Jul 26

Back to work, neglected blog

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It’s been over a month since I last posted, largely because had little brain time to think about blogging.

I’m enjoying my return to work but due to a massive new project and extra responsibilities my job has taken a larger chunk of my life than the allotted 3 days a week. Fair dos, it’s interesting and exciting and I’m not complaining, but I am looking forward to the day when things have settled down.

So here’s a catch up, starting with No. 3 with my June mosaic meaning I’ve completed half the PAD project for 2011.

I’ve also kept to no. 4 and managed at least one PAD challenge every month. This is my June Scavenger Hunt. Check out the link if you want an explanation of what each photo represents. I doubt I’d have completed over 200 days of photos without the monthly hunt and other challenges, they are great inspiration for dull days. I also learnt about a photography trick this month called cross processing.

What else? Let’s see.

The June mosaic has evidence of No. 28, we’re working on a plan for October for No. 19, and I have started on the sling for No. 31, although this has rather stalled with lack of time. Must complete this task, especially as Rachel has completed her pregnancy challenge and produced the beautiful Polly Delphine.

The June PAD mosaic also has two shots for No. 51. Matt took Rhys to see Titchy Tiny Science at the Cheltenham Science Festival, a children’s show all about vibration and sound, while Meredith and I ate cake and drank tea in the cafe tent. The weather was truly atrocious. We then had a break for Rhys to attend a birthday party before we raced back to Cheltenham Town Hall to visit the stalls and learn about magnets, the heart at the Blood Bar, nuclear power, heat sensors, Jenner’s fight against small pox, and a bicycling skeleton. I can’t recommend the festival strongly enough and I hope that next year, when I am no longer attached at the hip to a small baby, I’ll be able to attend a few more of the events myself.

I’m yet to complete No. 78 but Matt has taken up bread challenge again, this time using fresh yeast. Every time I eat home made bread I question why I continue to buy crappy sliced stuff from supermarkets. I think we should return to having an emergency toast/toasted cheese loaf in the freezer and proper stuff for the rest of the time.

Oh and if I can track down my Gran’s old recipe once more, I’ll steal some of the yeast to spread on toast and make some more of her ginger beer…

I spent some of the weekend working on the dull No. 80 and now my hands are dry and sore. Sigh.

Meredith has started having a banana for breakfast every morning so No. 85 is no longer much of a challenge. Indeed, Rhys has been seen with a banana in his hand on a few occasions recently, there is hope for that child yet.

And finally, I got a call up from the National Blood Service this week so I’m sure that No. 94 won’t be too long, iron levels permitting.

And that’s my round up for June and for half way through July. I promise not to leave it so long, not least because I have a list of nonMission related things I want to blog about in my head….

May 2

April 2011

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April 2011 by Stripyzebra
April 2011, a photo by Stripyzebra on Flickr.

The mosaic shows that April was a very green month, with lots of fun and a few family “firsts”.

It’s hard to believe that a third of the year has now passed, a photo taken for every single day. Summer started early; I never expected to have my first bar-b-que so early in the year. No. 24 has kick started. And no. 48 needs to start asap!

And that Meredith is now 8 months old. I can barely remember life without our smiley little girl. Things are about to change drastically – I return to work on Wednesday and she has her first full day at nursery. I hope it’s not too much of a shock for us all.

It’s been a bit quiet on the Mission front so I’ve kick started May with no. 94. I’ve written a brief article on nuisance bonfire smoke – one of my pet hates – for our local magazine, the Woodmancote News. No idea if it will be published or not but I figure that I should be allowed at least one small piece given I help deliver the magazine.

If it gets in, I’ll post the article up on the Mission blog.

In the mean time, we’re off to the Woodmancote May Day fete. For once we are home for the Bank Holiday and we have glorious sunshine so we’re looking forward to seeing the community celebrating this holiday. Hoorah for May Day!

Apr 1

PAD March 2011

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PAD March 2011 by Zeb2007
PAD March 2011, a photo by Zeb2007 on Flickr.

Wooh! This is my March PAD mosaic and that means I’ve completed a quarter of no. 3, my PAD challenge for 2011.

