Posts Tagged ‘rants’

Cold cold cold

January 19, 2009

This is me these days:

Very cold and a bit resentful. The former because the house just won’t heat up properly, and I wear many layers of clothes, hats, and jackets to preserve my body heat. The latter because we’re paying what I’m guessing is more than £200 per month just to run the boiler and I feel that for that money I should be luxuriating in nothing but camisole tops should I choose to. So, due to cold, giving all our money to Scottish gas, and feeling generally lethargic, we haven’t been up to terribly much aside from the odd virus. Remember that song, ‘If we make it through December..’? Yeah, that month for me would be January. At least next month I can eat lots of chocolate and pester James for cheery flowers.

We’re fully back into homeschooling at least. Keeping the kids’ brains busy makes me feel less bad about not going hardly anywhere. They’re about to finish a math text which makes me feel vaguely accomplished. Though to be fair, we’re impatient learners and will have techically done less than 1/4 of the prescribed work as we have no desire to do busy work once a concept is mastered. The fact that I always performed worse in classes that required a lot of pointless scribbling is probably biasing my teaching methods, but we work with what we have..

When we’re not learning, we are doing crafts, building Lego and playing Wii. Oh yes, I got a Wii and Wii Fit for Christmas. You can guess who the only person still without a Wii Fit profile is :P. I’ll get around to it just a soon a I can remove a few layers of clothing without risking frostbite.

Some few pictures from the last month:

A rather badly taken photo of our Christmas spoils. ‘Spoil’ is a fairly appropriate word in this case, as the kids managed to end up with even more this year than usual. I think James wins as gift-giver this year with the boots he bought for me. He had noticed that I had ordered some boots on clearance only to have the order cancelled as they had run out of stock. Seeing that I was bummed out, he then went to Glasgow a few weeks later and managed to track down a pair for me–in the right size, in the right color! It was on this trip that he also managed to snag the Wii stuff. I was so dead impressed, particularly as his normal shopping strategy involves me having to kick him out of the house on Christmas Eve with the bank card.

I did manage to finish his quilt in time for Christmas, the piecing and binding hastily sewn up while he was away on business. The back is seriously amateurish, and the actual quilting was minimal. Fortunately, I had bought a high quality wadding which tolerated my half-assedness well, at least where the quilting was concerned. Technically, this is my first quilt that had a proper wadding and backing, and I found it enormously frustrating. The cotton and the wadding stuck to each other so much that trying to align and smooth them required almost more patience than I could muster. I was sure I must have been missing some key insider tips on making the whole experience zen-filled. Ah well. Also, you might notice the quilt is square rather than a standard bed size. I could pretend that I just like it that way, but the truth is that I screwed up a couple rows of cats and couldn’t bear the thought of picking out all those stitches. Fat quarter quilts are great, so long as you don’t screw up any of your pieces. Anyway, James likes it, or at least is wise enough to say as much. I DO like the cat motif. It’s hard to see, but the fabrics are all very beautiful, and have an asian theme. He picked them himself, actually! His Christmas sweater is almost finished, the knitting on the second arm due to be finished today.

This is one of the cuter advent calendars I’ve seen. James’ mom Anne sent it, and the kids really liked putting it together every day. They even hid little surprises in most of them and made up a game for us to play, which we finally got around to doing the other day. Very sweet.

Oh oh, Mo got me a gorgeous stack of fat quarters for Christmas. We seem to have a decent system–she sends me fabric that is so hard to get here (in person anyway) and I send her British yarn. Her birthday is coming up, and I’m having a terrible time trying to decide what to get. I want to get her loads and loads is the problem because I adore spoiling her, even more so now that she’s about to have her baby.

The cats have been up to the usual naughtiness.

I thought I was very clever repurposing a birdfeed holder for cat food. I forgot to consider the fact that birds aren’t capable of lifting lids of that size. It is now weighted with a jug of juice. I would love to have an immaculately styled home, but it’s precluded by my need to have the house strewn with McGyver-esque naughty cat solutions. The downstairs toilet is the absolute worst. I have, in this tiny room, two cat litter boxes; one open and another huge covered one. I also have to have a big empty plastic bin next to the toilet. Why?? Because Mittens prefers to urinate on bare floor. I suppose I should be grateful that he will at least use the bin, but sheesh. What really gets me is that if he sees that he has peed in the box and no one has gotten around to mopping it up yet, he will suddenly deign to use a litter box. Argh!

