A good week

I write this with almost an intrepidation, as when I sat down to write this earlier this afternoon my laptop went into major melt down, claiming all of a sudden that hard drive, what hard drive? But there are advantages to being married to a (and I’m going to use the polite term for nerd) geek (sorry you know I’m teasing husband) and he fixed it for me, whilst giving me a telling off for not backing up properly. It is working now but he was giving dire pronouncements about the internals of my laptop, so I’m not particularly trusting that it’s going to continue to work (and guess what, I’ve backed up).

Anyway, I have had a good week, three lots of parties over two nights, the first two (which were on the same night) being parent-teacher class parties at luckily two relatively close local pubs. I had helped organise the first party (for the mums from Boy Lacer’s class) but had to / wanted to dash off to at least show my face at the party for Girl Lacer’s class.

The next night I had my work party, Girl Lacer goes “What, a teaching party?” thinking of the remaining student I still tutor (ooh that would have been a fun party, just me), no, it was for my main part time job and it was near their offices in Central London. I turned up expecting it to be just a table booked in a pub, nope, it was in a pub but the whole pub was booked out for the party, free bar to, which was a little embarrassing when I tried to pay for my beer. I should point out (and this is something I’ve only really sort of realised this week) that all my previous adult jobs have been in the public sector and you’ll be pleased to know Christmas parties in at least the bits of the public sector I used to work in, were nowhere near that generous. Mr. Lacer reminded me that even in the private sector Christmas parties aren’t always that generous either. So I had a lovely three course meal and I finally got to meet so many of the people I work with, as the problem with working from home is that although I ‘speak’ to my colleagues all the time through e-mail, msn, Skype, I often don’t know what they look like and as a lot of the company I work for also work from home, the whole party was full of “Hi! Who are you?”‘s.

The next day was Boy Lacer’s and Girl Lacer’s Christmas concerts, the first concerts in the new school hall. Boy Lacer was in the KS1 concert and Girl Lacer in the KS2 concert. For Boy Lacer it was the first time he had been placed somewhere on a stage that was not within easy grabbing distance by a member of staff, so it was lovely to see that they thought they could trust him more and he did behave beautifully, singing with real gusto. For Girl Lacer it was our first experience of a KS2 concert and it was so much more grown up and although I think I will remember the songs they sing in KS1 each Christmas as well as both my kids will as they grow up, it was also nice to hear some more traditional Christmas carols (see, there’s a traditionalist in me buried somewhere).

Also on that day (and luckily between the two concerts, so I didn’t miss the delivery man), I got an absolutely lovely parcel from Nicole (we’ve been swapping books), she gave me Arlington Park and Kraken (can’t wait to read both) and she gave me an absolutely lovely drawstring bag, filled with chocolate and sewing goodies (including a needle book, which I so needed, as poor Mr. Lacer would attest to – ouch). The drawstring bag has proved particularly useful and Nicole must have read my mind because I had been thinking of making something very similar, as I often take my embroidery out and about with me but have been using plastic carrier bags or too big for the purpose eco shoppers, so to have the bag, which isn’t plastic nor the wrong size has been fantastic. In fact since receiving it I’ve been permanently keeping my work-in-progress in it.

Work in progress – solar system set by Wild Olive

Floss organisation – chaotic

On Friday (after hearing the day before that the shoes I’d ordered from Amazon were actually out of stock), I decided to try a real life shoe shop instead. I was after, specifically, some more DMs and ended up having a lovely chat with a grey haired shop assistant in one of my local department stores about how wonderful DMs are. There was so much chose to choose from (I’m so glad that DMs are back in fashion) and I could have easily bought more than one pair but in the end (upon the suggestion of the shop assistant, as they weren’t out on display), I bought these beauties.

When I’m not wearing a skirt or leggings (in which case I wear these – still going strong and still getting compliments after a year) I had been wearing my trusty blue converses which had been wearing thin and my feet were quite frankly getting freezing. Mr. Lacer suggested “some of those furry boot things”, “what?” I go “you mean Uggs? No way, everyone wears those round here,” yes sorry Ugg wearers, I was being pretentious. But as what is beginning to become the way, when Mr. Lacer ends up making a rare wardrobe suggestion, I actually end up following it, despite my initial disagreement, but my feet felt so warm and comfortable as soon as I slipped my feet into those completely lined shoes, I couldn’t say no.

