Wednesday 31 October 2012

Blank Page

There is nothing like looking at an empty page and waiting for inspiration to attack.  Only it doesn't.  So you wait a little longer and the blank page gets a little bit blanker, seemingly glowing whiter and whiter.  

Cup of tea.  Episode of Friends.  Chuckling.

*whistles a jaunty tune*

It's funny how much time actually speeds by when you are thinking about what to do and realising that you've made it to the end of the day without actually getting much done at all.  Especially when on busy days you can count up all the things that you didn't get round to doing when you had all that spare time.  

The Internet is not always a brilliantly helpful tool.  It lures you into browsing, surfing what other people are up to, connecting those who are creatively masterful with those who dream of being so creative.  There are so many people out there, sparking up their synapses, being awesome that it can be rather daunting to try and express your own inspirational thoughts or indeed lack of them.  People are so clever.  

One day I'll find some clever beans and grow my own inspirational tree of wonderful awesomeness.

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Wedding of the Year

Awwww - it was lovely.  And you might think that I have to say that because it was my best friends wedding but she knows and I know that (unfortunately) I'm always honest so when I say it was a truly lovely wedding - it really, really was.

I've been to lots of weddings, including my own, so I think I'm reasonably qualified to be able to comment.  You could see all the hard work and thinking that had gone into this wedding and it made it effortlessly relaxed which can be pretty tricky.

What about Operation F.I.D I hear you say - well, it was partially successful.  The dress did up, with a little encouragement, however the heaving bosom did at times look like it was heaving out and I must avoid all rear shot photos but then who does look good from the back?  No comments needed, TQ.  Thankfully I didn't hear any 'OMG, what does she look like' and the Bride's father was extremely gracious, as was the dearly beloved of course - despite being late and missing the entire ceremony!!

I was never 100% sure on the bride's choice of dress colour, it was a beautiful smoky grey, but I think we are all hard wired into thinking that wedding dresses have to be white.  Let me tell you - they really don't.  It looked stunning and fitted into the whole city wedding theme brilliantly.  The photographer was a blast and I can't wait to see what shots she managed to get, the few I've seen of the B&G from other people are just lovely.  You can literally reach out and touch the happiness and love in the air, and yes I did have a welling up moment.  It's probably a good thing that you can't see my face during the ceremony because my cheeks were burning from smiling so much, I just couldn't help it!  It was an infectious joy. 

The food was very yummy at the reception, good quality and actually hot.  You always expect a hot buffet to be hot but sometimes all you get is lukewarm, this was excellent.  We were in the basement of a pub, roomy enough to allow movement but snug enough to make you all feel like you were together.  No formalities, no top table or seating plan which again defies the traditional conventions but who cares?  I got to sit next to my best friend, gossipping and munching.

The only downside for me was that I had to leave to catch a train home.  It would have been fab to have stayed to the very end but I know that she had a wonderful day and I'm pretty sure the groom enjoyed himself too!!

Saturday 29 September 2012

Life Lesson

It is often when we think everything is ok that life decides we need to learn a valuable lesson.  It is often when we least expect it that the ground beneath us is wrenched away and we find ourselves falling into the unknown.  I made a mistake.  And that mistake has cost me my job.  I spent most of yesterday in a state of hyperventilating shock and tears before I decided to take life by the horns and think about the silver lining.

I've always believed, had to believe, that things happen for a reason - the good and the bad.  It's the only way to get through the tough times, hoping that there is logic behind the awfulness.  Otherwise we would get lost in despair, trapped by the bleakness of a hopeless future where nothing will ever get better.  I've got at least another 50ish years left inside me, I wonder what amazing and wonderful things I will find.

I often say I like a challenge, well now I have a rather large one looming infront of my face, so it's time to gird the old loins and step once more into the breach.  The time for tears and self pity has past, what's done is done - you can never undo your mistakes, only learn from them and make sure you don't repeat them in the future. 

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Sore thumb

I love the phrase 'sticking out like a sore thumb'.  And I love, love, love Josh Wheadon's attention to the sore thumb question:

XANDER:In no way do we stick out like sore thumbs.
WILLOW:Okay, but do they really stick out?
WILLOW:Sore thumbs. Do they stick out? I mean, have you ever seen a thumb and gone, 'Wow! That baby is sore!'
XANDER:You have too many thoughts.

This is often how my own thought processes unravel and when I occasionally share my thoughts I'm pretty sure most people around me come to the same conclusion that Xander had of Willow.  I know a 'Xander' - I love him dearly.

So about this thumb.   It occurred to me as I slogged to work this morning in baggy black trousers, trainers and a grey hoody that I don't really fit into the high powered, rush hour slew of individuals at Liverpool Street Station.  I'm not saying that I felt uncomfortable, because I didn't - possibly a little wistful at the perfectly manicured nails, salon perfect hair, size slim-bitch outfits and cutting edge fashions (and that's just the blokes!)  It did make me wonder what they perfect sheep thought about me.

A fairly non-descript plodder.  I'm guessing that unless I got slowly into somebody's rush-hour desperation way I went unnoticed.  I know how to blend, I'm good with wallflowers.  Randomly my cup of tea tastes like roast lamb but that is definitely a comment for another blog.  I think this lack of attention is a massive problem with our society. 

I'm not saying that I want everyone on my journey to work to stare at me in an uncomfortable, did I forget to get dressed, kind of way but.... no-one says good morning anymore.  No-one smiles or shares their paper.  We don't recognise anyone on our commute because the volume of people is so huge and each one is a walled up fortress of don't touch me, don't speak to me, don't make eye contact.  It's quite sad really.

