Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Day 17

Let them eat cake. If there was any left. This is the saddest lemon drizzle cake in all the land. Last year's malteaser cake was much better. But then again, last year's cake was a great deal more fraught. This cake! This one layer piddly cake, is a cake of quiet and serenity. But it could have had more than one layer, at least.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Day 16

Worshipping at the altar of Joss Whedon at the moment - an epic Buffy rewatch, plus a little Astonishing X-men. Not quite enough Logan yet, but I see seeds of greatness blooming. I really enjoy reading graphic novels on my tablet. It's one of the rare types of reading I actually prefer to do, not in paper format. Possibly because I can interact more with the art?

PS Still hate Jean Grey.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Day 15

A photo taken of me ages ago, that I quite like. I remember on this day I was eaten up with weird, unspecific anxiety. The photo doesn't seem to reflect that. Perhaps I have a better poker face than I think! Perhaps I'm just distracted. But I like the idea that that is what people see when they look at me. Candid photos are the best.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

Day 13

I've started Weightwatchers again. I was so narked with myself last time I gave up on it. It felt like an enormous waste of money when I wasn't committing. This time I've committed, but it hasn't stopped me gaining 5.5 pounds. Iconically, that has cost me £5.00 in membership fees. So it's expensive gaining weight.

I worked out that if I keep going to WW for nine months, that would both take me to my birthday, and cost me about £150. Nothing like seeing it in currency to leave a mark.

That, plus the fact that I've joined the swimming pool for the princely sum of £19 a month (that's about £1.70 a throw, for those playing at home), should get me moving.

Skinflint? Me?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Day 12

When life gives you browning bananas and a solitary Sunday night - make banana bread.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Day 11

Decided to use one of the packaged curries that Catherine sent from Thailand. Possibly I should have ignored the instructions to add more chillie? It was lovely, but a sinus-clearer.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Day 10

Dinner tonight at the lovely Blue Orchid in Aspley Guise. Mmm, duck in tamarind. It's a quaint building, and I found this picture online, dating from the early 20th Century.

That teeny little road at right angles to the building was called the Bedford Road. You only have to travel it to know how hilarious that is.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Day 9

Another day, another delivery. Nearly four years of daily jabs, with a few missed along the way. Wonder how many that is?

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Partner in crime (some caveats apply)

Me: But I don't really like the library.*

Him: That's because you're on the run from them.

Me: I'll be Clyde, you can be Bonnie.

Him: I can't get involved - I'm a librarian!

Me: Will you at least visit me in jail?

Him: As long as it's in London.

* A library once tried to hand me over to a credit collection company for a £5 fine. I objected, strenuously.

Day 8

We're having a lot of weather.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Day 7

When winter started, I had one pair of boots. Now look! I may get through the whole winter without getting wet feet once. And I have so many, none of them will wear out by being worn to a nub every day. And these are on nice stubby heels so I won't fall flat on my face.

There is something amazing about wearing boots. I feel brilliant when I do, as if my brain expanded. Maybe it's the thinner air up here.

Number crunching

Last year I randomly decided to improve my maths skills, and so I turned to Khan Academy to show me the error of my problem solving ways. It didn't go too badly, once if figured out how to use the scribble space.

I'm still doing it, but you can now plough through the skills in grade order, so I am currently ploughing through 4th Grade maths. Apparently I have 97 skills that need improvement. I feel substandard.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Day 5

This is all I've done today. Well this, and watched 'The Thirteenth Tale', with Olivia Colman and Vanessa Redgrave. Broke my own rule and haven't read that. But now I want to! Frantically justifying...

A Long Walk to Freedom

A version of this is posted to Just Finished Watching.

Really well done, neatly constructed and epic account of Nelson Mandela's life, the struggle and South Africa's evolution. That said, I found myself not spectacularly moved. I don't know if this is because I know the story really well, and so I knew exactly how it would unfold as a movie. I found it really interesting, and Idris Elba and Naomie Harris were fantastic as Nelson and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, but it didn't ping my sentiment bone, like Invictus. Worth watching though.

