Sunday, June 30, 2013

day in the life - monday 24th june 2013

7.30am - My alarm goes off and I get up and shower and dress.  Dulcie sleeps on in our bed.
7.50am - The cats are yowling for breakfast, but when I go to the cupboard, I realise there is no cat food left.  Looks like I will have to go to the corner shop for emergency supplies.
7.55am - Dulcie gets up, so the cats will have to wait.  I make her some rice crispies with raisins and bananas, a change from her usual porridge.
(This is what Dulcie does these days when we ask her to smile.)

8.05am - I head out for cat food.  Graham (who is sitting in a towel eating breakfast) requests that I hurry up. This is not well received!
8.20am - Cat food purchased and cats fed, I finally get to make my own breakfast.  I do this in a hurry, knowing I will need to eat fast to finish it before Dulcie starts wanting to escape her high chair.  This is toast and honey with a vitamin drink and a cup of tea in my favourite Moomin mug.  This is too much liquid (don't tell my consultant!) but in the end I don't manage to drink the tea, so it really doesn't matter.
I also take my morning tablets.
8.30am - This is a fairly typical level of mess post-eating for Dulcie.  You can see why I'm thinking we'll have to go with oil cloth for these seats...  I clear up the breakfast things and she runs around in her nappy, happy to be reunited with all her toys, until I have swept the floor etc.
9.00am - I've managed to get Dulcie dressed without too much fighting (for once) so she has a play with the toy mound behind the sofa and actually lets me check my emails and read a couple of blogs.  I see something on Nikki McWilliams' blog that I think would make a perfect present for someone I know and, in an uncharacteristic fit of organisation, I seek it out and order it, planning to keep it for their birthday/Christmas.
10.10am - Dulcie and I head out to Bounce and Rhyme at the local library, taking a minor detour via the charity shop to drop off a couple of bags of donations.
11.00am - Singing over, Dulcie reads a few books on the groovy library carpet before we head across the road to the supermarket.  I'm not organised enough to do a weekly shop today (as I have done for the last few Mondays) but I manage not to go too wild and just buy a few healthy bits for today's lunch and dinner.  Oh, actually, I went round a few charity shops too, but didn't find anything worth photogrpahing let alone buying.  I'm getting better at resisting these days!
11.45am - On the way home, we meet this friendly ginger cat, much to Dulcie's delight.  Other way, Dulcie!
We stay and stroke him for a while and he rubs his head on Dulcie's shoes a lot before we head home.
11.55am - We share a healthy snack of strawberries.  I'm a take-them-or-leave-them type when it comes to strawberries usually, but this year they are freakin' delicious!  Dulcie absolutely adores strawberries at the moment, so she polishes off most of this bowl before I manage to put my camera away.  I prepare another bowl, but she eats the majority of that one too.
1.00pm - After reading about a gazillion picture books, it's time for lunch.  Dulcie has hedgehog (my own "creation" of houmous with breadsticks and vegetables stuck in it) while I have tasty pitta breads stuffed with houmous and beetroot and salad.
1.45pm - Dulcie wants to draw.  I know this because she tells me.  "Daw!"
Dulcie's idea of drawing is to tell me to draw something, which she then scribbles over.  She used to always ask me to draw dogs, but these days it is always either "Daddy" or "apple" with just the occasional "doggie" for good measure.  I find this orange picture, which she insists is me.  I guess Graham must have created this flattering portrait for her at the weekend...

2.05pm - While playing with her toys, Dulcie discovers that she can operate this one with her bottom.  This keeps her entertained for a fair while.
2.15pm - We set off for the park.  When we arrive, Dulcie heads straight for the tunnel where she was attacked just a few days previously.  As you can see from this smiling face, she is not bearing any obvious mental scars from the incident.
As well as the tunnel, she spends lots of time playing on the swings, the slide and pretty much everything really.  There is a nursery outing in the park and I end up having to push almost all of them on the roundabout at once.  Dulcie makes lots of friends by shouting "Wheee!" whenever they go down the slide.  We stay at the park for most of the afternoon, until it is completely swamped by small school children who are a bit rough for Dulcie's taste.  Well, some of them are.  One group of girls gathers round to coo over Dulcie and tell me how cute she is.  This goes down very well with Dulcie, who adopts her best coy pose.

