Sunday, 31 January 2010

Just your typical Sunday where the post is missing

Am intrigued. Blog back in the public domain and yet not updating on other bloggers' sites. Hmmmm. Not good. Makes me look like I am on prolonged holiday - which I am not - or being lazy (ditto).

Do I complain to someone? Who? Bit like when you are self-employed and the pc plays up and you think "I'll just call the IT department." And then realise that you are the IT department. Bummer.

Ideas and suggestions welcome. Either that or I will end up wasting time fretting about yet another of life's little worries - the other being, as usual, how to keep the laundry pile under control. Widget's latest trend to wear two shirts at a time (and two pairs of underpants, no idea, don't ask) is doing my head in. Blame Other Half as he seems to have set the trend years ago to 'double shirt'* and appears oblivious to the growing mound of t-shirts on the sofa in our bedroom. Soon they will sprout legs and walk themselves to the laundry basket. Probably out of sheer frustration.

Sorry, digression again.

Anyway, about that not being lazy bit. Just wanted to state for the record that laundry aside I have also managed this weekend to (so far):
- flip the mattress over on our bed (king-size, on my own, a calculated effort of precision and timing to ensure latest gadgets residing on bedside table did not get smashed in the process as only noticed their unfavourable location after hoiking said mattress to the mid-balance point-of-no-return)
- cook three-course dinner for eight (with usual element of experimentation - no threats of legal action, yet, in this regard)
- wash the dog
- mow the lawn AND strim the edges
- take kids to playground so they could run around and defrost parts of their bodies that the polar temperatures had affected during the bike ride along the river.

Somehow the weekend FT will not get read until later during the week methinks.

Now, let's see if this post updates properly on other sites.

* I may not have invented this term, but in essence it means wearing two t-shirts on top of each other rather than, say, a shirt and a vest OR a shirt and sweater, all in the name of keeping warm. Supposedly. Personally I just think it is a fashion statement of sorts.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Back in the public eye once more and no nudity to speak of

An amusing thing happened on the tube this evening on my way home. Not only did the token weirdo, as per usual, come and sit right next to me, but he also strove to deliberately raise his left cheek (as in a*se, you can see where this is going, yes?) during the journey and fart, quite loudly, in my direction.

But no, I do not think it was deliberately aimed at me. Nor do I believe it was a case of an undercover agent from the paranoid former employer trying to undermine my serene state in light of final settlement being agreed and signed off.

Monsieur Le Gas was, after all, some 80+ years old and rather doddery, complete with hearing aid, walking stick, old-person-style overcoat (the one that is so stiff it stands up by itself when you take it off and smells deliciously of mothballs) and trousers that you just know are being held up by a piece of string. Possibly on day release from the nursing home. And he had lots of hair sprouting from various orifices which would have amused Blossom no end.

Of course, in true British fashion I deigned to ignore the episode, although stifling a fit of giggles when a) the two blokes on the other side of the carriage were killing themselves laughing whilst trying to keep straight faces, and b) I was reading a very funny paragraph in my book*, was no mean feat.

And all I could then think of was what The Bloggess would have made of this as I wrote a fart-related comment on this recent post of hers.

Hey Jenny, are you reading this? Let me know, ok?

Oh, yes, and btw, the blog is back in the public forum.

Just in case you had not noticed.

* Allison Pearson's 'I don't know how she does it' where the character is ranting about a late delivery and the call centre guy is seeking help from a colleague with the phrase "Whatmygonnatella?". Sounds like a venereal disease.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

A flush of memes

I was lying in bed last night wondering what to call this post as I composed it in my head (yes, I know, the things you do to get to sleep...), and it dawned on me that since I have been tagged by both It's a Mummy's Life and Fraught Mummy to do an object meme and a photo and song meme respectively, I might as well make light of the situation and roll all three in to one.

So, a bit like a game of poker. Sort of. Says she who a) has never played the game, b) knows nothing of the rules, and c) has only picked up the terminology from films like Casino Royale and the like (hmmm Daniel Craig, yes, very nice, oops, sorry, distracted again).

Anyway, here you go:

Now re the memes:

I love this photo of Mr Man just aged one. Typical cheeky smile, happy little boy, a joy to have around. This captures it all. Whilst I would typically never put personal photos on this blog, he has matured sufficiently in seven years to be recognisable only to those who know me - and him of course.

Also in this photo is an object. Actually there are several, but one in particular which is very precious. Can you spot it? Yes, the teddy bear. Called Jumbo, it was given to me as a baby and has lasted the distance (and several house moves and continents), and is now residing in the safety of my parents' home, out of the cherubs' reach. Jumbo always had pride of place in my bedroom as a child and never came unstuck, unstitched, or lost a limb or even an eye, something to be said of the quality of bygone days. He affectionately wears one of my father's neckties, possibly to remind him to behave or else!