To my Saffa shame, I haven't read the book. I will now, though!

Trailers: 'Wolf of Wall Street', which seems kind of random but might be amusing. And something dire-looking called 'The Monument Squad', but as Jones rightly pointed out, if we're going to get enough out of our cinema cards, we'll need to become less discerning.

Day 4

We went to see the Shunga Exhibition at the British Museum today. Shunga has always fascinated me - they're erotic Japanese images. Beautifully drawn, and extremely detailed. The genitalia are always exaggerated, probably because Shunga were used for education, and included in young women's trousseaus. They're extremely gentle and sweet - facial expressions are tender; little moments of ecstasy are juxtaposed with moments of domesticity; there is a great deal of affection between the lovers. They're also very funny, as this image demonstrates. It's to our detriment that the West is a bit prudish about Shunga. Our relationship with sex, and our relationships with each other, could possibly be a bit healthier if we were a bit more lackadaisical about it.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Day 3

New Year's Eve was so dire, I had to hang myself*.

* No Lizzes were hurt in the making of this photo.

East Coker (an extract)

"O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,
The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant,
The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters,
The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers,
Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees,
Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark."

T.S. Eliot

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Day 2

Tea-stained eggs! I had seen them online unpeeled, and shells were all marbled as well. But of course, our eggs are brown, so they're only marbled on the inside. Am rather excited...

I'm all about the attainable goals

I hate myself a little bit for even writing these down, but it achieves Attainable Goal Number 2 on the list, so what the hell, sez I.

Attainable goal 1:

Read 100 new books.

Attainable goal 2:

Actually update my effing blog This includes both taking a photo a day and posting it, and scratching in my diary without thinking about it too much.

Attainable goal 3:

Maintain and complete my to do lists, daily and weekly.

Attainable goal 4:

After September, to never, ever, ever, ever have to go to Weightwatchers ever again.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Day 1

Greta the Goose gets curried. Greta was the enormous goose we bought for Christmas lunch, and she has served us well as roast goose, goose sandwiches and now curry.

Goose is not as complicated as everyone says it is, and even more delicious than everyone says it is.

Goodbye, Greta. You were delicious.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Loss and losing

I thought it would be sharp and sudden,
the abrupt silence of a song broken by a

Instead it was the gentle eddyingswirl of leaves on
the still pond.
We watched it that day - remember?
I watched that day.

You looked up and I looked down amber foliage,
sinking into grey, cool, water.

And the traffic droned behind us.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (9 July)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

'Oh. So you would get yourself killed and perhaps your teammates as well because of a few little ants?'

p.61, Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Revenge wears Prada

For a book about revenge and skulduggery, there is surprisingly little revenge and skulduggery. I don't think it was vastly necessary to write this book. I'm sending out a message to the ether that it really doesn't need to be made into a poor sequel with a knockoff Meryl Streep either.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (2 July)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

'In order to create productive alignment in your life, you could quite reasonably start with a clarification from the top down. Decide why you're on the planet.'

p.202, Getting Things Done by David Allen

Monday, July 01, 2013

Soundtrack for Monday

1) Jai Ho - From the Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack
2) At Last - Etta James
3) Bittersweet Symphone - Vitamin String Quartet
4) Cat's in the Cradle - Harry Chapin
5) What difference does it make? - The Smiths
6) Mansard Roof - Vampire Weekend
7) The Circus is Leaving Town - Belle and Sebastian
8) City of the Dead - The Clash
9) Only Hope - Mandy Moore
10) Violet Hill - Coldplay

Thursday, May 09, 2013

The dream in the next body

From the end of the bed, I pull
the sheets back into place.

