Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nearly done

After Wednesday's session, I forgot to post that it probably isn't our last... sigh. We are to get our Prospective Adopter's Report, which will go to the Panel that will (fingers crossed) approve us, and then have another session to go over that. This all has to be fitted in in the next 3 weeks, during which time I will be in a mid-Atlantic state for a conference for four days, as well (though two of those days are weekend days).

The idea is the SW writes it up, we look at it and decide which parts are outrageous lies, and we compromise (or, if we can't, she writes something she agrees with and we write "we don't agree").

We also asked what kind of questions the panel is likely to ask - probably, she thinks, something about Mr Spouse's age, something about his job situation, and possibly something about the inter-country aspect, especially about how we can support a child from a different country and, potentially, of a different ethnic origin. Mr Spouse has to contribute. He is not bad at that when he knows someone but can be a bit reticent when he does not. But I'm sure we'll cope.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Not doing too badly

30 posts in January and 26 (this makes 27) in February. That's fairly close to my one a day target.

Ow. Ow.

Went on a walk today - which was supposed to be 7 miles. The leader had no sense of direction and kept getting lost even though he was supposed to have walked the route before (for example, if you are heading round a south-facing piece of coastline and want to get back to your car which is east of you, you DO need to have the sea on your RIGHT. Not your left) and it ended up being 9 1/2 miles. But when we checked the route on the map at home, even the original route was 8 1/2 miles.

Mr Spouse suggests that we go on our own private walks, rather than inefficiently led walks, in the future. While I am a fan of the Ramblers, I have to agree. Problems have included our local group that hardly ever does weekend walks (because most of its members are retired - a somewhat self-fulfilling prophecy) but had laid one on, which I was told when I rang up to enquire should have been booked in advance (no indication in the programme of the pub meal afterwards that needed booking); another group with the wrong date on some walks and a website that's impossible to navigate; and our local Young People's group which, when I was in my 30s, told me Mr Spouse, then in his 40s, could not come along to. Funnily now the leaders of that group have discovered that in fact they are not immune to aging and now they have passed 40, I went along to one walk only to discover I was probably the 2nd youngest there.

I like the Ramblers in principle but boy, are they strange in practice. Still, we got a good chunk of exercise. I'm supposed to be climbing a Munro in June so I definitely need it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Time warp

Another post up at my semi-professional blog.

(and before you ask, there is a reason why I wrote it today and dated it last September, OK?)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


We had a very short session tonight (though apparently we have to have another one just to check everything in our report is true. Or true-ish). The shortest part of it was the house inspection which consisted of her walking round the house and saying "yeah, you know what you have to do, don't you?" and then spending far longer discussing how nice our house is and what could be rearranged and what size of bed you could fit in our living room (which is upstairs).

So that went OK.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It had better stop snowing

Because if the social worker can't get out of her road again tomorrow I will be Very Cross. I'm in the middle of hoovering and everything! She's supposed to be doing our safety inspection tomorrow - and this is already a postponed appointment.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I will admit to being a bit, no, a lot, of a TV addict. It is doing me good, this rationing. I managed to watch just one episode of Glee today and then switch it off and talk to Mr Spouse.

He's finding his course a bit challenging at the moment - in a very recognisable mature-student-challenging way. What this means is he is not quite sure if he has done enough work, or that he is going to do OK on his assignments, and then gets firsts for all of them. He also panics about his exams, and tests, and so far has got firsts on all of those too. I have seen this many times before with keen mature students who a) have the savvy to actually, you know, organise themselves and b) are bright anyway. But telling him he is not unique is not what he wants to hear right now!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Having given up on Mr Spouse buying (or, obviously as he is A MAN, baking) me a birthday cake, I'm making a cake based on Lord Baltimore cake (my recipe has 5 egg yolks and 1 egg) but with penuche frosting (my recipe has only brown sugar, not icing sugar - the original cake has all kinds of nuts and dried fruit in the frosting).

It's amazing what you can come up with when you have 4 egg yolks in the freezer, no cocoa powder, chocolate, dried fruit other than raisins, or icing sugar in the house, and no motivation to go out. I also managed to leave my vanilla essence at the hall where we hold Brownies last week, but we had some vanilla pods so I crushed a few seeds into the mixture.

Friday, February 19, 2010


The Beauty Bible people clearly know it is my birthday and that I am OLD as my very very nice package from them arrived this morning. I will have to stop myself from trying them all at once (partly as I have a slight tendency to sensitive skin and it would kind of help to know which product was causing it if I have a problem!).

