Sunday, 23 December 2012
Sunday, 18 November 2012
Monday, 12 November 2012
9 November 2012
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 as Puss 'n' Boots, I felt he'd lost his edge, but Stand and Deliver has to be my all time favourite song. The audience loved him that night. We couldn't wait to see him again! The second gig, at the Pyramids a year ago, he stood and delivered once more. We dragged along our gang and no one was disappointed.
So the third time, I was able to stand back a bit more objectively to hear the band anew. I wasn't in the "Oh my god that's Adam Ant there" frame of mind, even the second time I still felt like that. So maybe that has altered my view of the band. In the intervening months, I was able also to revise Dirk Wears White Sox and B Sides, so those older songs weren't just ones I slightly recalled.
The band seemed a lot tighter; at the first two gigs, the songs were a lot rockier than their originals - Stand and Deliver almost unrecognisable - but this time, even more rockier. Adam looks coolest to me when he's playing guitar. A friend was upset that there were no T-Rex covers this time; my response was is that because the band don't have to re-establish themselves as a rock band, rather than a pop band, this time around, having done that in the last tour? (Obviously a different band, and the rocky versions of the pop songs do work well.) Adam was a lot chattier this time, with comical stories of songs' origins (a 7 foot naked woman, Strip?; linking 50 Shades of Grey to Whip in My Valise; playing Antmusic with chopsticks every time he goes to a Chinese restaurant). He also said he remembered playing Kings of the Wild Frontier the first time at this venue.
When bands say "And here's our new single" you usually groan. Not this time. Cool Zombie is - well cool! I can't wait to buy it. Other favourites of the night: Cartrouble, Kings of the Wild Frontier, Whip in My Valise, Desperate but not Serious, Cleopatra, Antmusic, Physical. And of course Stand and Deliver.
Adam can sing - he holds his notes. He looks good not just for 56, but just good. The band are amazing, especially the girl drummer. When are they playing again? I'm in!
Sunday, 21 October 2012
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.
Just remember I didn't write it!
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.
Friday, 19 October 2012
The author, a mum of 2, was changing in a female area for families when another woman started arguing with her that she shouldn't be doing that, and that her 5 year old son shouldn't have to see another woman naked. The gym manager however said that the author was in the right, and the other woman wasn't. Cue lots of comments of support, and obviously loads of comments amazed that she could be so selfish and wrong to undress not in a cubicle.
This led me to think about my own relationship with nudity, and it has been something I've talked about with friends. Growing up, I remember chatting to my mum when she was on the loo, and seeing my dad in the bath, albeit he had a flannel floating above his you know what! With my 6 year old, I take baths with him still - he loves them purely because I play a silly game about a dinosaur walking along the side of the bath who keeps falling in, and who talks in a silly voice.
When he comes into our room in the mornings (we both sleep naked), we cuddle him and the only gripe I have is that he elbows me in the boobs quite a lot. When he was younger, he asked about the differences between mine and dad's bodies, and his. We answered them as honestly as we could (just don't let me repeat the "Daddy puts a seed into mummy", "What? Like an apple seed?", "Yes", "Do I have apple trees in my tummy?" explanation again please).
I did read in a book our friends call The Bible (The What to Expect series) that by now (age 6) my son shouldn't be taking baths with me (this is more about opposite sex nudity). I disagreed (but only with that - the rest of the book was ingested and acted upon to the letter!).
I don't see what's wrong with how we treat nudity in our household. Of course at age 8, he will have to go into the male changing rooms at swimming when I take him (hurrah no towelling down!), and will probably notice if he starts feeling odd about it. My mum has stopped bathing with him as she didn't want him to be laughed at in school if he told them he baths with his nana. That's fair enough.
So in all, this was a balanced article from the Femail website. Let's go through the checklist:
- Did it offend single mums?
- Did it offend working mums?
- Did it offend stay at home mums?
- Did it offend mums in general?
- Did it invent a new way to sub-divide the nation?
