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?"
"How about opening your presents?"

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)
It's the kind of work week where I take a break from fixing something terribly urgent in order to fix something else terribly urgent. (And yes, I get a kick from being good at fixing stuff, but it's very wearing when it's non-stop urgency.)

Meanwhile at home and in studying I am behind on everything, so they're both heading into constantly-firefighting territory too. Argh. On the other hand I'm just about getting enough sleep again, and I'm having that lovely feeling of wellbeing that comes once one is fully over a cold, and I remembered to get some vitamin D supplements for this winter.

Three things that amused me recently:

1. Nico knows about high fives, and high tens, but this week he offered me a fist bump and said "High Zero!"

2. The romance novel genre has many many subgenres: regency, shapeshifters, billionaires, SEALs, shapeshifter SEALs, werewolf marines, etc. This week my kindle app offered me "Billionaire Aviators" which tickled me immensely (and reminded me obviously of Top Gun, which I watched at a very impressionable age).

3. We had a team-building thingy at work where we had to anonymously write down something about ourselves and the team had to guess in turn which person had written which thing. The trouble with this is finding a Thing that isn't really obviously me AND that I'm happy to disclose at work. I gave up on being hard to guess and just wrote "My favourite superhero is the Hulk". Surprisingly few people guessed right, several more were like "of course! how did I not guess you!", and then I looked down and realised I was wearing Hulk socks.
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)
(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)
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: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
+ back to work after 2 days sick
- lengthy meeting in room with flickering projector triggered a new headache
+ free lunch
- colleagues with assorted troubles taking them away from the office
+ played with new free project-management app
+ which resulted in dumping a lot of stuff I was perseverating over into external memory
+ got a few of those "little non-urgent but useful" tasks done
- missed book club due to headache
+ tony being supportive and children being (mostly) lovely
rmc28: (silly)
There is a letting agent whose sign I pass on my commute, called Let's Rent Cambridge.  Every time I see the sign, I find myself thinking "what, all of Cambridge?"

Tony was 40 earlier this week and we had a meal at the Cambridge Smokehouse, where the Eraina used to be.  This is a great restaurant if you like meat with your meat and some meat, and I love the "ping a light for service" approach.

I have a new fitness-monitoring-wristband thing (Fitbit Flex for those that care), and my slow overfull waddle back from the Smokehouse was classed by it as "intense activity".  I slightly fear what it will make of my running, when I next manage it.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Today (Sunday) we went to the model trains in Newnham for the first time.  Charles loved them and zoomed around with his friend A while Tony & I hung out with A's parents.

Yesterday we went to London, first to join a meet up organised by [livejournal.com profile] 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.
February and March are a bit of a haze of being ill, recovering from being ill, and trying to get on top of things lapsed while I was ill. 

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, [livejournal.com profile] 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.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I'm off work for the rest of this week, hanging out with Charles while Tony works and the bathroom work continues. Today we went swimming at Parkside, which got Charles's seal of approval, though is rather more expensive than Chesterton. Worth it I think - Charles is so much more confident in water when he can reach the bottom if he wants to, and he did some good float-assisted swimming across the shallow pool in and out of his depth. If we start going regularly, there are multi-swim tickets and a "leisure card" which gives discounts.

There is a mini fairground for children on Parker's Piece, until Saturday. £5.99 for unlimited rides, which I think will keep him busy for a couple of hours at least. I have negotiated with Charles we will go on Friday afternoon (rather than e.g. straight after swimming when both of us were hungry and grumpy) and am trying to round up a couple of his local friends to come too.

After several seriously painful days and missing 2 parties at the weekend, my foot has suddenly started getting better. I missed 2 doses of ibuprofen yesterday and am going to see how today goes without any. I've also been wearing my walking trainers everywhere as the most supportive footwear I own.

"Scooby Doo meets Batman" was not as interesting as talking to the plumber. But at least it's going back to the library today.

This morning I got my smear test done (about 3 months after my reminder letter arrived) and was sad to hear that the nurse is about to retire: she has done nearly all my nurse appointments for as long as I've been in Cambridge, and nearly all Charles's too. She assured me that the nurse replacing her is lovely.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
The bathroom is being ripped out and replaced, starting next Monday and going on for the next 2 weeks. I have spent more time than I ever want to again thinking about tiles, shower curtains and bathroom cabinets. My first ever skip is arriving on Monday and I still need to buy the lino, the aforementioned cabinets and the shelves for the bath. Once it's all over I get to plan a new boiler. We need it before winter, but I can only cope with one major project at a time.

My left foot and ankle started hurting yesterday morning, feeling as though someone had kicked/trodden on me, yet I have no memory of this, unless Tony/Charles want to make a confession. It's been getting worse and was sufficiently bad when leaving work today that I rang the doctor. A phone consultation resulted in an appointment for actual poking and prodding and, apparently, blood tests tomorrow. I'm trying not to worry too much or play hypochondriac on the internet.

