Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Mental Dental

Today saw us taking a trip up to the Glasgow Dental Hospital. Kid-the-Eldest has, appropriately for halloween, produced some very crooked gravestone effect teeth as he has grown. He finds them very difficult to brush and consequently now has rather inflamed looking gums.

Parking at the hospital is hopeless so we took the train. I used to quite like taking the train up to Glasgow, but it's not so relaxing when you've got an 11 year old with Aspergers by your side.

We got into our carriage and took the only available two seats together. Sitting next to the window on my side was a young man of about 18 or 19 years of age. There were several things that struck me about him, but most notably, the badly tattooed knuckles and the unmistakable reek of Buckfast at 8.40am.

Just after we moved off, the ticket inspector came round and blokey next to me asked for a ticket to Glasgow from our stop, not the one he'd obviously been travelling from. I had to kick my son in the shins to stop him pointing out that this was an inaccuracy.

A few stops down the line, another young man careered up the wagon towards my neighbour. He muttered a greeting, but neither we, nor Mr Heroin Chic next to me could quite make out what he was saying because he was sporting a fairly fresh Glasgow Smile (google will help you out if you don't know what that is), and could barely move what was left of his mouth. Another sharp kick in the shins stopped blabbermouth from commenting. Charing X has never seemed more welcoming.

The Dental Hospital itself is not the most welcoming of places. The unmanned Reception Desk gave me no clue as to where we were meant to be going, but thankfully I'd remembered the appointment sheet this time and was able to figure it all out. We waited for about 40 minutes, during which time I completed the three Sudokus in today's Metro and Kid-the Eldest talked at me about his "Moon Hotel". Eventually we were seen by a very nice consultant, who asked my beloved son who lived at home with him. "Well there's me, my dad when he's not away on a business trip, my two annoying little sisters, my eight fish and my mum, who for some reason has done nothing but kick me this morning."

And today I am wearing:

Wide legged jeans, size 16 - they fit at last!
Opal Fruit Green vest top - Size 14
Opal Fruit Green cardigan - Size 16
Brown suede wedge heeled boots
My new red coat!
Green earrings from Funky Blue Fish jewellery
Green bangles from Primada
Big red chunky necklace from Chavsda

Monday, 27 October 2008

Tis the season to get spooky....

Today's weigh-in, as expected, wasn't the roaring success I'd been hoping for a week ago. However, all is not lost, for while the scales weren't particularly complimentary, the tape measure gave me a much more postive reading. I simply need to apply myself this week and remember why I'm doing all this!

One good thing...the lovely dark maroon velour dress that I purchased in a Monsoon sale a few years back, now fits again. It could do with some super-strength spanx-type underwear to smooth out the inevitable lumps and bumps, but it is going to form the basis of my utterly fabulous outfit for the Halloween disco on Friday. I intend to be the most glamorous witch this side of Eastwick.

Talking of Halloween...who has hidden my pumkin carving set? I have four pumpkins awaiting creative genius and nothing with which to perform the magical transformation from bulbous orange vegetable to spookily shining lantern. I also need to go up to the attic to find the other halloween decorations - we have ghosties and cats, witches and bats. And spiders. Lots of those, and not made out of paper either.

I am afraid of spiders. When I see one, or even if I just think I see one, my heart races, I go cold and sweaty and want to run/scream/throw up. The-man-I-married seems to think this is funny and he jokes about "What do you do when I'm not here" as if he doesn't know that I haven't been in the office upstairs for nearly two weeks because somewhere I know there's a spider lurking. In fact, just thinking about it is making me feel decidedly nauseous.

There are many things that I love about halloween..dooking for apples, getting dressed up, an excuse to light lots of candles, among them. The prevalance of fake spider's webs complete with fake arachnids isn't so good. Last year, Kid-in-the-middle brought home a cake she'd made with a big black plastic monstrosity embedded in the top. Once she'd eaten the cake, the spider kept finding its way into my line of vision and for about a fortnight I could be seen periodically leaping into the air in fright. Eventually, it went the way of most spiders in this house and got sucked into my vacuum cleaner. Ergh.

