Me: Do you want to be a firefighter when you grow up?
Charles: No, I want to be a dad. [pause] And one of those people, what are they called? Who give lifts? Taxis?
Me: A taxi driver?
Charles: Yes. A dad and a taxi driver.
As ghoti pointed out, taxi-driver is a job that can combine well with childcare duties.
Changing table: Kub Eco Changer, White. Bought last June from John Lewis for £75 and still in very good condition. We are replacing it with a cot-top changer for space reasons. JL don't seem to do it any more, but it is available at other suppliers.
Double breast-pump: Avent Isis iQ Duo pump: double pump, comes with carry/storage bag, 2 chill bags & 6 freezer packs. Costs about £260 new, I bought it second-hand on ebay for about £150. Since then it's been used daily for about 8 months with C, and
Single manual breast-pump: Avent Isis, like this one, but I don't have the model number to be sure they are the same. Bought new for C, used only occasionally. Probably cost about £20 new.
Bottle/pump steriliser: Avent Express electric steam steriliser. Does not seem to be available any more - big enough to sterilise all pump parts and 2-3 bottles, or just 6-7 bottles. Takes about 10 minutes to sterilise. Probably cost about £50 new.
Cloth nappies: Sized approx 0-6 months, they've had about 12 months total use, seem to be in good condition still.
18 Tots Bots Fluffle nappies, size 1, cost £8.75 new, no longer on sale. They are white, fluffy, and dry quickly when hung up.
Asking £75 for all 18.
4 Motherease Airflow wraps, size Medium, cost £8 each new.
Asking £15 for all four.
So I am now slowly rationalising my various email addresses accumulated over the years and moving everything over to using email@example.com. My personal mail has been slightly randomly distributed between my work-provided email and Gmail, and while I still have access to both of those for the foreseeable, the family-mail project is as good a trigger as any to get independent of both and aim for a bit of consistency.
Speaking of Google, now that I'm phasing out my use of Gmail, and I'm using Feedly for RSS-reading, my remaining big dependence on them is for calendaring. Does anyone have recommendations for a replacement?
Since December, I have found it really frustrating not being able to flick a quick glance at my wrist to tell the time, but having to drag out my phone from a pocket or bag. The ridiculous relief when I got my new! shiny! watch! on my wrist today was overwhelming - five months' pent-up frustration I think.
Anyway, I vented a bit of my excitement on twitter, and my friend asked for a "bad internet photo of it on your wrist" so I obliged, and decided it would do as a new icon too.
Today has also featured a family expedition into town:
- Watching The Gruffalo's Child at Cambridge Arts Theatre.
- Buying an Angry Birds hat on impulse for Charles
- Lunch at Pizza Express for the four of us. We got two children's meals and Nico ate between a quarter and a third of his and then requested a feed.
- Shopping for new shoes and new non-school clothes for Charles.
- Shopping for shallow plates for Nicholas to eat from, as he'd done well with the shallow bowl in the restaurant.
Some phone-photos from today behind the cut:
( Grainy cuteness! )
I took Charles with me to vote on the way to school, and we met one of his friends and her mother doing the same thing. I cast a proxy vote for the first time, which meant they sent me round once with my friend's ballot paper, and once with my own.
I paced myself fairly well with the day's campaigning but by the time I picked up the children from nursery and kidsclub and got them home, I was worn out and unable to face speaking to strangers, even by phone knock-up. So I got the children fed with Jonny's help, and put them to bed, and dozed with them for a bit before my father rang to catch up and make arrangements for the weekend.
(For those that are interested in the election results, Phil Rodgers again has good coverage on his blog, with a quick results-in-Cambridge post and a much more detailed follow-up.)
I had a quiet day at home on Friday, before we travelled to the west country to see my father for the long weekend. We used the Travelodge in Swindon as a base, and took the bus to Cirencester on Saturday, and to Avebury on Sunday. The weather was lovely on both days, and I realised at the end of our time at Avebury that I had sunburned again and more thoroughly. Everyone else was fine: the baby had sunscreen & the others are either more sunproof or better at staying covered and in the shade.
The bonus extra of our little trip was a couple of hours in the pub with my dad's wife and her children on Sunday evening. It has literally been years since we got to spend time together with them all and it was a real pleasure to do so.
Fandom: Iron Man (Movies)
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Tony Stark & Ho Yinsen, Steve Rogers & Tony Stark
Characters: Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Yinsen
Additional Tags: Canonical Character Death, Implied Torture
Yinsen says "I'm from a small town called Gulmira". But that's not the first backgammon game, nor is it the last.
Right, I'm off now for dinner with Tony, and then we're seeing Iron Man 3. Woo.
Parkrun: Comparative stats are important and popular! We store your DOB securely. Sorry about the discrimination against minorities but we're just following sporting world conventions. Hope that addresses your concerns.
Me: Nope. I just want to be social and opt out of this competitive ranking stuff. Also why does a voluntary local running org have to discriminate like professional sports? Why is it better to exclude me entirely rather than let me join in but not share my stats?
