Friday, 26 February 2010

An Accidental Thief?

Yesterday evening I went to the supermarket to shop for tonight's dinner party. I was starving! Shopping on an empty stomach is never a good thing.

As I wandered past the deli counter, I spotted the macaroni pies and ordered one.

The macaroni pie is a strange Scottish delicacy. Even more weirdly, it seems the that Trinidadians eat a variation of them too. For those of you who've never heard of this wonderful creation, I thought a picture might be useful, but they're essentially macaroni cheese in pastry. They're also a terrible reflection on our nation's diet....

Anyway, I was so hungry I thought 'I'll just east this now and scan the label when I get to the check out'. The thing is, I can't remember if I put the bag and label in with all my other shopping when I reached the till. If I didn't, where did it go? Did the cashier scan it and bin the wrapper? It certainly didn't come home with me and I didn't keep the receipt. Perhaps I paid, perhaps I didn't.

If I didn't, do I feel guilty for underpaying an international corporation whose pockets I line every week? Part of me does, morally it is wrong. Then I think, with a global turnover of figures so large they are beyond comprehension, I don't think the shareholders will miss 75p.....

They probably don't even know the macaroni pie exists!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Boys, nerves and outings


I have a date tomorrow night.

I am nervous and excited . As nervous and excited as I was in preparation for the first of these such outings, probably about twenty years ago? In those days the thought of holding hands in the cinema, the thrill of a sneaky cigarette and a good night kiss could have my mind racing for days.

Still, I am wondering what we'll talk about, what I will wear, will he like me?

This time, however, it'll be red wine, dinner, civilised chat and the rose tinted glasses have been long ago discarded. I think the thing the most makes me nervous is my uncanny knack of choosing inappropriate or unsuitable men. How do I spot those red flags before I find myself in another situation that's all wrong for me, or accept it could be right?


Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Letting go of the old list

When I was in my teens, choosing subjects at school, I began to imagine what my life would be. How on earth was I to know whether I wanted to be a doctor, a hairdresser or a plumber when I knew very little of the world beyond my little all girls school?

But there we go. We are expected to be able to predict what will make us happy in the future and set ourselves a course through life. It's a bit like sticking a pin in a map.

Somewhere along the way a plan emerged that looked something like this....

Leave school

Go to University

Work for a while, and achieve some things

Get married at 30

Kids at 35

I achieved the first two, but dropped out of an architecture degree at 20 and had to start another course. Not going to uni was not considered to be an option, and my mother enrolled me in my second degree course.

The third is a work in progress, and I have done well so far. My own business, a professional qualification, work that makes a difference, much satisfaction – all in a career I didn't even know existed ten years ago. I started out in the art world, lost my job in a company takeover and changed tack completely but it's worked out well.

And the last two? Who knows if those things will ever happen for me?

The nice thing about reaching the upper age limit on my list is that it can now be discarded. It's never been a rigid thing but has somehow lurked in the back of my mind over the years. Until recently, I had never considered what I was going to do past 35 or if I didn't have kids. I still don't know.

What I do know is that I can just get on with living my life without conforming to any agenda that was expected of me, I've been nagged about it often and it has made me feel like a failure on occasion. My mother and society have the ability to make a girl feel rotten about her status in the world. I know I can ignore it, but if someone asks you often enough about your lack of husband or passes opinion frequently, some of the doubts will sink in.

I will move onwards, upwards with a world of the unknown in front of me.

PS Although I made to art college, albeit on the compromise of a 'sensible career' path, all I ever really wanted do was paint and make things. Perhaps one day I will upholster furniture and give up my laptop.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Electronic Etiquette

Events of the past couple of days have taken from me a decision I needed to think over, ticks No 4 off the 'to do list'

Very sadly the conversation about a possible end of a friendship has been conducted by instant messaging and email. Forums in which tone and understanding will always be lost to a significant degree. Frustratingly my request for 'space' was translated as 'do not contact me again', not only has this prompted hasty and unnecessary responses, and a simple request has been disrespected but it also means that any kind of meaningful conversation has been robbed from the situation. The use of the medium has wasted an opportunity for understanding and mutual respect leaving behind instead a shattered friendship, anger and poorly chosen words.

I love the internet, and facebook, blogging and the like but will it ever been acceptable to adopt these mediums as a replacement for common courtesy and face to face interaction? I don't think so. Sometimes there are messages that just cannot be conveyed electronically. People need to see and feel words from a real human being. There is no substitute.

Ending a friendship by email is vile, cowardly, wasteful and bad manners.

I have just left it be, because a war of electronic words will only result in two people vying for control and trying to be 'right', rather than actually listening with care in a way that compromise, or appreciation is possible. I was daft to engage in electronic comms in the first place, but I will not be complicit in engaging in this damaging game any further.

If I ever get to a place where I don't have the courtesy or guts to face my demons face to face, and I deliver a denouement by text or email, shoot me.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Bad Dreams

Today I am unravelled a bit.

