The musings of a juggling mother

Rants & raves about life as a woman today, juggling work, home, kids, family, life the universe & everything.

© Mrs Aginoth. The right of Mrs Aginoth to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act 1988

Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year Resolutions

So everybody is posting their new year resolutions this year in an attempt to be shamed into keeping them I suppose. I don't usually do NYR's as I don't think it's the best time of year to be trying to change things, but this year is a bit different as I have reached a milestone in my life anyway: LMD turns one at the end of January, and as she is definitely the final child we will be having, that means no more being pregnant and no more breast feeding for the first time in 5 years! My life has changed rather drastically over the past 5 years, and this is a good time to take stock, re-evaluate & update my ambitions.

So, just to ensure I feel totally worthless when I fail to keep them, here are my NYR's for 2006:

  1. Lose weight, back to my pre Mstr A pregnancy size.
  2. Leave my shitty employers & get another job
  3. Be more organised & have some kind of routine
  4. Keep the front room tidy
  5. Finish the ****ing bedroom walls
  6. Find some time to do regular exercise
  7. Read more
  8. Watch less TV
  9. Toilet train LMB
  10. Save some money (yeah right!)
Be prepared for some updates during the next few months:-)

Oh yes, and go and check out Pond Perpective, my tenant. I know it's the holidays, but she's not had any clicks, and it makes me look bad:-(

No honestly, Ribbiticus is a very funny gal, go & check her out.

I said click on it.


Some good news

A happy end to 2005, with the news that Kate Burton & her parents have been released unharmed after their kidnapping in Gaza last week.

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict seems to be making news again in the blogosphere (partly due to the release of a number of "controversial" {commercial?} books in time for Christmas), and I am not going to even bother to debate the situation here. Partly beacuse I doubt that I could change anyone's mind - it is an issue that seems to tap directly into our inner emotions, and partly because I don't have anything useful to say.

Despite living in the disputed area for nearly a year, which did make me re-evaluate my indoctrinated upbringing, my feelings are very mixed on the subject. But recent events on both sides have at least made me belive there may be a resolution one day - without any genocide!

On a personal note, FiL is much better today. The scan showed a clot, so treatment for that & his cholesterol levels have started, and compliment his previous treatments. We're going in mob-handed today to "cheer him up", and take a few DVD's (and a DVD player) for him, as he's been moved into a rehab ward - in the delightful old building that Aggie enjoyed a couple of months ago.

Here's wishing you, and us, a happy new year, and my fervant wish that 2006 will be a year of wealth, health & success, however you measure those things:-)

Friday, December 30, 2005

Not the ideal end to 2005

As we wave goodbye to 2005, many families get together to see in the new year. We are not one of those, doing all our family stuff over Xmas, so we were looking forward to a quiet day at home, childless for once, to start on our large pile of new books.

Sadly, we had just enough time to get rid of the kids, and write a rude letter to my boss when the phone rang. It was Aggies half brother, telling us that his dad had had another heart attack early this morning. Aggies dad had a HA some ten years ago, but had totally changed his lifestyle, so we thought he was clear now. While Aggie phoned round his family, I checked in with the hospital to find out that it had been a stroke, not a HA - but that he was awake and talking, which is always a good sign.

So, most of the day has been spent at the hospital, where we had a little family reunion with both half brothers, full brother & uncle, although as we said to dad, he could have just asked us all round to his house!

We're waiting for the results of his brain scan to check if it's a clot or a bleed causing the stroke, although it is likely to be a clot, as he had a minor HA at the same time. He is already getting some movement back in his left side, so it looks promising for a full, or nearly full recovery in time.

Aggie is the eldest son, so is down as next of kin. I hope it doesn't get complicated with his dad's fiance, but hopefully there will be no major decisions to be made anyway, although we would do our best to discuss anything with her anyway.


The observant among you may have noticed that I have a new tennent renting my blog. I got 10 offers for that littke square of space this time round, but it was a bit of a no-brainer on who to accept as one of the offers was from my good friend Ribbiticus:-)

Ribbi's site, Pond Perspective, is already blogrolled over on my sidebar, but now, just for the more visually aware (or lazy?) of you, you can accesss this fantastic site just by clicking on the picture to your right.

Pond Perpective is a great site, full of humour, observation and interest. It does take a while to load up properly, but is well wort waiting for. So go on, take a look. You know you want to.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas, the final episode

So that's it, Christmas is finally over for the Aginothlings. All presents have been given & recieved, and now we just have to find places to put them all, learn how to play each and every one, and clear away all the rubbish, sweets, and other christmassy paraphanalia.

We had a lovely time at Nanny A's today. The cousins arrived before us, and were already happily playing with their new toys. SiL was busy sorting out food in the kitchen, making me feel slightly guilty for plonking myself down on the sofa and drinking a cup of coffee, but not for long:-) We exchanged presents & there was a great flurry of excitement for a few minutes. Unfortunately BiL & SiL had not checked with us before buying the kids presents & Mstr A yelled "but I've already got this" in his usual tactful way as soon as he opened his board game. However, he was mollified with the promise to exchange it tomorrow & happily played with Boy Cousin's hotwheels.

LMB was in her element, being pampered by Girl Cousin, & LMD thought she was in heaven with a never-ending supply of sweets within reach. In fact, they all played pretty well together for most of the day.

The cousins left at about 3pm & we hung around for another couple of hours before heading off to CQ's for the Crazie party. She's done a post all about it here, but basically we had a great time.

More presents were exchanged - with plenty for me & Aggie this time round too. I got loads of books that I've been wanting (although I don't know how long it will take me to read them all!), and a couple of DVD's, Aggie collected himself some music & some books & the kids all received fantastic books, toys & games. Mstr A got TWO pokemon items & was silent for hours as he looked through the book, LMB had some lovely books that she persuaded CK to read with her & LMD slowly got over her fear of CQ:-) In fact the only hic-cup was from my cat allergy, which I think I will have to ugrade from strong to "severe", as it was causing me some serious breathing difficulties by 8pm:-(

The kids were all much too excited to sleep, so by about 9.30 we called it a night & took our leave. I had really intended to stay this year, but it was just not to be. Maybe next year......

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas, the next installment

Well, we're home again:-)

Actually, London went remarkable smoothly - I guess 2 days/1 night is just about the right amount of time to spend with my mother without going completely nuts.

It started fairly badly when I was greeted at the front door by my mother in tears, beause she'd cut her hand quite badly the night before & was stressed that her finger was about to fall off (well something like that). By the time I'd convinced her to let me look at it, cleaned it up & dressed it properly, it was time to go round to my father's. We left Aggie fixing my mums computer (it's his only purpose in life you know) & walked the mile to my dads flat. After about 10minutes, my mother was complaining how much it hurt her hand, and when we arrived at my dads, she collapsed into the sofa & fell asleep.

Well, there is only so much I can discuss with my father, even with the kids around to help the conversation along, as my father doesn't really contribute much to his side of any conversation, so after a couple of hours I called Aggie to come & collect us & we spent a quiet evening chatting & watching TV, followed by an early night.

It snowed in London this morning, which delighted Mstr A & LMB for a couple of hours, then we spent the day round at sister S's house. The kids played nicely with cousin G, and as my mum fell asleep for most of the afternoon again, we had time for a quick grouch.

The trip home was pretty horrendous, but uneventful, and the kids are tucked up in bed, giving us time to unpack even more presents before we do the other cousins tomorrow at Nanny A's and the Crazie party. It should be fun:-)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

After the 1st Day of Christmas

So that's it, pretty much all over bar the blogging:-)

The kids didn't wake up too early. They opened their Santa presents politely, and paused to actiually examine each one before ripping the next one open. They were both delighted with their Phlat Balls, which they'd asked for, and just as pleased with the "useful" presents I'd sneaked in there:-) A proper breakfast was eaten before the chocolate explosion began, so behaviour & energy levels remained good.

