UGH, fifteen weeks and you think it's safe to go back to Pizza Express, and then you spend the next day puking on the train to Middlesbrough. Such glamorous. We will return to P-Ex to celebrate the smallington's first birthday, I think, as apparently delicious bread, tomatoes, cheese, ham and olives is too much for my poor squashed tummy. Bleh and also bleh.

(Typing on the iPad, I realise how few actual words I use on LJ. iPad autocorrect does not like bumpwatch, smallington or bleh! Learn quickly, iPad.)

However, the pukiness stopped long enough for me to deliver a four-hour training course on assertiveness, to a room of mostly-overseas-trained doctors, which was fun. This particular group of doctors is obsessed with fancy venues and good food: a colleague was involved in helping them plan an away day, and apparently the first four meetings were all about the venue and the menu, and it was only on the fifth (and at my colleagues urging) that they actually got around to discussing the content. Today we were in a gorgeous eighteenth-century room at a stately home, surrounded by mirrors. I used the mirrors to admire my New Bump Dress. This is a navy shift from Babes With Babies (dear God), purchased for the rather expensive second-hand price of £50, but I can see myself wearing it twice a week from now until September, so I'm OK with that.

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Easter plans

A four day weekend: what potential! Admittedly, so far I've collected a cake tray I had commissioned from Illyria Pottery, failed to find a spring jacket (for the second year running, so no surprises there...), had ice cream in the sun, and spent too much time on the computer. Left on the to do list is: spring cleaning (room and living room), write on the Ph.D. proposal, hopefully rest a bit and read one (or more) of the seven books I got from the library.

I ought to do some blog posts, and I've been tempted to create a South Scandinavian archaeology edition of the 2048 game as could be nice to have something to remind myself of home. But that is definitely de-prioritized compared to spring cleaning. Which is something for another day - I'm absolutely knackered and in need of many hours of sleep.

The Storms of Love

I got my essay back. I've been feeling slightly sick about it since I submitted it, but look at me now with my High Distinction for a 'highly engaging read with outstanding critical analysis'. The next one is coming up and I expect I'll be all cocky about it after this, only to plummet to my doom like Icarus, if Icarus's problem was that he was a bit blasé about writing essays on organisational design rather than flying too close to the sun.

I finally got round to getting my mushroom boxes for the autumn. I've got two boxes of Swiss browns, which have always grown best for me. That was all I was going to get, but this year they had golden oyster mushrooms to grow too. I've never even tried them before (neither to grow nor eat), so I've got them too. I was slightly tempted by the pink oysters too. They're so... pink. Maybe next year.


Miracle for a Madonna

Someone on Downton Abbey just said, 'I'll get Mrs Patmore to organise refreshment for the Village People.' That seems unlikely, I must say.

Over summer, my mother had some of her trees trimmed and mulched, and this weekend I have been helping her spread it around her garden. Shovel, shovel, shovel. And now my shoulder's sore. Hmph.

While doing all that shovelling, I got to hear all about my mother's ongoing battle with her arch-enemy, also known as her Bosch CombiTrim whipper-snipper (which some of you may know as a line trimmer or a strimmer, I believe). It's... oh, it's a long story. It's unsatisfactory, is one way to put it. She's been taking comfort in reading one-star reviews of it online, which is something she came up with doing all by herself. That is also something I enjoy. It's a bit disconcerting to find that it's genetic.

When I first arrived at my mother's I had to wait before turning into the driveway while she moved her car and the trailer full of mulch out of the way. Only then another car came along the narrow little road, and I had to go past the driveway entrance to let it pass. And then, right, I had to do a three-point turn so I could get back to where I had to be, and it was perfect. PERFECT. I don't often have to do three-point turns, and when I do it's more of a twenty-point turn, but not this one. I almost wished I was doing a driving test, because I would have got top marks. And no-one was around to see me do it, so I thought I would record it here for posterity.
Google is looking for some people to partipate in a study or focus group of some sort, for 90 minutes next Wednesday or Thursday at the office here in Kendall Square. I don't know anything more about it except what it says on the form: "this study will help the Google team better understand your needs in order to incorporate them into future product enhancements." You get $50 in Play store credit (Android's app & media store) if you participate. Fill out this form if you're interested.

