Thursday, January 31, 2008

Survival Mode

I'm not posting as regularly simply because I'll just whinge. I've got my head down and I'm just trying to keep going. Work have provided me with some extra hours for the last couple of weeks, which has been great for my bank balance, not so good for my energy levels. I'm still grateful my customers aren't telepathic or I would have been sacked ages ago. The good news is: the end is in sight. I've booked some time off, which I have every intention of snuggling down on Viking's couch under a duvet and vegging for a week. I feel as if I haven't stopped since October and I'm just knackered, grumpy and pissed off. I haven't seen anyone apart from Boy and Viking, I haven't done anything except try to sell fragrance to the unappreciative, the rude and the downright dodgy. No we don't stock Jordan's fragrance. Yes, I understand Britney has a new perfume out, no we don't stock it, it's bad enough we've got the first 3.

The thing I regret most of all is the loss of my open-mindedness about people's appearance. I used to feverently believe people should not be judged on what they look like. Since working in retail and having regular run-ins with shoplifters I have become gradually socially judgemental. So should you not wash regularly - your body, your clothes, your hands, wear a baseball cap, have your hoodie up, not brush out the 3 inch knots in your hair or be Slavic, you can expect me to stand next to you and watch every move you make while you sniff the bottles of Boss and Burberry. I will call security.

I do feel a bit low at the moment. Today I realised that I'm coming up to the first anniversary of Pops' death. I've been trying to think what I've accomplished this year and where I'll be heading in 2008. It's not been pretty I tell you. My brief bit of job hunting has been depressing to say the least. Employment agencies and prospective employers have been looking at my CV and tutting. I've shot myself in the foot doing the BA in Creative Writing. I've now had too long a break to go back to what I used to do, and my retail employment looks less than impressive. I've been to an interview which I look back upon as a learning experience. I must admit I was gobsmacked with the level of bullshit the employers wanted for their receptionist position. However, I have it on good stead that it's not half as bad as going for a job in a bookstore - there candidates face tests and panel interviews. Seems a bit too much effort for a minimum wage job quite frankly.

I'm trying to be realistic. The reality of the job market at the moment is frightening. Retail is having a tough time of it. I think the British economy is in recession and it's going to get a lot worse, therefore it's not a good time to be job hunting.

On the other hand, this isn't the time to be squeamish. I've come this far, I can't go back. Perhaps it's just time to bodly go. Forget about being sensible, time to throw myself into my creative endeavours and trust that all will be well. Eventually.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Who - Substitute

Keeping with the theme of the day...


Those of you foolish enough to have been with me from the start, know that every year during whichever week Summer turns up, I turn into a woman of Goo and Phlegm. I become far too sexy for my own good; sneezing, eyes puffed up and watering, generally feeling like crap. After Summer has passed, everything then turns to concrete in my sinuses and I generally feel like crap. To try to limit this misery I have over the years cut down on my dairy consumption. I have fake milk in my two cups of coffee a day and I don't eat much yoghurt or cereals. I do continue to eat cheese. I am very partial to my cheese and no, I won't be giving that up any time soon.

However, I do quite like a bowl of museli every now and then. If I do have it with cow's milk, it now tastes rank. Bleugh. Someone said, try goat's milk. Which I have. It's not bad, considering and it does have a bit of a tang, but when I ran it past Viking - you should have seen his face. Absolute disgust doesn't quite convey the lack of enthusiasm he has for it. I'm a great believer in compromise, so I try and make sure he has his cow's milk when he comes to visit.

But it got me thinking, what else could I try? Soy milk immediately comes to mind, but I've had it in the past and was not impressed. I also would rather not have it in the house because it's been linked to lower sperm levels in men and as I keep telling Boy, I'm eagerly awaiting grandchildren (not right away though - yes I realise he's knocking on a bit in Chav terms, but I'd rather he left school and got a job first - how middle class am I?).