We only bought them one present each, which were opened after breakfast. Mstr A had a scalectrix, which he & LMB (and Aggie) played with happily all morning. LMB had a rocking horse & LMD a play table type thing. They were all happily kept occupied with them in the back room all morning while we sorted the food. Nanny A & Family arrived just before lunch & she supervised the present opening while the table was set & food served.

Dinner was cooked to perfction, on time, with minimal stress. How did that happen? The kids didn't eat much - but all the adults were stuffed silly, with plenty to spare. How it should be:-). Then came an afternoon of trying out new toys, playing Trivial Persuit & jumping every time LMB's new baby doll "cried". It sounds exactly like LMD!

The family went home in the early evening, giving time for bath & bed for the girls, & Dr Who for the rest of us.

It's now 8.30pm, and everything is cleared away - left overs are made into a chasseur & frozen, or sandwiches ready for tomorrow, washing up is finished, clothes are washed & drying ready to be packed, and all children are fast asleep. Time to sit down with a glass of baileys, relax & blog.

We're off to London tomorrow morning to do it all over again with my family.


Dinner was cooked to perfction, on time, with minimal stress. How did that happen?

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to everyone!

We managed to sleep through till 7am!

Turkey is cooking, presents are opened and well appreciated. Children are all happily stuffing themselves silly on sweets & chocolate. What else couls you ask for on Christmas Day?

Aggie bought me the most beautiful engagement ring - exactly the one I've been pointing out to him in the shops for the past 9 years;-)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Yay me

Wrapping finished. check

Front room tidy. check

Back room tidy. Check

Food bought. check

Kitchen cleaned & cookware found. check

Dining table moved, set & ready. check

Alcohol in fridge. check

Trifle made. check

All that's left to do is clear away my paperwork, prepare all the food & watch rubbish on the TV:-)

Friday, December 23, 2005

A day to ourselves

We had a whole day to ourselves today! LMB & LMD went off to nursery at 8.30am, and I'd booked Mstr A into a day play scheme at my old leisure centre (mine in the sense that I used to manage it).

I wasn't sure how well he'd cope with the group activities and sports, which is why I sent him to that centre, as I knew they would put in the extra effort to help him if necessary. However, he had a wonderful time, and joined in everything. The only comment we got was that he was "a bit loud", but lots of boys are! Now I know he can cope, I'm going to book him in to our local leisure centre's scheme next Friday. Our local centre is a big, professional one, so their schemes are better run, more organised, cheaper & longer hours, but also have a lot more children, and less flexibility.

Anyway, I went back to bed at 9am, and despite hearing phantom children fairly regularly, slept right through till 1pm. It was really, really needed, and I feel much better, and am a much nicer mum & wife too:-)

Aggie was supposed to be tidying while I rested, but he kinda got caught up in playing "a couple of turns" of Civ4! However, he did manage to clean up most of the kitchen & I finished up the front room after lunch, so as long as our guests don't look around at all whie they're here, we're ready for christmas.

We also picked up the final christmas food from the organic farmers market a few miles away. A lovely turkey and an enormous joint of pork. We couldn't work out why there was so much pork until we looked at the weights - we'd ordered 4lb's, and they'd given us 4kilo's! Oh well, it's been cut into three, and thats two sunday dinners in the freezer:-) Add in the veg - potatoes, carrots, parsnips, sprouts, chestnuts, and peas, and a selection of local cheeses (Cheddar is just down the road from us here - we have good local cheese available), and thats £60 gone! But we are all done. Nothing else to buy.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The alphabet according to LMB

November was "latters & numbers" month at LMB's nursery. She found Mstr A's old flash cards at home and has been nagging everyone and anyone to do her letters with her since. So today, we gave in again, and for the first time made it through the whole lot (with Nanny A's help) which has brought up some very funny word pronuciation's, which I thought I'd share with you:

A is for "Apple I like it"
B is for "bumble bee buzz buzz buzz"
C is for "ME!" (her name starts with a C)
D is for "duck, mwack, mwack"
E is for "Elelelent" (elephant)
F is for "Ribbit" (frog)
G is for "play in the garden now!"
H is for "hat on my head, yes it is"
I is for "Ice Cream, I like it"
J is for "Honey" (it's a picture of jam/jelly, but we don't eat that at home)
K is for "My Bob the Builder Kite flying on the beach"
L is for "Lion rooaar!"
M is for "mummy"
N is for "Nanny"
O is for "opopus" (octopus)
P is for "Presents! big one is mine"
Q is for "Opopus" [she doesn't believe in q's:-)]
R is for "Bunny" (rabbit)
S is for "ssssssssssssssssssssssnake"
T is for "Teleion" (television)
U is for "'brella"
V is for "car" (van)
W is for "wimming" (swimming)
X is for "music" (xylophone)
Y is for "boat" (yacht)
Z is for "zipit" (because the only time she hears the word is in "zip it up now"

I think maybe we should work on the names of things before we worry about her letter recognition & spelling:-)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I want it all

LMD is getting very demanding! having learned how to ask for things ("Ta" and outstretched hands), she is now asking for everything she can see, and is very vocal when she doesn't get it. Today she has thrown herself to the floor screaming because I wouldn't let her play with:
  • the remote control,
  • the phone,
  • my lap-top,
  • LMB's present,
  • Aggies bottle of cola,
  • a glass of water
  • Mstr A's gameboy.
And we've only been at home for an hour or so, having gone out shopping! It was a day of catching up on stuff really. We picked up new trainers (sneakers) for Mstr A as he is a size 12, and his old trainers are size 10 & don't even fit on hios feet any more. While we were at Clarks we bought LMD her first shoes too, as she keeps trying to stand up when we are out and it's a bit cold & wet for just socks. Aggie bought some new clothes and has promised to throw out all his old torn & stained ones. Both Aggie & Mstr A got their hair cut & look a bit more reputable now. We've picked up our last few pressies from the post-office, and after lunch I'm going to finally finish all the wrapping & tidying.

Hopefully that will give us two days off completely to do some fun stuff:-)

Your chance of fame?

Oh no, not another Bloggies? More self gratification for the professionals?

Not this one, these blog awards are strictly for small blogs, and actually give you tangible prizes! There are loads of different catagories, and you can't nominate yourself, which makes it a bit more real!

So go have a look & nominate your favourite blogs......

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What a lot of shit!

Poo, vomit, poo, vomit, poo

What a fantastic life I lead!

LMB has got whatever Aggie & Mstr A had last week. Yippee!

On the other type of shit - the stuff from those lovely BE commenters - I have deleted all their comments from my blog, except for the one I am taking legal action over. I have stated on a number of occasions that I welcome comments, views and opinions on my posts, whether in agreement or dissent with the original idea. I will not tolerate pesonal insults, and see no reason why I should do so.

Except for the repulsive one, which was, well repulsive, after the initial anger I felt rather sorry for people who have so little to feel good about in their lives that they go looking for blogs they dislike and waste their time writing abusive comments. It's obviously the only kind of personal gratification or feeling of superiority they can ever achieve.

Although I will continue to rent my blog out-which I think is a lovely idea, once my credits run out with BE I will not allow any more access to my site by their surfers.

Thanks for your supportive comments, and please do go and see my tenants blog, as she is perfectly nice and doesn't deserve our righteous anti-BE wrath:-)

Update: I am Teh Blogfather's site of the day today - yay me! So if you are visiting from there, welcome, please feel free to nose around my archives for some less vitriolic posts:-) If you are here from somewhere else, go and show Teh Blogfather some love.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Another Meme

Matthew @ Childsplay tagged me for this one, so being an obliging soul, here it is (although it's a bit late!)

Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot.

1. Running2Ks
2. Queen of Spain
3. Becky
4. childsplayx2
5. Juggling Mother

Then you select five people to pass the love on to (this is in no way mandatory)
Sorry, you can chose yourselves if you so desire, but me chosing five people to send this on to feels too much like chain lettering to me.

People who have tagged themselves:-)

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Wow, when was 10 years ago? umm, December 1995. Oh, not good. I was living alone in an unheated flat in Southampton. All the other five flats in the block had been vacated & the landlord was trying to "convince" me to leave too, so he could refurbish & put the rent up. Working at a couple of local sports centres teaching swimming & gymnastics -not what I had expected to be doing 6 months after graduating - making good money though:-) Aggie was working in Scotland & it's a long way to go for weekend visits!

