Friday, July 31, 2009
SuitsYes, I bought the suits. Down 70%, though they need some altering, but excellent quality, and a bargain. Unluckily, they're just not going to be ready in time for my flight back next Friday, so I'm going to try to convince someone to bring them over at some point.
On a different note, the girls seem to be enjoying the Wii Fit which Moo ordered just before I went away. According to Moo, they're better than her at some of the games, and are practising so that they can beat me, too. Fair enough.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Wednesday already(backposting) We're all losing track of the time somewhat, given all the hard work, and the amount we're learning. I'm pleased to discover that I'm not going to have to be the project lead: Christine, who's been with the company for a while, has taken on that role. It's serious stuff, though.
Found a couple of very nice suits which I'm considering buying. They'll be on sale tomorrow...
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Pink shirt(backposting) Yes, I've bought myself a pink shirt. I shall wear it at some point this week, but not yet. I discovered that the dress code is rather more formal than I'd expected, so I need some new shirts - but they'll come in handy anyway.
Towards the end of the day, I got really grumpy and quite down, but then realised this was partly the jet-lag and a sugar low, and once I'd dealt with the latter, felt somewhat better. The trainer, Midge, is giving us lots of homework, and we've got a major project we need to get sorted by the end of next week, too, which is rather scary.
Monday, July 27, 2009
New job(backposting) The next two weeks are training. And they're going to be very, very hard. Both in terms of time, but also in terms of being challenging, which is good. Struggling a bit with the jet-lag and missing Moo, but am trying to do the gym thing, which is going well so far.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Leaving on a jet plane(backposting) Off at 0730, and very sad to be leaving the girls. I'm not sure whether their waving me off from the sitting room window helps or not. Clear run to the airport, and quick check in (thanks to the Star Alliance gold card). Did some shopping - books and single malt - and then to the lounge, which was relaxing.
Got the gate early-ish, and when we were called up to the desk to embark, I'd been upgraded. This always makes me glad. Oh yes.
Tried watching Watchmen, but really couldn't get into it. Tried reading a novel I'd bought, but it was just terrible, so in the end, I just slept and read a book on NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming - one of the worst names ever), which was interesting.
We arrived early, and I managed to make it to a very informal Communion service at St Anne's Reston, a really welcoming, inclusive, family-based church. I had a great, great time, and was so pleased to be able to take Communion. I'd already been in touch with the incumbent, James, who'd been very friendly over email, but it was great to receive such a lovely welcome.
Back to the hotel, did some working out in the gym - I really want to get into the habit of doing this when I'm travelling - some food (1 beer) and to bed. Tired.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Driving home(backposting) How can kids stay awake for 2 and a half hours, and then suddenly both fall asleep under 10 minutes before arrival? Well, that's what they did. We managed to get away from the cottage by 0930 after packing, goodbyes, etc., and headed straight off to Freeport. There we had lunch (Chinese buffet at Aroma - Miri very, very tired), and then wandered round, shopping. Bits and pieces, mainly, but good to be able to treat ourselves for a change.
Back home, and trying to get into routine, but mainly failing. The girls were very sleepy, but Jo still took ages, which is sometimes the way, and we went to bed pretty early too. Off to the States tomorrow!
Friday, July 24, 2009
More beach(backposting) Made up with Kate, my mother-in-law, which was a good thing. Other than that, what to report? More job preparations (I'm nearly there) and more holiday. Good stuff. Today was the last day of the holiday, so we decided to ignore the fact that it was clearly going to rain, and a few of us went down to the beach. I went for a lovely swim, and, feeling brave, took my trunks off for a bit of skinny-dipping. I have to admit that I cheated, as I took my trunks off only after I'd entered the water, but there were small children around - not all my own - so I did feel justified.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Necking(backposting) Had a bit of a run-in with my mother-in-law when I lost my temper today. Silly on my part, and mainly because I'm a bit stressed about the new job starting so soon, etc., but it wasn't good.