BTW - that pic at the top is Kid-at-the-Bottom-of-the-Heap in her first halloween costume. I may update it with something more recent once I'm done sewing and sticking things together!

Today I am wearing:

New, bootleg, indigo jeans, size 16...very comfy, verging on being too big, but the size 14s gave me a muffin top.
Apple green smock top, size 16 which no longer makes me look pregnant
Mushroom zip up hooded fleecy cardigan type thing. It used to be a size 10 in a previous life but has obviously grown with me.
Utterly gorgeous tan suede winklepicker boots with fringing and heels that could take your eye out.
Jewellery from a selection at a carboot sale near you.
Make up - not so much. My face feels a bit "rashy" - I'm having a cosmetic-free day to help it calm down a bit.

BTW....on Friday, my mother, ever complimentary said "Is that a new coat?" I told her the story. "It must be a big size 14!"

Thanks for that.

Find me, somebody to lo-ove....

So, I have been trawling through contacts and links this week, and here are the seven other blogs that I'd like to award with an I Love Your Blog Award:

1. The Happy Snapper Chronicals
2. Miss Frugality
3. Over the Pondlife
4. Three Buttons
5. Just Stuff
6. Such a pretty face
7. Inside a black apple

I haven't managed to be all clever like Wendy was and provide snazzy links within this post. I did try, but I gave myself toothache and gave up. All of them are now listed down the left hand side of my own blog, so you should be able to go and give them all a gander!!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Read this very carefully. I may be asking questions.

Diet-wise this week could have been better. That's a round-about, mealy-mouthed, politically-correct way of saying it has been a tad on the less-than-successful side. Okay, so it has been disastrous.

At the beginning of the week I was hoping to lose another two pounds so that I could officially say that I'd lost two stone. The way things are going, I'm busy praying that I can at least maintain the same weight as last week. I've been out to lunch, invited friends over, succumbed to chocolate cravings and consumed too much wine for any actual loss to have occurred. But hey, one bad week does not a diet wreck. It's a pause, not a stoppage. And besides, I'm thankful that I have friends with whom to sabotage my diet. Life without wine, gossip, chocolate and laughter would be a bit less fun. And this attempt at being healthier and more comfortable in my own skin isn't intended to turn me into a puritanical misery guts who can't let go occasionally.

So, what else has been going on? Kid-in-the-middle was accepted for tuition in the brass section of the band, and this week brought home a lovely shiny Eb Tenor Horn. It's noisy. How anyone is supposed to get a tune out of it that doesn't resemble bovine farting I really can't imagine. I guess I'm to have the pleasure of standing by with my fingers in my ears as she tries!

Also on the school front, this was the week that Kid-at-the-bottom-of-the-heap started going in for the full session. This means school lunches. We spent a good few minutes last week going over the menu options and carefully picking out things that I thought she'd like. I needn't have worried. School chicken curry? Yum. Tuna bagette and salad? Lovely. Macaroni cheese? Superb. By the end of the week, I'd forgotten what choices we'd made and had to ask her what she'd had. Apparently it was something "A bit like a sandwich, but not bread, more like a rolled up pancake and I think it had egg in it and it was hot and tasted a bit like that thing that's not lemon chicken that I sometimes have from the chinese restaurant only not chopped." (It was an omelette!)

Kid-the-eldest has been inventing a moon city. He is going to build a city on the moon and ferry tourists to his space hotel. I'm to get the blue presidential suite when I visit. Apparently, if he dies, he's bequeathing it all to Gordon Brown so that Mr Brown can have another go at getting things right. And they say kids with Aspergers don't have any imagination!

Also this week, our church has been busy raising money for a school in India. It was decided to hold a quiz night. This was a village affair, involving teams from the Guides, Scouts, School and Church, and the tagline for the event was "Are You Smarter Than The Sunday School?" Yes, as it turned out. They all were. It probably didn't help that every other group had at least four adults whereas The Sunday School consisted of me, one adult friend, her eight year old and my three. I think we were at a disadvantage even before you take into account the fact that I know nothing and can't recall the rest.

