Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Very sorry

I do hope I am not humorous at all.

Together with the blocking of Facebook, all other social networking sites, Blogger, Ebay, the Bravissimo site (I only wanted to look at the dress styles!), Youtube, Flickr et al., and the other blog hosts, as well as at least one famous IF blogger, I tried to access something today only to receive the by-now-familiar "sorry, blocked because..." logo.

This time it was blocked because it is "humor" [sic - I only say "sic" because I'm in a UK-spelling-zone and this blocker is run by a UK-spelling-organisation].

Better watch it folks - you might get blocked.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thinking of taking things in hand

So to speak.

I have to confess that with 4 days away, a week back, and now 10 days away from Mr Spouse, I am really missing him.  You know what I mean. But I am also acutely aware that I have let things slide in the bedroom department. Loads of good reasons - when we were actively Trying I didn't want to rock the boat, so if things work for me, grand, if not, I'd not complain, but just get on with it.  Now we are actively Avoiding then the problems relating to Mr Spouse's diabetes plus the obligatory use of condoms has made us a bit reluctant at certain times of the month when they are necessary; we can use a certain medication (not the blue one) but it causes headaches (in the person taking it, I hope you realise, not the partner!) so it's really for special occasions/when we'll get a lot of "use" out of it/when he already has a headache and doesn't think it will get any worse!

But I am thinking we are doing ourselves (especially me) a disservice.  We are (OK this is really hard to talk about!) somewhat limited in the positions we can use, physically (again relating to the reason for the medication, if you get my drift), but we have tended to fall into a habit of, if it's OK for him, that's the end of it.  He does his best, but sometimes I'd like him to do it for a bit longer - and sometimes being enthusiastic doesn't cut it - and sometimes I'm not actually sure what will work until it actually does.

OK my embarrassment threshold has probably now been reached but although I'm not entirely sure if our fertility issues have really led to this - and it's not really THAT bad to be honest, I'm pretty sure they haven't helped, and we have certainly been through better patches.  

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Consider myself duly told

I cannot link to this in the title as I am blogging by email, and neither can I comment as Wordpress is blocked and I don't know of a way to comment by email (anyone?) but hopefully this link will alert the blogger in question.

I suspect that after panel will be a good time to ditch the rotten prophylactics - so the minute I get home will be the right time to start up with the folic acid again I think.

Thinking of you, g.


Today's expenditure (the currency here works out at a multiple of 3 to the £ hence the slightly odd figures):

Chapatti (pre-lunch snack): 12p
Lunch (boiled sweet potatoes and red beans): 83p
Two pairs of earrings (bone, I think - one shaped like elephants and one shaped like giraffes): £1.33
One necklace (rolled up paper beads - there is a handy craft market this week outside the clinic where my student's study is taking place and I suspect more money will be spent there tomorrow): £1
Swimming at hotel nearby: £3.33
"Passion" juice at hotel: £1.67
Ride back up hill to guest house on motorbike taxi: £1 (apparently I was overcharged. Though it does cost less to go down the hill, it is true, as it takes less fuel)
Ironing from yesterday: £1.16

I don't think we'll go broke just yet.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oh Noes!

How am I going to survive for 10 days with no FB (I thought I could get on after 5 but apparently not, and I can't even update by webtext as the update number doesn't work on the webtext system), no Twitter (which I don't use that much but which would be a good substitute), and no Blogger (I'm updating by email), Wordpress, or I assume Typepad.

I know why they do it, but it's very frustrating to the terminally linked-in.  I can read anything on Google Reader, but many of you only post partial feeds...

Friday, March 19, 2010


This is probably not of much interest to the non-churchgoers among you (what's that, 90% of my readership?) but anyway, we went to a service tonight to welcome our new vicar. We had read a little about him and there had been a couple of announcements. Tonight he was there, and was officially welcomed, "and David".

"Did you know there was a David? I didn't know there was a David".

Now we are not quite sure who David is. David could be his partner. Or he could be his son. If it was the person sitting next to him, and if he is a son, he is at the youngest in his late teens (I didn't get a clear view, sorry, I'm nosy, but not that nosy). We certainly have another vicar in the area who comes with "children, sometimes". And David could also be an absent (with ex-wife, at home asleep) younger child.

But I think my general question is one of the slight disconnect between the rest of the working world (where a colleague or even, say, a teacher in a tiny village community, or a local councillor, for both of whom community links are important) would be welcomed on their own - not with their family - and the world of the church, were it is assumed family will automatically be part of what is, essentially, the new employee's workplace. And it works both ways - Mr Spouse recounts how in a previous church the minister's wife had decided that it was her church and this was not really what the congregation had in mind, as they had employed the minister, not her. Perhaps this does happen with under-employed or busybody spouses of employees in other occupations, though.

But the cynic in me thinks that (especially if David is a partner, which I strongly suspect) if the partner had been a wife, we'd have heard a lot more about her by now. I'm not sure if this is sexist (female vicar's husband wouldn't have been mentioned so much, either, perhaps) or sexual-orientation-ist.