The human bean is meant to be the fabulously social animal yet most of our youth are locked away in their individual bedrooms living a virtual life with the telephone numbers of suicide hotlines saved in their favourites.  Everyone has problems, no-one can cope, everyone is bleeding on the inside and only those who can act their asses off make it through the day without a crack, a crumble or a tear.  We are all sticking out like thumbs and I think, if we took a moment and really looked, those babies would be sore.

Friday 14 September 2012

Inner thoughts

I''m alone with my thoughts this evening.  Usually this involves complex inner monologues of witty banter and supreme intellect which I desperately try to cling to in order to blog with ease however this week my scattered thoughts turn to sadness and bravery.

Every week is a marathon to someone.  Every week someone climbs a mountain.  Every week someone achieves the impossible and quite often no-one ever knows about it.  The beginning of this week was possibly the most exciting beginning I have ever experienced.  I found out I was pregnant.  With the tick tock ticking of my grasshopper clock murmuring in my ears I am very conscious of the rapid march of time and the need to bring small ones into the happy nest.  Imagine my delight.  Imagine if you will the utter joy and the tears of happiness at such wonderful news.

Track forwards a few days and hear the words early miscarriage.  Imagine my grief.  Imagine the tears that wouldn't stop and the heart that broke.  It was just not meant to be.  I understand that perhaps this is not the stuff of blogs and perhaps these things should be left to the privacy of our innermost thoughts but sometimes not sharing those thoughts can weigh heavily on the mind.  Perhaps this is the time to stand up and say here is the mountain I tumbled down this week.  For are we not a social animal, do we not grow in the love and care of others?  Can we not then share our lows and our highs and ride through the deepest, darkest depths with our fellow grasshoppers.

There is one thing you can always be sure of.  Bad news weeds out the great friends.  It is often after bad news hits that you know who will stand by you and hold your hand and just breathe with you.  It is times of great sadness that you know you are loved.  The silent strength and support I had from my beloved this week was such a comfort.  I know I am loved but now I know I am loved.   The bravery is to pick myself up, dust myself down and carry on.  To go to work ignoring the petty small mindedness of ignorant colleagues and to thank my stars every day for those I love and who love me.  To support my family during hard times ahead with new and recurrent health problems and to be their strength when sadness threatens to overwhelm them.  We must continue down this road of life in spite of pitfalls and darkness that may block our way, safe in the knowledge that with your hand in mine, everything will be alright.

Tuesday 31 July 2012

Positively negatory

I think I am probably the best defeatist out there.  There's no-one like me for lamenting that the glass is gone let alone half empty, I truly struggle sometimes to keep the old mop top above water.  Today's wailing and gnashing of teeth was for the entire everything.  I was fuelled up and angry all day long.

I was angry at the alarm clock, angry at the snooze button, angry at getting up, angry at sleeping, angry at having a shower in the morning not the evening, angry at eating breakfast, angry at the weather, angry at the pile of things still to do and that's before I'd even set foot out of the door.  I think you get the general gist of the rage.

It lasted for better part of the whole day at which point anger gave way to desolation, tears and can't.  That word that optimists say doesn't exist.  I feel like I think Princess Buttercup must have felt when she fell into the quicksand pit in the fire swamp - sinking, sinking, sinking, unable to breathe, move or save myself.  I need my Dread Pirate Roberts to swoop in and save the day.  Which he inevitably does - praise be.  But unfortunately it doesn't shake the positively negatory hardwiring that kicks in from time to time.  When there is no point to anything and everything is pointless.  Why get up, why try, why breathe, why bother.

Operation F.I.D has created this huge pressure point - although I am aware and accept there must be other reasons for the why - and it is, I think, the main catalyst for the latest quicksand sinkhole.  Words with bridezilla (kidding x) have given this underachieving grasshopper an out clause which I feel sure we'll need.  I can't even begin to breathe easy yet.  And time, that tick tocker, that cheeky little blighter which continues to just slide on by without a by your leave runs away even further and that internal to-do monologue gets longer and longer and louder and louder.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Operation F.I.D wobble

When I realised that it was 20 pounds in 10 weeks I did panic and I must have subliminally panicked and gone into shutdown mode because since that fabulous acknowledgement I've wobbled and stuttered a bit with Operation F.I.D.

A trip to the parentals was meant to include various floor work exercises but that never quite happened however I did manage a run in the sun - I'm not sure that hefting travelling bags around counts as burning calories so Monday and Tuesday were meant to be big days in the exercising world.  And then my big toe went septic and then I dropped the hoover on my foot and then I didn't eat brilliantly well so it's all gone a bit down hill.  The scales say +1 which isn't exactly the right direction I'm meant to be heading in.

Now yesterday was my birthday so because of that wonderful event I had a huge piece of cake from Choccywoccydoodah.  It was sooooo rich that we had an intense sugar overload, thank heavens we didn't actually buy a whole cake - it would have killed us and most definitely scuppered Operation F.I.D.  I think all in we walked about 4 miles possibly 5 at the max so why do my legs hurt sooooooooooooooooo much??  No dinner hopefully offset the cake and the 5 mile hiking in strappy sandals hopefully burnt enough calories to keep the old metabolism chugging.

And so it is with a weary heart that I plan the rest of this weeks escapades in the hope that I can a) eat more betterer (my spelling not theirs) and 2) get some burn in.  Cycling to work tomorrow and Friday, Fit to Fite (their spelling not mine) and Balance tomorrow and a swim on Friday plus Step & Pump on Saturday before beer fest with CCP.  Hmmmmm.  Think there might be something wrong with that Operation F.I.D picture but it's OK because next week is a new week and I'll have 9 weeks to lose 21 pounds aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh!!  Nothing like an unachievable goal to get the heart pumping!