Parkrun: Ranking everyone by age and sex is one of our core values and builds community. If you disagree, please go away.
So much for the friendly grassroots running organisation for everyone.
Some of this is about the overwhelming priority given to ranking everybody for their age group and sex. It's so important that opting out can't possibly be allowed, but so assumed that it's not even mentioned in all the warm words about parkruns being for everyone (see national site, Cambridge "about us" page).
The idea of wanting to run but not compete gets a lot of resistance, right down to my friend who said I would be "spoiling it for everyone else" if I could run but not disclose age and gender.
Next time I need to give an example of the hidden assumptions in organisational cultures, I've got it. Right here.
( Read more... )
My fitness is nearly back where it was when I was last running regularly (December) and a spontaneous run last week went well, so I thought I might just jump in and register for this weekend's Parkrun now it isn't freezing cold. But then I found both date of birth and a binary gender choice were compulsory on the form, and I got annoyed. I sent the following feedback and am hoping it's clear enough to convince the volunteers that run Parkrun to change things.
While I was registering for Parkrun I was concerned to discover that it is compulsory for me to select male/female and also to provide my full date of birth. I understand this is for statistical comparison with other runners, but that is not my reason for joining Parkrun. I was looking for a regular social time for running and tracking my 5k time.
I am worried that making these two fields compulsory unnecessarily excludes people from the social and personal-tracking aspects of Parkrun.
I would rather not give out my full date of birth just to join in a weekly run; this is private data and is e.g. used by banks to reset credit card security such as Verified by Visa passwords. I would prefer the option to add it later if I became more interested in how I compare to others; and even then I would prefer just to add year of birth rather than my full d.o.b.
A compulsory field for male or female immediately excludes anyone intersex or otherwise not identifying as either gender from joining in the run. Again, perhaps this field could be made optional for those who are actually interested in stats, and ideally it would be Male / Female / Other.
I look forward to hearing from you. In the mean time, I will not be registering for Parkrun.
I'm planning to run again tomorrow anyway, and I'm hoping this is the beginning of me making regular running part of my routine again, with or without Parkrun.
The extension is pretty much as big as can currently be built without planning permission (not relying on proposed even bigger exemptions), but it will not be too imposing nor should it affect our enjoyment of the garden once it's built. The funny-shaped bit of land between the two houses will get a bit of improved landscaping, and the builder has promised me a couple of designs/quotes for landscaping our front
Work begins in May and is planned to take 8 weeks.
And the hen? Her patch of the garden is exactly where the builders need access. So we need to fence off a new area for her around the corner of the house and out of their way. Afterwards, my brother Dan has promised to come and give me some landscape-gardening advice and help. So we might end up with both front and back gardens looking reasonable this summer.
Some of you my remember That's Not My Superhero. Last week I wrote That's Not My Avenger and put them both on AO3 while I was at it. (I got kudos this morning, it made me happy.)
( That's not my Avenger )
At the end of April 2003, Tony & I became a couple, and I'm still in love.
Our tenth anniversary falls next Friday, which is the day we try to do dates. It's also the day after Iron Man 3 is released, which I am ridiculously excited about. So we will celebrate with dinner and a film, which is roughly how we got started.
2003 was a very good year.
 Not ridiculously enough to see the one-minute-past-midnight showing on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Not sure if I'm wiser or just older than ten years ago.
First, I rang up Polarglaze, who installed double-glazing for us about four years ago, to ask where we could get a replacement cat flap in the back door (the current one having snapped in two). They pointed me at the local supplier that they use, and were able to give me make and model number after asking me to confirm the name embossed on the cat flap.
Second, I ordered the correct cat flap from catflaps.co.uk (the local one requiring travel or a phone call). They rang me about 15 minutes afterwards to apologise for not having any in stock, to explain they had a long delay before they would have some in stock because the Chinese manufacturer had a delay, and to give me details of the main UK distributor so I could investigate if anyone other suppliers had some in stock. And did I want to cancel my order given all that. I was impressed by their honesty and elected to keep my order with them anyway. Worst case scenario, I find another cat flap sooner, and then I have a spare cat flap when this one arrives.
Third, I had to call Nationwide Credit Card Services to carry out a small but important task. The security questions were sensible; the process was straightforward; the person answering my call was friendly and pleasant and chatted to me about the weather while we waited for her computer to do its thing. In less than five minutes I had achieved what I set out to do and I was smiling because of the nice person I'd talked to. Call centres do not have to mean infuriating aggravation and time-wasting!
Bonus extra, with my own moment of committing Everyday Sexism:
The company trimming my neighbour's leylandii who were happy to tidy up the side facing my garden at no notice. The workers gave me a card to "sort it out with the boss" which had business name & details, and a gender-neutral forename with surname. I left a message for "Mr Surname" EVEN THOUGH the answerphone voice was female. She rang me back saying "this is Forename Surname" and competently dealt with what I wanted while I about sank through the floor in embarrassment. Her staff did a good job too. I'd pimp the company here, except I have lost the card in the last 24 hours. I'll be reminded when I get the invoice, no doubt.