What were you doing one year ago?
Wow, this is nearly as difficult to remember as 10 years ago! Dec 2004 - I was 8 months pregnant with LMD. I hate being pregnant, especially over festive periods. I was working really hard trying to get everything sorted before my maternity leave. Aggie was in hospital having his leg fixed again. LMB was only just walking, Mstr A had just started full time school. I hadn't discovered blogging:-)

Five snacks you enjoy:

  1. Chocolate
  2. Biscuits
  3. Cake (umm, seeing a bit of a pattern here)
  4. Cheese sandwiches
  5. Peanuts

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:

  1. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  2. Horsey Horsey
  3. Baa Baa Black Sheep
  4. Row Row Row Your Boat
  5. Head Shoulders Knees & Toes
Sorry - but I never really got into music, I'm tone deaf & not allowed to sing at home:-(

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
Simon changed this to multi-millionaire because, really, a million doesn’t get you much nowadays - I've put in a couple of things I could do with £1million, and a couple that would need LOTS more.

  1. Buy a nice house for me, Aggie & the kids. Then buy one each for all our family.
  2. Live, dress & eat better
  3. Get into politics & make the world a better place
  4. Fund loads of research
  5. Take Aggie to Space

Five bad habits:

  1. Not thinking before I speak
  2. biting my nails
  3. missing meals & snacking
  4. laziness
  5. falling asleep:-)

Five things you like doing:

  1. reading
  2. walking
  3. watching the world go by
  4. travelling/visiting new places & people
  5. cuddling

Five things you would never wear or buy again:

  1. expensive jewellary (I just lose it)
  2. no underwear:-(
  3. stockings
  4. cigarettes:-)
  5. a kitchen from Moben

Five favorite toys:

  1. My blog
  2. Civ4
  3. my kids
  4. Aggie
  5. Motorbikes - but I don't have one anymore:-(
If you decide to do this meme, let me know in the comments & I'll link to it here.

Oh, and before you go, don't forget to check out my tenant's blog "Stumbling Through Life". If you haven't been there yet, Why not? If you have, why not go again? Go on, you can do it, hppiness is only a click away.....over there, on my sidebar....just one little click on her picture, it's easy.

Advice please

So, since we're STILL waiting for the official Psych report onMstr A to be written up, I thought I'd tap into the all knowing blogosphere for some advice.

Remember, I reckon Mstr A has mild Asbergers, although it's possible that the Psychologist may come back and say he's just very emotionally/socially behind.

One of the things he really dislikes is change to something he has got used to - he's not a real stickler for routine, but he doesn't like things changing. An example would be his "wake up, shape up" sessions before school. He absolutely adored doing it at first, then after a term, they changed the song/routine. he refused to join in again until he had learned every note & move by heart (every other child just copied the lead teacher). Last week they changed the music to a Christmas song (keeping the same routine), and so he's refused to participate again.

So the question I would like to ask is this: Should I help him adapt by encouraging him to learn the new routine - watching, practising at home, buying the music etc, or should I help him get over his fear of change by encouraging him to try the new thing immediately with all the other chidren & not pandering to him?

Oh, and before you go, don't forget to check out my tenant's blog "Stumbling Through Life". You can count it as your good deed of the day. Be nice & click on her picture over there on my sidebar.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

OMG I'm a Landlord!

So, having joined up to Blog Explosion the other day, I decided to do the rent my blog thing, which seems to be the best part of it IMHO. And what do you know, within less than an hour of offering my site up to the world, I had three - yes THREE, offers!

ooooh, I am SO in demand. It must be my fantastic site design, witty writing & interesting life experiences. Or maybe it's because I am very cheap:-)

Anyway, I chose "Stumbling Through Life", cos she's interesting, real & as harrassed as me. Oh yes and she lets her hubbie guest blog (don't get any idea's Aggie).

So go over there & have a nose around. Go on, you know you want to. It's just one click, there, on my sidebar. To your right. Click it now & make me a good Landlord.

I am such a lazy cow

Today I AM going to do stuff!

I am going to tidy the back room, ready for Christmas dinner to be eaten in there! Made a good start, but not quite finished. Story of my life really.

I am going to finish wrapping the presents (it feels like it's been a never ending job this year) Nearly done all of them, just a few Santa pressies left to wrap now. Yay me a little bit!

I am going to put all the clean washing away - it's done & folded, but not actually in wardrobes/drawers! Done - Yay me! (but I found lots more to do while tidying:-(

I am going to cook a nice casserole for dinner, cos I bought all the ingredients three days ago & they won't keep! Done - yay me!

I am going to brave the supermarket to get some staples in Done - yay me!

I am NOT going to spend all day blogging/michele-ing/playing Civ4/watching rubbish on the TV (Clash of the Titans was on yesterday!) .

I might try finishing one college assignment (it's about half done!)

I'll tick them off as they are done so you can keep track and give me a kick when necessary:-)

But first I'm going to cuddle LMD to make sure she has a good nap & stays cheerful for the rest of the day, so maybe just a little bit of blog surfing while I'm stuck here on the sofa:-) Update: LMD is ill - lots of vomit & miserableness - so she needs extra cuddles from mummy (no-one else will do poor thing).. Thats my excuse & I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Blog Explosion

I thought I'd have a go at this blog explosion lark. Loads of people are doing it now, & I'm never one to not follow the crowd:-)

This is the thingy that lets people "rent" your blog (put a picture link on your sidebar), and you earn credits by looking at other blog explosion blogs, so it increases your site traffic & hopefully some of them will like what they see & come back on their own!

You can click on the link above for more info. I'm off to check it out in a bit more depth now.

Mmmmm, sleep!

A nice easy day today - well comparitvely:-)

We put the kids to bed late last night cos we were busy playing Civ4 on the computer & didn't realise the time! What terrible parents we are. Anyway, they didn't get to bed till 7/7.30, half an hour late each, which was FANTASTIC, cos it meant no-one was awake till 7am this morning!

Even better, Aggie got up with Mstr A & LMD & gave me another hour in bed. Luxury. LMB didn't wake up till 8am, which is almost unheard of, and probably did her the world of good.

In fact it was a bit of rush getting everyone breakfasted, washed, dressed and ready for the day. However, I did get a proper shower for the first time in ages. Showering is normally a bit of a logistical nightmare with three mobile kids & not a single one with any sense, but neither Aggie nor I are working this weekend, and life becomes much easier as a two parent family.

We were due at Nanny A's house @ 10am for a long overdue visit (she traipses over here all the time, but we hardly ever get there any more), and to meet up with Cousins Girl K & Boy K (stupid Brother-in-Law gave both his kids the Same initial - we told him not to!). However, we didn't leave the house till 9.50, so were a little late (It's a 50min journey). Still it meant Nanny A had some time with BiL & the kids before we arrived which was nice as tey live up in Lincolnshire, so she doesn't get as much of them as of us:-) Also it meant Grandad J was just on his way out fishing, which is good cos he finds a house full of Aginothlings a bit hard to handle:-)

Anyway, it was a lovely visit - far more successful than previous family get togethers. Cousin Girl K played happily with LMB the whole time, and Cousin Boy K was great with LMD. Mstr A also played with Cousin Boy K for a while, which is great because they've never managed to play together without tears and tantrums before, despite being only 5 weeks different in age.

They left at midday, but we hung around - as we are wont to do:-) Nanny A nicely fed everyone, then as they were all playing so happily, I got to take LMD upstairs and we both had a lovely nap for well over an hour! I feel so much better for it. Thanks Nanny A!

We've just got home & fed the kids a lovely west country meal of Faggots & peas., with some rice. Yum. Now they're happily dancing to Xmas songs on the TV:-)

Bedtime soon. Horay!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Seven Things Meme

Dave went and tagged me to do this meme, so after much brainwracking, here it is.

