braindribbles

Easter Music

Posted on: 02/04/2013

I promised you more about my musical shenanigans… and it’s been a very interesting couple of months on that front.  In a good way!  (It’s rare for me to not enjoy anything involving music.  Unless it’s rap or hip-hop, of course. Oh, and terrible 90s club music. Ugh.)

The bad news is, our choir’s professional conductor fell ill and had to take time off for a couple of months.  The good news is, he’s now fine. And in the meantime the choir kindly let me have a go at the helm.  So I spent Friday afternoons waving at the piano to the music, Friday evenings waving at the choir singing the music, and finally last week waving at the choir performing the music in concert.

Steep learning curve doesn’t even begin to describe it. I had to re-learn how to conduct properly rather than just keep a beat ticking (even that was back in my student days), and I had to really know the music.  As someone who’s been lucky enough for sight-reading to come naturally, that was a surprise.

But it was so worth it.  I enjoyed the experience immensely.  If I’m not mistaken and people did honestly appreciate and enjoy the concert, I was OK at it too.

And, even though I could never keep that kind of thing up while the kids are still young, it did ignite a spark of ambition to take this more seriously some time in the not-too-distant future.

I feel a summer school coming on one day …

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Well, hello again. I do hope you are all keeping well.

I have to confess, last year was something of a washout for me. Mild depression and major fatigue were significant elements, but I worked through it, felt just fine on plenty of occasions throughout the year, got some proper sleep after Christmas and the world righted itself. Being an optimistic person, these things often do work out fine in the end. Once you have worked out how to crank the handle and put your life back into gear.

Anyhow, I’ve been itching to blog again for a few weeks now. I thought you might like to know where things are at chez Braindribbles.

Oldest one is 9. He’s just at the point where putting everything into mock inverted commas is a major part of his humour. Thinner than a beanpole and hungrier than a mammoth, I am starting to question the laws of physics. Or biology. Either way, it’s a mystery.

The photo below is from our trip to Snowdonia last spring, at a moment when he turned around to find the Easter Bunny right there and offering him a small Easter gift. He was rooted to the spot with embarrassment for a full minute. It was hilarious. For me, anyway…

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Middle child is 7. She is loving finally being at the same school as her brother. It has solved so many issues for us. She’s also been industrious artistically – her recent paintings have merged her two favourite things: Hello Kitty and Star Wars. I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do.

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Smallest one is 2. She’s completely out of nappies, thanks to the most sensible potty training book I have read so far. Her favourite song right now is ‘Three little monkeys’, often sung whilst jumping on my bed, while I’m still in it. Here she is, kidnapping my teaching dolls. Again. (Photo credit to middle child, by the way)

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All of them are providing me with many many delightful cuddles through the day.

Loved one is being lovely as usual. He works so hard that he doesn’t feature much in the blog. Maybe that will change one day. He has something exciting in the pipeline and I may one day be allowed to tell you more about it…

As for me, well, I did qualify and I have a shiny diploma certificate to prove it. Somewhere. Buried in the piles of clutter I am still trying to work my way around. I’m loving my work, still getting used to the extra dynamic it brings but feeling more settled about it after 9 months of regular teaching.

I’m much more involved in my music too…more on that another day, but it’s all good.

As for the house move and settling in, well, we have the loveliest bunch of neighbours you ever met (they don’t read this blog so I’m not just saying that to humour them!), and have been so, so helpful in a challenging year and also become good friends. We intend to let the builders loose on our home in the next month or two, so we hope they will stay good friends in spite of the disruption!

And my general wellbeing has been restored by, would you believe, hypnotherapy…? Yup. I went on a Natal Hypnotherapy study day back in May as part of my ongoing training, and realised the possibilities for both my work and personal life. Of course, I didn’t take any steps to sort this out till Christmastime, but when I did, and did it properly, wow, what a difference. I’ve been using the CDs from Trance Solutions, an Aussie clinic that had the thought to make their work available on iTunes (a heap better than some of the other choices up there) and now I drift to sleep to a soothing antipodean voice and soft unintrusive music. And, after a couple of weeks, I started to feel like a completely new person.