An old man paints a large sun striped
by clouds of seven blues.
Across the yellow centre each
blue is precisely itself and yet,
at the point it meets another,
the eye cannot detect a change.
The air shifts, he says,
and the colours.

When you touched me in a dream,
your skin an hour ago did not end
where it joined mine. My body continued
the movement of yours. Something flowed
between us like birds in a flock.

In a solitude larger than our two bodies
the hardening light parted us again

But under the covering the impress
of our bodies is a single, warm hollow.

Gabeba Baderoon

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Debt free by 35

I've found it quite hard to face up to what I owe. Mostly, it's because I'm annoyed that I owe anything at all. But that's done. I am where I am, and am just going to have to deal. I'm really chuffed, though, that I can look at my spreadsheets and money diary (God help me, I have a money diary) and know that I will be DEBT FREE BY 35.

And it's a long way from 35 to 65, or whatever the hell the government decides pensionable age will be in the future.

I really wish there was a magical bullet, that would get me to zero in a day. And I wish I didn't feel such shame at being where I am. But there we go. My Protestant work ethic comes with a side order of Protestant shame.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

In the wee, small hours of the morning

Sleep has been in short supply this week, for no reason I can discern. I've always been kind of a poor sleeper, but this has largely been solved over the last few years by medication and general improvement in mood.

At my worst, I was getting about an hour or two of tortured sleep a night. Lying awake, worrying about the world ending, or lack of money, or if I was a failure as a human being, or if I had sent the newspaper to press without any advertising, or - a personal favourite - replaying all the conversations I had had that day and cataloguing the ways in which I had made a fool of myself.

The world is a crummy, crummy place on lack of sleep. Being in your 20s is bad enough without adding the distorted prism of drama that we all seem to embody at that age, together with just enough shut eye to be upright, but not enough to actually have conversations.

Insomnia means not having quite as thick a skin as you would normally. It means taking things a little more personally than you ought to. It means not grasping easy concepts, and feeling like an idiot.

And the worst, absolute worst, is that insomnia is the loneliest feeling in the world. I don't get lonely, as a rule. It's one of the core tenets of Liz, which is not always a good thing, but that's a post for a different day, perhaps. But being awake when the world is asleep, and not having a reason for being awake, is just brutally alone-making.

So I suppose I should be grateful that this bout of wakefulness is a blip, and probably has more to do with too much tv than anything dire. That my mind is more clear, and less fraught and anxious. That I'm more able to take the anxious thoughts I do have and place them into context, and not be swept away by them. And that I can put out a hand in the dark and touch a sleepy cat, or lie still and be soothed by someone else's breathing, and feel a little better.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Irritable sigh

One day, I will grow out of taking things so personally. I need to do this fast, or the managing people part of the job will go south, and quickly.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

A note from the archive

Monday, April 10, 2006

You know what they say about an untidy desk...

To give you some insight into my untidy mind, here are the full and engrossing contents of my desk at work (my desk at home is a whole other story, involving several dog toys, five cent pieces and some pens that met with a tragic accident):

A computer. Apple Mac. Called The Light. A misnomer as it mostly drives me crazy by requiring frequent restarting, which takes on average 10 minutes. Also has a tendency to randomly shut down Quark, mostly right before we go to print. The resultant swearing is loud and creative.

A keyboard. Attached to Apple Mac. Is covered in tea stains and ooh, is that a crumb? Huh, when last did I have Fritos?

A scanner. You'd think a national newspaper would have moved beyond a 5-year-old flatbed scanner. You'd think wrong.

Two in trays. Top one contains new community photographs, thoughtfully sent in by Catholics around the country to torture me with their graininess and penchant for snapping black people, wearing white vestments, against a black background. Also blank cds for when I get round to backing up last year's issues. Like that's going to happen. Bottom tray contains a mass of application forms, pictures for the now defunct children's page, copies of threatening letters to writer of now defunct children's page, competition entries I forgot about (oops) and a board game I was supposed to review but hope the editor has forgotten about. Also an outdate postcode book which I misplaced and replace with the outdated postcode book from admin (I should give that back to them sometime). Scraps of interviews I did last year sometime. Cartoons for still active youth page. Deadline sheet for youth page that writer had better pay attention to. Pieace of paper on which I keep track of how often the journalist uses the words "pointed out" in a story. Scrap of paper with possible music compilation scribbled on it.

