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"Elf, I am your father" said Santa

A Humdrum Mum would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

This is Elf - not realising his dad is playing Santa next to him at the school fayre. Bless.

Afternoon Tea @ The Ritz!

With my mum. X

Afternoon Tea @ The Ritz!

With my mum. X

Adam Ant - Gig Review

Adam Ant & the Good, the Mad & the Lovely Posse
9 November 2012
Portsmouth Pyramids

This is the third time I've seen Adam Ant. Perhaps that might explain why we were late to the gig - missing the first two songs! Or maybe it was trying to down my last gin (on an empty stomach) in the pub beforehand, and the trek across Southsea Common? We entered to Beat My Guest, having missed Press Darlings and Dog Eat Dog. I can still remember Dog eat Dog from the first time, so I didn't feel too bad.

The first gig was at the Wedgewood Rooms, a more intimate venue, 18 months ago, booked by us when his tour was first announced. With trepidation, we turned up along with the Southsea punk intelligentsia. There was a lot of love for Adam that night in the audience. Adam and the Ants were the first group I adored, as an impressionable 10 year old in 1981 playing Kings of the Wild Frontier over and over again, idolising this Prince Charming. I didn't care as much for later hits such a…

From one extreme to another Part 2

I'm so cross. (*pouting and arms folded) I had this great idea to edit an interview from GOOP curator Gwynneth Paltrow with my own take on it. How she thinks we're spending our next holiday in The Hamptons, or weekend even; how we can cook up macro rice flax nibbles for snacking on during the day, and the towels from Turkey that we should buy from her site, costing more than an entire bathroom refurb would.

But it's been done! Admittedly it's a lot nastier than I would have written, but I would have included a lot of the same things (just in a nicer way). There is a lot of commenting that I don't agree with. Well I might but I certainly wouldn't put it in print.

So the moral of the story is - do your research before you plan to post something!

For those of you "in awe" of the wife of the most boring group in the whole world, it's http://videogum.com/263061/holy-shit-gwyneth-paltrow-gives-helpful-advice-to-busy-working-moms-like-herself/webjunk.

Ju…

Domestic almost-bliss

Today I made a delicious lamb cobbler, the first time a cobbler has worked for me (in my oven). Friends visited us during a walk and despite being in my pyjamas with not even a washed face, let alone hair, I was able (when Mr Humdrum returned from shopping) to offer them a slice of chocolate and beetroot cake, fresh from the farmers' market.

There is one week until the end of this half-term, and it's taken me these seven weeks to feel satisfied with the landscape of my week. When I have time to cook a more challenging meal, when I need to rustle up something quick (before swimming and after Park Wednesday), where to stop off on the way home from school for veg/milk/library books to save me going out after the school run, and short cuts to make life easier (chippy after football on Fridays).

All this organisation makes for a more relaxed Humdrum. And that cake was so delicious, I think I'll have another slice while Mr Humdrum is snoozing.

From one extreme to another Part 1 (and yes I'm back)

(The return of Humdrum. Let's not get too excited about this, I've been gone for just over two months, although still blogging on my son's (private) site. I've enjoyed not feeling stressed about not posting ... but as work isn't stressful anymore, I feel I might - just might - be able to cope with a post every now and then. Let's see how it goes, shall we?)

"From one extreme to another" captures two articles from opposing websites - this week Femail (the Daily Mail "females" pages) -v- Goop (a website "curated" by that well known mum-from-the-block, Gwynneth Paltrow). 
Femail has always had a special place in my heart, namely it causes my heart to beat really fast in ANGER and DISGUST at what the Daily Mail is finding newsworthy and appropriate to print. Fast forward a few years, switch jobs and go onto blood pressure tablets, and it no longer angers me quite so much. It saddens me and worries me more. But still I read it every now a…

And it's goodbye from Humdrum

Today I had a breakthrough in the shower! No, I didn't kick in the shower door, I had a brainwave. For ages now, I'd been going through this cycle - annoyance that I hadn't blogged; guilt that I hadn't read anyone else's blog and understanding of the sense of reciprocity and community in the blogging world. I'd been feeling that I couldn't really write what I wanted to write. This is partly because I'm not an anonymous blogger, my family and friends all know who I am; partly because I have to be careful not to write too much about life as a teaching assistant; and partly because I've been looking for a different way to write. I have found more satisfaction with the debate on Facebook than just writing a blog post.