It got me thinking about substitution and does it really work? When I was a veggie I tried tofu and quorn. Tofu is something I've always tried to be hopeful about. I've always thought I don't cook it right. After years of trying I realised that actually, I just really don't like it. Texture, flavour or lack of. It's just not nice. As for quorn. I didn't mind it in small doses. Burgers were reasonable, as was the mince. But it just doesn't taste or feel the same as meet. Veggie burgers made from mashed potato, chopped carrots, beans etc, I just think - why? It's not meat, it too laden with carbs and gives me indigestion. Veggie sausages are okay. But I'm hard pressed to identify what goes into them, which makes me equally suspicious of them as regular sausages. There was a thing called veggie bacon, which looked so dodgy I steered well clear and I haven't seen it since. A good veggie friend of mine said when she cooked it disintegrated in the frying pan.

So in my mind, food substitution doesn't work. You're just better off eating something completely different.

It got me thinking about other things we have in our lives that are substitutions. Laminate flooring. Apparently cheaper than proper wooden flooring and you can't mop it, have it in areas which are likely to get wet and you shouldn't walk on it with high heeled shoes. I'd rather have the real wood. You can always sand the bugger if it gets pitted.

Can you think of any examples where substitutions actually work?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Walk On

To those marching on Parliament today, the men and women whose bravery continues to go unnoticed: good on you for demonstrating. Good luck. My thoughts will be with you, even if I will not.

I found this article on BBC Online interesting. Made me seethe in places, but that's just because I'm a stroppy girlfriend of a copper, who's life seems to be spent filling in forms in triplicate/quadruplicate, who's much happier out and about talking to people, doing his job rather than filling in the tick-boxes that will ultimately lead to the destruction of yet another patch of rain forest.

I'm sorry, I've got to go to work and every time I try and finish this post, it goes off on a complete rant. I do try to be calm and measured in my arguments, but today, everytime I try, I get more pissed off and end up practically shouting at the poor computer.

Apparently, the police fed has warned that anti-police groups may try to disrupt the march today, and those marching must not respond to taunts.

Business as usual then.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Meme and Only Meme

Level 1
(x ) Smoked a cigarette.
(x ) Smoked a cigar.
(x) Kissed a member of the same sex.
(x) Drank alcohol.

Level 2
(x) Are/been in love.
(x) Been dumped.
() Shoplifted.
() Been fired.
() Been in a fist fight.

Level 3
(x) Had a crush on an older person.
() Skipped school.
() Slept with a classmate.
(x) Seen someone/something die.

Level 4
() Had/have a crush on one of your friends who is now on Facebook.
(x) Been to Paris.
() Been to Spain.
(x) Been on a plane.
(x) Thrown up from drinking.

Level 5
(x) Eaten sushi.
() Been snowboarding.
() Met someone BECAUSE of Facebook.
() Been in a mosh pit.

Level 6
(x) Been in an abusive relationship.
(x) Taken pain killers.
(x) Love/loved someone who you can't have.
(x) Laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by.
() Made a snow angel.

Level 7
(x) Had a tea party.
(x) Flown a kite.
(x) Built a sand castle.
() Gone mudding (offroading).
(x) Played dress up.

Level 8
() Jumped into a pile of leaves.
() Gone sledging.
() Cheated while playing a game.
(x) Been lonely.
() Fallen asleep at work/school.

Level 9
(x) Watched the sun set.
(x) Felt an earthquake.
() Killed a snake.

Level 10
(x) Been tickled.
() Been robbed/vandalized.
(x) Been cheated on.
(x) Been misunderstood.

Level 11
() Won a contest.
() Been suspended from school.
(x)Had detention.
(x) Been in a car/motorcycle accident.

Level 12
(x) Had/have braces.
() Eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night.
(x) Danced in the moonlight.

Level 13
(x) Hated the way you look.
() Witnessed a crime.
() Pole danced.
(x) Questioned your heart.
(x) Been obsessed with post-it-notes.

Level 14
(x) Squished barefoot through the mud.
(x) Been lost.
(x) Been to the opposite side of the world.
(x) Swam in the ocean.
(x) Felt like you were dying.

Level 15
(x) Cried yourself to sleep.
(x) Played cops and robbers.
() Recently colored with crayons/colored pencils/markers.
() Sang karaoke.
(x) Paid for a meal with only coins.