- Was it sensationalist?
- Was it a "Look at me I'm so unpushy/unhelicoptorish (insert current buzz word)" - akin to saying "I haven't revised at all for my exams" having been up 24/7 for weeks?
Tuesday, 14 August 2012
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 commenting on the small things in life. Friend me if you like, if not, maybe I will see you around sometime. I raise my glass (of iced water) to you!
Thank you to everyone who's ever read my blog and commented on it. At the risk of sounding like an Oscar speech - THANK YOU (in no particular order) to:
Shazzer (my former manager) who came up with the Humdrum idea
The Diary of a Frugal Family (www.frugalfamily.co.uk) whose ideas and reports I have loved
Donkey Trousers (www.donkeytrousers.com) I hope you get the outcome you deserve, I have enjoyed reading your heartfelt posts
London City Mum (www.londoncitymum.com) whose blog was so inspirational when I started out. I love that way you write, you are so smart and funny it hurts
Ladybird World Mother (http://ladybirdworld.blogspot.co.uk) in a world of your own in terms of how funny things happen to you and the way you write
Metropolitan Mum (www.metropolitanmum.co.uk) but duh you are my friend on FB so I will continue to read!
The Life and Times of a Househusband (http://goonerjamie.blogspot.co.uk) whose hilarious posts are so well written
My friends and family members who have read and commented frequently, and anyone who knows me.
Friday, 27 July 2012
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
I have friends who pack too much in, whether that's to hide what might be missing were they not in demand, or just out of maternal guilt - "We have to do things for the kids". One friend had PND and one major remedy was to only plan one thing a day. Anything else is a bonus. That's what I've done these holidays, a plan to meet up with a friend, then see how the day goes. Yesterday a picnic lasted 4 hours, and we found time for a quick swim at the beach.
Another friend made herself ill after taking on too much voluntary and community projects after quitting work because she was ill from doing too much. I know people who say "Let's meet up" but can't book you in for weeks. Do they do that to everyone? When do they start asking? A month in advance? Can't they sit down for a moment? Do they need to publish a list on Facebook of their achievements of the day? Are we impressed? Should we be?
What do we have against idleness? My day will be lazy, I might go to town later or I might not. I might leave the house, I might not. Why should I feel guilty? I do slightly though, as if my day has had no purpose. I hope Mr Humdrum doesn't come home asking if I've done any washing! I've already had some people saying "Me time, I'd kill for that". Well, do it! Kreider calls it a boast masquerading as a complaint. Hear instead "I can't possibly have any me time, that would entail asking someone else for help, or showing that I need some down time, maybe people will think I can't cope. Or they'll think that I'm not important." Bollocks.
Laziness and idleness should be redefined as quiet time or just down time. I'm not going to catch up on housework, I might just flick a wipe round the bathroom. The sun is coming out now, why don't I take my book to the beach with a thermos of tea? Sod it, that's what I'll do. Bye then!
Saturday, 30 June 2012
(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!
Saturday, 23 June 2012
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?
