Sunday, 28 October 2007

Humiliation complete

We set off this morning for the depths of sunny Livingston for our fun run. I was not optimistic about my chances, not having been out running in any meaningful way for about 3 weeks. And was that a cough I could feel brewing in my chest?..... Added to that, Second Born has been making a point of telling me precisely how many training laps of the playground he has been doing each day in preparation for trouncing me good style.

The run was at a sports centre in Livingston and was, as always seems to be the case with these runs put on by small local running clubs, really well organised and very friendly. Everyone from the marshals to the girls behind the registration desks to the ladies wielding industrial size teapots was chatty and encouraging. We got our numbers, warmed up and even managed to get to the start line in time (we nearly missed it last time and had to run to the race!)

There were about 30 or so runners, almost all keen looking kids in club vests. Only 3 or 4 adults like me running with kids. Another mum and I exchanged "What on earth have we let ourelves in for?" looks. And we were off. I knew I should start slowly - I can't run fast in any circumstances - but the kids whizzed off and it's really hard to run slowly when everyone else tears off into the distance. Added to that - the first part of the race was one and a half laps round a race track before heading off across the car park. So if I ran at my usual pace, I was in serious danger of being publicly lapped by a 10 year old after only 2 minutes! I do have some pride so I ran faster than normal. And faster than I should have, as it turned out. Got out of breath too quickly and never got it back so had a pretty rubbishy run.

SB on the other hand set off well, kept his pace steady, didn't walk at all (more than his mum can say) and crossed the finish line barely breaking sweat. He managed a time of 10 minutes 38 seconds. I staggered in after him at 11 minutes 44. I am really proud of the wee one - he really can run!

He is now agitating to participate in the Great Winter Run (junior version) in January. I think I may have to let him. And I had better get training for that 10K next year. On today's performance, I have some work to do.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Hello! I'm home!

Truth be told I've been home for a few days but boy is work busy just now. In fact I am feeling slightly guilty about taking 10 minutes with my cup of tea to post this. Lake District was nice, lovely to see my brother and his family and we stayed in a lovely old 17th century farmhouse. Full of idiosyncrasies: 2 doors into the bathroom (one from the hall, one from the kitchen) and so big it was full of furniture. Including a chaise longue. I really want a chaise longue in my own bathroom now except I'd have to climb over it to get to the loo.

Didn't manage to either run or eat properly whilst away with the result that I am (1) seriously not in good shape for the weekend coming and (2) 6 pounds heavier than I was when I last looked. So trying to get back on the wagon (or at least remember where I left the wagon) this week.

This weekend coming is of course the weekend of the grudge match take 2. Second born and I are running in a 2km fun run on Sunday morning. We last raced together in June and he beat me hollow. Came in across the line a whole 1.5 minutes ahead of me and was scoffing his snacks out of his goody bag as I panted over the finish. I had toyed with the idea of setting up a sweepstake to raise money for charity - more interesting than straight sponsorship - but I have been so busy that I haven't had time. The idea was I was going to get people to make a donation and in return they would be allowed a guess at how many minutes and seconds Second Born will beat me by on Sunday. I would have donated a bottle of champagne or something for the closest guess. But, as I say, that idea stayed just an idea. However if you would like to guess just how badly I will be humiliated by a 7 year old on Sunday, feel free to have a go! Last race was 2.5km rather than the 2km we will run on Sunday and although I came in 1 minute and 32 seconds behind SB, in my defence I had a chest infection at the time. Although to be honest, I am perfectly healthy now and I still expect to be trounced come the weekend.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Behave yourselves while I am away

Right, I need to finish up at work, pack for everyone, find someone to feed the cat while we are gone (oops! Almost forgot that one!) and empty the fridge of anything likely to go yucky. No internet access down in the Lake District so I won't be able to say Hi for a week or so. Be good while I am away. You can have a couple of friends round, there are drinks in the fridge. No wild parties or at least, if you do, make sure you clean up really well. And to keep you amused, this meme-type thing which I saw at Zoot's and since it's about books, I couldn't resist. I've done it, and if you want to do it too, knock yourselves out. Just leave me a comment so I can come over and compare notes.

