Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Nonetheless, I ventured out to Paisley on Christmas Eve. Dropped off a card and present, got back into the car - and the seatbelt seized. Not round me, I hasten to add - it wouldn't pull out of its casing at all. And when I moved the car, something started bleeping. Then beeping, louder.
Driving without a seatbelt is illegal in the UK, so I phoned the dealer. Call for breakdown assistance, they said.
I did. Two hours later, minus 5 Celsius outside and in the car, and the mechanic arrived, only to confirm that - yes, folks, the seatbelt had seized. Plugged the passenger belt into the driver's seat-belt slot, and despatched me on my way. Gratefully home, I discovered the dealer's workshop was quite naturally closed by now. Ah, well.
I got lifts to and from the midnight church service that I had to play for. And lifts to and from church today. By this time, I couldn't have driven if I wanted to - the locks had frozen and the car was impregnable. Great.
But guess what, folks? It's apparently 3 degrees out there now. My car door opens again - and maybe some of the ice might melt tomorrow. Leaving me 'just' with the seatbelt problem. Roll on Wednesday!
Sunday, December 19, 2010
when I made a lovely pot of Scotch broth to save time after this morning's choir practice, why did you let one of my menfolk buy a Burger King; one fix his own lunch because he couldn't wait; one not have time; and one lose his appetite; then dump so much snow on us that the carol service looks a lost cause ...?
Monday, November 22, 2010
Shouting, "NO, go away, I'm not a taxi" made no difference at all. Luckily he let go when I drove away.
I feel mildly traumatised! He's probably still wondering why the taxi-driver was so rude as to drive off. If he wasn't smashed out of his face at the time. I didn't stop to check.
Monday, November 01, 2010
Not the way things are going, they won't. They'll just run a mile and never return. It doesn't make sense - you do a hundred little NICE things every day, put yourself out, try to be helpful - and do they appreciate it? No.
Someone shoot me!
Sunday, October 31, 2010
I'm contemplating inventing a game called FlatShare. Your housemate needs help fixing lunch. You are (a) going to the gym; (b) willing to help in principle; (c) totally disinterested; (d) only actually interested in eating it; (e) eating out so it's no concern of yours.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
- I bought a school tie, and I sewed a nametag in it. I know I did.
- Two years later, it got stolen. It 'hadn't got a nametag in it'. No, right.
- I bought another. Last Saturday. And SEWED A NAMETAG in it. I'm 101% certain I did.
- This evening, it has no nametag. But the little wee cut threads are still there ...
- The youthful owner is about to be cut down to size ... but I haven't named him. Since he plainly wishes to remain nameless ...
Sunday, October 24, 2010
- The supermarket run
- A replacement school tie & more school shirts
- Maternal wardrobe advisory service
- Maternal taxi service
- Maternal catering service
- Maternal laundry service
- New library ticket (that was for me)
- And finally - LOUD fanfare - I've glued up the new bathroom cabinet mirror.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
On 23rd October 1815, Campbell took the mail-coach from Stirling back to his home town, Edinburgh.
No emails or Facebook to check up on, though he had been away for three months. Just a mountain of snail-mail, including communications from all the people whose arms he had twisted to collect songs or tales for his project ...
Yes, RSAMD Whittaker Library has a facsimile copy of Albyn's Anthology. Naturally! Check the catalogue here.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I explained that he wouldn't live long if he was rabid.
'Ah. Shall I say, "Relaxed", then?'
We agreed that was probably a better choice ...
Monday, October 18, 2010
For heaven's sake! I've been to work, eaten at home, been to a Gaelic evening class, and done a spot of tidying up. Put some laundry in, hung a few pictures ... but really nothing unusual.
I've done no research, no writing, no paperwork whatsoever. But I'm knackered. What kind of a wimp am I? It's 23:17 and I have a little dusting to do - just the stuff on the upstairs landing. And then will I feel like opening a book? Questionable!
I'm not doing too much, I'm only a day older than I was yesterday ... ah, that's it:- Time is flying by quicker. Of course.
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
- Viola Kid going out the front door;
- The window-cleaner wanting the back gate opened;
- The computer-whizz friend just leaving (front door), after helping SuperSpouse unravel 2 pc's;
- The Tesco man delivering the groceries at the back door, AS the window-cleaner had his well-earned coffee out on the patio;
- Cello Kid just back from a party, and
- Saxophone Kid just at home where he was meant to be.
Fine. 20 minutes later, lunch was served. I went and swam 30 lengths, nipped into Morrisons to get stuff for tomorrow's harvest festival, came home and dealt with laundry, lasagne and a bread-and-butter pudding. Which we then despatched with due ceremony and a glass of Chardonnay, then chased down with a coffee. Whereupon I fell asleep. Insomnia, me? No, never, never, never.
