Sunday, December 08, 2013

Cheat's Christmas Cake

I'm a working mum, right?  So I don't call what I've done, cheating.  More like thinking smart.  Here's my Christmas cake: I bought the fruit-cake, marzipan and icing.  And assembled them.  A very quick way of making a Christmas cake!

If you're a student, you may not be thinking of buying or making a Christmas cake.  However, should you feel tempted, this does at least save lots of time and effort.  You do need a rolling pin, a bit of icing sugar, and a small quantity of marmalade or apricot jam to make the marzipan adhere to the cake.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Washing Machine Upgrade Required

© Alstonefield Local History Society
Staffordshire Past Tracks
We've been here before. SuperSpouse insists women no longer do the laundry - their washing machines do it all for them.

 Now, I agree I can go away and leave my laundry in a nice tidy washing machine, indoors, and do something else of my choosing.  What I take issue with is the suggestion that women no longer have any part in the proceedings.

My washing machine does not gather, sort, load/unload, hang up, take down, fold, iron or put away the laundry.  If there is a machine that does all that, then it's time I had an upgrade.

Image from The Potteries website. 

Friday, November 08, 2013

Whose Sore Throat Was It, Anyway?

Viola-Kid has had two sore throats in a month.  Hardly surprising that I've now got the lurgy, is it?!  But at choir-practice last night, one of my sopranos was quite concerned in case she'd given me hers.  I think she was comforted to hear that there were sore throats closer to my home than hers!

I've slept most of the day, in between sipping Lemsip, reading Ann Widdecombe's autobiography, and crocheting edging round the blanket it has taken over a decade to complete for Viola-Kid.  (God help me if Cello-Man or Sax-Kid declare that they want one too!  That would make Sax-Kid about 35 before his is finished...)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My Family Is Too Clean

Too many long showers are causing mould spots to form on my bathroom ceiling. And the blind, and at the top of the walls.  Dettol mould-remover is excellent stuff.

But hang on a minute - I'm the shortest in the house, by quite a few inches.  So what part of my anatomy makes me the most suitable candidate for Mould Removing Duty?  It's not even as though I have the long showers - mine are models of brevity, because I'm always in a hurry.  (That's because I'm out of the house the most hours in the week, too.)

I'm also the natural candidate to do ALL LAUNDRY, it appears.  And all tidying up.  And shopping.  For God's sake, why?!

The worm has turned.  When the ironing basket is overflowing, I just stop washing.  Watch this space.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Not so much a Bear as a Mère with a Sore Head

Toothache's a real pain, isn't it?  When your dentist cheerfully tells you that your root canal treatment 13 years ago has come to the end of its useful life, and no more can be done for this particular tooth ... 


I've got antibiotics.  I've taken paracetamol.  But I'm stuck with the sore tooth until a week today, because it's a busy time at work.  I hasten to add that no-one has said I can't go to the dentist this week, but - well, I don't feel I can.  

And this evening I ventured forth to get Student Son's return ticket to uni.  With my sore mouth.  (No, I wasn't going to buy the rail-ticket with my sore mouth, but the sore mouth had to drive to town with me.) The whole point was to avoid the £7 postage, which seemed a rip-off.

A silly old lady was at the car-park barrier.  She'd changed her mind and didn't want to go in the car-park.  (The sign did say, CAR .... oh, forget it! Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.)  Into reverse, and back she came.  Fortunately, her hearing was no worse than mine, and my irritated horn-blowing stopped her before she hit me.  However, she was determined to reverse away from that barrier, so I got out of the way, annoyed a taxi-driver who then couldn't get out of the taxi-rank, and finally, I parked.  

It turned out I'd come too late in the evening to buy an advance-booking.  I paid my parking ticket - less than £7, and let's pretend I didn't use any petrol or have other plans for my evening - as you can tell, a sore mouth doesn't improve my temper!  But at the end of the day, I still have no ticket.  Then I thought of a solution.   He can buy his own ticket, and I'll transfer the funds.  Why, oh why didn't I think of that in the first place?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Edinburgh Castle? No, Just a Round Cake

It's 22.32 and I'm waiting for a sponge cake to attain that perfect, illusive golden brown.  It's a birthday cake for our eldest son.  Earlier this evening, I asked him, 'Will you have time for cake before you go out with your mates tomorrow night?'