Mittens has extreme food tracking skills. We rarely get cat food in the Tesco order (grocery home delivery–a godsend, even if I do hate Tesco), and yet on the recent occasion that I did, he zeroed in on the bag, which was wrapped in another bag, neither of which was leaky, and prompty tore into it. Here James is extracting the kitten from the bag. Being on a diet must trigger some latent desperating hunting skills, or something. Poor fattypuss.

I found the kids these excellent super-challenging dot-to-dot books that are pretty addictive. Mittens even likes to give them a go..

Representative of who is in control of this household.

The kids were invited to a little Build-a-Bear party, which was very cute, have to say.

Funny, it was the adults who thought this part looked a bit dodgy. Growing up twists the mind..

Nyssa went for a typical cat-in-pink-dress sort of thing. Joseph chose a bear and dressed it in slippers, an army helmet, stuck a wee cat to its arm, and gave it a little backpack stuffed with another tiny animal. Hehe. Oh, also Grandpa Mike and Grandma Mel should note that I was serious when I said that Joseph wears his new hat everywhere! 🙂

Lovely robin, very grateful for his food (better be–I buy him premium stuff) and look at how tubby he is, even though it’s midwinter! ❤


Doctor Who rant

July 6, 2008

This is fantastically childish, but I feel the need to vent my frustration over how tonight’s episode of Doctor Who went. Those who haven’t seen Journey’s End yet will probably want to avert their eyes..

Firstly, I was appalled at the treatment of Catherine Tate’s character Donna. That funny, insecure, lovely woman, who for once in the new series is someone who does not fancy the Doctor, saved all of creation. Her reward is to have her mind erased and to go back and live with her pitying family? The sacrifice made without her later awareness of it is just a smack in the face to a viewer like me who really liked this character. I am not impressed Russell T. Davies!!

Secondly, what the hell is all this need to please Rose? She keeps popping up in the series without being invited, like a rash, and won’t go away until finally she’s dumped back in her alternate universe with a Doctor clone who conveniently has a human body and all of the Doctor’s memories. Even then she refuses to be satisfied and looks all pouty in her last (and, may we dare hope, final scene). F*ck her. She is not special, and I’m resentful. Perhaps this is lingering feelings from my being completely in love (platonically, if a bit possessively I assure you) with the Doctor as shown on PBS when I was an adolescent? I don’t know, but I was discussing my discontent with Joseph, a fellow Whovian, and he burst out laughing. He cackled and pointed at me, if you can believe the cheek, and exclaimed, ‘you’re jealous!! I can’t believe it! This is the first time I’ve known you to be jealous!!’ and falls over laughing. Well, I tell you..I folded my arms and fnered.

There was one other thing that irritated me. They showed a brief preview of the Christmas special and, surprise surprise, there will be yet another appearance of the Cybermen. Yawn. This recycling of all the ‘big’ old enemies is getting old. I want more of the mythology of the Doctor, his race, his planet, etc. revealed. I was just sure that in tonight’s episode Gallifrey would be revealed as the last planet. Or that Donna would actually have been a reawakened Time Lady (Romana perhaps?) similar to what happened to the Master. One other thing would make me happy–if they would quit this trend of involving the companions’ families so much in the series. Who. Cares. Seriously.

Most importantly, I feel they need to seriously backpedal with the whole the Doctor being a romantic character..thing. The Doctor is meant to be asexual. I can’t deal with it otherwise. If I see him snog anybody again I’m going to throw an action figure dalek at the TV.

Wow, well that was probably of no interest whatsoever to anyone else, but it was cathartic for me!

Girl you know it’s true..

June 30, 2008 friend is so rad. Seriously, have a look at my birthday present from K!

She has fashioned a bowl and plate and gift box out of a Milli Vanilli double album–that she had in her attic! I’m just so overwhelmed that not only did she make something so freaking cool for me herself, but she would have remembered whatever random conversation we had in which I would have indicated the influence of this band in my formative years. 😀

Lots of other random things, beginning with:

an instance of cute..

..followed by an instance of WTF McGyvering. Any ideas what this is? The yarn should be a clue. It’s a ghetto DIY yarn swift! How to make: get a camera tripod, a drill, and a gently sloping circular laundry basket. I think you can figure out the rest. Because the tripod is so short, I did also need a small end table. It works stupid well.

I told Joseph to make an ‘unimpressed’ face.

Speaking of unimpressed, I know it’s unhealthy to fan the flames of resentment that ever burn within me, but I need to vent. You’ve all been bowling, you’ve all strategically placed your shopping bags and children to help conceal from the staff the fact that you’ve refused to wear their funky-ass shoes (right? have I become too OCD?), and I know you’ve all latched on to the one special ball they have that is a reasonable weight, doesn’t pop all your fingers when you bowl, and doesn’t smell of mystery grease. Well, you can imagine my ire when the wee boy in the following photo stole my ball! Let’s forget for a moment that the combined children of our party had hoarded 20 or so on our own racks. Why did he have come and take mine?!