It's all rather annoying, however, because I want to start thinking about a book proposal, and you do need to be awake for that kind of thing. PseudoSupermum does not have boundless energy, despite appearances to the contrary.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Here's my own tie-breaker:-
- If I had an au-pair, would I ask her (or him! now, there's a thought) to do this particular chore right now?
Sunday, September 19, 2010
I mean - could the struggle to become a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool bluestocking scholar really have been any harder than struggling to convince the world that librarianship is more than stamping (or cataloguing) books; convincing oneself that marriage is more than keeping your other half clean, tidy and well-fed; or convincing your kids that your irritating little foibles actually stem from wanting them to grow up well-balanced, reasonable human beings?
Let's take stock.
- Scholarship. Would have been easier in my twenties. I got there in the end, and have some fetching stripey blue (and grey) tights (not stockings) lined up for the winter. But I'm 52, trying to make my CV look as though I've been effortlessly doing this scholarly thing all along. And it's hard work catching up on the lost two and a half decades.
- Marriage. It is actually not possible to convince another human being to put things away. Anywhere. Ever. (Or if it is, it must be someone else's other half, not mine.)
- Kids. Idealism is futile. Forget the grand aspirations. I want to raise three young human beings capable of being congenial, hygienic flat-sharers. That's all.
And for all my philosophising, my friends, I became a Doctor of Philosophy. Which entitles me to philosophise legally, anywhere I please. So there! One ambition fulfilled.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Lady Muck dislikes that apprentice - while she endeavours to laze around pretending to be kept in the style to which she ought to be accustomed, he keeps dragging her into things. It seems he can't do anything unaided.
However, Lady Muck would like it to be known that she did swim 30 lengths all by herself (apart from the efforts of the pool lights, chlorination unit and sundry other services), and, after "helping" the E-apprentice with the hedge-cutting, she now aches all over and is disinclined to do anything else at all!
Friday, August 20, 2010
Meanwhile the dishwasher chunters, SuperSpouse having filled it earlier. And the washing machine churns - no, don't let it be said that I had anything to do with it - it's running itself, having sorted the washing beforehand. Naturally it will empty itself and hang up the washing on the pulley afterwards, proving SuperSpouse right yet again. The washing machine does the washing, and I don't.
Will the iron do the ironing without human intervention as well? Truly, we have the sorcerer's apprentice here under my roof.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Anyway, this is Day 1.
- I took boy to hairdresser
- Boys' room put back to rights after the cabin/loft bed building (family effort)
- Spouse arranged builder
- I arranged roller-blind fitter
- I arranged replacement mirror for bathroom cupboard
- Jointly started emptying the next bedroom for the 3rd and last cabin/loft bed.
Still a bit to do. Dinner; online shopping order; scholarly reading; trip to get ingredients for tomorrow's dinner (before the online shopping order can be delivered!); more tidying; deal with laundry.
There are those who would have it that I'm a self-obsessed scholar who allows SuperSpouse to do Everything about the house. It's not true!!!!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
- Charged & inserted the battery
- Inserted the memory card
- Taken ONE photo to prove to myself that I can
- Installed the software on my PC and registered ownership online
And that felt like enough 'baby steps' for tonight. Meanwhile, Cello-Kid can't wait to get his hands on it (he hopes!) - but I want to know how it works first.
For now, I need to chase Saxophone-Kid to his newly-assembled cabin bed, urge Viola-Kid to have his supper, and think about a glass of wine before our own bedtime.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
The roots went surprisingly far down, in seemingly all directions.
- * I couldn't ask SuperSpouse's new knees.
- * I couldn't ask Cello-Kid to risk his hands.
- * I couldn't ask Viola-Kid to risk his pride.
- * I couldn't ask Sax-Kid - insufficient strength.
Which left me.
There is no longer a dead bush in my garden.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Now, we don't play golf, but the boys had a lesson and a session on the driving range. Fab drive up north, fab place - a wonderful mini-break.
Sigh! My youngest son (11) is getting so sophisticated.
"Where's the music coming from?", I asked.
"Oh, the people over the road", he sighed. "It's a really annoying remix of an old song. It's faster than the original and it's got this annoying repetitive bass underneath ..."
He's ELEVEN! And an observant critic already.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Aaaaargh! She can come and do some 21st century home management with me if she wants something to keep her busy.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
'Morning, Mum! How was your morning? Gee, thanks for letting me lie in.'