Seven things to do before I die:
  1. Visit Australia & New Zealand
  2. And Canada and China
  3. Oh, OK then, visit every country in the world:-)
  4. Go back to some of the more interesting ones!
  5. See my children grown, happy, healthy & succesful
  6. Be totally debt free & solvant enough not to worry
  7. Leave a lasting legacy to the world to be remembered by
Seven things I cannot do
  1. Speak another language
  2. Sing (well, not in tune anyway)
  3. Completely tidy my house
  4. Ski - but I'd love to
  5. Draw
  6. Listen to bigotry without countering it
  7. Not check my blog every day
Seven things that attract me to my husband:
  1. Intelligence
  2. Ability to express himself/debate
  3. His devotion to me
  4. Strong arms
  5. His cooking
  6. His ability to keep his temper
  7. His world view & help with kids/house/stuff

Seven things I say most often:
  1. Just 5 minutes! (of quiet/alone/in bed etc)
  2. NO!
  3. Why haven't I got any comments?
  4. (insert employer's name here) are total idiots!
  5. You're beautiful/clever/fantastic (to the kids)
  6. Yay you (to the kids)
  7. When are you going to finish the walls?;-)
Seven books, or series, that I love:
This one was difficult because I love all books. I have hardly ever read a book that I disliked, and most have more than one reading! We own nearly 3000 books, and all of them are great.
  1. The Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett
  2. Chaucer
  3. The Phoenix & the Carpet (E Nestbit)
  4. The Deverry series by Katherine Kerr
  5. The Illiad/Odyssey
  6. JRR Tolkien
  7. Bill Bryson
Seven movies I watch over and over again:(well more than once!)
This one was difficult because I just watch whatever Aggie puts on! I have no mind of my own & no memory of what I've seen:-)
  1. The Blues Brothers
  2. Dark City
  3. Pirates of the Caribbean
  4. The Princess Bride
  5. Blade Runner
  6. Labyrinth
  7. West Side Story
Wow, that was really hard to do! I'm not going to tag anyone specifically, because I think these can get a bit monotonous, but if anyone wants to do it, let me know in the comments & I'll link to you.

Other Seven's meme's I know about:
Dave @ A Bit of This, A Bit of That
Simon @ Upright & Breathing
Shelli @ Shelli's sentiments

Thursday, December 15, 2005

My Utopian World part 4 - someone's listening!

So, you're still going to have to wait for the Education installment, as today (a day early) you get my Utopian World - crime & punishment, to tie in with the news story today.

Prisons are places of re-education& re-habilitation in my utopian world. I do not believe in punishment or revenge. I do believe that nearly everyone can make a useful contribution to society & will do so if given the right encourgement.
However, they are no luxury hotels!
Prisoners have to work a 5 day week. they can practise their profession if appropriate, work for the Community Works Service, or attend full time education or vocational training.
They get paid, and food & board is deducted. the remainder can be put into a bank account for their family, or for them to access on release.
All government institutions are drink & drug free (that includes tobacco - which is not available for public use anyway!).
On release, prisoners will be assisted to find accommodation & employment. They will also have access to a mentor to help them learn life skills.

Some people will not be applicable for release. These are people who are dangerous to society - either because they continue to re-offend, or because they do not understand the rules of society (Psycho/sociopaths) or because the nature of their offence was so abhorrant they could not re-enter society. They have seperate prisons/residential homes, and limited employment opportunities. These are run as self-sufficient Estates as much as possible.

Other penalties
obviously, most crimes do not require inprisonment. Other options available to Magistrates include:
  • Fines - a percentage of income, not a fixed penalty
  • Community service - with the Community Works Service, in addition to other employment/studies
  • Tagging - either for a curfew, or a geographical limit
  • Repair - direct compensation to the victim by repairing damage/repaying costs etc
  • Asset stripping - where assets have been bought with illegally gained money, they can be taken to pay compensation to the victims or the government.
The Police
There are a variety of policing authorities in my Utopian World. They work in partnership with each other, but independently, with their own policies & procedures.
  • The Transport Police - these are responsible for all transportation matters, from parking infringements to train security.
  • Border Control - these are responsible for all movement across our national borders. Including immigration & customs & excise.
  • The Criminal Investigation Police - All the criminal stuff.
  • Corporate Investigations - Serious fraud, Health & Safety crimes, Internet abuse etc, just because it needs specialist & different skills.
Of course, my parenting licence & fantastic education policies mean there are very few crimes in the first place:-)
It is a proven fact that the majority of prisoners are below average education levels, and it seems fairly obvious that the more you have, the less likely you are to risk losing it all.
I also allow many activities that are currently illegal to take place in my Utopian World, under license, including most drug-taking and prostitution. I'll do a social affairs post another week-)

If you have missed the previous installments, you can find them below:
My Utopian World Part 1 - Introduction, Freight & Drugs
My Utopian World Part 2 - Immigration & Welfare
My Utopian World Part 3 -Childcare & Parenting

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Send me your sick...

You'd think I was running a hospital here! Aggie's off sick today - dieing of some slight sinus pressure & a cough, Mstr A is off sick today - feeling "not well", LMD is snotting for England all over me, the furniture, the christmass decorations.... Of course, she's a girl, so not moaning about it at all:-) LMB is a bit coughy & snotty too, but I still sent her to pre-school today. I've paid for it & I'm damn well going to make use of it! What a horrible mother.

Poor Mstr A chose a bad day to be ill really. It's his class Christmas party at school this afternoon, & I've made up a plate full of cakes, biscuits & stuff for him to take in:-( Also, he had invited some friends over to play this evening, so they've all had to be cancelled & I doubt we'll get another chance before Xmas now. He woke up this morning and reminded me of both events, ate half his breakfast, then just crawled back into bed. So i guess he really does feel bad.

Of course he came back down at 9.30 and asked to play on his gameboy! I have a strict rule, if you are too sick to go to school, you must stay in bed, or sometimes I let him lie on the sofa & watch TV. If you are well enough to play with anything, go anywhere, or complain of being bored, you're well enough to go to school. When I reminded him of these rules, he agreed that he was too ill to play games & settled for watching TV. He does look quite poorly, poor thing.

So my nice quiet day at home with just LMD has been rather ruined. I was hoping to get the house all Xmas ready during her nap time, but we'll have to see how it goes now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Shop, shop, shop, shop, shop

Sadly not the nice kind of shopping (not that I'm too keen on any kind!).

Aggie was off work today so he could watch Mstr A's nativity play first thing, so I had the car available for once. So my day consisted of a quik tidy up & finish wrapping all the presents we've got at the moment, then when Aggie got back, a trip to iceland for a re-fill of the freezer, a trip to tesco's for non-perishable Xmas food, a trip to woolies for LMD's pressie (the last of the major ones to buy), a trip to the health visitor to wiegh LMd as she was incorrectly marked on her 9 month review as massively underweight (she wasn't really, just the HV marked it on the graph wrong & panicked), pick up Mstr A, decorate the tree, cook supper, send them all to bed.

So now we are happily sampling the mint Bailey's we bought for Xmas:-) Yum.

Still, I'm feeling a little more relaxed about Xmas now we've got the tree & the vast majority of the pressies sorted. Just a couple to buy now - don't know what I'm getting them yet tho:-(

I'm getting a bit of hassle from work stuff too, so although I was intending to take next week off, I don't think I'm going to be able to:-(

Monday, December 12, 2005

We Three Kings

It was Mstr A's Nativity performance today. He was "King 1" - the one with the gold - no Frankenstein of murmers for him:-)

His kinghood was chosen on the basis that he was one of the best readers, as there a few lines, in different scenes. It took a bit of persuasion for him to do it initially as he doesn't really understand all this dressing up & pretending stuff, but being a king is a great honour in my world - I was mostly a sheep, cow, or once a rock!

He's been learning his lines for ages & I explained that he had to speak loudly & slowly, but I hadn't seen his costume or read the script other than one line each side of his part, so I didn't know what he had to do.