Thursday 19 July 2012

Veg-box tastic!

I decided to try it again.  Years ago I received a veg box from a local farm and had great fun checking out the seasonal veg, comparing with my mum and passing on the salad.  However there was the maggot incident.  I cannot put that into words.  Needless to say the veg box scheme was cancelled.  Until now.

Week 2 of the mini fruit-veg-meat box for 1-2 people and I don't think we've eaten this well in weeks.  There have been vegetables of unusual descent and I'm afraid the summer greens experiment didn't go well and I shall be passing on the bag of salad leaves but on the whole I'm very happy.  Seasonal eating is something we have lost the hang of despite the increase in enthusiasm for allotmenting and growing your own, it's all too easy to pop to the shops and get out of season strawberries as hard as rocks and completely tasteless in December - most of us don't even know the growing season for half the things we put into our mouths.

Don't get me started on meat.  I dread to think what goes into cheap meat, what conditions those animals are kept in and how much damage sub-standard intake does for our bodies.  The cave-man lived a much more vegetarian lifestyle then we might imagine with emphasis on seasonal fruits, veggies and nuts.  The introduction of milk is a relatively recent addition to our diet and one that the human body has yet to evolve to properly hence the high levels of lactose intolerant peeps.  The same can be said of wheat - we are just not made to digest it.

Luckily for Operation F.I.D eating seasonal fruit, vegetables and organic meat is not only better for the body but also good for the waistline and a weekly refill means that we are less likely to eat junk when we have great food readily available for cooking.  The other important tool is to never, ever, ever say 'I'm on a diet'.  That word instantly brings the inner child out who jumps up and down and screams and screams and screams until we take it away.  I tread softly these days.

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Fighting the B.O.G.O.F

Lunchtime is both a blessing and a curse.  Usually the morning has scrambled your brain enough to make you want to take a break, stretch your legs and get a breath of fresh air but here is where you can fall into dangerous eating traps.  Luckily for me there are mostly dirty fried chicken and curry shops near where I work - none of these are particularly tempting to me and the delicious Chinese takeaway usually doesn't open until around 2pm or whenever he feels like it.

The main food options for me are Tesco and Sainsburys - two of the biggest supermarkets in the UK.  The King and Queen of special offers like 6 doughnuts for 50p, multipacks of crisps at half price, biscuits, chocolate, bulk buy, super save, buy one get one free, three for two, save, save, save, eat, eat, eat.  For a mere fiver you can get a bag full of MSG, trans fats and more ingredients you can't pronounce then those you can.  Yet when you try to buy a healthy option it can cost you twice as much but it's harder to buy individual items.  I'm not sure why healthy food is always two or three times the price of unhealthy food or that supermarkets only stock large packs of items and not individual servings.  You'd think they would realise there was a market for individual portions of popular items.

Now I know you may throw salad bowls into my face but I direct you to the title of my blog.

It's tricky to resist these shiny offers in large supermarkets designed to suck you in to buying rubbish but I am pleased to report that day 2 of Operation F.I.D involved a trip to buy..... milk!  Yes, you heard it here first - just milk, no junk.  I was very impressed with my self control.  Put that together with a 12 mile bike ride, a Zumba session and high impact Step class and I'm thinking the balance may still be in the negative.  And then all that is left to do is make my lunch yummy enough that I forget the lure of the shiny shops and feel happy with my packed items. 

Monday 16 July 2012

Day 1....

Even as I say that I can hear the Big Brother voice in my head...

So it's day 1 of Operation F.I.D and I've only been thinking about biscuits every 9 seconds in 10 - no, not really.  I jest with you.  It's actually not been that bad today but then first days are usually ok and I did have some ice cream.  Now I realise you must be thinking how does ice cream factor into Operation F.I.D.  Well it's very simple.  If you don't have a little indulgence now and then all you are eating is celery sticks with no enjoyment for the palate.  Flavours and textures and tastes are important, variety is the spice of life as we always say and the same goes for the food you eat - it's been proven that the more variety you eat the better off you will be.  And that doesn't mean all 26 variety of chocolate bar, it means colours of fruit and veggies and types of whole grains, beans and pulses.

I digress.  Food-wise I reckon calorie intake was *drum-roll* about 1700 ish - I am guestimating here but thet's ok, anything less than 2000 is a burn.  Plus I was hungry bored.  I dislike boredom, not for the mind-dumbing despair it brings but for the inevitable hand to mouth motion it attracts with crisps, nuts, popcorn ad infinitum. 

Exercise wise I cycled to work and home again - jiggity jig which is 12 miles plus an extra bit for cycling from GoodGym home.  That's about 1000 calories burnt according to my online calculator which is currently churning out numbers I like so it's accurate and wonderful and lovely.  I also ran 5k split into two halves.  GoodGym is .... good.. And I hate that I can't find another adjective but I tire and I'm struggling to get the vocabulary to finish this sentence let alone the post.  Anyway.... more digression.  GG rocks and I'm getting better as I wasn't at the back slowing everyone down and there was no walking and there was talking and gasping for air which is what anyone else will be doing when they try to read this inordinately long sentence with no punctuation!  lol

So day 1 was good.  The in and outs were at worst balanced, at best slightly in the negatory which is what we want.  All I have to do now is sweat through Step tomorrow and convince myself that going to see Magic Mike on Wednesday is a work out - nudge nudge, wink wink!!