No. Wishful thinking.
Avenging Angel appears, clutching cheap Primark tee-shirt. 'DIDN'T YOU READ THE WASHING INSTRUCTIONS FOR THIS TEE-SHIRT?!!!!!!!'
I looked. Wash at 40 - yes. Don't dry-clean or tumble - No. Medium iron - well, I steam-ironed using a tea-cloth so that the heat wouldn't go directly onto the transfer, as is my custom.
The dinosaur's glasses don't look metallic any more.
Honestly, I never seem to amaze myself. How anyone so well-intentioned can get it so crassly, crashingly, disgustingly wrong most of the time is a miracle to me.
You know, really this blog has become outdated. For 'PseudoSupermum', read 'inadequate domestic, barely worth naming at all'.
Better stop here. I have to make an apple-crumble and iron SuperSpouse's trousers. Heaven help me if either goes wrong.
Monday, June 07, 2010
I've sweet-talked our painter & decorator to buy me some paint using his trade discount, and then I'll cajole dear, lovable, capable SuperSpouse into painting as much of the wall as his knees will reach.
This morning, I couldn't even have a shower until I'd seen the boys off to school. Back upstairs - I n-e-a-r-l-y got as far as the shower when the phone rang. BACK downstairs to answer, UP to fetch documentation that SuperSpouse needed me to look out, DOWN to the phone, UP to fetch my glasses so I could read it, DOWN to do my secretarial wifely duty. And UP to the shower a second time. Dressed in record time, flew out of the house and made it to the subway with barely enough leeway to get to work on time.
I sat on the subway reflecting on all the stuff I had to fit into my lunchbreak and concluded that it was impossible. Owed an hour's TOIL (time off in lieu), I negotiated to take a double lunchbreak to use it up, and made a list of messages. I did it. I even sat outside a cafe and had a cup of tea, though it wasn't peaceful or relaxing in the least.
Sat on the subway this evening reflecting on all the stuff I'd fitted into my lunchbreak, and couldn't believe how much still awaited tomorrow's normal lunch hour. Humph.
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Meanwhile - I told him I'd cut the hedges, and he expressed the hope that I wouldn't go on to paint the garden wall while I was at it. Now, wasn't that a stupid thing to say???
Saturday, June 05, 2010
Mind you, I'm not the first music librarian to participate in the project. Look for Edith Speller from Trinity College of Music, who got there long before me.
What to be
Right. I couldn't decide between music, journalism and law at school in Norwich, but really there wasn't any way of doing all three, so a decision had to be made. I studied music at the University of Durham, with a vague idea that being a music critic would be a great idea. Wrote some concert reviews for the student newspaper, but realised quickly enough that actually, not many people managed to be a full-time music critic. I needed a Plan B.
Arts admin? Orchestral librarianship?
So I thought, maybe arts administration would be good. I'm sure it would have been, but the jobs and even the professional training seemed to need prior experience, and I couldn't find a way in. Which led me to wonder about becoming an orchestral librarian (Plan C). I did get an interview for the Ulster Orchestra - but then I got the opportunity for doctoral research at the University of Exeter, so I put the career ambitions on hold and headed southwest.
Three years later, I'd acquired an MA by research, changed subject, got halfway through a PhD, and decided against a life in academia (couldn't imagine myself standing up in front of a class). Back to Plan C(ii) - I spent a year as a graduate trainee at Exeter University Library, followed up with a postgraduate diploma at College of Librarianship Wales in Aberystwyth (achieving nine months in the Land of My Fathers while I was at it), and headed back to Norfolk and unemployment.
A Career and a Pension Plan
Before long I was a temporary cataloguer at the University of East Anglia. This was nice, but I hadn't planned on ending up back in Norwich, and I needed something permanent.
The North (to quote the road-signs)
I got a job as Music Librarian at the Borough of South Tyneside (South Shields Central Library, to be precise), and remained there for 3 years, acquiring a cat (Fergie), a chartership (Library Association) and a husband (Hugh) while I was there.
At this point, a job came up at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, so we headed north in 1988 and have been here ever since. We now have three sons (had to give the cat away when the first son had infantile asthma), and are somewhat surprised to find that even the youngest is already leaving primary school).
