25 December, 2010

Merry birthday.

So, it's Christmas morning. It's also my 31st birthday. There is still snow on the ground outside. Himself is at his mother's house (where I was meant to join him yesterday, and was thwarted by a stonking cold/flu) and Sister 3 is asleep upstairs. I woke up at 7:30 this morning, came downstairs intending to curl up on the sofa with festive telly and a coffee. Instead, I took out the trash, loaded the dishwasher, mopped the floor, spoke to Sister 2 (who apparently never sleeps) on the phone for a bit, and am now finally ensconced on said sofa with the aforementioned coffee and festive telly (Muppet's Christmas Carol, doesn't get any better than that). I'm still sick, but all told, it's not too shabby a way to spend Christmas.

When 3 wakes up, we plan to make sausage balls (which will necessitate the Great Sausage Massacre of 2010) and open our presents to each other. We're going to cook a ham for later, most likely accompanied by mashed potatoes and brown sugar carrots, and we'll be making a carrot cake and oatmeal raisin cookies. Our family's festive activities pretty much revolve around food, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, Easter to the 4th of July, so we'll be spending a significant amount of time in the kitchen today.

So, I'm going to go about my day. I look forward to the traditional "Merry Christmas" texts/emails/calls/facebook posts. ; ) Love the lot of you, have a great Christmas. xxx

16 December, 2010

Familial festivities.

So, Himself managed to snag two tickets for us to see Tim Minchin on Tuesday night. These tickets came about because he has to deal with the frustrations of mobile phone contract management at work, so O2 chucked him a couple of freebies along with a few free drinks in the O2 Lounge. Luckily for me, companies don't tend to give out single freebies, so I got to tag along.

I love Tim Minchin. His combination of raucous piano playing mixed with ascerbic wit and the occasional politically themed rant is right up my street. I chuckle at "Rock and Roll Nerd" and downright hee haw at "Inflatable You". What I didn't expect was "White Wine in the Sun". It's still written in that witty style he's become so known for, but there's such a poignant turn about halfway through the song that it had me in tears. It's about how much he loves Christmas, and although he hates the commercialism of it all, he looks forward to seeing his family. It then changes from his view to his baby daughter's, and how when she's older she'll always know that he'll be waiting for her, drinking white wine in the sun.

Maudlin? Probably. I don't care. The accompaniment is so beautiful, and his voice so unique, I bawled like a baby and I don't care who knows it. Well, I don't think Himself caught me, but if he did, he was too polite to mention it.

It's how I feel about the holidays, in a nutshell. It's hard for me to do this alternate Christmas gig I've got going with Himself. Christmas is such a big deal to the Gabs branch of the family tree, it's hard for me to miss it. My "white wine in the sun" is everybody gathered at the Mimi's house, fireplace busily eating up the discarded wrapping paper and steadily burning marshmallows for those of us who like them crispy. It's Christmas carols with Mimi running around putting her ear as close to your mouth as she dares so she can hear your part of the harmony. It's food, laughter, silliness, and yes I'll say it, LOVE.

This year will be different, of course. Sister 3 is winging her way to Blighty on Monday to stay for the holidays, which will be the first time I've had family here for the holidays since I moved in 2003. We're in our new house now, of course, which means we'll have nicer surroundings for the Christmas tree (and a bedroom for 3 to sleep in, slight upgrade from the air mattress in the living room floor...). We've got the moglets, who still haven't gotten over the novelty of having stairs at their disposal. It'll be fine, really. Just fine. Good even. *sigh* Fine.

*sniff*

25 November, 2010

Thankful feelings.

As it's Thanksgiving, I feel that I should make the traditional list of the things in my life for which I'm most grateful...

1. I have a great life, and that's down entirely to Himself. I didn't make the right choices when I was younger, treated school as a joke, bounced from job to job for years, thought "savings" was a nonsense word... you get my gist. Himself did it all the right way, put himself through university and started saving to emigrate to Australia, wisely chose to reallocate that fund to buy Yours Truly a seriously nice engagement ring (yes, yes, Himself, I can see you rolling your eyes from here, and please return your left eyebrow to its resting position!), got a great job, kept saving, went freelance, kept saving, and now we have a beautiful house in which to throw parties and have houseguests. *grin* He's smart, funny, dependable, and let's face it gals, he's pretty hot. So, I'm thankful for Himself.

2. I finally have a job that I actively enjoy. It keeps me busy, and not just with making endless cups of tea. I'm given a remarkable degree of freedom to just get on with things that need doing, and I get to do this job with a load of people I really like. It provides a degree of security that I sorely need in my life, and for this, I am thankful.

3. I have a great family. My sisters, grandmother, mother, othermother, aunts and cousin are the most fabulous bunch of women I could imagine getting to call "mine". They are beautiful, intelligent, kind, generous, and funny, and I love them indiscriminately. For all of them, I am thankful.

4. See below. 'Nuff said.


So, for all of you celebrating today, have a happy Thanksgiving! Think of me as I'm thinking of you. x

22 November, 2010

Stupid hormones.

I wrote this on Friday, and for honesty's sake (and because I actually find it pretty funny, especially because the EXACT same thing happened to mi madre in the same circumstances) I'm posting it now.

