Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday Monday

Note to self: do not be heavy handed with the ground coffee in the coffee machine. It leads to much tossing and turning until 3am and a pretty pissed off cat. The only upside to having 4 hours sleep is being awake at stupid o'clock to talk to my Viking as he was working Lates. The downside was my alarm going off at 7am and I felt dreadful. I need lots of sleep (Viking will attest to that) otherwise I become Major Grumpy Knickers (Boy will vouch for that too). My mood wasn't helped when I got into work and faced a Performance Review.

I was concerned when my Counter Manager said the Department Manager wanted to see us. The minute she said 'it's nothing to worry about', paranoia kicked in and I put in some serious worrying time. One thing I can do very well, if I don't say so myself, is obsess. I can obsess for England, if only it were an Olympic sport. So I obsessed. By the time the meeting was called, with the lack of sleep and the obsessing, I was in a bit of a state. I was probably not my most sparkling, or witty or even coherent (I suspect). It was quite an intense experience. I've been appraised before, but this was full on Performance Review complete with targets, objectives and jargon (lots of it). The long and the short of it is: they're quite happy with me. They feel I've got off to a good start and will continue to make good progress. I like the work, even if it is hard on my legs and there are really worse ways to make a living.

I crawled home, punch drunk from lack of sleep and the fall-out from the obsession session. I struggle to convey the joy of opening my front door to be greeted with hugs from Boy and miaows from the Cat. Boy had hoovered and done the recycling. Is there a better feeling? Yes there is. Trust me, there is. After we stopped hugging he said "I brought the pasta I made during food tech home. Do you want it for dinner?"

See. I told you. There is a Goddess and damn is She good!

I scraped off the orange, changed into sloppy clothes and have just finished a huge bowl full of yummy spicey pasta. The only thing I must/have to do tonight is wait for Tescos to deliver the shopping. Tomorrow, I'm moonlighting in Marsham. Tonight, I'm going to put my feet up and whoop some Oblivion ass.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Treacle Day

Today is my day off, I just wish I had the energy to enjoy it. Everything aches including my head and I feel...well the best I can say is Bleaugh! It's a technical medical term that I've gleaned from those medical blogs. Tasks that are fairly simple to do normally, seem to be taking ages. My brain is processing everything that much more slowly and I feel as if I'm drifting through treacle. Don't get me wrong, I'm not unhappy or feeling blue. I'm just not doing anything particularly quickly, efficiently or even promptly, which is fine I suppose as it's my day off.

The last few weeks my hayfever has been grim, but it seems to be settling down at the moment. I'll resist giving you a blow by blow account of my symptoms, I'm sure you don't need to hear about the itchy eyes, constant sneezing and general ick that goes with this time of year for me. Besides, it's hayfever. I'm not dying. It's just inconvenient.

The Council finally came and fixed my roof on Thursday. Of course it hasn't rained since then, which sums up my luck. But hey, it's done. My ceiling has an interesting look to it kind of sagging papier mache kind of look, but I can live with it. I can hang something to cleverly disguise it, or simply ignore it until I muster the enthusiasm for decorating my front room again, not likely to happen for a while yet.

I haven't managed to do anymore work on my writing project recently. I've been busy with work and trying to catch up with people and I'm feeling the lack. It's weird how itchy I become if I don't write. It's not so much a past-time, but an absolute necessity. The other plus about writing is that I tend to get loads of other stuff done if I think about my writing. For example, I'm supposed to be working on it now. In the time that I set aside to do my writing I've: upgraded my MS Office, I've emptied the fridge of all things mouldering, had a quick tidy round, done the bins, watered the plants, tidied my desk, done some admin. All of which needed to be done....days/weeks ago.

Last week I got a call from a friend of mine asking if I was able to do emergency reception/office work. I didn't like to say no. So, I've picked up 4 days work in the midst of my PCH work. I did one day Friday and will do the others next week. I must admit it is rather fun pottering around an office. It's really nice getting home and not feeling completely rung out. I knew I was tired from my normal work but I'd never quite appreciated how hard retail is on the legs. My counter manager is going away on holiday for two weeks, so I'll be going full time, which will be a complete killer. Office work 5 days a week is a doddle compared to retail that's for sure.

Just in case anyone's wondering: Hottie really is a Goddess! She gave me a fab pressie this week, which I have test driven today - a coffee machine! How cool is that? I bought some really nice, proper coffee and my cup this afternoon was heavenly. Unfortunately, I'm suffering from caffiene overload, but oh, it was yummy. I'm really looking forward to my morning cup tomorrow. Boy even commented on how nice the flat smelt with it going. I just need to get the ratio of ground coffee to water right. I'm not normally a huge fan of kitchen gadgets, but this coffee machine seems to be built for ease of use and convience.

Anyway, I'd better slope off. I'm in the midst of making burgers for Boy and me and there are a hundred and one things that I really should be doing...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Eleanor Roosevelt was Right

Did I tell you I was once gainfully employed? I used to work for a local council as an Economic Development Officer. I had a salary that enabled me to buy my flat, have a brand new car, shop for crockery at Habitat. It was employment with status, my parents were proud of me. And then I gave it up.