'Oh, yes - can I have an Edinburgh Castle cake?'

Where in the name of heaven did he get that idea?!  I'm by no stretch of the imagination a Delia Smith. I bake plain sponge cakes, sandwiched together with butter icing (if there's time) or jam (if not).  I've been known to make cakes in the shape of single numbers, but this guy's TWENTY tomorrow.  There will be one cake.  A round one, and the closest it'll come to Edinburgh Castle is an uneven surface!  There will be no bagpipes, and no Tattoo.  (Maybe I could find some tartan ribbon in my
lunch-hour tomorrow, though?)

The heroine of Allison Pearson's, I don't know how she does it, distresses bought Christmas mince-pies so that no-one knows she didn't bake them.  I don't do that - I just distress myself.

It's like this.  I work full-time and a few years ago, I did a PhD part-time, at the same time.  My contemporaries might think I'm nuts, but they do have the insight to imagine what the experience might have been like.  On the other hand, people older than me are grudgingly impressed, but I'm afraid they think I'm a selfish parent for doing it. After all, their generation didn't work while raising children, let alone work AND study. So, to atone for the neglect that I imagine other people suspect, I try to do the things that a stay-at-home mother might do.  And I bake birthday cake at 22.32.  How could I not?

More Norwich than Edinburgh!
My spouse told me I should have gone to Asda.  Well, I was out fetching Sax kid from windband at 9.30 pm, and Asda never crossed my mind.  In that case, quoth the sage, make your cake but don't you dare complain about it.  

I can't help thinking there's a flaw in the argument somewhere, but I'm too tired to work it out, Doctor of Philosophy or not!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

In Susan Boyle's Footsteps

No, I won't be singing, 'I dreamed a dream'.  I just went to Taylor Ferguson, Susan Boyle's Glasgow hairdresser!

My colleagues approve.  One son was sent a photo, and approved.  One noticed (hooray!), and one didn't.  Neither did my spouse.  And my mother disapproved.  Next time, I warn you, I shall have it dyed red!

Monday, August 12, 2013

There Will Be Hell to Pay for This!

Aids for the Elderly and Overweight?

'Someone' kindly left this sales catalogue on my desk at home.  You don't think - surely not! - they would have been so unkind as to have meant me to find this helpful garment:-

Well, all I can say to THAT suggestion is this, accompanied by a big raspberry.  Page 22 - it maybe wouldn't be big enough! Excuse me - I'm off to the swimming pool, where I propose to swim until I positively shrink. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Puritanical To The Last

Call me Griselda.  My virtue has been questioned, unjustly.  It's a good thing I read Chaucer at school.

Though I must confess, there's a flaw in my virtue: I don't cut the carrots small enough, and sometimes I use a washing-up bowl instead of the dishwasher.  A slovenly spouse, indeed.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

So I will drive 500 miles (and I will drive 500 more)

'Stout Supporting Shoes - God Help Me!'

The woman who fell on her toe
Suspected she'd broken it so
She saw her GP
Who inclined to agree
But said it was okay to go ...

So in trainers she drove to her Mum*
It didn't seem terribly dumb
Since she ably changed gear
For miles without fear
No niggles to make her feel glum.

Today she set off for the gym,
In hope that she'd soon become slim
But imagine her woe
When they said that her toe
Should be x-rayed- the outlook seems grim.

No workouts, no classes at all - 
And all 'cos she happened to fall
While grabbing the phone
She fractured a bone
And all for a redialled call!

* Yes, I drove 1000 miles last week.  I thought I had a fractured toe - and now I know!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Creativity Rules OK

I Can Still Sew!

Well, I made a dress and two jackets during this holiday.  Here's the ensemble I've literally just finished.  I must confess to being quite pleased with myself.  I haven't done anything but repairs for about 13 years - when I memorably made two sets of short summer pyjamas for my eldest and middle sons.  My colleagues fell about laughing and said that everyone else put their kids in pants and tee-shirts: why couldn't I do the same?

At this, I decided there was plainly no point in making clothes for the boys - George at Asda became my chosen source, and the sewing machine took a long rest, apart from when things needed mending.