"I'm sitting in my soon-to-be sewing room in a plaid shirt and jeans, tools spread around me, in tears. I miss my Granddaddy. He should be here, helping me put this desk together. He should have been here to help us pick the neighbourhood in which to settle, and to call when the offer was accepted on the one house that most mirrors the one he built my grandmother and that I grew up in.

I'm sad, and I'm angry. I'm angry at myself for moving away and missing the last four years of his life. I'm angry that my situation in the UK kept me from seeing him when he decided to stop taking the pills that were keeping him alive, and I'm angry that the same situation kept me from being at his funeral. I'm sad that he died before he could walk me down the aisle, and that he'll never see his grandchildren (which is most aggravated by the fact that my sewing room is still decorated with the baby wallpaper from the little boy who lived in this house before we bought it), and that my friends and family in the UK will never know him.

I'm angry at myself because I still haven't managed to force myself to visit his grave.

He's the only daddy I've ever had. He taught me how to use the tools spread around me, most often by letting me use them incorrectly the first time and then when I turned to him in utter frustration by saying "well, you won't do it that way again, now will you?" He loved me unconditionally, even when my temper and impatience had me saying horrible things to him. His sense of humour became my sense of humour, to the chagrin of those around me now (except the BFG, who would have delighted in all that was Granddaddy).

I talk about him all the time. I still think in my head "I need to call Granddaddy" at the most random moments. Passing the hot dog van outside of the hardware store, when my "hot biscuit" bush blooms, seeing a Smart car in the street, and most recently, putting together this damnable desk. Then, it hits me that I can't, and that I'll never be able to again.

I miss him so much, it hurts. So I sit here, my eyes so full of tears I can barely see the screen, and hope that some day the hormones will fade enough for me to be able to put flat pack together without bawling my eyes out."

18 November, 2010

House of Gabs, Mach II.

Mr. and Mrs. Gabs have relocated to Uxbridge!

That's right, boys and girls, we've acquired a real home. Not a rented room, not even a rented several rooms. We now own a terraced house with three bedrooms! I say three bedrooms... the smallest of the three has been immediately allocated to yours truly and my burgeoning supply of fabrics and craft materials. Finally, "gabymade" will have a permanent base from which to lovingly fashion pretties for sale on Etsy. Believe you me, you'll hear about it when we go live.

So, the house. Not even half a mile from the station, the walk from the city centre takes you past a ridiculously beautiful medieval church and down a charmingly reallocated parade of shops (think white plaster with black wood frames, which can be fairly amusing when it's a sex shop currently in residence) and through a park, complete with its own river and aquatic avians. The local swan mafia makes rather a lot of noise making sure everyone knows they're in charge, while the mallard family content themselves with a simple "good morning" on my way to work. Wednesday morning I saw what I swear was a heron. Heaven.


The house itself is directly on the edge of the park, a la the G-Mimi's house when I was growing up. Open the front door, on the other side of the street is nothing but wide open green spaces, it's fab. We have the aforementioned three bedroom-shaped spaces, as well as a front room, kitchen, and conservatory plus the expected bath-and-a-half (untold luxury!). It's all in very good nick, if not exactly decorationally my taste, but that's easily fixed. The garden is very well kept, and boasts walled beds on either side of a lovely green lawn as well as a wooden deck, and at the end of the garden rests my very own greenhouse and a garage that's just begging me to get out the spraypaint for messy projects (of which the first is already planned, of course).

For some reason, blogspot isn't loving my picture uploads, so I'm afraid you'll have to check facebook for the additional visuals. However, rest assured that the journey across is worth it, I've been ... prolific ... in my snapping habits.

Anyway, we're settling. Unpacking can suck, but the joy of it is that the house is so much larger than what we're used to, it's easy to find places for everything. We're having our housewarming party on Saturday, happily coinciding with Thanksgiving, so have ordered a frankly disgusting amount of food to cook for our various guests. Replete shall be the word of the day. Bring on the visitors!

29 September, 2010

Updates all around.

























It's been a while. Many things have happened in the House of Gabs. Sit back, relax, prepare to be inundated with information.

I studied for (briefly), took (quickly), and passed (thankfully) my driving theory test. Himself got better scores, but he actually read the book. I prefer the iPhone method of study, i.e. download the practise test app and take it thirty or forty times, then hold my breath and hope real hard. Meh, it worked.

Himself and I are off to Tejas on Friday. I haven't been home since Easter, and this will be the first time I've been in town for the Texas State Fair in seven years. Fried beer, here I come. We've taken the moglets down to Himself's sister in Colchester, where I'm sure they're living in the lap of luxury as her fiancee is the Essex equivalent of Dr. Doolittle. Soft touch doesn't quite cover it, I'm betting they come home even fatter than they are now. Last time they stayed there, they climbed the wallpaper to over head height, shredding it all the way down. Luckily, said wallpaper was scheduled for removal, but still. *sigh* Hellcats.