The nativity was a joint effort by all the infant classes (age 4-7), and was a fairly average school Nativity - dull, stumbling & puntuated by coughs, cries, & shoves. However, I admit to being ludicrously proud as Mstr A came galloping up on stage on his camel, riding around stage throughout that scene's song. within the first few seconds he'd worked out that by "acting" his part, he could elicit a laugh from the audience & suddenly he seemed to grasp the concept of being centre stage.

His lines were delivered perfectly, only slightly marred by the fact that every time he did anything or said anything he stuck his thumbs up at me & nanny A in the audience. Also, his reins broke off his camel & he was engrossed in trying to repair them for most of his second scene. The most hilarious bit was the end. Once he'd given his gold away he obviously felt there was no point in the whole thing continuing, so started waving, playing with the scenery, gaping at the ceiling......

Only 11 more to go before LMD oes to secondary school!

The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul

I think I've hit that 3 month hiatus people kept telling me about (even though it's been nearly four months of blogging now), as I'm not sure what to write today.

We were all a bit panicked by Aggie's near Dooceing the other week, so work posts are a bit thin on the ground - it really wouldn't take much effort on my employers part to find my blog, or for anyone to work out who my employers are. Although I can't remember ever signing any "confidential" type documents when I started, and I've already sent a formal written complaint about the car thing, and a verbal one about their attitude to part time hours, perhaps some of my posts could be construed as bringing the company into disrepute:-)

My life is feeling very mundane at the moment. No great changes, or milestones happening, and after a while it gets boring to write: Didn't get enough sleep, looked after kids, didn't clean, cooked dinner, watched TV, went to bed, however many different ways I describe it.

Current affairs are usually a good standby, but this close to Christmas the news is either big stories, that don't really need my commentary, or uninteresting rubbish.

So I'm left with personal ramblings - although I haven't even inspired any vitriol from readers with my recent Utopian posts - and I was sure they would give me some good fodder for a rant against something!

My stats are well down for the last couple of weeks too, so i guess the blogosphere are finding my life dull right now as well. I supose I'll have to fall back on that old conversation piece - kids! Everyone knows thats why we have them - so we don't have to talk/think about anything else:-)

Tikibilla has just started on TV & LMD is standing, holding on to the table & bouncing along to the music in great delight. It's really quite a funny sight, just her big, nappy covered bottom swinging side to side as she gurgles along to the song.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


I've just got back from the exam.

100% pass rate. Phew!

The whole thing went rather well & smoothly to be honest.

I'm completely knackered. I don't know about the candidates but I was way too stressed to sleep last night. Going to try & sort out the Xmas Decorations now.....

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Narnia review

So, we've been off to see Narnia today for RCA's birthday. A big family outing, along with RCA, CrazieQueen, CyberKitten, SleepyPete, and a bunch of non blogging friends.

we started with lunch in a Mexican resturant. It was so-so really. i had sizzling fahita's, but that meant 3 strips of beef and 6 whole onions sliced up! The kids woosed out & had fish-singers & chips! Aggie had chilli, which he reckoned was good, but on the whole I would rather have gone next door to the Italian place:-)

Then en mass to see Narnia - we got there with only five minutes to spare, so there were not many spaces left (it was a saturday afternoon, on the opening weekend), so we were stuck too near the front, & right over on one side, but at least we got to sit together.

i was hoping LMD would sleep through it (she didn't sleep last night after all), bjut no such luck - she thought it was a great adventure - well she did as soon as she couldn't see CQ anymore - she totally associates CQ's arrival with my imminent departure & cries as soon as she spots her!

Anyway, LMD spent a good hour crawling up & down the aisle. LMB chattered her way through the film, first at Aggie & me, then at CQ. "nice lion, nasty lady, oh dear, fixed now, funny, etc, etc" Mstr A was absolutely transfixed, although confused by some of the plotlines. he had real difficulty understanding that the queen & the witch were the same person:-)

The film was great though. The special effects were fantastic - i loved the centaurs, and Tumnus even looked as though he was walking on goats legs even when you couldn't see them! Most of the story line was kept exact to the book. a couple of niggles: It was really hard to empahise with Edmund, who just appeared a nasty child for 3/4 of the film. This was partly because there was no mention of the queens magical ability - she had the wand that turned people to stone, but nothing else. In the book, she is a personification of the winter, or maybe an avatar of treachery/brutality. She has magic of her own. In the film, she semed reliant on the wand, potions & fear.

But the acting, scenery, effects & script were great. I'll be going back for another look without th kids! And I'm looking forward to the next ones. Off to re-red the other books now, as I don't know them so well.

CQ's review is here

Bloody Kids!

Due to a comedy fest last night on tv (i rather liked the comment about David Cameron winning the Annual tory party leadership contest), we didn't get to bed till nearly midnight.

LMD woke for a feed at 1.30am. And at 4.30am, when she refused to go back to sleep.

Thanks for my 2 1/2 hours uninterupted sleep kids!

Friday, December 09, 2005

My Utopian World part three

OK, so it was going to be education today, but following an (anonymous) comment on the previous post, I thought I'd go for my controversial childcare & parenting policies instead.

Anonymous complained that as a mother I arbitarily decided that having children was a lifestyle choice, and not every womans dream, duty & absolute right (they didn't put it like that, but....). She (I am assuming they were a she), suggested that had I been unable to have children I might feel differently.

Let me state catagorically before we start. I do not believe ANYONE has the "right" to have children. If you don't like that idea (and yes I know it is against the European article on human rights), then I suggest you stop reading & come back tomorrow. I spent the vast majority of my years believing that I would never have children. It was absolutely guaranteed to me by three seperate Gynae consultants. I was fine with this idea. Aggie knew soon after meeting me that children were not an option. We agreed that IVF would not be considered. We were both fine with this idea.

I have worked with children all my life. IMHO we are failing our children, parents & society with our current policies. And the problems are getting worse, not better.

So, as supreme lord & dictator, in my world:

Contraceptives would be added to the drinking water (all houses have access to free drinking water remember). Prospective parents (PP's) would have to pass a parenting course to be prescribed the antidote. (just as an aside, to keep Aggie happy, these are specially developed contraceptives that have no side effects for either gender. Or everyone can get the implant at school, or something! Sheesh, this is my Fantasy utopia you know!)

PP's would have to be at least two people, who have lived together for a minimum of 1 year, and who have signed a commitment contract (we don't have secular marriages).

The parenting course would include information on parenting skills, dicipline, morals, ethics, and social conscience. Both (all) PP's will have to pass the final test, which would include scenarios.

If you have a child without the proper authority, it will automatically be taken into care, although you can apply to do a fast track residential parenting course, where you will be mentored by qualified staff.

Maternity leave I've already discussed. 6 months full pay, or up to 12 months full pay if a breastfeeding mother. (thats a carrot). The 6 months can be taken by either parent, or shared between them.

PP's who can not concieve children naturally will be entitled to adopt.

Childcare: all children are entitled to subsidised childcare. All employers with more than 15 employees must provide a workplace creche. Local Authorities are responsible for ensuring their are suitable places for all all children.

Congratulations if you have made it to the end of this post:-) I have often been accused of being a wishy washy, Lefty Liberal in blogland (not a title I particularly worry about!), but I am sure this will change many peoples opinion.

If you are new to my Utopia, please click the links below for previous posts:

My Utopian World Part 1
My Utopian World Part 2

Just another day

Nothing very exciting today really - just an average day in my life:

Up at 6am to send Aggie off & feed LMD, get the other two up at 7am, sort out breakfast, get them dressed. Suddenly remember it's "festive Friday" at Mstr A's school & whip up some "christmassy" clothes out of tinsel & baubles - then the same for LMB who wanted to be "just like my bruvva". Off to school at 8.20, ready to do Wake Up shape Up at 8.30. Get nabbed by teacher for some work related stuff so promise to get a load of info sorted out by Monday, rush straight off to Daycare. Drop off LMB & LMD & make it back home just before 9am.

Dump the pram, pick up the car & drive off to Exeter for a meeting. It's a policy meeting to decide what/who should be involved in a new group and when/how. Balance the need to be involved in the new County Sports Partnerships being formed, with the fact that I only work two days a week and have at least 4 CSP's to be involved with, along with 16 Specialist Sports Colleges, dozens of local authorities, hundreds of clubs and thousends of schools.