My cousin got married a few weeks ago and looked beautiful and happy throughout. I missed half the ceremony to child-watching, but the reception was glorious, lovely speeches and topped off with the best fireworks display I have ever seen. I have photos but seem to have failed to actually catch the bride and groom in them. Charles was enchanted by my uncle's classic car and successfully begged a ride in it:

In the car

Tony's sister Lucy has just got engaged to her lovely boyfriend Simon, who popped the question on a romantic weekend in Paris. Lovely happy news. They're off to Australia for a year now. The wedding will be sometime after they get back I think.

In a couple of weeks, I'm abandoning Tony & Charles for a night for only the second time since Charles was born, in order to attend Ellie's hen night. I'm looking forward to it very much.

Today I've borrowed my first ever DVD from the library. Because who could resist Scooby Doo meets Batman?
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Last Friday Tony & I had a hot date to see Star Trek at the cinema (summary: made of squee, must see again one day, possibly after rewatching my favourites of the older films)

The previous day, Charles was a bit too lethargic with a cough for me to be happy about swimming, so instead I indulged his love of buses by riding a double-decker to the end of the line and back to near-home again. We then toddled home to check the post, and were encouraged out again to the pub by James.

We spent the long Bank Holiday weekend visiting my mother, stepfather & youngest brother, and were joined by my step-niece S, about a year older than Charles. S & Charles played together delightfully, and we managed to get in a memorable trip to the local swimming pool.

This week I've booked the train tickets for our big holiday in August, and am excitedly looking forward to it, and there's a week's holiday to look forward to at the end of this month.

I changed mobile phone networks, so now I can pick up messages and phone calls at my office desk rather than having to walk across the carpark to get enough reception. The number remains the same. The handset was getting very flaky, so I got a refurbished newer one, which is roughly the same length and width, but about a third the depth. I love it and have already customised the wallpaper with a cute picture of Charles.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I fell asleep after lunch, so we didn't stop in London but just went straight through to Coventry.

The birthday ceilidh was excellent fun, I enjoyed dancing and socialising and even got to dance with Tony a couple of times thanks to James taking over Charles-watching duty. The Guildhall was a beautiful and old setting, and one room had a tapestry with a picture of Mary feeding a large toddler-sized Jesus, which I hope to get a photo of turned into an LJ-icon.

Charles woke us both early, and I was a bit concerned about the rain and the slowly-flooding carpark so we set off home earlier than planned, only to be generally delayed and rerouted by engineering works. We traipsed to Soho to the pub where we left Charles's sling 3 weeks ago, to be met by an unhelpful barman who said he'd heard nothing from the boss and he had no access to her office to see if the sling was there.

We comforted ourselves with an excellent meal at Tokyo Diner, in which Charles participated enthusiastically, and then spent some time Teaching Charles About The Underground (a thousand thanks to Naomi Stadlen for enabling me to think of it as that, and not as "taking ages to get anywhere because of the toddler insisting on walking"). He liked the escalators best and fell asleep on the train to Cambridge.


2008-10-04 08:03
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Yesterday work took us all out for lunch as a thankyou for a very hard-working year. In the afternoon I also had to take Paris for a checkup at the vet.

So shortly before lunch I cycled off to collect James's car, drove to the work lunch, left "early" (i.e. when everyone else was still going, but after well over 90 minutes of pleasant food and decompression), drove home, collected Paris, drove to the vet and back. By that time it wasn't worth going back to work, so I took 20 minutes to chase up yet another bank issue, then drove James's car back to where it had been, collected my bike, cycled to collect Charles and brought him home.


And then I pursued the bank some more. This is Bradford & Bingley, with whom I am attempting to open a joint savings account, as it is (still) one of the best available on the market. Yes, they are being nationalised/sold to Santander, but so long as the savings account remains good, I don't really care.

They had rejected a proof of residency I'd sent in for Tony, and after putting me on hold for a while, the call centre person came back and told me that "the money-laundering department" had rejected because I'd written on the statement I'd sent in. I sputtered a bit, partly because how could WRITING ON IT make it less valid, and secondly because I didn't, I attached a post-it note with the application reference on it. She put me on hold to talk to money-laundering again, and a minute or two later came back with "ok, they're going to process it". As I'd already had the document back, I'm not sure how they decided this (and I hope it's not me getting tetchy with the call-centre person), but we should hopefully have a working savings account soon.

The vet declared Paris to be healing nicely, the stitches came out ok, and we can probably stop confining him to the house today. (Just a bit of time observing in case he's been licking at the wound - I haven't noticed it at all yet, so I'm probably going to unblock the catflap after one last check on the leg today.) That will make both cats a lot happier, and be a lot more convenient all round.

Today we are heading to Coventry via London, hopefully collecting Charles's sling from the pub it got left in 3 weeks ago, and dancing the evening away (or at least some of it) at a birthday ceilidh. Annoyingly, I seem to have a bit of a cold and am currently piling on the fluids and vit C to see whether ballet this morning before all that is Sensible.