Yesterday we went to London, first to join a meet up organised by techiebabe in the Red Lion, and then we took the DLR to the new cablecar. Charles was delighted with both the "ROBOT TRAIN" and the cable car. It was a bit tedious slogging back across London and by the time we got back to Cambridge we had just missed a half-hourly bus so we walked home in the surprisingly warm evening. It took us about an hour, including a loo stop. Pretty good for a six-year-old.
Last week Charles was in holiday club because of Easter holidays; the previous week all four of us went to France to stay with Tony's mother Louise. While we were there two particularly noteworthy things happened:
- Nicholas WALKED for the first time (several consecutive independent steps, repeatedly). He's doing it a few times a day, but he seems to prefer crawling for rapid progress. He still does this one-knee, one-foot.
- Nicholas made friends with one of his grandmother's cats, a kitten about the same age as him. One morning I saw the kitten rubbing its head on the baby, who promptly rubbed his head back on her. DED OF CUTE. Sadly, I did not have a camera handy.
I managed to meet all my OU deadlines, have finished the two modules I was taking, and now have a whole three weeks off until I start working on the next one. I've worked out my timetable for the remaining modules to finish the degree by the deadline of December 2017.
I had fallen into the habit of cosleeping with Nicholas, and not-getting-round-to getting a cot when he outgrew the moses basket. Then he threw himself out of my bed hard enough to cut his mouth, and bled badly enough that I took him to A&E. After he tried to throw himself out several more times in the days following, we got a cot. Well, arnhem gave us a cot and I bought us a new mattress & bedding, and Tony did the bulk of reorganising the bedroom to fit it in. Nicholas does not yet entirely reliably sleep in the cot but he hasn't thrown himself out of it either. I'll take that as a win.
We're doing reactive babyproofing at the moment - moving things as and when he discovers he can reach them, and refereeing quite a lot between him and Charles over Charles's toys. I'm just getting well from one of the worst colds I've ever had (I was actually signed off sick, it went on so long), while Tony is just getting ill. In the longer-term, we need to do what we did before: make the living room safe and reinstate the baby gate on it. A challenge I am not going to try until everyone is better.
1. Here is a useful post on talking to women without being creepy from Dr Nerdlove, who writes a helpful blog for nerdy men who want to find find love/happiness with a woman: http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2012/09/d
In summary: pick an appropriate time and place, avoid standing too close or blocking exits, pay attention to body language signals that say "I don't want to talk", apologise if you make a mistake.
2. However, if you are genuinely worried about inadvertently making women uncomfortable, you are probably not part of the problem. There is academic research, grouped under the exciting title of "Predator Theory" that suggests the vast majority of assault and rape on women by men is carried out by a small percentage of men, who deliberately work within social conventions to get away with it: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2
3. If you are really concerned about sexual assault and rape, then predator theory tells us what we need to do in order to reduce its incidence (summarised from the end of the predator theory article):
a. Listen to women who report sexual assault by a man: don't immediately defend the man, or minimise the seriousness of the assault, or look for ways in which they are at fault.
b. Challenge men who make jokes about rape or imply sexual assault isn't that serious. Make clear that these attitudes aren't acceptable.
c. Look out for red-flag behaviour such as apparently trying to get women intoxicated and alone, and interrupt it when we see it.
4. We have evidence from Vancouver that targeting rape-prevention advice at men who might rape rather than women who might be raped seems to significantly cut the rate of sexual assaults: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/bri
I cannot help but view it in the context of similar recent discussions: the harassment of a Readercon guest last year; the Captain Awkward post on "My friend group has a case of the creepy dude"; the entire geek feminism Timeline of Incidents; the need for conference codes of conduct and their enforcement; the flaming of Rebecca Watson for asking not to be hit on in a lift at 3am; and Harriet J on the social pressures on women not to enforce boundaries.
Yes, that's a lot of background reading. It should be read anyway, ideally before commenting with the same things that get said so often about sexual harassment and rape that people start making bingo cards in self-defence.
We have bingo-card defence 1: "no-one ever made a complaint". Lots of women never report sexual harassment and rape to anyone. Why would they, if they have no confidence the report will be taken seriously. Summary of statistics from the Child & Woman Abuse Studies Unit at London Met.
Bingo-card defence 2: "one of the people carried on working with me for years". The implication here is that sexual assault is So Terrible that it would have driven away anyone who suffered it. It ignores completely the possibility that someone might decide they would rather keep a job they were good at, and not grant their assaulter any more control over their life.
People want to think that people they like couldn't possibly do bad things. There is huge resistance to changing your view of someone from "amazing person who has done many good things and is so easy to get on with" to "amazing person who has done many good things and is so easy to get on with and has sexually harrassed people". It questions your judgement - if you are wrong about person X, what else are you wrong about. It means you have to start doing some difficult and awkward things, stripping person X of power and access to people they can assault, stopping them doing all the good work they've been doing.