Sunday 15 July 2012

Operation F.I.D

Bridesmaid have a tricky role.  They support the bride and complement the look of the whole event.  This means that the dress has to be a carefully chosen item - one that matches all the colours, the styles, the 'feel' of the big day.  A bridesmaid needs to look snazzier than the guests but not as bloomin' as the bride and so the buy-the-bridesmaid-dress day is pretty important.

It's essential to have a plan of action, to know your palette and have a clear picture in your mind of what you want to achieve.  And then the bridesmaids themselves need to accept that they have no real say over the dress - a bride holds all the power, and rightly so when it is her special day.  Sometimes a bride can deliberately overshadow her maids by choosing something that makes them look particularly unattractive.  Some brides stick to their colour palette like a snail on a wall, refusing to budge when colours don't match skin tones or hair.  Some brides are determined to dress their maids in a style that they like regardless of whether the maid's body shape actually conforms.  This grasshopper was intensely lucky.  Her bride said - any colour, any style - whatever you want.  And so to the shopping.

Keeping an open mind is key, allowing the bride to choose what to try and what not occurred.  But you know that the right dress has been found when both maids appear and the bride wells up.  Tears are an integral part of weddings.  There is still the matter of shoes and accessories but for the most part, the big deal has been dealt and all is well with the world.  Except for Operation F.I.D (fit in dress).  There was a slight query as to whether to go for the bigger size or the smaller size especially when exercising and weight loss is still on the cards and nuptials are still several months away.  In the end the smaller size was chosen - leading to possible pressure and tense moments ahead - the zip only closes half way.  But what is life if without goals?

The bridesmaid dress - size 14!!

Wednesday 6 June 2012


.... the majority of people poncing around in a car can't drive ......

.... overweight, middle aged women should never take part in a high-impact aerobics class, standing at the front of the class in front of the mirrors wearing a bright pink sports bra .......

.... cows milk should be outlawed ......

OK. so I know I am probably alone on the last one but I feel so icky right now - overdone it with the cow, a cup of tea here, some cheese there, a minuscule bowl of ice cream and today I feel like the back end of the worst hang over of my life and additionally meh besides.  *sigh*  One would think that when one has to pay very close attention to what one puts in ones mouth one would be a damn sight better at it!!! 

.... it's usually more awkward between friends then it is between strangers ....

.... tea is shockingly bad at quenching your thirst ...

... stamps are ridiculously expensive ...

... I think I would be on Team Predator ...

... that fine line when what you enjoy becomes a chore ...

But that's only because you can't say no and then you have grand ideas and little concept of the time it takes to put those ideas into practise.  The fun hasn't quite left the room but the stress has certainly set up shop and when it is meant to be your week off, this is not so good.  And don't even get me started on the other things I should've been doing by now!!

Gotta sign off - things to do.... reluctantly ...

Friday 18 May 2012

*sings* lovesick and I'm sick of love

It's funny how things get stuck in your head isn't it.  I have been half heartily humming that ditty ever since I heard it for the first time on BGT and just can't seem to get rid of it.  I have no idea what the rest of the words to the song are except something to do with stealing trainers and eating pork pies - much to the other half's intense amusement.  I do like the way the odd lyric or catchphrase and sentiment finds its way into our subconscious and is stuck there for ever more.  Why is it I say my puppies are barking whenever my feet hurt?  How did the dearly beloved get the nickname squeegalbee?  And why was I happily called Flea for a year and a half?  Words are a funny thing indeed.  They exert an enormous amount of power over us and yet I feel that sometimes they are being lost in technology.

I social media, as I'm sure many of you do too, and oftentimes I am left weeping into my laptop as I read the truncated English and grammar devoid statements.  Not to wave my grammar police flag too loudly as I'm sure there are those amongst you who would pick me up for the odd (hopefully) mistake.  But nevertheless it does pain me.  I worry about all the mis-spellings and wrong use of words, incorrect tenses, inability to capitalise correctly and so on and so on - one wonders whether these individuals can actually write a complete sentence without breaking out into a sweat.  And if they can't, shouldn't we be worried about this???

Another bug bear of mine is common decency.  Living in a highly multi-racial area I long for the dulcet sounds of the English language around me.  Foreign language speakers talk louder, harsher and ruder then we English-only speaking lot.  Plus when they do utter a few words in the Queen's English it tends to be hard, clipped and without any politeness.  Now perhaps the excessive politeness of the well bred, English-only speakers (sorry chavs, I'm excluding you) is something one can mock to ones hearts content but it has to be said that speaking politely to others tends to get you the same in kind.  Eventually.  Once they've figured out what politeness is and how unusual it is to receive some.  I feel sorry for the ladies behind the glass at the gym as they get to deal with an English-only speaking customer about one in twenty and I am appalled at the rudeness I hear so goodness only knows how they feel.  I just hope that they choose not to carry that attitude forward within their own spheres of existence.

I've rambled on, such is my wont, but I hope you appreciate my point herein.  Words matter.  I shall be using many of them and <insert deity of your choice> bless the wordsmith.  I also accept that I sound terribly English.  I promise to appropriate a great deal more colloquialisms in the next blog.

Friday 4 May 2012

Here a blog, there a blog

In the world of blogging it seems that everywhere you look there be blogs.  Everyone has had one, everyone has read one, everyone has got a great idea for one.  But the tricky thing is, they are harder then you think.  Unless you don't mind spewing venom for several paragraphs on a daily basis or bemoaning the hard, hard life you suffer it can be difficult to think of clever, witty, thought provoking blogisms on a regular basis.  Hence the little hole I find myself in.

