stuff in the … supermarket

There’s some very strange goings on at the chips factory:

snag** and sauce flavour

spag bol^^ flavour

mac and cheese flavour

Industrial espionage? Psychotic break in the New Product Development team?

How? Why?


** sausages
^^ spaghetti bolognaise

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the perils of selecting library books at random

His wife observed all of this surreptitiously, keeping the kitchen door ajar whilst she engaged herself in the politically highly incorrect processes of keeping her man happy. Thirty years of marriage to a policeman as he moved through the ranks to his present eminence had taught Christine Lambert many things. One of them was that men, whatever their professional successes and the accolades heaped upon them, are essentially children in the home.

JM Gregson: Die Happy (Lambert and Hook #24)

Rapidly consigned to the returns pile.

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library haul #7

As I promised myself, on Sunday I walked down to the library and grabbed a few items. Checking my borrowings emails, I haven’t borrowed anything in over two months!

The stack:
1. Total German: Michel Thomas method – for Don – who is keen to brush up on his college German
2. Louis Nowra: Chihuahuas, Women and Me
3. Sincerely – Women of Letters: Marieke Hardy, Michaela McGuire
4. JM Gregson: Die Happy (Lambert and Hook #24)
5. Manfred Jurgensen: The Other Wife
6. Jane Messer: Hopscotch
7. Brenda Walker: Reading by Moonlight

I won’t lie and say that there is anything there that really spoke to me, but I grabbed whatever looked remotely interesting – knowing that reading is particularly important part of getting me out of the current mild funk. It’s really a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, keeping at doing the right things and emerging on the other side – funkless and fabulous.

Would be rather good if there was a switch though.

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My hair is dead-straight, doesn’t hold curl terribly well, is super-fine and there’s lots of it. Lots.

So while quite a few people would be distressed? perturbed? unsettled? horrified? by an apparent relatively sudden** influx of grey hairs, I’m thrilled to finally have thick, curly hair. Even if it is around 10 thick, curly hairs.

bad photo of the top of my head – CURLS!

Let’s hope they pick up the pace and fill my entire head before I’m 70.


** to be fair it may not be all that sudden – I’m not sure I pay much attention to the top of my head.

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a good weekend embraces purposelessness

I find it quite interesting (omoshiroi desu) that I’m mentally in almost exactly the same place I was at the same time last year. And almost exactly the same goals to hit pause on the self-help books, lose pesky 5-10 kilograms, get into regular exercise, limit internet use, stop buying *stuff* and repair, reuse, recycle, etc etc. In 2098 I achieved those with varying levels of success, though they obviously weren’t very sticky because they’re still on a list.

I don’t know if it’s a seasonal thing, a post-holiday thing or an SML thing, or if this is my life now, but I’m feeling pretty malaisey all over.

Hot flushes**, nicely developing cold sore, headaches, exhaustion (so tired!), fluid retention – ugh. Don attributes it to stress – he’s very probably right. There’s a lot going on right now.

Pah! I know and you know what will right this, don’t we? Exercise! Reading a good book! Hobbies! Thank TheUniverse that I’m finally in a place where I know these will fix me and can do something about it.

Let’s tackle these:

Exercise: I’ve found it rather challenging to get back to exercise this year. I do enjoy yoga very much, but I’m in no way passionate about yoga. I certainly don’t feel passionate enough this year to drag myself out of bed on Wednesdays and Fridays at 5:50am. Early January me was full of enthusiasm and signed up for the usual unlimited class pass for the 3 month term. Half way in and I think I’ve been to two classes (this makes for a horrifying cost per class). Will drag self along tomorrow.
We bought an exercise bike late last year, it currently has a slightly better cost per ride than yoga. I jumped on this morning and rode 10km.