It's so much easier to just decide the accusers are wrong instead, or must have somehow misinterpreted things, or it can't be that serious, or they must have ulterior motives.
There are a lot of people on twitter right now implying the accusations are a smear campaign and/or badly timed because of the Eastleigh by-election. As if there would be a good time to make these accusations! After Eastleigh there is conference; after that there are council elections; there would never have been a good day to bury this bad news. I've been impressed by AliFionaSmith (one of the women making the allegations) engaging with these kinds of responses.
Good people can do bad things. The world is not divided into Evil Rapists and Good Normal People. But if people never suffer any consequences within a group for doing bad things, they have no reason to stop. The consequences fall on the people harassed and driven away; they also fall on the group as a whole, which is diminished by the lost contributions from people harassed and driven away.
I am angry and shocked and upset by the allegations; like Stephen Tall posted on Friday, I think the party has to do better, although yesterday's post from the Chief Executive is an improvement; unlike Stephen I had no years of hearing rumours to prepare the ground. Four or five years ago I would have been one of the people desperately trying to minimise the allegations and make them not be true or not matter; now after all the context linked above, I see an awfully plausible iteration of a depressingly familiar pattern.
Theo had an amazing adventurous life, from the stories my aunt tells me, but I only remember meeting him once. He and his partner Bob were living in California and my parents took four-year-old me and my baby brother Daniel out to see them. I have two strong memories of that holiday: meeting Snow White in Disneyland, and being taught to eat corn-on-the-cob by Uncle Theo.
Theo died of cancer when I was twelve. When I was twenty-two, just graduated from Cambridge, I took my grandmother to see Vincent, now living in Washington State with children and grandchildren, and Bob, now living in Toronto. Cecillie had early-stage Alzheimer's and needed someone to drive, to remind her to take her medicine and make sure she ate regularly.
We spent a week in Bob's house in Toronto, mostly being tourists and meeting up with some of Cecillie's schoolfriends. Our schedule and Bob's usually matched over breakfast. Bob was dying of cancer, and refusing treatment after nursing Theo through it a decade earlier. I knew this, but we hadn't told Cecillie to save putting her repeatedly through the distress each time she forgot. The house was full of photograhs of Theo and Bob, their love for each other evident in every one. I spent a lot of time listening to my grandmother and Bob telling "do you remember" stories.
Bob said he was writing a story of Theo's life because it had been so exciting. One of the days we were there I fixed his computer and rescued the latest draft of the book, because that's what family elders ask 22-year-old computer science graduates to do.
I told Bob about being taught how to eat corn-on-the-cob and he told me what he remembered of four-year-old me:
Four-year-old me met Bob for the first time and did nothing but stare at him. Bob was not very used to children and looked back a bit disconcerted. Eventually I said "You're really old". Bob said "Er yes, and one day you will be old too. Everyone gets old."
I thought for a bit and said "When I'm old, you'll be dead."
Bob thought this was a) hilarious and b) a fine example of deductive reasoning. I was embarrassed and sad, because we knew he was dying. I forgot to take a photo of him to remember him by before Cecillie & I left. He died less than a year later.
I gathered from our stay that his birth family had never approved of his relationship with Theo, but had reconciled with him after Theo's death. They certainly didn't want to come and meet Cecillie or me. They never told us when he died - Vincent found an obituary in an internet search when he couldn't get hold of Bob. We don't know what happened to the photos of him and Theo, or the book Bob had been writing.
Bob was part of our family but it seems his birth family didn't see it that way.
They should have been able to marry.
Every time I hear the phrase “a life on benefits”, it’s like a slap in the face to my brother, who lives in my spare room while looking for a job. He’s not lazy or a scrounger, he just can’t find a job. As Sarah Teather said two weeks ago
the term “scroungers” has become so pervasive in social consciousness that even those on benefits do not attempt to debunk the entire category, only to excuse themselves from the label.
I asked my brother if he was willing to share what his life on benefits was like:
I have been on benefits for over three years. I apply to two or three jobs each week, making a proper effort to sell myself as best as I can with each one. It’s a very discouraging task: every role is oversubscribed, and the rare times I get as far as interviews I am always beaten by someone with more recent experience. It’s hard to convince myself each application isn’t just a waste of time.
I have volunteered at a charity shop for over two years, and though this varied and challenging work experience has not led to employment, it is emotionally rewarding and one of the few reasons I have to get up each day.
For food, I buy the cheapest healthy food I can, only getting nicer food when it is sufficiently reduced. For entertainment, I have the computer I use for job applications and the broadband in my sister’s house. I only buy myself clothes from the cheapest shops. I try to save a little from each month, against unexpected expenses such as bike or computer repairs.
I’m always conscious of my restrictions:
- I can’t go on holiday.
- I can’t drink with friends in the pub: if I do go I stick to tap water.
- I can’t eat out more than once a month, and then only in cheap places.