I'm sure this one isn't such a surprise to any of you, because I've only been spouting off about it for weeks, but Himself and I are in the process of buying our first house. (see link for completely insubstantial and unsatisfying pictures)

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-26302240.html

We've been told that it should be a fairly quick process, as there's no upward chain and the current owner wants to move out as quickly as possible. This means that our letting agency wants to show our flat while we're in the states, which led to a mad dash around the flat last night attempting to hide the crazy. I'm not quite done, but got the bulk of it sorted last night so tonight and tomorrow won't be so manic. I also got the majority of my stuff packed up, which was no mean feat given that over half the suitcase is Christmas presents for family and friends. This way, no shipping charges and no potential hassle with Customs. Plus, I get to be smug not having to navigate the shops in the Christmas rush. So there.

We've been told that there's even a possibility of the new house being ready for us by the beginning of November, so it's just a matter of how quickly the rental agency can find tenants for our flat to free us from our notice period. This would mean the housewarming party could be Thanksgiving, and we all know how into Thanksgiving I get... double party time.

So, tomorrow's the last day in the office before Texas Time. Mexican food, margaritas, pumpkin carving parties, familial brawls and weight gain. Bring it on.

07 September, 2010

Transport-mageddon.


So, London Underground are striking. This, of course, means that all of London has ground to a halt. They're running VERY limited services on a few chosen lines, and the rest of us have to resort to using (as the BFG puts it) the Big Red Things. This means that instead of my usual comfortable, airy half hour of a commute, it took me a sweaty, cramped hour and ten minutes.

People have opted to stay home from work. They're using sick/holiday allotment so they don't have to face a tube-less London. Business are working at half capacity. The striking union members are set up with their flags outside padlocked stations, sitting comfortably in camp chairs with cigarettes and cups of tea. Outside my office window traffic winds past at a snail's pace, blaring horns venting the drivers' collective frustration.

What fascinates me is the general attitude of my fellow commuters. Some of them are bravely fighting on, calmly taking setbacks and delays on the chin with aplomb. Then there are ... the other ones. Wild eyed and vaguely frazzled, sweaty and wrestling with briefcases and suitcases, some even to the point of tears. Angry, frustrated, furious.

I can't say I empathise with the unions. I've been without a job, and I know people who are still in that position. These people have it pretty good, if you ask me. They have very fair wages and a generous benefits package. How they can justify asking for a raise in these economic times, and then when refused the raise hold London to hostage, is completely beyond me.

I realise none of the tube drivers are going to be reading this. I apologise for the slight rant, and will attempt to make the next post more palatable. Until then, perhaps I'll be on foot...

26 August, 2010

Back to the real world.

It's been a hectic few weeks in the Gabs household. We had the Texan Infestation (just kidding, One and Four) for a week, and four days later was our third wedding anniversary.

The sisterly visit was lovely. I so rarely get to fly home, twice a year if I'm lucky, it was great to have family over here. We did all the touristy stuff, the bus tour, caught a show, bought Build-a-Bear in Hamleys, ate fish and chips (with which Four became promptly and overwhelmingly obsessed)... a good time was had by all. We did, however, shop rather more than I'm accustomed to, and I had never before spent three consecutive hours in Primark in my life... *lol* To be fair, dressing Four is like having a real life Barbie to play with, so that aspect of it was fun. She was a good sport, tried on everything One and I forced upon her (including some fairly ridiculous jeans at Desigual) and let me take pictures throughout.






Pictures... I think I took a thousand. I doubt that's much of an overestimate, actually. Poor kids, every time they turned around, I was snapping away. My approach is "take a thousand, get a hundred good ones" and I think I managed it rather well. I got some truly beautiful shots of Himself and of both girls, and some not completely hideous ones of myself.








We got them back to the airport in the car we rented to go to Stonehenge and Brighton (left at quarter to six or some other godforsaken hour of the morning) in the hopes that they'd have an easy straightforward journey home. Our hopes were unfortunately in vain, as they were forced to route through NYC, take a bus from JFK to LaGuardia, spend an inordinate amount of time sitting in the airport, and then finally hopped a flight back to Dallas. Just over 24 hours of travel later, they were home. The next morning saw them at IHOP, which made me see green for a little while... I miss American breakfasts. *sigh* Oh well, at least they made it home in time for One to get back to work and Four to start school on time.

The anniversary warrants a little spinning out of its own... The weekend the girls left, I started asking Himself what he might like to have for dinner on our anniversary (as we'd decided to stay in). He said he'd let me know... Monday night, when I'd still heard nothing, I asked him again. He said he'd been to the store and bought food for the anniversary dinner...!? I went straight to the fridge to check the contents, and what did I find? Fresh fish, fresh asparagus, new potatoes, carrots, camembert to bake for a starter, and a VERY expensive bottle of white wine! Colour me impressed. When I was on my way home on Wednesday (the anniversary) I asked if I could start dinner, to which I received a resounding "no". Not only did he choose and pay for the groceries, he cooked the meal as well! Dessert, you ask? Why yes, there was, and it took the shape of iced berries with melted white chocolate poured over the top. *drooling slightly*