The irresistible lure of research - and steely determination
Meanwhile, it might have taken me 25 years, but a small-scale research project made me realise that I should actually have finished that PhD - I had forgotten just how fulfilling research can be. Back I went to uni, this time as a part-time student at the University of Glasgow, paying my own way and doing the studying in my "spare" time (ha!), and I graduated five years later in December 2009. My research was into Scottish Song Collecting between 1760 and 1888. I chose the subject partly because we offer a BA in Scottish Music - and I wanted to study something that was relevant this time, having chosen something distinctly obscure the first time round - and partly because I wanted to be sure there would be plenty of primary sources on the doorstep, knowing I wouldn't have much chance to travel around whilst holding down a full-time job. Actually, you'd be surprised how much I've managed, mostly by taking annual leave to do it. (That's where the steely determination comes in. You need it in bucketloads to do a PhD part-time, believe me.)
The 2nd picture is my PhD alcove at home. (A through-route to the kitchen, and not a peaceful corner!)
Papers, articles, stories and reviews
The joke is that I've now delivered so many papers - not to mention two decades' worth of user education - that standing up in front of a bunch of students really doesn't phase me any more. I've also published several papers, scores of book reviews - and (shh!) before we had the kids, I published 30+ short stories and a serial for the People's Friend magazine. The muse will out! My next aim is to turn my doctoral thesis into a book - and that's probably a bigger challenge than anything I've yet done. Oh, and I'm still carrying on with research (hey, I'm used to researching in my spare time now), and giving the odd conference paper. I was on the Isle of Skye this week - I loved it so much that I threatened to chain myself to the railings outside Sabhal Mor Ostaig and throw the key into the sea...
Good bits and bad
The best thing about my present job? Working with music, working with staff and students, and ensuring that the stuff we acquire can be found easily and effectively. However, I have catalogued more books, scores and recordings than is healthy for any librarian, and I have to confess that the excitement palls after the first decade or so.
My major preoccupation is in ensuring that our students get a thorough grounding in library use and information retrieval, to prepare them for the big scary world outside - wherever in the world they end up. Also in supporting academic colleagues so they have the resources that they and their students need. I must admit it feels good knowing I've got the research background to understand just what they need, and what's important to them.
Postscript, September 2012
This year, I've been following the 23 Things CPD project. I linked to the present page because Thing 20 suggested participants should engage with the Library Routes project. So, it seems fitting that I should update my "library routes" to bring us up to today.
"Mind you, things have moved on a bit. I mentioned a book? It's forthcoming in March 2013, with Ashgate. I'm still writing research papers, and giving occasional lectures - both scholarly and to special interest groups. And I'm about to be seconded part-time as a post-doc researcher on an AHRC-funded music project at Glasgow University. All this flows from my research interests, but the Glasgow project particularly plays to both my strengths, as I'll be using my skills as musicologist and music librarian.(Apologies to any readers who end up reading this twice!)
In terms of librarianship, I've also given papers at both our national and international music library conferences (2012 and 2011 respectively), experimented with and exploited social media as a professional tool, started working with volunteers in our own library; and am now the chairperson of SALCTG, the Scottish Academic Libraries Cooperative Training Group.
So, what are my professional roots and routes? It's pretty much all there on my 2010 posting. I started out as a scholar, became a librarian, and can best describe myself now as a scholar librarian. At times I've been lucky, though at others I like to think I've made my own luck by embracing opportunities as they came up. Whether as a scholar or a librarian, you have to work hard at becoming an expert in your field - there really are no shortcuts."
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Saw a dolphin leap through the water in front of the ferry (wouldn't you?! leap, I mean, if you were a dolphin!), and had a lovely train-ride all the way home again.
But it's now 12.45 am, SuperSpouse is packing for his Last of the Summer Wine trip to Milan - where the guys are tram-surfing for their annual trip - and I'm tired. Incidentally, I've trained him NOT to call it a long weekend - six days away is a "short week", surely?
I shall iron one shirt ... before I fall asleep over the ironing board. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Saturday, May 29, 2010
- You cannot apologise enough
- You cannot apologise too soon
- You would imagine, therefore, that you cannot go wrong if you apologise before you do whatever-it-is in the first place
- Sleep is no defence
- If you don't replace the screw in the 11-year old's glasses at 6.10 am on a Saturday - in your sleep - you will assuredly be accused of screwing up his life when he's 13.
- Appropriate sincerity and contrition can be acquired at drama school. Justify the expense by calling it continuing professional development.
Saturday, May 08, 2010
The charity shop no longer had the boy's kilt that I had my eye on. Serve me right for not getting it 'on spec' a while ago.
Still, I've weeded the front border, washed the car, done a quantity of ironing, a similar (but different quantity of washing), and started some more marking. Ho-hum.
Cello-Kid's Highers start this week, so we're about to drink cider and munch garlic bread, to wish him well in his endeavours. Readers of Pseudo-Supermum, do send messages of support!
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Yesterday was the Musica Scotica conference. I read a paper, which went down surprisingly well.