Just to rub it in, Turd Boy’s mum handles my ball! Later she had the gumption to come ask for one of our ramps. I plotted ways to save my ball, but alas I’m only inwardly nervy. So instead I creepily took photos of them.

My ball..

So, on to less insane things..

Or not..this cake makes me weep with squee:

Your initial impression of this tool may be as mine, that it looks fairly lame. But pick a couple colors and see what eye candy comes up. It generates a selection of flickr photos that have been labelled as ‘interesting’ that include your choices. Pretty fun. Found a good wallpaper that way anyway.

This article, posted by the Humanist Society Scotland on the positions of various political parties with regard to education, is interesting. I can sum it up fairly quickly. It covers issues such as secularism, religious practice, diversity, ethics, and creationism. Scottish Government’s position: how quickly they’ve learned to speak cop out! Greens, Liberal Democrats, and Socialists: thank you for being mostly reassuring that all in government is not insanity. Conservatives: predictably, ugh. Labour: ha, didn’t bother to comment at all. Telling? *sigh*

It’s almost 3 in the morning and I have a full day of shopping tomorrow. Not the fun kind. The ‘oh shit, this is my last free day before the move’ kind. Where we’re moving everything must be mail order or acquired with the help of public transport. That said, our new ‘shopping town’ is going to be Perth, a definite improvement I’m hoping.

Joseph’s appointment

June 9, 2008

So. The long-awaited appointment at the pediatric unit of the hospital was today. After the usual runaround of an NHS building (“oh no, you have to check in with so and so first..that’s in the basement at the other side of the complex”), we arrived more or less on time. Joseph’s height and weight were checked, and then we were told to go to the waiting room. It was surprisingly undepressing. There was even a happy-looking Nintendo unit for Joseph to play, which was good because we waited for the better part of an hour. Our Doctor called us and we quickly got up to follow. We had sort of a strange moment when we got out in the hall and he was nowhere to be seen. We wandered into the right hallway and he ushered us into his office. Some odd, irritating, and surreal points:

1. He had an obviously Arabic name. I say that to get the shame of being biased out of the way. I have to admit I was a bit nervous that there would be a serious language/culture barrier. I have a hard enough time asserting myself with people in my own culture/language/demographic group. Fortunately, he was really, really friendly. But in that subtly patronizing way that made you not quite sure he had any regard for you.

2. He had some very strange notions about gender. He asked Joseph if he wanted to be small and weak or big and strong and I mentally groaned. Joseph rather brightly replied that he didn’t mind which. The doctor then went into this lighthearted but completely nebulous tangent about how he must grow up to be big and strong because, “sorry mum, but women rule the world today. Someday it will be time for men to fight for our rights and we must be strong…” I had no idea how to pad that; I just quirked an eyebrow at Joseph who employed his smile-and-nod coping mechanism. Good lad.

3. He seemed bent on not allowing any of his questions to be properly answered. I had to bite my tongue to not mutter, “knock knock, who’s th-INTERRUPTING DOCTOR”.

4. Apparently, against the suggestion of the referring doctor, there’s nothing wrong enough with Joseph at this point to warrant serious testing. This was something of a relief to Joseph, as that would have required a lot of blood letting. The official plan is to stuff him full of calories until he gains weight. He said, “you have this word in America, junk food? Well, it is only junk for fat people.” Hmm. Tactful. Also, he would prefer that I fry Joseph’s food rather than boil or bake it. I’m sorry that this is apparently AMA, but for me the idea is not to alleviate Joseph’s weight problem only to set him up for congestive heart disease. He did make the valid point that Joseph should stop hoarding his treats in his room and actually eat them, though that was relayed via a strange hypothetical story about a robber coming into the flat to steal our treasure and being deterred if Joseph eats all his candy such that there is nothing worth taking. …

5. Joseph mentioned Star Wars to him (as you would) and he didn’t know what he was talking about (!). At length, Joseph managed to convey that it’s a sci fi series of movies. The doctor said he was much too busy calculating how many calories small boys need to be able to watch films. Our parting agreement was that Joseph would gain enough weight that the doctor wouldn’t need to worry about him anymore and he in return would watch Star Wars. Joseph didn’t specify which episode/s, and being content with such a lack of clarification is rare for him. Just goes to show how shellshocked he was by the experience ;).

So, if after four months Joseph hasn’t gained his weight, he’ll go in for more testing. In the meantime, the challenge will be to convince Nyssa that the universe isn’t entirely unfair in letting Joseph have so many more milkshakes than her.