However, it appears I haven't lost the knack, and making things for myself at least means they get seen, as opposed to tucked up neatly out of sight under a duvet.


My mother was a needleteacher.  Old needlework teachers never die, they remain as sharp as needles!

'The sleeves are too long', said she.  I've shortened them.

I decided all by myself that the dress was too long - shortened that, too.  

But Mother also  didn't like the border at the bottom or the red and black at the top.  It ALL came from the one fabric - black and cream leafy border down one side, and red and black stripes down the other.  All I had to do was lay out and cut the pattern pieces so the colours fell where I wanted them.  And I'm afraid I'm unrepentant about that - I happen to like it!  We sometimes have spookily similar tastes, but not always! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Let Them Eat Bread!

Countdown to the end of my annual leave, so I'm eagerly cramming things into my day.

  • Today, I've been tweeting fast and furiously for Voices for the Library.  Here's my self-introduction blogpost on their website.  You can follow my tweets @VoicesLibrary.
  • Sorted out Smalley McAulay's work placement to my - and his - total, jubilant satisfaction.  At a university games software development department!
  • Had the engineer in to fix our washing machine.
  • About to set bread-machine going, and then I'll get back to dressmaking.  (Made the dress, now I'm onto the jacket.)
So --- in a few hours time --- let them eat bread.  Nothing nicer than home-made bread, even if I cheated a little!

Jelly Belly Diet

The mum with the wobbly belly
Denies that she views too much telly - 
Why, her viewing's so small, 
Almost no hours at all,
But from now on she'll only eat jelly.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Living off Beans

Tuna and Kidney Bean Salad - cheap and tasty!

I promised another thrifty recipe for starving students and non-students alike.  Suddenly, this idea popped into my mind.  I can't remember where the recipe originated.  It will serve four, with enough salad, or if you have any over, keep it covered in the fridge for tomorrow.  Healthy (beans + fish + salad), tasty, and quick.  Perfect student food.

Ingredients: tina of kidney beans, tin of tuna in brine, bottle of French dressing (or make your own with equal proportions of vinegar or lemon juice and vegetable oil), cucumber and tomatoes, any other salad you have handy.  Optionally, a pinch of Colman's mustard and a crushed garlic clove.

  1. Open tuna tin, drain, flake the tuna in a salad bowl/casserole using a fork.
  2. Open beans, drain, rinse, add to tuna.
  3. Add other salad stuff.  If you have lettuce and want to dress up your meal a bit, leave it out of the mixture and arrange round the edge of the bowl - or on individual plates.
  4. Add a couple of tablespoons of dressing (bought or made), and the optional mustard powder and garlic.
If you liked that, you'll like this:  Rose Elliot's book, Bean Feast, is full of easy vegetarian recipes.  It includes some using kidney beans - I shared them here a while ago.

Recipes more successful than Rants

Quick-Setting Jelly Desserts

It appears, looking at my blog stats, that I get more traffic to the site when I post food ideas, than when I rant.  Today, therefore, I must come up with some foodie inspiration for students and impecunious cooks everywhere.  You'll have to give me a chance to think up something, but I'll be right back ... honest!

Meanwhile, you might like my quick-setting jelly dessert suggestions.  The jelly will set much quicker if you do it this way:-

  1. Buy jelly sachets (optional - yoghourt or a can of fruit.  NOT canned pineapple or kiwi-fruit)
  2. Dissolve jelly crystals in microwavable jug in MINIMUM boiling water (I microwave the boiling solution for half a minute to hurry it up). 
  3. Now add icecubes, stirring as you go to help dissolve. 
  4. After 6 icecubes, it begins to set, and dissolution slows down. At that point, make up to a pint with cold water or yogurt - you'll need to whisk it in - or canned fruit. (Hint, don't go on adding icecubes when they struggle to dissolve.  And remember - a pint is the upper limit, including the melted icecubes!) 
  5. Refrigerate.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

There will aye be critics

A timely proverb from my Johannesburg friend:- 

"Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage."
 The trouble is, my instinctive reaction to criticism is, 'What if they've got a point?'  So, here we have SuperSpouse who thinks I need a corset - and his male friend agrees.  

Gym trainer pees laughing

---  doesn't say much for those core muscles!