Monday, 18 June 2012
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, because the nurse said "Oh dear you need an emergency appointment immediately as your blood pressure is 164/103"! Not even when I was pregnant was it that high. What a birthday present that was! Directing my mum through the town traffic, as I wasn't allowed to drive, and trying not to feel worried, we got there and the lovely doc heard my heart roaring and promptly put me on bp tablets! He did say it could've been because of a virus that my bp was so high. I had experienced ear problems prior to the dizziness on holiday, and he said a virus could have entered through my ear. Or to my mind, it could've been the years of being overweight and not exercising enough and being too stressed. Lifestyle changes I did explain that I'd made a huge lifestyle change (my job) and had felt less stressed than ever before, and that I'd lost half a stone since changing jobs (6 weeks). I felt a bit hard done by, which I know sounds silly, but I'd started making big changes, but maybe those years of abuse (mental and physical) were taking their toll. I didn't feel like celebrating my birthday and instead of the pizza we were meant to have, we just went to MacD (not great for bp I know!). Tablets I took my first one that night, and the second the next morning. I felt dizzy. The next day I felt dizzy. And the next. A pharmacist school mum friend said I'd probably get this for a couple of weeks. Great. Or even months! The whole week I felt dizzy. It's the postural dizziness that is the problem, and seeing as at school most of the time I am going from sitting to running across the playground or classroom or corridor, then I can why I was constantly feeling dizzy. I didn't feel myself either. I was worried about the bp. The doc said I should be pleased I had symptoms, or I could've just presented with a coronary! Talk about scaring the s**t out of me! The remainder of the week I just coped. I got through the days and sat around in the evening, feeling too bad to get on with housework etc. A week later However I am pleased to say that one week on, I am not feeling dizzy. For the first time today, either I am over it, or I forgot about it. Either way I have felt myself. I came home from school and cleaned the kitchen, cooked a roast, and have written this blog - I am feeling more like my normal self. Let's hope tomorrow is the same, and let's hope I can carry on this good work of weight loss and stress-free work. I had some good feedback at work today again from the head, and have expressed my wish to help out with the languages at school (my dream) and have also found that my hours are not going to be cut (which some teaching assistants have been told). I had a really good day at work, and do feel like I'm doing a good job. All in all, it's a good start to the week. I'm back on it! I need to re-celebrate my birthday though...
Friday, 25 May 2012
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:
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 playtime as I'm 1-1.
3. If I don't know something, I can't just say Oh I'll google that. I have no desk, let alone a computer.
4. I talk most of the day to children. I then talk to my own child in the evening like he's a child. Well he is, but like he's a pupil. I long for the school pick up so I can talk to adults!
5. I've dropped salaries (by 2/3). (I keep saying I'm rich in other ways!)
6. We won't mention my cleaning lady. It upsets me too much. (Besides this time is when I should be doing my housework, but the blogbug got me so I had to do it!)
And the pros...
1. At 2.30, my day is over. As I can't take the kids home with me, I can't work at home! The lesson time is over. The only thing I plan to do is to watch Mr Tumble more, to learn the Makaton that I am using with my 1-1. His lessons don't require much planning, just thinking on the spot and being flexible.
2. It's stress-free compared with my previous job. There is no everlasting spiralling to do list of projects, and sub projects, and reporting ... There's just the lessons in the day.
3. I am making a difference. I'm not putting money in someone else's back pocket (there's nothing wrong in that, I'm just fed up with it), I am now trying to help other children achieve what I was lucky enough to achieve with good schools, good teachers and supportive parents.
4. I finish at 2.30 every day. There isn't the possibility that a meeting might be added to my calendar out of my hours, meaning I then spend an hour on the phone for childcare, only to find it's been moved again. It's a lot easier to run the house with an identical weekly landscape!
5. I get to ride my bike to work. It takes 10 minutes by bike or car, so I've been mostly biking it. It's refreshing in the morning, gets me in the mood, and clears my head when I take it a bit slower on the way home. And saves on fuel - at most 25 miles/week compared to 175/week previously.
6. I eat less, as I can't graze at my desk. I've been eating lunch at 1pm, and then a piece of fruit before pick up, and I have lost a few pounds from that and the cycling. (And probably less stress.)
Did I mention the holidays? I'm off to Lanzarote next week!
Tuesday, 15 May 2012
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...
Tuesday, 1 May 2012
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 my son's school for 18 months and had been promoted from helping out with the fun activities on a Friday afternoon, to delivering a French class, doing group work for literacy classes, and phonics too.
One job came up, at February half term. I applied - mainly because I wanted to get an application out the door. I needed the kick to start the process of recalling when exacty I started that job in Exeter, and did I do that temping role beore the prison role or after? And where the hell are my certificates? I have found the exam slip sent to me in the post for my O Levels (last year of them, showing my age) but have failed to find my degree certificate! So starts the journey in and around the rip-off merchants that can copy your A Level certificates for £40! Anyway, that job got me nowhere.