- I can’t afford train tickets to see distant friends.
- I can’t go to see shows or films more than a few times a year.
- I can’t join any club that requires a subscription.
- I always feel guilty if I spend more than £5 on anything.
Though I do manage a life on benefits, it’s not a good life and it’s not my choice to be unemployed.
I admire my brother’s care with money and his resilience under the constant grind of jobhunting. Even so, I worry for him now that the Benefits Uprating Bill has passed its third reading. A 1% rise in his JSA is not comparable to the 1% rise my salary will see this year, because my starting point is so much better. We’ll both have to absorb a real-terms cut in income, but what I will hardly notice, he will struggle with.
At first I wasn't doing too badly, an occasional 10:30pm and quite a few approx 11:10pm, and generally I was getting to sleep before midnight. But the last fortnight, whenever I haven't had something taking me out of the house in the evening, I've fallen asleep about 8-9pm with the baby, woken about 1am and been awake for an hour or two, then back to sleep until 6ish. Which is great because I'm actually getting at least the 7 hours I seem to need to function well, but sucks because "after the baby is in bed" is when I was doing my studying, and I've been sleeping through that for the last fortnight.
Perhaps I should study for an hour at 1am instead of writing blog posts.
Well, that worked for Charles. Nico it turns out is very keen on eating whatever his parents are eating, but lacks teeth and competence to eat a lot of it without choking. So I have an icecube-tray or two of roughly-blended adult food in the freezer, and if my meal looks like he might choke on it, I microwave up a cube and spoonfeed it to him. (I've started making him his own little bowl of porridge in the morning because I like to adulterate mine with seeds).
2. I have been heard to say that Elimination Communication is lovely-sounding, but far too likely to be messy and difficult for us to even try, especially with baby moving between three main carers (me, Tony, nursery).
Except that this baby's attempts to tell me how much he hates wetting his nappies are finally sinking in and I'm admitting that part-time EC is better than none.
Turns out different babies are different and parents may need to adapt to individual needs. Who'd have thought.
When we want to visit friends or family or new places, I plan when we can go, and how much we can spend, and how we will get there, and where we will stay. I share the food-making and house-cleaning and all the other work of looking after a house but I think I do less of all of these than the other grown-up, because I do more of the planning and money things.
One of our children is only a baby and I do more of the looking after him because of the way he eats right now, but as he gets older, it will be easier to share looking after him, as we do with his older brother.
I don't get paid for any of this, and it used to be expected that women would do this work for free and never do any other sort of job. Some people still seem to expect this. I would be very sad if this was the only job I did but I think I am good at it when I don't have to do it all the time.
It takes a lot of money to pay for people to look after other people's children and sometimes that means it is hard for both parents to work in a paid job when their children are small. Sometimes one of the parents is happy to stop paid work and look after the children, but sometimes both of them want to stay in their paid work, but one of them has to stop anyway. Sometimes it is the one who is less sad who stops but usually it is the one who gets less money, whether they are sad about it or not, and whether or not the job they do is important and they are good at it.
Parents who stop doing a paid job to look after small children usually find it hard to get as good or well-paid a job again when the children are older, and they and their family usually have less money for the whole of their life than families where both parents were able to stay in paid jobs. Those parents may never do the things they are good at again.
Sometimes people who run businesses try to keep the parents who work for them in their paid jobs, so that the business can use the things they are good at. Some businesses pay for looking after children, or let parents work less for a while until the children are older.
The people-who-run-the-place-where-we-live say that parents have to be able to ask to work less until their children are older, and they help pay for some looking after children while parents are in paid jobs. This helps the parents who want to keep their paid jobs and it helps their families have more money, but it also helps everyone because the parents are happier and are doing jobs they are good at rather than being sad at home.
I used to think this was a boring thing to talk about until I had children and saw how many parents stop their paid jobs who would like to keep them, and learned how much money parents with low-paid jobs lose over their whole life when they stop working to look after children.
Now I think maybe everyone would be happier if all parents had enough money to pay for looking after children, so that they could really be free to decide whether to stay in paid work and how much to work. Parents who decided to stay home should still get the money because their work is important. I think it would take a lot of money to start with but I think in the end it would save a lot of money, make a lot more jobs, and stop a lot of people being sad.
[Written with the Up-Goer Five Text Editor http://splasho.com/upgoer5/
This started with me trying to describe the unpaid work that I do but then the personal became political.]
It is also used by people all over the world to ask if they can come and learn here, and by the people here who have to decide which of the people asking can come and learn, and what they will learn when they are here.
The big computer has a lot of different things in it, because there are a lot of different jobs to do when people ask to come and learn here, and while they are learning.
Part of my job is fixing problems with the things in the computer which are stopping people doing their jobs or learning things. Sometimes I make the fixes myself and sometimes I check fixes made by other people. We check the fix is right, and that it is made well, and that it is made in a way that makes it easier to look after the computer, not harder.