We also exchanged gifts, of course. Third year traditional anniversary gifts are meant to be leather, which stumped me initially. The man only has one pair of leather shoes, his dress pair, which he only wears when his suit sees the light of day (read: not often). He wouldn't wear a leather jacket, and he's already got a bag and wouldn't use a briefcase. I've given him a wallet in the last year, he doesn't need a belt, and has a watch he loves. I don't even really know how I came upon the idea of a toiletry bag, but the one I eventually found is beautiful and big enough to fit all his kit into when we travel. I also went out and bought his favourite bits with which to fill it. He ended up buying me a Radley bag (!!!), along with a limited edition copy of Terry Pratchett's "Going Postal", which we watched the first half of last night after the feast he concocted. Colour me spoiled rotten. *smug face*

I've been dealing with the mundanity of catching up with projects/emails after a week away from the office, as well as the business of becoming permanent here at HEx. I had a drugs/alcohol test out at Heathrow, and have loads of paperwork to get Himself to cast an eye over before I sign my life away and enter a life of permanent drudgery to The Man. In all seriousness, I haven't been this happy in a job in I don't know how long, so everybody stop what you're doing RIGHT NOW and knock some wood that it stays that way.

So, that pretty much constitutes a full brain dump/catch up on everything since the last installment of "Gabs: The Musical". Stay tuned for the next edition.

19 August, 2010

Familial frivolity.

Our little house of two (and two mogs) has grown exponentially for the week. Two of my sisters (numbers one and four) are here for a visit. One has been here many times as she used to work as a flight attendant, Four is new to Blighty. We've done all the usual touristy bits, rather a lot of shopping, taken a fairly ridiculous amount of pictures... all in all, it's been good.

I've had the week off work, which feels more than a little strange. The Friday before the fam arrived was completely manic, racing around trying desperately to get everything sorted out for my time off as well as dealing with the process of becoming a permanent employee saw yours truly a little overwhelmed. It's also a real shame that the timing of the sisterly visit coincides with the last week of work for one of our team members, a truly lovely guy who's leaving for greener pastures, so we're all going to his leaving do tonight.

Tomorrow, we will rent a car and head for Stonehenge as it seems to be one of the places all my overseas visitors want to see with their own eyes. One wants to drive in this country, it'll be her first time. I'm amenable to the idea, I want to see how well she copes with the "wrong" side of the road and the car. *grin*

So, I'll leave you with a few of the myriad photos we've taken this week. Enjoy.

This is Four with a VERY handsy tiger at Hamleys...


This is One, who is never happier than when she has a Starbuck's peppermint mocha in her hand...


And this is the three of us all together. Aren't we adorable? *snigger*



On that note, I'm off. Have a great day.

10 August, 2010

Manx Adventure, second chapter.

Yeah, that internet connection at the hotel... pants doesn't quite cover it. So, I shall commence with the second installment of the Isle of Man pics now that I'm back on the mainland.

Saturday morning dawned clearer than Friday had been, so after breakfast (at which, yes, I did eat too much and then wanted to go back to bed) Himself and I headed out for a wander in the opposite direction to where we'd gone Friday night. Turns out it was a great decision, as you'll see from the pics. We went all the way up the cliffs, and the views were spectacular.






We headed back to the hotel around eleven to start getting ready for the main event, namely the entire reason we were on the Isle in the first place, Jimbo and Lisa's wedding. Showers all around, then Himself settled in to watch some tv while I began the in depth renovations on my face. That's right, folks, I wore makeup. Don't get used to it.


The coach came to take us to the wedding, which turned out to be in the bride's grandmother's home church. Sadly, her gran passed away a couple of years ago, but all her friends had come to decorate the church and sing at the wedding. The bride's father had affectionately termed them the "Barregarrow Mafia", and they all turned out decked resplendently in their best frocks. The church is the cutest, quaintest little thing I've ever seen (see the pics) and the service was lovely. When they were well and truly married, the local police came and closed off the road between the church and the field where the pavilion had been erected, and we made the procession accompanied by a quartet of folk musicians that then went on to play at the reception.



The pavilion. How hilarious. Apparently, the field in which it resided had until days before been occupied by a flock of sheep belonging to the bride's uncle. Fair enough, we're in the middle of nowhere in a field on a tiny island, sheep only add to the charm. However, nobody realised how ... uneven ... the field was until the floor had been installed inside the tent. Sloping doesn't quite cover it. Who bit the dust first, you ask? Why, yours truly, of course. Heels + tilted floor + always unsteady Gabs = first wedding casualty. Unfortunately, I wasn't the last. As the evening continued, the drink flowed more generously, and ... well, draw your own conclusions. *grin* The funniest bit was that every person attempting to leave via the front door took a markedly circuitous route as they bravely fought against gravity (and booze). Picture a giant fish hook instead of a straight line. Legend.




I will say this. Himself HATES dancing. Did that stop him? Not this time... *lol* I believe I was the recipient of at least ten dances, and he joined in willingly for the wildly swinging traditional folk dances as well. Now, he might be regretting it after the fact as he seems to have pulled a calf muscle with his wild gyrations, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. *grin*

The coach returned to ferry us back to our respective hotels, we got a (very) short night's sleep and caught a cab back to the airport at quarter to seven on Sunday morning. The cabbie for that journey was just as informative as our first cab driver on the Isle... remember the tiny castle from the pics in the last post? Turns out it was built by Sir Edmund Hilary after he found people stranded on that tiny island, and was stocked with provisions and water in case it ever happened again. Fascinating.

