punish me. Sigh!

Monday, July 13, 2009


Saxophone-Kid gets Merit for Grade 3 Saxophone!

And there was great rejoicing in the land, and parents and brothers duly made all the right noises ... while Saxophone-Kid went back to X-Box Live. Must get our priorities right!
The image is of an alto Sax from Haydock Music, our dealer in Milngavie, Glasgow.
Disasters come in threes?

  1. There was the dishwasher catch. But the engineer's coming tomorrow.

  2. Cello-Kid was charged the adult rate for his child subway card. Sorted.

  3. Tesco's computer crashed, lost my order, no delivery today but I copied and pasted from the order confirmation into Express Shopper, so it'll come tomorrow.

  4. Hang on - disasters come in THREES, don't they? No-one will own up to dropping a yellow plastic clothes peg into the toaster sometime over the weekend. Now melted yellow plastic - not cheese! - though I've removed most of it, and the wire spring fell out by tipping the toaster upside down. I think it will live to toast another four slices simultaneously!

Who in their right mind drops a clothes peg into a toaster?????

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sigh! I've been so busy doing laundry, ironing, cooking, online Tesco-ordering, not to mention a MEGA sorting and shredding and filing of old paperwork ... that I haven't done the reading I promised myself.

This morning, I was just emptying crockery from the dishwasher, when there was a little 'clunk' sound from somewhere. I hadn't yet got my hearing-aids in, and had no idea what had made the noise or where it came from.

But when I closed the dishwasher - it wouldn't close. Hmmmm. A bit of fiddling around revealed that the spring on the catch has gone, and it's possibly to return it to the closing position with a small, sharp knife. But that's not exactly ideal, and it's not a permanent fix. Guess who'll be phoning the warranty people in the morning?

Honestly, if it's not one thing, it's another. The ironing pile has been leering at me all week, which is why I dealt with half of it before lunch, and persuaded Cello-Kid that Working Men needed to get their laundry sorted out before their first Working Week began. (His holiday job starts tomorrow.) Clearly, the dishwasher was jealous that I had been preoccupied with ironing more than with dishwashing. Notice me, me, ME!!

We have, however, solved the mystery of the navy blue grit that has been appearing on our carpets recently. Saxophone-Kid's slippers are falling apart. Don't even ask why the inside of a slipper needs blue gritty stuff between the cosy fleecy layer inside and the rubbery sole outside!

Latest news on the viva is that it might be towards the end of August. Think I'd better write myself a new timetable.

Viva image from an Indian educational blog.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wicked, disloyal PseudoSupermum has to tell someone about last night. The boys had a friend over for a sleepover. He persuaded them to go to LIDL yesterday afternoon. In the evening, unknown to me, SmallFry (who gets hyper even on Coca Cola) had one can of high-energy caffeine drink, and Viola-Kid and Cello-Kid had THREE blooming cans, egged on by their mate.

I got back from work this afternoon to be told that Viola-Kid 'had a temperature' and was still in bed at 2.15 pm. Stuff and nonsense! The sun had been blazing into the room; the window was SHUT, and Viola-Kid admitted he had been unable to sleep after three energy drinks last night. They must have been positively fizzing with the stuff. He didn't have a temperature.

The Mate has been told that he's very welcome in our house, any time, but his energy drinks are not. And I'm afraid I told Mate's Mum what had happened. A bit draconian, but heck! I don't see why I should have tired, crabby offspring because someone else has effectively overdosed them on caffeine!

Thursday, July 09, 2009


I apparently can't say any more. It's seen as disrespectful and embarrassing to one's offspring. (What was that about freedom of speech? Did I hear someone muttering out there in cyberspace ...?)

All I'll say is that it took me 20 years to realise I should have completed that first PhD, and then take appropriate action. However, I don't HAVE a second chance in 20 years to be an effective parent. (Heck, I could be a neglected grandparent by then!)

How on earth is a parent supposed to get it right FIRST time? They didn't just change the instruction manual with each child that came along - the manuals somehow came out in different LANGUAGES in subsequent editions!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The end of a perfect night last night? SuperSpouse had left an open ballpoint on the duvet. That's all I shall say!

Today, the washing machine is having a busy afternoon, whilst I have been busy over at the campus, converting my thesis to pdf format for my external examiner. Easy. But a bit annoying to find I'd lost my usb stick. Having got home again and realised this, I had to go BACK to campus to find it under the desk opposite to where I'd been sitting.

What a relief! I'm a librarian, for heaven's sake. I don't usually lose things.
15 minutes in the life of ...

Kids throw egg at my car windscreen but before I can clean it off ...
Viola kid accidentally breaks glass in dishwasher ....
So after sorting out both disasters, I discover a hole in one of my nicest jumpers!
Sorted. Sherry imbibed. Night-night!

Monday, July 06, 2009


You will no longer find me on Facebook. I was embarrassing my offspring. However, no-one, repeat no-one, will prevent me from blogging!

Please bookmark me. Cheers!

Bad enough but not this bad!

Survived the first morning back in the office!

Back to work tomorrow. SuperSpouse still convalescing, but improving. And he has three fine big boys to keep him company, so I'm not leaving him home all alone!

I'm told my desk is so loaded with backlog that you can't actually see the desk. Watch this space - I'll show you the real thing!