rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Last weekend we made a family visit to the inlaws in High Wycombe, for some low-key hanging-out time together for the cousins to play together and the adults to gossip.  It was Too Hot, but at least every train on the way home had aircon, as did the taxi.  We experimentally departed from Cambridge North, as we are roughly equidistant from the two railway stations.  Advantage: not going through the centre of Cambridge. Disadvantages: only one direct train per hour to London on the weekend, no cafe or shops (yet), slightly more expensive by taxi.  But it was worth conducting the experiment to be sure.

We all struggled with the heat this week.  This house does a good cross-breeze when such a thing is worth doing - this week that was usually from approx 9pm to 7am, so a lot of opening and closing windows and doors according to temperature and people being awake.  We acquired a standing fan to help. I did a lot of waking up about 5am to open things and then droop back on my bed waiting for the breeze to help. I think I'd be a lot less resentful of the lost sleep if I'd been able to be productive with the time, but no.

I went out to a PARTY yesterday and enjoyed catching up with people, and being introduced to Subjective Guess Who?  This is played using the standard board game set, but you can only ask questions which have no objective answer - some memorable ones from last night included "Have they ever played World of Warcraft?" and "Are they a morning person?".  The kibbitzing from the audience is the best part.

Going to the party was utterly self-indulgent given the state of my studying since the election. Today will probably not include much studying either, as plans already include: taking C to see Transformers: The Last Knight, attempting to get some sandals beforehand, getting in my weekly call to my mother before she gets on a bus to San Francisco, and making the cheating version of Tudor costume for C's class trip to Kentwell this week.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
My youngest brother arrived Christmas Eve and was drawn into a conversation with Charles about Transformers before he even put his bag down.

Finding all the presents I'd hidden as I bought them over the past half year, working out what was for who and whether there was a reasonable balance between the children.  Then wrapping them all.  I had managed not to go as overboard as in some previous years, but wrapping still took far too long, even with Tony's help towards the end.

Failing to wake Nico for the evening meal after he'd nodded off with his uncles earlier in the day.  Being interrupted about an hour after the meal by a furious and tired Nico, and spending some interminable period trying to help him through the meltdown enough to try the merits of warm milk and a cuddle.  And then staying up with him until after midnight because Christmas is too exciting!

Tony tweeting: "Father Christmas brought me four packs of coffee and a book of Cambridge barber shop tales. What is he trying to suggest?!"  (It is an open secret to everyone but Nico that I am Santa in this house.)

Calling Charles away from Minecraft to ask if he would like sparkling orange juice for elevenses like the rest of us.  He walked right up to me, paused significantly, and said "No."
"How about salmon on bread?"
"No"
"How about opening your presents?"
"Maybe"

Opening presents together: 4 adults, 2 children, approx 90% of the gifts by volume for the children.  So much fun.

Lovely food by Tony.  Pulling handmade crackers from my aunt as we all sat around the table.

Remembering that I took my last (ever, I sincerely hope!) ATRA dose last Christmas Eve.

Taking a little walk around my local streets in the evening to stretch my legs, and enjoying the variety of decorations on display.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Last summer in Bristol, we found 38 of the 70 sheep placed on trails around the city. I am now decommissioning the user account on which we ran the app to record which sheep we found, so I'm transcribing for long-term reference (and reminding myself of all the puns). I'm linking to the official page about each sheep. At some future date I may actually sort out the memory card full of photos of children posing by each and every sheep we found, but this will do for now.
38 sheep )

Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/660850.html with comment count unavailable comments.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
  • I still have a cough.  I've progressed to the point where I am no longer stupid ill with it, I just ... cough a lot.  I'm not getting enough sleep as a result, but I'm definitely getting better.  Just slowly.
  • I went for my quarterly bone marrow sample on Wednesday; it was probably the least-unpleasant experience yet.  I got the doctor who is particularly skilled at taking them.  I'm pretty certain if there was anything to worry about I'd have had a phone call by now, so I am not worrying.
  • The children had half-term off school, and we sent them to holiday club for 3 days and took 2 days as family holiday to Sheffield where the newest and tiniest cousin is.  As usual, the highlights of Sheffield for the children were, in order: a) trams b) Ponds Forge swimming pool c) their family (especially tiny cousins).
  • I took the children swimming twice in Sheffield.  Charles's birthday party earlier in the month was the first time I've been swimming since getting ill, and I had almost forgotten how much I like it.  Taking them to Ponds Forge is more walking-around-in-water than swimming, especially as I was solely responsible for non-swimmer Nico, but it was fun anyway. 
  • Between cough and holiday and sleep deprivation I am behind on everything and have an assignment deadline on Thursday.  Essay crisis ahoy!
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
In which I discovered that the size 3-4 trousers are still too long, but Nico insisted he would rather wear trousers with the cuffs rolled up than the dark leggings that also meet the school "dress code". Why do I forget that my children are short in the leg for their height?

A frantic online shop later, all the supermarkets start at 3-4, but M&S had some 2-3 school trousers, so they are on their way. (What this says about customer demographics and expected-age-of-first-uniform I leave as an exercise to the reader.)

Anyway, have two pictures (second behind the cut). And if you want to compare, here are the ones I shared of Charles 5 years ago.

First day of school

Read more... )
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
It's Nico's last day at nursery today, so I've made my last commute run there this morning and said goodbye to the staff I've got to know well over the last nearly-four years.  Nico now has a long weekend before starting school next Wednesday - one day with me and one with Tony to do Fun Stuff before the big day.  I'm looking forward to walking both legs of my commute instead of cycling nearly 3 times as far on one of them.

Mid-morning I had a text from my brother-in-law to say that his wife had gone into labour and they were headed for unplanned c-section as baby was breech.  Less than an hour later I had photos of my newest nibling and two happy parents, and found myself having a wee emotional moment in the office.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
  • Go away the weekend before the exam.
  • Have your train journey in both directions disrupted by cancellations and delays, so that instead of a smooth progression between sets of reserved seats at a table, both journeys are longer and punctuated with stressful searches for enough seats for your small group. 
  • Exhaust yourself talking with people at a party.  (Lovely people! Worth being tired for!)
  • Do approximately 25% of the revision you planned to do on the train.
  • Get woken multiple times the night before the exam by a small child, and then both of you oversleep.
  • Ruthlessly hand over the morning nursery run to the child's other parent and cycle off just in time to take it at a non-sweaty pace rather than a frantically-late one.

The cycle ride was pleasant though! The exam itself went well enough: I don't seem to find exams very stressful compared to twenty years ago, so it was just a matter of reading through the questions and deciding (where I had a choice) which ones to answer.  I would undoubtedly have done better if I had revised my management and economics units a bit harder, but I don't think I've embarrassed myself. 

I spent some time last week (when perhaps I should have been revising ...) working out my schedule for the next year, starting now.  I have one last assignment to do this week and this weekend I plan to make a start on the work for my October-starting courses.  My last exam is no more than a year away.  April & May will be a bit grim due to overlapping courses but June-September should be alright.  (Good, because we're going to Helsinki in the middle of it.)

Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/651551.html with comment count unavailable comments.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
0.5 days of the new school year, before Charles was sent home with a stomach bug.
36 more hours before he can go back (fingers-crossed he seems to be over it now).
12 hours today before my own stomach settled enough to eat something resembling a meal.
1 OU assignment submitted, 6 days before the deadline.
5.5 days to go until the exam in the other module.
1 day before the websites for the next two modules open. 
14 days before Nico also starts school.



rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Things achieved today:
  • evicting half a dozen wasps from the living room
  • soothing child terrified (but unstung) by wasps
  • getting [livejournal.com profile] fanf to locate wasp nest
  • booking wasp extermination for tomorrow
  • taking child to gymnastics, with bonus social time for me
  • booking child's birthday party sufficiently in advance to get desired date (unlike last year)
  • 4.5 hours of OU study

Things not achieved today:
  • attending OU tutorial
  • eating any vegetables at all

Things to do in the next nine days:
  • complete and submit final assessment for intro-to-engineering module
  • revise for and take exam for management accounting module
  • take N for visit 1 of 2 to school & after-school club
  • visit my mum and stepdad before their epic trip around the world (we will next see each other in Helsinki next year)

Also, [livejournal.com profile] fanf wrote about his rather-too-exciting trip to the supermarket last weekend, with bonus beard photos.



rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
We've been holidaying in York this week, just the four of us.  At some point I may post photos but right now I never want to move again.  What we did:
  • visited York's Chocolate Story
  • found a local playground for the children
  • found a man blowing enormous bubbles near the Minster
  • had lunch in the basement cafe of the Treasurer's House
  • found our way to Rowntree Park, and back again via the Millennium Bridge
  • took an evening boat tour
  • visited the National Railway Museum
  • took the bus to Castle Howard and spent a lovely day wandering the grounds
  • had a delicious meal at Mason's with an incredibly nice server
  • visited all three of the Barley Hall, Richard III Experience & Henry VII Experience, and walked around a large portion of the city walls
I couldn't help comparing with Bristol a year and two weeks earlier: short version is I was much less breathless, but much more easily tired.  However, I did at least have more stamina than in Llandudno 2.5 months ago.  I did crash one day mid-week and had to spend most of an afternoon and evening zonked out on the hotel bed.  Sadly that was the day we went to the NRM: I left early and got very little out of the time I did spend there, so I think I will need to go back again sometime.

I think that was the last time I will ever book all four of us into a single family room for more than one night; we all need more alone time than was possible to achieve, and I'm giving up on all but essential plans for the weekend as a result, plus it gets ever harder to get the children to sleep when we are still awake in the same room. (And they still wake up at least an hour before I want to.)  I think either adjoining hotel rooms or holiday cottages / apartments are the way to go, even if it does cost more.


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
These probably all deserve their own post, but it's highly unlikely they're going to get them.
  1. I loved the new Ghostbusters, which we finally saw last night. It is made of joy and friendship, and I was highly amused by the villain's motivation and the response to his monologue of justification. Chris Hemsworth was clearly having the time of his life.
  2. I am enjoying being sociable and enabling the children's social life so much that I have slightly overscheduled myself and had to ask Tony to take over something for me this afternoon so I can remember the pacing myself part of recovery.
  3. In October I am going to get very busy indeed with studying (it eases up in June next year) and expect to have essentially no spare time outside work, study, and family commitments.  I am currently in the glorious summer break between being a hermit for cancer & recovery reasons and being a hermit for study reasons.  (Some of the children's social life comes with social life for me, and I am declaring date night with Tony and a monthly pub visit as also essential family commitments.  So not a complete hermit, but a lot more hermit-y than the last couple of months.)
  4. I lost patience with trying to work out how to upgrade my cheap spare phone from Jelly Bean for purposes of enabling C's desire to play Pokemon Go, so I have an even cheaper PAYG smartphone preinstalled with Marshmallow arriving today.  I don't think I need two spare phones, so if anyone is more keen on navigating the thrilling world of rooting phones than I am (or just could use a phone and are willing to use an older android version) then let me know and you can have the older one for cost of postage. (Old phone now claimed.)
  5. My dad came for a short visit and I managed to schedule him most of a day each with each of his grandchildren, and they all seem to have enjoyed the experience. 
  6. Adventures in smoothie consumption continue: I have discovered that I do actually prefer yogurt + milk with my veggies, rather to my surprise. I have built up a little collection of frozen veg and fruit in the freezer to make prep easier / avoid wasting fresh veg that goes off before I eat it.  The little blender does struggle if more than half the content is frozen, so I've taken to making up a bottle of ingredients in advance and leaving it in the fridge to defrost overnight.
  7. I've managed to get my fitbit goal up to 7,900 steps; we walked both ways to the cinema yesterday (with a stop at Mee and I for dinner on the way out) as well as me taking children around earlier, so I hit double that.  My legs are letting me know this morning that they are Not Impressed.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
We just got back from a week in Llandudno, in this rather nice pair of holiday apartments, with my mum, stepdad and my younger two brothers.  It was spacious and nicely presented, a short walk from the station and almost next door to a well-equipped play area.  I know the area fairly well from many childhood visits to my grandmother, who lived in Rhos-on-Sea, and I'm enjoying introducing my own children in turn.

We originally planned and booked this holiday last July, when we were all at my mother's home for a long weekend, and not even the earliest signs of my cancer had appeared.  I've been looking forward to it ever since it became likely I would be well enough to still go.  It was a little experimental: we've not done a holiday in this mode with extended family before, and there was a bunch of admin and planning beforehand to make sure things went fairly smoothly, but I think it paid off well.  An adult:child ratio of 3:1 definitely made things easier!

Highlights for me were:
  • a trip on the Ffestiniog railway to Porthmadog, where we spent a few hours with my aunt and her partner, who'd driven over from Machynlleth
  • seeing Bill Bailey at Venue Cymru
  • spending several afternoons in bed resting/sleeping, knowing there were lots of other adults to play with the children, and feeling so much better as a result
  • discovering a little model railway on the West Shore
There were a whole load of other things I would have liked to do were I fully fit, but I am working on accepting my current limits and it was really very easy to rest and relax and sit around talking with my family and all that good stuff.

One less fun thing that happened was that Charles got temporarily lost while I was on the way to the seafront with him and Nicholas one day, but he did exactly the right thing once he realised he'd got separated from us.  He went up to the sales desk in a large shop and asked to use their phone, gave them my mobile number (which he memorised some years ago), and got through to me to tell me where he was.  The shop turned out to be signed up to a lost-child protocol for the whole town, which meant shortly after I arrived at the shop, so did the local police.  They noted our details and gave me some very polite but firm advice about keeping my children close in a busy tourist town, and agreed with me that Charles had been very sensible.  I was moderately embarrassed on my own account, but very proud of Charles and made sure he knew it.

