Sunday, 31 January 2010

two new things learned....

Lesson No. 1

We took ourselves off to a pub quiz in our local last night. It was a fundraiser for our village pre-school. The pub is less than 100 yards from our front door. I wasn't expecting anything new.

Little did I know, however, that sprouts can be curried. The options for our light supper were chicken 'something' and vegetable curry. I have never seen a curry containg sprouts or carrots. I decided to live dangerously.

Now, I am neither culinary genius, nor food critic but there was something so oddly wrong about what I ate, I am still contemplating its implications. It wasn't just the inclusion of sprouts and carrots, it was also the lack of any curry flavouring and the fact that the sprouts had been left whole. It's going to remain with me as a gastronomic mystery for some time. The whole thing reminded me of the 'Regret Rien' restaurant that Tim Spall ran in Mike Leigh's 'Life is Sweet' where the menu was a random collection of strange, unrepeatable repasts. I don't mean to be unkind as our local pub is a thing of great preciousness but I don't want to eat sprout curry again... ever.

We came 2nd (for the 2nd year running). If only we'd lived dangerously and risked 'foal' for the offspring of a zebra and known a little more about Hitler's speeches. There's always next year. Liver chow mein anyone?

Lesson No. 2

The Saturday Telegraph magazine is a font of information and education. I learned yesterday that Tamara Mellon (she of Jimmy Choo shoe fame and legendary glamourpuss) does the same workout DVD I do. This means that, eventually, perhaps I too will start to resemble a legendary glamourpuss. TM, I read, engages in such activity 4/5 times per week. I, on the other hand have managed 2 per week, for about 2 weeks on the trot. My transformation may be quite gradual.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

channelling my inner Joan

This photo contrasts somewhat with the secret film clip I have just found on my camera. The (never to be seen again) film clip features yours truly in mid-chat with J about a 'stropping' incident. I got a bit of a shock, particularly as I was scrolling through the rest of the snaps and found this blast from the past.

I don't mind not looking the same - I mind looking worse.

I hardly slept last night and I know it shows as I went to a meeting this morning and several of my colleagues asked after my health. I must look rough and I know that sleeping for less than 3 hours can make a person feel a little below-par but I think it might be time for 2010's projectforty overhaul. 'Never give up' - that's my theory and I'm sticking with it!

So...inspired by 'Mad Men's Joan, it's time to do a bit of projectforty surface improvement. I've spent quite a few hours over the last week or so watching Series 1 & 2 of that marvellous series, trying to catch up before tonight's Series 3. I love the series and the writing and the sets but most of all I am obsessed with the clothes and the hair of the female characters, particularly those of St. Joan. No amount of self-induced improvement is ever going to get me to that level of womanliness but there must be things a girl can do to find a little bit of glamour between the school drop-off and the interminable sock sorting?

I have a haircut on Tuesday and need eyebrow attention. The problem is that the lady who usually does them is not around and I want them to be shaped not plucked into slightly bendy millipedes. An untested plucker could just make things worse...much worse.

No matter - I can feel better bras, some new shoes and a renewed in my cuticular wellbeing coming on. Next...the wiggle and a search for the perfect martini....

Sunday, 24 January 2010

third time lucky

I can't post. This is my third attempt and I can't think of anything to say. Have I come to the end of my bloggeration? Is this it? I do not know.

I know I'm having a stop-start start to 2010. If one idea presents itself, another one turns up that makes the first one impossible. I start one thing, only to find I am compelled to do another.

I'm writing a bit, making a bit, ukuleling (?!) a bit, knitting a bit but it's all, well, a little bitty and very unsatisfactory.

I blame the two weeks of snow working in hour spurts in between snow clearing and sledging. My concentration levels are those of a gnat. My mind is whirring. I have to write almost everything down. My brain feels like an over-stuffed box file. Perhaps it's hormonal?

I have accomplished several things today, however:
- I have dusted the kids' rooms (the saint of housewives will forgive me, I hope for the state I found them in)
- I changed their bedding (St. Vita - see above - forgive me)
- I have filed all my bank statements and paperwork
- I have displayed the paper I distressed at a workshop yesterday
- I persuaded E to make fairy cakes. She is definitely the best fairy cake maker in the house
- I drafted a couple of articles for my imaginary editors

I am trying not to be too hard on myself as I realise that my ever-growing list of 'to-dos' is not going to go away. Everything on that list is simply my life but with added optional extras (added by me).

Apologies for the short post. Normal service will resume shortly.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

pound zero

I weigh myself on the wii-fit almost every morning. It's usually a rather masochistic act. Not only is it a highly sensitive and unforgiving piece of equipment, its dastardly mechanics produce a graph of weightloss. We have had this contraption for nearly 400 days. I have lost and gained about 9lbs in this time and weigh exactly the same as I did the day I first tried it. I have cycled, treadmilled, aerobicked, body-balanced, bounced, walked, diarised my food intake, thought about not eating very much.