Then 2 jobs as teaching assisant came up at my son's school. I'd have been mad not to apply for them. Feeling not quite as confident as my friends and family, I didn't get either job, but I did get some good feedback. I was (in my own words) appalling in my observation in the classroom. My nerves got the better of me. But I felt confident in the interview, so that was good. And the head suggested I should be aiming to teach modern languages in a secondary school. Out came the whole "Do I teach or be a teaching assistant?" conundrum. I thought I'd got this out of my system, but I went through it all again and came up with the same answers. It's not the right time to do a PGCE. I can't commit to the hours, not with Ben at his age, I have too much to do with him. I am glad in a way that I didn't get the job at Ben's school. I am very familiar with the staff there, and I would've always felt like "Elf's mum who came into help" even though that wouldn't probably have been the case.
I had applied for a second teaching assistant job in a local school, met the head, liked the school, worked hard on my appliation form and letter, and lo and behold got an interview. This in itself is an achivement, as I don't have paid experience as a TA! I felt the interview went well and I had an hour to spend in the classroom just working informally with some of the children. Two hours later, I got the call. "Well Humdrum, we thought you interviewed SO well, you were such a strong candidate ..." here comes the gut punch "But". But it didn't. It was followed by "And on that basis we'd like to offer you a position!" I was so excited I forgot most of what was said. I am to be a 1-1 TA for a boy with special educational needs, each morning for 3 hours. Then I am covering lunchtime activities and then an hour as a TA with Year 5/6. I was over the moon.
Expecting to start in September, I imagined a few months off - no the job starts asap! I am starting this Friday as it's an inset day with some TA training. I have sorted out my hours with the head, it all fits around picking up Elf from school. It wouldn't be life without a little wobble. I've had that wobble when I realised my salary would go down by 2/3. But I don't think you do this kind of job for the money. I know I will be satisfied with my job, more than I could have said for my previous one. I will be rich in other ways. I'm grateful to Mr Hudmrum that we have worked out strategies to spend less. No more French Center Parcs, camping in Dorset all the way!
My health has improved, my little stress rashes went as soon as we had notice to leave. My acupuncturist (reduced to a seasonal treatment now!) realised we'd been managing my stress for the last 2 years. My stress being "Oh my boss is making life difficult, I hate my job but I can't leave" etc. Now I had real stress "Was I going to be able to put food on the table?" but I am not so unhealthy.
So on 4 May, may the Force be with me as I start the rest of my life! Wish me luck. Until then I'm officially unemployed for 3 days. Now what shall I do? Oh yes I'd better get on with my housework as I had to let my cleaning lady go! You never know, I may end up losing some weight!
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
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.
Friday, 16 March 2012
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 stay at home to bring him up? Then work part time which is in essence chasing my tail to earn money AND bring him up? I suppose the same person would berate me for wanting to work in a job that is seen by many as "oh not a teacher then"? I was even asked my someone close "Aren't you over qualified?" I'm not qualified at all to work in a classroom! I'm qualified to market a product to put money in the boss's back pocket. That's all well and good, but for me, that doesn't compare to being able to make a difference to a child, to enable a child to reach their potential whatever their background or ability.
And that's really what these women are doing with their 'top degrees" - imparting their knowledge, of all things worldly not their degree subject, onto their children. Why target them? On the other hand, high achieving business women are hated for going to work and leaving baby with a nanny.
We can't win. But we shouldn't have to win!
This is all about choice. It is your choice to do what's best for you and your family. Only you know what this is. And good luck to you. I hope Elf sees me as a good example to him - I got a good education, had a good career, am doing my best for him, and hoping to help other children do well.
Thursday, 8 March 2012
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.
Sunday, 4 March 2012
Friday, 2 March 2012
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Saturday, 18 February 2012
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!
Friday, 17 February 2012
- 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.
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
Friday, 6 January 2012
Sunday, 1 January 2012
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.
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.