His female gym trainer, on the other hand, burst out laughing and demanded, 'YOU DIDN'T SAY THAT TO YOUR WIFE?'  But he did.  He then asked someone he knows through work.  Same age and sex as the gym trainer.  Same again: 'You told your wife WHAT?'

Septuagenarians fall off chair, Octogenarian just nods

Four hundred miles south, and with no collusion having transpired, a septagenarian couple fell off their chairs in peels of laughter.  For me, though, it was time to face my mother.  'A gym trainer?  Yes, you could do with one of them, TO GET RID OF THAT TUMMY.'  Gives it straight between the eyes, does my mum.

'And your hair is too long, you look like the wild woman of Borneo.  Get a haircut.'  Politically incorrect as well as tactless, then.

Self-portrait, July 2013
I discovered last night that - for the first time in my life - I can actually put my hair up.  Not in a bun, but an elastic band on top of my head - it didn't look too bad, though I say it myself.

All by myself, I reached a couple of decisions this morning.  I shall get a haircut.  I shall go to a top hairdresser and get an extravagant haircut, leaving my hair long, but getting some shape into it and tidying up any split ends.  I will not colour it, so it'll still be grey-streaked.  Then I'll go to the gym and see about a gym trainer.  I'm doing this so my clothes will be looser.  A short course with a gym trainer is cheaper than a new wardrobe.

And then, if my family objects to my appearance - TOUGH!  I'll have to hang out with my friends more!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Step we gaily on we go - heel for heel and toe for toe

 "Step we gaily on we go - heel for heel and toe for toe"

This has NOTHING to do with the song, Mairi's Wedding!  I seem to have fractured a toe.  I was using my mobile phone when the landline phone rang.  I dived for it.  Crash!  Banged my knee, bashed my toe, and here I am, battered and bruised ... I can drive.  I can swim.  I can - just about - play the organ.  But I can't go to the gym or attend exercise classes, which is annoying.

Q: How do you play the organ with a possibly-fractured toe?
A: Frac-cato.

Q: How does a possibly-fractured toe help weight-loss?
A: You should see me hop on the scales.

Q: How does a possibly-fractured toe improve your Sunday-best shoe-style?
A: It doesn't. They're lucky I won't be wearing slippers!

 Mairi's Wedding - lyrics.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Straitlaced Maybe - Tightlaced Never

I've spent a week going to enormous lengths to lose weight so as to avert criticism when we go to visit my family in England.

I've swum seven times, been to the gym four times, and been to three exercise classes.  Bodypump nearly killed me, but was far more to my liking than Zumba.  You won't catch me in another Zumba class!  Maybe it's my left-handedness.  Maybe I have a touch of dyspraxia - though I can drive a car, operate a sewing machine and play several musical instruments.  However, my handwriting is despicable, I am hopeless at ball-games, and it turns out I cannot watch a dance instructor and make my feet (forget the arms and hands!) do the same thing at the same time.  I just can't coordinate myself.

All but the swimming came screeching to a halt when I fell over my own feet diving for the phone on Thursday morning.  The doctor thinks I may have fractured my toe.  (See?  I'm uncoordinated!)  So although swimming doesn't hurt, I can't go and do 45 minutes on the treadmill, cross-trainer or rowing-machine, and I certainly can't take exercise classes until I get back from England.

So I shall have to present my overweight self for comment.  I do not have a tumour or a large cyst - Mother suggested that last year, and I've had all the blood-tests.  There's nothing wrong with me.  I'm just overweight.

SuperSpouse, trying to be helpful (he says), suggests I should "wear a corset" to "improve my figure".  I took the huff at this.  To me, corsets go with domination, inhibiting natural movement, and trying to turn a perfectly normal human body into a decorative Barbie-shape.  Why should I?  Why would I want to?  He asked his friend.  "Yes", said the friend, "Quite right.  Wearing a corset would improve your wife's figure." 


Unless you want to frighten yourself, don't look up "tight corsets" on Google.  And "Tightlacing" on Wikipedia is scary, too.  Don't scroll down.  Stop at the hideous travesty of a female image at the top of the article.  Truly, you don't want to read on.

I found an utterly enchanting black and pink butterfly-patterned corset by Googling images.  Thankfully, they  don't make it large enough.  (And believe me, I may be overweight, but in no sense am I clinically obese - nowhere near it.)  But I still don't fancy spending a week in a sweaty nylon corset, in temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius, trying very hard to look as though I haven't had three children.  