The other less fun thing was that I had an OU exam in Cambridge on Friday morning.  I came home alone on Thursday evening to get a good night's sleep, and went straight from the exam to the railway station.  I left Cambridge yesterday lunchtime in grey gloom, and arrived back in Llandudno in glorious sunshine just in time for dinner.  Nico and Tony met me halfway back to the house - I heard a small voice shouting "Mummy! Mummy!" and was then obliged to carry an armful of excited three-year-old all the way back while he told me in detail and at volume all about his day.

(I also ended up getting into a really interesting and pleasant conversation with the person sitting opposite on the train from Chester to Llandudno; I love it when that happens, and the journey flew by.)

I'm quite tired now, after the third long train journey in as many days, but hopefully I'll be fine again after a good night's sleep.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Yesterday was not so much fun.  The site where my line was removed is a bit bruised and sore, and it's just where Nico likes to lovingly headbutt me when he leaps in for cuddles.

In addition, I went for a smear test, and had to abandon it as too painful. We'll try again in another 6 weeks (as far ahead as the GP booking system goes), and if that fails, there's a specialist gynae clinic I can go to.
cut for smear test detail )


This week with children back to nursery and school, and Tony back to work, we have been working on the daily and weekly routine.  In my head I call it "practising for work".  I've been trying to get up and get the children ready as though I were going to work; and in the evenings I've been collecting Charles and preparing supper as though I'd just got back from work, so it's ready when Nico and Tony get back from nursery.  In between time I'm resting or studying or getting health work done.

We're trying out planning the weekday evening meals on Sunday, aiming for something a) I can cook b) everyone will eat c) different each evening.  Previously we used to rely on Tony to figure something out each evening when he gets home.  Tony is a much better cook, but I can do basic stuff, and would like to practice and improve.

So far the evenings are going better than the mornings, but this morning I did achieve me+children ready early enough that I could take Nico to nursery.  This was also my first bike ride since July.  I had no problems at all with the mechanics of cycling - the bakfiets is as delightful and familiar to ride as ever - but by the time I got back I needed to sit down for a nice long rest.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Having a working immune system is great.  My cough is nearly gone and today I went on several buses, and to a place inhabited by large numbers of children, and I might do something similar tomorrow. 

Louise and I took the children by bus to the Funky Fun House; normally I do this by bike but that didn't seem sensible yet.  It's two buses with one change on the edge of the city centre and a short walk at each end.  The children were mostly cooperative and sensible on the journeys, and clearly enjoyed hurtling around at the play barn for hours until I declared time to come home before we got caught in the rain.

Cambridge buses are much less stressful to use if you are in no particular hurry to be anywhere; the long tailback on the way home due to cars queueing for the Grafton Centre was merely a bit dull, and at least we were warm and dry.

When we got home, Nico spent over an hour being entranced by CBeebies Stargazers, which delighted me by having Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock co-presenting.

Louise goes home tomorrow morning; the children and I have a vague plan to do the long bus ride to Cheeky Monkeys once she has departed.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
This is articulating a lot of stuff I've been thinking over, especially the last month or so, about my priorities as I start getting "back to normal".


1. Health and fitness
(content note: exercise, weight, mental health)
Read more... )

2. Immediate family

The children have coped admirably with all the disruption and uncertainty, but they're both showing reaction in different ways. I want to give them lots of security and support and attention and stability. I plan to take a good look at our daily and weekly and seasonal routines with that in mind. 

I suspect some additional goals and tasks will come out of couples counselling.


3. Work

The cliché is that a brush with death provides revelation and motivation to chuck in the job and go follow a long-held dream etc.  My revelation from being ill so long is that I really like my work and I miss my job and my colleagues very much, and I want to go back as soon as I feel able.  Probably in a phased-return way so I don't go from zero to full time immediately.  Anyway, the time to start that conversation with work is probably a week or two into next year when this chemo cycle should be finished.


4. Studying

I'm studying with the OU under transitional fees and the qualification I'm working towards will be discontinued at the end of 2017. It is just possible for me to finish on time if I work hard from now until September 2017, and especially hard for the nine months Sep 16 - Jun 17. I've decided to give that plan a try but drop the workload if it's too much.   If I don't manage to complete by September 2017 much of my course credit is transferable to the replacement qualification anyway.


5. Family, friends and community

The care and support I've received while ill has been amazing and much appreciated.    I've found it too easy to let connections slide, especially when busy.  So I'm going to put some time and effort into maintaining connections (socialising, letters, emails, calls, blogs, even dratted Facebook), and into making that work part of my daily and weekly routines.



Two things notably absent from the list above:

1. Reading.

I won't stop reading entirely, it's too much part of me to read whenever I can. But studying will take up much of the time and effort I'd otherwise spend reading, and that seems a fair trade-off for now.


2. Politics

I'm finding it very hard to engage with politics at the moment: anything more than the most superficial attention to current events leaves me emotionally drained and exhausted.  Maybe that'll improve as I recover, but I don't think the five things I am choosing to prioritise will leave me much time over anyway.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
1. I've taken my last dose of anti-cancer pills this morning, hopefully ever.  Nice timing.

2. Yuletide opens tomorrow.  I discovered this huge fanfic gift exchange four years ago when I was pregnant and rottenly ill with it.  One of my dwircle/LJ friends (don't even remember who!) linked to their gift .  Over the next week I found myself working through the collection as a welcome distraction and bulwark against how miserable I felt - one particular long cold train journey was made bearable by the stories I read on my little smartphone as we trundled along.

I've participated a couple of times now; not this year because for obvious reasons I didn't think I could commit to writing anything (I was right). But the amazing thing about the gift exchange is that all the stories are available to anyone to read.  I now have a little routine: I download all the fics that look interesting in the fandoms I know, and load them into my ebook library held in Calibre.  Then I browse my way through the still-anonymous fics, clicking through from the handy end link to kudos / comment / bookmark as appropriate.  I never ever finish doing this before authors are revealed (and I get emails for all the authors I'm subscribed to), but it means I can continue to read fics anonymously throughout the year.  And of course I look out for recs by others and follow those too.  It's one huge indulgent reading festival, and it starts tomorrow.

3. My children are both SO EXCITED about Christmas; I think about 90% the haul of presents under the tree, and 10% the promise of lots of indulgent food.  It's due to stop raining soon, at which point I'm dragging them to the playground to work off some of their energy.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I woke up this morning with no voice, thanks to the ongoing cold.  In theory I am avoiding talking, but that's going about as well in practice as you might guess if you've ever met me.

Louise arrived last night, and we both spent a good chunk of today wrapping presents, which was very pleasant, especially for not being at midnight on Christmas Eve. (have I mentioned I default to deadline-driven?)

I went out a couple of times today - in the morning to get some shopping done, and in the evening to collect Charles from his holiday childcare, and I've managed to rack up 10k steps on my fitbit for the first time since we were in Bristol the week before I got diagnosed with cancer.  That has cheered me immensely.