This grasshopper has been neglecting her blog and her worms and is very very sorry.  Being unemployed should have been a superb opportunity to creatively flex my blogging muscles and yet it fell very very far by the wayside. So far that I was unable to reach out from my chair and grab it - you know that sideways bend when you know you could get it if you just stood up and walked over. 

Now that I am back in employment and my zing has zanged, I find the inclination has reappeared.  I just hope that in the meantime my bloggists haven't moved on to bigger and brighter blogs and they still want to read the non-salad related ramblings of a food addicted hopper.  Some things never change lol.

Wish me luck for this weekend, I am in search of oak trees and hoping for a LOTResque forest with dappled lighting and the possibility of hidden unicorns and fairy glades.  I expect what I shall experience will be cold, wet and miserable.  Pray for a local inn with delicious vittles.

Monday 2 April 2012

Feeling a bit squirly

It's a squirly sort of day, the kind of day that Winnie the Pooh ponders the whys and wherefores of honey and how such things come into being. 

I am not pondering honey or its whys and indeed wherefores.  Instead I feel almost like I am attending a drug-induced version of my day.  I feel disconnected from the usual.  Even a simple act like going to the gym became a momentous task of realising that I didn't have my program or my water or my moosic.  And then when I finally got there, a headache of immense proportions split my cranium in two so I came home again - jiggity jig.

Which wasn't such a bad thing really seeing as I was meant to sign on today and had totally forgotten so once more into the breach I stepped before realising that I had forgotten my sign on booklet and that I had neglected to use the old war paint - ah well, I thought - no need to impress anyone today!  So I got to the job centre and the man said you are too early - your appointment is in another 45 minutes.  Seriously?  Ugh!  This is what happens of having a sqiurly day.  So I go and I mooch and I return at the correctly appointed time.  And then I wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Still waiting. 

I think the job centre like to believe that they have this amazingly awesome system in place that never goes wrong and is so intuitively simple that all the cogs move round in perfect harmony and no-one is ever left sitting for 20 minutes in front of the wrong desk because they were misdirected and then when they do finally get put in the right pile someone else is seen to first because they forget to come earlier in the day.  I'm sorry - you forgot to come so now you take my time away from me???  Back of the queue sister!!  And then... oh then.... I get cheerful chappy number 3 who persists in asking me a billion questions.  I feel like saying look mate - yes I looked for work - yes I filled in my sheet - yes I am a model attendee unlike most of the gobshites in here for example the pusher inner you saw before me.  But no, I hold me tongue - thank goodness this is the last time I have to do this now that permanent employment has come back to me.

Next on my weird day I am accosted by a charity mugger and dammit I feel bad so I stop and allow him to do the spiel and give my name for a phone call later in the week, which I fully intend to not answer.  He asked me my age - and when told, genuine shock.  So now this day may not be as bad as we all thought - here I am, a young looking hopper out in the sun, hopping along.  And all that was before lunchtime.  Today is a day of oh my goodness I have so much to do, where do I start, oh sod it I'll do it tomorrow.  So perhaps, in hindsight, this is the day to be squirly in.  Hmmm honey....

Tuesday 20 March 2012


I've just spent the past god knows what prepping for a big interview tomorrow.  I love the word prepping - it sounds so professional, like you actually know what you are doing and can achieve greatness by actually doing it.

My basic prepping involves visiting every page of the company's website and making grasshopper notes.  What this does is put facts into my brain and highlight items of interest that I can then bring up at interview.  I don't know why this technique works for me but it does - it requires one run through with paper and pen and then I don't need to look at the notes afterwards.  I usually manage to spring a surprising fact upon the interviewers - for instance why bother having an events page with only one event on it ...... the day you are closed.  That's not very positive promotion is it now?

My big bone of contention however is the rather 'loose' directions.  Very helpfully the site suggests that you check the train times because it only runs every 15 minutes and naturally that would have a detrimental effect on your journey.  I checked.  The train runs every 10 minutes.  Are they trying to give me a heart attack?  Additionally they provide a map.  Which is impossible to read or identify the smaller street names.  So we go to Google Maps because everyone knows Google is king.  The online directions state that it is a 5 minute walk from the station to the school.  Google Maps says 15 minutes.  Damn it!!  Now I have to leave even earlier than before.

The we invite you to interview email states that the first part of the programme (I know right?) is meeting the Principal at 8.30am.  So we have to be there by 8.15.  Whilst reading the website, there is a continual reference to how awesome the academy is because they strive for perfection and high standards.  I'm guessing arriving at 8.20am would be a little more than unacceptable.  So now my stress levels for journey planning with 'loose' directions is at an all time high.  And I have no money on my oyster card so I need to allow an additional 5 minutes at the station to put some moolah on.  So basically I am leaving the house at 10 to 7.  In the morning.  Which means waking around 6 for a shower and pathetic groom through.  Forget breakfast that is just not going to happen.  Which means grasshopper will begin to emit growly hungry noises during the crucial interview segment of the half day programme.

There are five of us, timetabled throughout the day.  So does that mean at some point we will be given a weapon and expected to fight for glory and victory?  I don't like it - it smacks of elitism and we all know that this grasshopper excels in mediocrity.  I've made my case for non-attendance and despite being given the green light to back out due to "unforeseen circumstances" I can't.  I'm too scared that my mum will yell at me.  I'm cornered into a corner.  I will just have to go with my broken-down boots and shabby chic (I wish) outfit and pretend that I am high-powered elitist grasshopper with drive to be the best ooh-rah!  Watch this space for my speech of defeat and in-depth explanations as to why it would never have worked out anyway.