No thanks.  Back to starvation diets, I think.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Wimbledon Finals and Full of the Joys of Summer

Ah, a lovely July day! The sun's shining, we have company coming to lunch, and an afternoon of Wimbledon-watching beckons.

Smalley McAulay is cross.  OF COURSE he should have a large bowl of cereal 40 minutes before his mum triumphantly serves up a roast lamb dinner with all the trimmings.  OF COURSE he will disregard threatened sanctions.  And will we all sit nicely and be pleasant around the dinner table?

Oh, I do hope so!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Picnics on the Lawn: How to 'Make' Strawberry Cheesecake

So it's May Ball season again.  May Balls in June?  Apparently, yes.

Here's how to impress, in between games of croquet and the ubiquitous champagne-fuelled festivities - 'make' a cheesecake.

Now, we all know students haven't got much time for cooking. So - don't cook!  Buy a basic, 'value' plain vanilla cheesecake and a punnet of strawberries. 

You do have to wash, hull and halve the strawberries.  Put them in a bowl and sprinkle with a little sugar.  Cover the bowl and leave for half an hour or so.

Put the cheesecake on a plate.  Cover with strawberries (decoratively, if possible - it's more impressive that way).  If there are any strawberries over, lean them against the side of the cheesecake too.

Et voila!  Quasi-homemade cheesecake with minimum effort.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Stroppy Organist

A parishioner said my pile of organ music was "all stoury".  That's Scots for "dusty and tatty".  It isn't - it's just a pile of music that I had been playing recently.  So it was on the organ stool beside me.  Behind a screen so absolutely nobody could see it.  I should have it in a box, she said.  But I can SEE what's in a pile. It wouldn't be as easy if it was in a box.  (Anyway, the stuff I'm not playing is in librarianly apple-pie, alphabetical order, in a box.  So what's the problem?)

I am not pleased.  What's more important?  A decorative organist sitting silently on an empty organ stool, or a working organist doing her job to the best of her ability?


That music is there to be played
By an organist who is dismayed
That folk would deride her
For piling beside her
The scores that are tools of her trade.


I choose what to play from this pile
And yes, it will stay here a while
I dispute that it’s stoury –
I will NOT file like fury –
My music, my playing, my style.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Week in the Life of PseudoSupermum!

This is how I visualise the  distribution of my time.  More impressive than the concept, however, is the fact that I MADE THE GRAPHIC, then Viola-Man used his newfound computer skills to get it out of Word and into a blogpost! 

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

PseudoSupermum Aspires to PseudoSuperwife

Neat seat for when we eat
In the past week, I've re-upholstered SuperSpouse's dining room chair, and made a new cushion cover for his computer chair.  The latter was a cushion we bought in Algonquin Park in 1990, and we've hung onto it for sentimental reasons - but when my patched repair was the strongest part of the cover, it was time to make a new one.  Sadly, we no longer have Algonquin loons - but both new covers MATCH THE CURTAINS in their respective rooms.  Kudos?  I should think so!

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Testosterone Towers - the Worm has Turned

I'm sure I'm not the only parent to react like this!

The Good Mother Teaches Social Conventions

Does any mother not beat herself up for not being good enough?

This afternoon, I'll yet again sit back and watch to see if my offspring have learned any of the lessons I've taught them about social niceties.  Like Sheldon Cooper's mum, I've tried to explain some of the "social conventions" around entertaining guests.
  • Don't embarrass your guest
  • Don't embarrass the hostess
  • Therefore ...
  • Don't bicker; and
  • Don't think of humiliating "funny anecdotes" to make both guest and hostess squirm.
I suppose you could sum it up with plain, "Be Nice".  A fellow librarian suggests that what I need is Miss Manners at my side.  She might be appalled, though.

Check back later to see if I had a pleasant afternoon or am anticipating a migraine-clouded evening ...

Saturday, May 04, 2013

What's in a Name?

What do nametags represent to you?  A mere mark of ownership?  

Think again.

When there are three boys in a house, sometimes you need to label things.  Like pants, socks and shirts.  And then when things are handed down, you need to keep track of who now wears it.  