On the other hand, Moo and I went out for a lovely meal, just the two of us. This is an all-too-rare occurrence, but as the new job is definite, and we have (for a chance) got some money in the bank, we decided to take up the offer of some childcare, and headed out. By the time we got back at 2200, everyone was asleep!
One thing that's been fantastic is how supportive my clergy colleagues have been throughout the job process. They've prayed for me while I've been without a job, and they've been very, very accommodating about my needing to change services around as I'm going to be away for 2 Sundays (I'll be leaving home early this Sunday to catch a flight at noon). Many thanks to them for everything.
Ah, yes, and the necking thing? I sent a Twitter and Facebook update saying that I was going to take Moo for a really good neck. My phone decided that this was more likely than "meal" (what sort of guy does it take me for?), so I had to send a second one to retract...
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Sorting things out(backposting) As well as all the usual holiday things, today was a day of sorting things out. Booking this, that and the other, mainly. At least I had some time to enjoy the holiday, too. The weird thing about holidays with young kids is that, in some ways, you're more tired than usual, as they're full of energy. The bonus about going away with other people (in this case in-laws) means that there are more hands available, and even if the girls are up at 0500 (which at least some of them are), you may be able to grab a chance of some more sleep later.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Job time!(backposting) After a morning visiting the beach (of course!), we headed off to the National Trust's Felbrigg Hall, although it took us rather a while to get there because Moo's phone satnav insisted that there was no main road between the cottage and Cromer, and that we had to take the back roads. So, we walked around the hall and went to see the donkeys. And there wasn't much reception. But just as we were about to visit the walled garden, I saw that I had a missed call. From the guy who, if they wanted me, would be my boss. So, I found a place with some reception, and phoned him. And they want me! What an enormous, enormous relief.
Once we got back home, I managed to get in touch with the HR person, and we sorted out the details. And then I had to find a flight, etc., etc..
I'm starting on Monday (next Monday!), and will be there for 2 weeks' training. Hard to be away for that long, but Moo understands completely, and at least we'll just have had a holiday. The name of the company of Appian, and they're based in Reston, Virginia. They do BPM (Business Process Management), which is pretty new to me, but they want me for my consulting and architecture skills and experience, which is great.
Monday, July 20, 2009
On edge(backposting) Although I had a good day today, it was tempered somewhat by the fact that I'd been rather hoping to hear back about a job, and hadn't. The company concerned had said that they'd hoped to be able to talk to me today, but hadn't promised, but being unemployed and all made me rather concerned. It wasn't helped by the fact that I had almost no phone reception, so had to keep finding somewhere I could check messages and also using the cottage's wifi to check my email.
Moo was very understanding, and we had a lovely day anyway.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Swimming(backposting) Went with Kate to a lovely simple BCP (Book of Common Prayer) service at 0800 in Overstrand Church, which was a good start to the day.
And we all went to the beach. I think there's going to be a lot of going to be the beach, even if it's 140 steps down (and then back up again, more relevantly). I went swimming, as did Jen and Turtle (with some support), and we saw a seal! It came to within about 7 metres of me, and surfaced a couple of times. A lovely start to the holiday.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Originally uploaded by MikeCamel
It's lovely to see Kate, my mother-in-law, having fun. Particularly when it's not at my expense. We're on holiday in Norfolk, with someone at home to look after the house and cats, which is good.
None of _our_ children threw up in the car, and if they had, we wouldn't have been so stupid as to have tried to empty it out of the window doing 70mph on the M11, would we? Because if you do that, lots of it will come back in the window, won't it, Jen?
Friday, July 17, 2009
GraduationFrom pre-school. It was seriously sweet, and there were tears. From me, too. The pre-school had made certificates and little mortar boards, and they called them up one by one. We got it on video, of course.