Level 16
(x) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't.
(x) Made prank phone calls.
(x) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose.
() Kissed in the rain.

Level 17
(x) Written a letter to Santa Claus.
() Watched the sun set/sun rise with someone you care/cared about.
(x) Blown bubbles.
(x) Made a bonfire on the beach or anywhere.

Level 18
() Crashed A Party.
() Have travelled more than 5 days with a car full of people.
(x) Gone rollerskating/blading.
(x) Had a wish come true.
(x) Slept with a member of the same sex.

Level 19
() Worn pearls.
() Jumped off a bridge.
(x) Screamed "penis" or "vagina".
() Swam with dolphins.

Level 20
(x) Got your tongue stuck to a pole/freezer/ice cube.
() Kissed a fish.
(x) Worn the opposite sex's clothes.
() Sat on a roof top.

Level 21
(x) Screamed at the top of your lungs.
() Done/attempted a one-handed cartwheel.
() Talked on the phone for more than six hours (in one day).
(x) Recently stayed up for a while talking to someone you care about.

Level 22
(x) Picked and ate an apple right off the tree.
(x) Climbed a tree.
(x) Had/been in a tree house.
(x) Been scared to watch scary movies alone.

Level 23
(x) Believed in ghosts.
(x) Have had more than thirty pairs of shoes (not necessarily all at once).
(x) Gone streaking.
(x) Visited jail.

Level 24
() Played chicken.
() Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on.
() Been told you're hot by a complete stranger.
() Broken a bone.
(x) Been easily amused.

Level 25
(x) Caught a fish then ate it later.
() Made a porn video.
(x) Caught A Butterfly.
(x) Laughed so hard you cried.
() Cried so hard you laughed.

Level 26
() Mooned/flashed someone.
() Had someone moon/flash you.
() Cheated on a test.
(x) Forgotten someone's name.
() French braided someone’s hair.
(x) Gone skinny dipping.
() Been kicked out of your house.
() Tried to hurt yourself.

Level 27
(x) Rode a roller coaster.
() Went scuba-diving/snorkelling.
(x) Had a cavity.
() Black-mailed someone.
() Been black mailed.

Level 28
(x) Been used.
(x) Fell going up the stairs.
() Licked a cat.
(x) Bitten someone.
(x) Licked someone - not in private places...

Level 29
() Been shot at/or at gunpoint.
() Had sex in the rain.
() Flattened someone’s tires.
(x) Rode your car/truck until the gas light came on.
() Got five dollars or less worth of gas.


I'm sure I've answered some of these questions before...but it was it's your turn.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Birds and the Bees

I believe my primary purpose as a parent is to prepare Boy for his life ahead as an independent, functioning adult. Last year, he and I had cause to have The Conversation about *sex*, which we both found excrutiating, but I persevered to the very end and we agreed never to have to repeat the experience.

My Viking and I were recently sharing coffee and conversation and we drifted to the issue of consent. He laughed when I said how concerned I was when the time came, that Boy realised the importance of gaining consent. I had told Boy that if a girl was pissed, even if she said 'yes' to treat it as NO, take her home, ring her again when she sobered up. My Viking's argument was that I was being unrealistic, most teenagers tend to get laid when alcohol was involved and it was unlikely that Boy would be any different. My argument was to do with the safety of the girl involved and the problem of date-rape. If a girl can't remember giving consent, because she's too pissed and realises she's had sex, I'd really rather it weren't my Boy in the dock.

Age is another issue. Have you seen teenage girls recently? They are deeply scary. How can anyone tell how old they are? They're all made up, boobs poking out everywhere, lots of flesh and not a lot of clothing. How is any bloke in a dark nightclub, supposed to know the age of the woman pressed up against him? It's not like much conversation is going on. My way round this is to advise Boy to demand to see Proof of Age. My Viking looked at me askance. He suggested that it was a bit of a passion-killer. I shrugged and wondered what the problem with that was.