We will now not be having our panel next month - it's going to have to be May.

Part of this is because our SW has been out of the office a lot so she hasn't been able to schedule a final appointment (I'm still not clear if she needs to see both of us but she definitely needs to see Mr Spouse) in time to send them the paperwork. But she also slightly worryingly said that it was partly because she had "not had all the overseas checks back". If she's waiting for them to come back, she'll be waiting a really long time.

We originally understood that we had to make "best efforts". We've had our FBI one back but the CA form was sent off with a check for payment, which hasn't been cashed. One of my African countries wrote back (after 2 months) to say we'd sent the wrong form of payment (so we sent the right form about 3 weeks ago). So, my paperwork is in their office, but there's no way they'll be writing back inside a month from now. The other country, therefore, has had our paperwork for 3 months. Again, we aren't holding our breath.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just what the doctor ordered

Some nice medicinal chocolate. It's the end of term and the convenience store on campus over-ordered mini Easter eggs. Between us today Mr Spouse and I have tried Mars, Galaxy, Aero and Thornton's Praline.

Hmm, perhaps I should be thinking about doing some exercise at some point in the future?

Actually on a serious note I am missing doing anything active. I didn't go to Pilates this week as I was completely exhausted and I wasn't sure it was helping. I've not had a moment to swim (I had 6 hours teaching today - personal record - yes, I know, if you are an actual teacher it's not that much - but frankly, repeating the same seminar 4 times did not do much for my sanity). I asked Mr Spouse to pick somewhere he felt like going walking on Saturday but he claims it will be raining. I won't be able to run while I'm overseas (leave on Monday) and I may not be able to swim there either (I think there is a pool nearby but it may be raining and if there is, it is certain to be outdoors; I'm not a fan of swimming in tropical thunderstorms!)

I suppose I can always take my Pilates DVD.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why bother...

I am trying, really trying, to be well behaved at work. We're having one of those back-patting or possibly -slapping sessions where we all exhort each other to work harder and publish more and apply for more grants. I am ranked 2nd in my department for money applied for in the last couple of years (didn't get any of it, but that's another story) and have filled my paper allocation too. I am trying to get funding and approval for a very mini initiative that could potentially be a nice little route to publication for at least two very senior and grumpy colleagues who haven't published or applied for anything in the last two years. Guess which ones have just been moaning about how it'll never work and be too much work for them.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Whisked through security, though I thought the TSA agent was going to appropriate my Elizabeth Arden moisturiser (it's in a very large pot but a small volume, typical packaging, but definitely below 100ml), sitting happily in a bar with a beer and an episode of Hustle (my new addiction) on the laptop.

Takeoff in 2 hrs, home for 1 week. Then off again.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rule 1: do not torture yourself

Especially when you have jetlag and are feeling fragile.

Do not constantly think "I'm too old, what am I thinking of, adopting a baby, I should be adopting a 10 year old".

Do not listen to the tales of woe of very good friend with IVF fresh cycle no 1 son and FET twins and husband with slightly wandering eye who admits she hasn't been the easiest to live with and needs to get her marriage in order and think "what if that's what having kids does to you?"

Do not wander around conference watching baby-minders (people tend to bring babies to the kind of conferences I go to as they are part of working life) thinking "granny? surrogate and donor eggs? adopted? people will think all those things of me".

Do not look at Facebook pages of ancient history, but at the time very heavy, crushes holding new babies.

Likewise do not look at Facebook pages of wedding-year-twin friends who have three children now. None born before they were married. Or even conceived before they were married.

Do not go to conference sessions in which you will be forced to watch videos of ultrasounds. Do not then go into a head space where you contemplate doing similar research but imagine your team having to inform someone their baby has died.

But one Do: do think about how, in your adoption home study sessions, it has been really nice to get to talk about why you love your husband and what a nice person he is. And try and remember to say something nice to him every day. And remember how he rings you every day when you are away and gets upset if you don't get to talk.


Arriving into my mid-Atlantic airport I had a couple of trains to catch. On the first one I noticed very sharply how poor the area looks. I am really not familiar with this part of the Eastern seaboard and even though there are some run-down areas in SoCal and the NE, none of them are abandoned and covered in trash in the way places are here. It made me feel that, some areas of East London notwithstanding, I actually live in a rich country. One of the adoption agencies we were thinking about using is in this area and one very close and you know, it makes me feel that yes, if this part of the US is not able to pick up its trash, I think perhaps we could give a child a better life.

On the flight I read what was in some ways a really depressing article about Detroit. But bizarrely, the stories of artists moving in made me think, in my jet-lagged state "ooh, it would be a good place to move to and Create Stuff and if we adopted there we'd likely be closer to our children's birth family and they could see them lots...". Don't worry... I'm just jetlagged.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


1. To have a bath right now
2. To bed immediately after
3. To catch an early train
4. To catch a (thankfully direct) flight to the Eastern Seaboard
5. To then catch a train (this was less painful than changing flights I felt) to a different Mid-Atlantic city for a conference.

