Sunday, September 28, 2008

Driving Miss Daisy

Did I mention I now have a car? After giving up my treasured Renault Megane in 2003 so I could persue my writing, I am once again behind the wheel. One of the directors of the company, who asked me to become Emergency Receptionist, has lent me one of his cars. It's a Lipstick Red Toyota MR2. For the next few months, I get to call it mine.

I haven't driven in 5 years. Mind you, that hasn't stopped me voicing my opionions from the passenger's seat. But there's a whole world of difference between being a stroppy passenger commenting on the skills of the driver next to you and all around you, and being The Driver.

Every car has a personality, little quirks that making driving that car a unique experience. When I picked up the car with the Director, it would be true to say, I was bricking it. I drove back to Norwich very gingerly. I tried to get a feel for the car, who I've now named Red, and get a feel for driving again. The driving again was not as big a problem as I thought it would be. I can still guage distances and get a feel for speed, though I'm going to have to be very, very careful because she is a sneaky one. Acceleration is smooth, and effortless, one minute you're waiting at the roundabout, next you're on the other side, wondering where the BMW who'd been hogging your rear had gone. Oh yeah, he's still back there. Thirty seems like floating, and the only difference between 30 and 80 is the position of the hand on the speedometer. She's not keen on round the city driving, gets impatient and heavy; open roads for her, and for me.

I had forgotten the pure pleasure that comes with driving. The freedom. When I have to give her back, I'm going to have to get me one of those. I know I should think about being sensible, but you know what? Fuck that.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Falling off Bikes

My last day has come and gone. I survived the experience. Boy was very disappointed that I remained polite to my customers when I got around to serving them. What can I say? I was busy handing out chocolates and getting hugged. I must admit, I really will miss the ladies of Perfumery, they really are fabulous. I will definitely be calling in and bugging them in the future.

It has been a bittersweet time for me. When I left local government I was determined I was going to write for a living. But the fact of the matter is, while I will continue writing, I'm not likely to become a published author. Publishing is a cut-throat business, of the people who I studied with, who are amazing writers, genuinely talented in an iritatingly laisez-faire way, they can't keep themselves. Realistically, if they can't, will I be able to? No not really. So I stuck it out with retail and as much as I found it fun in places, for the most part it was bloody hard work for bugger-all pay.

So here I am going to be a Sales and Marketing Assistant, being suited and booted once again. I confess to being somewhat nervous. Yes, I do know what I'm letting myself in for, over the past 3 months I've got to know the people there fairly well. It's a small company on the verge of taking off. It faces all the challenges that a company in that position does, resourcing, structuring and processes. But given the potential, and the part that I could play, it could be a big player in a really interesting field.

Tomorrow, I'm going through my wardrobe. The endless black t-shirts, grey t-shirts, exceptionally dull black underwear - they are all going out. I have some good pieces in my wardrobe still, but I'll be making a few trips to M&S and BHS for some office staples. I'm looking for some good shoes. Now I'm not expected to stand 7.5 hours a day, I can indulge in some high heels and fuck-me boots. Oops. Did I write that out loud?

The creative writing student is slowly giving way to Business Woman, and in a way, I feel sad for my loss. I like being a grubby art student, being creative suits me. But being a Business Woman is very satisfying in a completely different way. Being around practical people who turn up on time and do what they say they're going to do, allows for a different type of creativity. My job is going to be providing the Face for the company. I'm the person who'll be making sure that the enquiries become the satisfied customers throughout the process. How cool is that?

It might all go horribly wrong. Indeed it might; for I am such an optimist. But I've ended up here because I followed the Path. While I've made decisions: good, bad and indifferent, they've usually been in response to The Universe's jokes. About two years ago, I decided that I was going to go with the flow. These are the uncharted waters and I must admit, I've little to complain about. My Boy is stunning, he's bigger than me, I still get hugs, he still makes me laugh at the end of a shitty day. My Viking is fabulous, a completely unexpected side-effect from blogging. My life is rich and I have much to be thankful for. It is the end of many things, but I'm ready to welcome the changes.

