Thursday, 14 November 2013

Of Mice and Lego

From Lego Star Wars Products
I already had a high opinion of Lego. I thought it was a good toy for teaching prospective architects and engineers anyway, and then they brought out the Star Wars sets. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

Working Mums (and a Dad)

Although I read with interest Gillian Tett’s review of three books offering successful women’s tips on being more successful, I probably will not order the books. I’m less interested in how to be more successful in the workplace and more interested in how to get into work in the first place and I feel that these women may not have much to say about that.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Why Not Just Go to Counseling?

I often come across people who feel bad in themselves (depressed) yet who are reluctant to go along to sort out their illness (that's what it is) with a specialist.

(I ought to add that there are two kinds of depression. One is purely physical. It has to do with chemical reactions not operating quite as they do in everyone-else and it may be that a medical check-up will suggest you should eat different foods which don't set off your mood, or that you have a physical condition which can be managed with medication. Here I'm talking about depression which is solely caused by underlying mental troubles. Also there is a big difference between counseling and therapy but I'm just going to bundle them together for the purposes of this blogpost.)

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Half Term Holiday

Luckily Piglet is a keen baker. We have been catching up on The Great British Bakeoff on i-player and enjoying watching the beautiful concoctions the competitors come up with. I thought of this scheme which would occupy two days of the holiday in a useful and nourishing fashion:
Day 1: bake cakes. 
Day 2: invite other little piglets round to eat them. 

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Mummy in the Museum (ho ho) - Excursion

Available from Hive.
Not only is it half term, the teachers decided to have extra celebrations by enjoying an INSET day on the Friday before. For once I realised this was coming up, instead of finding out the day beforehand, and was able to make cunning plans accordingly. I had seen that there is an obscure little Egyptology museum on the University of Swansea campus and this seemed so hilarious that it had to be visited. I envisioned some dark poky place with glass cabinets of dusty amulets.

What better time to go than in the lead up to Halloween! Some children on a trip to an obscure little Egyptology museum in darkened university buildings? I'm sure there must already be a film about it.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Eyetests for early years piglets

From Iederene's blog
I have sadly realised that I ought to have taken Piglet for an early eyetest. I thought that she would have her eyes tested at school, or that if there were a problem teachers would pick up on it. Now I realise I just should have taken her along to the optician like I take her to the dentist. After all, it's free for children. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Late Roses

Usually there is some bright sunny leftover summer weather at the start of September. This year, it was a real autumn start to the school term with weather as soft and damp as a baby’s backside – necessitating hanging out laundry for three days to get it dry.

The roses seemed to like this weather. All of them made a sudden late show.


The Molyneux. (Guess what football team we support.) 


Sunday, 13 October 2013

Work In Progress

I've had this cardigan since the last recession. I bought it in the Scottish Borders when I was an undergrad.

Charming Autumn Bracelet

This is Asprey’s delightful seasonal bracelet. Instead of buying it, I cut the picture of it out of the FT Weekend How to Spend It magazine. (For free, LOL, I get a lot of nice things out of the FT Weekend How to Spend It magazine. I have stuck the bracelet on a letter to my mum.)

Season of Mists

Image from Dept. of Culture,
Media and Sport blog
Although Piglet does more of the 3 'R's than when she first started school, she still comes home with artwork, is encouraged to take part in sports, goes for day trips to museums and parks. I wonder sometimes what world she is being prepared for. I look at people in the adult world of work and they seem too busy, too tired to go for group walks,sit down and sketch, join a five-a-side football team. As people hit middle age and their cholesterol levels rise, they often hark back to the years when they played sport at school. It seems a pity we don't have a society that continuously encourages such activities.

I like British Buddhists for the way that as adults they will do collective art projects, engage in nature and everyday meditation.

I don't want to join in with them, LOL. If I go along to British Buddhist events, they treat me with cautious reverence - as if I might innately know more about Buddhist philosophy via my Japanese blood than they do through their years of study. It makes me feel like when we were children and our cat had an eye infection. To remind us to apply its ointment one of us stuck up a picture of an eye over the kitchen doorway. Visitors used to ask in hushed voices what it was. We would say: "Oh. It's to do with our grandmother's religion. Don't talk about it." We would snigger and kick each other like children. (Well, we were children, LOL.)

The taste of madeleine cakes provokes
vivid memories of childhood for Proust.
Image from French Embassy site.
I don't paint well (does that matter? not to Buddhists) and since tearing up my knee at rugby I don't do much sport (other than high speed Piglet pursuit). I do have Piglet, so I do fun things with her, pretending that it's part of being a mum as opposed to just fun. I also blog, so I decided to make an Autumn Collection, like the Spring Collections fashion houses put together; a sort of Proustian set of ephemeral moments captured in picture, sound and text.  