I am distracted by a situation I know I need to make a decision about. I have no clue what I truly want (or am afraid to admit it to myself), or even if I have to make a whole decision now when I could perhaps just throw my thoughts out there see what comes back.

I am so used to pleasing people that I don't know what I want. I know I need not to do what will please someone else, but look after me – it's just not so easy to do.

My dreams are plagued by strangeness, a manifestation of my addled brain disturbing my sleep. Last night's featured an overnight stay in a grand country house hotel for a wedding. I was with lots of friends, and my very grand bedroom (when they were all stuck in tiny turret rooms) was crawling with spiders which initially looked like they were part of the carpet's design. Horrid. I hate spiders.

Action or inaction, or even half an action? I can't move. I am frozen by it.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Another birthday

Well, where did another year go? It's been an eventful one, or has it? The year before was hell. This past one has at least not presented too many challenges in comparison.

I guess the biggest thing has been taking voluntary redundancy. Ten days from being told my job going was a possibility, to walking out with y head held high and on my terms. Very sad to leave an organisation I loved, not so sad to leave behind a boss of the very worst sort. Two months later, my own consultancy business was up and running with clients, an accountant and everything! Not bad at all.

Changing my way of working has been great. More space in my day, no one to answer to, picking and choosing projects. Relaxed, slower, satisfying. I've not got it completely sussed yet but I'll get there. I like my new 'portfolio career'. Self discipline and procrastination do need some tackling though.

Last night I went out for dinner with eight friends/family, nice cafe bar in the east end with an acoustic music night. Lots of laughing and chat. I'm glad my sister organised it because left to my own devices I would let my birthday pass without a word. I'm embarrassed by the fuss.

I am grateful for my friends and glad we could share this meal together, and glad that they want to make a fuss of me even if I don't want to make a fuss of myself.

I wonder who and what the next year will bring.

PS I am none of these people but I loved seeing my friends laugh and smile – I can't take credit for the storytelling that's amused them so much either but it was all lovely.  

'To Do' List

Today is my 35th birthday. I am tired and am writing to remember things I want to remember and write about;

1. Being 35 and letting go of the old list
2. McCaffrey's lovely 'Honest Scrap' - I will do something with this. It is not forgotten.
3. My birthday
4. Figuring out how to let go, and possibly say goodbye

Thursday, 4 February 2010

The Last Snowball

On my way home this evening I bumped into my neighbour's son hanging about on the corner. He's about 9 or 10, I guess. We admired another neighbour's sports car as he drove past.

'Are you off to play football?'

'Nah, it's been cancelled. Too wet. But, my pal's coming to meet me. Look what I've got....'

He held out his hands and giggled. He had managed to craft two small balls from the last of the grubby urban snow.

Kids play. Even when it's cold, damp and a bit miserable, they find the opportunity for investigation, adventure and fun. I love their determination and ingenuity. Us grown ups ought to play a little more often too, we might enjoy it.

I hope his aim was good.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

'I tell you everything that's really nothing'

I have to thank my fellow blogger over at for posting Charles C Finn's poem 'Please Hear What I Am Not Saying'

It's not the best crafted piece of poetry the world has ever seen, but is spoke very strongly to me. It describes so well the mask I wear every day and don't have words for. In so many ways this blog is the place where I attempt to speak out of the real, frightened me. Counselling has taught me that I need to find the integrity to bring the inside and outside lives of me together, and I'm trying.

I suceed sometimes, more than I used to, but often the vulnerable me only spills over in moments of anger, fear and shame and not yet in the postiive way I need it to (as posts of the last few days testify). I'll get there one day.

I do need to talk and not just make noise to fill the spaces when I don't know how to say what I actually want to. It is my responsibility to sort it out, but knowing an audience listens helps. For those of you who read these ramblings and from time to time offer your validation, you're helping me to be honest and find that integrity. I am grateful for it. Thank you.

The original is here:

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Gastro Horrors after melting down in the most inappropriate way at the weekend, I've spent the past two days in bed. Gastroenteritis. Life just gets better and better! Perhaps it's my punishment for being a fool who can't keep on top her emotions.

I woke up in the middle of Sunday night and was sick. It gave me quite a shock as it's been years since that's happened. I had to go through the humiliating process of trying to decide if it's possible to vomit in the bath whilst sitting on the loo and discovering that the bath is just a couple of inches too far away.....At least a couple of days of enforced fasting's one way to shift the excess pounds of the festive season.

The thing that did gave me a proper shock was passing out.

I don't know if this has ever happened to me before. I was in the kitchen fetching even more water when the world began to spin, and suddenly I couldn't see. I managed to grab onto a drawer whilst heading for the floor which slowed my fall a little.

I woke up a while later, lying naked on the towel that had been round me and the cold hard floor. I don't know how long I'd been there. I'm just glad it was still dark because my kitchen window backs onto the communal path leading towards out back green. In daylight, I would have been visible to all. Thank goodness for small mercies.