The paper was actually written several weeks ago, and on Friday night I reduced it to notes so as to prevent myself from reading it verbatim. Then - at 1.10 am! - I read it to SuperSpouse. Calamity. It was too long, but worse still, it was boringly dull. And there was a mistake in one PowerPoint caption, though that was easily remedied. (Good thing SuperSpouse spotted it!)
What was I to do, though? No time to re-write, if I had to sleep before reading the paper a mere 9 hours later. So I stood there with my notes, cheerfully skipping over bits and omitting over-long quotations, and it went just fine. There has to be a lesson there somewhere.
There is a feeling of luxury about a Sunday afternoon with nothing pressing to be done, and comfy slippers on one's feet!
However, I do need to make a casserole for dinner, and ice a birthday cake. So maybe I'll put the kettle on first, then make a start.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
'The what?', I hear you ask.
'The International Association of Music Libraries' UK and Ireland Branch, Annual Study Weekend.' There, now you know! So we talked, and networked, and heard papers, had our AGM, and went to a great piano recital on Saturday evening (Roy Howat, Chopin and French composers influenced by Chopin), and the Annual Dinner on Sunday evening.
Back to work today (sigh!), a little tired but otherwise unscathed, and clutching a whole load of trade catalogues etc, from which I passed on details of the books and music I felt we ought to order.
Stuck with 3.5 hours wait at Nottingham Airport, I invested in some career development books -
- Emma De Vita, The Management Masterclass
- Jurgen Wolff, Focus: the Power of Targeted Thinking
All went well until I got stuck into Jurgen and his Focus. 'Have you not had a pay-rise in two years?' (0.5 % is probably not what he had in mind ...) I stand condemned. Clearly I am not applying myself to my career development with enough dedication and - well, Focus.
I'll let you know what happens when I've finished the book and worked out what I have to do.
Monday, March 29, 2010
So, have I had a quiet, restful time? What do you think?!
Friday - took the day off. Scrubbed the bathroom ceiling (excessive adolescent showering with inadequate ventilation having made it mildewy). Removed the bath sealant (similarly affected). Replaced sealant and whitened grouting. Did supermarket order, got laundry and ironing up to date, and singlehandedly organised the family taxi-runs! (Oh, and allowed myself the pleasurable luxury of lunch out with a girlfriend.) That was Friday.
Saturday, we went to Edinburgh and went underground (Mary King's Close), had a Subway lunch (how apt), and then surveyed Edinburgh from the air - well, the camera obscura, to be precise. By the time we got home, I was knackered, but still had more laundry, catering, family taxi-ing and supervision of music practice. ************
Today - two trips to Bearsden, one to Braehead, laundry, catering, family taxi-ing - much as before. But with the added joy of a special church event organised by Yours Truly - the Killermont Palm Sunday Big Sing.
I've well and truly cracked it this time. Work out what people like - give them it - encourage them to sing their hearts out, and Bob's your uncle! Lots of happy people. Fantastic!
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Did the online supermarket order this evening, too but things came unravelled as I tried to synchronise the shopping order with the new Tesco online diet club thingy. Could I do it? EACH DAILY MENU needed modifying. Then the shopping list changed. Then I had to remember what else I had intended to buy in the first place. Oh, DAMN! I've forgotten teabags.
To make matters worse, I now have a headache and my shoulders are agony. I think I'll just add tea to the order then head to bed. I'm wearying of trying to be the Perfect Parent.
Thursday, March 04, 2010
Sunday, February 07, 2010
I suppose the only good thing is that it IS just a solitary glass of wine - no chance of me turning into a wino.
SuperSpouse has gone to bed terribly tired. A certain other person has gone to bed truculently tired. The other one was just plain tired, and went to sleep almost immediately.
Half of me wants to go to bed, and the other half can't even be bothered going there.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
In about five weeks' time, I'm giving a lecture on late 19th/early 20th century Scottish music. But I'm allowing myself a few nights off before I start preparing for it. I have plenty of non-academic books crying out to be read, so I might as well indulge myself.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
But now I can officially call myself a musicologist as well, and I'm left asking, "What does this tell me about the person who kept these documents? Is there a deeper meaning?"
Yikes - do I declutter my home or my mind first?
Friday, January 08, 2010
I wanted my graduation to be a memorable day - and I succeeded! I was determined not to miss out anything that I might later regret 'economising' on! So here is the portrait of Pseudosupermum, SuperSpouse and Cello-Kid.
Viola-Kid and Saxophone-Kid came home from school and shared fireworks with us in the garden, and were satisfied with their share in the celebrations!