I'm obviously not doing it right.

Yesterday was my 'pound zero'. I can't bear the thought of being weighed for skis in a few weeks time. It's mortifying. Today I weighed 2lbs less than I did yesterday. A small triumph but not one to be celebrated. Celebration would probably incur calorific intake. I MUST RESIST.

I'm going on a course tomorrow - 'Working in a Principled Way'. I don't think Victoria will be there.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

igloo, hegloos, shegloos, theygloos




9am the following am

Better late than never: some igloo photos. I played no part in its construction apart from general encouraging words from my laptop whilst working. Oh yes, and regular health and safety instructions on how snow buildings can collapse and cause injury, especially to small children. Oh yes, and regular supplies of hot chocolate and tea.

It was a communal effort - the Ls, the Ws, the Ms. They all played their part.

The igloo is now nothing more than a circular arrangement of Gormley-like figures.

The inconvenience of the snow pales into the horror that is Haiti. While children there were being dragged from buildings, ours were making one of out of snow without even shouting at each other (much). Yet another time to remind myself how fortunate we are and that our daily ups and downs are tiny and worth little worr or stress.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

honey - I'm home (again)

Well, two days of school/work managed this week. Will we get up to three by Friday? Who knows? Thank goodness I worked on Monday to catch up a little from last week. If this carries on I'll be in some kind of twilight world of nocturnal emailing and report writing.

J&E have been up, had breakfast and have gone back to bed. I'm in my room, watching the sprinkles of snow fly past my window, continuing to cover everything beautifully but inconveniently.

My plan is to work while the kids are in their duvets, go out and take some photos when they want to go out sledging later this morning and then work a bit more when they're watching a DVD they've already watched ten times. The problem is I work with schools. The schools are all closed. I might as well throw out messages in bottles into the River Avon.

We have food but, crucially, no bananas. We are a family fuelled by bananas. Well, three of us are. I can take or leave the yellow bendy things. G thinks he's going to Southampton so am going to give him an 'if a visit to a supermarket without a carpark like an icerink is possible' shopping list. Perhaps I should have panic-bought.

We will be having chorizo chilli for dinner and I'll put a loaf on in the breadmaker. There is milk in the fridge and we have vegetables to last until the weekend. Apart from the enforced 'Shining'-like stayvacation, I'm feeling better already.

My Tracey Anderson mat workout arrived yesterday from Amazon. She trains Gwynnie & Madge, don't you know. She doesn't have the gushing enthusiasm of Davina, for example, but then she isn't a tv presenter. In fact, she seems quite shy, barely making eye contact with the camera and she forgets to tell you when to change the movements. However, I feel like I've done something to muscles lurking beneath my wadding. The leg exercises will definitely build me up to skiing. Lots of squats and twists and wotnots.

Her exercises are supposed to elongate muscles and build 'strong, feminine' lines. I chose her particular workout as it promises to lengthen, not bulk. Now, I don't know what I do usually but whenever I exercise, I get bigger. I've got to the point now, where I am really not interested in getting bigger. I would really like to shrink a little but, failing that I'm OK with staying the same size just shifting things around a bit. My needs are very simple! There was a very peculiar section of 'standing abs' where I tried to copy her shifting around our respective torsos, imitating Madge on that 'Ray of Light' video. Do you remember that?

So - I've done it once and am inclined to do it again. TA invites me to do the exercises 4 - 6 times a week. If this snow carries on, I will do. Boredom can do strange things to a woman.

Whilst I'm here I might as well tell you about the ukulele. I bought one a couple of years ago after seeing a ukulele band at a festival. Needless to say it didn't get played much. Over Christmas, my neighbour invited me over for a little ukulele practice with another friend. Their ukuleles were bigger than mine. Nevertheless, I overcame my insecurities and practiced on my basic uke and have mastered a few chords. I've been practising every day and picked up a proper instrument (just like theirs) yesterday. Having not played an instrument since I was about fifteen, it's very pleasing. Not for public view but very pleasing.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

when will it end????

I am posting this splash of colour as all I can see from my window is icing-sugar snow relieved by the hopeful green of my neighbour's wheelie bin. Will the binmen (sorry, refuse recyclers) come tomorrow morning?

