A list

  • Chase up what the heck is going on with the wedding invitations (I have no clue)
  • Chicago Pics into an Album
  • Sew up that damn fox
  • My shawl
  • Y’s cowl
  • Baby knitting (bit ambitious, all this knitting)
  • Supermarket shop
  • Pay in Brownies
  • Pay in me
  • Brownie Admin (update girls’ details, sort out letters about Thinking Day)
  • Division Admin Damn. Join Us won’t let me log in….
  • Post off Gift Aid stuff (apparently, I put it all in a pile and sort of abandoned it)
  • Park Run
  • Race
  • Go to the cinema

It’s been a full sort of week, and I am tired. Next week will be even worse – I am doing something guiding or morris related every single night from Sunday to Friday. Plus, on Wednesday we really will be working from N’s Dad’s house, so we can give his wife a break (it was supposed to happen this week, but we didn’t manage to book ourselves out of the office before someone booked us into a meeting). Anyhow. Neither of us really wants to, I’ve woken in the night having a panic about doing it, but, frankly, it needs to be done, and I feel bad that I’ve not done it already. Cancer sucks. It really does.

There have been lovely things this week. A fabulous parcel of cheerful winter goodies. A new set of knitting needles. Actually getting my prescription collected and filled (less fun, my lovely GP will be retiring at the end of March, and I’ll have to start fighting for appointments like the rest of the world does). I’ve almost finished Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and I’ve given one of my colleagues my spare copy of ‘Despicable Me 2’ which may well be the feature film for his daughter’s cinema at home birthday party (which sounds v cool).

I may witter more, but I want to collapse with my macaroni cheese.

xxx

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A tea party

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Here, we have the lovely L, modelling an Epiphany Cake and its crown (we didn’t find the little model hidden inside it during the party, but I think it went home with K – and L, do say if you want this down. I rather like the halo effect from the lamp…). We had tea, and cake, and crisps, and guacamole, and refried beans (note to all. The recipe is not improved by the addition of a whole beef tomato), and houmous. H my ninja goddaughter was present, and a delight – you don’t get photos of her, as she is a ninja. We used the bone china teacups, and christened my lovely new teapot. While washing up, I remembered that I have a teapot brush, so I could clean out the spout, and de-tannin it. Hard water makes for stainy tea…

The flat feels somewhat empty now. So, I’ve done some guidemin, pretended to do accounts, had supper, eaten a spot of ice cream and vaguely paid attention to a documentary about Hitler on More 4. It’s not as good as The World At War, but all with colour film, which is quite fascinating. I’ve got all tomorrow to myself, so I feel no great need to really throw myself into any further admin. However.

  • Sort out my bank accounts
  • Chicago photos
  • Put laundry away Then I created Nu!Laundry, because there was pretty much a full load after I’d run.
  • Sew up intrepid fox
  • Parcel up swop ready to mail
  • Mail cards
  • 15-16 mile run My route planning sucks. I managed 17.25 miles. And only remembered that I was supposed to be morris dancing about three hours before morris dancing…should have stopped at 15 miles and got the bus home.
  • Remember Szyja Waisbrod on Monday (If you want to remember a victim of the Holocaust, you can do so here).

In the meantime, have a picture of the Christmas Tree Decorations I’ve acquired since Christmas…

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xxx

How to be a Heroine

This is, I think, the book we all wanted to write. About all our favourite child and adulthood heroines. And the lovely, lovely Samantha Ellis has written it for us. Best of all, she was chattering about it this evening, at Keats House, so E and I could tell her all about how we’d enjoyed it, and get our copies signed, and hear about another fabulous sounding book (Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties ), and find out that E’s Mum thought it wonderful to be 18 in 1965, which is, of course, two years after 1963, and when many feminists believe that feminism began owing to the contraceptive pill. This is, of course, feminists failing to take into account the war generation going to work, let alone people like my Mum, who quietly got on with being the first woman in the banking hall of whichever City of London bank it was (subsequently subsumed by Lehmans I believe).

All in all a brilliant evening.

Xxx

Runner’s High

We went up hill, down dale, round the Park Run and generally got incredibly muddy (so muddy that I’ve washed my trail shoes. I’d forgotten that they’ve got nice purple and silver trim). It was what was needed after a week which inadvertently became extremely emotionally complicated.

