Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Thursday February 3rd – Happy New Year!

Thursday February 3rd – Happy New Year!
This is horribly tricky. When I am given free reign with a pen and paper to write a list of things I want, need, must or even might do, it can all get a bit messy.
It sort of reminds me of when children play super heroes. The powers get more and more extreme and the actual rescuing and action is replaced with a string of, ‘no stops’.
‘No! Stop! Pretend you hadn’t seen that because I was too fast for you to even look at!’
‘No! Stop! You can’t touch him remember he’s made of anti-ice!’
‘No! Stop! I’d already decided to use my laser blaster and so you can’t cross there!’
It’s probably great fun if you are an invisible fire-breathing super being with no limits. In fact, it’s probably essential. However, as much as I hate to admit it, I’ve probably played far too much in my 35 cape swishing years and zapping the baddies isn’t exactly what I should be doing right now.
The thing is that making a list of resolutions should ultimately be about getting things done, not stopping, starting, changing the rules and forgetting that you can’t actually fly. That just leaves you with a lot of insane scribbles and inky fingers.
I am still not sure how general to be without being vague and wiffley or how precise to be without setting myself up to fail. Anyway, this is what I came up with:
The Standard List 
(Applicable in all weathers and costume. This is my typical ‘must try harder’ package.)
1.      Be more organised.
2.      Be on time.
3.      Get fitter.
4.      Live more (dream/worry less)
5.      Be faster (more efficient, less ditsy and step away from the procrastination parade.)

The 2011 List

(This started off as a week by week plan and fortunately I decided to move to monthly after about week 5. This is certainly ambiguous in places, but if I hadn’t have stopped I would still be dabbling in the details and likely to miss a deadline of January 2015.
The reasoning behind this list is that at certain times we feel more one way than the other.  I know that we are all different, but for me, I tend to be most productive first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I sprint better when it’s warmer and I jog better when it’s cool... well better for me. Better in this example is actually best described as less awful. Still, perhaps I am more shocking at some things in May and less frightful at others in October. That’s the theory.)

1.      February – Confess and cleanse. (A detox by any other name? Well this one is more mind than body.)

2.      March – Start running. (Both literally and figuratively, but not away from things that I actually need to face – in that I’m already a triple black belt and further practice is not required right now.)

3.      April – MOT (My car’s MOT is due on April 16th so it seems a good a time as any to remind myself to check in as well. Of course there’s that health screening I keep thinking I’ll do a bit later, that ‘life audit’ I read about months ago and haven’t found the time for and the pet insurance that’s still in my maiden name. I could have called this action ‘bits and pieces’ but in this instance MOT might stand for ‘Most Overlooked Material’. Maybe I’ll even get round to cleaning those poor make-up brushes!)

4.       May – Work, Rest and Play. (Now this has very little to do with managing the daily grind and eating masses of Mars bars. There is a part of me that thinks by May I should really be able to manage my time better. I mean I will have been back at work for over 4 months! Still, this is really a prompt for me to ensure that I am getting what I need and not just going through the motions. I have a few playful ideas floating around and May might just be the month to nab myself a crazy dream-catcher and pluck one or two of them out of the clouds.)

5.      June – Enjoy! (This should be on every list and I will be sure to include it  in as many as possible. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before – ‘Things to do Today’ – 1. Enjoy! Clearly it’s perfect as it is, but the reason for assigning this specifically to June is that it looks like there will be a lot going on. On the work front, June is the chosen month for the big changes to ‘go live’. I am just thinking about this now and my breathing has immediately become shorter and faster. It’s that horrible dizzy feeling of dread. Worrying about it incessantly doesn’t help to prepare you for tomorrow, it just strips away the joy you have today. That’s one of the reasons for ‘enjoy’.  Even if the worst does waltz in, I’ll have been sure to enjoy every dance up until that one and then continue to keep moving my feet as well as I can. More obviously, ‘enjoy’ is for the other events of June - I have 10 days of blissful holiday booked, 7 of these will be spent in a cottage by the sea with Hoobiz, The Little Perfect One, Bat and Simona. It’s our wedding anniversary and then my birthday at the end of the month.)

6.      July –Make The Most of It! (Well it’s that time to head into the second half of the year and whilst the days are slowly fading they are a lot longer than they are at almost any other time of the year. I’m good at a bit of half-way wobbles, so I need to remember that the year is actually half-full. Besides, even if I’m not at the mid-way marker, there’s still time if I ‘Make The Most of It’. A perfect time to remind myself to grab hold of it and squeeze out every last drop of golden shine. Get up, get out, get doing and get happy!)