Filing cabinet filled with old issues, old community pictures and new community pictures. On top of filing cabinet - two whiteboard erasers, some whiteboard markers and a zip drive that hasn't been used since the month I started working here.

Box of blank scrap paper for making a bazillion notes I then lose. Also useful for cutting out snowflakes to the amusement of deskmate.

Ruler. Was 1m, now a little over 45cm.

Paste up sheets for this week's ads.

Copy of "leadership" magazine that editor leaves on my desk as a cruel joke.

Copy of Catholic Directory. Now out of date because the pope died and priests move around with no forwarding address.

Book containing list of tortuous community pictures. Several books with kids games that are now no longer necessary. Dictionary. Book with shortcuts and style guide.

Time magazine.

Box of extra strength disprin.

Pot of fig flavoured lip balm (it's sparkly)

Piece of paper reminding myself that the last time I backed up the newspaper was Feb 23, 2005.


Filofax stuffed with little pieces of paper.

Small scrap paper holder.

Broken mug containing an assortment of pens, highlighters and several pencils, one of which reads Jesus Loves Me, a gift from a coworker (oy).

Community pics for this week.

An entire story thoughtfully written in longhand and faxed.

Half empty tube of nivea soft.

Wow, I need to throw stuff out. I would but the box under my desk is full.

PATTOTE - Better living through packratting

The slightly less navel gazey post I was going to write

April 2013 - a quarterly review:

1) I can be a project manager. It's hard, but I can do it.

2) And even if I decide not to, the university is a great place with lots of options.

3) This year started with Leigh being here, after three years of not being here, and that contact high will last ages.

4) I have decent friends, an abundance.

5) There [is] a boy; a very strange enchant[ing] boy.

6) I have my little bit of earth, and I'm thrilled to be making it into something.

7) I will be debt free by the time I turn 35.

8) There are an astonishing number of books in the world, just waiting to be read.

9) Ditto movies.

10) I have cats. Ginger ones. Two.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

I was going to write about one thing but now I'm writing about something else

I was going to write a fairly chipper quarter year review, because 2013 hasn't treated me too shabbily so far. But then as I dragged scrap wood around my allotment, I got to thinking about carelessness, and how I get careless with people. Particularly the people I care about most.

A lot of the time it's what I say; I get flippant when I feel overwhelmed, and it probably seems like I'm minimising the other person's worry, or concern, or confidence, or even affection.

And sometimes it's because I'm so wrapped up in my own selfish world, so busy thinking about how stuff affects me, that I don't listen, or see, until it's too late, or I've caused hurt, or made someone feel like I'm judging them.

And I know we all hurt people, it's inevitable. But I worry that it all stacks up. That all this carelessness could get too run-of-the-mill.

Must be better. Better daughter, better sister, better friend.

I don't know. I should have had my iPod with me while lugging wood around. Kept the thinking to a minimum.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Between books

I'm in that horrible between book stage where nothing I start is quite hitting the spot, so I temporarily shelve them rather than not give them the time they deserve. I realise I haven't reviewed anything in MONTHS, and let's face it. If I don't review books and movies, there's fuck all left to write about, so I might start that up again.

And I'm about 14 books behind if I want to hit the magical 100 books per year target.

Sod it, maybe I'll just reread all the Nora Roberts in my collection: at least that doesn't require concentration.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Crossword glee

Today's crossword had one of my favourite words as an answer: gazump.

Makes up for the fact that I can't for the life of me figure out 'From Douglas'.