Mr Spouse also came up trumps with a voucher for a massage and a really thoughful choice of book and DVD - I've been enjoying Hustle series 2 which has been on so he got hold of series 1, plus a new Garrison Keillor book I hadn't heard about.

This sounds terribly mercenary I know, but family were a bit on the FAIL side, my brother knows how I think at least and got me a highly amusing toy/ornament which I have been forbidden from taking to the restaurant/bar where we are spending this evening (I may have to smuggle it out with me...)... Father forgot and emailed me apologetically in the afternoon and mother for some bizarre reason came up with a couple of small bits including some bookplates - which I strongly suspect she also gave me for my 8th birthday.

I know it sounds a bit sad and grabbing but I think the real issue is that my mother and I are on different pages as far as gifts go. I really want to have something to open as a gift, preferably something I did not have to organise, though it can be something I chose, or not, I'm easy either way. And I did get that. But my mother wants to give gifts that are preferably very cheap, but that she does not have to organise. I asked for, and got, a lovely pair of boots for Christmas, and I did need to try them on, so that part was fine. But she insisted I pay for them and she reimburse me, I have no idea why, I just felt that I would rather she organise it. My father asked me what I wanted, I sent him details, he bought and wrapped it.
So for my birthday when she asked me what I wanted, and I asked if she would sort out getting my pearls restrung (bought in SE Asia, though I am fairly sure they are real!) - but she would not organise it, only pay for it if I organised it. So I said not to bother, I just wanted something I didn't have to sort out myself. Which I got, and now am sulking like said 8-year-old.

How do you feel about gifts you have to choose? What about ones you have to organise and pay for?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crystal ball

Not sure how to approach this one or how it will transpire. We have had nice long chats with lots of adoption agencies who have been willing to answer any and every question under the sun but we may well need to deal with an actual lawyer as well. It seems that - just to talk to us - he wants a chunk of change. Compared to the rest of what it's costing us, it is really change, but it just seems a little unhelpful. And we may well not have a choice as he seems to be the only one who can work with other agencies in this way.

However other aspects of my future are a little clearer to me. Tomorrow I have a small birthday meal after a birthday haircut and highlights and before a slightly more (I hope) well-attended birthday drinks. On Saturday I have the joy of accompanying 8 Brownies to meet up with 82 other Brownies for a World Thinking Day celebration, followed by a night out with the lovely Mr Spouse.

And this evening I have a brief session relaxing in front of the TV (my Lenten discipline is to limit myself to an hour a day of TV; so far this evening I have tidied and dusted what will hopefully be our baby's room, in place of some of the TV, go me!), and a quick reminder to Mr Spouse that birthdays require CAKE.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More memories

Ash Wednesday - the fifth anniversary of the day I found out my first pregnancy was going nowhere and that NigelandDelia had died.

That day we went to church in the evening, and burst into noisy uncontrollable sobs afterwards.

Today I managed not to cry and was actually quite calm. I am trying to work on having more peaceful thoughts that do not lead to me worrying away at irrelevant things in the middle of the night and not sleeping. And the clouds of incense helped.

But now I can feel my period is starting. And my cycles seem to be getting shorter; this is both annoying (who needs more frequent periods?), very badly timed (I would much rather feel well today), and depressing (as it is very likely the last groan of my reproductive system).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Whatever happened to...

...Ok I know approaching zero of you are going to care, but we were watching Shameless the other night, in an episode focussing on Karen, who is the daughter of Sheila, who was the mother of Nigel and Delia, who were - in the show people! in the show! - born around the time I found out I was pregnant for the first time. So (if you are a regular reader you may know this already) we called the first baby NigelandDelia.

Anyway we were trying to remember what had happened to her and to them. And this led us to thinking about our NigelandDelia who would have been starting school in September.

"this high" as Mr Spouse said.

Monday, February 15, 2010

You know you've been doing this too long when...

you find yourself being lapped by infertiles.

Not just the "got married, found out they were infertile, had treatment/luck, completed their family" in the time it's taken us to have 4 non-viable pregnancies. I know there are a few of those but not too many. But more the "hadn't even met each other when Mr Spouse and I were first finding out there were problems but are now married and going through treatment". And also a few of the "almost young enough to be my own child and definitely young enough to be Mr Spouse's and have already found out they are infertile".

Yes, I have a birthday coming up. Why do you ask?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

One day I will learn

not to take out my contact lenses and then expect to be able to see the computer screen with my rubbish glasses.