7.      August – Tell The Story. (Yes, that would be the tale of the Seven Bitches. It started at the end of August 2002, so it’s only fitting that August should be the month to get it all out in the open.)

8.      September – Bring in the Crops! (Great things may have grown and if so they will need to be harvested. The truth is that I am not a consolidator by nature, in fact, I am horrible at it. Bundling loose ends up together just about finishes me off! I love starting something, but completing it is a very different skill. It’s a bit like saying goodbye somehow and I hate it when it’s time to leave. Of course if there isn’t a bumper yield, I’ll still need to till the fields and get my hands dirty finishing the job.)

9.      October – Don’t be a Pumpkin! (Days are becoming a lot less fashionable as we drift into the winter months, but that’s not an excuse to slow down and hide under a big jumper! You know you feel better when you make an effort. So, do it!)

10.   November – Remember! Remember! (This is very much a personal prompt rather than a reference to Guy Fawkes and his gun powder. Remember what you need to do and most importantly remember to do it! That’s what I’m hoping this will tell me...well, if I need it! No more deciding to make cards on Christmas Eve and posting them in the middle of January for me! I will be organised for New Year and the swarm of birthdays that follow it. I will have considered things like replies, baby sitters and booking holiday. I will know that the car insurance is due, the boiler needs a service and have non-summer clothes to wear. Oh and shoes! Yes, unless we have some freaky weather I’ll need to remember that it’s time to pack away the sandals. I do love having my big feet out, but there is a time and a place. Bring out the party shoes!)

11.  December – Stay Calm and Take it as it Comes! (The festive season can sometimes rush at me like a sparring blur of panic and regret. I suspect it’s like that for a lot of people. It’s that wicked old harlot – expectation! She just loves to throw her sweaty thigh boots into the ring. Well, that’s exactly the madam I want to avoid this year. To be honest, the madam I really want to cross of the Christmas guest list is the one I become when I just spin around worrying about what I haven’t done. I think it will be a lot merrier for all!)

12.  January – Review. ( Ha! Ha! I think that’s just my way of saying that I can’t actually think that far ahead.)
The Wish List
This is the one I’m just not brave enough to share.
Well, you know what they say about wishes... best not say a word.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Wednesday February 2nd – New New Year’s Eve.

It’s not a big celebration, but I am here with 3 of my favourite things and I am happy:
1 – Glass of wine.
2 – Note Pad.
3 – Pen.
Hoobiz is also happy... well, he is when he learns that this list marathon will have absolutely no impact on him.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Tuesday February 1st – A New Beginning.

It didn’t look good – a Tuesday and the first day of February. This is the month I have often thought of as the Tuesday of our Gregorian calendar. Too far away from Christmas to be festive and too far away from summer to be anything but bleak, cold and dreary.
Well that’s how it seems here in Middle-Muddlington...
That’s when I realised it was time to stop being a village idiot and look a bit further afield!
I’m still busy spinning around, waiting for the year to start and desperate to create a list of rules that I need to adhere to for the next 12 months. Of course, I’ve been pretty grumpy about it all, as I thought I missed my chance to actually start from the beginning.
Well, this is perfect! As here comes a new one! Chinese New Year is on the 3rd of February this year and I am delighted about it.
Yes, in 2 days time we’ll be heading into the year of the Rabbit.
Hooray! There will be a list! I will make resolutions!
Thinking about it, I was born in the year of the Rabbit, so it must be destiny.

Monday January 31th 2011- Month End.

The photo doesn’t quite give it away, my Tree, but it’s there. You are really starting to wake up now, I can feel it. Things are happening.
However, in virtual world things are on pause. Why is it that everything comes to a grinding halt for the dreaded month end? I wouldn’t usually mind, except that it seems to be starting earlier and ending later.
There are now only about 3 days each month – 14th -16th inclusive, which are not affected by a horribly bloated month end!

Sunday January 30th 2011- Big Beautiful Bed.

Productivity - Nil...
Restful bliss - 6...
Big, bad lazy bed-head feel asleep at 9:30pm and didn’t emerge until 10:30am.
So wrong and yet so right.

Saturday January 29th 2011- Up and Down.

I am feeling a bit Daniel Bedingfield today. Yes, I gotta get through this!  The problem is that it's quite tricky with the wibbley - wobblies.

I had Labyrinthitis for the first time about 9 years ago and when I’m tired it likes to come back and ‘rock my world’.

It’s annoying that everything keeps moving and I’m pretty sure that it does little to improve my mood, so I’m guessing that it’s not ideal for those around me.

Still, worse things happen at sea... it’s just that I sort of feel like I’m already there.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Friday January 28th 2011 – Robots in the Skies.