Now I'm resting in my room; drifting up from downstairs are the sounds of Tony and his mother attempting to put away the vast Christmas supermarket delivery.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I realised it's been nearly a week since I got home, and I'm fine, I've just mostly been in bed, either asleep or binge-reading fanfic.   I get up for meals, and to help get the children out in the mornings, and to fetch C from after-school care three times a week, but then I usually need to go back to bed afterwards.

I've been in to the day unit last Thursday and today, and it seems this exhaustion is normal for this stage of the chemo cycle.  (This is still the Evil Blue cycle - I've not actually had any of it for nearly 3 weeks,  but it clearly did a really thorough job on my blood cells which have fallen much farther than the previous cycle.)  When I get better, I have a biopsy to look forward to, and then the fourth and hopefully last round of chemo.

Due to lack of communication, Tony and I both bought a copy of Minions, which Charles saw in the cinema earlier this year, and adored. The four of us sat down to watch it on Saturday afternoon and it worked really well as a family film.  I don't think I want to watch it again but it was fun to watch once, especially with the children both enjoying it.

Otherwise, I'm beginning to think about When Treatment Is Over, and what normal is going to look like for the four of us when we get back there.



rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Taken from [personal profile] falena :

On the nightstand: Bedside lamp, thermometer, a notebook in which I dutifully record my temperature 4 times daily, a box of tissues, and a charger for my phone.

At the theatre (or from the couch): Nothing really; I can't go out in large groups of people at the moment, but we hadn't been to see anything at the theatre for some time.  The Arts Theatre's practice of adding compulsory booking fees on top of the advertised prices annoys me.

On the small screen: Mostly children's things: Nico is very fond of The Gruffalo's Child (on DVD) and Melody (on iPlayer), and will ask for My Neighbour Totoro about once a week.  I've caught some episodes of Elementary when Louise has been watching it.  Now I apparently can concentrate for the length of an episode, I'd like to finish Daredevil season 1 before Jessica Jones starts.

In my ears: I've been listening to my running playlist on shuffle when I want to develop some get-up-and-go.  I'm still very slowly working through Un Cadavre de Trop when I want to sleep - my French comprehension is so poor that most of it just washes over me, but it gets my brain to stop spinning.  I have a whole backlog of already-bought audiobooks which I'd like to listen to before getting the Ancillary Mercy audiobook and/or rejoining Audible.

Around the house: I have ambitions to tackle the pile of paper waiting to be filed that accumulated while I was away, and to sort out the gloves, scarves and hats, but they might remain ambitions for another few weeks.  Over the back fence, builders are at work on a block of flats and quite entertaining to watch.

At work: n/a

In the kitchen: Not really my domain! Louise has been clearing out the kitchen cupboards of ancient and out-of-date food and spices.  The corner cupboard is much tidier now, and she's identified a lot of flour that needs using up.  So we'll have to turn that  into bread in the next month (the hardship).   I think we're also oversupplied with reusable takeaway containers and should have a cull.

In my closet:
I'm mostly wearing jeans / cords and assorted boring tshirts and hoodies.  The goals are: comfort, discreetly covering my line, not minding if I accidentally bleed on what I'm wearing.

In my mailbox: A couple of bank statements, a postcard from an elder cousin, and a reminder from my dentist.  In a box on my desk, a whole lot of postcards and cards from lovely people while I was in hospital.

In my cart: Most recently bought was a set of folders for tidying up the children's DVDs, and my next OU course.  Today I'm planning to send off my Fairphone to get the giant crack on the screen fixed at last.

On the calendar: Lots of visits to the hospital this week for me. Charles has a Halloween party on Friday and the gardeners are scheduled to come next week and make the garden useable again. Louise goes home towards the end of next week :(


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Today's hospital visit confirmed that round 2 is done and I am starting round 3 of chemo next week, preceded by a clinic appointment.  My bloods are good, no reason to delay, I am all for getting this over and done with as soon as possible.  So I have 6 appointments in 7 days starting next Tuesday, in case I wasn't getting enough of the hospital.

In theory that leaves only one round of chemo left and then the vital biopsy test to confirm "molecular remission" with PCR.  So I'm halfway?


I'm still trying to get a handle on my energy levels: starting at the weekend I had 4ish days where I struggled to do more than lie down and read fanfic, 1 day of getting the OU assignment done on time (turns out, I'm still deadline-driven, even when ill).  Today I had the fidgets after a long time sitting around in E10, so I walked from the hospital to the station cab rank to see if I could.  And yes, I was tired when I got there and had to do a lot of sitting down after I got home, but that's the furthest I've walked since 7th August, and a lot further than anything prior.

If I spend the next four days mostly in bed tired, I'll be less ambitious about walking distances :-)


Change is coming as Louise is going home on 5th November.  Her housesitter gave notice, she has a bunch of things to sort out at home, and I am doing so much better now that I think we will be okay so long as I don't catch anything that sends me back into hospital.   This chemo cycle has gone so much better than the previous one that it makes me feel quite optimistic.  Tony and I will have to put a bit of thought into re-dividing the household labour, but that's not a problem, just a task to get done.  We'll have some help most weeks from my mother, and if it turns out that we really aren't coping even so, we can ask Louise to come back.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
First, a picture of me, showing off my new SHAWL (made to order for me by [personal profile] killing_rose / RavenYarnworks - it is the cookie monster shawl on the Etsy page, only with different yarn):

Showing off new shawl

Some closeups of the knitting (click through for bigger photos if you are keen on this kind of thing):

Shawl detailShawl detailShawl detail



And finally, two lovely photos from my dad's visit on Saturday. The children were persuaded to pose together to update the background photo on my dad's tablet from one of Charles holding a baby Nico:

Happy siblings posing together


My dad spent some time helping Nico paint, to both their apparent satisfaction:

Painting together


Charles was also kind enough to supply me with a new icon. I seem to be quite good at provoking his facepalm lately; we are clearly reaching "MUM, you're so EMBARRASSING" territory.


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
(Maybe I’ll expand on these at some point, but on past experience probably not)

Acoustic Festival of Britain in June: I met [personal profile] jae  and really liked her! I saw Show of Hands with her! I enjoyed listening to live music and also a night and a day responsible to none but myself. I was really impressed with young Welsh singer Kizzy Crawford. I also realised I really don’t enjoy long-distance driving any more, but I did at least have the audiobook of Ancillary Sword to keep me going.

Read more... )
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Thursday we travelled down, dropped stuff in the hotel, and caught a bus to the far side of the Gardens to walk back through them; we very deliberately stayed outside of glasshouses and mostly in less-busy areas, and finished up with time for a good half hour or more in the play area before closing.

Friday it rained a lot. I got in a bit of time with the children at a nearby playground before the rain really got started, and then we went to the Musical Museum shortly after it opened at 11.  We enjoyed the tour of their musical automata, and the performance by the resident organist on the Wurlitzer over our lunch, although both children got a bit bored at different times.  It's a nice little museum and well worth a visit.