Grab a sandwhich to eat in the car & head home. Discuss my sisters job offer on the way & agree it's not the right one for her (I have a hands free - don't worry). Arrive home at 3.18pm. Dump car, grab pram & run to school to pick up mstr A (he finishes at 3.20pm), then round to Daycare for LMB & LMD. Get home, feed kids a snack. Put cream on grazed knees. Send a fax to the exam venue for Sunday.

Aggie comes home, we all go out to eat cos we feel like being cheered up. Drag all the kids out, eat, drag all the kids back, get them changed into pyjama's, LMB's teeth cleaned & face washed, story read, water provided, cuddled, kissed, cuddly toyed & put to bed. Repeat for Mstr A. Change & feed LMD until (eventually) she falls asleep (I know it's not good practise to feed her to sleep, but....). Put her in bed. Sit down. Pick up answerphone messages. Sort out panicy candidates for exam on Sunday.

7.45pm relax, blog, watch TV, think about doing some college work. Nah, I'm only two assignments behind:-)

A good day.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Moo moo again




Ahhhhh - feeding baby

eeewww - vomiting baby

I spent the dy down in the arse end of Cornwall, having a useful & important meeting, unfortunately organised by someone else, so reliant on their timings, transport & organisation.

I had to meet up with my two colleagues at 7am over in the next town, so we could all drive down to the meeting together (saving expences). This meant a 6am wake up, pack sleepy children in the car so Aggie could drop me off, bring the kids back for Nanny A to look after & head off to work. LMD had a feed at 4.30am, so wasn't interested at 6. It's a 3 1/2 hour drive each way, plus a 4 hour meeting, plus stopping for linch, plus chatting a bit before persuading someone to give me a lift home, so i finally arrived home at 7pm

14 1/2 hours between feeds, for a baby who usually feeds every 3 hours or so! By the time I arrived at the meeting at 10am I was feeling full, and half way through had to quickly put my jacket on to hide the leak! I went off to the toilet for a quick milking at lunch time, but it's no fun, not easy & doesn't really get much out, so only relieved the pressure for a short while.

Apparently LMD was just fine, stuffing yoghurt & baked beans all day long. I was in agony, so as soon as I walked in the door, I shoved her on. She was delighted & sucked happily for about half an hour. Then I put the other two to bed & came back down to let LMD suck herself to sleep, two sucks later & the whole lot comes back up. Lovely!

Cleaned it all up & decided not to bother trying to make her go to sleep - she's now happily chomping my chips:-) It proves she really doesn't need the milk anymore - she's just demanding it out of bloody mindedness! I must cut it down.

Anyway, no college tomorrow, cos I'm off to Exeter for a big conference thingy, which should be fun.

BTW could everyone go to Aggies old blog & flag it to blogger (using the little flag button on the blogger toolbar at the top of the page) as some pervert has appropiated his URL & started posting porn there! Update: this has now been flagged, removed & I've set up a holding post to stop anyone doing the same again. Power to the people!

PS the title of this post refers to one of my earlier rants on the perils of breast feeding. It was probably the only really funny thing I've ever managed to write, so if you haven't read it yet, I advise you to:-)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Sorry for the miserable posts recently. I do feel better today, even though nothing much has changed:-) I did say that I would use this blog for catharsis, so I'm afraid every now & then you get misery.

I have made the definite decision to actively look for another job - either a proper career job that I am qualified & experienced in, which I have already been applying for, but also for any other job that will give me a bit of flexibility in working hours & pull in more than minimum wage.

I spent the day sorting my stuff out then wandered off to a meeting on our regional plan. All sports have to write a national plan, which should be informed by the 10 regional plans (Sport England specifies 10 regions, some sports have more/less/different bounderies). The SW region already had a plan, but it was coming to the end of it's life so we had to update it. Originally we were given a deadline of less than a month to get it all done, so all the regional officials got together, went through the old plan, spent hours re-writing all the targets, wrote it up, met again to check through everything & adjust the figures in line with current targets, & sent it off to our head office.

4 months later it came back with LOADS of corrections, changes, queries & requests to "comply" with the Sport England template. The volunteer officers (everyone except myself & my counterpart) decided they'd spent enough time on it, & were pretty busy with major competitions & stuff, so it fell to us to sort out all 60 pages of it. Fortunately my counterpart ended up doing nearly all of it, as it "had" to be done while I was off sick a few weeks ago, so today was just a quick meeting to check through all the changes she'd made & make sure I was ok with them.

It didn't take long at all as I just said "yes, fine" to pretty much everything:-) I'm thankful that she did it all, and not too bothered what she's said, as I don't anticipate hanging around to see it through. I also know what happens to these things: They get sent off to Sports Development officers in local authorities, regional partnerships etc, then shelved & forgotton about unless that organisation particularly wants something from that particular sport. I know this is true because I spent most of my career on the other side of the industry & thats exactly what I did with the 32+ regional plans I was sent (32 Olympic sports, plus a few other organised ones).

Right, so now you all know the history of sports regional plans:-) Basically, the meeting was easy, and I feel able to cope with work knowing it's not going to be long term. Of course being told that the meeting tomorrow will need a 7am start didn't particularly cheer me (or Nanny A who is babysitting) up, but c'est la vie as they say.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Hello? Is anybody there?

Total silence is not helping me feel better - some gratuitous sympathy would be nice.


Pretty please

Can it get any worse?

So, having F***ed up organising the exam on Sunday already, I thought I'd be organised now & went off this morning to get all the paperwork ready to take with. Unfortunately, my paperwork storage is in the loft room, which is right under the roof, which, you may remember needs repairing. Therefore, unbeknownst to me the box holding all my documentation (including the completed & signed forms from the candidates) is now a mini indoor pond.

Insert various expletives of your choice here.

a lot.

So now I am going to have to get more forms, ask the candidates to fill them out again, and look like a total & complete idiot to them, the examiner (who is my boss, whopee), the host venue - who I've done lots of work with previously, but no more in the future I expect, and all the mentor coaches/clubs involved.

On top of that, i'm just really fed up at the moment. I very nearly chucked my job in altogether today. The only reason I didn't is because December is a bad time to be skint & a terrible time to get another job, but to be honest I'd rather go stack shelves in Tesco than stay much longer.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better - but it's not anything specific, it's the company's whole attitude that stinks, so I doubt things will change much.

Make it all go away

There are some days when you just want to curl up in bed and pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist.

This is when working alone from home is a really bad idea

So all I have to say today is "no comment"

Monday, December 05, 2005

Where do the mornings go?

Wow, Monday again, and it's already nearly 1pm. Where did the morning go? When I was single & unemployed (for 2 months in Scotland in 1995) I remember the mornings dragging on and on and on, but now they sem to be over before I've even sat & thought about the day!

I did manage to phone all the candidates for the coaching exam on Sunday. That turned into a bit of a debacle really. I did the course back in september, sent off all the paperwork, sorted an examiner & forgot all about it. The candidates have to complete a log book & some mentored coaching before the exam, but my job as tutor was done. then last week I got a phone call from one (just one) saying that they had not recieved any details from the examiner. They are supposed to get at least two weeks notice of what lesson to prepare. I phoned the examiner to discover she had forgotten all about it & had booked in something else for Sunday.

It had been a misunderstanding really. She thought I had just asked IF she was available on that date, and would get back to confirm if she was needed. I thought she had confirmed she was available to do it on that date. I should have learned by now - Always, always put everything in writing!

So I spent all last week phoning around to find a replacement examiner. At one point I thought I was going to have to postpone the exam, but fortunately, i finally found someone on Friday. It's all going to be a bit rushed now, but hopefully it will work out ok in the end.

Anyway, I spent the weekend phoning everyone to let them know, but of course they were mostly out. So got hold of everyone today to let them know what was going on, and that it wqas still taking place. I'm going to have to go there on Sunday now though to be moral support!