Never has a Friday been less so. OK, so that’s a ridiculous lie that I can’t even continue beyond a very short sentence, but it was not joyful and bouncy like a normal Friday.
The truth is that whilst I was pretty annoyed about the idea of the whole work thing saying ta-ta to me, before I was actually ready to say goodbye, I wasn’t that upset about it.
Today that changed. Strangely, it was all over a couple of days holiday. So often it’s the niggley little things that really do the damage. You know, the one’s that get stuck in your teeth, those tiny stringy evaders that no amount of flossing can vanquish.
As my former employer was taken over by a bigger more impressive entity, it wasn’t ever going to take this enormous robot long to start asserting its clout. In fact, it’s now time for the new machine to really start flexing its giant pistons and completely crush the tinny remnants of yesterday.  Unfortunately, HR isn’t promoting the Transformers vibe. They prefer to call this one sided battle ‘Integration Communication –Phase 4’. Sounds like Decepticon doublespeak to me!
We are to attend these communications face to face, which obviously means getting in a car and going further than Hazlet. Not good. Secondly, the rumour mill has exploded and all sorts of nasty debris have been hitting my inbox. Apparently, pensions will be abolished, car allowances will be slashed, bonuses made obsolete and holiday a distant memory.
Now, I know that this nonsense. I know that even if the Big-Bad- Stink- Bot wanted to stamp out these feeble distractions, well, the law says ‘Sorry Tin-Man, that’s just not cricket’. However, knowing that it can’t actually happen doesn’t stop me worrying about it and it’s just not enough to prevent me from feeling sad and defeated.
‘Please don’t take my holiday Great Monolith. I know I’m not always a good girl, but I really need it. Pretty - pleeease?’
Pathetic! You’ll face the monster girl, but you’ll face it with courage!
Well, I am going to have to go into the office at least. The new offices, as of course the old ones are no more.
So, it has been decided that on February 15th along with my colleagues – Corporal Almost- Cuddly and Flambé Sue, I will attend one of the ‘assimilation seminars’.
I can’t help it, I’m terrified. This is partly because going to Goliath HQ will mean travelling down the M4 in rush hour. However, I suppose the biggest fear is just the threat of change...more stinking change.
What is that strange voice in my head?
‘Find sanctuary Marcella 5.’

Monday, 21 March 2011

Thursday January 27th 2011- Lunch With Evie.

