Friday, 30 October 2015

more of a graceful collapse

it's friday night and i have to admit i am not charging into the weekend in any way - i feel more like i am slumping over the finish line. except there is no finish line - why do we even use this as a metaphor? it never bloody ends and it never will end until you do. happy friday everyone!

so yes its been a rather sloggy old week and i have been fighting the existentialisms. for some reason they are always accompanied by a feeling of failure for not being more ambitious. the cognitive dissonance in these two complaints should be a clear signal that these feelings probably have more to do with not having enough vitamin d or sleep or coming down with a cold or something than any life critique but it all seem so plausible at the time.

young f made me laugh this week though - "we have a new blanket" he said, showing me a beautiful grey plush throw. "my daddy said it was made of old cats sewn together but my mummy said he was only joking." i love how he felt compelled to give me both sides of the story. he cares a lot about fairness and i really like that about him. when we watch telly together he brings me one of his teddies so i have one too. of course then he looks over and cackles and says "let's smell their bottoms!" he is only 4 after all. in case you are wondering,  teddy bottoms smell much like the rest of them.

that's probably a better metaphor than finishing lines, come to think of it.

Friday, 16 October 2015

i've had better days

it didn't seem like it was going to be one of those days. it's been a long week, sure. on tuesday, my team and i hosted a seminar/workshop for an external networking group that made me want to gouge my own eyes out with a toothpick but that is only to be expected. ("how do we measure productivity and how do we relate this back to flexible working initiatives?" see? here - have a toothpick).

and although i have a move this weekend at work - small, but complicated and very political, involving multiple agencies including the police with all of their various networks and bureaucracies, i felt like i was more or less on top of things.

which is why i was very surprised to get in the lift this morning and see one of the team i am moving standing there with a printer in his arms. maybe it was one of those 'sliding doors' moments because before that lift ride everything was fine and after - nothing was fine.

the lift ride was too short to get any sense out of this chap so i dumped my bag at a table and went off to try to figure out what was going on. it is too boring to relate further detail but suffice to say this was the moment when i twigged something was wrong - very wrong with the technical side of this move.

when i got back to my table i had figured out enough to have a low sinking feeling and an intense desire to make about 50 phone calls simultaneously. i dialled with one hand and reached down into my bag for my breakfast smoothy only to encounter - breakfast smoothy. everywhere. i hung up and rushed my bag to the kitchen.

so it turns out it's really quite messy extracting 600 mls of escaped smoothy out of a backpack.

and it went on like that for pretty much the whole day. by late afternoon i was looking carefully when i crossed the road because frankly, it seemed like bike-courier hit-and-run was the next logical step.

i think i resolved the technical issue, which seemed to be one part "oh when you said computer equipment and listed pcs and printers i didn't realise you meant printers - we only do pcs - you need another company and another set of engineers for that" (this, less than 24 hours before the move - after 6 months and multiple meetings and minutes stating things like "blah blah blah engineers to disconnect/reconnect all computer equipment as listed...") and one part "i thought so and so was doing it so i didn't think it was worth mentioning". that second one is guaranteed to send any project manager worth their salt into the stratosphere through pure incandescent rage, followed closely by the first one.

hopefully that's all the misunderstanding and bad luck out of the way and the move tomorrow will be a breeze. we'll see. i had a plan b before today, but i've added a plan c and d now as well.

i'm home now, and dry (it was raining. of course it was raining. i pretty much expected it at that point. i had remembered an umbrella this morning only it was covered in strawberry smoothy...). i have a large glass of wine, and i've more or less recovered my equilibrium.

after all, it could have been much worse. i might have not seen the guy in the lift and i wouldn't have realised anything was wrong for ages. i could have sat in spilled smoothy. and i didn't get hit by a car or a bike or anything else except for a wave of stupidity, and that, at times, is simply unavoidable.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

free sunday

it's sunday and we have no plans. i woke up this morning, thought - we don't HAVE to do anything today - grinned, and went back to sleep for another 45 minutes. these days are getting rarer and must be protected as the endangered creatures they are. when i got up i made coffee and spent a chunk of the morning working out a design for some knitting based on a cushion cover i saw in yesterday's guardian magazine. you need space for that sort of thing - hard to think creatively when half your brain is thinking about grocery lists and what time you have to be somewhere. 

n is busy in the kitchen - probably getting ready to bottle wine (about 20 litres - from a kit) and cleaning the kettle from yesterday's beer brewing (porter - not from a kit!). i should be helping him, but i'm being deliberately obtuse.

yesterday's guardian magazine also had a column which made me sit straight up and go huh. the whole thing is well worth a read but this bit especially - 

"We view certain items – in another McCracken phrase – as “bridging goods” that connect our lives now to our hoped-for futures. You want that Smeg fridge because it expresses something about who you want to be (such as: sufficiently well-off to care about nice fridges). So you buy it, but then the Diderot effect kicks in. And soon you find you’ve accumulated many of the signifiers of the life you dreamed of, without the thing – in this case economic security – they were supposed to signify."
the sun is shining and i am beginning to feel guilty not only about ignoring n beavering away in the kitchen, but also by being inside at all on this lovely day. guess i better get a move on. this is an afternoon for a bonfire and new season cider i think. hello autumn!

Friday, 2 October 2015

why are you asking that?

 brilliant. just brilliant. the whole article.

from "the mother of all questions" by rebecca solnit

"We talk about open questions, but there are closed questions, too, questions to which there is only one right answer, at least as far as the interrogator is concerned. These are questions that push you into the herd or nip at you for diverging from it, questions that contain their own answers and whose aim is enforcement and punishment. One of my goals in life is to become truly rabbinical, to be able to answer closed questions with open questions, to have the internal authority to be a good gatekeeper when intruders approach, and to at least remember to ask, “Why are you asking that?” This, I’ve found, is always a good answer to an unfriendly question, and closed questions tend to be unfriendly."