Bold those you’ve read.

Italicize books you have started but couldn’t finish.

Add an asterisk* to those you have read more than once.

Underline those on your To Be Read list. (Be honest!)

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights*
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: A Novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice*
Jane Eyre*
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace*
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife*
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian*
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (GAH!)
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World*
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility*
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Ignore the underlining - I can't figure out how to make it go away! So I put the ones waiting to be read in pink!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Holidays: blessing or curse? Discuss

I am due to be away from work on holiday next week because it is the school October week. Months ago we planned to actually take the time off and go down to the Lake District to see my brother and his family who moved there not long ago. It seemed like a really good idea. Husband has to go to Geneva for a couple of days for a conference (he's so jetset and glamourous) but he can fly out of a local airport and then come back and join us. Sounds good, yes?

The problem of course is that now I am a day or two away from the week off and I have more work to do than I would realistically be able to manage even if I was here all next week. Result is you are stressed to the nines before you go on holiday and you return to an office where you can't actually see the desk for the work which has piled up in your absence. Which stresses you all over again.

It's partly my own fault: I have to leave the office at 5pm to get home for the kids. I could, theoretically, organise childcare or a nanny so I could work late but I don't want to do that. I am not knocking those who have such arrangements (I'm a lawyer so goodness knows, I know plenty of people who have to do that) but my own personal choice was that once I had kids, I wanted to be home for them in the evenings and at weekends. Which means trying to squeeze a full-time job into 9 to 5. It's a tight squeeze.

Well having read that back to myself, I can almost smell the self-pity dripping off it! Sorry, internet, I am just letting off steam. I know I am fortunate to have a job and a healthy family. I will go on holiday, we'll have a lovely time and I'll manage the work somehow. But if you happen to be a client of mine reading this? Sorry! I'll get back to you as soon as I can, honest!

Monday, 8 October 2007


Went a bit quiet there for a wee while, sorry. Week pretty uneventful. Realised I had a black tie ball to go to on Saturday, which doesn't happen to me very often. I have one outfit suitable for a black tie affair but I got it when I was at my heaviest and it is a size 22. I tried it on anyway and it fell off. Sigh. (It cost a fortune and I wore it once. I really liked it and it was flattering and now I can't bring myself to throw it out even though I never want to allow myself to get to that size again. Do you know anyone who would like it? Seriously, let me know.)

So, had to go shopping which I (a) am bad at and (b) hate. Eventually got frock on Friday afternoon (last minute as always) Actually quite enjoyed parts of the experience as it is such a novelty being able to look for clothes I like rather than starting from "What have they got that might fit". Giggled to myself like a loon when size 14 dresses zipped up.

I ended up paying more than I wanted to but at least I like the dress I got enough that I will wear it again. And I found it and picked it all by myself. Am almost a grown up. Also a girl. Who knew?

Friend at work tried to persuade me to wear said frock with black feather boa. Responded with my best withering stare. Same response to the offer of long black evening gloves. I may be turning into a girl, but I am a long, long way from being able to carry off that sort of malarkey.

Ball was perfectly nice. I reckon I was older than about 80% of the attendees - I spent a bit of time mentally noting the girls who were going to have trouble keeping their dresses under control once the dancing started - but our table was very nice. Good chat, nice food and plenty of wine. Also small bottles of soft "detox" type drinks on the table. 3 different kinds, all sampled and all declared "umm......weird" by everyone. I don't know about you, but when thirsty I have never ever thought "You know, what I really fancy is a drink containing Siberian ginseng and globe artichoke". And I promise, I made up neither of those ingredients.

