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Genetics 7 September, 2014

Posted by monopod in Observations.

At the opticians on Saturday:

Optician: Oh she’s lovely! (To E1) Your sister is so cute.
Me: Yes, she does pick her moments.
Optician: She looks so much like her brother. Haha, they have the same naughty smile.
Me: Tell me about it. Lucky me.
Optician: Hmmm. Actually, they have your smile.
Me: …


Brief soujourn at the keyboard 5 September, 2014

Posted by monopod in Blogging, Him, Self-Absorption.
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I keep meaning to write and then ending up doing something that involves nothing more than mindless staring at a screen. Which sounds suspiciously similar to work on some days. I have the memory of a flea because I (think I) coast through life not paying enough attention to things, which is somewhat ironic considering that the thing I find most rewarding in my professional life involves real, genuine listening to people. When I’m not in that mode, though, I worry that all the precious memories I should be keeping forever in my mind will disappear if I don’t help myself by recording some of them here, so I can be delighted when I chance across them, maybe when I’m old and grey, or nostalgic, or lonely. So at some point in the future I am going to write about all the things that the little one is learning to say, and how I’m feeling remarkably positive about my professional life at the moment, because I think I’ve identified my vocation and I’m taking concrete steps to get there. For tonight, however, I’ll just finish off with the memory of last weekend when we scoured ingredient lists and thought hard about what additional allergen was making the nut-allergic toddler red and blotchy and puffy, only to discover that Him had put mirin in the scrambled eggs two days running. Social services, anyone?

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.

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:

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:

The next hour brought this:
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:

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.