I felt like one of those elderly people who can witter on for hours about events that happened fifty years ago but who have no idea what they had for breakfast. The number of times a question was asked and I went "Oh, I know this, I really do. If only I could remember...." I did manage to delve deep and come up with a number of chemical symbols, retained from the days of cramming for O'Levels. And my maths was better than I'd realised. But music, drama and sport? Oh dear. What events make up a decathlon? Apparently my answer, (running, jumping, and throwing things) wasn't specific enough. I'd argue that the name of Shakespeare's wife might well have been Mrs Shakespeare, but that wasn't what they were looking for. And it took until midnight, as I was going to bed before I remembered the name of the lead singer of Pulp. It did cause me to ponder on how many other women snuggled under their duvets last night and suddenly screeched "Jarvis Cocker!"

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Somebody loves me!!

I'm all overcome!! Many, many thanks to Wendy for including me in her list of nominees for the I love Your Blog award. How good is that?!

Of course, it leaves me with a slight problem: I now have to nominate a further seven blogs. How to pick? I'm going to have to go and think about it for a bit!

Monday, 20 October 2008


Omelette? Anyone?

This is the "burn" (stream for all you sassenachs) that runs along the bottom of my garden

And again, only it had rained a bit.

Just a small portion of the eleventy hundred thousand apples that my mother has given me recently.

My shiny new coat of just the one colour. But oh what a colour!

Onwards and downwards

I hate to tempt fate, but it seems as if the diet is going pretty well. I've lost two pounds a week for the last two weeks and I am now weighing 12 Stone 13. I haven't weighed 12 stone anything in over two years so I'm feeling quite pleased with myself. I was able to take off my engagement ring yesterday for the first time in that period too; not that I am in the habit of discarding it all over the place, but it's a good sign that things are going in the right direction.

After reading Wendy's blog the other day, I was coveting her new coat. Our local Asda didn't have that particular item in stock but they did have a rather fabulous red duffle jacket. There was only one, and it was a size 14 with no price on. I took it into the changing room to try just in case I was being massively over ambitious. If it was going to make me look like an overstuffed tomato, I wanted to be behind closed doors. But hey - the colour was perfect, the shape flattering and the toggles even met in the middle.

The only slight snag was the lack of a price tag. I didn't know how much it was. I stood in my little cubicle, stroking the red wool mix and pondered how much I'd be prepared to pay for it. After quite some stroking and pondering, I settled on a figure of £25. If it was £25 or less I was buying it. There. Decision made. And having made it, I procrastinated for about half an hour to put off the evil moment where I might find out that my coat was too expensive. In the end, all the mental wrangling and angst was unnecessary (as it so often is) because the coat was indeed £25 and I scooped it out of the bag when I got home and wore it for most of the afternoon.

Today is a bit of a landmark event. It's the first day that Kid-At-The-Bottom-Of-The-Heap is at school for the whole session. She'll be having her lunch at school and coming home on the bus. No more school run for meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! What will I do with all this Kid-free spare time?!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Passing it on

I keep missing Jamie Oliver's programme, so have to watch it on catch-up on the pooter. I'm not really his target audience this time, because I can and do cook, especially now that I'm not working, but I have found the programme inspiring nonetheless. I'm an over-emotional soft-hearted bit of blubber really and I couldn't quite stop my eyes from watering a bit as I watched Natasha imploring her friends to "moove yer 'ips", or when Mick was so obviously delighted with himself at producing a delicious meal.

Interestingly, Kid-at-the-bottom, is going through a phase of wanting everything to be "homemade". Yesterday for lunch I made her sandwiches with homemade smoked mackerel "paté", and she complained that I hadn't "made" the cucumber. However I have been making lots of other things. In the last week alone I've made enough apple pies and crumbles to feed the world's military forces several times over. My crew demolished the lot within seconds of them coming out of the oven. I've also been producing blackcurrant jam and apple jelly. More apples are winging their way to me as I type: Mother is coming for lunch. Hope she approves of the soup I made this morning! In the spirit of passing it on, here's the recipe:

Roasted red pepper, tomato and lentil soup.