You also need to assist the person who assists you with the laundry.  Enter the nametag game.  For 15 years or so, I've been sewing in nametags.  (The iron-on ones are never as good.)  Occasionally, I shirk my duty.  If pants say, "Age 13-14", then I reckon the average adult will know whose clothes basket the clean garments will get sorted into.

This is a Severe Neglect of Duty.  So, most of the time, I just knuckle under and sew in the bloody nametags - it's easier that way.

A year or two ago, one of the boys decided that labels were W-A-A-Y beneath his dignity, and started snipping out the labels, using the scissors that his school had required me to buy for his S1 needlework classes.  (A good reason for not teaching boys needlework, in retrospect!  They'll keep the scissors and put them to other uses.)

This left me with a problem, because a non-labelled sock is the sign of a neglectful parent.  (It is - please don't argue with me!)

Nonetheless, when we bought new socks today, I resignedly got my sewing box out.  "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?", demanded my dearest, darling spouse.  Proudly, I showed him.  "Sewing in labels."  It was one of those unassailable statements that required no response.  I was fire-proof!

I tidied up the workbox, and put it away.  What did those nametags represent to me?  All the hours and hours I've spent over the years aspiring to be a Good Mother.  Good Mothers sew in nametags.  But the echoes of arguments those nametags provoked somehow also resonate in the wooden box.  No matter how hard she tries, a Good Mother never quite feels good enough.  Which is why this blog is called Pseudo Supermum!

Monday, April 01, 2013

PseudoSupermum Redeems Herself

So, yesterday wasn't so good.  The beef and carrots were tough, because slow-cooking a casserole means long cooking at a low heat. I lowered the heat but didn't elongate the time.  (Chew, chew.)  And the bread didn't rise high enough, for reasons which I cannot fathom.  I did end up with an edible loaf, just not by many people.  Much mirth was had in Testosterone Towers at PseudoSupermum's expense.

The Simnel cake was good, but the boys don't like fruitcake.  (All the more for us!)

Today had to be a better day.  We had "company" coming - one man and his dog - and I wanted everything to be just right.  Off I went to the leisure centre to burn off a few calories, so that I could enjoy my dinner AND feel virtuous.  All that effort to burn the equivalent of one and a half Mars bars? It's not fair.

Nonetheless, I returned home full of endorphins and light on calories, to contemplate the task ahead.  Getting It Right meant I had somehow to ensure that not only was the meal good, but the diners had to be civil to one another.

I delivered a little homily along the lines of, it is my maternal duty to ensure that you guys know how to behave when we have guests.  If I were run over by a bus or bitten by a rabid dog tomorrow, at least you'd have been reminded of this essential social skill.  You don't argue, you don't embarrass your guest, and you don't embarrass the hostess.

And with that, I retreated to the kitchen.  They hadn't exactly laughed in my face, but they plainly resented being got at BEFORE they'd had a chance to transgress.   Ho-hum.

Mercifully the meal went fine.  My apple-pie was to die for.  The best way of ensuring peace in Testosterone Towers is to fill them with chicken and carbs.  

Only one part of the plan backfired.  I had delivered the homily in front of Superspouse, but not to him, assuming that he knew the rules already. As we sat making polite conversation before the meal, he disarmingly and with impeccable timing, delivered his bombshell.

"Karen's beef and carrots were VERY HARD yesterday. Ha-ha!"  

Well, at least he lowered the bar so that I could hardly fail to show improvement today.  I smiled.  Through gritted teeth, admittedly, but I did smile.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Doubly failed PseudoSupermum

Being in possession of all these qualifications does not, apparently, render me capable of getting ink stains out of undergraduate chinos - even with ink stain remover.  Nor can I remove  in-ground Cambridge mud from the seat and ankles of same.  I've scrubbed, scrubbed and scrubbed again.  (Does that make me a little scrubber?  No, don't answer that.)

AND the oven wasn't hot enough to make the beef casserole tender, though it was certainly in long enough.

Washing: 20% success.  That's a fail.
Cooking: 30% success.  Still a fail.
Fox deterrent applied in garden - results pending.
Simnel cake baking - results pending.

Not Really My Day.  Though the congregation sang with gusto and liked my communion music, so that at least scored!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Failed PseudoSupermum

Believe me - not a pair there!