4.00pm - Before we head home, we buy an ice cream from the van in the park and share it.  Delicious.  Luckily for me, Dulcie is better at sharing ice cream than she is at sharing strawberries.

4.30pm - Back home, we read more books (and more books and more books) and play with some more toys.  I start getting dinner ready (we're having baked potato and salad tonight) and try to tidy up so Graham won't have so much to do later, just in case Dulcie decides to be a bed-refuser.

6.00pm - Graham gets in from work and we all have dinner together.

6.25pm - I grab a few things and run out the door to work.  The underground takes ages to arrive and I can't get a seat when it does.  I still manage to read a bit of my Alexander McCall Smith book, though.

7.00pm - I arrive at work just in the nick of time and have my annual appraisal, which is OK.  A few things make me pretty mad, but I bite my tongue.  My manager is lovely and would sort things out, I'm sure, but I don't want them to end up being turned into yet more appraisal objectives for me, so I figure for my own sake that I should just smile and nod as much as possible.

8.00pm - Despite not having done any work yet, I take my break early so that I can catch up with my friend Susan in the kitchen.

8.40pm - I write up my appraisal notes and then do some subtitling at last.  It's not too hard a night really.  I do a few proofs and then get lumbered with some motor racing, but it turns out not to be too bad as my part has a really long musical interlude that requires no subtitles.  Score!  I also have to do the weather, but this passes without major incident.

12.00 midnight - My taxi arrives and takes me home where I have a quick mini whisky with Graham before crawling into bed.  Yawn!

And so ends a fairly typical Monday really.  Well, we don't normally have ice cream, but other than that...  I'm not sure who else has taken part in Day In The Life this month, but there's at least one here and one here (with added puppy).

Saturday, June 29, 2013

the chat

Dulcie can talk!  No, really!  It's been quite an exciting week or two.  I suppose she's been kind of talking for ages, what with her animal noises and the occasional "word", but suddenly it's like she brings out about 100 new words every day and some of them pronounced so perfectly.  I'm having great fun pointing at random objects and asking her what they are just to see if she knows, which more often than not, it seems, she does.  And I am loving all her attempts at verbal communication, like yesterday when she came up to me saying, "Mama! Poop!" to let me know she had done just that on the carpet!  Ha!

All the words ending in a hard sound are the cutest (book, bug, stick, park) and she has a few words that she adds an unnecessary -ie sound to the end of (doggie and baggie, which is her sleeping bag).  I love the words she can say really precisely (yesterday apple, which had been "ap", suddenly became "app-uhl") but my favourite has to be the somewhat more imprecise "whik", which she says when pointing at the cats' whiskers.  And the cats, incidentally, get called Bob and Yo instead of Poppy and Lola.

Here's a little video of her repeating one of her favourite nursery rhymes parrot-style.  I should explain that putting her hand behind her back apparently means "over" as she does this every time.  I'm not sure where that came from.  Dulcie is loving nursery rhymes these days, having been getting really into this lovely Mother Goose collection that my parents gave her for her first Christmas.  "Buckle" is another word that she says really clearly when she wants to hear Bobby Shaftoe (or when she's playing with the straps in her pram).

I'm hoping to be back soon with a blog post for Day In The Life, which was on Monday.  I took lots of photos (for part of the day, at least) but haven't found any time to put them together with some words.  If I manage to sort the photos tonight (if!) then I might write the accompanying post on my lunch break tomorrow, which is how I am managing to write this today.  Watch this space, but not too avidly because a) I might not manage to write the post at all and b) even if I do, it probably won't be that interesting!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

