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Standards 10 June, 2014

Posted by monopod in Self-Absorption.
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In a blitz of procrastination I’ve just been looking at forgotten draft blog posts (as opposed to papers for work that would be better off being forgotten). Apparently in 2009 I thought that a yogurt bar and half a can of Coke did not constitute even an acceptable snack, let alone a proper breakfast.

Looks like my standards are slipping in more ways than one…

Crisis 10 June, 2014

Posted by monopod in Self-Absorption.
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How much does having children – maybe also growing older – change you? I seem to have lost all my lighthearted moments; sorry to anyone who used to come to this blog for the odd chuckle, because it feels rather a bit bleaker around here lately.

On Friday morning someone told me that it was good to work with someone with a brain and I told him perhaps he ought to work with someone else. I was only half joking and I think the sentiment reflects all that seems to be wrong with work at the moment. I had my annual appraisal a few weeks ago during which I was very positive about my professional development (supported by positive feedback from senior colleagues) but over the past few days it’s felt like that only happened because I saved up a huge wodge of positiveness and applied it all in one go.

In a bit of a whinge to my sister last week I said: “I find it hard to care about what I am doing and I no longer feel at the top of my game. I swing between not wanting to be part of the professional world and very brief bursts of energy at work.”

I’m sure it wasn’t always like this, although looking back over the past few years I can see that perhaps it’s been building for a while, this – what should I call it? Disillusionment? Dissatisfaction? Today I realised that I feel like I no longer have an affinity with this organisation, and find it difficult to muster interest in anything beyond the immediacy of what I’m having to deal with (if that). It is almost as if I am consciously withdrawing from engagement; I don’t feel invested in the outcomes and had to admit to myself today that actually, I don’t care.

Ok, maybe that’s overstating things a little. I feel duty bound to confirm that I do care about continuing to perform well. But I don’t actually care about the work. I can’t feel the value and the contrast I see between myself and other colleagues who *do* seem at the top of their game makes me feel inarticulate, unmotivated, distant, and basically just thick.

I thought about a sabbatical today and then mused that were I to succeed in securing one, I might not come back.

Whinge ends. Back to normal programming (hopefully).

Growing Up 10 June, 2014

Posted by monopod in Ethan.
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Because I wanted to capture some moments:

Ethan at 2:

Ethan: Get in car. Going supermarket. Going supermarket buy biscuits.
Mummy: What sort of biscuits are you going to buy, Ethan?
Ethan: Bumblebee biscuits.
 
Mummy’s in chicken! (kitchen) Breakfast in microwave!
No anymore dinner. Cake!
Oooh cake! Nice cake. My have it.
Oh, dear me.

Ethan at 6:

(Talking about negative and positive numbers)
Then the plus numbers go from 1 up to googleplexy!!
 
(Doing maths on the computer and muttering to himself)
I had better get this one right or I’ll crucify myself.

Cake 24 May, 2014

Posted by monopod in Ethan, Food.
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I am now the parent of a six-year old and a nineteen-month old. Where does the time go?

Ethan turned six on the nineteenth of this month, and we held a fabulous superhero birthday party the day before. A fabulous superhero birthday party for a fabulous superhero birthday boy requires a….

You guessed it, fabulous superhero birthday cake.

I planned to make this cake, which I’d also done for his fourth birthday party: http://www.sophisticatedgourmet.com/2010/06/chocolate-strawberry-layer-cake/ – but not with that icing, rather with fondant. In every previous year, I’ve done a trial cake a week before just to make sure it would all be fine. This year, I had no time and less inclination so… I baked the cake on Friday evening, for the party on Sunday afternoon, which would have been uneventful except that first the cake batter leaked out of all my cake tins and then I couldn’t get the cakes out after baking.

Managed to salvage that one:
cake

Saturday was a bit of a crazy day. By 8pm the kids still weren’t in bed and the cake was neither crumb-coated nor covered in fondant (both of which I’d never done before).

Two hours later, it was double crumb-coated, having been refrigerated for an hour after each coating:
crumbcoated

The next hour brought this:
supermanlogo
Which stuck and wouldn’t come off the plate and then cracked in various places while I was manhandling it.

But all’s well that ends well, because:
finishedcake

Thoroughly chuffed, especially when I heard the birthday boy tell a friend at his party to come look at his fab cake. There might be more fondant in my future.

Music Appreciation 4 May, 2014

Posted by monopod in Him, Self-Absorption.
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Me: I was just thinking of a song that we used to sing at school and in church, at baptisms and the like, called Welcome to the Family. I think I’ll teach it to Ethan; it was a nice song. *sings*
Me: See? Nice right?
Him: I dunno. I can’t tell without the music.
Me: …

The Little Things 3 May, 2014

Posted by monopod in Ethan.
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Ethan: I’m sooooooo tired, Mummy. But it’s a REALLY HAPPY kind of tired.