Winter Flat Complaints

February 3, 2008

Our latest flat-related problem was a real mommy paranoia inducer. The wind whips around our building like nobody’s business, and the skylight (one of those idiotic pretty ones that jut up out of the roof like a mini-greenhouse) makes lots of dodgy creaky noises. One night however, there was a particularly odd and loud noise and James discovered, as shown below, that one of the panes of glass had almost completely broken out of its frame. That in itself made me feel ill. I come from a land where more than a few unfortunate souls have been brained by falling icicles, so I couldn’t imagine glass falling 20 feet being much better. Just because that pane fell harmlessly outwards was no guarantee that the next would follow suit. I started to mentally calculate how long I could reasonably keep the kids trapped upstairs while I tried to find tiny hardhats. James was a bit more pragmatic and actually managed to get someone to come look at it right away. His scary put-out voice is good for that. The first people to show were rubbish. First, they were too brain-dead to follow our instructions for ringing the door. Second, they took a look about for a couple minutes and decided that they’d have to wait until Monday to do anything. Because they didn’t have a ladder. These asshats are professional roofers. Is a ladder not standard equipment these days? FFS.. Anyway, the letting agency sent someone competent soon thereafter, a proper glazier, and he sorted it right out. He’s also the type of bloke I’d trust when he says that the skylight is safe to walk under, which he did, so we’ve been doing so.

The cats were very much confused by the substantially changed weather patterns..

My lingering flat-related complaint has to do with the gas safety guy, of all people. He insisted that we uncover the vent in the kitchen. We whined a bit on that point. We have a fairly unobstructed view of the sea from up here. As picturesque as the oil tankers and tesco parking lot are, it does mean that the wind smacks right up against our kitchen wall. And the vent that some stupidhead decided should go there. Seems to me that the idea of a gas vent is to allow the dangerous vapors to, you know, vent out rather than be blown right back inside by the wind. So, as though our inadequately insulated flat weren’t cold enough, now we have a constant freezing breeze. The weather has been grim lately and I obsessively check for signs of a let-up. Considering that we’ve had freak snow flurries, it doesn’t look good. Pah.

Well, on to what does look children!

I see MathUSee manipulatives. Joseph sees Legos. What do they both have in common? They’re bleedin’ expensive!

Hard to tell, but I had just cut Joseph’s hair. I’m getting pretty adept at it, I think. He continually gives himself a little poindexter centre part, and it drives me crazy! I should give him an Alfalfa cowlick to complete the look if he persists.

Ain’t she cute? And doesn’t she look much too much like a teenager? I can only hope she looks this un-surly in 5 years..

Ohhhhh goodness.

January 27, 2007

Many things have been going on; good, bad, and irritating.

So the neighbor needs to get into the attic to shut off the water, because the ass-hats who split the building up were cheap and didn’t give everyone their own whatsits. I go down and chat with the neighboress and IT WOULD SEEM, having been mentioned in passing, THAT THERE IS LEAD IN OUR WATER. How lovely, that we give money to charities to help sort out the water for people in other countries, whilst our own hasn’t managed it yet. Even more lovely, how our landlord hasn’t deigned to enlighten us of the fact. For a year and a half. First thing Monday, it’s me with a water sample down to Environmental Services, and James on the phone to the letting agent. One potential good of all this–perhaps now I have a tangible excuse for my brain-deadedness. Argh.

James is happy these days–he got a raise, won an xbox 360 at work for a project of his, and got a big flat-screen tv on his new year’s tech budget. I uh..hmm. I’m expecting at least a card this Valentine’s Day :P. Actually, James is going to get me a new PC that can hook up to the tv. The kids will be able to play pc-rom games like never before. Wowww.

Homeschooling is going fine, though there’s the occasional hiccup due to ill-health, my insomnia, and the crap weather that makes the idea of outings unappealing. I’ve come up with the most pleasant way of getting up in the morning of my parenthood so far–every morning the kids come jump in bed with me with their math workbooks. I can sort of hazily answer their questions as I come to full (well, as full as it gets) consciousness. Nyssa is loving her flamenco (stomps) and highland dance (jumps). Joseph is loving getting to learn awesome skills in gymnastics.

Of personal note, I’ve put things on ebay for sale. Yesss. So that’s not a big deal, but it’s fun for a dork like me to will people to buy my crap. Ebay rules–it’s like a yard sale without the loss of dignity. Hehe.

Best news perhaps, we’re finally going to catch up with Battlestar Gallactica–and on a big screen, I’m almost not annoyed that it took this long!