tunnel of definitely-not-love

It's been a week of steep learning curves for Dulcie and I.  Dulcie, while obviously super talented in so many ways, is sadly lacking when it comes to social and physical skills.  She is very shy and clingy, falls over a lot (you can see a few of her head injuries in this photo) and is not very good at clambering or climbing... yet.  This week we decided to make the most of the warm weather and head to the park most days, where all these skills could be tackled and, I must say, it kind of worked.  After just a couple of hours hanging around on the slide/climbing frame, Dulcie had got to grips with steps and slopes and what railings could be for.  She'd also got a bit braver about approaching other children and was spending less time gripping my hand with white knuckles or wrapping herself around my legs.  By Thursday, her confidence had grown so much that she wanted to play inside this tunnel, something she had only every peeked into before.  She needed a bit of a hand getting in there, but was then happily scooting about, back and forth, keeking out of the portholes and generally having a lovely time.  After a while a boy climbed in the other end of the tunnel and the two of them had a bit of a stare-off.  Dulcie eventually decided the boy seemed harmless and gave him a big beaming smile.  That was when he grabbed her by the hair and began smooshing her face in the ground.  Poor Dulcie.  She always looks so crestfallen when another child is mean to her, it's like her estimation of what the world is and how it works suddenly stops making sense to her and the harsh realities of real life begin to seep into her consciousness.  Usually that's her cue to run back to me and recommence hand squeezing/leg wrapping, but this time she was well and truly stuck at the opposite end of the tunnel, so could just flail and cry, shouting, "Mama! Mama!" all the while.  Fortunately, the boy's mum, who was at the action end of the tunnel, managed to prise his fingers from Dulcie's hair, at which point Dulcie came flying out my end of the tunnel in floods of tears.  Such a sad scene :(  However, she got over it pretty quickly and even went over and waved goodbye to the boy, accompanied by her friendliest smile, before we left.  And the next day at toddler group (despite three instances of being  briefly inconsolable when another toddler stole whatever she was playing with) she seemed a bit more in the mix, a bit less clingy, a little bit braver.  I guess hard knocks have their positives, even if you might feel guiltily responsible for the upset/injuries at the time.

And my learning?  Well, I learned that swim nappies are not fit for purpose!  I should apologise to anyone who hoped to take their child swimming in Maryhill on Friday afternoon, as I fear we left the shallow end of the baby pool rather contaminated.  We had to make a hasty exit, peel (yes, peel) a once-blue-now-brown swimming suit from Dulcie's body and hose her down in the showers, all the while trying not to draw attention to ourselves.  I think maybe we got away with it?  If we summon the courage to go back, I just hope there won't be wanted posters with our faces on them...

Monday, June 17, 2013

the heads of ladies and what they are for

Picture of Ben and Hayley from Carlotta Cardana's Mod Couples, 
as seen in The Guardian.

I saw a series of pictures of mod couples in a wee feature in The Guardian magazine some weeks ago.  They were great photos, I thought, of an interesting subject, but I'm sure we all know that I'm not qualified to be an art critic, so perhaps you won't be surprised to learn that the reason I'm sharing this photo here is to discuss the rather more banal topic of... haircuts.

Yes, the time has come for me to grasp the bull of fear and discomfort by the horns once again and return to the hairdresser, possibly my least favourite place to be.  I always have to have got to the stage of really hating my hair before I can summon the mental energy to set foot in a salon, so I often just want the whole lot lobbed off.  Unfortunately, hairdressers never seem to take me at my word and I usually come out with something just slightly more drastic than a trim, a TRIM if you like.

This time around I am torn between begging and pleading for an actual lobbing (running the risk of getting yet another TRIM) and going for something more like this lady's hair.  See, I'm pretty sure my hair was not dissimilar to this a couple of years back and I did quite like it, although these haircuts always look much squarer on me - somewhere between being a very middle-aged haircut and the haircut of a little girl.  I'm not sure if this is down to my weirdly shaped head, my neither wavy nor straight hair, my more general style (or lack of it) or hairdressers just not seeing me the same way I see myself, but my hair never looks at all how I might want it to/how I believe I've described it.

Anyway, this is WAY too much chat about hair, especially since I've been questioning my role-model credentials as mother of a small girl.  (Why does Dulcie always make a beeline for the doll and mini pushchair when we go to toddler group?)  I promise never to wax lyrical about forthcoming barnets again.  I shall devote my ever-dwindling brainpower to higher plains of thought instead, whatever that means...