Re the song, well there is only one that really comes to mind. It has been played across the decades, at parties, on the radio, in my iPod, and never fails to bring a smile to my face and put me in a good mood, regardless of the commuter throng, offspring's tantrums or similar. And of course, as a die-hard devotee of the group, I know all the words, so not singing along is never an option.
What is it? Dancing Queen, of course. Nothing like a good ol' Abba tune to get your feet tapping. For what I can remember, Mr Man would have listened to it at some stage during his first year and I like to think it was playing in the background when this photo was taken.

And of course the other kids love it too.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Light at the end of the tunnel (once more)

Let this be a lesson to me. 

Just because something makes you laugh and you are able to turn it into a long-running gag, do not expect clemency from the injured party.

Know who I am talking about? Yup, the PFE. 

What with all the ups and downs (and comings and goings) of the past few months, having to make this blog accessible 'by invite only' due to certain people attempting to use it as a stick to beat me with (they know who they are... although that's a bit silly stating as much as they no longer can read this, never mind), plus taking up a new role that put me right in the firing line with regard to accusations from ex-colleagues (unwarranted, and very foolish, might I just add), it would seem that finally FINALLY I may just be able to have the blog revert back to the public forum very soon.

Whilst I am grateful for all the readers who have stayed on (and in some cases, joined afresh), I am painfully aware of how a) my number of followers remains more or less static (btw how did Holly get to 49 in two months? And Fraught Mummy to 102? Envy, envy, envy. Bad girl, back in your box) and b) how the visitor stats have slowed down.

Does this make me shallow? Yes, it does, you don't have to answer that.

Anyway - it would seem we have reached an agreeable compromise. I have deleted past posts and will make no mention of them or their employees or bullying tactics policies or anything else in fact that might be deemed damaging.
They have retracted the ludicrous clauses they wanted me to sign up to in order to pay me off and reverted back to the standard agreement. 

So all's well with the world and I should be able to resume 'business as normal' very soon.

And not a mention of paranoia in sight.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

When Kevin met the new girl

Last week was our anniversary. Not wedding anniversary, book club anniversary. Ten years - and many, many books - since we started.

We introduced a new member into our midst and everyone was asked to be on best behaviour so she would not be scared off. There were eight of us in the original line-up, of which five remain. We have gained a few more and had some 'one-hit-wonders' (ie eager participants who actually only manage one meeting per year, or worse, one meeting full stop), but on average are similar numbers at each get-together.

In celebration of the 10-year anniversary, each founding member was asked to recall an amusing anecdote from previous meetings. 

I recalled the one about our name.

The Lovely Radiographer recalled the instance when we ate all the food on offer and left nowt for her husband (who was out training for the marathon). He subsequently had to order a takeaway and renamed us 'The Bookclub Trough-ers'.

Belfast Blonde recanted her bookstore mishap.

But the winning entry came from our Doctor of Psychology who remembered how a discussion about a book ("An Instance of the Fingerpost" by Iain Pears) led to one of the Kevinettes actually reading - and finishing - this tome, thinking it was what we had agreed upon for the following meeting.

We hadn't.

It was some 691 pages long.

She is no longer a member. Funny that.

But it does not seem to have deterred our newest recruit, although she did ask more than once exactly what we had agreed to read for next time.

Friday, 8 January 2010

And another thing (again)

I am cheating again as I just posted about this on the ES, but at least here I can show the 'proof in the pudding', so to speak, and include a photo. Once more. Handy little things these mobile phones sometimes.

Never mind the 'clemenules' (they looked decidedly like clementines to me), how absurd are the instructions?

Thursday, 7 January 2010

What is it with bedhead?

Just a short one today as everyone seems to be distracted by the snow and ice and cold (yes, it is winter, just in case you had been otherwise entertained).

I did a quick post on my ES guest blog yesterday about this, so will not repeat again. But I will post a couple of photos, just to prove my point about this (possibly unhealthy) obsession I have with other people's hair.

I spotted this on the tube:

It was so impressive, I even managed a close-up:

Yes, I know, one day I will get arrested for taking unwarranted photos in public places, but after recent threats from Paranoid Former Employer it will be small fry in comparison... I think.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Is this the adult version of 'it'?

The Mothership has summoned me. Or rather, she has tagged me in a (with a? by a?) meme pronounced, I believe, to rhyme with cream. More accurately, a "highlights of 09 meme".

After the first slightly confounded thoughts - how to say anything that would not lead Paranoid Former Employer to issue another hysterical letter citing libel, slander and calling people (nick) names, albeit it very appropriate ones - I figured this is actually right up my street, so to speak. Just think military discipline, business plan and put fingertips to keyboard. Oh yes, and remember the kids.

Here goes. The 2009 monthy highlights, edited version.

January. Survived bizarre flurry of emails advising that I was at risk of being made redundant (yes, this was round 1) that were then hastily retracted. Episode lasted all of 17 minutes. Email sent at 11.04pm, recalled at 11.21pm. Picked up following morning at tube station. With equally absurd text message from my (then) boss "Are you around?" Err, no, I was in bed asleep and my BlackBerry was turned off, you doughnut.
Highlight: profuse apology from (then) company president... somewhat diluted when he subsequently left when our outfit was taken over (see March, below).