We then ambled a bit further along the road and enjoyed the London Museum of Water and Steam, which was much more noticeably child-friendly, and also full of fascinating exhibits, and many rooms and staircases and ramps.  Charles was really into the various hands-on pumps, Nico was mostly into exploring every room and staircase and ramp.  We had foursies there and when it closed, made the very damp dash back to our hotel.  When the rain died down a bit, Nico and I ventured out on a mission to find me a spare pair of trousers (unsuccessful) and food for supper (successful).

Saturday morning we returned to the playground and then to Water and Steam.  The latter had various engines in steam over the day, and the tiny on-site railway had a little train running on it, more or less on demand.  We dragged ourselves away after lunch, and had a fairly tedious journey back across London and home to Cambridge where we all more or less went flop.

I did take some photos on both my phone and my little point-and-shoot camera, and at some point I may post my favourites, but sorting them out is another chore ...
rmc28: (happy)
I put my hair up in a French-plait for the first time in years.  20 months growing-out since the last time I cut it to 9mm.  Of course, some of it was falling out after the 25-min walk to work, and I redid it twice during the morning and then gave up and shoved it back into a ponytail instead.   But it was nice while it lasted.

Passport with the right name arrived!  (I had a letter last week with a query, which I put on one side to deal with After The Election.  The nice person from the passport office who had written the letter rang me to follow up before I had got round to writing back, and we were able to sort it out by phone.  This was all after office hours on a weekday evening.  I was impressed.)

Railcard with the right name arrived!  (This followed tedious faff which I shall write up separately.)

New sandals for Charles arrived!  (John Lewis were out of stock of the right size when we went shopping on Sunday, but put through the order online for me.)

I'm not sure which of Charles and me is the happiest right now.  But we're both pretty happy :-)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I'm noting that I have simultaneously:

- a very intellectual/analytical political nerd almost gleeful fascination about how uncertain this election is and how likely it is that the next government will be some kind of confidence+supply arrangement or possibly a coalition, and parties will have to cooperate and there are so many possibilities

- a very visceral/wordless rollercoaster of excitement and nervousness and hope and fear, both for my specific constituency, and for my country as a whole


Also I am clearly not falling asleep, and yet I have to be awake and coherent at 9am for C's class assembly. 
rmc28: (books2010)
A few weeks ago I got new bookshelves up in the children's room.   Before today I had achieved moving about 2/3 of the books across from Charles's old room (now the spare room).

Today, helped (or hindered) by Nico I have:
  • moved the remaining children's books over
  • added more shelves to the spare room, making 16m of shelving space
  • filled those 16m with books-read from the shelves in my room that have been double-stacked for years
  • vacuumed up a disturbing amount of dust from books and shelves
Still to do (not today!):
  • clear assorted clutter off that bookcase in my room
  • move and add shelves, creating another 12-16m of shelving space in my room
  • move my to-read pile and Tony's to this space (and stop my to-read pile in particular encroaching all over the house)
  • move my library books and OU textbooks there too
  • move books-in-living-room to space freed up in study by previous steps
  • move children's books in living room to their bedroom
  • move remaining books-read to living room
The end goal is to have books-read in shared space, and books-to-read in private space, and children's books in children's space.  And as much as possible single-stacked for ease of viewing and access.

Also each move of books and things is an opportunity to declutter.  So far in this project I've taken 3 bags to the charity shop and I've another one ready to go.  Plus an awful lot of general rubbish uncovered and (mostly) recycled.

(Worst thing about getting back to single-spaced books: I uncovered my MZB books and had to make a decision about what to do with them; for now I've stacked them in a Really Useful Box and stuck that in a corner behind other things.  I'm not quite ready to throw them away but for sure I don't want to see them now.)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
 Specifically the train from Cambridge to London. We might even arrive at Eastercon in time for the Pratchett panel (but probably not).

It is really weird travelling with Tony and 0 children; I keep accidentally checking for them, but hopefully that will wear off soon. In the real world outside my habit-trained brain they were supremely unbothered by our departure, and have more relatives arriving today to keep them busy.
Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/574753.html with comment count unavailable comments.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I found Bob Olsen's obituary again. (Bob was partner to my great uncle Theo for decades.)  So now I know which cemetery to go to if/when I visit Toronto again.

(dept of ridiculous advance planning: maybe for the solar eclipse in 2024)

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I've just been ill, and busy, and ill some more.  Did you know that it's entirely typical for coughs to last up to three weeks? Well now I do.

Studying is mostly progressing in bitesize chunks; I've missed a few days while ill, but also picked up once my brain came back, so that's passed the first test of "is this really sustainable?".

My colleague's funeral had a very gratifying turnout; the funeral service itself focused heavily on the afterlife I don't believe in, but I drew a lot of comfort from fellow attendees, and exchanging stories at the wake.   Her family very kindly let me pick out some of her things from the flat they were clearing out.  I focused on books on topics we had in common and came away with more than I would have expected: I was amused when one of the business texts I'd picked out was referenced in my studying a few days later.  Now I just have to find time to read it before finishing the course.

Running is on hold until I stop coughing, which cannot happen soon enough.  Also I missed the 20th anniversary alt.fan.pratchett meet / Pratchett wake, but at least Tony and Charles got to go.

Eastercon is imminent; my mother-in-law arrived tonight and Tony and I will leave the children from Friday morning to Monday evening.  I've not even been away from Nico overnight yet; I have been away from Charles a few times for the length of a conference, but Tony was with him for all of them.  I am nervous and excited and hoping it all works out well.  Mobile phones make the prospect a lot more bearable.

rmc28: Charles holding his baby cousin (charles and cousin)
It's half-term next week, most places around the country I gather, and Legoland are running a "Junior Builder Week" - also known as "a use for our lego-themed hotel while it's out of season for the theme park".  We stayed a night in one of the themed family rooms, and the following day there were various lego-building activities around the hotel.

The children, and Charles in particular, loved it from the moment we walked into the hotel reception and there was a giant pool of lego pieces to play with, and a vast wall of minifigs behind reception.  We were the only people checking in at that late hour (it was about 10pm) and the receptionists invited Charles to come behind the counter and look at the Wall of Lego People up close.

The room itself was pretty good, with the children's bunk beds in their own area the other side of the bathroom from the adults' bed.  The bathroom was very smartly fitted out with lots of nice details (integrated small-child seat on toilet! overhead shower and second mobile shower head! Lego-branded shower gel and brick-shaped soap!)  I was in two minds over the "Adventure" theming what with this meaning a carpet lovingly decorated with spiders, lizards, scorpions, etc, and Nico (who is a bit scared of spiders) wasn't very happy about the lego spider in the bathroom.