Slight deja-vu

Two weeks ago, my throat became very sore, and in the next two days it all migrated upwards and transformed into a running cold. Luckily I was well again (well, the cough was persistent, but it usually is) for last weekend, when two friends got married. Quite exhausting weekend, with Friday lindy dance, Saturday wedding and Sunday after party (more on that later when I have a working brain). And naturally now my nose starts dripping again. I thought I had this cold over and done with, but no... At least my body took a break over the wedding weekend, which, I suppose I should be grateful for. However, I might not make it to the dance on Saturday, which would be a shame, as I haven't been for ages since my knees were poorly.



You know how some businesses have corporate email addresses with a combination of the person's first name and family name? My workplace does first.family@wherever, for example, but other places do f.family or firstfamily and so on. Today I had an email from a man whose workplace used the ffamily format, which meant his email address was noddy@wherever. So that was fun.

The clocks went back last weekend, and I am all out of sorts. This isn't helped by the fact that we seem to have lost the book that tells us how to change the time on the work phones. I never realised how often I get the time from the display on my phone. I do realise it now, every time I think, ooh, nearly time for lunch, no wait, an hour to go. Hmph.

The clocks going back mean it's darker earlier now, and yesterday was rainy and overcast, meaning it was already dark-ish by late afternoon. That meant the first instance of something I enjoy about this time of year. My office is across the road from a TAFE (a vocational college), directly opposite their kitchen for apprentice chefs. When the light outside is dark, the kitchen is lit up from within and you can see all the apprentices moving around in their white jackets and hats, bathed in yellow light and framed by the big, rectangular windows. It looks like a long-lost Rembrandt. It's lovely.

And then they go outside and loiter on the footpath smoking and completely ruin the effect.

Revenge of the Heart

The painter came round yesterday afternoon. He was chatty. In the way of the City by the Sea, he was not an unknown quantity. He was recommended by John's son, Simon, who is a builder, but it turned out that my mother used to visit his sick daughter during her district nursing days. She (the daughter, not my mother) was very short, and had to have hormone injections to make her grow. It turns out that she made it to about 140cm, and she now works in a women's refuge in Mount Isa, and is currently riding a bicycle for charity from Darwin to Port Augusta (that's right down the middle of Australia, through the hot, red bit on the map). So that's got us all up to date on someone we've never met.

After telling us about his daughter, the painter told us about his trip to Paris ('It's a lovely place, but, tell you what, Charles de Gaulle airport needs a coat of paint on it'), offered his opinion on the block of land for sale at the end of the street ('They're never going to get $115,000 for that,' which is true, and also almost exactly what my boss said when he picked me up for our board meeting road trip the other day), and reminisced about how he and the rest of his under-18 football team used to use fake ID to get drinks in my office (which used to be a slightly disreputable pub).

We haven't got his quote yet, but I hope it's a good one. He seemed fun.


A Witch's Spell

Hello, f-list. I've been away, and now I'm back. This time I have been away to my work's annual AGM. That was exciting. Not really. It meant a six-hour drive with my boss, during which I heard his unlikely theory that being a priest is a lucrative profession. I don't think that's true. 'Well, no, they probably don't get paid a lot,' he said when I questioned this. 'But with all those religious parishioners, they could eat at a different house every night. They'd never have to make their own dinner.' So not lucrative so much as lazy, then.

That subject I'm doing for my Masters, it started with 51 students in it. Census date (the last day to withdraw without penalty) was 31 March, and now there are only 25 students in it. That's a high drop-out rate. I mean, yes, it's a lot of work, as evidenced my relative absence from here, but for fifty percent of people to start and realise that... that seems high, doesn't it?

Finally - and finally - there is a painter coming to look at the house this afternoon.


White Lilac

My boss sent me this link today. Just thought I'd be interested. And I was.

Do you know the part that I found most confusing? It's that his name is in the headline. I spent valuable seconds trying to work out if I was meant to know who Mark Goddard is before taking in the photo below. There must be an easier way to chop off your own hand than that.


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