February. Blur. School, half term, birthday parties (children's, not adults), first of many sleepovers with multiple children.
Highlight: parents came to recoup their offspring and still recognised them.

March. Employer taken over by B'Stard Company. Promises, great expectations, redundancies, recriminations. Not necessarily in that order.
Highlight: new office location meant commute to work was a mere 30 minutes, door-to-door. Even in peak hour.

April. Easter. Lots of family visiting. Skiing. Widget meltdown in the snow (okay, so maybe I was being a tad too ambitious thinking he would want to take up the sport aged 3 1/2, pushy mother, moi?).
Highlight: going out for birthday celebration - mine.

May. First BBQ of the season. Well, I say 'first', but considering that Other Half will barbeque all year round (including Xmas day), this is perhaps a misnomer. Chelsea Flower Show (inspirational), half term (hooray for holiday clubs), warmer weather.
Highlight: taking Blossom horse-riding for her birthday and being rewarded with the most beautiful smile ever.

June. Work starts to take on a character all of its own, something reminiscent of Star Wars where the good guy actually has other intentions and the bad guy was even worse than you thought and the lightsabres are just what they seem, ie fake light-emanating sticks. The cultish devotion divides the troops and the dissenters are routinely berated. It all assumes a surreal tone. The overriding sensation of having Big Brother watching you grows. Especially when you are told that your emails to clients must be "vetted before they are sent out".... Sorry, what?
Highlight: Kevin. Always a provider of light comic relief.

July. Sinister events on the work front, indicating that the end is nigh, somehow, despite assurances. Start blog.
Highlight: Bjorn Again at Kew Festival of Swing. Absolutely brilliant. As was the hoarse voice the following day.

August. The end is indeed nigh. Notice of redundancy. This time there is no retraction (see January).
Highlight: holiday and being told by Fraught Mummy that blog has been mentioned in The Independent article.

September. Consultation period continues. Despite not being "required to be in the office", I cannot actually work anyway as all access/laptop/email/phone/etc has already been cut off/taken from me. Remember I have children and engage more with them. They display far more enlightenment and intelligence than some former colleagues.
Highlight: getting guest blog spot with Evening Standard and spending time with Widget, my baby cherub, two days a week.

October. Consultation period finishes. Officially redundant. Take on role as secretary of school PTA. Great notes, efficient emails. Forget in my enthusiasm to attend second meeting.
Highlight: best friend's wedding with Blossom (her goddaughter) as flower girl, an absolute fairytale.

November. Bronchitis, laryngitis, flu, snot, dribble, the works. Disgusting. And that was just me. Projectile vomit at 1am courtesy Mr Man was added bonus. Having therefore missed taking part in the Great South Run, on impulse enter self in Henley Triathlon for next June. Am under impression that I have ages to prepare. Yeah, right. So did Noah.
Highlight: back to work on familiar ground, with anticipated (and unfailing) expected reaction from Paranoid Former Employer. Oh, the joys of doing business with professionals (cough cough).

December. Adopt serene approach to the season of festive joy. Survive. Watch Mr Man play under 7s rugby and feel enormous pride in my very fast and agile first-born.
Highlight: reflecting on the past year and recognising the value of family and true friends. And virtual ones.

Thanks Mothership - this has been a true case of verbal you-know-what, but definitely worth it.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Is it midnight yet and when are the children going to quieten down?

Thus my random musings on what New Year's Eve entailed.

One rather tired LCM.

Eleven children, aged 2 to 7.

Eight adults, ages unknown. Well, let's just say that they were acting their ages but the men became more 'senior statesmen-like' the more they drank, reminiscing about past times, old memories, and sitting generally further and further slumped in the chairs and couches as the word-slurring began in earnest. We have no idea what they were talking about past 11.30pm.

The women were all driving. And did all the food (one dish each).

Result: a very lovely evening despite the tiredness (cue LCM looking at her watching and getting excited that it was 11.45 and - yes! - she could justify going to bed soon after, foolishly forgetting the time and effort it takes to round up the troops and get them out the door again, approx. 1 hour).

As for the kids, one word, 5 syllables: pan-de-mo-ni-um. The notion (courtesy our brave hostess, Lady P) that we would 'settle them' before we had dinner ourselves, well, never came to fruition. So we barricaded ourselves in the living room (first) and the dining room (after) and just left them to get on with it.

And conveniently we then even managed to forget the kids were in the house, the occasional 'bang, thump' jogging our memories.

We all got to bed around 3am.

So, New Year's resolution: ear plugs, lessons in lip-reading, and chauffeur for special occasions.

That way I can at least be sure we all get back home safely, I can share a drink with Other Half, ignore hyper-hysterical small people (preferably wearing a bemused grin) and avoid accusations of going deaf in my old(er) age.

Of course, I blame the children.

Happy 2010!

Yadda yadda yadda...