And the girls were _so_ tired that we had to fabricate an excuse to drive to a supermarket so that they'd both get some very badly needed sleep. Holiday tomorrow.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Happenings in Episcopalian AmericaThings are afoot in The Episcopalian Church (TEC): the Anglican church in the USA. Basically, both the laity and the bishops have voted to continue with the existing movement towards acceptance of homosexual clergy and of the blessing of homosexual marriages and partnerships. Bishop Tom Wright has a very well-reasoned article in The Times where he bemoans not only what he sees as the "snub" to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the proposed Anglican Constitution, but also the theology behind the move. I have to disagree with him, and many or his premises. I think that the rest of the Communion is moving too slowly, and although I'm sorry that TEC are likely to be severely censured, I have to applaud their honesty and courage in following their understanding of the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Job stuff - had another interview (phone again). We'll see.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
A churchy dayNot entirely, but I had a 3+ hour team ministry meeting in the morning, a spiritual direction meeting in the afternoon, and a Mother's Union Communion service in the evening (with a very enjoyable performance by the gospel group afterwards). I've also done some good job bits and pieces as well, which is always cheering.
The other thing I did was listen several times to "Bleed to love her" by Fleetwood Mac. And found a different way to listen to it. Now, I'm sure that this wasn't the intention when it was written, but what if you hear it as being sung by our Lord, and the "her" is Mary Magdalene? It's a very powerful song anyway, and provides an interesting way of thinking about Christ, the man, and desire and sexuality. Please listen to the song (it's also available on the live album "The Dance"), but here are the lyrics:
Once again she steals away Then she reaches out to kiss me And how she takes my breath away Pretending that she don't miss me Ooh, I would bleed to love her Ooh, bleed to love her Ooh, I would bleed to love her And once again she calls to me Then she vanishes in thin air And how she takes my breath away (breath away) Pretending that she's not there Ooh, I would bleed to love her Ooh, bleed to love her Ooh, I would bleed to love her Somebody's got to see this through All the world is laughing at you And somebody's got to sacrifice If this whole thing's gonna turn out right Ooh, I would bleed to love her Ooh, bleed to love her Ooh, I would bleed to love her Bleed to love her Bleed to love her
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
OpportunitiesMiri was up during the night, and joined me in bed, so I didn't sleep so well. But then again, without a job, I didn't feel even slightly upset about going back to bed for an hour and a half after the girls headed off in the morning.
I met some of the deanery clergy team for an informal chapter meeting over lunch in a pub (The Lion in Earls Colne, as it happens), and after a quick bit of searching for new jobs, I headed off to see and old friend, Chris, in Cambridge. So, as the quick bit of searching yielded a possible prospect, and Chris also had another one, it was rather a productive day in the end. Maybe I should get in the habit of a good sleep in the morning...
Moo got back, and all seems to have gone OK at her folks'.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Moo away(backposting) Moo's Nan was in hospital overnight, and coming back today, so after a meeting in Peterborough, Moo headed up to her parents for the night. So it was me and the girls tonight, and they did really well. Until around 2155, when Miri woke up, just as I was about to blog, which is why today was a backpost. I managed to get her back to sleep after a couple of attempts, but it was getting late by then, so I headed to bed.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Cricket, deacons, and the theology of TorchwoodIn reverse order, then.
This week's mini-series of Torchwood has attracted a lot of interest, and lots of people I know are talking about it. It seems silly not to mine it for theological content, because it was full of it. The more obvious bits included:
- the brokenness of all characters, particularly when humans are working together in organisations
- the "an injury to one is an injury to all" message
- the deathscene between two gay characters - played absolutely "straight", as it would have been for any heterosexual characters, just highlighting love and loss
- Gwen's sylloquy to camera about understanding why "The Doctor" (read "God") doesn't step in on every occasion to save the day: it's because humans aren't worth it
- child trafficking
- treatment of people - and particularly children - at the "lower ends" of society as if they are basically worthless ("... what do we have school league tables for?")
- the treatment of children in care ("... they were chosen because they wouldn't be missed.")