I am still in my dressing gown. It is past mid-day. In my defence, I am waiting for my potatoes to par-boil so that I can pop them into roast with my moroccan spiced shoulder of lamb (get me, hey!). The reality is that I've become dormousical in my routines over the last week:

rise at about 9
have a bath (shower is frozen) at about 10
get dressed
do some work
pop out for a bit of sledging
buy milk from village shop
make something for lunch
do a bit more work while child (a) or child (b) does something screen-side
have a little knit
do a bit more work
have a little sleep (dormousical)
make dinner
inveigle new New Year's resolution to make (a) and (b) clear table and help with washing up
bit more knitting
bit of a sleep
bit of boxed set: the Wire v. Madmen (am getting increasingly confused)
proper sleep
and so it goes on
G and the kids have gone sledging. What a lovely family outing this would be if they hadn't all bickered so much they flounced out of the garage and shuffled off to what I hope will be a still-decent slope. Never mind, at least they'll have a nice roast dinner to scoff when they get back. I imagine a game of 'Sequence' will keep us all on friendly terms until we can negotiate a film to watch this afternoon.

I left the village yesterday. My first automobile trip since I drove home from school on Tuesday. I'd forgotten that the rest of the world existed and my trip to Somerfield was exciting - ooh, fancy that, ready made curry sauce. Yum!

I had to have an extra long sleep last night though to recover. We watched that dance show on BBC. God, was it dull. I think I might have enjoyed it more having not been exposed to 'hole in the wall' and the 'wipeout awards'. Drivel of the utmost drivelness.

I had a good trawl through some magazines that Granny had brought over though. 'The Lady' is becoming something of a favourite of mine and I'd bought 'Gardener's World' as there is a seed offer and advice on growing potatoes in pots. I checked planting times whilst Anton du Beck talked to celebrities, rendered unrecognisable in unpleasant lycra.

So....will we, won't we be back to normal tomorrow. Will it, won't it snow? I want the thaw to come now.

Friday, 8 January 2010

sno' joke

::Good things about being snowed in ::
being at home
working at home
immediate laundry response
comparing home-made sledges
the christmas cake is being eaten
the icing-sugar appearance of all things snowy
discovery of former toy-favourites
daily reminders of how lucky we are that the house is warm and food in the fridge

::Not so good things about the snow::
a slight nagging thought that this could go on for weeks and our supplies will wane
even if we need something from the supermarket, the shelves will be empty
a worry for neighbours and friends who might not be so cosy
the catch-up of all catch-ups will have to happen next week
a continuing post-Christmas stupor
lengthening time spend in pyjamas
potential sledging accidents
total monochrome
cold toes

Saturday, 2 January 2010

numerically speaking

It's the 2nd

of 1st


I have developed a slight fixation about the numerological development of this year.

01 01 10
02 01 10
03 01 10

and soon it's going to be

10 01 10
11 01 10

at some point it will be

10 10 10

and then, eventually, next year...

11 01 11

This MUST mean something to someone somewhere?
Any numerology experts out there?
I need to google 'binary'.

PS: Happy Birthday Florida Lady - you know who you are!

Friday, 1 January 2010

let the detox commence....

Well, a little late-in-the-day inviting and we had ourselves a small but perfectly formed New Year's Eve. I couldn't resist the urge to retox before I inevitably started my detox today.

Despite quite a vicious sibling-spat at about 9.30pm, the evening swam by beautifully, oiled by some lovely wine, some fun and games and lots of nibbles amalgamated and contributed to by our guests.

We discussed the twothousandandten v. twentyten notion for about five minutes and then forgot about that and continued to be silly. I seem to remember a conversation about the concept of developing a spa-dog. Our combined age is somewhere in the region of 240. We should know better.

The 'on call' element of the evening, I believe, passed well enough although G is now working which isn't great on New Year's Day. Am going to whizz up a brunch once our offspring have emerged from their duvets.

The siblings are still in bed. It's 11.30am. Not surprising having gone to bed at 2am. Will they have yet another pyjama day? I think so.

It's a truly beautiful day today here in Wiltshire but surprisingly frozen under foot. There are lots of tiny hailstones on the ground. As my Nan would say 'they're missing the best part of the day'. we are, 2010.

I've been having a right dither as there are so many things I could resolve/do/undertake. As blog readers/writers, we all know about daily/weekly/annual projects that range from 'no spend months' to 'write a novel each week for a year' to take a photo of my toenails growing for a year. I woke up this morning thinking that maybe I should just have a 'do what I like' year...or a no resolution year but as the title of this blogpost suggests, I need to do projectforty(something) again. Quick.

It could have been the daily mince pie. It might have been the nightly glass of sherry. It may be that the sofa I have been slumped on for the last few days has in fact attached itself somewhere about my person resulting in my significant weight gain.

I know I am not interesting or different in this respect and I know that January 1st isn't a good day to step on the scales but, dearie me, I have somehow got to get a grip. We're off skiing in six weeks, if I don't do something by then, I'll be rolling not gliding down those slopes.