I suppose I also managed a small amount of cleaning up - although our vacuum cleaner is not sucking very well, so I think I'm going to have to swap it for the spare one upstairs - it's all such an effort you know. I've managed a cooked lunch formyself & LMB (LMD is sleeping wayhey!). I really ought to write a college assignment or two, but I've still got this head cold & my brain is not relly in full working order:-( Maybe later eh?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Woo Hoo

I have now been paid my expences for July, Sept and Oct 2005.

They are up to date!

This has never happened before. Woo Hoo.

Now I'm off to send in Novembers:-)

UPDATE: Woo Hoo Two! I am a fish! A Flippery Fish in the TTLB. Thanks to all you linkers. And all you lurkers as it's partly calculated on daily visits too.

Have I ever? Meme

I Found this Meme on Uisce, who took it from Green Duckies

Have I Ever?

What is your favorite...?
Gum: It's a long time since I ate gum, but the non-mint types: juicy fruit/hubba bubba....
Restaurant: Flute de Paris in Weston. Fantastic food at reasonable prices.
Drink: water
Season: Spring
Type of weather: Warm & sunny
Emotion: excited
Thing to do on a half day: right now - sleep! theoretically - Go look at old stuff with aggie
Late-night activity: Sleeping, if I'm lucky. Feeding the baby. Shushing the kids. Worrying about work.
Sport: to do -swimming. To watch- gymnastics.
City: Don't like cities - what's the smallest one?
Store: Don't like shopping, but I guess i can wander round John Lewis occasionally - but I never buy anything

When was the last time you...?
Cried: A ew weeks ago - I don't remember specifically. Tears of frustration!
Played a sport: What, like formally? No idea. Just doing something? I cycled on friday.
Laughed: 2 minutes ago at the kids
Hugged someone: 5 minutes ago - the kids!
Kissed someone: This morning when I woke up - Aggie, the kids, Aggie.
Felt depressed: 3am this morning dragging myself out of bed:-) No real depression for months at least - I guess maybe when Aggie went into hospital last.
Felt elated: My birthday
Felt overworked: Every minute of every day - I should be working now really.
Faked sick: three weeks ago - I faked how sick I was to get out of an overnight meeting, but I was truthfully sick & signed off by the dr. Last time I totally faked sick - I don't rememeber ever doing so.
Lied: Last night when I told LMB I'd be back in 5 minutes

What was the last...?
Word you said: No LMB!
Thing you ate: Choccy at the cinema last night
Song you listened to: No idea. Whatever was on radio 2 when we were having dinner last night
Thing you drank: Water after feeding LMD this morning
Movie you saw: Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire
Movie you rented: Polar Express (for the kids), House of Flying Daggers (for us) I think. we don't often rent films.
Concert you attended: Castle Donnington Monsters of Rock 1990! Unless you count Jools Holland at Uni, but I can't say I actually made much effort to hang around and see him play.

Who was the last person you...?
Hugged: Mstr A
Cried over: My brother
Kissed: Aggie
Danced with: Aggie, but it was some time ago now:-(
Shared a secret with: Aggie (this is getting boring now isn't it?)
Had a sleep over with: Well, assuming it doesn't mean Aggie? My mother? My sister? No-one very interesting!
Called: Work stuff
Went to a movie with: Aggie
Saw: Aggie
Were angry with: My mother
Couldn't take your eyes off of: well there was this nice bloke in the Harry Potter film....Oh Ok then, Aggie I suppose.

Have you ever...?
Danced in the rain: Yes, You bet. Its one nof lifes great experiences
Kissed someone: um yes, I think I might have managed this once or twice:-)
Done drugs: Yes, a few. Not for some yeqars tho, bloody kids:-(
Drank alcohol: Yes, since long before I was allowed to
Slept around: Depends on your definition of sleping around.....
Partied 'til the sun came up: Yes, often years ago
Had a movie marathon: we hold DVD parties here every now & then when we usually watch 3 films, so i guess that probably counts?
Gone too far on a dare: No, don't do dares
Spun until you were immensely dizzy: Yes, as a child and an adult:-)
Taken a survey quite like this before: Fairly similar I think.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire Review

Well, we've just got back, and it was good.

there were bits of it that were great - the special effects were good enough to barely be noticable - I particularly liked the flying sequence, the fire breathing dragons, and the metamorphasis of Voldemort (which gave more than a passing nod to a number of horror films).

There were bits of it that were pretty bad - the plot was so edited from the book that I think it would either have made no sense at all if you haven't read it first, or will just seem disjointed & narrow. The problem with JK Rowling making each book 100% bigger tan the last is that there wasn't enough time to fit all the sub plots into the first film. Now we're at the 4th one, there is no time to even fit all the maoin pplot in. Also, she keeps making it more magical, and some things just can not be shown on film. The sexiness of the Beauxbatons girls was not even attempted really.

On the whole I liked it. It's a definite for the DVD list when it comes out. It's much darker than the others - well deserving it's 12A rating.

Aggies short review is here, for those of you interested.

mmmm, a 12A film, shown at 8.30pm. Not the ideal place to take your 6 year olds IMHO. They really annoyed us at the start - untill Aggie put on his "daddy" voice & told thm to shut up:-) There was a fair bit of coming & going too, which was slightly annoying, but understandable with young kids. When the film finished t 10.45pm, there were a bunch of 7/8 year olds sitting outside on their phones asking mum if she was going to pick them up or not.

I don't believe that watching "adult" films will turn children into Psychopaths. But IMO letting them go out on their own at that time of night is child abuse.

OK, rant over. Move along now please

My Utopian World, Part 2

As promised, here is the second installment of how I would lead my country into utopia, as a loved & respected dictator....

It's a bit more complicated this time round, as I'm dealing with bigger issues.....

We have open borders. All immigrants are welcome. However to claim citizenship they have to be fluent in the state language & pass a GCSE level (leaving school) in both verbal & written comprehension. They also have to pass a citizenship test about the mores, culture and ethics of the society they are joining & to agree to uphold those principles. Each individual member of the family must do this. Children under 16 have to pass the approprite age national curriculum English test and be enrolled within a school to recieve citizenship rights.

No-one may stay in the country for more than 12 months without applying for citizenship or a student/working visa (visas are only available for full time students/work)

Non citizens are not entitled to claim welfare benefits, vote, hold public office, or work for the public services. They will be charged for medical treatment recieved.

Asylum seekers of any kind (political/economic/ethical) must apply for asylum within 24 hours of entering the country. They will be housed in "fast-track" citizen centres for a maximum of 6 months & instruction will be available to assist them to become citizens. Basic needs, including medical care will be met. They can apply to take the citizen test at any time. There will be a standard weekly charge for this, which if necessary can be repaid through additional taxation up to 10 years after arrival.
The main aim of these laws is to ensure that all residents have equal opportunities. It solves the whole language/cultural barrier debate. It also solves the problem of an infinite number of "family members" using the system as they each have to take the test/learn the language. The "fast track" system removes the need for defining "Asylum seekers", and ensures there is no need to become an illegal immigrant - reducing exploitation.

Welfare benefits are available to all citizens, and include all medical treatments/preventions but not "lifestyle choice" treatments (cosmetic surgery other than to repair damage, fertility treatments etc)

If unemployed, your current rent/mortgage will be paid for a maximum of 6 months (12 months if on a recognised training course), then a basic amount/housing will be made available.

Welfare benefits will only cover basic needs.

If you are unemployed for more than 12 months, you will have to either enrol on a full time training course or be employed by the Community Works Services.

There is a minimum wage in effect. It will always be higher than Benefits.

Disability benefits are calulated on an individual basis, but will be at least the same as the minimum wage. To claim disibility benefits you have to be unable to be employed by the Community Works Service.

Maternity/Paternity leave is 6 months on full pay. This can be extended up to 12 months for breast feeding mothers.

State Pensions are means tested, and are equivalent value to welfare benefits, but are available for any length of time.
The main thrust of these laws is to encourage people to work, but to provide a safety net if they can't. The Community Works Service is my own innovation & can cover anything from painting walls to building roads. Of course, enforced employment is very politically incorrect, but it's my world, so who cares?