I can graduate with a doctorate.  I can publish a book.  But I can't get three boys to put PAIRS of socks in the wash. 

Failed PseudoSupermum.  

(And before you say it - the white socks are NOT from the same pair!)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Pox and a Plague on Tiny-Minded Vandals!

Strangely enough - I've just read last month's blogpost and discovered that I made soup that weekend, too.  Not so surprising. As I said, it's a common weekend activity.  Beef and vegetable broth this time, folks.

Well, what a weekend!  On Friday, I went to Edinburgh to the Scottish Storytelling Centre, to attend the first of two workshops on being an "MC".  (My book-launch is in two months' time.  I have given loads of scholarly papers, but this talk is NOT that kind of talk, so I thought some fresh ideas would be helpful.)  While I was in Edinburgh, I went and loitered outside a financial services office - because that was where Alexander Campbell's Episcopal church used to be, in the early 1800s.  Luckily no-one asked me why I was hanging about outside, with little snowflakes gently drifting down and a biting easterly breeze around my rather exposed knees.

And after the workshop, I had dinner with a friend - an altogether lovely day.  I was knackered when I got home, though it wasn't even late.  And knackered yesterday morning, so I got up later than usual.  Went to the supermarket after lunch, got the car loaded up, and then ...

... hang on, my car didn't have a long scratch down the back passenger door and wing, last time I looked.  How did that happen?  It wasn't done by another car, that much was clear.   

When I got home, I found my neighbours over the road had had THEIR car bonnet scratched, and my neighbours through the wall had had a house window pane smashed.  Someone had a bad night, one presumes.  Damned vandals!  Any right-thinking person can't understand what pleasure these thugs can possibly get out of damaging other folks' property.  I haven't done anything to them. They don't know me.  Therefore, they might resent the fact I live in a house and have a car outside, but that is ALL they know about me.  And damaging two cars and a house-window might have given them a vicious little frisson of malicious satisfaction, but - and I suppose they don't think this way - it didn't make the tiniest iota of difference to their lives.   I can't tell you how annoyed I am.  

This afternoon, I washed and polished the car: T-Cut improved the scratches, but didn't take them away.  I dealt with some more laundry.  Separated two grumpy teens.  Organised a hasty tea, then off we went to a concert.  When we got home, I was astonished to find our sons had NOT killed one another.  Luckily, the house isn't big, but it's big enough for them to avoid one another with a modicum of catreful planning!

Roll on Monday!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I've broken the cardinal bloggy blogging rule!

Rule no.1:  Post regularly, so there's always something fresh for your readers to discover.
Rule no.2: On no account forget Rule no.1.

... and then various rules about never posting anything incriminating, or so personal that you might later regret it.  No fear of that - I haven't posted at all.  Ooops!

Hey, I've been busy, guys!  In October I assumed my new persona as part-time postdoctoral research assistant on a project jointly run by the Universities of Glasgow and Cambridge.  I continued to be a librarian for the rest of my working week.  

And then there was the church organ-playing, invitations to speak at a couple of research/career development seminars, editing my book (Our Ancient National Airs), and liaising with the editors and my indexer.  And writing a couple of journal articles.

And Christmas.

Suddenly, it was January.  I took a week's holiday once the boys had gone back to school - though I seemed to be busy enough throughout the week without even thinking about work or research projects!   I submitted another journal article, and arranged a whole suite of Alexander Campbell's Scottish melodies for saxophone quartet.

Finally, here we are at the end of the month.  As I write, Cello-Man is trying to get home from Zurich after his university Jailbreak.  (This link works today - I can't promise it'll work next week, though, as it's being updated in real-time.)   I've got my book-launch on the horizon, and I'm still liaising with performers for that.  Viola-Man has prelims for his Highers next week, Sax-Kid has an audition for a youth jazz outfit, and SuperSpouse is happily operating his one-man secretariat for a local transport society.

Pseudo-Supermum has made soup (a common weekend activity), shopped, washed, and attempted to join the Glasgow Club.  If I pay to be in it, I might go and swim or work off some calories more dutifully.  It's worth a try!  Because the word round here is that I'm fat.  If that's what loved ones think, it's a good thing strangers don't usually bother to tell me.