This is made more poignant because a much-loved Elder of the Norwich Chant Collective died this morning. I wouldn't be going out on a limb if I said that without his knowledge and guidance, the people who I count as family wouldn't have been where they are today. While he did not train me, I knew him and was fond of him. We would catch up at handfastings and baby-namings. He would make a point of having a chat if we met by chance in the City. He will be greatly missed.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The End of an Orange Era

Tomorrow is my final day as an employee in the independant department store. Tomorrow, I hang up the 'orange'. I won't miss the stupid, the daft, the weird and the rude. I will miss the fun, the glamour, the products and my colleagues.

When I think about my make-up collection before I started working in perfumery, it consisted of two lip sticks, one lip gloss and two eye-shadow pallets. I had two fragrances on my dressing table.

Last night, I thought I really ought to sort out my make-up boxes and bags. No, I'm not kidding, I have 2 boxes full and 3 bags of make-up. While I was at it, I also sorted through my cosmetics. I think I've got 18 bottles of fragrance sitting on my dressing table and that hasn't stopped me eyeing up several new fragrances longingly either.

Viking and I were talking about how a job can change you. I started by saying 'no, my job didn't change me...' at which point my Viking and Boy fell about laughing and pointed out my expanding cosmetics collection and the fact that I can't nip over the wall to the pub without putting mascara on first. Sheepishly, I agreed, the job has definitely changed me. For better, or worse?

Better: I love being a girlie. I love the glamour. Putting my make-up on in the morning, I feel like I'm ready for work, I'm ready for the day ahead.

Worse: I'm not convinced my bank manager will buy the 'but I NEED it!'

On the cosmetic side of things, the one piece of advice I can give you (apart from wearing sunscreen), is to invest in a good moisturiser (that goes for you men as well). It will be worth every penny, I promise. Over the last 20 months, I have noticed a big change in my skin. I'm trying to find the most delicate way of saying this, but I can't and I really don't want to go into graphic detail. You're going to have to trust me.

Invest in a good moisturiser - not because you're worth it, and you are - but because it works.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Times, they are a-Changin'

There have been a couple of reasons why I haven't been blogging regularly. Firstly, I've been in a particularly foul mood that started when I came back off holiday and has continued unabated. I'm perfectly aware of it's causes but I was reluctant to inflict it on you, my good virtual friends. I've been so vile that Boy greets me at the door with alcohol and my Viking...well I'm petitioning the Vatican on his behalf. I'm convinced he is a saint. The patience he has shown me, I've been like a porcupine with PMS; that he still wants to be with me is an absolute miracle.

Juggling two jobs, doing 6 and 7 day stretches ground me down. Trying to keep it together, being tired and grumpy has been a mammoth task. My thanks goes out to my personal chefs, Mr Tesco and Mme Marks & Spencer, without whom Boy and I would have starved.

Then I got offered a permanent position at the heat pump company as a Sales & Marketing Assistant. I don't think I quite bit their hands off to accept, but they were left in no doubt how much I wanted the job. Since the beginning of the month I've been working through my notice period which has crept by. Each day on the shop floor has been a challenge to keep the Editor-in-my-Head working at full speed as I struggled not let the sarcasm slip from between clenched teeth.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. Tomorrow, I'm in the office and Friday is my last day. Woo Hoo!

It's really weird, but as much as I'm looking forward to starting my new job, I am sorry to be leaving my glamorous past-time. I will miss the girls on the floor. They've been fabulous. They showed me the Girlie Way and I'll never look back. We've stood together through shop lifters, rude customers, weirdos and good looking men in uniform. I will miss them.

Elbow - Grounds For Divorce Take 2

Hopefully they won't axe this one so quickly.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Resonance

Late last night I fell over a repeat of a documentary about Girl with a One Track Mind. If you'll remember she got outed around the time I started blogging and I've followed her progress ever since. I haven't landed on her site recently, so this morning I sit here with a strong cup of coffee and my pink fluffy dressing gown and caught up on her gossip. She posted a link from Whatelydude's blog, who I'd never heard of. But it was one of those things that made me go 'hmmm...'