Another part of my job is working with people who want to build new things for the computer. I help them plan how to build the new things and how to check they are built right and built well. We want to make sure that the new things will not break and need lots of fixes. We also want to make sure that the new things work the way that they are expected to, and that each new thing will really help people here do their work more easily.
Another part of my job is planning how to move all the new things and all the fixes into the computer without breaking anything, and without stopping people doing their jobs which need the computer. I work with other people to plan when changes should be moved into the computer, and to decide which changes will be moved each time. Usually I do the work of moving the changes to the computer each time.
The last part of my job is helping the people I work with learn how to do their work better, and learning from them how to do my work better. I also try to make sure that each part of my job can be done by someone else, because sometimes I am not there to do it.
[Written using the Up-goer Five Text Editor: http://splasho.com/upgoer5/]
I also bought 21 ebooks and read 5 bought ebooks.
I read 39 books before I stopped counting sometime in August, which included some of the above and also some re-reads and library books. I think I have probably read another half-dozen library books since, but am not going to attempt to track down what they were.
The to-read pile then stood at 313 according to LibraryThing. I decided to see if I could decimate it, by finding 31 books I was happy to give away unread. This resulted in a bag of 34 books for the charity shop and a to-read pile standing at 279.
- I'm not pregnant and I don't feel ill. (imagine this in big blinking flashing text, because that's how awesome it is from my POV compared to last year)
- My brother offered to babysit so I went out to a party! Without my children! And talked to other adults about things other than children! (ok, I did also talk about children, but probably not even the majority of the time)
- I went running yesterday, in the rain, and today I did the initial trial for twohundredsitups
( how did I do? )
This year, I already have a whole bunch of ongoing commitments and specific goals (work, study, fitness, family, politics) and I really don't need to add any more.
Maybe I will try a month goal: for January I will try to be in bed before 11pm every schoolnight.
So anyway, 10 Things I Hate About You to Discworld, behind the cut. I'll edit to add the actual authors in after the reveal.
( Read more... )
So I signed up this year, and have enjoyed producing my assignment much more than I expected, and am extra grateful to atreic, hilarita & my mother for beta-reading it. I also wrote a last-minute treat, too late to get it beta-read. Both of them have had positive comments, including from their respective recipients, and the rush from that is amazing.
I loved my own story-gift very much, and heartily recommend it to those enjoyed the source material:
shedding light (and a little fur) (2087 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Cats of Grand Central - Diane Duane
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Rhiow, Hwaith, Mike (Cats of Grand Central)
"He followed me home. Can I keep him?" Rhiow gets a little time to talk to Iaehh - about several things. What do you do when the Queen grants your wish?
We have fetched down a box of Charles's old baby toys & got two biggish ones out. Nico is sitting between my legs, playing industriously & Charles & I are looking on & talking together.
We are trying to let Tony sleep in: he has a lot of cooking ahead today. My brothers haven't emerged from their respective rooms yet and the stockings on each bedroom door remain undisturbed. Soon I will go pull on some clothes & go downstairs with my boys for breakfast and maybe we will watch some silly tv. There are a lot of presents under the tree, disproportionately many for Charles.
 Jonny lives with us, my middle brother; Matt, the youngest, arrived on Sunday; Dan, the oldest, plans to drop in tomorrow.
Life is good.
Matt has just emerged, asking for wrapping paper. And I thought I was being last-minute wrapping late last night.
I wish I was more in the habit of picking up the little point-and-click digital camera than the phone though, it consistently gets much better photos than the phone.
 HELLO MY SON.
So we are into baby-led weaning territory all of a sudden, with the nappies to match. Here's a colleague's snap from our work Christmas dinner, demonstrating Nicholas's newfound enthusiasm for mince pies:
My last deadline was my Yuletide story. I managed to finish and upload my story with a whole three hours to go. I am about equally split between pride for actually creating my first published fic, and trepidation that other people are going to read it.
Deadlines aren't the same as to-do lists. I still have a lengthy one of those, but it can be tackled as-and-when I want to now, at least until next year.
He had his first full day at nursery last week, after a few days settling in. We had a big questionnaire all about him to fill in for the nursery; one question said "what is your child's favourite activity?". I wrote "grabbing things and trying to chew them" and Tony laughed and suggested they might be able to guess that all by themselves.
He adores Charles, and will reach for him and try to cuddle him. He's getting pretty good at reaching for whoever he wants now. He is fairly clingy to me when I am home, but he will often sleep alone for the first part of the night. Unfortunately he has now outgrown the moses basket, so we are co-sleeping by default anyway, until I work out and enact a plan to fit a bigger cot into the room.
We found the baby set for the Tripp Trapp chair we got for Charles and fitted it back on, and bought a second Tripp Trapp, so now many meals have the four of us sitting together at the table. Nicholas mostly watches and makes chattery noises, and sometimes plays with a teething toy or three. He ate a tiny amount of banana at Judith's birthday party, and tried some of my weetabix at the weekend (though that didn't stay down). So we have sitting up, pincer grip, and a fading push-food-out-with-tongue reflex, which together suggest he is ready to start learning solid foods. I think we will try putting some in front of him at mealtimes for grabbing and chewing practice.
