Monday, April 30, 2007

I'm just a Roadie! I took the boys to the childminder's this morning, rushed back to Govan subway to go to work. Rushed BACK to Govan to get the car and collect them from the childminder's after school. Back home for toast and lager shandy (a quick snack!) before roadie-ing them to viola and piano lessons.

Someone asked about my carbon footprint today. Well, you can calculate your own carbon footprint, but that website only calculates it over a year, so I'm not really much the wiser. I could reduce my carbon footprint by giving up work, selling the car, and persuading my family to use a lot less of everything. But we need my salary (I'm the main breadwinner), and hence I need my car. I left work at 4 pm, used public transport to the nearest subway station, used my car for the rest of my tasks, and still only had ten minutes in the house between 6.20 and 6.30 pm. Had I not used the car, we wouldn't have made it to the lessons at all.

Back home to cook tea and deal with all the voicemail messages. SuperSpouse goes to Croydon for just three nights and the answering machine fills up during the first DAY! (To be honest, three of the calls were from Cello-Kid, and only four were for SuperSpouse. None for the rest of us.)

SuperSpouse himself called. I couldn't resist answering, "Hello, I'm afraid SuperSpouse is Out of the Office today. Please leave your name and number, and he'll be happy to call you back on Friday."

"Huh!", snorted SuperSpouse.

I posted my postal vote today (what else would you do with it?, I hear you ask). Back home, the phone rang.

SuperSpouse stupidly joined a political party a few months ago. Bad move. "Please could I speak to SuperSpouse about the forthcoming election?

"He's coming back late on Thursday, I'm afraid."

"Ah, then I'll ring him then."

"There's not much point - he's coming back late."

"Would you remind him that the polling station is open until 10 pm?"

"Certainly. But please don't ring back. I've already voted." Click!

Image from - Zero carbon footprint website

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tuesday - on my knees. Sunday night - just flattened!

(This image is from - acknowledged with thanks.)
You know things have got out of hand when you can't remember what you did five days ago. Someone tell me what I did on Wednesday!
Not to worry. This weekend, I gave my conference paper, organised an 11-year old birthday party, went to a concert, played for two church services, fitted in a trip to Braehead shopping centre for trainers (Cello-Kid), and a Nintendo game - Birthday Boy's money was burning a hole in his pocket.
The robotic dragonfly (his main present) is a fabulous thing, but it needs space, and even our Victorian house with its high ceilings isn't really spacious enough. So maybe you won't be surprised to learn that three little boys were desperately keen to go to church early this morning. Not to fly it in the sanctuary, of course - that might have offended people - but in the annexe. Wheeee! Happy smiles all round.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I'm on my KNEES with tiredness. I've covered 2030 miles in ten days. Got back from the latest trip yesterday (visiting my elderly parents). I finished Birthday Boy's 11th birthday preparations (ie baked and iced cake, decorated dining room appropriately, etc) - but didn't get to bed until half past midnight.

By this stage we'd had a beaming boy asking if he could open his gifts now he was officially eleven. NO! Sorry, but the usual practice is to have a Sleep before the birthday officially begins.

He awoke at 6.30 am this morning, overtired and overexcited, opened his gifts, then managed to argue with each member of the family before breakfast. What a delight!

Today I've been to work, given a presentation to some librarianship postgrads at one of our city universities, and seen my own postgrad supervisor at the end of the day.

The birthday cake was a great success, thankfully.

SuperSpouse and I both snoozed after tea - we were simply shattered. I've pottered this evening, done a bit of mending, but done no research or anything of that nature at all. I am too damn tired!

I'm going to have to work so hard in the library tomorrow, to get done all the tasks I couldn't do while I was away. I only hope there aren't any unexpected interruptions!

Image from Aikido, Reading UK

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'm having to multitask my multitasking these days!
Last Saturday to Monday I went to a conference in Kemble. Scottish trespassers on the line delayed me on the way down - I arrived 3 HOURS late. English trespassers tried (but failed) to delay us on the way back, but Virgin trains did better than that - there were nearly no loos and the buffet closed halfway back to Scotland, because of staff shortages.
At Carlisle we got bottled water and biscuits, which I was grateful for. But I'd have preferred a coffee, a sandwich, and the use of a toilet!
Back to work on Tuesday after a week and a half off. Sounds okay? You should have seen my intray. Add to that a meeting at 11 am, and a departmental commitment from noon onwards.
Today (Wednesday) should have been better? Wrong. More to add to the overflowing pile of books that would have been catalogued if I hadn't been on holiday. More queries. More missing stock. A meeting all afternoon, and a business trip to Birmingham tomorrow. Lovely. My heart overflows with gladness. And by Friday, my intray will be overflowing to match.
This lunchtime I tore round like a mad thing, visiting the building society, bank, chemist, stationers ... why sit still when you can just keep moving? "I'd better not disturb her", a student whispered to a colleague. "She looks stressed." OH DEAR! That is not acceptable. I simply cannot LOOK stressed - I have to give the impression I can handle whatever is thrown at me, even if it is sometimes enough for three normal beings...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Wheeee! (or, as Cello-Kid would say, YES!!!)