- the treatment of those with mental illness
- how parenthood - or impending parenthood - changes you
- how impending parenthood - and disasters - affect relationships
- the "sacrificial atonement" which ended the last episode, where Captain Jack Harkness' grandson was killed to save the rest of mankind - or at least the 10% of the children demanded by the 456
Deacons? Well, it was Sally's first Sunday as a deacon in the parish, and it was a joy. It made me really, really happy. Not just for her, but for me, too. I really enjoyed my deacon's year, and seeing her taking the role I've spent a year at made me feel so much part of a continuum, particularly as she's a woman. This whole "continuum" of priesthood is very powerful for me at the moment.
Last, and far from least, we managed to draw the first of the Ashes test matches. Quite how, I don't know. But I'm one of many, many England supporters who wants to marry Collingwood or Monty or Anderson or a combination of the 3. Yay!
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Fete(backposting) There's something very English about a fete, and we went to the Clare one today. It rained a little, which is important for a fete, but only started raining properly just as we left, which was helpful, but kind of disappointing in a weird way. The girls had their faces painted, I had a pint of local bitter (Augustinian from Nethergate, since you asked), tasted another (also Nethergate - Essex Border, very nice, and I'll keep an eye out for it), courtesy of Cura (who seem to deserve a shout, we had fresh doughnuts, that sort of thing.
I'm shattered at the moment - and often being moved out of our bed, sometimes there to be joined by Jojo, if she wakes up, too, and am usually woken up some time before 0600. I had a bit of a doze just before lunch, but it didn't seem to make much difference. Neither did going to bed around 2100 tonight. Oh, well.
Friday, July 10, 2009
And now ...... I'm unemployed. Today was my last day with Certicom. We've parted on good terms, which is excellent, and I have some possible irons in the fire, so all is not lost.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
TorchwoodLooking forward to tonight's Torchwood - the 4th episode of 5 running this week. It's getting interesting. As I said on Twitter and Facebook, the 456 (the aliens) seem to want 10% of human children, but haven't yet specified what bits: a leg each, maybe?
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Wedding anniversarySo, obviously, what with it being our 14th wedding anniversary, I went on a clergy trip to Canterbury. Actually, Moo was at work during the day, and I was back in time to put the girls to bed, so that's what I did. Each year we (the team) go on an away day: just a chance to talk, discuss, and just have social time together. And this year we went to Canterbury. It was my first chance to spend much time with Sally, our new curate, and we had a great time. Lots to discuss, and lots of theological discussion, particularly over lunch and in the car there and back.
I don't think I've ever visited the cathedral before, and it's _big_. Lots of beautiful things in there, including a lovely chalice and paten belonging to a C12th archbishop (Hubert Walter), some amazing wall paintings, and some great stained glass. I particularly liked the early glass and the C20th glass (of which I bought a couple of postcards for Jo and Miri). I wandered around mostly on my own, and was struck again by the connection I felt with priests through the ages. Hundreds - thousands - have worshipped there, and having the continuity is very special to me at the moment.
Now that the girls are in bed and asleep, we've enjoyed a shoulder of lamb and some chocolates. And soon it'll be time for the 3rd episode of the latest Torchwood.
I hope to get more sleep tonight than last: I stayed up till around 1200 with some wine, chatting on FB to Gary and Sally, and then Jo woke me up around 0515...
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Not a new jobI'd hoped to hear today that someone was going to offer me a new job, but it turns out that they're not. Not desperately happy, obviously. Went for a knickerbocker glory with Moo, at a favourite café in Clare. She had a bacon and egg butty. This certainly helped.
Spent a good deal of the day configuring a desktop machine that's been around for a while, but I'd not had the chance to set up. It's pretty much ready, and working well. Nice (though I'd prefer an nVidia card to an ATI one, as I can't get the dual head stuff to work properly with it).
Had a funeral visit this evening, which was just what I needed, to be honest. A chance to care for other people, rather than myself. And some humour, too.