So, thus ends our Manx Adventure. A good time was had by all. x

06 August, 2010

Gabs and the Manx Adventure.

So, Saturday sees Gabs and Co. on the Isle of Man. One of Himself's university mates is getting married tomorrow, and as the majority of the family belonging to the bride-to-be resides on the Isle, here we be.

It's beautiful here. The local colour asserted itself immediately in the form of our cab driver from the airport to the hotel. She gave us a little mini-tour/history of the island during the drive. We drove over a bridge charmingly storied to house fairies, who traditionally are meant to be acknowledged when you cross the bridge or the fairies will give bad luck instead of good. There's a tree to one side of the bridge where children write letters to the fairies in exchange for wishes.

We got to the hotel, checked in, and headed out for a wander. It's grey and a bit rainy, but I still managed to get some fairly good photos. Let's take a magical mystery tour through Douglas, shall we?












And last but not least...



Yes. Even off the coast of England on an island 33 miles tall by 13 miles wide, there is a mention of Texas.

So, given that uploading the photos took an inordinately long amount of time due to the ropy internet connection in the hotel, I'll leave this here. I'll have more pics after tomorrow, but for now, we'll call it a night. x

03 August, 2010

Excuse-less.

I've decided it's silly to keep apologising for missing my FFF posts.

My life has changed drastically since the creation of this blog. When I started, I was unhappy on every level. I hated my job, I was depressed and unhappy in myself and in my home life, life sucked. *grin* Self pitying, thy name was Gabs.

Now, I like where I am. My job keeps me busy and I'm appreciated in it, I'm going swimming every day and feel better physically, and I've learned to appreciate the small things. I smile more, I laugh more, I am contented.

If (God forbid) I regress into unhappiness, I will restart my FFF. When I began them, I needed a physical reminder that there were happy things around me. Now, not so much.

And that's enough about that.

I will put up a proper post, I've taken some amusing pictures this week that I want to put out there but I don't want to give away what they feature until you can see them with your own EDBDIs. (Granddaddy joke, you'll have to forgive me that one.)

Go smile at something that amuses you. See if you can catch an elderly couple holding hands, or a teenager on the bus picking his nose like he thinks the window stops people from being able to see him. Have a good day. x

28 July, 2010

All up in my nose.


I love wasabi peas. I thought I'd take this time to wax lyrical about my love for said spicy dried legumes. Well, my love for all wasabi-coated snacks. And sushi is basically just a vehicle for the lovely green stuff. And you don't have enough mixed with the soy sauce unless the heat goes right up your nose.

That's perhaps enough about wasabi.

This has been a pretty busy week so far. (I'm probably a little too puerile for 30 years old, because when I typed "far" just then, I accidentally added a "t" at the end and had a good giggle before I corrected my spelling.) I'm still nesting at Heathrow Express, and if you know me at all, you know that nesting in a new office means cleaning out every cupboard and drawer in the building. The post room is almost done, and I've got my eye set on the cupboard next to the front door now. I've changed storage around, I've trashed and archived an inordinate amount of currently unnecessary paperwork, I've reallocated supplies where needed... you get my drift. I'm in my element organising everything (and everyone) around me, life is good.

I've also been remarkably productive on a personal level as well. I've almost finished my Christmas shopping for family in Texas, and it's only almost August. To be fair, I have a deadline for myself because I intend to take it all home when I visit in October (saves more than you know on shipping it all), but still. Done with Christmas in August? Give me the points. Especially considering the sheer volume of shopping we're talking about. Four sisters, two brothers, mother, stepmother, grandmother, various aunts/uncles/cousins/friends, you get my gist.

Well, that was a random offloading of consciousness, and now I need to go find an alternative to the furniture we wanted to order for the new meeting space on our floor as apparently Italians don't work in August and can't send what we want until late September. *sigh* I knew I was born in the wrong country.

26 July, 2010

Himself-less.


(No, it's not one of my cats, but it's too perfect for this post to pass up.)

This weekend, I will admit, was marvellous.

On Saturday, I didn't wake up until past ten o'clock in the morning. I was brought coffee and peanut butter toast in bed. I lazed with a book, I faffed with the moggies, I luxuriated in the lack of activity.

If you'll recall, Himself was leaving that day for his "not a stag do" do. I left the house around half noon, before he had to leave, and headed for central London. I went to the wholesale jewellery shop and bought more headbands for my Etsy offerings, I window shopped to my heart's content, and I spent an inordinate amount of time (and a fair amount of money) in the haberdashery department at John Lewis. Throughout all of this was the gratifying knowledge that it didn't matter how long I dallied (or dillied, for that matter) because there was no bored man in attendance.

I went home via the shops and picked up dinner for myself and the mogs, and what did I find upon re-entering the House of Gabs? Himself had made the bed and done the dishes before he left. Smug.