Ultimately, I want to be able to issue Boy with a Consent Form and a Breathalyser, along with the packet of mega-thick, anti-viral, condoms. That way, I know he'll be completely safe. My Viking tells me I'm being over-protective and unrealistic. I suspect he's right. I know for Boy to grow up into Man, he will have to negotiate these minefields for himself. But it's a harsh world out there, and the smallest stupid choice can have such devastating consequences for all involved.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Please visit this link from Inspector Gadget's site.

The simplified version: there's a young lad Jack, whose parents are serving police officers, he suffers from a rare from of childhood cancer. It's so rare that successful treatment can only be had in a specialist centre in the US. The treatment costs hundreds of thousands of pounds. That's the bad news. The good news is that if Jack goes through the treatment, the statistics are heavily in his favour. He will likely remain cancer free. He's only 5 and needs all the help and support we can give.

After all, he's part of our family, and we help our own.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bad Hair Week

I thought things were going to calm down after *christmas* and things would get back to normal. I thought I was going to have an opportunity to breathe and get my head around things after the C word. I thought by the middle of January, I was going to have re-charged my batteries, I would be working as many hours as I could scrounge and things would have eased.

I was wrong.

We've gone from *christmas* to Sale to annual stock take. The nightmare continues. I'm up to my eyeballs in paperwork, that I am constantly missing important bits of information for, my reps aren't returning my calls; and then customers want serving.

Except, that the few customers we've got, are rude, obnoxious or just plain stupid.

Let me tell you a little bit about our stock situation at the moment, as in, we have very little of anything. The shoppers during the festive season have pretty much wiped us out of all the popular fragrance lines (though you can still get Gwen Steffani's LAMB and Sarah Jessica Parker's Covet, oh and Britney, we have lots of her fragrances still in stock). No Marc Jacobs Daisy, no Lanvin's Arpege or Eclat d'Arpege, no Paul Smith Rose, no D&G Light Blue. Not for you my dear. There are two reasons why we won't be immediately stocking up. One, it's our stock take in a few days time, the Powers that Be want as little stock in store, so no orders to be placed/delivered before February and two, we aren't the only people who've had time off, which means the manufacturers and distributors are running behind.

Unfortunately, our customers seem to take this as a personal affront. The way they act, it's as if I am withholding said fragrance from them, because I am a complete bitch. How very dare I? Don't I know they're my best customer?

Then we have the Sale Confusion. Our department store does not do store wide 10% off, like other department stores (like Debenhams, for example); the fragrance section only discounts unsold gift sets and discontinued lines. One particularly vile woman, dressed in fake fur, with make-up done by Circus Clown Inc, pounced on me. She demanded to know why was there a fragrance tester for a line, of which there was only a solitary box of shower gel left. My explanation that the tester was out so that a buyer might see what the shower gel might smell like, fell on stony ground. As did my explanation that the other items in the fragrance line had been sold. And no, discontinued meant we weren't going to get any more of that fragrance in again.

My colleagues let me go to lunch 10 minutes early because my temper was beginning to show through. A couple of women staggered in.

"I'm looking for my favourite perfume. Can't remember what it's called. Think it begins with 'G'. It's in a round bottle."

The fumes from their lunch-time drinkies nearly blinded me, but I did manage to find her most favouritest perfume in the world. Omnia Crystalline, by Bulgari.

Well, she was close; there was a 'g' in the name.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Seven Things

I was reading Random Acts of Reality (as I do) and featured was a meme that took on a life of it's own. So I thought I'd spread the love and see what 7 random things you, my readers would chose to tell me and each other. For any of you lurkers, this is especially for you, de-cloak and share. To get you started, here are 7 random things about me today (if you follow the link, you'll see my original random 7, but I'm trying to be original).

1. I'm not into extreme sports. Or anything that might end with pain or death. Plummetting out of a perfectly good aircraft with a bit of silk strapped to my back is not my idea of a good time.

2. I want to learn how to ride a horse properly, rather than bounce around on a hack. It's on my list of things to do.

3. I STILL don't know what I want to do when I grow up.

4. I only miss having a car when I want to go to the beach, or to the woods.

5. Being skint has made me more environmentally friendly.

6. I am very partial to men in uniform (could you tell).

7. If the flat was on fire I'd save Boy, the cat and my 3 and a half book cases full of books.