He has a philosophy on love, it's called the Five Projections of Love.

They are: Touch. Time. Words. Action. Presents.

In a nutshell, he says that we use these to project our feelings of love, usually favouring 3 or 4. Compatibility comes when our partners mirror these.

For example, our loved one gives flowers, chocolates and sparkly things. Ideally, we'd return the favour by giving something in return. It's when partners don't share the same ranking that disparity occurs. Such as a partner that needs words more than presents, or does actions and feels unappreciated when that expression of love is ignored or belittled.

This is an over-simplification of his philosophy, and I'm going to do some more research on it. But, on this Sunday morning, it just struck a chord, so I thought I would share.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Compassion Overload

Just a quick post before I slap on the Orange and put on a smiley face.

I was walking into work yesterday. It takes me about 15 mins, if I hurry, 20 mins if I'm strolling. Not that I've strolled for ages. I seem to be permanently late these days, despite my best intentions and efforts. The good thing about that is that it takes me 10 mins to become Orange Woman, where it used to take me 20.

My route takes me into an underpass, which usually has a homeless person, usually a bloke. I think they must take turns with the patch and have a rota all figured out. Because there's only ever one at a time and I recognise them all now. Anyway, picture the scene:

Homeless bloke sitting cross-legged on a knackered sleeping bag, golden lab curled up nose under tail so it doesn't have to smell the alcoholic urine from the night before. There's a hat with a few coppers sprinkled in. His head comes up from his chest, he makes eye contact 'any spare change miss?'. I shake my head, but as I'm saying no, the most obnoxious ringtone blares from his coat pocket. Out comes one of the most expensive mobile phones I've seen bar an iPhone, and he starts chatting away like he's a stock broker!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Appropriate Subjects for the Lunch Table

I've been thinking about censure and blogging. Although my job is not at all in the public interest, or even interesting, occasionally I will admit to censoring chunks of my life. Thanks to a link in facebook, sometimes my work colleagues will pop by to see what's going on. My relationship with my Viking, which was sparked by our blogging habit, is difficult topic to blog about. Obviously, he reads my blog and vice versa. Boy reads my blog and vice versa.

Sometimes when I haven't blogged for a while, it's simply that I'm hideously busy trying to cope with day to day life, or I've got stuff going on I'm not prepared to share in the blogsphere.

I don't however, edit my day-to-day conversations and I will over-share whatever's happening in my life. I have become increasingly worried that the Editor-in-my-Head has taken an improptu holiday, or has nipped out for a lunch-time tipple without telling me. There are times when I genuinely ask 'did I just say that out loud?' I forget that people have subjects that they don't want to talk about over the lunch table, subjects that they might find uncomfortable. I'll talk about anything, me. I'm not proud.

Alix and her husband looked a bit perplexed when discussing Quorn: I said it doesn't come through my front door, my Viking projectile vomits if he eats it. Apparently, Alix can't discuss projectile vomiting and went a lovely shade of green as the subject was explored in more depth. A younger colleague suggested it might be psychosomatic. I argued that projectile vomiting isn't a neurotic symptom. Alix asked me to change the subject. We did. The subject turned to a date one of the perfumery ladies had been on. A rather unsuccessful date; the 'gentleman' announced he no longer had a prostate over dinner. Naturally, I enquired whether he had erectile dysfunction. I thought that was a completely reasonable question, otherwise, why else would he mention the lack of prostate? Perhaps he was giving a gentle warning, should their relationship progress? I was thoroughly told off. It's not the done thing. Apparently.

A fellow blogger has been having lady problems, not at all uncommon lady problems actually. And has been suffering from the service she's been receiving, or not, as the case may be.

If you're a long-time reader you'll know, this is not a sex blog. Fortunately, or unfortunately for you, there are things that I do keep to myself and will continue to do so for the forseeable future. However, my fellow blogger's problems has led me to take the opportunity to have a little bit of a rant about sexual health.

Boy has heard me give this lecture several times so I know he'll disappear back to Spore, which is the next best thing to Halo 3.