I spent the evening on the sofa with the moglets and girlie tv. I did some knitting, drank some wine, ate some Swedish chocolate that a workmate gave me last week. I slept dead centre in the bed, and only woke up on Sunday when Kit went digging frantically at the duvet next to my face in a bid to get under the covers with me. Cinnamon bun and coffee in bed with a book, some light tidying (laundry's not really a burden, I'm sick that way) and Himself came home around six and bought us dinner from Deliverance.

All in all, I count it a win. I wonder if he has any more "not a stag do" do's in the next few months...

22 July, 2010

Fabulous Friday Frivolity.

Okay, one and all, sit back and relax for this week's installment of FFF.

My five happy things for the week are as follows:

1. I have a logo! My graphic design mate has finished the gabymade avatar, and the shop will be up and running in short order. Everyone, meet Olive.

She's cute, she's kitsch, she's versatile yet simple. In short, she's perfect. I can't wait to get her properly installed on Etsy. Now all I have to do is sort a banner and we're off!

2. I took a page out of Silly Sock's diary and bought... wait for it... a ukelele! It's tiny and yellow and I fully intend to master it and carry it around with me for impromptu sing-alongs. I should start number three, that's how momentous the next piece of news is, but as it's related I'll allow them to share a spot... it came with a harmonica. *grin* Great for tuning the uke, even better for impersonating Blues Traveler or pretending I'm four again and running around the house breathing through it. Himself will be SO pleased.


3. This is a hesitant one, as I'm not sure how Himself will take it, but the hell with it. I get the house to myself this weekend! He's got a "not a stag do" (will explain that in a bit) and is staying overnight at the prospective groom's house. Himself keeps reiterating the point that there will be no nekkid ladies or gambling dens, as the festivities are taking place in a tiny hamlet of a town without facilities for those sorts of places, and that they'll only be out drinking with the lads. This means that I can run the sewing machine and watch girlie movies without having to worry that he's bored or bothered by the noise, I can bake and make a huge mess without him cleaning up around me, I might even invite a mate round for a girlie night in. And best of all, you ask? I can sleep spread-eagle, dead centre, right in the middle of the bed, without fear of sharp elbows. Verily, I say woot.

4. I've found another gray hair. *sheepish grin* This may not seem like a happy thing to you (or to my workmates, for that matter) but for me, it's great. My great grandmother had completely white hair by the time she was my age, and I've always hoped that I would follow suit, but haven't seen hide nor hair (pun intended) of the gray variety since the first one I found at Christmas. This one is in my left sideburn, for lack of a better term, and I refuse to pull it out. With luck, before long I shall be Gabs the Gray.

5. This is sort of a general happy thing. I'm far less stressed than I have been, and it's lovely. I think it's because I've finally accepted that I can't control everything around me, and that if something doesn't go my way it's simply not that big of a deal. It's freeing, I tell you.

So, go be happy in your weekend. I plan to.

20 July, 2010

What's green, white, and wobbly all over?


That's right, folks, that was me at the weekend. Although, I'm wobbly all over all the time, so maybe I should have left that part out as it doesn't pertain specifically to the weekend... nah, I'll leave it in, it rings true.

I know I missed my FFF on Friday. Please accept my humble apologies, and the forthcoming explanation. Not excuse, mind you. Explanation.

Okay, excuse.

I'm sick. Properly sick. I came home from work on Friday coughing my head off (although not literally, it's fairly firmly attached), and attributed it to having been on my hands and knees with the hoover in the post room. Woke up Saturday morning realising that the potent post room dust/toner combo was just a coincidence, and that I was actually sick.

This meant I had to cancel going round a workmate's house to teach her sixteen year old daughter how to use her new sewing machine, which I was REALLY looking forward to, and had the extra added bonus of letting her down to make me feel great about myself. I then thought that I'd just go into town with Himself to meet his sister and her fiancee for the Day Out in London for which they'd come up from Colchester, including tickets to a show that cost £40 each. In case you're wondering how well that went, I (woozily) got halfway into my jeans before I had to admit I wasn't physically capable of leaving the house.

The rest of my day was spent on the couch with the duvet and the mogs. Girlie movies on the big screen, several naps, much coughing and hurty skin. Even with the naps, I still went to bed around ten, and when I woke up the next morning feeling like there was an elephant resting about six inches under my chin, I gave in and went to the walk in centre at Charing Cross Hospital.

Chest infection was the order of the day. Amoxicillin tablets for seven days, no smoking allowed (which isn't that hard, given that I still can't draw a full breath and would only be wasting the nicotine anyway) and a cough that has my office treating me like Typhoid Mary. I need a sign around my neck that says "NOT CONTAGIOUS".

The moral of the story? Never clean anything.

15 July, 2010

Nightmares and piratical goodies.

I know, weird one, but that's what kind of a week it's been.

The family arrived as previously discussed, and as Himself and I get up pretty early to leave for work, we gave them our bedroom and slept in the living room floor on the air mattress. I say slept... Himself didn't, really. I swear, that man's the gender-challenged reincarnation of the Princess plagued by the infamous legume. He said it was too "lumpy", and attempted to sleep on the couch last night. I know from personal experience that our battered (slightly moggie-shredded) sofa is highly uncomfortable, so he didn't fare too well in his endeavour.