So my brainwave was a plan to put the Humdrum Mum blog on hold for 6 months to see how I feel and how things have changed in that time, and in the meantime I will be using my Facebook page, A Humdrum Mum, to continue noticing and commentin…

I'm too busy!

I've just read an essay, The Busy Trap by Tim Kreider, published in the NYT some weeks ago. 


You've probably already seen it via Facebook or Twitter, if you haven't been too busy to read it... According to Kreider,


Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.Today I am having a rare day off, I say rare as now that I work in a school, my time off coincides with Elf's. He has been shipped off to daycamp today, along with 3 of his besties, so he can have a day of fun while I catch up with the housework no that's a lie, while I laze around reading! Which is exactly what I've done. (I did get up at 7.45 to get his lunch ready, but went back to bed until 11am to read my book). Bliss.


I have friends who pack too much in, whether that's to hide what might be missing were they not in demand, o…

All's fair in school and shops

Two fab things yesterday:

(1) I got to ring the bell at the end of lunch time yesterday. I was born to ring bells. I've discovered my inner dinner lady and I love it.

(2) I managed to tell the difference between the identical twin school mums! I didn't make the mistake of talking to the one I don't see in the park thinking she was the one I see in the park - yay for me!

Balanced out today with two disappointing things;

(1) I've been dolled up to the nines in my Benefit make up "lesson". A very nice girl made me up, her make up was subtler than mine. Which bit of "I don't do anything too visible really, just natural looking" was in a different language?

(2) I asked for my bacon roll in Benjy's to be crispy. I knew the server hadn't told the chef. ("Chef".) It was fatty and disappointingly soft.

Still at least I rang that bell!

Bagsy I'm George!

I bought some Famous Five books for a birthday girl today and decided to buy the same for Elf. Mr Humdrum has done Roald Dahl with him and it's my turn now with the Famous Five.

Chatting to my pal Lairy Bird the other week at her JulieB party, I asked if she remembered this book (Smugglers's Top - did Enid mean one or more smuggler?). She did but not to the extent I did - I even remembered the deaf servant called Block who turned out not to be deaf at all!

Lairy Bird is the only person I know who knew what Musty Fusty Dusty meant. (Spoken by Kiki the parrot.) And then bought me one of those books she found in a charity shop!

I remember playing the Famous Five when I was young and trying to be George the tomboy not girlie Anne! And my dog was called Kim who quickly became Timmy. We even had a sort of Kirrin Island in a swampy area. Fun days playing and evenings reading. I wonder who Elf will remember as the author who shaped his childhood?

I never expected that for my birthday ...

Holiday dizziness A week ago, I turned 41. I had just come back from Lanzarote, our half-term holiday courtesy of the outlaws. I'd started feeling dizzy midway through the holiday. Before, I would like to point out, I overindulged on mine and Mr H's meal out. Delicious lamb chops, yummy, but because there were no suitable puddings, I had to have a rather large Amaretto. On top of the bottle each of wine, I did get slightly dizzy then! On the walk home, I was giving it the "Let's go skinny dipping" whilst closer to our villa, I was more of the "Juzlemmegetinbeddddd" type whisper. The next day I was rather ill but made the beach at 11.30pm! Not bad for me. Post holiday dizziness Anyway we flew back on the Friday of half-term, and still back at work on the Monday, I felt dizzy. That was also my birthday. I ended up visiting the drop-in health centre, as my parents were here to look after Elf. Mum came with me, and had to then drive me to the doctor, becaus…

Here's to my new job!