Monday 12 March 2012

The Little Things

I would never have imagined there would come a day when I compared my Grandad to Bill Nighy riding a motorcycle in India with Judi Dench riding pillion but the way he rose his arm and saluted his greeting to his fellow castmates was so so so similar to the way my Grandfather would wave us goodbye after a visit.  It is these little things that catch your breath and bring cherished memories back to you, spark a tear in the corner of an eye and a truly wistful longing that you might see them one more time.

I have always had a difficult time reconciling myself to the inevitable.  I know we have to die.  It will happen and it's coming whether we want it to or not but I have never been able to embrace the concept.  I was petrified of death as a tween, the mere thought of it would have been running through the corridors of my mind, slamming doors and refusing to touch the subject matter.  I don't know whether it is because of the tragedy that hit my small family in my early years.  I have no memory of it.  In fact my earliest coherent memories are from secondary school - there isn't much before that at all, just vanishing glimpses of possible places, faces and half remembered occurrences.  My brothers died when I was very small, my parents lived through extreme grief in their own different, separate ways and I think that grief shrouded my childhood and made me fear death.

Grief is hard.  It makes you feel selfish because you have to ask whether you are crying for yourself or for the person who is now gone.  They don't know that your are crying - whether they are still capable of conscious thought is a riddle we will probably never know but I like to think that wherever they are, there is no pain, no darkness, no hurt.  I am not a religious grasshopper but I have faith that there is something more than nothing when the final curtain falls.  It is always the little things that remind us.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Academy of Hair

I don't like getting my hair cut.  I don't like clothes shopping, make-up, nail varnish, fashion, blah blah shallow blah blah blah.  Some might say I'm not really into women's things.  So I object to paying through the nose for a haircut which is why I get mine done at The Academy.

Now having your hair cut by students might seem scary but these are not the kinds of students who have never cut hair before - these are fully qualified hairdressers who are just having refresher courses in new techniques and new colours.  So you are getting a cut and colour for a total bargain - yay I like a bargain!  The only problem is it involves having your haircut!

Horror scenario number one is having to sit in front of a full length mirror in a chair that does nothing for chubby leg viewage plus the fact that you have to sit in front of a full length mirror for 4 hours.  4 hours!

Horror scenario number two is having at least four people "assess" your hair, talk about it without mentioning the individual beneath the mop and not caring whether it hurts when they pull their fingers through your hair about a billion times.

Horror scenario number three - full length mirror.

A long line of middle-aged (not that I'm quite there yet) women with bad bad bad overgrown, badly dyed, big roots, poorly conditioned hair begin the full length mirror line-up and then four hours later we have the gorgeously coiffed line of shiny mop tops - still the problem of the full length mirrors but the hair looks good grasshopper!

Sunday 26 February 2012

Interview Jitters

I have a second interview - which is awesome because since mid November last year this Grasshopper has been a little shy on the awesome job offers.  I just got to impress one more person.  But the thing is... I have nothing to wear.

Now I know most of you are now shaking heads and tutting and about to turn away from this startling female revelation but I mean it!  I wore my best interview clothes to the first interview - everything else I have is awful.  It's either so worn that the colour got washed out 10 washes ago or it's so casual and baggy due to the F.A.  This hopper defines the phrase 'Big Mamma Jamma'.  So what to do? What to do? 

I gotta go with the same trousers because they are the only smart ones that fit thanks to F.A.  I can change my shoes up but they are currently on a dodgy home-made fix because the elastic broke on one strap and I kinda McGuivered it back together which is fine when you are working at a place you don't want to be but when you are looking for a brand new shiny job?  Hmmmm.  Also the other shoe option, a.k.a the boots, is also a little tricksome.  They leak water and the faux leather has worn off the front and back and both heels are so worn through I think it's the actual soles of my feet that you can hear padding across the floor.  Yes, I am aware that my severe aversion to clothes shopping does somewhat hamper my professional style.  And yes, my awesome handbag is covered in worn to heck marks.

Tops is the key - I gave up wearing a blazer a looooooooong time ago because I refused to buy size huge plus the last place I worked was a tad on the casual side so long sleeved tops and cardis were fine.  The only problem is the cardi's saw their best side about 10 years ago and thanks to F.A the tops are not wearable without another layer of camouflage.  Should I just go for it and wear the same thing again?  I'm sure if I changed up the accessories no-one would know.  But I would.  And I have a feeling that my hopefully new boss would to, I think she has the eagle eye for details and is just like me in saying to others "Did you see such and such?  Gossip, judge, gossip, judge."  (But in a totally nice way)

So... like all things in the Grasshopper life I wait until the night before the big day to panic about the situation when it is nigh on impossible to find some kind of solution.  I expect to spend the evening trying on clothes, weeping copiously and then throwing all self control out of the window when the emotion-triggered F.A takes the wheel.  Fear not, dear blog-readers - I shall go flagellate and then regale you all with my woeful outcome after the big event.

And for those not in the know ........ My name is Grasshopper and I am a Food Addict (F.A)

Wednesday 22 February 2012

I don't like baths

Sitting in a bowl (essentially) of hot water leaves me rather unfulfilled.  I just don't do baths.  I mean obviously I have one when showers aren't available, let me be clear - I am a clean grasshopper.  I just don't get the supposed bliss a bath is meant to bring.