I find the air mattress fairly comfortable, myself. Of course, there's the slight issue with my subconscious. I have (as previously discussed) an extremely active nocturnal mind, and apparently the change in sleeping arrangements triggered some strangeness. The first night on the air mattress, I dreamed I was playing a piano (an upright, in case you're wondering) and as I stood up and turned around, a pair of hands shot out from under the piano and grabbed my ankles. In the dream, I knew it was a man and that he was attempting to abduct me, and as usual in such dreams, I was unable to get away or even to scream. I woke up in the middle of the night with my heart running triple-time. The second night on the air mattress, last night, I dreamed my teeth fell out. Some of them were stuck together in groups of three or four, and I had a handful of them and was trying to get the dentist to put them back in, but he refused as there was already a patient in the chair.

Nightmares notwithstanding, it's actually been lovely having the cousins staying with us. I took yesterday off work and went on the bus tour around London (my third or fourth time to go) and the boat tour from Westminster to Greenwich (my umpteenth time on that one). We wandered all over London, got plenty of exercise and lots of fresh air with our historical education, and finally made it home (via Soho, which amused the pair from Arkansas no end) completely exhausted.

I say exhausted... they were half asleep, I decided it was time to bake. Tonight is the Dragon Boat Race for charity, and my office has a team competing. Their name? The Paddington Pirates. Wild horses couldn't have stopped me making chocolate cupcakes with black icing and tiny Jolly Roger flags. I simply couldn't help myself.

However, there was a pleasant surprise to arrive with the family. It turns out that the female of the pair is a crafty soul like yours truly. I knew she knits, the occasional facebook status update told me that much, but I had no idea that she had a shop on Etsy for a while, or that she's a graphic designer with the firsthand knowledge to steer me in the right direction towards which photo editing package in which I should invest. We drooled all over Liberty's exclusive offerings together (while her husband took a walk, as he has NO interest in window shopping for yarn)and discussed sewing projects with wild abandon. I think next time, I'll send Himself to Arkansas and bring my Crafty Cousin over as a swap. I'm sure both husbands would appreciate the break from the constant hum of the sewing machine and the clicking of knitting needles. And they'd probably get drunk. Because, let's face it, that's what men do.

They're off home tomorrow morning, so have (with marvellously impressive foresight) booked a hotel room at the airport to avoid the 5am stumble to Heathrow with baggage and much yawning. I'm off in a minute to say goodbye at Paddington, and then will be headed to Paddington Basin to support the team at the boat race (and probably get a leetle drunkish). G'night to one and all.

12 July, 2010

Minutia and mountains of sewing.


If you can't tell what I did with my weekend, check the title.

A girlfriend at work had a seriously dwindling wardrobe due to slight rips and tears in the majority of her clothes, so I forcibly wrested them from her (slightly embarrassed) grasp and merrily carted them home to stitch them to health. This meant that I had the impetus to delve into my own mountain of damaged clothing (easily three times as much as what she'd sent home with me) and also meant I had no excuse but to hem the previously discussed curtains.

I also... wait for it... got out the ironing board. That's right, folks, those curtains needed pressing before they could go back up (I am my grandmother's granddaughter, after all) and then I had no reason not to continue on pressing everything I'd not hung up in the wardrobe due to the fact it needed ironing. Much productivity was witnessed... well, in me, anyway. Himself spent the time lounging on the sofa watching the World Cup. I watched too, mind you, I just mended at the same time.

Speaking of the World Cup, what a game! Bloodthirsty Dutchmen, overly lenient refs, Puyol's magnificent hair! There's a Spanish guy in my office who is, understandably, slightly overexcited about the result and had decreed that today I shall lead him to the nearest place to procure tapas for the office at lunchtime. Spanish victory equals Spanish food, apparently. You will not see me complaining. *drooling slightly*

Turns out my dates were wrong on the familial visit, they're coming tomorrow instead of today. This, of course, means I have tonight to swiftly run around the House of Gabs with a duster and a bin bag, hiding the mess as quickly as possible. We're giving up our bedroom for the first time, will be much easier than having to sneak around sleeping people in the living room floor, both of us leave so early in the morning. I'm going to try to take Wednesday off to do touristy things with them, I have enough accrued holiday to manage it and still get paid. Plus, it would be nice to get to spend some time with them aside from a few hours in the evening.

Final on the list of recent happenings, Himself had his theory test this morning, the written part of the driving exam he's been studying for. Nightmare tube journey aside, he sat the test with aplomb and passed with flying colours! We say hip, hip, hooray for Himself and his inherent genius, and have accordingly sent a congratulatory gift to his office. Don't worry, babe, it's not flowers. *grin*

So, away with me, back to the daily grind. Have as decent a day as possible. That's an order.

09 July, 2010

Fabulous Friday Frivolity.

And here we are at another FFF post. This week, I am actually going to stick to my own rules and do it proper-like. Here we go.

1. I had a very (very) satisfying shopping spree on asos.com this week. I know, completely irresponsible and frivolous (and female), but if it means I get wooden shoes I just don't care. *grin* That's right, friends, I am now the proud owner of the first pair of clogs I've owned since I was a teenager. They are clompishness at its best, and I love them.