We did manage to get the children to sleep and they did get something approaching enough sleep overnight (I didn't, but never mind) before we went down to breakfast. Then there was lots of assorted playing with lego (and in Nico's case, with automatic doors to the outdoor play area) until people were hungry enough for lunch.  We opted for the buffet-lunch in the same restaurant as breakfast, and Tony took both boys to the outdoor play area while I enjoyed 15 glorious minutes eating dessert slowly by myself.

Finally we went in the hotel pool and "pirate themed water play area" for a good 90 minutes and after that we decided to head home.  (Nico was asleep within 15 minutes of leaving the pool; Charles nodded off on the bus back to Windsor).  Once again we passed through Windsor and I thought "I should really plan a visit here where we have time to visit the town and not just Legoland."

The one thing I really disliked, that I'd managed to forget when we went to the theme park last year, was the constant piped music, always slightly too loud for comfort, in all the public areas.   The pool area is also very noisy, more a constant roar of white noise than the muzak.  I thought Charles dealt with it very well, but it definitely added to frayed nerves when we were getting hungry or tired.

Charles is already asking when can we go again :-)
rmc28: (wedding)
... and supervising nap time.

It's the first wedding I've been to with the new wording, about how in this country, marriage is "a union between two people". I was already feeling emotional but teared up at that. (And then they did the reading from Captain Corelli's Mandolin about roots growing together and I just gave in and cried.) 

I forgot to pack my smart shoes so given a choice between my (bright yellow) trainers or bare feet I'm going barefoot indoors and soaked a pair of socks for the mandatory family photos outdoors. (I remembered spare socks, of course).

Nico decided to read "Room on the Broom" aloud during the ceremony and Charles couldn't sit still and had a small meltdown about taking photos (lesson identified: more effort by us required in walking through formal events in advance). So I'm a bit embarrassed all round, oh well.

Bride and groom are beautiful and look very happy, and it's lovely to see the family and especially my niblings.


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
The rest of yesterday went pleasantly: the children seemed to mostly like their presents, with a few real successes and nothing really disliked.  I had failed to track just how many clothes I'd bought for each child though, and there are drifts of new clothes in the living room which need sorting out.

The adults had a few gifts each which meant we didn't feel left out, food was tasty and plentiful and everybody ate to repletion.  We had lots of fun opening crackers together, and then started an impromptu Wallace & Gromit marathon, and I had a burst of getting-things-tidied doing-laundry changing-sheets while that was happening.

[it's not that housework is especially fun, but it always needs to be done, and doing it essentially on my own schedule rather than under external time pressure can be its own kind of relaxing]

Unfortunately, from about midnight until 4am either one child or the other kept me awake, which means I am less than cheery this morning.  Better now I have breakfasted.  The most annoying point was a fat-finger moment while reading while cuddling Nico.  Instead of deleting an individual ebook I'd finished, I managed to delete all the ebooks on my phone.  Most of them are backed up to Calibre on the family computer, but not the 200+ yuletide fics I downloaded to the phone yesterday.

So tasks for today (in no particular order):
- redownload yuletide fics, this time to Calibre, and then reload phone with 1400+ ebooks
- go for a run and have a nap afterward to catch up on sleep
- get the children to help me put their new clothes away, and almost certainly cull some of the existing ones

rmc28: (wedding)
I fell asleep sometime after midnight.  At some point after that Nico woke up and came into my bed.  Charles woke me up at 5am, but was persuaded to go away again.  And at 6am.  And at 7am.   At 8am I finally felt ready to wake up properly.

Nico got much more into opening his stocking this year; Charles mostly resisted the urge to play with all his brother's stocking-contents as well as his own.  As last year, I put the (excessive number of) presents behind the fireguard in front of the unused fire to keep them out of curious toddler hands.  Mid-morning there was a little present avalanche and the fireguard fell over.  We put it back up up but further out from the fire, and left the presents where they had slid.

I'm wearing a tshirt with Olaf from Frozen, with the slogan "I'm All Out Of Shape".  We've had a mellow morning eating treat breakfasts and too much chocolate, and Nico playing Let It Go and dancing/singing along.  Now Tony has made the salmon-on-bread and poured the bucks fizz.  Charles is wearing a Santa hat and preparing to hand out presents, and all is well with the world inside my home.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Three years ago I bought us a new artificial tree, and spent a Saturday afternoon in bed gestating, while Tony and Charles assembled and decorated the tree.

A year later, Charles did the tree mostly by himself and roped Tony in to help, while I looked after 6-month-old Nico.

Last year, we opted not to try for the tree at all, given how mobile and unreasonable our 18-month-old toddler was.

This year, Charles helpfully pointed out that if we waited until 1st December we would be rushed because it was a schoolnight, and therefore it would be much more sensible to put the tree up today. This time we included Nico until his "help" became too difficult for Charles to handle, and I took Nico off elsewhere to distract him while Tony and Charles decorated the tree.

So far, Nico is being fairly sensible around it, but presents are still going behind the fireguard to reduce temptation.
rmc28: (wonderfrown)

Our last* non-family lodger left last night. Charles woke up asking about when we could start moving him and Nico into the room, so I checked on the state of it (just fine, no surprises there, thanks to lovely lodger) and we've made a start.

10 things done )

* at least for the foreseeable future, never say never and all that. Meanwhile, if anyone in Cambridge wants short-term, well-behaved, pleasant, pay-the-rent-on-time lodgers, I can recommend the steady stream of interns on 3-month placements with Microsoft Research, and put you in touch with the people there who compile lists of possible hosts.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
notes for self about what we did on each day
list )
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
We spent most of a week in Sheffield, which was nice and sunny when we arrived and when we left, and rained most of the rest of the time. 

Our accommodation was a family room in a travelodge, very near the Ponds Forge swimming pool, which we visited several times and enjoyed greatly.  There's a little toddler pool (strictly under-8s, constant supervision), and a big main pool with an intermittent wave machine and a 'river' running all around the outside.  There are also two flumes but I was engaged with N on my first visit and they were shut on my second.  N went from terrified of the pool on his first visit to gleeful wading and sliding until he was turning blue with cold at the end of the last.

For getting around, we bought week-long "Citywide" (for adults) and "Getabout" (for children) train+tram tickets, which did the job nicely (except I made a mistake on the first day and bought the wrong sort for a day, which was nearly £20 we didn't need to spend, sigh).  Travel to and from was by prebooked trains, with sets of four seats reserved each way on the long leg from Sheffield to Ely.  Strictly, we don't need to buy a ticket for Nico as he is clearly under five.  Practically however, he doesn't sit on anyone's lap for long, and it's much easier to manage both the children if we have a set of four seats to ourselves, rather than trying to work around a complete stranger in the fourth seat.

Apart from swimming and riding trams, our main bit of tourism was visiting the Kelham Island Steam Museum, which was a real delight.  Charles was absorbed and looking around at everything for most of two hours.  Nico was particularly engrossed by a couple of the exhibits (one where you turn a handle to make light/move a train, another where you have to work out which additions to steel are appropriate for which purpose, against the clock).  He also loved watching a large gas-powered engine spinning, and did lots of spinning himself in response.  We made sure to time our visit to see the enormous River Don engine in steam, which held a whole mass of visitors completely enthralled.