Today was like blackberry and apple crumble with oodles of soft vanilla ice cream. It was more of a Sunday afternoon than a Thursday, all rather yummy, familiar and quietly comforting.
I managed to scuttle away from my desk for a delicious hour and 20 minutes to have lunch with my old friend Evie.
We met at ‘Little Bella’, which is probably one of the most enchanting of the coffee shop-cum-restaurants that are dotted throughout the county.  We are just extremely lucky that it happens to have sprung up here in Middle-Muddlington. There is something about the eclectic mix of wood, soft and metal furniture which immediately draws you in. The white tongue and groove panelling, driftwood shelving and baskets of herbs instantly make me feel both at home and yet somehow transported to a sunny table by the sea.
The decor works; it’s simple and appealing, just like the food. That’s the point I suppose; when something is done really well, it doesn’t need to be complicated. The coleslaw is creamy, crunchy and sensational. The breads are freshly baked.  The rocket, pear, gorgonzola and walnut salad is scrumptious and what they can do with butternut squash, lemon oil and a few chickpeas almost brings me to my knees.
Oh, yes and they serve great coffee.
I start with an enormous bucket of the gorgeous brown liquid. Black of course, I don’t do milk in coffee. Perhaps a dash of Moo juice isn’t a crime, but in my opinion it would be a crying shame.
Evie opts for a decaffeinated tea and I can’t help but give her the raised eyebrow.
‘Not through choice’, she explains, ‘Doctor’s advice, on account of me having palpitations. It was either this, or he was threatening me with Beta-blockers.’
When she was about 20, Evie had an operation to repair a massive hole in her enlarged heart. I remember it as being a great success. Still, when you don’t have to live with something, you almost forget that it doesn’t just go away.
Evie just has that wonderfully stoic sort of nature, she’s as soft as butter in the midday sun, but she’s not a whinger.
She is also annoyingly beautiful, only it’s not in the slightest bit irritating, as it doesn’t even seem to occur to Evie that her perfect skin and delicate features might be anything extraordinary. She just doesn’t really do vanity and it’s incredibly refreshing. For my eighteenth birthday I had a fancy dress party and whilst other teenage girls relished the opportunity to vamp it up, Evie came as Andre Agassi. Well, I suppose if you can still look fantastic with a cap and eye-liner stubble, then why not?
We lost touch for several years, Evie and I. This was mostly my fault.  We didn’t fall out, but I am a bit rubbish at getting back to people and when the Seven Bitches kicked in, well, I was barely in contact with myself.
Fortunately we bumped into each other in one of the enormous supermarkets in Pilculton a couple of years ago and although I’m almost embarrassed to admit it – we ‘reconnected through facebook.’
There is something about a really good friend that if they knew you well once, even after years of change they can still ‘get you’. It’s complicated and I haven’t got the time to elaborate on it now, but Evie was probably my last ‘best friend’ or certainly best girl friend. Today reminds me of that. The conversation is easy, honest and for the most part hilariously daft. It’s a fact that only the best people can really talk great bollocks!
Sadly, it’s not all nonsense. A couple of months ago, quite unexpectedly, Evie lost her Mum and it’s clearly been tough. It’s not off limits, but it’s not something Evie wants to dwell on, so we don’t.
Evie is trying to ask me about work and she seems fascinated with what it is that I actually do. Between mouthfuls of roasted peppers, olives and marinated mozzarella, I am attempting to explain what an average day might entail.
First we establish what it isn’t:
It’s not sales, it’s not technical, it’s not really planning, it’s certainly not marketing and it’s definitely not financial. The only complication is that like most things, it does have a little of some of these aspects within it, just not enough to be one of them.
It’s at times like this that I look back to the good old days, when I could so easily answer this question.
‘What do you do?
‘I’m an Antiques Dealer.’
Or for a bit of sport, I’d just respond with the one word, ‘Dealer’. Then I’d enjoy a few seconds of pinched looks and twitching smiles, before coming clean.
Fun times, but right now, the best I can come up with is something like this:
‘I sort of look after sites that do X, Y and Z and make sure that they follow A, B and C along the way.’
It’s taken me years to get to this explanation. When the Shoddy Shed Services Ltd closed its rusty old doors for good, I was contacted by a very helpful recruitment agency. They had seen my CV on Monster and wanted see if I was suitable for a particular job, but half an hour into our phone interview the recruitment consultant gave up.
‘Look,’ she said, ’I’m still really not clear on what it is that you actually do, but I am going to put you forward for the job anyway.’
I felt utterly defeated in that moment. ‘Excellent communication skills’ were not in evidence that evening. Anyway, I was offered the job, but I turned it down for the one I’m doing now. With hindsight looming all around me I do hope it wasn’t the wrong decision...
I tell Evie that whatever it is that I busy myself with on Monday to Friday it’s not necessarily looking that secure, but what will be, will be.
After all it’s not really the same job that I left when I went on maternity leave. In fact, it’s an entirely different company, as the original one was sold when I was busy learning how to mash bananas. I have new accounts, as some of my old ones don’t even exist anymore. I also have a new manager, who I have never met and who lives even further away than my previous one.
I look at Evie and she seems to have a slightly glazed expression. I find this to be a standard reaction to anyone who’s listening to me talk about work for any length of time.
‘It’s really not a boring job,’ I say weakly.
‘I just can’t imagine it,’ Evie says laughing, ‘I can’t see you doing something that sounds so...well, sensible, it just doesn’t seem to fit.’
I’m laughing, sadly because it’s true and I really shouldn’t need someone else to point it out to me.
Still, perhaps that is exactly what good friends are for.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Wednesday January 26th 2011 - The Writing’s on the Wall...