I've finished the first draft of my research paper for the conference at the end of this month. I feel purged! It's a very nice feeling to know that you've finished something a fortnight early. It means I have plenty of time to modify it, which I hope is a Good Thing. I ended up changing my lovely title - it wasn't specific enough. And, since the focus of the paper changed since I first wrote my abstract, I now need to re-write the abstract. Tonight. Hmmm ... I shouldn't have been so sure I'd finished!

With my other, full-time hat on, I am going to Cirencester tomorrow for a music librarians' conference. I can take my laptop on the train and continue thinking about the research paper, but I can also do some background reading that I've been meaning to do for ages.

Strange to think that, if a speaker suddenly dropped out, I'd coincidentally have a paper all at the ready. No, I don't expect that to happen for a minute.

Excuse me, I'm distracted by that abstract ...

The above image is what I found when I did a Google image search on "distracted". Not sure of the relevance, but I loved the picture. Thanks to (a blogger at

Our elderly aunt is talking again - confusedly, because she has had Alzheimer's for several years - but the hospital says she has made such good progress that in a few days she may be able to go "home" to the care-home.

We're astounded! But watch this space - we won't believe it until it happens.


I have written most of my research paper today! Yesterday we went swimming before lunch. Afterwards, the boys went round to play with friends while I played at the crematorium, so that SuperSpouse could go sick-visiting. Then I weeded some more of the border. It hadn't occurred to me that this stiffness in my neck and shoulders would be aggravated by weeding. Boy, did I have a headache afterwards? Paracetamol didn't work. I footered about with the research in the evening, compiling a beautiful chronological list that really served little purpose.

Anyway, this morning I took two of my brilliant tension headache tablets, after which it dawned on me that all I was really doing was displacement activity.

I got out my abstract, took a deep breath, and started writing. And so it came to pass ...

How's this for a title?

“Do for God’s sake make out a Preface”:
positioning your product in the contemporary market
You'd never know it was about 19th century Scottish music collections, would you?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The answer to your question?

The dress has an elasticated waist. Plenty of room for another 20 years ...

Meanwhile, keen observers have noted that I have removed the image of a rather glamorous platinum ring ... the reason is that suddenly, the link stopped working. Maybe the site-owners didn't like me using it.

(Today's image is at - which I'm happy to acknowledge, as always. Jontay is an American distributor of webbing, buckles, hardware and dressmaking notions.)

Monday, April 09, 2007

We went out for an Indian meal at an Ashoka restaurant this evening, to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. These pictures are very dark - but I wanted to post them anyway. NB, I am wearing my wedding dress!


I omitted to mention the most serious news of all. On Saturday, SuperSpouse's elderly aunt was admitted to hospital, and it was confirmed last night that tests show she had suffered a heart-attack. She's 90, has advanced Alzheimer's, and if she knows she's in hospital, then that's as much as she does know. She temporarily lost her speech, but has regained it - to the extent that she can manage a "yes" or "no", but nothing more. In other words, she's really not with it at all. It remains to be seen what will happen next - up until now, she has been in a care home. Now she'll need nursing care - if she survives.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


There's just too much happening round here! For any friends trying to keep up with Pseudo Supermum, here is a quick run-down.

TOMORROW - OUR 20TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! Didn't we do well? SuperSpouse, with his usual capacity for the "bon mot", says we've made it because we're both stubborn bastards... My version is that in 20 years, I've learned it's not worth arguing. I don't have to AGREE - I just don't bother arguing.


Today - Easter Sunday. We were up at 6.15 am and out of the house by 6.50 am, for the first of two Easter celebrations at church. The boys didn't actually believe they'd be going out so early. But they found themselves out, all the same. There was breakfast after the early (outdoor) service. The boys played in the park beside church between the 7.30 am service and the 10 am service.

Last Sunday - Palm Sunday. There was a resoundingly successful performance of John Stainer's "The Crucifixion" at church. I conducted - SuperSpouse played the organ. The augmented choir excelled themselves, the invited soloists were spectacular, and we got lots of nice comments afterwards. Psychologically, it is a real boost for the choir to be able to say that despite being comparatively small in numbers, we can still achieve great things.

"I haven't done much research, but I did spend two evenings making a Dalek out of a boiled egg."

A Dal-egg, in fact.

You can imagine the reaction to that excuse! Total bewilderment. Research students are allowed to be boffins. Eccentric, even. But Eggcentric?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Have a laugh at this - I bought some Delicious Dried Fruit, Nut and Seed Mix from Boots today.

Yes, nuts. It said nuts.

Turn over the pack, and there in the ingredients are cashew nuts, almonds and peanuts.

You wouldn't therefore think it necessary to have a box which says "Allergy Advice: Contains Peanuts, Almonds, Cashew Nuts."

But it did.

Not only that, but to make sure I got the point, it then added, "May contain traces of nuts and/ or seeds."

No! You don't say! Or, as my father would say, NUTS!!!