I think I’ve made enough progress with PAD that I can put no. 5 – learn how to use our digital SLR camera – into italics and say I’m working on it.  I can use the timer, change the lens, use macro filters, use manual focus and sometimes even put it on the A or P settings. It’s a start anyway.

Spring has sprung and so have the weeds, I urgently need to get on the case of no. 85 before we find ourselves living in a Gangster’s Dandelion Paradise.

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Mar 17

Mission update for March

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I have been remiss about updating in March, we’re half way through and no blog post. Doh.

So here’s a quick Mission update and a more philosophical post to follow later.

4. I’m still PADing to my surprise – I can’t say I’m anything of a photographer but I do seem to have found a new hobby. What I didn’t expect is to really enjoy the community aspect of the HPAD group – there’s a great mix of ability and styles without offputting competitiveness and there’s a lovely pool of photos to browse each day. On bleugh days there’s challenges to inspire you and the skilled photographers seem happy to help beginners. I feel really very lucky to have such an amazing community to share pictures with and learn from.

25.  Book has been read and I’m trying to put the advice into practise as I can see that it does work even though I have a ridiculous way to go.

The thing that really seems to work for Rhys is the idea that rather than saying “no, you can’t fly to the moon”, you can avoid getting into an argument over the ridiculousness of the request by saying “yes, I’d like to too. And go to Mars and meet the Martians. I wish I could do that.” 

My description is  pants but somehow it works for things like “I want to stay and play longer” – “I wish you could too, it’s a great toy house, but Jenny needs this room to help other children and we have to catch a bus.”

56. Hopefully, illness, work and race course willing, we’ll have the first meeting of a new Cheltenham book club next week at my house. I forsee wine, olives and Kindles at the ready…

72. I’m back to work at the start of May and I should be picking up a shiny new laptop before hand so I really really do need to do this!

84. Task completed!

94. I have an idea for my Woodmancote news article and a deadline for submitting for the summer publication… Would help if Merri hadn’t chewed up the current edition though.

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Feb 9

Things I have learnt today

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Originally uploaded by Zeb2007

- That my head has never quite acknowledged that Slough and Swindon are separate places. Why, I don’t know but they have softly blurred into The Odd Place Where People I Know Go To Work.

- That a cockapoo is a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle. Disappointingly innocent definition.

- That Rhys’s left ear is a tad below par still, probably due to lingering catarrah from a cold, but his right ear is pretty much fine. Progress from the ENT department. Perhaps the next visit will be the last?

- That not all passengers view small talkative children as an nusiance, some of them find the neverending questions entertaining. Although I notice the amused never actually answer any of them.

- That if you tell a small child his pasta shells are the ears cut from newborn babies as a joke to entertain yourself during Yet Another Dull Meal Time, he won’t forget and will ask loudly in public the next day why you didn’t cut his ears off when he was born.

-That DemonWrangler is another person who dislikes having their tummy button touched. Yeuch!

- That eating bread just makes me hungrier than before I eat. Why? What’s that about?

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Feb 8

No. 77

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No. 77 – clutter clear and organize the kids’ bedroom. I just realised that we completed this just after Christmas, at least as far as we can until Meredith joins Rhys in their bedroom.

I tided their room today twice in a fit of  cleanliness. Once when I got up (before breakfast, just call me Superwoman) and once when R was in the bath this afternoon, after he came in from making mud pies in the garden and cleaning his toy garage that’s been left outside all winter.

That’s a lot of tidying for me  so thank goodness that the clutter clear included filling the bedroom with Ikea’s finest Trofast range. A tub for everything means that toys come out and go back to their homes without a faff. Which is just as well given how uninclined I am to housework and how much small children like pulling out as many toys as possible.

I also cleaned the bathroom and wc, cleaned and clutter cleared the living room and dining room table, swept the floors, tidied the kitchen up, bagged cat poo from the garden, and made raspberry muffins.

As ever, the sudden whoosh of domesticity was shame-fueled because we had visitors today – a neighbour and her two children for a first playdate here.

I’ve been on chatting terms with this neighbour for a good while now and invited her son and daughter to Rhys’s birthday party in the hope that we might get to know them a bit better. This felt a bit devious but her son  is the same age as Rhys, lives around the corner, has mutual friends, and may end up in the same class at school so it seemed sensible.