We had a bit of drama in the visit at a point where I thought Charles was with Tony, and Tony thought he was with me, and of course he was with neither of us, having got engrossed in a particularly interesting exhibit.  I was helping Nico who was finding the steam-themed children's play area a bit too challenging, when a member of staff found me and brought me to a scared Charles in the reception area.  Both children promptly burst into tears and clung on to me while I simultaneously tried to soothe them, reassure the staff, and answer a phone call from Tony.  The museum staff were completely lovely about the whole thing, and I'm very grateful to them.

Sheffield being a lot closer to my mother's home than Cambridge, we took the opportunity for a day trip to Leeds midweek to meet up with mum and my stepfather Mick.  Mick's grandchild Sophie came with them, which suited both her and Charles very well.  We had lovely curry at Mumtaz (now licenced as 'Chandelier' to sell alcohol), and then ambled across for an hour or two in the Royal Armouries.  I confess, I primarily treated it as a free dry space with somewhere to sit down with my mother and Nico, though the rest of the party did some actual looking at the exhibits.   I mainly got to enjoy the amazing staircase lined with weaponry, while letting N wear himself out climbing it.

We deliberately didn't try to pack too much into any one day, and came home on Friday so as to have a whole weekend to catch up before returning to work.  As a result I'm feeling about as rested as I ever manage, given toddler.

rmc28: Rachel holding newborn Nicholas (rmcf+nhf)
We have met my Tiny Nephew, the mustardseed born early in Dijon. He is doing well: he's been home from hospital for a couple of weeks, he's breastfeeding rather than through a tube as of about a week ago, though he still needs extra supplements on top. He is still under 3kg and is small enough that when he curls up it is possible to imagine that he might fit inside another person. (Mine were 4.7kg & 4.8kg respectively at birth, and both times I couldn't imagine how they'd fitted once they were out.)

Charles adores him:

Chaffinch and mustardseed


But I have managed a cuddle too:

Mustardseed on my shoulder
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Friday before last, Tony & I went for a lovely meal (launch of the Eat Cambridge festival which we have otherwise not got to).  As it finished early, we opted for a wee drinkie at the Castle before going home. Among other things, this gave us time to talk through some of the things that are stressing me, in particular all the stalled things-we-should-do around the house.

Some of them are stalled because of money.  Much more of them are stalled because of me: I've been struggling for ages to find the thinking-brain capacity to move them along (and some of the things that I need to do about money are similarly stalled), and the lack of progress stresses me, and being stressed reduces my capacity, hello feedback cycles.

Quite often the stall is me letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, for example "we should move the children into the bigger room in the summer when $lodger has moved out, but in order to do that, we need to redecorate the room, and redo the flooring, and get bunkbeds, and now I just can't face even starting".  Tony pointed out we don't need to do all of that, we just need to move their stuff in and use the twin beds that are already there, probably keeping one of them in the trundle position for now.  It's not as good as bunk beds in a newly-redecorated room, but it's a start.  Having them in the bigger room together is a definite improvement from now, so we should do it, even though it's not perfect.  (And thanks to school closures and the Tour de France, we have a long weekend at the start of July, just at the right time.)

A couple of days after that, I managed to break the catch on N's cot, which holds the cot side up and (I realised) holds the cot together such that it is safe to have a cot-top changer.  And now it isn't.  We were already planning to freecycle the cot and reassemble the changing table when we moved N to the shared room, and moving that earlier by a couple of months isn't a huge problem.  So basically I tried little steps:
  • Monday I tried to fix the cot but failed
  • Tuesday I figured out how to use freecycle again for the first time in years and offered the cot there
  • Wednesday I started disassembling the cot
  • Thursday I dealt with freecycle responses
  • Friday I finished disassembling the cot
  • Saturday I had a migraine and let myself do nothing
  • Sunday I got the cot into the garage to await collection and reassembled the changing table
So that was a week in which I had to use changing-mat-on-bed and part of my bedroom was a pile of disassembled furniture, but each step was an improvement and actually happened, and I didn't make myself ill (well, I had a migraine, but I don't think it was this that triggered it).

The lightbulb moment this morning was remembering that I actively prefer the incremental-improvement approach to changes in my work, and have experience to back up that preference.  It shouldn't surprise me that it also works for projects outside of work.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Google Maps in satellite view, to help me find / remind me of the nearest play area to a pub / cafe / other meeting spot.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Not mine, but seven-year-old C's.  I've had to work quite hard to find 3 hours over the weekend where I can go do a long gym session (as substitute for a long run), in between:

* birthday party
* visiting friend to play (self-organised! so proud!)
* swimming lesson
* library
* school disco

If I do the library run while he's in the party, it just about works out.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Thank you all for such lovely supportive responses to my name change. To pull out one comment I made, it is like the lifting of a weight I hadn't realised, to see the right name on things.

(I'm still waiting to hear back about formally changing my name at work. In the meantime, I've started using my birth name on change log comments anyway, and am wondering how long before anyone notices. I've been working on this system for so long that there are quite a lot of old comments with my birth name ...)


On a different topic, the Mustardseed is now safely repatriated to a hospital in his parents' home town. His mother travelled with him on the private plane with medical staff (and commented she hopes he doesn't get too used to this style of travel), but his father had to go home separately for space reasons, and arrived rather later. Lovely photos included a "baby on board" sign for the plane.

I need to actually finish packing the Parcel Of Baby Goodies and get it posted to them now.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)

Marriage and titles and names have been on my mind, see my post of last month.  Two of my friends got married on the same day in March: one changed her name to her husband's, one kept her name.   Both equally valid choices, but the one who kept her name got so much "jokey" pushback that I rolled my eyes, thinking "oh no, not again".

For a while now I've found myself thinking "if I was getting married tomorrow, I wouldn't change my name".  My experience is that the people who respect my compromise double surname also respect the women who don't change their names (and the men who do).  The rest of them just address me as Mrs Anthony Finch anyway.  Plus the idea of "remaining one person with one name, in everything I do" has proved overly idealistic, given how much I answer to "Charles's mum" or "Nicholas's mum" rather than my actual name, or call for a taxi/book a table in the name "Finch" because that's easier than the whole double barrel (but feels uncomfortably wrong).

It isn't much of a step from "I wouldn't change my name now" to "I wish I hadn't changed my name" and from there to "what is stopping me changing back?"  In the last month I've basically realised it's the paperwork hassle and concern for Tony's feelings.  On checking with Tony, he's entirely supportive, which just leaves paperwork.

I think if Nicholas had been a daughter rather than a son, this might have happened two years ago.  I quite liked the idea of "the girls" being Colemans and "the boys" being Finches (though it has its own issues with reinforcing the binary gender default).  But there aren't and won't be "the girls" now, so it's taken a bit longer to bubble up out of "nice idea" into "this feels important to me and I want to do it".