I've just finished Week 3 of my new job (teaching assistant at a primary school) and as well as being a new job, it's an entirely new career. I'd spent the last 20 years in an office, 12 of them at the same last company and it's been a culture shock, I can tell you.

I felt a bit shell shocked to start with, but I have some really supportive colleagues who have known exactly what I've been feeling and have said all the right things. I've had some good feedback from the head among others, and I can now say that I'm starting to settle in and enjoy it. It's been a lot to get my head round. One thing I am sure of is that I don't miss my old job one bit. (Just a few friends there...)

Here's a roundup of the pros and cons:

Cons first...
1. I can't go to the toilet when I want to. I am working 1-1 and I have to check I have cover.
2. I can't sit at my desk with a cuppa. In fact I can only have a cuppa at lunchtime (1pm). Sadly not even at playt…

Here's to my new job!

Tea taster? Yes please!

I am now into my second week as a teaching assistant, and today Mr Humdrum trawled the internet getting quotes for my car insurance. Faced with the "What's your job title" question, he typed in TEA... and the following choices were shown:

TEA BLENDER
TEA TASTER

I'd love to be a tea taster. I suppose even a tea blender would be nice.

At least I'd get a cup of tea while I worked, instead of having to wait til lunch time! I've worked in an office for nearly 20 years and am like the proverbial poisson out of eau, not having a hot cuppa at my desk at (nearly) all times.

Nor my oppo number who made the best tea at work.

Still, at least I have a job and there are some things I like about it! I'll blog these next week, while I have a think about them...

Officially unemployed

Well for 3 days. I have finally been paid my redundancy money, a week overdue, and changed my mind about working an extra month to help them out. Because - I found a new job! 


I wanted to blog my experiences, the applications, the interviews, the rejection (only one)... but I found myself unable to even blog about it. I just wanted to shut everything out, almost everything. I couldn't deal with new things, so I kept in touch with some people and for them, I was normal. But I couldn't handle anything that wasn't normal. I've been fine about the redundancy from the beginning, I knew it was the push that I needed to move into the career that I'd always wanted. I would probably not have made the move easily, after all I was well paid, the hours were cushy, why would I move? 


Well an office relocation 114 miles round trip away, plus increase to full time hours. That's what made me move. I knew this was the time to get into the classroom. I'd been volunteering at…

Feeling inadequate?

So parenting guides set too high standards and result in mums feeling inadequate? I can agree with that.What makes me laugh is that the Daily Mail reported it! Where else would a mum read daily conflicting "advice" and be persecuted for staying at home. Sorry, no I mean going to work. Wasting your education. Oh dear I'm confused, what's the bad this week?My advice - I have none! I am an expert on MY child (and still struggle with that) not yours. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2116957/Parenting-guides-leave-mothers-muddle-set-standards-high-says-study.html

Did I waste my education staying at home? Not on your nelly

God I've read some crap this morning. Admittedly it was on the Daily Mail website, so it's my own fault. But - know thine enemy ... I was reading about some dumb arse suggestion that educated British women are throwing away their top degrees in favour of child-rearing. Firstly I do not have a top degree, I have a 2:1 but not even from a red brick. But my career pinnacled at the dizzy heights of marketing manager before I, tut tut, took a year off to raise Elf. I then went back 3 days a week and rose to better oxygenated levels of data manager. I am now being made redundant and am at last following my dream to work in the classroom. I don't think I have the energy or funds to do teacher training, that might be far into the future, I actually am applying for teaching assistant jobs. I have been volunteering for 18 months and I know exactly what I'm letting myself in for. - I can't wait.How dare someone think I'm throwing away a degree to have a child and then sta…

