Archive for the ‘uncategorized’ Category

flat not fat

Thursday, December 23rd, 2004

I just saw this oustanding idea for a diet plan. So a block of cheese would be fattening, but shaved parmesan all over a salad would be healthy. Equally, as someone points out, flat beer and thinly cut cake.

they did great

Saturday, December 11th, 2004

I got a call from Emma this morning. She said that Toby was a star on the plane. As they went through the gate he was asking for me and she told him I had to go home to feed the cats, so he seemed fine with that. I guess he wasn’t realizing that they were going on a big trip for a number of days, but apparently he’s fine so far. He did very well indeed on the plane – he loved looking out the window while they were at the airport and taking off, and thought that the lights of the city were really cool (“pretty cool”, as he likes to say). His special kid’s meal was chicken nuggets and tater tots which went down quite well. Em had bought him a new toy – airport magnets which you stick to a background, so you can move the pictures about. There’s planes and cars and luggage and various people, including a grandmother waiting to say hello. We took care to avoid including anyone who looked dad-like, just in case. He slept for over four hours which is not bad, and loved the landing about as much as the take-off, with the great view again, and was very well-behaved at the airport, being content to stay conveniently in his stroller as they went through immigration and customs. After a great deal of excitement getting into Grandad’s car and zooming along the motorway (the car seat is higher than in our car so Toby has a commanding view which he loves) he fell asleep about 15 minutes before they got home, and stayed asleep as he was taken into the house. The plan was to wake him at about 2pm to try to keep him on regular schedule, and then to go and choose a Christmas tree for the house.

happy landings…

Friday, December 10th, 2004

So I just got back from the airport after dropping off Emma and Toby. They’re going to be in England and Scotland for a couple of weeks, coming back just before Christmas. We’d primed Toby about the trip for a few days, telling him how he was going to go on a big plane with Mummy to see all his relations. He seemed pretty excited about the whole thing, although I’m pretty sure he knew something was up that we didn’t mention me going. He was in pretty good spirits at the airport, and so were Emma and I until it was suddenly boarding time – it was waaaaaay harder to see them go than I expected, and I expected it to be pretty difficult. Fortunately I was able to take some time before having to drive home, whereas Emma had to be at least pretending to be perky for Toby’s sake. They’re currently somewhere over Eastern Canada and with a bit of luck Toby’s eating the child’s meal we ordered for him. I’m sure they’re doing fine but it’s a strange feeling overall.

it’s official – underpaid

Tuesday, December 7th, 2004

I just took the Guardian Unlimited Money IQ test which calculates your salary against IQ. The good news is that I did much better in the test than I expected. The bad news is that (in British pay rates anyway) I am apparently underpaid. Hmm, better speak with my manager.

What score do you get?

lying to our children about science

Thursday, December 2nd, 2004

That headline is an actual quote from Democrat Henry Waxman who is leading an investigation into some Federally funded programs which teach sexual abstinence to teens in order to prevent pregnancies and disease. However the investigation is finding that there were many claims made in the teaching materials which have no foundation in other Federal government literature and sound hysterical and ridiculous to me. I can only hope that teens generally are smart enough to take this information with a pinch of salt. As Toby’s getting older I’m getting increasingly concerned about the quality of science teaching here, especially as it seems to be being invaded by fundamentalists and “well-intentioned abstinence educators”.


Thursday, December 2nd, 2004

Just read this interview with the British scientist/philosopher Richard Dawkins. I’d be very interested to read his book, it sounds very stimulating. I like the article too, especially when it talks about how Dawkins is against Creationism and “other forms of anti-Darwinian nonsense”. Subtle.

Side note: I am now probably the only person in my office who has had leftover haggis for lunch. Delicious.

at last

Thursday, December 2nd, 2004

For the first time in about two weeks Toby slept right through the night last night, thank goodness. We think he’s getting his second set of molars, which apparently typically appear around now. I thought he was done with teething for the time being but there we go – don’t get too comfortable! Anyway it was very good to get a decent night’s sleep, although I was woken a couple of times by Nessie the cat who was very happy to jump up on our bed and walk around purring loudly.

black folder

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

Recently at the Cathedral we started using folders to sing from for all our music. It was looking a bit messy to have people holding sheets of paper or tatty-looking books, and now that we’re all holding black folders while we sing it looks much smarter. My folder of choise is the Black Folder which is very thoughtfully designed, easy to hold (it has a strap on the back you can put your hand in, so you can hold it one-handed) and works just right.

peace and love

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

A few years ago, 1996 I think, I was singing in the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus (RSNOC) (and please excuse their horrible website) and was lucky enough to be part of their tour to Israel. We sang a couple of concerts and a Christmas Day radio broadcast from Bethlehem University. Some bizarre places to see, and some odd people to meet. I was particularly struck by how unpleasant the face of religion was there, especially in Jerusalem itself, which theoretically should be the holiest, most peaceful place in the world. Yeah, right. The most obvious people there were very arrogant, strutting around in a “we own this place” kind of way and although we met some very friendly folks the overall atmosphere of the place was a bit stressy. This was before the latest troubles, but even so it was a high-tension place. When we went to Tel Aviv, which is much more secular, the atmosphere very obviously lightened.

Anyway, the point of this post is something I came across today: Jerusalem clerics in punch-up row. We visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, as you have to do really. It’s down in the middle of a bazaar – lots of Honest Abu’s House Of Miraculous Souvenirs type places around (and I’m not exaggerating the names of the stores). Coolest souvenir I saw, and I wish I’d bought one, was an inflatable Yasser Arafat. Anyway, once you fight your way through the crowds you get into the very very old church which is owned by six different sects, none of whom really get on (guys, aren’t you missing something?). It is quite an amazing building, all very interesting architecture, but I didn’t get much of a buzz off it, although going down to the crypt and seeing the markings on the wall made by the ancient Crusaders was quite moving – when you think about what they went through to get there, although don’t think too much about the havoc they caused en route. But as an actual church/religious experience I have to say it was a bit of a let-down. The most moving experience I had that way was when we went to Nazareth, to the Church of the Annunciation. It’s an incredible place – it was initially built over the grotto where Gabriel is said to have appeared to Mary, and the church itself was destroyed several times. It’s now quite a modern structure and is owned and run by the Roman Catholic church, so I imagine that having just one group in charge adds to its feeling of cohesion and peace. I’ve never been so moved by just going into a building, it was quite incredible and I needed an hour or so to get over it.

kids today

Wednesday, November 24th, 2004

Toby’s learning loads of things at daycare that we’re not keeping up with. He keeps saying or singing things that we haven’t heard. For example he’s been going on about Cookie Monster and I know for a fact that he hasn’t seen CM at home. Yesterday, more surreally, he was saying “Applesauce! Applesauce!” again and again and killing himself laughing. We have no idea…