Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I went to two postgrad courses today - one on writer's block, and the other on editing, proofreading and referencing.

They never had courses like this when I was a postgrad the first time round! The "Blocked" course was possibly the most useful. It was good being obliged to sit and think about the reasons for NOT sitting down and writing.

I dutifully came up with all the reasons, such as lacking in confidence, feeling as though you're not yet ready, not yet equipped with all the facts, etc, etc. Then I started thinking about other reasons - like, not having enough time. Feeling that I had to get all my domesticity up to date before I could allow myself to think serious Doctoral Thoughts, and so on.

"Not enough time?!", another student commented. "That's not an excuse - anyone can see you don't have enough time!" So there we are - I'm officially time-challenged! Can anyone tell me where I can gain a few hours a week? (You'll agree that I am blogging far less frequently these days, as it is ... )

Right. It's late. I've done nothing doctoral this evening. Instead, I've taken Small-Fry to Boys' Brigade, come home with Viola-Kid and wrapped up two birthday presents, written three cards, set up Mum's new Mothering Sunday phone, fetched Small-Fry home again, organised supper, a viola practice session and two boys to bed. True - I don't have much time to myself!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


So I sit down to help Small-Fry with his piano practice. No, wait a minute - I can deal with paperwork at the same time, so long as it doesn't involve too much concentration.

"Mum - can you fill in this permission slip?"
"Mum - here are details of our Festival entry."
"Mum - - - "
"Hello! Are you there? Hey, answer me!"


Just a minute. "Hey, Viola-Kid! You've done plenty of viola-playing, but shouldn't you do a bit of guitar practice today?"

"Mum - - - "

This image is from Seriykotik1970's photostream at YouTube. Stormy sky to convey the atmosphere when I suggested the "P" word - practice. Groans all round!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Twirling like a top again, Saxophone-Kid and I have been family chauffeurs again today:-

But first, I made lentil soup, set the bread machine going, and processed some laundry.

  • Took Viola-Kid to orchestra;
  • Took SuperSpouse's suit to the cleaner;
  • Took Cello-Kid to his music course;
  • Failed to find Cello-Kid's cello mute. He thought it was still on the old cello that is waiting for someone to buy it from the music shop. We went. It wasn't. The shop didn't have any new cello mutes either;
  • Took Viola-Kid for his guitar lesson;
  • Got Cello-Kid's phone topped up;
Any wonder I've had a tension headache all afternoon?!

Image thanks to

Friday, February 22, 2008

Keep praying and/ or hoping!

"Dear Lord, If it is Your will that this is to happen, then we trust that you will make it possible. If it is not Your will, then please help us to accept it, and to trust that you have another grand plan that we don't even know about yet. Amen."

The audition was on Wednesday. Now we have to wait to see if there will be a second audition (which would be good news) or not (bad).

No-one knows what to expect. The suspense is killing us!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

If you have a faith, please pray! (If not, then just hope hard ...)

This is the countdown. Viola-Kid has his first music school audition on Wednesday morning.

Please pray (or hope) for dedication, determination, application ...

Not forgetting patience, toleration and encouragement from us, his parents and brothers!

Can't ask for much more than that, really. If he gets through to the second auditions, then we'll need a double dose of the same. Here's hoping (and praying).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I have to get this off my chest!

I took a half-day's holiday yesterday afternoon, in order to get everything ready for my two biggest boys to go to Glencoe outdoor education centre for the weekend. Then, once I had dropped them off at the meeting point, I planned to go home and have four hours peacefully doing my research. Meanwhile, SuperSpouse and Saxophone-Kid would go to see The Wizard of Oz.

Everything went according to plan.

EXCEPT! a nasty little tyke repeatedly kicked my middle son's shin, when they were playing football after schoo - and Middleman ended up having great difficulty walking.

So - was he in a fit state to go to Glencoe? No. We took his big brother to the meeting-point, then I took Middleman to Accident and Emergency at our local hospital. Three hours later, we had established that he only had soft-tissue injuries (as I thought) - but there was little point in driving to catch up with the rest of the group in the Highlands, if he wasn't fit.

Our childminder phoned the parents of the NLT. But when they tackled him, he developed convenient amnesia. A dishonest NLT, indeed.

Middleman was upset at missing something he'd looked forward to. We were upset for him, upset that we'd committed £85, and furious at the NLT.

AND I had lost my peaceful, studious evening.

24 hours later, the suffering sportsman has conceded that his leg is less painful now, which is a good sign. However, he found himself playing Gooseberry to our Valentine's meal this evening, because we had made arrangements for his little brother to go to a friend's house, but we hadn't bargained on Middleman being around at all!

Even the Valentine's meal didn't go according to plan. I phoned the restaurant to book a third place, and it was all sorted out. Until we got there, to be told that children weren't allowed in the restaurant after 8 pm. Humph. Luckily, I came up with a Plan B, and we went to our favourite Indian restaurant - which just happened to be five minutes' drive from Saxophone-Kid's friend's house.
And now, at 10 pm, I suppose I ought, belatedly, to do some research. If I can find the energy and motivation to get started ...

Images from flickkgrr, ~bunny~, and outnbout, all on, with thanks.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What a woman's left hand is for

You don't realise how useful your hands are, until something happens to them. My carpal tunnel operation has certainly fixed the problem - I managed to sew name-tapes into five pairs of socks with no pins and needles, the other night. The first time in years, I might add.

But some tasks are now off-limit until I regain the strength in my wrist.

  • Ironing

  • Holding a full jug or kettle

  • Using the handbrake (but I manage fine by using both hands)

  • Lifting anything heavy

Using a computer keyboard in short bursts is seen as good physiotherapy. Well, naturally, that's how I use a computer. I use it all day at work - in short bursts, of course - and quite regularly at home. So why, oh why, should it be uncomfortable playing the piano or organ? I can play easy stuff. I can play difficult stuff. But if I play difficult stuff, then my wrist protests. ("Give me a rest, I'm not ready for this yet.")

I'll keep this short - why should I not blog in short bursts, too?!

Image from Alberta Bible College, with thanks.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Tell me something:

Why does Mother Nature arrange for mothers to reach the perimenopause at precisely the same time as their kids reach puberty? Is she having a laugh at humankind's expense?

Of course, this only happens because we women have claimed our right to work! We marry later, have kids later ...

Oh, and by the way - now that we're so modern and advanced, Mother Nature has also arranged that we will be looking after our elderly parents at the same time as we're balancing the tightrope of simultaneous perimenopause and puberty.

I have struggled and worked to get to where I am. I'll go on struggling and working to get to where I feel I should be. But I have to say that it's an uphill struggle!
The image is from the National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome, a UK organisation. I hope they won't mind. It looks a very useful group, and I may well revisit the website!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Voluntary redundancies

Do those words strike a chill into your bones? You bet! As does the inevitable threat that, if this doesn't achieve savings, then ...

I would like to log the story here as it unfolds - not just the facts, but also my reactions. However, I can't. Just keep an eye open for media reports.

You can imagine the atmosphere - it really isn't necessary to describe it in detail here.