There is so much talked about sex, sex blogs etc, etc and with the joys of the internet, there's loads of information about sexual health out there. But while blow jobs and anal sex are freely discussed, no one is prepared to talk about sexual health. It's a bit of a no-no. If you're lucky condoms might get mentioned.

A GP is exactly that. A general practitioner. They can't know about everything. Why should sexual health be any different? I'm really lucky, my GP is the first to throw his hands up and go 'I dunno, let's get you refered'. He refered me to my local GU clinic, which now also has the family planning clinic housed there, a perfectly sensible decision in my opinion. I regularly go to my clinic for what I call my MOT.

I know the clinician, she's absolutely lovely, we have known each other for over 9 years now. She doesn't care what my pecadillos are, her concern remains my continuing good sexual health. As I prefer hetrosexual, non-drug using, faithful men (and are faithful), and I tend to have long-term relationships, I'm not really in a high risk category. We have a chat, discuss any issues I may have (they helped sort out a thrush problem, quite painlessly), I get poked and prodded. I get tested for everything under the sun. My last results I got via text - how cool is that? And off I toddle, safe and smug in the knowledge that I'm good to go.

If you have had sex or are thinking about having sex, go along to your local GU clinic and Family Planning Clinic. Have a chat with the doctors and nurses there. They have been there, done that, seen it all. You could never tell them anything that would shock them. Family Planning give out free condoms and talk about the most appropriate form of contraception. I've found them to be very approachable, gentle and understanding, they are also good for a laugh. Again, they've got the t-shirt.

Poor Boy. He's had this lecture several times. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he'll continue to roll his eyes, but follow my advice when it's necessary. This isn't a subject I'm prepared to leave to chance. One day last year he came home thoroughly disturbed by a conversation that a boy and girl were having in front of him - the merits and drawbacks of anal sex. He was 13 at the time. I keep repeating 'if it comes out of your trousers, slap a condom on it'. No exceptions, no excuses.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Whistle Blowing

Once again the Powers that Be are trying to screw Inspector Gadget into the ground for telling it how it is. You'll remember that my Viking got gagged for talking about his experiences and it seriously has curtailed his creativity. His blog hasn't been the same without the day to day stuff of his working life.

Please pop by and offer the Boss your support. He's one of life's good guys, doing the best he can while the system rewards the mediocre and grinds down those who genuinely want to make a difference.

Without more voices like his, we really are going to go to hell in a handbasket.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What's New Pussy Cat?

Not a bloody thing.

I had a fabulous time oop North. Was spoilt rotten by the Viking's parents. I think his mum totally rocks. Every time I tried to be useful: clear something up, do the dishes etc, I got shooed out the way. It was the first time Boy went to Viking's familial home and I think he had a great time. We went walking, did a bit of shopping and watched the Olympics. To my surprise, as a not terribly sporty family, both Boy and I were riveted to the television. True, my favourites were the male gymnasts and Boy was quite taken with the flexible girls in tight leotards. But I was really chuffed to see the UK do so well. We went to the Lakes, I got wet, wet, wet, but I have discovered that I can cope with anything as long as I have dry feet and a wooly hat. There's more on that trip that I will write about later. I promise, with pictures and everything.

I really didn't want to come home. Didn't want to face the bills, the laundry, the responsibility.

So, within 5 minutes of opening the door to my flat, my shoulders were round my ears and I was just as stressed as I was before I left.

Something has to change soon. And for the better. I've had enough of this. I'm intolerable. If I don't get a handle on my stress levels I'm going to make myself ill, lose my relationships and my employment. Time to get a grip.

To this end, I've started working out again. It was actually Beth's post that made me get my arse into gear. Because it's been so long since I've done any regular exercise I've had to go right back to the basics, slightly disheartening, but I've got to start somewhere. I know when I exercise it improves my mood, my energy levels and my general aches and pains aren't so bad. It would also be good to shift some weight. I don't particularly want to diet, I can't bear the thought of cottage cheese and cardboard, life is too short for bad food. But I'm taking Kaz' advice: less fat in my diet and moving a bit more.

I feel out of control at the moment and I hope that by getting control, even if it's of one thing, might help.

We shall see.