I saw one older lady at the ball wearing the one other dress I tried on and swithered about but rejected. So......phew. Although I am told the cool thing to do when you do see someone else wearing the same outfit as you is to march straight up and compliment them on having the best taste in the room. Or you could just hide in the toilets till it's time to go home.

Husband was happy because the band for the second half of the night (after the ceileidh. No I did not dance. In those shoes? Are you mad?) was doing cover versions and did "Play that funky music, white boy" which is one of his favourite songs for some reason. Along with "Word Up" by Cameo. He is strange.

Home just after midnight. Unscathed and, thanks to the smoking ban, unkippered. It makes such a difference these days coming home from a social event and not feeling the need to jump in the shower to wash the smell of smoke out of your hair and then soak your clothes in Febreze for a week.

And look, a whole post from me with no exclamation marks. Next time: no brackets (I don't think)

Monday, 1 October 2007

Meeting myself coming back

Oh, thanks for asking - just a quiet little weekend, relaxing, you know. Hah! Dragged both children to Argos on Friday night to buy birthday presents for the parties they are both scheduled to attend shortly. Also bought new kettle for office as our office kitchen is about to be gutted. (Left kettle in boot of car and forgot it when went into office - par for course)

Got children up at crack of dawn on Saturday (well, 8am but that's early for weekends isn't it?) - fed them, wrapped present for Second Born's party. Nipped to post office to post parcel to friend in Canada. Cajoled Second Born away from computer and into car. Drove him to party (15 minute drive across town). Resisted temptation to drive past venue and just lob him and gift out of window. Dropped him off, made small talk with other mums, escaped and ran back to car. Drove back across town to house.

Got back to house, described venue of party to husband as he is walking into town (we only have the one car) to pick Second Born up from party. Picked up First Born, drove him out to East Lothian for his therapy session (30 minute drive). Sat through therapy session listening to all the great jokes that First Born has made up recently which therapist hasn't heard yet. I have heard all of them. At least four times. Repetition does not make them funny. (I really wanted to write "funnier" there but honestly, they weren't funny first time round)

Drive First Born back to house, resist temptation to lob him out of window into the driveway. Instead, park and run into house. Deposit child, collect shopping list. Drive to Sainsbury's. All clothes are 25% off! Including the coat I had my eye on! Could my weekend be improving? No. They have every size from 8 to 22 except mine. Sigh. Do shopping whilst pouting. Take shopping home and put away.

Help with general house tidying. We have husband's family coming round to celebrate my mother-in-law's husband's 84th birthday and we can't let them see the sort of squalor we normally inhabit. Tell children they are getting no chinese food if they don't help. Have family round for chinese food - really nice evening but hectic as kids high as kites with the excitement of it all. (We play picture consequences which always results in much hilarity. MIL's husband's attempt to draw a frog is interpreted as a sketch of Nell Gwynn)

Go to bed. Get up, feed children and husband. All pile into car and I am dropped off at my office to participate in great office move as we are upgrading our basement and need to empty it. Of what seems like 20 years of crap. I decide to clear out a first floor cupboard to free up storage and have an interesting afternoon finding our valuable stores of.....replacement daisy wheels (remember them?), headed paper for a former firm that hasn't existed for 10 years, the smallest jiffy bags in the world and a pristine 1970s manual portable typewriter, in its case, complete with two-tone fabric ribbons. (That's going on e-Bay!)

Come home at 6pm dusty and aching. Feed children. Remember Second Born is going on school trip tomorrow. He needs waterproof trousers. He doesn't have waterproof trousers. Find pair that belonged to First Born. They are for age 10. Second Born is 7. And small. Make him try them on. They don't fall round his ankles so declare them a fit. Try on wellies I found in the cupboard and glory be ! They fit!. Make boys take showers. Make boys stop frightening each other by making faces up against the shower curtain. Put children to bed. Eat leftover chinese food from last night. Go to bed. Good job I don't have a social life. Where would I fit it in?