Monday, July 06, 2009
Packing up(backposting) Spent much of the day sorting out old equipment for Certicom and sending it back to them, as Friday will be my last day with them. Well, that's it.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Baptisms galoreQuite a day, really. I'm about to do the ironing, after a lovely 5.4km (3.34 mile) walk. That was after putting the girls to bed. We'd spent most of the after noon at Sally's post-ordination party. The girls met a 7 year old who they played with, so that was good, and it was nice to meet some of Sally's family and friends.
But it was the morning which was most interesting. It was my first "lone" Sunday, and 5 minutes before the 0800 started, I was concerned that noone was going to turn up. Luckily, 4 people turned up, which was a relief. After a 40 minute or so service, I then had well over an hour to kill before the 1000. What to do? Well, I walked down the hill to the WH Smith at the bottom of town, and bought a copy of the Observer. And on the way up, I noticed that there was a caff open. Not a café: a caff. Yes, and open caff. So, was my eating there simply an excuse for a cooked breakfast, or an opportunity for expressing my ministry of presence with parishioners? You get to decide. At least I 'fessed up.
So, after another trip to WH Smith's for some mints, I was back up to the church for our 1000 Eucharist. I do enjoy celebrating the Eucharist: it's great. And after that, we had a baptism. Well, I say _a_ baptism. I'd been told to expect 5 candidates (all children, from 4 families), and lots of family and friends. We god under way with a pretty full church, and it was only at the presentation of the candidates that I realised that there seemed to be 6 children dressed up for the occasion. I stopped and demanded a recount, and there were, in fact, 6 children, from 5 families. Luckily, we discovered the we had all the relevant paperwork, and were ready to proceed.
It was a blast. There were so many children, friends and family that half of the job was policing and traffic control. I had to restart the service and explain that the congregation needed to read out the bits in bold, or the service really wouldn't work. There was lot of children-noise, lots of adult noise, lots of photos, and lots of joy. The first candidate was a little boy who was asleep when it came to the actual baptism, but not when I poured the water over his forehead. He woke up, and cried, loudly. Which rather put the other children off. And I've never needed to raise my voice in a service whilst micced and amped up. I loved it, and had lots and lots of very positive feedback (and not from the mic-amp-speaker system). And about 270 people in the church.
Saturday, July 04, 2009
OrdinationTomorrow, we get a new curate, Sally. She's to be ordained in Chelmsford Cathedral in the morning, and John, my incumbent will be there. Prayers and blessings for her.
FamilyOff to see Jim and Nina over near Milton Keynes, for Florence's 3rd birthday party. Not really a party (though Jo tried to organise games, and there was cake and (at our suggestion!) party bags at the end), but more a gathering of family. Poll and Lee were there, as were Hayley and Giles (and Sebastian), and Chris and Alan (Nina's parents), and some other friends (Sebby, Lucy and their daughter Matilde).
The kids played really well together, including Miri and little Frankie (who didn't do much playing with others, but is a lovely little boy). Now that they're closer, and the children are getting to an age where they can play well together, we're going to try to get to see them more often. We had a lovely time, and the girls had a good sleep in the car on the way back, as well as going straight back to sleep when we got home.
Friday, July 03, 2009
Ice Age 3(backposting) Moo and I took the girls to see Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaur. We decided not to do the 3-D version, as last time we took them to a 3-D film (Bolt), Miri, at least, kept taking them off. It turns out that there are so quite scary dinosaur bits in the film, and a lot of cuddling ensued.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
18.45 miles(backposting) That's how far I cycled this morning. Went to meet Miri and Mel at Sudbury library for the toddler's song and story time, and was loudly dressed and sweaty at them. Miri enjoyed it. Also bought a pair of deck shoes and a pair of walking sandals.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Hmm - one of those daysA good day, and lots of things to say, but I really can't. Not for now.
In the morning, Moo and I visited the school that Jojo will be attending next term, and a meeting about the form of phonics that the school uses to teach the children to read. It was interesting, and pulled together what we're doing anyway with a few extra bits and pieces.