Oh dear! It seems that I have been caught out. The thing is, Tree, that today is actually yesterday or at least the events shown here, happened there, as it were.
The problem is that I couldn’t allow another Tuesday to do its stinking best to ruin my week. That’s how I ended up playing let’s pretend until Wednesday and now I’m ready to talk about it.
The only way I could face going back to work fulltime (or more specifically back to this particular job) was to tell myself that it was only temporary. Somehow, I reasoned, given 12 or maybe even 18 months I’d be ready to make that graceful leap into the great chair that I really do want to swivel in.
I’m not sure why the mad cogs in my head settled upon a year or a year and half to ‘get there’. I suppose 5 years, although more realistic, is just too long a sentence to contemplate. It’s got a distinctly long-term air about it. Half a decade! It’s just not that temporary. I bargained on less than 2 years, not through mapping a regimented set of goals, but a quick finger in the air for what seemed about right. Also, more importantly, for what sounded bearable.
Well, that was the plan...
Today, or yesterday for the purists, that notion was rather annoyingly swatted away by an altogether more solid strategy; someone else’s plan. Honestly the cheek of it!
It was revealed, via a conference call presentation that the new systems changes that we’ve been told will make life so much simpler, could indeed leave us with a lot more free time.
Suddenly, waking up and moaning to Hoobiz that, ‘I wish I didn’t have to go to work today’, seemed just about the worst thing that I could have said.
It’s trite but true, ‘be careful what you wish for, because...’
Of course I didn’t mean, ‘Oh I can’t be bothered this morning. You know what? I hope I lose my job.’ No, I was looking for an impromptu holiday or a day off for good behaviour.
In fairness, it wasn’t explicitly discussed. I mean, there wasn’t a slide titled ‘On yer bike’, or a string of bullet points, ‘Goodbye!’, ‘Farewell!’, ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ and ‘Hop it!’. It wasn’t even raised as an audible question, but the silence was buzzing with it.
Let’s face it - even if you’re on a mystery tour, when you start to notice that you’re following all signs for Sheffield, it isn’t tricky to work out that you are not headed for the Moon.
Well my arbitrary 12-18 months is now looking like a more concrete 6 or 7, maybe even eight at the outside.
It’s an outrage! I can’t tell you how cross I am. I was supposed to be the Dumper, not the Dumpee!
Oh well! Get it together girl! Come on, you’ll just have to be completely focused. It’s time to squeeze that ‘really should have been a five year plan’ into a concentrated few months. That’s the spirit! This might just be the kick up the bum you’ve been looking for. Yes, in the long run this could turn out to be a blessing.
Well those were the words in my head. Unfortunately, my actions were out loud.
After the call, I guzzled 4 pieces of toast, 2 apples and 3 bowls of cereal. I’m really not sure how this was supposed to help, as I now felt both fat and redundant.
Perhaps I thought, ‘Yeah! That’ll show them! As if I could be replaced by a machine! Come on! See me devour stuff! I am the ultimate combine harvester.’
Anyway, it’s not something I’ll be adding to my CV – Very piggy when stressed.

Tuesday January 25rd 2011 – I’m not letting you win anymore!

I’m not going to give you the satisfaction today, Tuesday. I am simply not going to allow your Tuesdayness to get anywhere near me.
There were a few minor hiccups...I broke a glass jug, trod in cat sick and head-butted the sink when I was cleaning my teeth.
Yet these are the sorts of things that can happen on any day of the week. Don’t think that you are anything special!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Monday January 24rd 2011 – Starting to sound a lot like Eeyore.

Oh Monday you’re a funny old thing. I just about get used to you and then you start giving in to that fusty old cousin of yours...Tuesday. Honestly, I’m never in the mood for that ridiculous frump.
Seriously, I really must get some sleep or it’ll be Sunday again and I’ll be looking like the Day after tomorrow.
I wonder if tues is derived from the Greek for minging.

Sunday January 23rd 2011 – The Big Catch up...Again.

Well, I haven’t managed it and I even missed another deadline for tomorrow. Well, obviously I haven’t missed it yet, but I’m going to.
Still, I am going to catch up. I keep saying it, but I am going to do it.
New target is to be up to date on my Blog by February.
Go on! You can do it! Trrr-ot on!

Saturday January 22nd 2011 – Someone Knows!

Stolen bicycle. No brakes. Rough justice.

Friday January 21st 2011 – Better Still Croaky.

Feel slightly less yucky today, but I sound much worse.
I’m having lots of fun doing Wookie impressions. I’m not sure why, but as a result of my cold I am pretty convincing. I had no idea that tapping into my inner Chewy could be so entertaining.
Oh well, I suppose working from home does have its upside!

Thursday January 20th 2011 – Ill.

Yuck! I have woken up this morning feeling yuck.
Sore throat, throbbing head, slightly shaky and very stuffy. Yes, I have a cold.
There is only one thing that makes me more cross than being ill and that’s people who don’t ever have colds, because they always have the flu. I’m sorry, but it makes me furious.
Bridget has the flu at least five times a year, it’s really quite extraordinary!
The thing is that you can get annoying snivelly colds, streaming colds, steaming colds, colds that send you back to bed and colds that you hardly even notice. However, good, bad or ugly they are still colds and not flu.
You will know it if you get a kiss from Mr Flu, he will properly sweep you off your feet.
I had the flu once. I got into bed on Thursday afternoon and I don’t remember anything after that until the following Tuesday lunchtime.

Wednesday January 19th 2011 – What’s Eating Sonja?

Wow! Today I got out in the fresh air and it took less than a minute for me to realise that we are not really meant to be indoor creatures. Well, at least not exclusively.
This shouldn’t really have been such a startling revelation, but as I find myself sliding deeper and deeper into work mode, even my Tree looks a bit fuzzy some mornings.
Help me! Please don’t let me be assimilated by the Toad-People!
It was such a gorgeous morning and despite concerns that my ‘productivity schedule’ would be dangerously compromised by this indulgence, I walked The Little Perfect One up to Doreen’s. It’s about a 40 minute round trip, through winding walled paths, across the narrow old streets in the heart of the village and then finally weaving around the back of the allotments.
On my way back I passed Sonja’s house and I couldn’t help feeling both a touch of sadness and a twinge of anger. She’s just not the friend she used to be and I really don’t know why.
It’s strange, as I didn’t even like her at first. I thought she was a meddlesome nuisance in ridiculous heels. However, it turned out that she is rather batty and terribly kind. Sonja is also that wonderful sort of funny; she is hilarious when she intends to be and just hysterical when she doesn’t.
She is a good laugh, but she can also be a right pain and I think when you make allowances for people and they still end up being odd, well,  it’s all a bit worse.
We’ve spent over two years now trying to organise dinner and every time she has cancelled at the last minute. Of course there is always a reason for it. Once it was a stomach bug, another time there was a poorly cat, then it was a stranded daughter, a plumbing issue, a broken gate, a missing key, a grumpy husband and most recently ‘women’s problems.’ Didn’t that phrase die out with the Victorians? No, wait, that was female hysteria... but it certainly hasn’t been used for about 50 years, surely?
I know that people change, people move on and people have all sorts of crap in their lives that sometimes makes it difficult for them to even notice anyone else.
What I don’t understand is why she keeps trying to make a date. I mean, if you don’t have time or you simply don’t want to, then don’t.
I remember as I was leaving university there was a frantic rush to swap addresses with everyone you’d ever...well, been at university with. I extended pad and pen to a girl I was actually quite friendly with.
‘What’s the point?’, she said smiling, ‘you won’t write and I’m pretty sure that I won’t’
It felt like someone had very publically thrown a large grapefruit at me. I shuffled away awkwardly, feeling slightly winded and red.  It was a little unpleasant, but it didn’t last and actually she was right.
Sonja wouldn’t ever say anything like that. She’s blunt (or perhaps clumsy), but oddly not very direct. I’ve tried to ask her if everything is OK, but if it isn’t, she’s just not sharing.
This isn’t a problem that’s weighing on me or causing me any great distress, but it’s an occasional niggle. I go to that stupid place sometimes where I am running through everything I’ve said or done and trying to unravel the great mystery of ‘what did I do wrong?’
It’s a waste of time that I don’t have to squander and I shouldn’t do it. The problem is that sometimes re-playing yesterday is dangerously addictive.  It was a powerful weapon of the Seven Bitches, the screaming Groundhog Day grenade.
Even now I’m doing it, ‘perhaps she’s heard the rumour behind the Seven Bitches. Perhaps that’s why she’s being funny?’
I know it’s nonsense, but it’s that sort of lingering nonsense that clings to your upholstery. Just as you’ve sat down to watch a great film it’s there, getting up your nose.
I hate not knowing something, that’s the major irritation. Listen Sonja, drop the pretence and if you really can’t be bothered, just say so! I will be perfectly fine about it. In fact, it would be so much better.
Oh, who am I kidding? I would be offended either way. Unfortunately it’s just who I am. I have the memory of an elephant and the skin of a butterfly.
Of course I’ve tried to toughen up over the years, but I’ve never really cracked it. I think like most people I’ve just managed to get a bit better at hiding my feelings...but not much.
Whatever you say about Sonja, her timing is impeccable. She has just sent me a text – ‘How’s u? REALLY must catch up soon. Xx’
Mwah! Mwah!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Tuesday January 18th 2011 – Not Another Tuesday!

What can I say dear Tree? I’m lacking, just seriously lacking that’s all. I’m lacking so much I can’t quite describe exactly what it is that I lack. I’m la...
Odd really, as it was such a beautiful day. The Little Perfect One certainly grabbed hold of it and gave it a great big lip-smacking kiss. He didn’t even cry this afternoon, when I picked him up from the childminder’s. No, when I walked through the door, The Little Perfect One sped towards me with a huge dribbling smile. I was only a blink away from blubbing like an Oscar winner, but I just about managed to hold it together.
Doreen said that he slept for nearly 3 hours today, which is about 3 times longer than he normally sleeps. Perhaps that’s my missing ingredient. A generous dollop of sleep would certainly help the mix right now. Yes, I must get some sleep now if Wednesday is to have any chance of rising into a decent muffin. Good-bye Snoozy Tuesday!