Today I'm starting the tedious process of changing everything back.  I fully expect it to take months to get through everything, and to have to gently correct people assuming we're getting divorced, but from today I'm Rachel Coleman again.  Ms rather than Mrs, and I still prefer "Rachel" to any title.  I'm going to keep my personal email address (rmcf@cb4.eu) even though those aren't quite my initials any more, because for nearly nine years they were, and that's part of my history.

I'm still very happily married, and my children still have their father's surname.  But I made a mistake changing my name and now I'm fixing it.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
My new nephew is actually called Edward, and my brother-in-law sent us some photos, which instantly eased my mind. Edward looks very tiny and adorable in that not-quite-finished-baking way that early babies have, and is apparently doing very well (strong, good lungs) but will need some time in an incubator.  I haven't spoken to his mum yet, but b-i-l and m-i-l report her recovering well too.

The photos also show the new parents doing kangaroo care, which I'm taking as a good sign both for baby and of the hospital knowing what they're doing.  No idea yet when they will make it back to the UK.   I was putting aside new-baby things to post up to them in preparation for the birth ... going to hold off on that until we know more.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
We got a phone call yesterday evening to say that my sister-in-law Lucy had gone into labour.  7 weeks early and while on holiday visiting her dad in France.  They'd got her to hospital in Dijon (which is *not* a trivial journey from where they were staying) and though obviously it was early, the hospital is a good university hospital, and she had family with her.

So we couldn't do much but wait and try not to worry too much.  Dijon is at least 7 hours from here, however one travels, and Lucy is well-provided with people to support her.

In the early hours I got another call, to say that my nibling was safely arrived ("born crying") and all seemed to be well, at least for now.

Meanwhile my two woke me at their usual horribly early hour, and N has a cough and C has school tomorrow.  We await a name for their new cousin, but in the meantime Mustard seems an appropriate nickname.
rmc28: (wonderfrown)
This week I have been to "Christmas songs" featuring Charles's year group at primary school, and "Nativity Play" featuring what seemed to be the entire enrolment of Nico's nursery.  The two events have left me filled with
a) delight in the enthusiasm and creativity of children and the teachers and childcarers
b) increasingly homicidal rage towards other parents/carers who keep standing up and blocking my view of a)

Being British, I expressed b) by folding my arms and frowning slightly at their backs while internally vowing to turn up at least 15 minutes early next year so I can sit in the first couple of rows.

I'm having a similarly split attitude towards Christmas in general: where my family and friends are concerned I've been enjoying the planning and the choosing of gifts and the social events and the getting ready, but as far as people in general are concerned I basically cannot wait for the point where I get to go home on Christmas Eve and shut the door on the outside world for at least a couple of days.

I think my lurking misanthropy stems from being deeply tired: work is busiest from August through to November, so I have just started to catch up on things-not-instantly-urgent.  I am struggling failing to keep up with my study schedule, and the children are both being clingy and demanding in different infuriating, entirely understandable, age-appropriate ways.  A week off work isn't going to fix any of this, but it will help. 

Charles is very excited about Christmas, and Nico is just old enough to start appreciating that something special is happening - he was rapt and delighted by the decorations C & T put up yesterday.  I have bought both children far too many presents (which need wrapping, argh) and am very much looking forward to watching their reactions when they get to open them.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Everybody was out of quarantine by Monday morning, and if we all had to be ill, at least it was over the bank holiday where we could get away with being lazy taking the time to rest and fully recover.

I briefly had inbox zero, but it hasn't lasted.

I got the mark back for the assignment that I fought so hard with to submit last Tuesday.  I had resigned myself to a mediocre mark and was wondering if I ought to think about replanning my choice of remaining modules.  But it turns out I did significantly better than expected, and from a quick read, got some really helpful feedback as to what I thought I was getting wrong.    Now, if only I can do as well in the exam ....

I have a post-it-note pile countdown, which is proving very helpful for keeping up a steady-ish flow of studying little and often most days.  42 days to my exam now.

School restarts in the middle of next week.  I've just remembered that I was going to get more uniform for Charles.  Luckily we did shoe shopping a few weeks ago, and his tops are all fine, and he'll be ok with slightly draughty ankles in the existing trousers if delivery on longer ones takes a while.  His bookbag is a disaster though, and I should have ordered that at the start of the holidays.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Nico got sent home from nursery on Wednesday with a dodgy tum; Tony & I succumbed Thursday night and are nearly better now; Charles & Jonny just succumbed.  We are scrupulously observing the 48-hour rule before being social/going back to work/childcare.

I have been especially grateful for the new tumble-dryer as lots of bedding needed changing several times in close succession.  Only the waterproof undersheets can't go in it; Tony hung one of them on the line in yesterday's sunshine but forgot to bring it in before the night's rain.  There seems no point in bringing it in until the rain has stopped now.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
+ On Tuesday we found Nico has two more teeth, at the back of the mouth, making a total of 10
- Also we found he had an ear infection
+ Which we took to the GP surgery in Llandovery, who were willing to work with the railway timetable to give us an appointment yesterday morning
+ And prescribed antibiotics whrich have already had an effect within 24 hours
+ Meanwhile Charles went swimming for the second time and loved it

- It is our last day at Seren Loft
+ But the weather has gone back to gorgeously sunny
+ And it has been a good week

I've done a bit of study but not as much as I hoped; we've all chilled out quite a lot, we've had good excursions to Llandovery (x3) and Llandeilo and Llandrindod Wells, and we may even have some social time with our hosts this evening.

Travel tomorrow and a weekend to recover and then back to work / kidsclub / nursery respectively.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Last weekend we went to Paris for 4 nights, to kick off our family summer holidays. We managed to coincide with a peak in the local heatwave, in a hotel room without air-conditioning. Ouch. We managed, but it was hard work at times (loud room with windows open or quiet-but-roasting room with windows shut).

What we did in Paris )
We were back home before 7pm, and between us had just enough oomph to get unpacked and everyone fed and into bed. Although it was still warm in Cambridge, it wasn't as fierce as Paris had been, and our house is easier to keep cool than that hotel room.

We then had a couple of days at home before coming out to Wales for a week at Seren Loft. So far we are enjoying it very much - the hot weather was with us on Friday and the first bit of Saturday but we've had lots of rain since. I commented to Tony that my many childhood holidays in Wales have led me to associate "rain falling on wooded hills" with feeling relaxed and happy (so long as I am somewhere safe and warm looking at it). The children like the Loft a lot, and Charles is especially enamoured of the artists studio beneath it. I have brought my OU textbooks and am vaguely thinking of spending a fair bit of time in the studio studying while Charles Does Art, and Tony has lots of baby time.

Profile

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

June 2017

M T W T F S S
   123 4
567 8910 11
121314151617 18
192021222324 25
2627282930  

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated 2017-06-27 19:04
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios