Monday, January 31, 2011

Preparing for the Vampire

As part of my New Year's kick up the butt. I thought it would be a good idea to go see a doctor to reassess my prescribed medication. The doctor who had looked after Boy and I for the last 14 years, took the opportunity to leg it, while I was in Trinidad (jeez, was it something I said?) and so I had to find a new one.

I'm a bit old fashioned in my views about GPs. I believe in continuity of care. If I see you for my veruuca, I want to see you for my blood pressure. I have these odd beliefs that the GP I see will actually put the face and the name together and our 10 minute consultation will be memorable enough that when I next go to see them, they'll remember who I am. And they'll give a shit. Perhaps I should have started the paragraph off with, 'I'm a bit optimistic in my views about GPs'?

Anway, to cut a long story short, I trooped along to the GP I'd briefly met a couple of weeks ago. I liked her a lot. She was energetic and fun and she seemed sensible. We had a brief discussion about my prescription meds. It's coming up to the dreaded Hayfever season and I've learnt that if I start taking my antihistamines a couple of months before, I am less miserable. So, she gives me access to more drugs and we talk about my dragging backside. She decides she want the full blood work up, just to make sure I'm not anaemic or anything. While I'm there, I ask about having a cholesterol test. She agrees it would be a good idea.

As I sit here, waking up without a cup of coffee, I disagree. It's not a good idea. It's not a good idea to start a Monday without my steaming cup of good coffee next to me. I can survive on the water. That's fine. I can put up with it. But Ladies and Gentlemen, it's just wrong not to have coffee to kick the day off. I know I need to have the blood tests done. It's a good thing to know whether the steady diet of butter, double cream and chicken skin is clogging up my arteries. However, no coffee. Now that's not good.

Given my genetic makeup is such that my cholesterol will be high; the question is, will it be high enough to warrant regular blood tests? I do hope not. The thought of starting my day off without caffeine is becoming more than I can bear.

Monday, January 24, 2011

On Meeting an Infomaniac Bitch

I clocked that fellow Infomaniac Bitch, IDV was also to be found in this fine City. We would nod to each other occasionally, but for the most part, that was that. Then I found myself stalking him round his blog too.

We e-mailed each other a couple of times and then decided we really ought to clap eyes on each other.

Of course, I spent ages obsessing: what I should wear? what if he thought I was really boring? what if we couldn't find anything to talk about?

We agreed to meet at Frank's Bar yesterday afternoon. Surprisingly, I was on time (don't tell Dave, he'll get upset, I'm always late. It drives him nuts). I walked in and thought 'oh God, I've only seen a few pictures of him, what if I can't recognise him'. This gorgeous, tall guy came towards me, gave me a questioning look; and then, we smiled at each other.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you, he's hot. And tall. And any man who presents me with chocolates from here called 'boozy combo', is going to be great company.

I had a lovely couple of hours. We just talked and talked. Considering we'd never met before, we didn't seem to run out of conversation, there were no uncomfortable moments. He didn't roll his eyes when I'd start a conversation off at Point A and somehow, half an hour later, end up at Point T. I suspect he's just very polite.

At the end of our time together, we both agreed that, if/when we could convince Cyberpete to come visit, we'd have to up our game somewhat in the 'fabulous stakes'. It's IDV's turn next time to get the coffees in. I'm going to hold him to it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Week 3 of New Year's Resolutions

So, how's it going people? Reverted to the chocolate, alcohol and fags again? Or are you holding strong in the face of temptation?

At the end of Week 3 of my resolution of Stop Thinking and Do, I continue to exercise. Yes, you read that right. I am still at it. I'm still huffing and puffing through my workout dvds. This week has been a bit of a challenge. Other things have required my attention, but the good news is, the thinking led to action. Amongst other things, my pile of laundry is at least currently limited to the laundry basket. When the week started, it was creeping across my floor. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me assure you, dirty socks chasing The Cat around the bedroom at 3 am is not conducive to a good night's sleep.

As January rapidly hurtles into February, next on my List of Things to Do, is meditate regularly. I want to get able enough to do at least 30 mins of exercise a day and then to parcel some time for meditation. Last year, I purchased a book called A Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield and I've been slowly making my way through it. It is not at all New Agey. No quick fixes, no 'follow my wisdom and you too shall live a Perfect Life'. This book addresses the perils and promises of the spiritual journey. At the end of each chapter there are meditations to be followed. 

Now, we all know I'm a lazy shite. I can sit and appear to do nothing for hours on end. What's actually going on is me obsessing. Picking at an issue like a vulture going over roadkill. Any hint of having to make my mind go blank, tends to lead to this internal dialogue:

Focus on my breathing
Breathe back hurts
Breathe out...focus on breathing
Breathe that someone at the door? When is Boy coming home? Do I have enough time to do this before the invasion of the teenagers?
Breathe out...make mind blank. My mind is blank. Shit. If I'm thinking my mind is blank, it's not blank...

You see my problem? I believe it's called chattering monkeys. I have a whole troop of them living in my head. However, Buddhist meditation give you mantras to repeat during meditation. The idea is I focus solely on the mantra, which works brilliantly. It's much easier to reign in the chattering monkeys if I've got something for them to do. Those meditations have been far more successful and have left me feeling great: I've achieved what I set out to do and my brain has had an hour off. Of course, this means I will be treating myself to a zafu and a meditation mat. I couldn't possibly consider any meditation without either.

Small successes work for me. In the past, I've rushed into things, given 110% and then fizzled out equally as quickly. The endorphins from the exercise have a very positive impact on my general mood. My shoulders aren't cramped around my ears.  I've also noticed that my body temperature has risen, I'm not so chilled internally.

So, that's me. How's it going with you? Come on, share.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.

I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to
dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if youcan dance with wildness

and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty

even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.
*  *  *
My apologies if the line breaks do not follow those of the original. You get the idea.

On Wednesday, during a meeting with my work Mentor, he suggested I have a look for this. He suggested I would appreciate it and it might be useful. I duly did.

As far as a piece of writing goes, the Creative Writing tutor in me, would love to cover it in red pen. Scrawl all over it. As far as a piece of wisdom, the skeptic in me who hates pop psychology with a passion verging on the murderous. I want to get chopsticks and poke out Dr Phil's eyes. To the person who was mortally offended at my response when he suggested my experiences over the last 2 years were 'challenging'. Be grateful. Be grateful, I had enough self-control and didn't immediately bludgeon you to death with the metal folding chair.

However, there is something glorious in it's imperfections. Heartfelt, in the simplicity of message. It reminds me of the Life I want to lead.

It reminds me of my goal: when I'm dead, people will say 'that Roses, completely nuts, but damn she Lived.'

I've had a bit more time to think on this. I've finally figured out why, although I do like the idea, it makes me grind my teeth.

Yes, as a clarion call to lead an authentic life, it's very well intentioned. However, I'm also a big fan of the superficial. I'd like to lead an authentic life, with pink, sparkly nail polish. I like indulging in my Laura Mercier bubble bath. There are times when only murder and mayhem will do on the television. It introduces more fractures and is done in a 'worthier than thou' manner.

I suppose people are a complicated mish-mash and I'm no different. I want the space to allow for everything about me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

MCW Favorite 1950s Movie

It's just got to be The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Fabulously understated, ground breaking and challenging.

The remake or 're-imagining' was 3 shades of pants.

Happy MCW.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A New Recipe

I've come up with a new recipe, I thought I'd share. For two reasons 1. because I like to share and 2. I have no idea what to call it.

You will need:

Spices and herbs
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground corriander
1 tsp paprika
about 5 or 6 cardamom pods crushed in a mortar & pestle
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped.

4 chicken breasts, skinned and diced
small bag of dried apricots
1 tin of cider
1 tin of green lentils
1 tin of chickpeas
1 red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped.

In a large sauce pan, heat some oil. I cook with extra-virgin olive oil out of preference. Proper foodies will say with this kind of cooking it makes no-nevermind as the flavour gets cooked out. But it's the only oil I have in the house.

When the oil is hot dump the onion and pepper in. Fry for a few minutes until it's a bit soft and then add all the spices except the fresh corriander. Fry and breathe deep for a couple of minutes. It's smells divine. It really does. Add the chicken. When the chicken is all nice and brown, throw in the tins of lentils and chickpeas. Stir well. Add the cider a bit at a time until chicken is all covered and bubbling nicely, turn the heat down to simmer. Add the apricots and fresh coriander. Cover the pot and occasionally stir.

With dishes like this, I have no idea how long they take to cook. I think it takes about an hour. About 15 mins before you'd like to eat, put some rice on. Take the lid off the pan of chicken. You'll need to stir regularly. The idea is to get the liquid to evaporate, to thicken up the sauce a bit. When you're happy with the consistency and the rice is ready, remove from heat and serve.


There is no reason why you could throw other things into the pot. Mushrooms, the odd potato would work too. If you like a bit of heat, add dried or fresh chillis when you fry the onion and pepper. If you, like me, adore cream, just before you're ready to serve, take the pot off the heat and add some double cream or creme fraiche or sour cream. Return to heat, but make sure it doesn't come up to the boil. Simmer is the trick here.

If you are moved enough to cook this, please let me know how you get on.

So finally, what do I call this dish? Gee's husband tends to think anything with apricots, automatically becomes Moroccan. I think a Moroccan might take exception to this. This dish smells and tastes fantastic, so I've just been calling it Fragrant Chicken, but that's not terribly exciting.

Oh yeah, these quanities fed 3 adults and two teenage boys. I'm sure it would be great for left-overs, except there are very few left-overs in this house these days.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Good News Day

After a busy week at work (both places thereof) and spending yesterday in reception watching the same footage of the Brazilian and Australian floods, I thought we could all do with some cheering up. Because obviously, my blog is all about ME.

Today, has been pretty busy. Bit of a bummer, considering I was awake for 2 1/2 hours last night. I don't work Fridays. Technically, Fridays are my lazing about day. Which is why I was awake at 7 o'clock, attaching clamps to my eye lids and eye brows to try and keep moving (have I mentioned, I'm not a morning person?). I had to go to my doctor's surgery. Now therein lies another tale. Boy and I have been under the care of the same GP for the last 15 years. When I came back from Trinidad, he'd moved on. I'd been determinedly carrying on, not requiring medical attention since then. Come January, I realised in 3 months, my hayfever season will kick off, unleasing the horrors of gooey eyes, streaming snot and general unpleasantness. If I start taking my antihistamines before the season starts, generally my symptoms don't drive me to murder. During the course of today's visit, I met this fantastic woman doctor: lively, engaging, big sense of humour. I thought 'I'm going to have you'. So, in the next couple of weeks I will be going for drug meeting with her....umm...that sounds wrong. Prescription drug meeting. You know what I mean. Stop sniggering in the back there.

So, that's my first bit of good news.

Second, I have managed to acquire a designer handbag, for not a lot of money. This is the first designer handbag I've ever owned. Mostly, my bags come from sensible shoe shops or a market stall. A trendy young thing at work had ordered it online and when she opened the box in reception she said it was a bit old lady for her. Given I am pretty much twice her age, I made her an offer for the bag. I like it. I can't show you a picture, I looked online and can't find it. You'll just have to take it on my word that it's rather nice.

Third, through work, I have managed to secure the services of a plumber. Now, you in different parts of the world, may be scratching your head going 'WTF?' Let me explain how it is here. In your part of the world, plumbers may be considered blue collared workers, poorly paid, the butt of many innuendos...over here, plumbers are rarer than unicorns. A good plumber gets paid more than a suited banker in the City. I kid you not. I've been trying to get plumber in to sort out a few jobs around the house: taps need new washers, singing pipes, leaking sinks, servicing my boiler so we don't die. Nothing major. Because the Financial Service Company also do property investment, they have on hand lists of good tradesmen. The plumber, rang me within 24 hours of me asking for the referral. He was able to organise a time that was convenient and he turned up 10 mins early. For an hour and a half, he and his son, poked, prodded and made occasional banging noises. With the result Ladies and Gentlemen, my pipes no longer sing! My boiler is safe. My radiators bled. My sink no longer leaks and he also changed my plug for it. Yes, the bill did make me blink. But you know what, I don't care. It's done.

And finally, as you know, I occasionally require the services of my dishy osteopath to coax the shoulders from my ears (mine, not his). Stress tends to lock my shoulders in place round my neck, as well as locking my spine in the middle. It requires him folding me into a pretzel until my vertebrae crack and I squeak. Or he takes my head in his hands and twists and tugs making me wonder whether he's really homicidal and is practising his snapping neck technique.

Anyway, I didn't workout today. Today, I went into my place of work and saw him. After stretching, I could still feel my back resisting in several places and I did want to have a chat with him to make sure I was doing the right kind of exercises. My shoulders and neck have been so much better since I started the exercises again, I did feel a bit silly. My dishy osteopath agreed it was good I came to see him now; he said it was better to deal with things before they got to the painful stage. He approved of the exercises I was doing and advised me not to attempt any push-ups. He said it would hurt my neck. Damn. No push-ups. I wasn't even going to, and now he's said not to, well, that's all the excuse I need. Ah well. He agreed that everything was much better than usual and I'm doing good. He also said I could do the toning every day. Awesome. It's easier to develop a daily routine and I want to embed this into my life.

So all in all. I've had a pretty good day. I even celebrated it with a nap. I think today needs a cider and my sofa just to make things perfect. Yay.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

MCW Favourite Fantasy Movie 13th Warrior

This is probably the most underrated movie ever. I believe (I haven't checked out the font of all knowledge that is Wiki), that it was due to be released the same time as Gladiator came out. Rather than go head to head, it was decided to go on limited release and straight-to-video. Usually reserved for truly appalling cinema. That, was a mistake.

This movie is based on the fabulous Michael Creighton's book The Eaters of the Dead, a re-working of the saga of Beowulf. The screenplay is fantastic, the acting superb. I bought it on vhs and then on dvd. I have seen it so many times and it never fails to delight and inspire. The attention to detail in presenting this story makes this a believable and engrossing tale.

It is truly fantastic. Enjoy my lovelies.

Happy MCW!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Week 2

So, how's it going with your resolutions people?

Personally, I'm finding more difficult to make decisions, not less. I find this somewhat frustrating. Mind you, deciding not to do the laundry or the dishes, is not taking any time at all. Nor is, ignoring the pile of personal admin stuff. Yes, I still think it's ridiculous that admin makes up both of my part-time jobs and my basket of paperwork overfloweth.

However, I have completed one week of exercising. Today, I stepped up the pace a bit. I'm doing a Davina McColl workout. Damned near killed myself too. But I finished it. Okay, so I marched on the spot during the interval training, but I did all of the toning stuff with weights. I have to say the happy hormones are fantastic.

This morning, I achieved a long-term goal. Something I have always wanted to do and have never done. Ladies and Gentlemen, today I touched my toes. Yes, you read right. I bent over with straight knees and touched my toes. How cool is that? Okay, so it's marginally less exciting that Victoria Beckham's pregnancy, I will give you that. But as my gran had been known to say 'small things amuse small minds'.

Your turn, how's it going? Are you flagging yet, or still enjoying the new experience? C'mon, fess up.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Confession Time

I can't be arsed to do a proper blog post this morning. I've got to do a workout, go to acupuncture and then stare at my navel all weekend. But because I'm lazy and curious (not quite sure how these two character traits of mine manage to manifest themselves so well, given they pretty much cancel themselves out), I am going to share my one and only New Year's resolution.

I have decided that this year I am going to Do, more than I Think.

For I have come to the realisation that I suffer from analysis paralysis. I can spend the whole day thinking about what I want to do that day, and do nothing. Therefore, following the advice that it's better to change ONE thing, rather than to change lots of things and get nowhere. This is the thing I'm going to change.

I'm Doing people.

Which brings me to you, Ladies and Gentlemen. What is your New Years resolution? Come along. Share it with us. How's it going? Tell us all about it and we'll provide a bit of cheerleading when the couch comes a-calling.

Aparently, it takes 30 days to form a habit (I read somewhere, I can't remember exactly). So, if we get to 6 weeks, I reckon we'll be doing really, really well. We can have a Resolutions party, with cake and alcohol to celebrate our strong wills.

Excuse me, I'm just off to do my workout.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Shallow as a Saucer

Forgive me, I'm still slightly over-excited. Let me set the scene: I'd finished thinking about what I wanted to do today, told Boy we were going shopping. The Ministry of Sound CD playing on full blast. It'd been awhile since I'd taken my pride and joy out for a blast. We needed to go get something edible in the house. As we are driving along, an Astin Martin Vanquish pulled out in front of me.

Tell me, do I lick the man or the car?

Now ladies and gentlemen, forgive me if I'm wrong...but that is just a totally awesome car on screen, in real is just stunning. Both Boy and I were drooling and squealing.

We turned up the sounds loud. I took my pride and joy for a quick blast up the dual carriage way. By blast, I do mean blast. I was the asshole in the BMW doing a ton in the outside lane. My pride and joy, she is only a baby Beemer, but she is very quick and light on her heels. She flies. That feeling is

Staples, the stationery emporium parted me with cash for a new printer and a pair of scissors (I know totally random).

Turn it up loud!
This track is blasting and I'm once again in the outside lane bombing down the A47 at *cough* miles per hour. I glance in my rear-view mirror and see this glide up behind me.

Oops. I think I came in my pants
Do bear in mind that I was not exactly standing still. I saw a gap and pulled into the slow lane. He just cruised on past, flashed his hazards and disappeared off into the horizon. I just knew the car was gorgeous, Boy knew it was Noble m400. Awesome. Just awesome.

If this is the start of things to come in 2011. Bring it on baby.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Plagiarism, or Imitation is the Sincerest form of Flattery

Our recent birthday gal Savannah, has been entertaining me with Someecards. I have to say, they have the right amount of bite and sarcasm. In any case, these manage to put their finger on how I feel at the moment.

Funnily enough, none of last year's resolutions happened. Which leads on nicely to this one:
So I heartily agree with this one:

Which will more likely that not, lead to this one:
Oh dear.