Apart from the sound system being a bit too loud for my preference, I enjoyed it very much. Charles was caught up in it very quickly, and even Nicholas showed a lot more interest than I had expected, focusing hard on all the music and movement until he zonked out all of a sudden at the interval. The audience was sadly a little small but Tony & I at least held up our share of audience participation.
The script had the requisite bad puns, contemporary references (Olympics, the 99%, Gangnam style) and local place-name checks. The costuming was lovely, with the Widow in particular having some excellently silly and over-the-top outfits. The choreography and dancing of the chorus was solidly good, providing a background pleasure to my laughter. The musical references were either very recent or from my teenage years, firmly reinforcing that Tony & I are now in the parents-of-young-children demographic.
Charles had a very loud and prolonged tantrum immediately afterwards, which I think was an unsurprising reaction to being so completely wound-up by the performance. Luckily it gave him the energy to march all the way home, complaining most of the way. We had a serious conversation about acceptable behaviour after he'd calmed down, and I live in hope that some of it sticks.
Yesterday, as I was trying to make enough food to get me through a day at work and a lunchtime feed for Nicholas, I thought of the other big line:
That's my secret, Cap. I'm always hungry.
Close enough to true at the moment. Baby must be growing.
Both my father and father-in-law have a bad habit (which I think Tony & I have managed to break) of getting me into a heartfelt discussion about something I felt strongly about (e.g. smoking around small children, ID cards, sexist clothes for children) and then when I reach the point of being visibly upset, saying "oh of course I agree with you, I just wanted to see how good your argument was".
If I'm providing entertainment, I'd rather tell some good stories than get into an argument. Especially a fake argument because the other person already agrees but is pretending not to. Especially with people I respect and am disappointed to find seem to hold unpleasant views. Especially when I didn't know it was a game and they did.
I have enough real disagreements and arguments with the world to need to make up fake ones or argue with people who basically agree with me just to "hone my argument". There are plenty of real people that I'd like to convince to think differently and the internet makes it really easy for us to find each other. Having arguments to mark them out of ten rather than to actually try to convince people is something I just don't understand.
I run into things every day where my disagreement is not a game, and not a performance I'm carrying out to be awarded marks for style. Maybe when we achieve the world where none are enslaved by poverty, ignorance and conformity, I'll learn to enjoy argument-as-performance-art. But not now.
Charles was keen to pose for a photo:
Last week I woke up one morning and it was unusually cold in the house. I went to find the wireless thermostat and discovered the batteries in it had died. The heating works by the thermostat telling the boiler to switch on the radiators if the house is below the set temperature. No batteries meant no instructions meant no radiators on. The batteries in the thermostat are rechargeable, but while they charged I raided the tv remote for batteries to get the heating on again, and realised I was effectively moving batteries from one remote control to another. The thermostat read 17 C when I first got the batteries in, which is Too Cold For Me, yes even with a jumper on.
I got to the end of week 4 on couch-to-5k on 1st November. It's now the 17th and I've got no further.
- 2nd-4th Nov migraine & recovery
- 5th-9th Nov failure to organise around a massively-clingy baby drinking all the milk I could pump
- 9th-10th Nov visiting family, staying in hotel, didn't want to pack running gear
- 11th-13th Nov painful knee after museum visit on 10th, removed supposedly supportive insoles from boots which went in a few weeks ago and which seemed to have triggered knee pain - knee started to feel better
- 14th-16th Nov dodgy guts, thank you baby
- evening of 16th Nov: tripped over in kitchen, fell hard on knee (same knee as start of week) while trying not to drop the baby, now have a massive bruise and lump
I WANT TO GO RUNNING WAAAAAH
Good thing: because of c25k I am being kept in touch with other people progressing with couch-to-5k, and I can believe it will still be there when the latest obstacle heals up, and I can pick it up again (perhaps repeating week 4 as I must be losing fitness by now), and I will have support. I haven't failed for all time, and my virtual partners are keeping me reminded rather than it fading into memory as a failed attempt to do something.
I am now going to start digging back through my LJ Friends/DW Reading/Google Reader pages to find the various posts about it that I have been skipping over so as not to spoil myself: if I had been organised I would have made a list as I went along. Feel free to draw my attention to interesting posts in the comments and I'll add them to my little list below:
Which of these "suspicious behaviours" have you displayed in a hotel?
Not providing professional or personal details on hotel registrations—such as place of employment, contact information, or place of residence.
Using payphones for outgoing calls or making front desk requests in person to avoid using the room telephone.
Interest in using Internet cafes, despite hotel Internet availability.
Non-VIPs who request that their presence at a hotel not be divulged.
Extending departure dates one day at a time for prolonged periods.
Refusal of housekeeping services for extended periods.
Extended stays with little baggage or unpacked luggage.
Access or attempted access to areas of the hotel normally restricted to staff.