6 red/yellow/orange peppers
Olive oil
Sea salt
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic crushed
Tinned tomatoes
1/4lb red lentils, washed
1 pint veg stock
Sprig of rosemary
S&P to taste

Roast half a dozen red, orange and yellow peppers by taking off big slices, placing them skin side up on a baking tray and drizzling with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Fairly high temperature, about 40 mins till the skins start to go crispy and a bit black. Let cool.

Sweat the onions in a pan with the lid on so that they cook in their own juices. Meanwhile, shred the peppers. No need to take the skins off. When the onions are softened, add the shredded peppers, tinned tomatoes, garlic, washed lentils, sprig of rosemary and veg stock. Simmer for half an hour or so until lentils are softened. Taste and season. Blend.

If the tinned tomatoes are whole, do the simmering before you break them up. I reckon this would be good with some melty-type cheese cubes on the top for those skinny people who aren't on a diet!

Talking of diets - I'm another pound down and inspite of AF turning up yesterday, I didn't have a major carb binge this week. Although I was a bit crotchety. Sorry to those who noticed and suffered.

Today's sartorial elegance consists of:
Hideous purple poloneck Christmas type sweater complete with sequins (it's warm, what can i tell you?)
Brown cord flares. Oh God, I've gone back to the seventies. I know who's to blame as well.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Sock Monster

Two months have passed since I gave up work. Tell me, when do you suppose the house will be tidy?

Periodically, I have this daydream where I am a little old lady living in a small terraced cottage with a gated front garden and a bit of a plot at the back, a couple of trees, preferably apple and plum, some evergreen shrubs and the occasional use of next door's cat. My house is cosy, full of well-read books, heavy curtains to shut out the winter, and a log fire. Next door are very good at providing me with logs. I keep them well supplied with plum jam. And all is spick and span and it stays that way on a daily basis.

Back to reality. And socks. I've decided that socks are the bane of my life. Not only do my children discard their socks willynilly, with no thought for how they're going to make the move from floor to laundry basket; not only do socks disappear into that black hole at the back of the washing machine; not only does my sockmonsterbox have more socks in it than there are in the drawers upstairs, and not only do my children seem to think that wearing stocking-ed feet to run across wet grass is acceptable, but on top of all this I can't tell which socks belong to which child anymore.

In days gone by it was easy to sort socks - the different sized feet were sufficiently obvious to make the job simple and if that wasn't enough, Kid-the-Eldest had all the grey socks, Kid-in-the-Middle had knee high white socks and Kid-at-the-Bottom-of-the-Heap had pretty frilly things.

Now they are all at school however, the waters have been muddied as badly as the socks. Kid-in-the-Middle wanted grey socks to wear under trousers. A few washes later, it's impossible to tell which grey socks should go to which child. Kid-the-Last wanted white knee-highs like her sister. Either hers have stretched or her sister's have shrunk because they all look the same.

I'm tempted to give up folding socks and putting them back into bedrooms. Perhaps we should simply have a "Bucket o' Sox" and everyone can dive in and get what they want out of it? It might cut out some of the work involved in keeping everyone's clothes clean, dry and fit to wear. Not that I'd be gaining anything exactly: for some reason, I seem to be spending quite a bit of time laundering the clothes of Other People's Children. They come here, play for a bit, eat my cakes, and what, strip off? I've got a box in the hall full of socks, pants, jeans, jumpers, quite a nice Trespass Anorak that will fit Kid-in-the-Middle soon if its rightful owner doesn't collect it soon and several half-pairs of gloves. Next time one of the kidlets has a friend over, I'm considering sending them home with a bag of our dirty laundry along with instructions to collect theirs when they return mine.

Today I'm wearing:

Brown linen trousers, size 18 but really starting to be too big now

Pale aqua, white, blue and brown top that I haven't been able to wear for years because it always gaped around my boobs. It's not gaping. Size 16.

Sparkly star necklace, non-matching star earrings/Brown high heeled boots/Brown cardigan