It takes forever to fill the tub but you can't go do something else in case you get absorbed and then you have overflow issues - never good.  Once you think you've got the temperature right I can guarantee that you will spend the next 10 minutes going cold a bit, hot a bit, cold a bit, hot a bit and when you finally do step into the bath it will still burn your feet off and cause you intense pain.  But you think no no, I've made it now it will be OK, let me just sit down because my touche is obviously less sensitive than my feet and if I burnt my feet to hell there is no way I'll burn anything else.....

Then there is the actual sitting in the bath.  With nothing to do.  Watching your unflattering areas bob.  Sigh.  You can't read in the bath because inevitably the book or magazine will get wet either when you go to pick it up, put it down or accidentally drop it.  You can't sleep in the bath - that leads to drownage.  Light some candles, take in the ambiance I've been told but frankly watching a candle flicker is almost as much fun as watching paint dry.  It's soothing and helps you relax they say - actually it hurts my back and a hot hot bath just makes me sweat.  I know right?  A great mental image.

Another wonderful downside of baths is the excruciating pain your dry skin gives you when you get into them day after day after day.  Now that really does burn.

Give me a shower any day of the week, they are fun and sexy - so much easier to entice in the shower than the bath, there's no issue with suction for one.  You can sing effectively in the shower.  They can be hot, fast and powerful and you can feel yourself feeling better from head to toe plus they are excellent for washing hair - with a bath it just takes additional rinsing and a jug and effort - it's a whole big thing.  I also hear that showers take less water than baths so yay for the environment AND lets be honest, who wants to sit in their own muck?

Saturday 18 February 2012

I don't get..

why the short skirt fashion has hems riding your ass

why bad food gives you a big happy

why I have nothing to do with lots of time to do it with

why I go up and up

why the fascination with the supernatural is gettimg lamer and lamer on TV

why good days

why bad days

why cliche after cliche after cliche after cliche

why why

Tuesday 7 February 2012

An empty path

Since Christmas my sole focus was the SFX Weekender and preparing my cosplay outfit with lots and lots of help from bean and many hours spent hunched over a sewing machine.  The weekender has been and gone, fun and car trouble was had and a long, long list of authors remain to be explored.  As a side note, I would just like to point out that despite they claim to cover science fiction and fantasy, most of the panels were built heavily on the science fiction side and the fantasy element was at best covered by vampires.  Not really what I would class as fantasy.  Moving on...

My calendar is empty.  My social butterfly has been firmly cocooned (not that it was ever particularly fluttery).  The number of upcoming events,  interviews, meetings, coffees, family gatherings etc is sitting at a rather empty 0.  Where do I put my focus now?  What point in the road map of life am I pointing towards?  I feel like I am adrift upon a vast calm sea in a giant leaf boat that sways me gently from side to side whilst the fishes stare at me from 100s of metres below the pea-green surface.  Heaven forbid a storm brews.  But charming allegory aside - I really do feel drifty.

I am not overly worried.  And believe me the natural state of the grasshopper is to be in a permanent state of anxiety.  The gentle tick of time and the rise and fall of the sunshine throughout the windows of the bubble assure me that hours roll by.  I potter, odd job and mooch through the day, picking up this, putting away that and suddenly realising that the heating has been off for 4 hours or so and by golly isn't it getting chilly in here?  I know that a new job should be filling me with hope and wonder but the glory of employment has thus far eluded me and I begin to imagine a life without the grind of a 9-5, perhaps a different kind of working will raise its glittery head and entice me.  I cannot believe that in this time of excess and everything you ever didn't think you needed that there isn't a small niche about the place for me.  I especially like the thought of one near the chimney where it is nice, toasty and warm and mayhap I can roast a marshmallow or three. 

Float on giant leaf upon that pea-green sea, beneath a twinkly sky as I watch to catch the falling star and find my signpost.

Thursday 19 January 2012

Balancing Precariously

'The Lord giveth and he taketh away'

Well, despite the fact that I'm a little shaky on the Lord's existence, I can certainly confirm that when your up don't worry because you are about to come down.

Today I gained 4 pounds.  Well not today.  But this week.  Yay.

But then I had a phone call from a very nice man called Spencer telling me he'd seen my CV and had a job that he thought I would be great for.  And the role sounds awesome.  So the downer becomes an upper.  Yay me!

And then....

I get a letter from Halifax.  Apparently because I've nearly cleared my credit card and they've been reviewing their credit card accounts they've decided to increase my interest rate by 5%.  WTF???  I've struggled to clear this card down, I've made two late payments - still made them just slightly late - and apparently that means that I deserve to be penalised because very soon I won't have any money owing and the bank is going to miss out on squeezing me.  It's insane.  Bastards!!!!!!! 

So now I'm waiting for the good.  You know the balance.  The up.  The Yay.  Waiting.....

Monday 9 January 2012

I cook for you, we eat

I love food, I love cooking but I tremble at the thought of cooking for others.  I turn into a (more) obsessive, paranoid, worried grasshopper as I panic about the taste, the look, the consistency, the temperature and then I have to monitor reactions and demand feedback instantly.

Over time it becomes easier to cook for people as you begin to realise they are not going to throw a strop or refuse to eat a morsel and you become more adventurous and all is well.  But then you  have to cook for children.  And cooking for children is a whole different ballgame.

I would think nothing of whipping up a curry or a bolognaise or even a shepherd's pie for my beloved but I would I feed it to his kids?  No.  No.  No.  No.  No.  I cannot bear the criticism, I cannot stand the pushing of morsels around the plate, the fake (?) retching sounds, the 'I don't like, I don't like, I don't like' chants from either end of the table.  And there is nothing I can do because I am not the boss of them, I just have to take it on the chin and make amendments to the internal list of likes and don't likes.