Or I will buy a new pair of glasses.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


We went to see a one-man show about the life of Eric Morecambe - a great British cultural institution (though he wasn't too fond of the Glaswegians). If you get the chance to see this, it is highly hilarious; fortunately for me, like Shakespeare, it is full of quotes.

I say this because I do not recall ever seeing Morecambe & Wise as a child. I'm not sure if it was because of the timing of the shows, because it was "common", because my parents just plain didn't like it, or because by the time I was considered old enough to watch it, it was on ITV (also "common". Note my parents would never have used that word, but you get the picture). We watched The Two Ronnies.

I know I'm missing out on a basic element of British culture. But I am also missing quite a bit of American culture which makes me occasionally confused. My mother did her best to raise me somewhat American but outside the US, but there are some things you don't get.

We've been thinking about culture/nationality/ethnicity in relation to the adoption too - and I've been reading about transracial adoptees not feeling they fit in with people of their own ethnicity - I guess I feel a little like that myself, not wanting to open my mouth and show my passport at the same time. And Mr Spouse who has a classically Welsh name (if you are my friend on FB you will be able to see that you don't get more Welsh than that) actually has a "lots of planets have a North" accent. When you are in England and you say you are Welsh or American but sound English no-one is that bothered (though sometimes they do a double-take with Mr Spouse). But when you are in Wales or the US and you are both "from" and "not from" it is confusing.

Eric Bartholemew/Morecambe also had an adopted son, adopted in 1973 at the age of 4, after two birth children. In the show he was described as "a gift we gave to ourselves" which is in some ways a lovely way of putting it. Adopting a 4 year old in 1973 must have been very unusual. Irritatingly I can't find much about him though the two older children were interviewed for "Relative Values". Of course all references to him in the media say "two children and an adopted son". Or omit to mention him at all. But the interview with his siblings talks about how he came to be in the family - and this route to adoption was mentioned in the book I've been reading recently as well, about institutional care in this era.

(We also saw John Hegley in the same theatre recently - we are curious as to whether they admit artists who do not support Luton Town).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Slightly exciting

In a very sad way.

After my foray into the world of makeup, I have bought myself a few more bits and pieces, mainly along the lines of no-makeup makeup, and potions for my wrinkly bits, and the luggage under my eyes. I'm currently awaiting.... drum roll....

a Beauty Bible tester kit!

This is a great arrangement where you pay a small fee for postage/packing/admin and get a much larger amount's worth of products to test, theoretically suitable to your skin and hair. This package is supposed to be suitable for "over 35s", which I will be even more after next week.

How did it get to be another year later?

And on that note...

First Aid procedures change intermittently, which our trainer on my refresher course last night explained is a mixture of planned reviews and new evidence coming to light. We were told that the new advice is to call for help at the scene before checking a casulty's airway.

I was reminded by May's post today that my first instinct on being told this was to yell "Heyulp! Heyulp!" like Penelope Pitstop.

I refrained.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I never see you...

This is Mr Spouse's plaintive cry when I am out several evenings in a row. This week it is only tonight (first aid course) and Friday (local amateur play that our knitting group has made some props for).

Normally it's very sweet but today he just wanted some help with his quantitative coursework. Pah.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Not quite over

Home study sessions cancelled by social worker = approximately 5
Home study sessions cancelled by us = 0 (though we were thinking of cancelling today's so Mr Spouse could go and see his mother in hospital a) she wasn't kept in and appears to be absolutely fine after a small tumble b) the SW cancelled instead).
However in contrast to this rather erratic showing
Times the social work has been late = 1 (when she didn't know the way yet). We gather this is very unusual!
Times we have been late = 1 (to prep group - long journey, quite a bit of traffic)
Times Mr Spouse has fallen asleep = approximately 2 (in prep group - long journey, quite a bit of traffic, I couldn't drive at the time, hot room, erm, not very interesting speaker).
Date on which Mr Spouse threatened to fall asleep in home study session = today.

I am married to an American football fan. Wrong time zone. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

You will be happy to learn...

that I'm now a fully-qualified Brownie leader with my last Adult Leadership Qualification module ticked and signed off.

What next, I hear you cry? Perhaps I should do my Overnight licence, for added madness.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Update on the arm

It's improving a very, very little but I'm bracing myself for a consultant's appointment in a few weeks as I think it will be yes to the manipulation.

I had stopped taking my nefopam as I felt it was making me jumpy but even the maximum dose of ibuprofen doesn't help me do my exercises as much, so I've gone back on it this morning. Bit of a dry mouth but not too bad.