Reading: I haven’t read a book since the glorious Pillow Book. I haven’t been to the library for quite some time either. I wonder if the weekend effect counts as self-improvement? It does look interesting.
In other reading I’ve been inspired by the excellent dame eleanor hull and have been reading archives from long defunct blogs – this is completely fascinating and a reminder of how very different blogging is now compared with those wild early days.

Hobbies: I dragged out the the endless embroidery and did a few more stitches. At this rate it will be completed by October 2032.
I have a lengthy off-cut of rather nice black fabric which I’ve been hoping to turn into a replica of the the awesome black dress I bought at the Xmas Design market last year. It’s a really great and very versatile dress. A replica would take, say 2 hours max to complete, so I’ve no idea why I’m procrastinating on it.
I am totally lying, I know exactly what is stopping me – that perfectionist thing. Completely ridiculous as I’d rate myself as a pretty competent sewist – I mean, look at this lining, it’s a triumph. Honestly, I don’t know what has happened to my confidence in a number of areas.

Bonus extra: I have a movie date with Don tomorrow night to see The Favourite at our favourite cinema.

I look back on the insanely productive carolbaby of a few years ago with some mystification – how on earth did I fit everything in? How wasn’t I tired all the time? I put this question to Don this evening and he suggested that I’m probably burned out. As is the way with Don, I think he’s pretty on the money with this.


** what even is this?! I haven’t had hot flushes for many months and thought it was all behind me. Clearly not! They resurfaced in Japan.
If you’ve ever wondered if menopausal symptoms occur after a hysterectomy I can absolutely and with certainty confirm that YOU CAN! Though I do have intact ovaries – TMI? – so your mileage may vary.

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i will not recourse to personal improvement books

A visual representation of my current work project …

All week I’ve had this vague sense of desperately needing to complete a large number unknown personal Action Items in a very tight but unknown time-frame.

TheUniverse knows I’ve plenty of work-related Action Items hanging over me like things that hang, but I can name each terrifying one of those.

This unease and sense of unfinishedness, I’m not entirely sure. Too much prep for recent holidays perhaps (I know, totally check my privilege).

I need some exercise – and a list.

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and our toilet seat broke

Last week was quite unpleasant. Not catastrophic, not calamitous, just kind of low-grade annoying.

The list of unpleasantnesses is quite lengthy, but I’ve limited it to a few highlights.

It started rather badly last Friday evening with somewhere between 4 and 6 litres of water pouring though Bessie’s ceiling during a quite fierce storm. Fortunately we managed to get to it relatively quickly after investigating what sounded like a tap running at full force. And even more fortunately this was totally our fault. Being delighted that it was our fault might sound odd, but the cause was a blocked gutter on the top balcony and a known issue. New-expensive-to-fix leaks would not fill me with delight. Note to selves: be more conscientious about home maintenance tasks.

Then I lost my beloved bracelet.

Back at SML, despite my time allegedly being 100% dedicated to Project Sulfur, I was (as ever) parachuted in to save an important BAU** deliverable which two teams had completely dropped the ball on. This required several late nights for me and has resulted in an enormous backlog of my own project work. The ball-droppers report to Bobs, and many (many!) of us have been complaining to him about their terribleness for an age – all of which he has cheerfully ignored. Now that this impacts him directly and his reputation with CEO LadyPenelope, he’s all “carolbaby, I just don’t understand how could this have happened!” “How can we fix this?” and pleas for guidance. Honestly, I could not have rolled my eyes harder. In addition to being pretty merciless, I’ve firmly suggested he really might like to take some time to reflect on all this.

Because of this I ate quite a few cakes, doughnuts and tiny chocolates. Actually, many (many!) tiny chocolates. And ice-cream.

And I haven’t really been exercising. Okay, I haven’t been exercising at all.

What I didn’t do was fall apart. I kept on trucking in a resigned-but-not-surprised manner, which is really very unlike me. I definitely attribute this to longer-term sobriety – I seem to be handling major annoyances with much more aplomb than previously. I am very exhausted though and my stress appears to be manifesting itself via quite vivid nightmares, inability to sleep and horrible head-in-a-vise headaches. So maybe not quite so much aplomb, but I’m not (yet) crying at work, so I’ll take what I can get.