She will eat every vegetable under the sun but no this, no that, no the other - he won't touch any vegetable under the sun except for this, that and the other.  Chips, chips, chips and chips could be the easy way out but on a day ending in 'y' she loves jacket potatoes however then on a day ending in 'y' refuses to eat one.  He complains bitterly that there is no corn on the cob for him yet last time ran away from the yellow beast.  One is fruit fiend and gains a 5-a-day medal every time, the other is a chocolate monster and rarely makes 1-a-day if you are lucky.  Home-made burgers are eaten with a relish by one but not by they other because they look funny yet they will devour the bolognaise whilst the other pushes it round and round and round and round. 

I literally go into a cold sweat everytime I have to plan a meal.  I'm taking on the nutritional well beings of three people never mind myself and I must must must avoid the call of the fish finger and oven chips.

And so, it is with great pride and a sense of enormous well being that I can report - last night's dinner was a success and every morsel was eated.  Good quality sausages, mash, magic beans (baked) and home-made Yorkshire puddings.  It may not be top of the nutritional tree but it had all the food groups, a five-a-day, three happily stuffed grasshoppers and one very proud mama hopper!

Wednesday 4 January 2012

Tight Jeans

Groan - Christmas has made my jeans tight.  It wasn't me.  I was going to exercise, everyday there was a new plan and there was running and swimming and stuffs yet my jeans are tight.  It wasn't me.  I cook healthy meals and am conscious about my five-a-day.  Occasionally treats like cinnabon just jump into my mouth yet my jeans are tight.  It wasn't me. The mantra for the new season of the Biggest Loser in the US is no excuses.  But it really wasn't me I tell you - it wasn't, it wasn't!!!  Oh OK.... it was.

When I was a wee slip of a thing, around the 17 year mark, I weighed just under 9 stone which I admit is a little under what I should be.  Can you believe at the time I thought I was fat??  I looked in the mirror and I thought I had wibbly bits and wobbly bits and even waggly bits.  I read all the magazines and listened to all the media spin telling me that less was more and that skinny was better and really skinny was really, really good.  And then I relationshipped and in the next 10 years, I gained just over seven stone.  That's almost a person.  In fact it is my sister.  I became a blob of grossness.

It's difficult to comprehend the impact severe weight gain has on an individual.  It destroys your entire being, your self esteem, your confidence and creates a fundamental image of yourself that you struggle to shake off.  The story gets better, a few personal disasters later and this cat is looking at the slim old end of a 4 stone weight loss, almost all the way there - just another couple of stone to go and she's back to business.  But as with all well laid plans, there is disaster in the making and things never, ever, never go to plan.  Gain 2 stone and those jeans are tight once more.  And it wasn't me!!! 


Monday 2 January 2012

You remember me

Hearing from an old friend after a long time has passed really soothes the soul - not only did they remember you, they also liked you enough to get back in touch.  You would think with the modern technology era it would be easier than ever to keep in touch and in some ways lurking in the background on Facebook does allow you to see what everyone else is doing without speaking to anyone.  But I think the modern spin leaves a little to be desired.  Many people have stopped ringing their mates just for a chat - these days it is more likely to be MSN conversation whilst watching TV, eating dinner and checking your email all at the same time.

It is nice to be remembered.  It is even nicer to know that there could be an actual meeting of two physical beings where you can look the other person in the eye when you speak to them and you don't have to say lol every five minutes.  Unless of course you are so sucked into text speak that you have lost any grasp on the English language that you might have previously attained.  Let's have tea and toast.  Such a quaint idea, such a lovely thought - the kind of thing that one can imagine the famous five scampering off to do.  A nice catch up, where we can explain all about our lives this past year and how and why they didn't work out the way we thought they would, or indeed describe in plentiful detail the wonderful outcomes as well as expand upon our optimism for what the future may bring.

It makes me want to reach out to other friends who are drifting on the end of a string.  They know I'm here, I know they are there and quite often life gets in the way to prevent that casual get together, even harder if you have moved away from each other.  But there is nothing so indomitable as the human spirit so just try and keep us down!  I think this year should be the year when the hand written note takes the place of the electronic mail, the phone call replaces the online chat window and tea and toast become a united symbol of friendship as two people - living, breathing, actual people spend some actual time with each other and catch up. 

Sunday 1 January 2012

Welcome 2012

I figured it out.  My fellow hopper can't understand why I am so happy and smiley since I spent the better part of last year either crying or sunk into a pit of depressed depression but I've realised what it is.  I don't have to go back.

I quit my job without a shiny new one to go to because I was being silently bullied into the ground.  I was a mess.  I was paranoid and withdrawn, spending 8 hours at work without saying a single word to anyone.  I was miserable when I came home and miserable when I went to bed and miserable when I woke up.  I would literally have thrown myself down the stairs if I thought it would have got me out of going to work.  I cannot describe the utter despair I felt on Sunday afternoons when the weekend was nearly all gone and you realise you have to go back.

I am so happy to be in 2012.  Happy to coin a phrase and make a new start.  I've never been overly ambitious - I like a job to be insanely busy and have the opportunity to chat, chat, chat with fellow worker bees plus a little socialising on the side would suit me down to the ground.  Money really isn't an issue.  Well I mean, the evil governmental forces make it so I have to earn a bare minimum to cover certain costs but for me, it's not about the amount of moolah - it's all about the enjoyment factor.

I see 2012 as a great place to begin feeling happy again and I hope you do too xx