St Clare's The First Year

When I was a girl, I used to read voraciously. I burned my duvet because I had my light on underneath it. Even now I read every night. I can't go to sleep unless I've relaxed, by reading. If I'm tipsy, I still read; I just have to re-read it the next night.
I love buying books for children as presents. You can have too many toys, but you can never have too many books. 
Elf is off to a girl's party tomorrow from his class and as I don't know her very well, I tried to find a book that would suit her. I know she's girly and very good at reading. I found this... St Clare's - The First Year by Enid Blyton. I am unashamed in my love of all books by Enid Blyton. The Famous Five, Five Find Outers, Secret Seven, Adventurous Four, Mr Pink Whistle, Pat and Isabel the twins in St Clares (remember the two Mam'zelles?), Darrell in Malory Towers (with the glint in her eye), The Wishing Chair, The Faraway Tree (Silky and Moonface!), Naughty Amelia Jane ... and not forget…

Time to start swotting ...

Update on "Help my wish came true"

Yes so I am now scaring myself because my dream is within my grasp. (The two jobs at the school I've been volunteering at.) What if I don't say the right thing at the interview? What if I completely mess up? What if there are people more qualified and/or experienced than me? (Well of course there probably are going to be.)

Help my wish came true (no it's not "Please change the Frubes ad")

No I haven't suddenly dropped three dress sizes. Or worked out how to deal with an age 6 attitude. But yes I did wish that the Frubes ad no longer asked us to rip their heads out and suck their guts out, and indeed it did happen.

New life... not just a song by Depeche Mode

(And now that's my earworm.) I've been off-blog for what seems like weeks now. Reason? I'm being made redundant from my job of 12 years. Time to start anew. Time to follow my dream (teaching).


Time to panic. Time to worry. Time to stress. 


Time to change my blog from Humdrum Mum to Benefit Mum? Scrimper Mum?


I need a change in blog tactic - or do I? Help!

How to ruin your child's life, or at least evening

Attempt to laminate the really cool (his words) placemat that Elf has made, using a laminator at Nana's house, belonging to her friend, that she's only used once.

Elf turns 6

My dear Elf turned 6 earlier this week.
Happy Birthday to you.

Call to arms - how do you deal with an angry child?

I don't just mean one who has a strop because he didn't get his own way. I mean one who gets sooo angry when falsely accused of something. Elf was involved in a fight at after-school club yesterday; we were assured he didn't start it. Oh well that's ok then! 

New Year in a wetsuit

The nursery gang. I am the one in the front middle with a wetsuit and surfboard. There was a random fancy dress theme, and a Your Regional Dress theme. I am Cornish therefore I came as a surfer.


We had: top left-right - Scottish kilt wearer (rumoured to have nothing under but we were too scared to check); Inspector Clouseau (looking for a bum); Queen Victoria; Henry Ramsbottom, Lancashire Pirate and bottom left-right - Cruella de Vil (she said their dog was at a sleepover, but she had a new spotty collar to her suit...); Harry Hill; Surf "babe"; The Only Way is Essex and From the 60s.


Wishing all readers health and happiness for 2012.

G - Z of A Humdrum Christmas (a hurried post)

G is for Gosh, what a silly idea it was to pledge a post a day of the A-Z of A Humdrum Christmas.


H is for Hell, I won't promise that again.


I is for Idiot. Me.


J is for Just one post over Christmas would have sufficed.


K is for Kicking myself.


L is for Let me start anew in 2012.


M is for Me.


N is for New Year's resolutions.


O is for Only going to make 3 resolutions.


P is for Pay more attention to myself.


Q is for Queen. Treat myself like one.


R is for Run more.


S is for Stress, as in have less of it.


T is for Tea. Only drink Dorset Tea.


U is for Under no circumstances can I drink any other tea.


V is for Very difficult this is, talking like Yoda.


W is for When will this be finished? 


X is for Xtremely tenuous A-Z entries.


Y is for Y am I doing this? Just for completeness.


Z is for Zzzzz more sleep please.