Monday January 17th 2011 – Waiting for Spring? Just get on with it.

Today was pretty productive, but not as successful as I would have liked. Sometimes I wonder, Tree, if like you I am in a state of semi-hibernation, just snoozing and waiting for the Spring. The thing is I really need to spring into action or by the time Spring actually boings back around...well, I’ll be even further behind.
The trick is being able to keep a competitive distance, well, that is if you want to have any chance of winning the race. I used to swim for the county as a child and I often remember what my swimming coach use to say, ‘It’s easier to go faster when you have someone out in front of you.’
When we were training and trying to improve on our race times, he would always rotate the lead swimmer. This was so that everyone got a chance to ‘chase’.
The thing is, that if you pushed yourself hard enough you could actually catch the girl in front of you. It was possible, but only just. I managed it once and was dizzy with elation as I walked back jelly-legged to the changing-rooms. My coach was pleased, but what impressed him more was the time that I beat my personal best when I was the lead swimmer. So perhaps it’s best just to get on with it and if you’re out in front... well, just stay there!

Sunday January 16th 2011– Catch-up Fell Over.

So today was to be the next big milestone. Yes, today was to be the one in which I finally caught up with my blog.
Unfortunately, despite much clicking and many a rousing Dandini-like thigh slaps willing me on to a gallop, I’ve failed to make the finishing post. No clear round for me this time.
The thing is, that if you keep going, for the most part you will get there. It’s just that all too often you have to make huge compromises on the scenery of your route.
From here the view is simply lovely, but I’m absolutely miles away from where I need to be.
Maybe it’s time to ditch the pantomime horse and catch the blinking bus.

Saturday January 15th 2011– Kick On!

It’s really embarrassing, but sometimes, to keep myself motivated, I find myself chanting rather equine-inspired words of encouragement. It’s not usually as bad as ‘horsey, horsey don’t you stop, just let your feet go clippety-clop.’ No, it’s more often a quick, ‘tr-ott on!’, generally followed by a brief trill and a few clicks. Or a guiding and rhythmic, ‘steady-steady-steady.’
It’s bad, I know. It’s almost as sad as growling ‘I’m a big bad bear!’ in the mirror every morning, but thankfully not quite.
What can I say? A lot of little girls love ponies.

Friday January 14th 2011– Keep Calm and Carry On.

Come on girl! Just get your head down and you can do it!

Thursday January 13th 2011– Just not enough.

I wish this gloomy drizzle would clear up, it’s starting to colour my dreams. It just makes everything so blooming cloudy and fuzzy. Not impressed.
Less dreaming and more doing would be nice, but when you're stupidly tired it seems that dreaming is all you're fit for. Productive dreams? I’m working on it.

Wednesday January 12th 2011– If you knew what I knew.

Dear Tree, today I made a discovery. Yes, in fact, I unearthed a brand new species of lie. However, it’s not a find that I can take any credit for, as I happened upon this formerly unknown creature when I was somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be.
I hate to be so cryptic, but I haven’t decided what, if anything, I am going to do about it yet. It’s a sticky one, but I’m sure most people would actually recognise it.
Have you ever been annoyed with someone but you can’t let them know or they’ll be annoyed with you? Or more precisely they will be annoyed with someone else for slipping up? Ever read an Email that wasn’t for you? Regardless of how it fell into your hands the higher part of you knows not to read it. Sometimes you don’t, but more interestingly sometimes you do...
Some years ago, when I worked for a company in Hazlet there was a swarming plague of these little whoopsies. Snippets of ‘Need to Know’ information were buzzing around the office, bounding like nits from one lowered head to another. This nasty infestation brought S.S.S. or Shoddy Shed Services Ltd, to a temporary standstill.
The unpleasant outbreak had all started with one unforgivably stupid decision. The decision to allow my bustling friend Sonja to cover HR. Rooting through all of the personnel files would have been the ultimate temptation for poor Sonja and anyone who has ever spent more than 30 seconds in her company would know this. Somehow the HR Manager, the Sales Manager and the General Manager all failed to consider this, despite the fact that they had all worked with Sonja for more than 10 years.
Sonja is marvellous in many ways. She’s warm, funny and generous. Yet, Sonja is also a great big fat gossip. Sonja’s make-up is always immaculately plastered all over her face, but there is not even the faintest hint of subtlety or tact in her brazen lippy.  
Anyway, we all soon got bored of scratching our scalps and eventually did get back to work.  Well, for a few months anyway, as Shoddy Shed Services Ltd closed its creaking doors for good only 10 months later. Coincidence? Well of course...

Tuesday January 11th 2011– Tuesday you’re an insult to the week.