Use of cash for large transactions or a credit card in someone else’s name.
Requests for specific rooms, floors, or other locations in the hotel.
Use of a third party to register.
Multiple visitors or deliveries to one individual or room.
Unusual interest in hotel access, including main and alternate entrances, emergency exits, and surrounding routes.
Use of entrances and exits that avoid the lobby or other areas with cameras and hotel personnel.
Attempting to access restricted parking areas with a vehicle or leaving unattended vehicles near the hotel building.
Unusual interest in hotel staff operating procedures, shift changes, closed-circuit TV systems, fire alarms, and security systems.
Leaving the property for several days and then returning.
Abandoning a room and leaving behind clothing, toiletries, or other items.
Noncompliance with other hotel policies.
On Wednesday afternoon I saw my counsellor for the first of 7-8 appointments..
( Read more... )
It's more a disappointment than a surprise. I am taking the screening seriously and I'm seeking help, with appointments with my GP and my employer's counselling service later this week.
(And the rest behind a cut)
( Read more... )
I'm assuming box of chocolates is a bad move. Wine? Gift voucher?
I spent Friday on painkillers and mostly in bed with a cheerful baby, who seemed pretty pleased with all the uninterrupted cuddle-time.
It was still there when I went to sleep but had dissolved by Saturday morning, I spent Saturday feeling tired and getting very little done.
Today I managed the cycle ride to the Funky Fun House and back, and some studying while there. Definitely no running; maybe tomorrow after work.
( Cut for medical detail )
In the mean time I've had lots of comfort food, including a lunch with two friends which was just the right kind of relaxing friendly distraction I needed.
I restarted work! Mondays and Tuesdays only. Tony is not working on those days, and brings Nico to me at lunchtime. We heat up lunch in the little kitchen microwave and sit together at a table in the foyer of my building. I eat and cuddle my baby and feed him, and most times I also take him off to the ladies' loos and change him, and almost always I get to show him off to a passing colleague or three. And then I give him back and go back to the office and work for another 4 hours.
I love it: being back at work, feeling useful and competent, but not having to go too long without my baby cuddles, and getting to do a big feed rather than a big pump at lunchtime. It's not quite as good as the conference creche but it's SO much better than going all day without seeing my baby at all, and a huge improvement on the work pattern we did with Charles where I went from 0730 to 1330 without my baby 5 days a week and didn't see Tony properly except at weekends.
All the updates are on c25k but basically it's going well and I am liking it more than I thought I would. I've had a cold this weekend which has kept me indoors and I am missing it more than I expected.
Going well, though I have been less good at getting in my weekly hours since starting work. There was a tutorial yesterday at Hill's Road and I was too ill to go, which annoyed me.
Charles turned 6 last weekend and we held a party at home for some of his schoolfriends (note for future reference that "colouring in pictures" which I'd thought of as an easy-to-join-on-arrival activity kept the assembled children happy for nearly an hour). He asked for an Angry Birds theme and we did our best, including commissioning this most excellent cake from planetxanna (it was delicious too):
He seems to be enjoying year 1 of school and certainly it is stretching him a bit harder than Reception. We are supposed to get him to read out loud to us for 10 minutes a day and we probably manage it 80% of the time. He has started spontaneously reading out random signs on the street and titles of books we leave lying around. It is really, really cool to see him starting to use this skill as a tool for himself rather than just something we or school ask him to perform.
Nicholas is three months old, almost certainly teething (dribbling, gumming hard down on things), smiling at people with great enthusiasm, failing to sit up but wanting to, sleeping midnight to six most nights plus several other naps each day, continuing to breastfeed plentifully and remaining beautifully baby-chubby. He is getting the hang of hitting and grabbing things on the baby gym but would mostly rather be held/carried in a sling.
Patrick Kingsley in The Guardian - oh those wacky LibDems and their ability to laugh at themselves, and their annoying failure to have back-stabbing drama despite the best efforts of the media. I still find the idea of young Alex being "frighteningly on-message" hilarious.
Jo Swinson's speech on being minister for Business and Equalities and how these are not in conflict - one of my personal high points of conference.
Another highlight, Sharon Bowles's speech on Europe, which led the person sitting next to me to say "where have we been keeping her".
David Grace (who knew me when my mother was carrying me to conference in much the same way I was carrying Nico last week) takes apart another Guardian article on the conference.
Good state schools really do push up house prices. I seem to remember a discussion of this in Tim Harford's book The Undercover Economist (which I read when Charles was a baby & therefore can't remember any details - I really must reread it soon). Anyway, the effect seems to only be partly due to the quality of the teaching, and also partly the "prior ability of the school intake and associated socio-demographic characteristics". I think this is academic code for "the right sort of children to play with".
Big chains are better than lots of small independent practices - at least if you're a female pharmacist in the US. The key appears to be that pharmacist is a job that is easy to share and therefore easier to make meaningful part-time roles (c.f. Jo Swinson's speech above) which in turn keeps more skilled women in the workplace.