Flying back Sunday. I know these rapid trans-Atlantic trips are bread and butter to some of you but I'm just stressed by the whole thing.

How hard can it be...

to find a decent Pilates class at a time when I can actually go to it?

We have quite a few choices - a couple at the campus gym (bizarrely two on the same day, plus one at a really inconvenient time), a couple at other gyms (which I hate going to as the traffic is awful at the times of day when the classes are held), and a couple in church halls (at a time when, OK, it's not the end of the world, but I'd rather just be eating my dinner than rushing out again after it, and in one case, again in a really inconvenient place).

So I have found one that is in a fairly convenient place and a relatively convenient time - and I'm not sure I like it. I think I must just be fussy but the teacher waffles a lot and has very strange metaphors (I don't mind metaphors, but perhaps just mention them once instead of talking about them for 5 minutes when we'd rather keep the class short!), and isn't keen on me doing anything to stretch my shoulder while managing to do a lot of the type of work that shouldn't hurt it but, because I've got quite poor posture as a result of the shoulder injury, in fact hurts my back.

Back to the drawing board I fear.

Friday, March 05, 2010


I booked the massage for Wednesday, which is the day before I fly to the US, and also when I'll need to pack, but Mr Spouse is going out for dinner with the other "mature" students. So hopefully I'll roll in nice and relaxed and forget all kinds of important things.

I've also booked (and I know you don't care, but I do) an eyebrow wax for tomorrow and a leg wax for a couple of days before I go to tropical climes on the 22nd.

This visit will be to see Flaky Student (the one with the surprise, to me, baby). She has told me this week that she was originally planning to come back from her fieldwork on 1st May - also news to me, as the last I heard she was coming in time for next academic year i.e. September. She also tells me she has changed her registration to part-time while she has been doing her fieldwork. Again, news to me - and news to the registration department, too, as apparently she hasn't. Since she'd need my signature on a form to do that...

I have given her (and CC'd her on-the-ground supervisor) a piece of my mind about keeping me informed and actually listening to my advice.

I don't know why I bother

I have been religiously doing my exercises at least twice a day, plus swimming and Pilates, since my last clinic appointment for my shoulder. It has not moved on appreciably from where it was. A manipulation now won't help as they mainly help when (I think I have this right) either most of the difficulty is due to a frozen shoulder (physical movement is possible but not when initiated by the, er owner of the shoulder) OR when the movement is hard in all directions.

I can now move pretty much as far as one would like in the forward direction, not quite 100% but very functional backwards (did I mention I can do up my bra? I can do up my bra!), but completely cr*p sideways. 100 degrees out of 180. I have no idea why people keep asking me if this is enough. No it flipping isn't enough. Would you be ready to give up swimming (I drown if I try to do front crawl), yoga, and quite a bit of Pilates? OK, perhaps you don't care about those - but would you not at least like the option to be able to take them up in the future, should you feel so inclined.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


In my watching-less-TV Lent I am finding quite a few sewing projects are getting done. I've just unearthed some pieces from what I suspect was going to be a double bed quilt. I started making it before I met Mr Spouse, I think, and it's not really to his taste, nor does it go with our current rather understated bedroom - as an aside, we recently repainted in an eau-de-nil greeny colour and we have this:

as a feature wall and our curtains.

Anyway, this quilt was going to be in brights, with some animal prints. It's even possible I was making it for my niece. So, I've decided to get going on a cot-sized version for the impending baby of my best woman/ICSI couple (no, I don't call them that to their face but you know who I mean).

So... given I have far too much fabric cut out, I'm dithering whether to make one for us as well. I mean, for our baby.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Crazy busy

Just gearing up to an even crazier, busier couple of weeks - no, who am I kidding - rest of the month. I have a voucher from Mr Spouse, a birthday present, for a massage. I can't find time to schedule it...

Aaaand breathe.

Monday, March 01, 2010


So, although it was a long time ago, my current head of department didn't know much about my media stardom nor about my parenting-evidence blog (as he shouldn't, till I told him about it, as it is not in my name), nor that I used to be a student journalist (well, neither do a lot of people, but I was seriously dithering about being a journo until I discovered it was all about News, booooring, though I got a couple of cool internships out of it and indeed a place on a postgrad journalism course that I rejected). But now he does. And he wants me to be more involved in PR (damn, I shouldn't have opened my big mouth).

There is one problem: our current web designer. Who should not be let loose on a) web design or b) people. Case in point: I asked today for a quick costing for a self-updatable web page. He proceeded to ask me 75 questions I can't answer and come and bother me in my office when I replied with "I can't answer those". The other guy I asked said "we have these pages and they cost X and you can have 5 sub-pages, if you want to do fancy stuff perhaps write in a course on how to write fancy stuff, that what you're looking for?". Bing bang bong. Over and done with.