Things are just as busy. I am just as forgetful. Things are just as messy. But they are slowly improving and, most importantly of all, I am feeling the way I ought to feel once more. Life is good.

Next post? Well, don’t hold your breath. But no doubt the itchy fingers will be back to give you a glimpse into my brain dribbles again soon 🙂

It’s ten o’clock at night. I have done all I can do. I am ready for bed.

I can tell, though, that you are itching to know whether I got it all done or not. At least, I presume so as you’ve read this far. If you are humouring me, you are doing an excellent job 🙂

  • Get dressed. Yes! I managed to be fully clothed before going to the doctor’s. The doctor doesn’t know how lucky he is.
  • Take oldest one to doctor. Yes!
  • Clean up at home. Especially after smallest one took a lot of time and trouble to smoosh banana into the kitchen floor. Still not enough. I did nothing since the lunchtime post. Yuck.
  • Do a long and tedious work related email. Yes, but it took forever. And I realise I have one equally long one to do tomorrow. So it stays on the list for now. Sigh.
  • Pay that garage bill. At least I know how much I should pay, and I have found the chequebook. Hmm. Done. Just now. But missed the post. Blast it.
  • Do forms for oldest one and middle one’s school trips. And pay. Nope. Will have to be tomorrow.
  • Organise my teaching stuff. Tomorrow.
  • Re-think my teaching plans to include what I learned on an amazing Natal Hypnotherapy study day I just went on. Tomorrow.
  • Work out how to get the second freezer working. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s been four hours.  What have I accomplished in that time?

Well, it’s not been that bad. I got dressed, for a start. I got Peter to the doctor’s.  I took him to school.  I ironed for 15 minutes exactly (2 shirts, 1 pair of jeans, a baby duvet cover and a scarf. Not bad!)  I spent another 15 minutes dealing with the dishwasher and the mess in the kitchen.  Not enough, but a start.

Then I spent an hour playing with and dressing smallest one.  Delightful.  We even got around to cutting her fingernails. Without a fuss! (Older children, take note. It’s not torture if you relax)

Then we went outside.  She played, and I put up the jubilee bunting.  No, it wasn’t on the to-do list, but I needed to do it this week, the weather was nice, and it meant she could be outside even when I needed to get on.  Admittedly she was quite keen to climb the ladder, but there were sufficient distractions to prevent her getting stubborn about it.

Then I let her watch a little cBeebies while I got the kitchen into a state where eating lunch wasn’t going to be detrimental to our health, cooked lunch and spent a pleasurable half hour.

Now smallest one is upset because it’s quiet time.  What I mean by this is, it’s nap time, but she is adamant that she doesn’t want to sleep.  That’s fine.  She stays in her room, plays or reads on her bed, and she’ll drift off soon enough.

I have managed to get some laundry on since then, and now I am here telling you that I feel like I’ve had a productive morning!  How does the original list tally up, though?

  • Get dressed. Yes! I managed to be fully clothed before going to the doctor’s. The doctor doesn’t know how lucky he is. 
  • Take oldest one to doctor. Yes!
  • Clean up at home.  Especially after smallest one took a lot of time and trouble to smoosh banana into the kitchen floor. Not enough. The floor is still hideously sticky.  And I need to run the dishwasher a second time.
  • Do a long and tedious work related email. No, but I am doing it next.
  • Pay that garage bill. At least I know how much I should pay, and I have found the chequebook. Nope. Must do that today.
  • Do forms for oldest one and middle one’s school trips.  And pay. Nope. Hopefully later.
  • Organise my teaching stuff. Nope.  This might need to wait till tomorrow.
  • Re-think my teaching plans to include what I learned on an amazing Natal Hypnotherapy study day I just went on. Nope.  Another for tomorrow perhaps.
  • Work out how to get the second freezer working. No, but I did measure up and I think it will fit. There’s about 3mm in it.  Will get loved one to help lift it when he gets home.
  • Try to diminish Mount Washmore. I’ve made a start.  As long as I don’t forget it’s there.
  • Rediscover the floor in our bedroom. Nope.  Maybe tonight after kids are in bed?
  • Iron the clothes taking over the biggest wardrobe. Well, I’ve done 15 minutes worth. And I will do more when smallest one isn’t roaming around.
  • Contact 7 couples that I will be teaching next week. Not yet.  Also next on the list.
  • Keep smallest one from misadventures. Yes! So far, anyway.
  • Try to spend time with smallest one in spite of all the above.Yes, yes, yes!