So emotionally complicated that I walked away from a very long friendship.  I’ve tried to be supportive. I’ve tried to help when I’m asked. But, more and more, over the last three or four years, I’ve found that I’m biting my tongue. Holding onto my patience. Spending a lot of emotion with little return (not no return, no. I won’t say that. That would be unfair). Giving the same advice over and over. Feeling like a stuck record. Never seeing any improvement, and hearing all the excuses in the book as to why this, or that, or the other can’t happen to improve matters. Ultimately, I cracked yesterday.  This friendship has been, from my perspective, falling to pieces for quite some time: I didn’t say at the time when she insulted my lovely N with a sideswipe about divorcés being secondhand goods, but I’ve never really forgiven her for that, and I resented the insinuations. It has become time to walk away before either there is an extremely undignified screaming row, or I find myself needing professional help. And for that I am sorry.  There are many things that I shall miss. But it’s over, and there will be no going back.

Onto more positive things. I’m capricious. I don’t tend to brood (as Dad gets older, he seems to get more argumentative. Mum hates this, and is hurt for days. I instead retort back to Dad with vigour, and Dad and I are happy as Larry with each other within 10 minutes. I do not know why Larry is happy, but anyhow). Mum’s having her birthday dinner tonight (I hope I’m still awake – I have no idea how long this high will go on). There is stuff to do.

  • wrap presents, write card
  • Brownies accounts, planning for next week, order more promise certificates
  • Plot a secret parcel for The MidWinter Swop (I have yarn, a pattern, a book and a hot drink) Buy box to pack it into.
  • Finish L’s mitts
  • Email F about making a beautiful hair device for Eff to match my wedding dress
  • Fret about the mock up of the wedding invitation (Nick down the road from my parents has been put onto it, they didn’t like my word document which was supposed to be very rough anyhow, and this means delay)
  • Collect new shoes (I found them in Kensington M&S while I was on a loo hunt – I meandered home after doing Guidey things. This was expensive meandering, as I also bought a signed copy of the last Cazalet book. There won’t be any more of those, so I wasn’t going to leave it).
  • Tidy the sitting room more like tidy the whole flat. I keep getting so far and then un-tidying it. Fortunately, N is being all quiet and reading peacefully on the sofa rather than adding to any clutter.
  • Change the sheets (why yes, this was on the list last week, and, yes, I am a domestic slut).
  • Laundry
  • Supermarket Shop
  • Other stuff what I have forgotten again.

xxx

My apologies

I’m not sure I’m being the best listener to my friends at present. I’m trying to: but I keep needing people to listen to me. Well. I did this week.  There has been Work Strife. The job is lovely. The Team is struggling. In essence, it was pretty fine until about November, with only one issue that caused intra-team-stress and then, a second issue in the team meant that by the time we got to New Year’s Eve, all I wanted to do was find a new job. I’ve spent the last two months not wanting to go to work, getting worked up about going to work, sleeping badly before going to work, and generally feeling a degree of dread about it all.

Yesterday, I sat down with my boss for half an hour. The wonderful L had given me full ear, and some perceptive insights at coffee the night before, and I felt able to sit there and express my concerns. He listened. He agrees with my assessment of the situation, and he’s desperate for me to not look for another job (well, actually, I can’t look for another job for at least 12 months, because there’s Far Too Much other Stuff going on this year), and also for there to be no massive bust up in the middle of the office. He’s going to seek further advice from his manager because he agrees we cannot continue in the current configuration. I think it helped that this week, we were missing one of the issues, and thus the other issue was far, far, easier to cope with. I can manage one issue. I can’t deal with two so well.  Next week may be different – both issues will be present.  I have promised to tell my boss if I start feeling that I don’t want to come to work again.  I can work from home, and, I think he’d rather I did work from home a little more frequently if that’s going to make the difference.

I do appreciate it when my friends listen to me. I know I can witter on (particularly about Brownies). I do hope that I do as well when it comes to listening to them.  But, having someone listen, and having them reinforce that I wasn’t totally barking, and that I did need to speak to my boss meant that I had the confidence to set a time to do that.  Hot chocolate and a brownie and some knitting also helped me work through what needs to be done.

And then, there was Brownies, and then I came home, ate macaroni cheese and finished N’s sweater (the sleeves were too short on the first iteration) and knitted some more on other L’s mitts.

  • parkrun
  • 13 mile run #noexcuses
  • Supermarket shop
  • Change sheets
  • Make chilli This will now happen mid-week. But all the ingredients are there so a batch can be made.
  • Bridesmaid’s Dress Shopping Not only do we have a glorious dress for Eff, but Mum also likes it. Hurrah!
  • Sort out wedding invitation lists
  • Identify a sofa and a dining set to buy It’s not so much that we chose one. More that we have a plan. It’s mostly in N’s hands, as it’s mostly going to be in his place.
  • Brownies accounts. Locate bank statements for 2012-13.
  • Order wedding invitations/reply cards found website, made further enquiries, made mock-up for parents to approve.
  • Wrap Mum’s birthday present
  • Thank you notes T, S.