Once again, comments/input are always welcome, but have no actual influence over policy:-)

For thise of you who missed part one, you can find it here.

For those of you who are starting to worry, please be assured that I am not intending to stand for any political office in the real world:-)

Friday, December 02, 2005

State murder

The USA has passed a grim milestone today, by executing it's 1000th prisoner since re-introducing the death penalty in 1976.

As seen from the table below (source), this marks the freedom loving USA as the 4th most murderous state in the world, following behind such enlightened regimes as China, Iran and Vietnam.

Most Executions in 2004

(At least 3,400 Executions)

(Approx. 159)

(Approx. 64)


5. Saudi Arabia (33)

6. Pakistan (15)

7. Kuwait (9)

8. Bangladesh (7)

9. Egypt (6)

Singapore (6)

Yemen (6)
It's good to know they have taken it upon themselves to ensure all states around the world will follow their regime of freedom, enlightenment and justice for all, isn't it?

Looking at the US states that do & do not have the death penalty, I wonder vif anyone has done much research on it's effect? For example, look at this map and can anyone tell me if Kansas (no death penalty) crime statistics are higher/worse than Texas' (highest number of executions of all states)?

UPDATE: as requested by a couple of commenters, below is a breakdown of the number of executions carried out by each state:

Executions since 1976, by jurisdiction
Jurisdiction Executions
since 1976

(as of December 2, 2005)[1][2]
Inmates on Death Row
(as of July 1, 2005)[3]
Texas 355 414
Virginia 94 23
Oklahoma 79 97
Missouri 66 55
Florida 60 388
Georgia 39 112
North Carolina 39 192
Alabama 34 191
South Carolina 34 77
Arkansas 27 38
Louisiana 27 89
Arizona 22 128
Ohio 19 196
Indiana 16 30
Delaware 14 19
Illinois 12 10
Nevada 11 85
California 11 648
Mississippi 6 70
Utah 6 10
Maryland 4 9
Washington 4 10
Pennsylvania 3 233
U.S. Federal Gov't. 3 36
Nebraska 3 10
Kentucky 2 37
Montana 2 4
Oregon 2 32
Tennessee 1 108
Idaho 1 21
Connecticut 1 8
Colorado 1 3
New Mexico 1 2
Wyoming 1 2
New Jersey 0 14
(On December 17, 2004, the death penalty statute of Kansas was declared unconstitutional)
0 7
U.S. Military 0 8
New York
(On June 24, 2004, the death penalty statute of New York was declared unconstitutional)
0 2
South Dakota 0 4
New Hampshire 0 0
United States
1,000 3,415*

Miserable People

Poor Aggie has had to delete his whole blog because some jumped up twerp at work thought it shouldn't be allowed

He has started a new one over at Please go offer him your sympathies & change your links.


Running up the down escalator

Busy, Busy, Busy! I feel like I haven't had a moment to stop and think for days. I'm running as hard as i can, but the escalator is infinitely long, & keeps speeding up. and it had gravity to help it!

No time for a real post today, as I'm at collge, then straight off to Birmingham for work, so doubt I'll be back till late. So just a quick laugh for everyone:

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Big Smoke & Santa

Well, we're all home again. The whole trip went remarkable smoothly really, much to my surprise. I left as soon as Aggie got home on at 5pm on Tuesday, so we made it to my mothers by 8pm. The girls slept the whole way, making the journey very uneventful:-) They both woke up when the car stopped (they always do), but as it was still early, I let them play for an hour, then put them both to bed without too much hassle. I had time to chat to my mother about this & that, and still get to bed before 11. LMB slept right through the night, & LMD only woke once for a feed. Unfortunately my mothers spare bed is situated right under a drafty window and the bitterly cold breeze blowing down my neck all night long didn't do much for my cold or my sleep patterns:-(

The trip into Regent Street yesterday was comparitively stress free. Cousin G was dropped off at my m ums around 8am, so we fed all the girls breakfast together (well, it was LMB's second breakfast, but she does appear to be part-hobbit in her eating habits), then wandered round to the bus stop. I had LMD in a buggy & my mother took a buggy too, but LMB & counsin G happily ran off down the street together, looking particularly cute.

we took a bus first, which the girls loved, then the tube into Oxford Street, which they found quite boring after the first couple of minutes. The miserable tube station staff couldn't be bothered to stop chatting to opn the gate for the buggies, so we had to go through the ticket barriers, which was a difficult manouvre, but I managed it ok. All three girls thought the escalators were the most magical things in the world:-)

Once in central London, my mother (a true Londoner) strapped cousin G into the bauggy & strode off, weaving her way through the crowds in double quick time. Off course, LMB had to walk as LMD was in the buggy, so we ambled behind at a much slower pace, which confused my mother no end. However, she eventually worked out she had to slow down & we slowly coaxed LMB & Cousin G (who was allowed to walk after a while) down Regent St to Hamleys.

They were quite enchanted by Hamley's, which was in full Xmas mode, with multitudes of staff demonstrating loads of toys & games. A few of them tried to make LMD play with some very cute glove puppets animals, but she wasn't remotely interested - although she happily gigled & smiled at the staff. Obviously at 10months old babies can recognise the difference between live things & inanimate objects, even when they have faces & move realistically! LMB & Cousin G found the big display of teddies & started pulling them all onto the floor - some of those things cost £1000's, so we quickly rushed them upstairs to see Santa.

I was surprised there was no queue, as we were able to walk straight into santa's grotto. I was also surprised that we didn't have to pay! Although we were offered the opportunity to buy a photo for £10 (it all goes to charity)!!! which we declined. LMB & Cousin G thought the elves (all over 6' tall) were hilarious, but as soon as they saw Santa they both burst into tears & refused to go near him! I managed to get LMB to talk to him from the safety of the buggy, but that was all.

Of course all young children are scared of Santa - they have no idea who he is, other than a very big, strange man, dressed in wierd clothes & with his face almost totally covered with beard/mustache/hat etc, who they are forced to sit with & talk too - the opposite of the way they are told to behave to any other strange man they meet!

Still, they had a wonderful time playing on the pre-school floor & I got my mother to buy a Thomas Aquadraw for LMB's pressie (which i think she'll adore & will save me a lot of hassle clearing up paper/paint/pen/glue etc). We also had lunch there, (not my choice - I wanted to go to a nice pasta restuarnt round the corner, but my mother reckons central London restuarants don't allow kids?!). The food was OK, although vastly overpriced. However, the whole place only had three highchairs - all of which were in use when we arrived. The tables were very high & the chairs quite low, so neither LMB or Cousin G could quite get their chins onto the table while seated, never mind eat anything, which i thought was pretty rubbish in a toy shop!

After a bit more playing, we started on the treck back again - I bribed them with raisons on the tube, so they say still:-) The bus was quite crowded, and was not a "wheel on" type, meaning I had to unload all the bags & fold the buggy, so obviously LMD chose this time to start screaming! I tried hushing her for about 10 minutes, then finally gave up, threw some old bloke off a seat & fed her. I then had a 10 minute lecture from the lovely lady opposite about how I should have done that straight away, and no, 10 months is no age at all & I shouldn't even be thinking of stopping for another year/15 months, and if she thinks she needs a feed ever two hours, she does! Oh well, better than being told not to fed her I suppose *grin*

Anyway, we got them all back safely, fed them, bathed them, sent cousin G home & put my two to bed. I was going to go round to chat to sister S, but we were both pretty knackered, so settled for an evening in watching rubbish on Tv with my mother. She was really happy that she'd had the time with just the female Aginoths, and I have to admit it was less stressful without the need to constantly intervene between her & Mstr A or back up Aggie when she picks on him, but I am not going to make it a regular occurance, because she is going to have to learn that we come as a set. we had a bit of a disagreement when I first arrived as she showed me the matching Santa party dresses she had bought for LMB & LMD. They are very cute, but she didn't get anything for mstr A - not even a christmas t-shirt! So now I'm going to have to go and spend money on Xmas clothes for him too!