Well, actually I feel like I’ve not done too badly.  I’m going to do all my computer work now while smallest one is in quiet time, followed very swiftly by hurried attempts to mop the banana off the floor before she wakes up. And the rest will have to wait till later.

Of course, this is pretty average for any mum with a working husband and one or more children not yet at school.  And everyone else seems easily able to cope with it.  So can I, sometimes.  But I need motivation sometimes too.  Maybe if I achieve the full list by the end of tomorrow I will treat myself on Friday (pay day in our house).  We’ll see how we go!

Smallest one, 4 days old

I haven’t been taking photos today, so here’s one from the archive, when smallest one wasn’t quite as feisty as she is these days…

I type this in my jim-jams, soon after despatching middle child to kindly neighbour who is taking her to school.   I have smallest one and oldest one still here.  Oldest one needs to see the doctor about a sudden and violent onset of hayfever in about half an hour.  Smallest one as a result can’t go to her music sensory toddler group Hartbeeps (which I recommend if you have any small children; it’s delightful), but hey, that’s the way things go.

Here is a list of what I need to do today.

  • Get dressed!
  • Take oldest one to doctor.
  • Clean up at home.  Especially after smallest one took a lot of time and trouble to smoosh banana into the kitchen floor.
  • Do a long and tedious work related email.
  • Pay that garage bill. At least I know how much I should pay, and I have found the chequebook.
  • Do forms for oldest one and middle one’s school trips.  And pay.
  • Organise my teaching stuff.
  • Re-think my teaching plans to include what I learned on an amazing Natal Hypnotherapy study day I just went on.
  • Work out how to get the second freezer working.
  • Try to diminish Mount Washmore

I have a magnet on my fridge that says this.
It eases the guilt a little.
(Image courtesy of 2wired2tired.com)

  • Rediscover the floor in our bedroom
  • Iron the clothes taking over the biggest wardrobe
  • Contact 7 couples that I will be teaching next week.
  • Keep smallest one from misadventures.
  • Try to spend time with smallest one in spite of all the above.

There’s probably more.

I have managed to get my phone’s timer to work properly, so I will attempt all this with the “You can do anything for 15 minutes” approach mentioned recently.

What Flylady doesn’t tell you is the effect of blogging about being disorganised:

  1. You are more likely to get things done if you tell people about it.
  2. You are likely to take twice as long because you keep reporting back to the blog.
We’ll see how we go.  Wish me luck.

I will report back! 🙂

After Monday’s partial success, I am typing at 11.30 on a Wednesday morning and, aside from somehow getting the kids to school, I have done absolutely nothing.

I am tired. Very tired. So tired that if anyone tells me anything I don’t want to hear I am liable to go and hide under the duvet until it all goes away.

It’s my own fault, mostly. I went to bed on time. My bedtime routine involves listening to audiobooks. Ideally from my phone, which is free of distractions and sends me to sleep quickly. But for some reason the phone is not downloading any books for me, and as a result I have had to use the iPad instead. I get the same audiobooks, but I also get distraction in spades. All those silly games I mentioned on Monday? It’s worse at night.

I’m therefore running on 5 to 6 hours sleep per night. Clearly I need to sort out what is going on with my phone app. There, that’s job number one. Make sure I check back and let you know if I dealt with it.

Job number one? Oh yes, I forgot to mention. The Flylady mentioned before has a plan for Wednesdays. Yes, Wednesday is Anti-Procrastination Day.

Isn’t that the best name a day can have? I love it.