A cold might explain why Castle Hill was more tiring than usual yesterday afternoon. Normally I take great pleasure in overtaking people uphill, with Charles on the front and my pannier and his change bag on the back, especially if they are wearing lycra and have no baggage, but yesterday I just slogged grimly up in someone's wake with no oomph to go any faster.
rmc28: (happy)
Very pleasant day yesterday with [livejournal.com profile] emperor and [livejournal.com profile] atreic and their other dinner guests. Charles has definitely got the hang of unwrapping presents now, and was delighted with his new mini-rainmaker rattle and books (and shiny wrapping paper and bottle bag from our present). He wasn't too antisocial and we had a good afternoon/evening of socialising and conversation from which we were reluctantly torn by the need to go and sleep. We also endorse the Holiday Inn Express near chez Vernon for comfortable sleep, reasonable breakfast and an affordable bill. Charles was messily angelic at breakfast, devouring half a croissant and a small block of mild cheddar while avidly people-watching.

If it might freeze overnight, park facing south, then your windscreen will be clear sooner than anything else. Unfortunately we had parked facing north. Fortunately it was late enough by the time we left that the ice came off easily. The car journey both ways was very easy; the new average-speed cameras on the A14 near Cambridge have really made it much more pleasant to drive along, as there is a much lower incidence of aggressive speed merchants on one's tail. The vast majority still don't understand about stopping distances though. 90 minutes seems to be much nearer Charles's natural limit for tolerating being strapped into a seat and ignored by his mummy, so we were spared hysterical screaming on both legs of the journey.

We went for lunch at the Carlton to help celebrate Ellie's birthday, and caught up with quite a few people we see less often than we'd like. This evening I spent some time looking at cupboards, fridge and freezer and devising a menu plan and shopping list for the week. Last year Tony often made lunch and we would have our "main meal" together between our two paid jobs. It was very pleasant. Now he's working full-time, the window between "Tony gets home" and "Rachel will not have time to digest main meal before bed" is rather small, so I think I will start making the evening meal as much as possible, as well as encouraging Tony to make lots of ping at weekends. That way we might actually get to eat together regularly. I have generally been lazy about cooking since first dating Tony, and my repertoire is heavily biased towards simple low-effort meals, but my first meal plan looks all of feasible, edible, varied and healthy. Let's see how it survives first contact with the enemy.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Last weekend:

We all developed the plague nasty colds following the return from Leeds. I lasted until Thursday evening before succumbing, but had to have Friday off work. [livejournal.com profile] louise_e_f arrived Thursday night. Friday was spent quietly with everyone but our guest being ill. Saturday we went to Beaconsfield for Nadia's birthday party and baby Chloe's blessing celebrations. Pub lunch spoiled by nasty incident with rude landlord (for the avoidance of doubt, I don't object in any way to being asked to take my noisy baby outside, but there are ways and ways of asking), had to be smoothed over as our hostess has to live next door to him. Party in the evening, lots of people, Charles very shy at first then loosening up after a while. Sunday, pre-booked large family lunch at the same pub. I opted to sit on picnic tables outside, joined by about half the party. Cake and admiring of Chloe, and then home. M25 usual horror.

Last week:
Very busy at work, trying to not get ill again at home. Started trying Charles out with short walks (e.g. to local shops), with mixed success. Need more patience.

Yesterday: Tony & Charles went to local NCT "Saturdads" morning group for dads and babies, and seemed to have fun. I managed to tackle some paperwork, including the travel insurance claim from August's cancelled holiday to France. Watched a Bond movie, chilled out. Updated my present list and made one for Charles, as people are already asking about Christmas.

Today: Chilling out, maybe pub lunch, maybe more paperwork.

Next week: More very busy work days and resting enough outside work to not get ill. Charles is now pretty much over the cold so I can book his 12-month vaccinations.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Bank Holiday )
A week of work )
Saturday dawned beautiful and free of lurgy - I think the wine killed it. Helped prepare the house for [livejournal.com profile] fanf's birthday party, which proved a success I think. Very nice to look around at intervals and see many groups of people chatting away happily. The last dregs of it hung on until about 5am, which was well after birthday boy had given up and gone to sleep. I'm quite glad I stayed off the booze as I merely felt shattered this morning (as opposed to extremely ill and embarrassed as after my birthday party). I managed to get most of the mess cleared up but ran out of steam at the thought of washing up; thankfully Keith obliged and also made fryup when I'd dragged up enough oomph to get to the co-op for bacon and mushrooms.

[livejournal.com profile] fanf slept late in his inimitable manner and finally emerged in the evening to watch The Bourne Identity with me. I enjoyed it just as much as the first time I saw it. We played with the special features, though I'm rather of the opinion that I'm really glad they didn't bother with the extra start and end sequences, or any of the deleted scenes. They tended to remove any remaining ambiguity and mystery around Jason Bourne that was part of the charm of the film for me. Anyway, we can now go see The Bourne Supremacy with my flaky memory of the film refreshed.


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

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