Here. Have some more knitting pictures and a bonus picture of me being a DINOSAUR!

I is a dinosaur! Raw! French Shawl Icelandic Cardi

The shawl was knit from a pattern and yarn bought in Paris, the cardigan from pattern and yarn bought in Reykjavik.

xxx

Rugby Songs

I seem to have a rugby song on the brain. It begins “I know a dog, his name is Rover, tra la la la la”. And then it rapidly degenerates. It has been earworming me for the past 24 hours or so, and it’s beginning to get annoying, because it’s not even as if I can sing it out loud, in public, without an awful lot of effing and blinding going on. And that’s just the bystanders.  It doesn’t help that I never properly learned the words to Rover either, so I’m beset by a half-remembered earworm, which is even worse. I can’t even find the lyrics on the internet. I think it’s because the rugby team borrowed and altered to suit their tastes.

I’ve been told that the way to deal with earworms is by doing word puzzles. Fortunately, I have a tacky magazine, so I can do the crossword in that.

(Also, I’ve worked out a more polite version. “I know a dog, his name is Rover, tra la la la la la. And when he sits, he sits all over, tra la la la la. Sits by the window, sits on the floor, sits on the ceiling, sits by the door, sits all over everything, tra la la la la”).

In the meantime, some photos – I have actually completed some knitting, and then a list.

First: a hat, which has been waiting since March for me to sew some elastic into the brim. This has now been done.

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Then, N’s Chicago socks

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(it is way easier, I discover, to put pictures in here than it was on Xanga)

This is the rather swish medal I got for a 10 mile race. I was 26th out of 55 women, and something like 126th out of 172 entrants over all.  It was a very male dominated race! 1:30:17, not too shabby considering the hills and the frost.

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And, finally, the epic pile of envelopes from charities that have been bugging my parents this year. These have all been marked ‘return to sender, remove from mailing list’. Only one envelope goes back to each charity. The winner of the ‘let’s pester people’ award is a charity called ‘Smile Train’, which helps repair cleft palates in the developing world. Dad sent some money last Christmas, and then had 8 mailshots asking him to contribute more across 2013. They are now, most definitely, off the list.  And, those were the letters that hadn’t been recycled – there’s bound to have been a few more that did actually get recycled on receipt. It took us about an hour to get through the assembled piles – my parents tend to keep all these mailings so they can decide on a few charities to donate to at Christmastime. It’s now much more under control, and they’ve decided who will receive their money for the next couple of years.  How they managed to get onto the mailing list for 20-odd charities is beyond me (I’m counting the charities they’ve decided to stay on the list with, as well as the 18 here).

Imagel

I was still horrified by the number of mailshots the charities send. I know Save the Children spent 11p for every £1 they collect (although that might be just for their latest campaign, not over all). The larger cancer charities spend about 30p on fundraising for every £1 raised (Susan G Komen spends 20c of every $1 they spend on admin/fundraising). Red Cross spend only 20p. The Telegraph has a nice article about how much gets spent on actual charitable stuff by some of the bigger charities here.  It’s eyeopening.

I’ve got a policy of sending the mailshots back with ‘return to sender, remove from mailing list’. I don’t need to know, and I don’t really want to be pestered. Every once in a while I review my direct debits and my standing orders, and adjust them: Medicins Sans Frontieres just get on with doing the stuff I can’t do overseas, and they don’t send me lots of bumpf about it either (and there’s no way on God’s earth I will stop donating). Marie Curie are fabulous, but I made one donation in Em’s memory, and it took me about three years to get them to stop sending me stuff….

So. A list.

  • Become that woman who runs to parkrun…
  • 10k race
  • Laundry
  • Supermarket shop forgot the list. Thus forgot sandwich pickle and instant macaroni cheese. Think I can live without those.
  • Sew buttons on Letti Lopi cardigan
  • Sew up N’s sweater
  • Finish mitt #1 for L
  • Sort out the photos from Chicago and arrange into an album ready to print
  • Take the Christmas decorations down
  • Sort out the leaders in the division – who is on the mailing list, who shouldn’t be on it, and so forth.
  • Pay in Brownies money

I feel as though there should be more. But there isn’t. Until I remember it.

xxx