Anyhow, at half past eleven I have realised this and thought, hmm. Yes, let’s just do it. Let’s get on with it. Let’s not waste an entire day just through tiredness. Let’s make Flylady proud. Even though she doesn’t know I exist, she would be proud. And I will feel pleased with myself by the day’s end.

See how I am galvanising myself into action? Don’t mock it, it’s a rare and precious occurrence.

Here’s the plan. To be done before the school run this afternoon. They don’t call me ambitious Sacha for nothing. Yeah, I know, they don’t call me ambitious Sacha at all. Never mind, just read my list, okay?

Job 1: work out why my phone won’t play audiobooks and come up with a suitable solution.

*** update! I finally managed to think a little laterally and discovered the phone had tried to connect using BT Openzone (which doesn’t work without going to the browser and typing in a password).  A few taps later and everything is hunky dory. Yay! ***

Job 2: post belated birthday pressies to my lovely nephew. Can’t wait for him to see what we chose. Can’t believe we left it lying upstairs for two weeks.

Job 3: stuff the morning routine, but do clean up in the kitchen. Including washing down the counters, which the ants have rediscovered. Ugh. Hmm. Not particularly looking forward to that.

Job 4: phone up the garage and check they haven’t forgotten to resend the bill I told them I’d lost in all our clutter. Maybe they’re as disorganised as me. Naah, surely not.

Job 5: declutter some more. Put away all the clean laundry and tidy up the lounge. And landing. Enough to hoover.

Oh, did I mention I tidied smallest one’s room in 5 minutes flat when I put my mind to it. I put her to bed, and she didn’t want me to leave, so I stayed and tidied till she drifted off. Here’s the ‘before’…

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And here’s the ‘after’.

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Job 7: hoover. I can’t bear to leave it till next week.

Job 8 is for tomorrow. My new-ish work as an antenatal teacher still needs a fair bit of preparation. If I can sort the sleep out and have a vaguely tidy house, that will set me up nicely.

There is of course one more job, which doesn’t feel like a job. Well sometimes it doesn’t, anyway. Spend some time with smallest one. Snotty still, but in a very good mood. Her smiles always cheer me up, even when I’m in a terrible mood. Adorable child. 🙂

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It’s quarter past five. I have got the kitchen into a state where I can actually mop the floor. I have also…mopped the floor. And tidied the hall (the smallest, and therefore most manageable room on the ground floor).

That’s it. Well, from the official list, anyway.

Other things I have done:

  • Checked my emails. About five times.
  • Looked on Facebook. More than five times.
  • Played a silly computer game. Well, dipped in and out a few times.
  • Played a different silly computer game.
  • Picked up oldest one from school.
  • Cuddled smallest one when she bumped her head, though I saw her do it and I still can’t quite work out how.
  • Watched young musician of the year on the iPlayer.
  • Which all goes to show that I would rather be doing anything but housework.

    I like the idea of the timer, and I am saddened that I couldn’t sort something out on that front. It does help you to focus, which is why I have been more successful with this before.

    Now, what I want to do now is cook dinner, get the kids to bed and worry about the rest of the housework tomorrow. However, another favourite saying of good old Flylady is ‘You are not behind! Just jump in where you are.’

    She has a point. If I do the rest of this tomorrow, I won’t be able to do tomorrow’s things tomorrow. It’s all about not trying to be perfect. Just doing what you can do. It’s still a heck of a lot better than not doing it at all, which is how I was prior to using Flylady’s methods.

    So, here are a couple of realistic ‘after’ photos. Those of you who know me well will already know that this is quite good for me. Those of you who don’t can feel relief that there is someone out there whose battles with the housework can put any such battles of your own into perspective.

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    Note the dying flowers on the table that I keep forgetting to throw away.

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    See the counters are just as messy (second dishwasher run is due), but the floor is clear!

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    I managed to declutter everything off the hall floor. But it still desperately needs a hoover…

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    And smallest one will have to suffer through another night of mess. Oh well.

    And upon that note, I declare the challenge a partial success. Sort of.