I've also started swimming and doing Pilates, and I'm aiming for 1 swim and 2 Pilates (even if just 20 mins of a DVD) per week. I can do two whole lengths at a time of breast stroke, or back stroke, or a stroke of my own invention involving a float. And I didn't even run into anyone doing back stroke.

Friday, February 05, 2010

This post was inspired by Julie's the other day.

I often take the bus to work, and before Christmas I was struggling carrying much stuff, and couldn't drive, so I hopped on the bus round the corner from home - with a light plastic bag and a fairly heavy shoulder bag, I seem to remember. I sat about 2 rows back from the front and there were at least 2 male students sat in front of me (or forward of me).

I was merrily listening to my iPod and couldn't quite work out what was happening as a dad got on with two children, one walking, one about 9 months I reckon. The dad was talking to the bus driver who was shaking his head and shrugging and the father then walked up towards me and asked me to hold his baby.

Now, I had my headphones on and it took me about 5-10 seconds to work out what he wanted and a further short moment to realise that as this would involve raising both arms above chest height I wouldn't be able to, and if I tried I'd just drop my parcels on the floor of the bus. I couldn't think what to say so said "er, no, sorry, can you put her on the seat there?"

No, says the dad, she'll topple over, and he looked around the bus helplessly. A male student on the other side of the aisle, but sitting technically in front of me, offered to hold the baby.

I realised at this point that the dad had been asking the bus driver to hold the baby for him.

I was roundly condemned for this incident at the time so (unless I am completely losing it) I didn't blog about it. I am not sure if part of this was that people assumed I was thinking "clueless dad" or on the contrary was thinking "dad who thinks he can get away with it because he's a bloke" or that I was being unsympathetic to "dad newly on his own" as if the only reason for a dad taking the kids out on his own is because mum is away or dead.

In fact, I was thinking "er what"? followed by "am I the only person on this bus? no I am not but I am the only woman" followed by "actually, although I think it is a little, er, unusual, to ask me to hold your baby, and normally I'd expect to help with the pushchair while you hold the baby, in fact I wouldn't be able to do that".

And that would have taken so long to explain I just went back to my iPod.

But my final thought, after the bus had moved on and I had worked out that his original conversation with the driver was about getting the driver to hold the baby was not "clueless bloke doesn't know anything" or "clueless bloke thinks everyone else is around to hold his baby" or "clueless bloke thinks women are there to help him out", or even a slightly more charitable "poor bloke, shame I can't help him" but in fact "good grief, learn how to use public transport mate, passengers will help, though not if you pick the wrong one, bus drivers won't, it's obvious YOU normally drive to work!!"

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Second hand

I am not a fan of pink. When I was a baby we wore blue flowered dresses and then it was the 70s and everyone wore orange. The social worker commented that we couldn't really fully decorate our child's room for a number of reasons, firstly that it would be to difficult for us to make us do that without a child on the horizon, and also that we wouldn't know whether it was going to be a boy or a girl. I don't see the latter as a good reason at all because as far as I am concerned, there will not be pink.

"Not even if people give you pink things?"
"Well, maybe. Unless it's magenta. Then it's going back to the shop. If it's a girl I'll exchange it for something with Bob the Builder or Thomas the Tank Engine".
"Oh, that's mean..."
I pointed out that I would want to make sure anything we got for a girl would be usable by another child who was a boy. Apparently that is very wrong.

We compromised, I feel, by saying that we'd probably not need to actually buy any clothes for a baby as everyone would buy them for us.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Show & Tell - Candlemas

Show and Tell

Yesterday, I know, but I only remembered today about taking down the crib.

It looks rather strange (it may be the angle), but I think it is quite cute - it's Mexican, made of tin, and comes in a cute matching box. The timing is very important. The Baby
Jesus does not arrive till Christmas Eve, and the Magi not until Twelfth Night. But it can then stay up till Candlemas. I bought the set in either Tijuana or Ensenada on a border-hop trip when I was living in SoCal ten years ago.

I do love Christmas even though it's hard when you are waiting to have children. But in a way I love the extended bits more - the private, family bits - the bits where you don't have to go round to people's houses and appear cheery. Like keeping the crib up till Candlemas.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Tears before bedtime

Still not sleeping and still upset about life, promotion, etc. etc. Mr Spouse whisked me away from the office to the supermarket at about 3 (well, it was that or stay in my office weeping with the door locked, which is what I was doing till that point). We know how to live.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Lots of nots

Not sleeping very well, not getting promotion, not even managing my blog-a-day for January, not finishing any work including urgent stuff for tomorrow, and not feeling very well at all. But also shouting at Mr Spouse. Grand.