I was chatting to my Counter Manager yesterday, we were talking shop and trying to figure out new ways of drumming up business when a man walked by and smirked at me. He was part of the reason I left local government, a restructure would have made him my line-manager and he was a power-hungry, misogynistic bastard and I think part of our working relationship problem was I told him so. Yes, I know. How to win friends and influence people. Not.

He was not the only reason.

I hated local government structure and politics. The constant restructuring to ensure the status quo was maintained. Any hint of creative thinking got stamped on. I got told off because I kept on making unreasonable demand of colleagues: I expected them to do their jobs. When I went to bed at night I longed for sleep and in the morning I'd open my eyes with dread sitting in my belly. I was constantly unwell. I was crotchety, grumpy and vile. Boy and I didn't have much of a relationship as the only time we'd spend together was in the car as I took him to Breakfast Club and picked him up from the After School Club. Yes, it was novel to pay my bills on time and to be able to buy clothes from Next instead of the charity shop, but it was blood money.

So this guy walks by and smirks at me. I could see exactly what he was thinking as I stood there behind my counter and I smiled back and carried on with my conversation. When I walked home the brief encounter stayed with me. He wasn't shopping, he walked through the shop arms swinging. I've worked there over 18 months and I'd never seen him there. In fact, I had only just seen him recently in a local pub and he was barely polite to me then. He thought he could come into my place of work and look down his nose at me, and my choice of job and put me down.

Eleanor Roosevelt said No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

This life that I've chosen, it works for me. I won't lie, I'd like more money. But then, who wouldn't? The fact is I rarely deny myself anything, Boy and I eat regularly. The roof over our head (currently being fixed) is fairly secure. I have a solid relationship with my son. I have a healthy relationship with my Viking. When I wake up in the morning I start thinking about the things that need to be done, and I start balancing them against the things I want to do. More often than not, I do a bit of both. I have an amazing support network, both socially, virtually and through work and college. I chose to be sociable or to be alone. I like working at the PCH, my boss is great, the products fun and working 3 days a week and doing occasional full-time stints for holiday cover, means I have time to do other things like write, hang out with my Boy and my Viking. All in all, I feel blessed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Happy 2nd Blog Day

Yep, you read right. It's been two years since I started blogging. My goodness what a rollercoaster. It's certainly been an experience. Just a quick re-cap of some of the amazing things that have happened in the last two years:

I made new friends
I found my Viking (or vice versa)
I found paid employment in the Independent Dept Store and the PCH
My Boy became a teenager
I lost my Pops
I finished my degree
Loads of people I love got happily married, and I got to dance at their weddings

As well as lots of day to day stuff.

Thanks for joining me for the journey. Here's to the next year and whatever Fortune and Fate bring.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Chillin'

I've treated myself to a couple of days chillin at the Viking's which is a bit naughty. But, I can't be sensible ALL of the time. He's off saving the World and I'm here with my feet up on his desk, a mug of coffee steaming away and feeling smugly domestic. I've just hung out the laundry. Every now and then I surprise us both, and do something useful around the house. It doesn't happen very often and probably won't be repeated for awhile, but hey, it was fun and made a change.

I live in a first floor flat, with no laundry line, so hanging laundry out in a proper garden is a bit of an adventure. Especially, since my hayfever is so bad I've been rubbing my streaming eyes constantly since I've come back in about 10 minutes ago. I'm looking out the window and thinking about a walk into town, wandering around VikingTown, trying not to break my already fragile bank account. Or I can stay in and work on my project a bit more. Or I can daydream on-line.

There are times this year when I've found my life to be quite frustrating. My circumstances haven't changed considerably since then. I'm still skint, still trying to sell expensive creams, potions and lotions to bored women, but I feel more content recently. Even with the disappointment of the MA.

The Viking and I went on a North Norfolk Coast adventure on Sunday. Our car journey was graced with rain and hail, but we were determined to go. We parked up at Burnham Overy Staithe and walked to Gun Hill, a large dune to the east of the village, before the Holkham Estate starts. It's a lovely walk, on the bank that runs between the low, water meadows and the Staithe harbour. There were a few other hardy souls braving the brisk wind and grey. To the west we could see rain tumbling out of the clouds to fall on land and sea, but we couldn't tell which way it was travelling. We risked it and I'm so glad we did. It kept on raining westwards leaving us dry, if slightly chilled. The tide came rushing past us, flooding the mud flats and still we sat chatting, sharing snacks and playing in the sand. We watched a party of 3 wrestle with a large, purple stunt kite. It took them about half an hour to get the thing in the air and then it danced overhead, dipping and swirling to its own music. It was getting late and we needed to pick Boy up from his dad's, but then two things happened. My Viking spotted a large, sandy dune and the clouds parted to let the sun through. I spent the next hour on top of the dune soaking in the sunshine while Viking jumped and ran, up and down the dune til he was knackered. When we finally left, the purple kite was still dancing.