Autumn is my favourite time of year. Colours are soft and warm. I start fetching out woolen garments.

I collect things from the hedgerows.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

House Work

From Spinach and Yoga.
About a year ago, I was away from home for three or four days. Piglet was in school and I made arrangements for her to go to various friends afterwards. I set out all the clothes needed before I left. I made a list with details of what the Fella should feed himself, the two of them, on which days; who she was with on any given day and their contact numbers; a few domestic tasks which I asked the Fella to undertake in my absence. (Thursday: Put out bins!)

I was tempted to blog about how ridiculous it was to make this list for a grown man. Then I had a rethink.

Available from Abe Books

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Sporting Piglet

From Playing with Pigs
Yesterday Piglet came out of school and said: "You have to get me shin guards for tomorrow."

I do not like to hear a piglet say "you have to," without some honorific title, I prefer something like: "O noble mater familias who bore me amid unbelievable pain and suffering and has nurtured me at considerable cost to your social life ever since, I beg of you humbly on my knees ..."

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Sandwich Generation

From CareStation
They call us the sandwich generation. We are the ones who care simultaneously for elderly relatives and young children. It feels like a personal struggle sometimes. It comes from a number of sociological phenomena.

Friday, 16 August 2013

London Excursion

James McNeill Whistler:
Nocturne: The Thames at Battersea
As Piglet is of that age when she can appreciate such things, we took her up to London for a few days, and I thought I would note here some helpful tips for others intending to head up to the big smoke.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Depression is the pits

From Micah Sparacio's blogpost
10 Ways to Fight Depression
When I say I was in therapy for ten years, people often exclaim in surprise: "You're the last person I would have thought needed therapy." I say, "Yeah! that's cuz I've done it!" 

Friday, 12 July 2013

Part-time work (full time play!)

This image from a graduate jobs 
illustrates their part-time 
page. The page is aimed at
students looking to supplement their
grant rather than people who
might choose to work part-time. 
I was interested to see this article by Zoe Williams on part-time work in The Guardian yesterday, as I've long thought part-time work could be the answer to many problems. I'm always surprised that organisations like The Work Foundation seem to have so little to say about part-time working. 

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

June in Bloom Excursion (Taff Trail)

Wild rose by the station carpark
(The Taff Trail is a wide tarmac path on this stretch, although barriers to stop bicycles freewheeling all the way down to Cardiff mean it's not always easily wheelchair or pushchair accessible. It's suitable for all ages of children.)

A good walk with a superb pub in striking distance, this excursion is an excellent stretching of the legs. On the way up, there is a slight incline to make your muscles work harder. To meander more gently downhill as you come back down is proper. 

Monday, 24 June 2013

Kitchen sink drama

Pisarro's 'In the Garden at Pontoise:
A young woman washing dishes'. 
From Art for Art's Sake.
OMG! I finally cleaned the sink! No, I don't mean I wiped quickly round the surface of it, I mean I properly cleaned it. 

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Spring Excursion - Rhibina Hill

A host of daffodils by the roadside.
(This walk has narrow stony paths and muddy patches so is not wheelchair or pushchair accessible although there are wide clear paths through the woodland and there may be other walks in the area which are.  It's suitable for older rather than toddling children.)  

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Manflu becomes an official condition!

It's official!  Manflu does exist and you can get proper medication for it at Boots now.  
(I still don't think it's a match for immumity, LOL.)  

Monday, 4 February 2013

Birthday Excursion

 This year my birthday falls on a Monday so we went out for Sunday lunch with friends.  On the actual day, it's just me:  Piglet's in school and the Good Fella is at work.  It's my fiftieth birthday, I think I deserve to have a day for me.  If, as Marilyn Monroe says in Some Like It Hot, "quarter of a century makes a girl think", then half a century must provide rich experiences for consideration.  

Monday, 28 January 2013

Stickers not sticks

Continuing my thoughts on disciplining your piglet, let's move to the positive.  Apparently we spend much more time saying No to our piglets, than How brilliant and beautiful you are, I love you little piglet.  

Friday, 11 January 2013

The Pippity-ping

At the last minute (i.e. as I crack the plastic packaging open), I remember that our pippity-ping is broken.  
That is seriously what a microwave oven is called in Welsh!  How can you resist learning a language that has delicious words like that.  No wonder Dylan Thomas became such a great word-master.  
(You can find out more about learning Welsh on this link.)  

Discipline and Piglet

Yes!  I have smacked my child.  I hold my hand up (in signification that I will never do it again) and confess.  

Thursday, 3 January 2013

The diversity of motherhood

During these happy holiday times with the kids off school, here's a game which will entertain the family for hours of fun.  
Spot the difference!

Best Mum in the World!
Worst Mum in the World!

(Thanks to Microsoft Images for the free clipart!)