Monday, 26 January 2009

Things I am not fed up of (3)

Turning my mattress. It's a real beauty from the pocket spring bed company, and you should keep turning it to prevent it from settling. I feel guilty when I haven't got around to turning it often enough (it cost so much when funds were scarce that I feel the obligation to prolong its life as much as possible very strongly). But if turning the mattress is something of a duty, then changing the sheets is just fun, because, as you know, it is complusory to flap the new ones around in the air until your arms drop off (or until you think your husband might be tired of this game, whichever comes first).

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Um, what's to celebrate?

You can right now go out into the blogsphere and find yourself some photos of the light show that was on this evening to celebrate the start of the 800th year of the University of Cambridge. You will find plenty. Because, apparently, it is more important to take photos of things to stick on your blog etc. than to actually experience them in the present moment. I must have been one of the few people who wasn't sticking a camera/mobile phone in front of someone else's face to obscure their view. It was also a shame that you couldn't properly hear the bells being rung from nearby bell towers. (And, yes, I know I'm having a moan, possibly even exaggerating slightly. And the irony isn't lost on me either).

But if you want to see something else worth seeing, without impediment, check out the new exhibition at the FitzWilliam Museum. I particularly liked the twentieth-century manuscript illumination and the Rossetti Annunciation.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

What I should be doing right now

What I should be doing right now is teaching preparation for Monday, but, to be frank, I so can't be bothered. So, when I've cooked a curry and an apple pie, instead of settling down to lovely reading (a decision I shall undoubtedly rue tomorrow), I'll settle down to the video tape my Dad sent me of the Doctor Who and Wallace and Gromit Christmas specials. In the meantime, as I have left the Anglo-Saxon period behind me for this academic year, it is only fair to introduce you to the source of all my knowledge. Behold, Chi-fric, King of the something or others!, here pontificating on AS Law.

Here after he had hauled in his geld of jelly beans.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Reporting back from three weeks stateside

This is most easily done in the form of lists I think. Lets start with what seemed most important: food. The number of meals I declined to count, as they were more than three a day if you include snacks (of which there were many), but, in addition to eating chez les in-laws, we ate at:

  • the brother in-law's (Christmas Day = 27 people, Boxing Day)

  • the aunt's (New Year's Day = 13 people); and, in order,

  • Culver's (on the drive to Wisconsin), where I was culverized

  • MacDonald's (on the drive back from Wisconsin)

  • Perkins (which was a little less than mediocre)

  • Dynasty Buffet (Chinese all you can eat, which I don't particularly care for)

  • Ruby Tuesdays (my choice, it has a good salad bar)

  • International House of Pancakes (a breakfast meal following a mass on New Year's Eve)

  • Lone Star Steak House (to get the boy a steak)
Whilst we mostly stayed at my parents-in-law's condominium, we also visited:
  • their house in Wisconsin

  • the brother-in-law's house (or mansion, since, as the boy likes to point out, it has pillars)

  • the Grandma's house several times

  • an Aunt's house once

  • and the duplex of the Grandpa's girlfriend several times
  • Further we went to a number of church services, and took in three churches, viz:

    • the first Sunday (although on TV from a chapel in La Crosse, as the roads were too bad to drive in Wisconsin)

    • Christmas Eve (at St. Vincent's, the usual church for this trip)

    • the second Sunday

    • New Year's Eve twice (once a mass said for the repose of the soul of the deceased Grandpa, once for the vigil of the Solemnity of Mary, both at St. Philomena's)

    • the third Sunday

    I learnt two ditties, both the eldest and youngest female members of the clan; respectively:

    • I'm old and grey and have lost my way, and all my tomorrows are yestersdays (a repeated refrain), and

    • a, b, c, d, e, 1, 2, 3, Thank you Lord for feeding me (the timing of which should require little explanation)

    I also witnessed plenty of weather (as well as plenty of worrying over said weather), including:

    • an ice storm (which put the kaibosh on a intended jaunt out to eat at Hometown Buffet for the father-in-law's birthday)

    • plenty of snow (leading to plenty of sledging until I finally impaled myself too painfully on a tree to continue)and cold temperatures (down to -25 C)

    • and a tornado warning (not that I knew it was a tornado warning at the time, being out by myself and hearing what sounded like air-raid sirens).

    And finally, in a list of one, I went to a New Year's Eve dance with the aforesaid Grandpa and girlfriend (aged 88 and 91 respectively) at a Senior Citizens' Centre somewhere in central IL. Undoubtedly the highlight of the trip.