Friday, June 14, 2013

sewing backlog

Buoyed by the "success" of my first sewing project (I still haven't managed to get any further than cutting out the pattern pieces!) I started browsing Etsy for vintage sewing patterns for little people and ended up buying this beauty.  I can't work out what size it is (size 24, apparently) but, looking at the pattern pieces, it's definitely still a good bit too big for Dulcie, which is a good thing.  I secretly wish this pattern was in my size, though it may not be too accommodating to bosoms, I suppose.  Incidentally, if anyone knows of any cute but not too tricky patterns for any clothes I might be able to make for myself (I'm thinking dresses and tops in particular) then please do let me know.  Once my space is reorganised, I'm hoping I can turn my sewing machine into my constant companion.

p.s. This is where I got the pattern above from.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


My dad visited briefly this week to look after Dulcie while Graham and I went to the hospital and IKEA.  Since he retired, my dad's got quite into baking and had made these special salt-free oatcakes for Dulcie.  He even designed and made this special box for them!  Dulcie loves them, but is quite a fan of oatmeal in general.
Here she is using her spoon to eat porridge for breakfast.  We used to have to make her porridge solid so she could pick it up in lumps, but she has very suddenly mastered the art of cutlery (ever since we got her a fork - I think she feels all grown up) so can now have it a bit more runny, which I'm sure must taste better.  Today she even managed to eat a whole bowl of soup with a spoon, bless her.  She's also eating foods she previously would have refused (i.e. swept off her table and all over the floor) now that she has her own fork to use.  I'm glad she's cracked the cutlery thing on her own.  For one thing, it is very cute, but also I had no idea how I was going to persuade her to use cutlery so I'm glad I didn't have to.  Maybe potty training (something I guess I should look into) will be equally easy... she says hopefully?  Ha!  She's certainly very interested in toilet roll and can unravel mounds of the stuff in a jiffy, so perhaps she will be keen to use it for real.  We live in hope.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I spent this morning carrying my entire craft book collection upstairs in installments.  Fortunately my dad was on hand last night to assist Graham with the humphing of the bookcase...
..and also my haberdasher's counter, which is quite possibly the heaviest thing known to man.  I can't believe Graham and I managed to carry it up a hill when I found it, albeit two steps at a time interspersed with 30-second periods of recovery.  I would never attempt to move it now I know about my heart, that is for sure.

This, which is currently a corner of our bedroom, is going to become my craft space.  The only item of furniture I'm going to have aside from these shelves and drawers is a desk.  You'd think that would be fairly easy to arrange, but I am struggling.  This is partly because there's still a hulking great wardrobe in my so-called craft space, so I can't try anything out.  It should be moved shortly.  It's also because I don't yet have the desk and don't really know what its dimensions will be.  I thought I'd wait and buy one specifically to fit with my plans/layout.  There's also still a fair bit of "stuff" that needs to be moved upstairs and rehoused amongst these items of furniture.  But I think the main problem is the haberdasher's counter.  I have always wanted one and couldn't believe my luck when I found it and, don't get me wrong, it houses an amazing amount of storage space, even in its current condition with some drawers missing or in need of repair.  But it is massive and unwieldy and is something that really needs to be in the middle of a room, viewed from all sides, to be fully appreciated.  Could I bring myself to put it with its glass front against a wall?  It might make better use of the limited space I have, but it does do a disservice to this lovely item?  Hmmm.  Maybe I'll feel differently about it protruding into the middle of the room (not quite as much as it is now!) once it has its glass top back on (I need to stick on some felt or foamy type stuff first) and once it has all its drawers.  I'm hoping my uncle, a joiner, will be able to make replacements for those that are missing.  It's a great piece of furniture in so many ways, but having never had the right space for it, I've lost count of the number of times I've secretly wished I hadn't found it that day.  I do hope I feel differently once it's found its home and been properly finished.  I know I SHOULD love it.

I'm hoping I can make this little space amazing, but I'm not feeling overly confident.  Yet.  Well, however it looks, I can't wait to have my crafty stuff accessible once again.  My real design aim is to be able to make use of snatched moments to actually make stuff.  Can you imagine?  