Also on Friday I got another lovely surprise in the post or should I say couriered to me again (two surprises through my door in a week? never). I opened the box completely confused and what was inside but a lovely box of extremely posh chocolate, from work (as in main part time job, not tutoring part time job), it was such a lovely and unexpected (and delicious) surprise. I think the whole company must have been working in a high cocoa content glow that day (and I discovered I really like salted caramels).

On Saturday we went to Ikea, now me and Mr. Lacer do have a bit of a shared marital passion for furniture, which is unfortunate then considering we live in a tiny flat and need no more furniture. However the sofa we bought when we moved into the first flat we actually owned, 12 years ago, had got so bad recently that when you sat on it you could feel the springs, so we thought it was about time we got a new one. So me and Mr. Lacer were as giddy as a couple of school kids and we’ve also been hatching plans for getting rid of some toy storage and buying a sideboard and ooh some more shelves to.

Anyway, I won’t post a picture of the old sofa, it’s been soon on this blog often enough or at least bits of it because it’s next to the natural day light lamp, so it has the only (reasonably) decent light in the flat. But here’s the new one, which arrived today (we have to always get sofas from Ikea because I absolutely could not handle ordering a sofa and then waiting six weeks, ugh).

As you can see, it’s messy already, actually I wanted to take an in use shot, me and Girl Lacer had been making a Christmas present for her teacher and Boy Lacer had been making elaborate patterns with blocks (under the felt). The new sofa is quite a bit larger than our old one and not needing to pad it with extra cushions to make it remotely comfortable, it’s been lovely to have the whole family spread out. The toy storage you see on the left will be moved and the table currently in front of it, put in it’s place, the smaller table in front of the sofa goes with the slightly larger table, as a pair of nesting tables (bought last summer (I think) from John Lewis, a brilliant investment buy, that have been so useful). So we still have some organisation to do (and the perfect sideboard to find, although we’re pretty loyal in our furniture shopping (and on a budget), it’ll be from Ikea). but really pleased with the new sofa, may that last us 12 years to 😉

PS Note the considerably less cushions on the sofa in the photo, I’ve had a major cull (although the kids are refusing to let go of the two grotty floor cushions that used to live on our old sofa). I’ve sadly retired a lot of my embroidered cushions because they now look just too grey (despite washing) and/or bobbly (a lesson there in colour and material choice in the future I think, no more white aida and no more cheap white fabric to embroider on). And although the sofa does need less cushions, it does need more than what it’s currently got, ooh fun, finally an excuse to make more cushions!


One thought on “A good week

  1. re: book review request by award-winning author

    Dear Lacer’s Life:

    I’m an award-winning author with a new book of fiction out this fall. Ugly To Start With is a series of thirteen interrelated stories about childhood published by West Virginia University Press.

    Can I interest you in reviewing it?

    If you write me back at johnmcummings@aol.com, I can email you a PDF of my book. If you require a bound copy, please ask, and I will forward your reply to my publisher. Or you can write directly to Abby Freeland at:


    My publisher, I should add, can also offer your readers a free excerpt of my book through a link from your blog to my publisher’s website:

    Here’s what Jacob Appel, celebrated author of
    Dyads and The Vermin Episode, says about my new collection: “In Ugly to Start With, set in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, Cummings tackles the challenges of boyhood adventure and family conflict in a taut, crystalline style that captures the triumphs and tribulations of small-town life. He has a gift for transcending the particular experiences to his characters to capture the universal truths of human affection and suffering–emotional truths that the members of his audience will recognize from their own experiences of childhood and adolescence.”

    My short stories have appeared in more than seventy-five literary journals, including North American Review, The Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Chattahoochee Review. Twice I have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. My short story “The Scratchboard Project” received an honorable mention in The Best American Short Stories 2007.

    I am also the author of the nationally acclaimed coming-of-age novel The Night I Freed John Brown (Philomel Books, Penguin Group, 2009), winner of The Paterson Prize for Books for Young Readers (Grades 7-12) and one of ten books recommended by USA TODAY.

    For more information about me, please visit:

    Thank you very much, and I look forward to hearing back from you.


    John Michael Cummings

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