LG is out with a gaggle of friends, celebrating her birthday with pizza and a film. And so I found myself at home, in the quiet, with a bit of time to spare this afternoon to write this and play with pics.
This is the second year where we've had no birthday-party responsibilities and it still feels strange. We cooked a special dinner last night (steak, as bloody as possible for LG) and will be funding the pizza - and that is all. More financial outlay, less effort.
We've had some cracking parties with her in the past. One of my favourites was her Harry Potter party when she was about 8. We did a treasure hunt around the house, and then "lessons": herbology, potions, flying, can't remember what else but it was a lot of fun. Her last 2 parties at home were also fun: a "posh" dinner party, with myself and M in attendance as servants and about 8 courses, and 2 years ago a fondu party, with forfeits and choc. fondu for pudd.
One of her latest Big Rows was about this year's celebrations, when she conducted a brief but intense campaign to be allowed to go out with her friends, and stay out All Night. She would never have imagined that we might say yes, she was obviously just in the mood for a Big Row. I can't remember if that was the Row where she and M didn't speak to each other for over 24 hours, or whether it was the last occasion on which she left home.
I wouldn't say that I have conscious concerns about Sorren's teenage years. She has been genuinely teenagery for some time and we're doing ok. I did, however, have a scary teenager dream this past week. I was being harassed through our lounge window, at night and alone, by gang of teenage girls. A lairy mob - a "durr", a "whateva", a "strop" or maybe a "hormone" - of teenage girls. They became more threatening, louder and closer until they were suddenly (and mysteriously) through the glass and in my lounge. I managed to get them into the hall and just about out through the front door, more through speed than superior strength. Just as I reached for the phone to call the police they began an assault on door, leaning on the door bell - the noise of which gradually woke me up to the realisation that my alarm clock was going off.
How does the brain do that? seamlessly and instantaneously integrating sounds in the "real" world into our dreams? it always fascinates me.
So, teenagers eh? what a transmogrification.
One very significant advantage of the no-party-involvement is the timing of LG's birthday. It has always coincided with our start of term and student induction - spectacularly bad timing because of our extreme busy-ness - which never occurred to me at the time of her conception.
I can therefore enjoy a quiet, restful weekend and conserve my energy for the onslaught of next week rather than spending my time picking crisps up off the floor.
It needs all the conservation it can get. I've had a bleedin' period now for the last bloody week and a half and feel somewhat drained. I'd thought I was through with the bloody bleeding for good, but no.
If anyone out there wants to donate some blood, I am AB negative. One of nature's aristocrats. Which always struck me as a particular disadvantage. In case of accident or other mishap, you'd really want the commonest blood-type, wouldn't you?
Maybe I should also have had my steak extra rare last night.
Work has also been bloody horrid this past week, I can feel it leeching away my life force and will to live. Bloody timetabling, bloody room clashes, bloody bleedin' colleagues.
I found myself playing my "93" playlist on my way to work on Friday. But Bach on the way back home.
Bach helped me to relax and unwind, and so did a birthday meal with LG, M and my dad. And looking through photos - I've had such a good time looking through and picking out some faves, don't want to be a boring proud parent but you can bypass or whizz through on top speed.