I wish I could explain how horrifically undoable our life is with the flat in its current state.  We could just about get away with it before Dulcie, but now it feels like we're living in an ever-moving eye of a hurricane, frantically reorganising the piles of crap plus good stuff that get blown and reblown umpteen times a day.  Every little thing we try to do is twenty times more faffy than it should be and it makes us irritable and stressed and inefficient and unfulfilled.  My main focus in all this reorganising and rearranging is storage.  Storage, storage, storage.  I've become quite obsessed with it.  I was out with a friend a couple of weeks ago and we were fantasising about winning the lottery and all I could think of was what storage solutions I'd spend my winnings on.  I'm sure I'll always be an on-the-back-foot disorganised individual with hoarder tendencies, but I'm really hoping (and excited at the thought) that what we do to the flat now will actually change our lives and change the ways we live and feel.  I hope I won't be disappointed...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

me and my girl

I had been feeling generally much better lately, but have been having a wee blip this weekend, so I thought I'd post a few photos of Dulcie and I together to cheer myself back up and just because I can.  Here we are on Lossiemouth beach.
Here we are walking hand in hand in rainy Glasgow in exactly the same outfits.  Yeah, remember when Glasgow used to be rainy?!
 And here we are in 1970 by the looks of things, in my mum and dad's back garden.

See?  I feel better already :)

(But I do want new glasses)

Friday, June 7, 2013

lovely day(s)

Dulcie and I have had lots of lovely days this week - just wandering about in the nice weather, hanging out at the park or in the back garden - but yesterday was a particularly lovely one.  I had a hospital appointment first thing in the morning, which was why I found myself heading home via Byres Road, already feeling like I'd had a whole day's worth of pushing the pram, at around midday.  I was just wondering what I could scrape together for lunch out of our bare fridge and cupboards and fantasising about a big bowl of lovely pasta with tasty sauce, sundried tomatoes, rocket, Parmesan when... it dawned on me that Dulcie and I could easily go for a fancy wee lunch, just the two of us.  So we did.  We shared a half-size portion of scrummy pasta with some garlic bread on the side and followed it up with a scoop or two of chocolate ice cream.  Dulcie loves eating out and thinks waitresses as a species are the bees' knees - she gets all smiley and flirty with them and forgets how shy she is around other strangers.  Between waitresses and the people on the surrounding tables, it was one of the more sociable lunches I've had in a long time, despite it being just me and someone who can't talk.
On the way home, we stopped off in Oxfam Bookshop and I found the latest Alexander McCall Smith (my constant quest) which always makes me pretty excited.  I'm looking forward to reading it and have fast-tracked it to the top of my to-read pile.

The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out with the neighbours' cat (much more Dulcie tolerant than our own cats) in the back garden until we remembered we had a prescription to pick up from the doctor's.  We walked there rather than taking the pram and the five-minute journey took almost an hour.  I had to carry a tired wee Dulcie a fair proportion of the way, but while she was walking she was stopping to look at every little thing, meandering along the pavements and going into any old shop that took her fancy.  We spent quite a while sitting on the leather sofas in our local vintage clothing shop where Dulcie made friends with the staff. On the way home, we spotted Alasdair Gray, a fairly common but always exciting event round these parts.  I was just explaining to Dulcie how she was in the close proximity of real genius when I looked up and caught him smiling, all gooey-eyed, at her.  Yup, she has that effect even on the best of them!

The evening was also slightly more eventful than our usual bath and bed routine, or my usual Thursday evening at work, where I would have been were it not for a random spot of last-minute annual leave.  Graham and I are starting to make some pretty major changes to our flat, so last night we made the most of us both being around to...visit a carpet shop.  That in itself was not so much fun really, but it was such a nice evening for the wander there and back, and on the way home, we picked up a couple of beers and takeaway pizza.  Just what me and my dusty sandalled feet needed.

Yes, so it was a lovely day, but I'm so shattered (just in general - we're staying up too late trying to sort out flat stuff once Dulcie's in bed) that it has resulted in a somewhat lacklustre blog post.  Sorry about that.  Still, for my own sense of posterity, I do like to have a wee record of some of the nice times and this week has been a week of just loving the stage Dulcie is at right now.  Well, apart from today when I got dirty-looked out of the park because she wouldn't stop screaming!  I guess every stage has its ups and downs, but so far I haven't met a stage with more downs than ups and I think that this lovely stage is especially up-filled.  I get to hang out all the time with a real little person whose personality comes to the fore more and more each day and whose life is completely entwined with mine.  Swoonsville!  She makes me so happy :)