... just a bit tired out.
The New Year fireworks were a resounding success, with the only casualty being one of L's gloves which got singed by a lighter. Then Steve and I enjoyed one day to rest, one day back at work, and one day to get the house passably tidy in readiness for my mum to come and stay for a few days.
We got lots of nice Christmas presents from my family, including a shiny and very spiffy set of saucepans. Nice as they are, sadly, these have not been the accessibility revolution Mr Rhodes seems to think. Firstly, as you will see from their lovely little "42" diagram on that page, the recommended angles only work if you have kitchen surfaces at well below waist height. Secondly, if you watch the video, you'll see that to drain from the saucepan, you need to hold on to the knob on top of the lid as you tilt - fine when it's empty, but in a real world situation that means your fingers are right in the path of the concentrated column of steam as you drain the boiling water away. And thirdly, you actually need more strength in your arms to manipulate it than with a standard pan, because there's no way to get a two-handed grip in order to use the handle as a lever to create stability.
So don't buy them to try and make cooking easier. But, that said, they are very nice saucepans, with a lifetime guarantee. Using the variable draining-holes in the rim of the lid to release varying amounts of steam is handy. And they are fully backward-compatible with a regular colander in the normal way. ;-)
Christmas dealt with, it was just about time for my birthday, which was the main reason for mum visiting. I took down my lovely tree and packed it neatly away for next year.
Between all of them, and Christmas and my birthday, my family have bought me just about every book that was on my Amazon Wishlist. I was absolutely bowled over. I always have to read every book at least twice before I can consider it not-new, and I can't read just new books (it's an ME thing) so this should keep me excited about having books of newness for at least three months, if not longer.
It was good having mum about for a few days. We've always talked lots. As a kid, she would tuck me in to bed every night and we'd chat for a few minutes. It was my opportunity to talk, as there was no getting a word in edgeways with my sister about. In sixth form, my Thursday morning free period was designated as our Cream Cake Day. When I lived in my little flat, I would come over to use the washing machine and stay for a cuppa and a bit of a chat about nothing very much at all. When I got sick, we had a cup of tea most days, and it added routine and a strong element of familiarity to a world which had been turned upside down. Since I've moved to Warwickshire, we still email or speak on the phone if we have anything particular to say... but it was nice to once again just sit and enjoy a quiet, non-pressured chatter with each other.
That said, it was also nice when mum had left, to be able to come home from work and fall apart by myself, without feeling that I had to put a sociable face on. I love my mum but we probably shouldn't live together.
The people at work gave me cake and flowers, which made me squee with delight. Steve is getting me a watch, just as soon as we actually have a spare half-hour to go into town together so I can try some on. He's also sort-of got me a combination printer/scanner/photocopier doodah, which will link to our wireless network and allow us to print from anywhere in the house. He says this doesn't count as a birthday present though, since it's for both of us to use and it wasn't wrapped, he just happened to buy it the evening before my birthday. I think it counts though. It was definitely a surprise - he only went out for a pint of milk.
So far being 27 isn't much different from being 26, except it's increased that feeling of being stuck in a rut.