I’ve never really got on with Tuesdays. There is something unpleasant and whispery about them.  They are sort of a blot on the week’s good name, a slur on its integrity, an insult.
The thing with insults is that it’s so often not what was said, but how. Whether that is how it was meant or how it’s perceived is not quite clear.
I remember taking particular offense to a reference I’d received from a former employer. It was a standard template set out with questions, such as would you employ Marcella again if the opportunity arose? Kitty Loosley has responded to that with, ’No, but we have a policy not to re-employ anyone.’ Firstly this was an idiotic lie which would be aptly and truthfully replaced with, ‘No, which is pretty harsh as we have a boomerang approach to staff turnover at this asylum.’ Yes, that was a little bit rude, but the big blow was under the ‘additional comments.’ Kitty had written, ‘We would be more than happy to see Marcella again as she is a pleasant and cheerful girl.’ Ouch! I’m not sure I can think of anyone I want to upset enough to describe them as ‘pleasant and cheerful’. I was muttering furiously to myself for weeks after reading that typed slapping. Still, perhaps it’s not a universal slight, as my friend Sonja declared it a ‘glowing reference’. Well, probably just to be rude.
Yet the affronted are often bloody hilarious.
A friend of my Aunt Jemima has a thing for lingerie, but an open hatred of gift vouchers. So, every birthday and Christmas my Aunt Jemima tries to find pretty undergarments that would make an appropriate gift for her old friend. To be honest I think it’s pretty tricky to buy knickers for a chum, but for poor Aunt Jemima the ‘Big’ size issue has always made it decidedly more delicate. Her friend, Lady Carrion, is perhaps a generous size 12, which to all intents and purposes is a normal size 14. However, Lady Carrion will only accept gifts, with a receipt, of size 8 or smaller.
The fact that she will then waste time going to exchange them for a pair that will fit her is ludicrous. Yet the funny part is that she frequently asks Aunt Jemima to accompany her on these ‘exchange trips’.
Honestly! Ever heard of vanity pants? Buy your own knickers, weirdo!
Still, perhaps I’m just as vain for not wanting to be described as ‘pleasant and cheerful’. After all, it offends me so much because it makes me sound round and simple.

Monday January 10th 2011– Access denied!

Pink sky in the morning heed the desk-slob’s warning! Oh, yes, we’re set for cyber cyclones this time.
 Look Tree, I know you’ve probably had a terrible day of it out there, but it’s been pretty yucky in here today. In fact, it was a bit like a day trip to Jupiter. This is not great if you simply need things like oxygen and water to survive.
Still, even gas and liquids become irrelevant if you forget your password.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not actually confessing to being at fault here. I downloaded some compulsory software to prevent anyone accessing my system and what can I tell you? It’s supremely effective.
I was locked out of my own PC and I honestly can’t remember the last time I was more terrified. My poor adrenals were blasting their mammoth-dodging valves off and it was all I could do to avoiding spearing the screen with a rogue coat hanger. Access denied, yes, but only into my virtual cave. This, for me, is much worse. I’m a pretty good camp builder, or at least I used to be, so I’d be alright for a few minutes without a real cave. Yet without my virtual shelter I felt utterly helpless. For a few seconds it felt like the end, there was an eerie whirring and I thought perhaps the machines had finally turned...
Fortunately, I managed to get through to a nice man at the Helpdesk and he was extraordinarily patient and kind. The only problem was that he wanted me to use the phonetic alphabet.
‘Erm... Muppet. U is for...’ Then it started in my head, ‘Wah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah’, ‘Uptown girl?’
I do not know this ‘international system’ and I happen to think it a little bit weird when people assume I do. People don’t suddenly ask me if I could read out authorization codes in Russian, but they’d probably get a better response.
I hate to be sexist, but boys do seem to know this strange sequence of words. Perhaps it’s posted above the urinals in public lavatories. Well, I suppose that could have been worse, I could have said ‘U’ for urinal.
Tragically, I did say ‘D’ for ‘doggy’, but we managed to get there eventually. The system has been restored and although I’m now afraid to turn it off, it’s all good now.
Interestingly, what is also all good now is the Internet connection. It’s been marvellous! I have been able to visit other people’s blogs and everything! I know it’s only temporary, but sometimes, especially on a Monday that began with a pink sky... you’ll take what you can get.
In other good news is: ‘Madame Breath of Death’ has left the kitchen. I know Hoobiz didn’t change anything and I couldn’t find it. So I can only conclude that the smell was emanating from:
A - Something that Bernard has now eaten.
B-  An Atkins obsessed poltergeist.
C – A kiss from The Big Ugly.
Votes please!