I realised that I'm becoming easier with just letting life unfurl around me. If something is meant to be, it happens with a minimum of fuss or effort. This is the easy life and I don't miss the tension, the striving, the frustration or the constant, nagging disappointment. The MA will happen or it won't. I'll just wait and see. The time off has been good for me, I don't feel so bone weary all the time. I'm sure there are still way too many things I really should be getting on with, but who cares? Things get done in the end.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Techno Techno Techno

I'm having one of those weeks. Last week I realised my roof was leaking. I called the Council last Wednesday and a very nice man turned up today to tell me that I had small hole in my felt. He didn't think it would be too much of a bother to fix. It's just a question of getting some scaffolding put up and patching it up (apparently). The problem isn't his time, it's the scaffolding. So it might be fixed tomorrow, it might be fixed next week, I won't know until they turn up. So I'm praying for good weather, or at least dry weather until they manage to find a scaffolder with time on his hands, though apparently it's easier to find unicorns around here.

Over the weekend, my mobile phone, the most expensive piece of kit I've ever owned, played up yet again. My phone does pictures, multi-media messaging, blue-tooth, mp3s and goes fucking wrong at every given opportunity. Two months after I took possession of the damn thing I had to download software upgrades because everytime I wanted it to do something, it froze. Talk about performance anxiety. After that, it was a bit slow doing things, but it did them. Last weekend, it stopped sending texts and wouldn't let me make calls, it threw a complete girlie strop. At one point, I had to put it down and leave the room I was that close to smashing it into little, itty-bitty pieces with hammer.

I went into the O2 Shop and complained. The tired, bored salewoman nodded sympathetically through my tirade and provided alternate uses for the piece of equipment. She even praised me on my self-control for not reducing it to glitter. Bless her heart, she gave me a new SIM card and suggested that might solve the problem failing that I had to bring the phone back to the shop and they'd send it back to Nokia to be fixed. She did start suggesting that I could try upgrading the software on the phone myself, but seeing my exasperation, changed her mind.

Today, I had spent about 3 hours trying to connect my phone to my PC, to back up the data stored on the damn thing before I sent it off to be fixed. After all that palava, I figured I might as well have a go with doing the software myself, see if I could save a lot of inconvenience. Cue more swearing, most of which is down to my inability to read instructions, it really isn't Nokia's fault I don't do as I'm told. Since I did that, I've used my phone twice and it's gone through ok. Hopefully, I have cured the problem; we'll have to see.

Apart from that, I'm writing. Or rather, I should say, I'm plotting. I've got a project on the go and all is trooping along quite nicely. I'm following the Snowflake Method, which is a rather groovy way of doing things, a touch prescriptive, but as I've never successfully completed a novel, I'm happy to experiment. My financial situation is such that it's unlikely, failing a lottery win, that I'll be able to go back to the MA this year. Writing a novel is not a consolation prize for me, it's the reason why I did the damn degree in the first place and I'm pleased to be making a start. It feels right, and it's certainly fun.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Recipe wot I Made up

This could be described as posh cheese on toast or poor-man's pizza.

You need:

  • 1 tomato finely chopped
  • 1 pepper (green for colour) finely chopped
  • 1 red onion...yep you guessed it, finely chopped
  • 3 or 4 sun dried tomatos, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed (or finely chopped)
  • black pepper to taste
  • grated cheese
  • 2 long rolls or baguette
You could add spring onions, chilli, fresh herbs like chives, coriander, or mint for something different.

Mix the chopped ingredients, add pepper and cheese. You'll note I didn't specify how much. That really depends on how much you like your cheese. I personally would grate the same amount of cheese to salad ingredients and then grate a third more.

Heat your oven (or grill), split the rolls and pile on the ingredients. If you're a sensible bunny, you'd put the rolls on a baking tray first. Put in oven until the cheese melts into a yummy, gooey mass and is bubbling away nicely.

Eat, preferably with a glass of naughtiness, good company and follow with lashings of laughter.

It's not a terribly original recipe, but I thought I would share. Do you have an own-made recipe that you'd like to share below?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Iron Resolve...

of a rubber band. Last week I promised myself that I would do things differently. So I indulged in several takeaways, did no exercise and had a yummy chicken BBQ burger yesterday. Says it all really.

However, I might have slipped in that resolve, but I'm writing again. Thanks to a point in the right direction from Gee, I've actually got a writing project on the way. In the last 10 days, I've worked out my plot structure and have started fleshing out the protagionist. I spent most of Friday afternoon creating a form to act as a Character Template. It's going to be a long and drawn out process, but at least I've started and I know where I'm going and how I'm going to get there.

The biggest bugbear at the moment is my roof. I've got a soggy patch in my front room and it's got soggier every time it's rained and of course it's been raining quite a bit recently. Although I own my flat, the Council own the bricks and mortar, which means that they've got to come and put it right. Thanks to the computer going down and various other dramas they've yet to turn up. The next few days are supposed to be dry thank goodness, I'm just hoping they'll turn up before it starts to pour again. *sigh*

Right, I'm going to put the kettle on, have something to eat and dust my desk. I should be writing you see.