This weekend I had intended to do some catch-up work, but, you know, screw that. Future me will likely be somewhat displeased by this, but she can go to hell. If she has any sense, she’ll be grateful for the chance to breathe for a bit.

Despite REALLY not wanting to, I forced myself out to yoga this morning after a 5 week break. It was pleasant and very well needed.

I need to focus all my powers on self-care in the coming week because I can’t see too much improving. More yoga, less chocolate and ice-cream.


** Business As Usual

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In Make Time (the last personal development I read before taking a break for a year) the authors talk about distraction kryptonite.

Distraction kryptonite is that website or app that is a complete time suck and makes you feel bad or regretful after you’ve spent time there.

My distraction kryptonite is instagram. I’ve written about my challenges with instagram before, and indeed #29 on my 60before60 list is to delete my account, but have been slowly suckered in and once again find myself mindlessly, endlessly scrolling and feeling all sorts of faily and unproductive. If I’ve had an exhausting day at SML, I’ll sit on the couch with the phone or tablet and get lost in instagram for hours.

All those people doing cool stuff! Making cool things! Taking cool photos! And I’m sitting here doing not much other than watching people do cool stuff and feeling bad about myself and not living my life (and probably eating quite a lot of ice-cream in a non-mindful way).

Of course, dearest reader, I absolutely love you and all of your photos. I love seeing what you’re up to and you don’t make me feel bad!

I’d kind of had enough of these lost hours and so decided I wasn’t going to open the instagram app at all today and just wow! It’s incredibly good for my psyche to not visit and I feel approximately a billion times more cheerful.

Clearly this is yet another thing I am unable to moderate and am better off ditching entirely. I haven’t quite decided where I’m going with this, but I’m going to attempt to keep it up for a while longer.

Of course the challenge now is to use my time more wisely.

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As part of Actioning my 2019 Intentions this morning I trekked by bus into the city to get a facial (trains being out of commission due to track work). Afterward I felt very relaxed and youthful if not a little spendthrifty.

Once done, I searched about a bit without success for a soup / pasta bowl to replace one of a set which had chipped during the week. Then returned back home on the bus feeling exceptionally virtuous for taking public transport rather than jumping in a cab.

It was quite warm when walking home from the bus stop, so I grabbed an elastic from my bag to put my hair up and noticed a suspicious lightness and lack of jingling on my wrist.

The silver bracelet which is my constant companion was not there.

Cue panic and hysteria.

Don bought me the bracelet in a tiny artisany jewellers in Rome in 2008 and I’ve worn it every single day for almost 11 years. I think it cost about €100 or maybe €150 – which was staggeringly large sum for us at the time. It’s one of a kind, absolutely gorgeous and draws comments and admiration all the time. It was the first big present Don had ever bought me. It was my very first overseas trip. The sentimental value is enormous – like beyond explanation.

first appearance on the blog from this ancient post

I’ve called the spa – no luck. Will call the bus lost and found number as soon as they open tomorrow morning. But I’m resigned to the fact that it’s gone forever.

I know it’s an inanimate object, and I should be beyond attachment to *things*, but I am so sad.

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the decent thing to do is to get up early once it’s morning

Because it’s late and I’m impossibly tired I’m channeling my inner Sei Shōnagon with a list!

[1] Amusingly named clothing stores spotted in the My Lord | Lumine 2 Department Stores in Shinjuku, January 2019:
+ fint
+ seemy. by nice cloup
+ cheek by archives
+ rivet & surge
+ mysty woman
+ whim gazette
+ chut! intimates
+ erotica**
+ clane
+ snidel
+ babylone
+ beaver

I can’t offer any explanation why clane and snidel in particular really amuse me.


** eye-glasses store

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