It was a nice afternoon and to my amazement the neighbour has invited us to another playdate which is brave given that last time Rhys left their house over my shoulder having a tantrum.

The day feels thoroughly seized, except I have failed to get my PAD yet. The camera is in reach but as I am pinned under a sleeping Merri I can safely say it won’t be an inspired shot.

Chicken and kale soup and the sofa and I’ll be done for the day.

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Feb 2

PAD January 2011 and a quick Mission update

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PAD January 2011
Originally uploaded by Zeb2007


On a more positive note, I successfully completed my first PAD month and here is the evidence.

I’m stupidly excited at having a mosaic for January 2011. I hope I’ll have at least 11 more to add to this blog and perhaps beyond.

There’s not much update on the other tasks though.

No. 25 – Well, Matt bought a copy of the book as we couldn’t sit on the library copy forever but my reading is at an all time low. I need to invest some time to this book and a few others.

No. 37 – Um yes, I need to actually work at that one. No. 60 is going fairly well though, I mostly manage six portions a day at the moment, so I suppose that’s something.

Of course, no. 86 isn’t helping no. 37 because we’ve made leftover bananas into muffins (see Rhys in the mosiac) and also banana honey cake (which is way too good to share wtih children).

No. 87 – The Onya veg bags have had several trips to the greengrocers now and damn useful they are too. Here’s what Onya Weigh look like for anyone who wants to see what they are.

And that’s pretty much me for up to the end of January and into the very start of February…

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Jan 20

Two thirds through January

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And I’m being a bit slow on the move through my Mission but…

No. 3 and 4

Well, I’m still PADing and enjoying it and I’ve completed two challenges for the month – a nine-item scavanger hunt and a self-portrait – so go me!

I guess I’m a natural attention seeker but I’m really loving the PAD group’s feedback on my attempts at photography and even more so, looking at other people’s pictures. There’s so many talented people taking amazing and imaginative photographs, it’s inspiring me to read the book that’s sat on the shelf for a good few years.

It’s also terrible for making me think ooh I want one of those lenses! This could make for an expensive hobby.

No. 20

Done – Merri has a bank account in her own name. Was only mildy traumatic taking both children to the bank and balancing a clip board on my knee to fill in the form, writing around Merri in the sling and herding Rhys up and away from the wiring. The patient customer service manager laughed at Rhys demanding to know what the tiny door in the wall was for but then he did go on to ask if I’d seen “Outnumbered”…

No. 24

I haven’t gone to Monkey Music  but I did take Merri to the Bumps and Rhythmes group at our local library this morning. A short session of singing and I was surprised at how much she enjoyed it – probably about as much as she needs music-wise for now and it’s free.

There’s a class for 6+ months babies in the community centre next door but  by the time she’s old enough I’ll be close to working again and she’ll be at nursery.  Sadly I’m not seeing how I’ll be able to keep up a music group for her once I’m back at work as the Tuesday Monkey Music group isn’t suitable for an exuberant 4-year-old.

No. 37 and 60

Figuring I’ll probably need a bit of help on losing weigh, I’ve decided to join Weight Watchers online – it seems fairly sensible and do-able which I guess is the main thing. As I am breast feeding it won’t be a speedy loss but we’ll see how it goes.

I figure eating extra fruit and veg is only going to help with the above anyway, and they are mostly “free” on the plan anyway.

No. 90

I’ve texted Kay and there’s a plan to meet some point soon. Must chase up and make cake. On a similar front, I’ve made a playdate for Rhys with another neighbour for next week which should be fun.

No. 100

Ditched a stack of stuff – old crockery, soft toys, clothes – to the local charity shop. Was too lazy to count so I’ll estimate that was at least 40 things…

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Jan 10

First task completed

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The list has been written and posted on blog so first task is complete. Hurrah!

And a few more ongoing tasks have begun.

I have joined a photo a day (PAD) group, full of lovely and talented women whose pictures are a real inspiration to complete tasks 3, 4, and 5.

My pictures can be seen here. If I fall behind kick my butt.


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Jan 5

The Mission

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I’ve written my 101 List , I’ve kept my PAD up to date, and I’ve made a start on the first few other missions.

Just need to get the husband to free up the various tools on here and I can go go go…

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