:)

Good Days 2 May, 2014

Posted by monopod in Family, Observations.
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I felt obliged to write something given that somehow nearly two months have passed since I last surfaced on the blog. By a happy coincidence I found this in my drafts folder, unposted – I think because I’d copied it directly from Facebook and again I’d felt obliged to somehow craft it into something a little more elegant, which didn’t quite happen. On the other hand, it’s Friday, I’m feeling generally unmotivated and the sentiment here is something I should remember more frequently. Happy May Day weekend everyone.

[from 7th March]
It’s been a Good Day. The morning started with two happy children and Him was ungrumpy too, bonus. Then I had an important two-hour project board meeting. Within half an hour they’d approved all the recommendations I’d put forward – record-breaking! Lunch brought some really rather reasonable sushi and cake and then I spent my afternoon getting through all my emails and being surprised by the Jelly Belly bean lottery (I like the sarsaparilla, watermelon, coffee and raspberry ones). Then I came home to two happy children and a happy husband, we had fish and chips for dinner and I got lots of kisses from the little one just before she fell asleep. I think it’s easy to feel discontented with life if you fall into the trap of comparing yourself and your achievements with the lives you haven’t led. I need to slow down a little, remember and appreciate the little things, and count my many blessings.[end post]

Today I also saw this which made me smile: http://9gag.com/gag/a1A8ZRG?ref=fbp

Quiet Intimidation 7 March, 2014

Posted by monopod in Baby.
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Remember this? Well, I am quite pleased to report that Mothering 101: Looks does work on occasion. At 16 months Erin now says please when I give her a Look. And actually sometimes totally spontaneously too. Her older brother might want to learn a thing or two from her.

Headshakes and Bargains 5 March, 2014

Posted by monopod in Him, Observations.
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Last weekend I was supposed to be working while Him took care of the kids. Naturally, after having got the easy stuff out of the way, I procrastinated on my project plan while laughing about Indian headshakes.

I usually joke that Him is being racist when he asks “You Indian ah?”, because it’s typically in response to exchanges like the following:

#1
Him: What do you want to eat?
Me: *noncommittal waggling of head*

#2
Him: I thought you said that was the last time.
Ethan: But this really is the last time. The last last time.

I’m actually concerned that despite Indians laughing about the video maybe it’s like those situations where you can only joke about something if you’re part of the relevant demographic. So I thought I’d finish on a different note. I’m also musing about when you get old enough to bargain like your mother.

2009/2010 26 February, 2014

Posted by monopod in Self-Absorption.
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My renewed enthusiasm for blogging precipitated a scrolling through of all my Facebook posts from the start of 2011, which was when I started writing again after that last post here in October 2009.

I’ve been thinking about that year (and a bit) after I returned from maternity leave. It was a difficult year on a number of counts, coming to terms with being an inadequate mother, an inadequate wife and an inadequate employee. Hence the reference in an earlier post about not juggling things successfully. Or at all, for that matter. Reflecting on this, part of it was really my fault for having come back to a new job in a completely new area, at a higher grade, and managing a team for the first time – clearly one does like a challenge, which is probably part of the problem (expectations and being your own worst enemy, anyone?)

That was a very difficult Autumn. I wrote posts, and then I cancelled them, and then I wrote them again, and then I abandoned the blog altogether. I nearly had a breakdown partway through the year and was on the verge of handing in my notice, but with some timely support and native stubbornness managed to hang in there. This scrap from early 2011 gives a small flavour of things:

Every night I’m so tired but I dread going to bed, because that just means the morning and more failure comes around all too quickly. Ethan told me yesterday “Look at where your life is going Mummy!” I’m not sure he meant what I took from it, but he’s right, you know?

The return from maternity leave #2 was different – new job again, but a sideways move and this time no management responsibility. The confidence crisis was far less protracted and six months in, I think I’m doing an ok, if not particularly noteworthy, job. I suppose I’m older and wiser, with more work experience, and also had more perspective borne out of the fact that having been forced to leave work on time to pick Ethan up from nursery, and then being too tired to work much once he was in bed and the house put in order, inadvertently gave me a better work/life balance. If I’m honest, though, I do wonder to what degree simply ‘caring less’ about work has to do with it. I now find myself regularly dreaming up exit strategies and wishing I were with the kids. Maybe I’ve just moved further away from being a perfectionist than I would like to think and am actually happy settling for mediocrity at work.

Shudder.

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