2. I've got family coming to stay! I haven't seen my (ridiculously removed to the -nth degree) cousin in I honestly couldn't say how long. She and her husband took a trip to Africa and then are meandering back to the States via a slightly circuitous route through England, hence will be staying in the Gabs house for two nights starting Monday. I like having family around, even of the wildly removed variety, and it doesn't happen often. So, yay!

3. I've been swimming every day this week, and plan to go tonight after work as well. I can already tell a difference in my body, which is great seeing as how that's the only reason I've joined the gym, and swimming doesn't even really feel like exercise. The other nice part is that I've decided not to set myself unachievable goals (because then I have to feel crap when I can't meet them) and have set about simply swimming until I'm tired. I paddle along happily until my arms get tired, then hold onto the bar at the front and kick until my legs get tired, and so on and so forth until I feel I've had some exercise. It's totally no pressure, very relaxing, and puts me in a great mood for the rest of the day. I see no downside.


(And yes, I know the picture is erroneous at best, I just like it. So there. *thbthhh*)

4. I came to work yesterday with the plan to have a quiet dinner and bottle of wine with a girlfriend in the office. That turned into a quiet dinner and bottle of wine with the girlfriend and one of our guy friends in the office as he complained we go out without him too often. That turned into a drink at a quiet pub with the two of them. Then, of course, four other guys we work with turned up, with their expense accounts to hand, and it all got a bit blurry after that. There was a drunken stumble to Paddington Station around one in the morning, there was the wild dash by one of our party to catch a cab to Soho as he wanted to go clubbing and wasn't going to let the fact that nobody wanted to join him stop him from achieving his goal, there was chaos and laughter and fun. I'd forgotten what fun felt like, and it was exactly what I needed to set me up for a relaxing weekend. We won't talk about the McDonald's breakfast my weakened state drove me to this morning...


See the almost holy glow caressing its floury buns and cheesy insides? That's about how it looked to me this morning. *sigh* Glorious.

5. Last but not least, I've been offered a permanent job at Heathrow Express, which I think I'll take. I'm currently working what was meant to be a three month temporary assignment in the Commercial department, and things are working out fairly well, so we've decided to begin making the arrangement a lasting one. I haven't had a job like this before... normally PA roles are boring, tedious, "dragon at the gate" sort of jobs, like a glorified tea lady. Here, I can get involved in projects like the office move of last Friday or the magnetic wallpaper I'm ordering in place of corkboards, and I'm currently researching furniture options for the new meeting space on our floor. I'm going to clear out cupboards and rearrange the postroom. I am a happy bunny. *grin*

So, all in all, not a bad week. Hope yours was equally as inoffensive.

07 July, 2010

Tummy bugs and clean carpets.
























I was the lucky recipient of the 24 hour stomach bug floating around Himself's offices on Saturday. Woke up fine, accepted delivery of the carpet cleaning machine I'd arranged earlier in the week, started the living room while Himself struggled bravely on through his own dose of sickishness, and (thankfully) only started feeling really ill once I'd finished.

That said, I was only really feeling the effects for about six hours. Six of the longest hours of my life. *lol* I took a (very) long bath, then once things calmed down I ate a (very) little dinner and slept for a (very) long time. By Sunday, I was close to right as rain. Plus, I got to wake up to a clean smelling living room, and the carpets feel seriously lovely on bare feet now.

The cats? Not pleased. Not pleased at all. They spent rather a lot of time cowering in the bedroom with Himself while I sweated and swore over the machine in the living room, and have since insisted upon spending inordinate amounts of time rolling around in the floor, trying to get their smell back into the carpets. I believe they're also annoyed with me for taking down the drapes from the bay doors to wash and hem them. Those drapes are the stage for many a pitched battle between moggies, and the hems are markedly shredded from the occasional claw that misses its intended target, i.e. its owner's sister's face. Or butt, as the case may be.

This weekend, prospective tummy bugs aside, I intend to do some work in the garden. And get around to actually hemming the now-washed curtains. And clean off my chest of drawers. And the desk in the bedroom. And clear out old books. And... well, you get my drift. Let's see how much I actually get done. Let's hope there's nothing good on TV. *grin*

04 July, 2010

That's how we roll.

So, I missed Friday's FFF. I'll apologise, but let me explain.

Friday was the office move I've been planning since I started at Heathrow Express six weeks ago. It wasn't packing up the office and moving to another building, it was simply (you'd think, anyway) moving a few people to different desks within the existing floor plan. It was arranged that way because it meant we didn't have to pay the movers to completely reconfigure the desks, and it achieved the result the Commercial Director (my boss) wanted with the least amount of kerfuffle.

Or so you'd think.

Now, to me, a desk is a desk. The people I'm near might not be my best friends in the world, but I have a job to do and I physically am capable of performing it from wherever I'm plunked down. Apparently I'm alone in this capability. I held a meeting in my second week on the job to give the people involved a chance to choose where they wanted to be within the limits set by my boss, and an hour later, I still had no seating plan. All they'd talk about was the fact that they didn't want to move at all, that they were happy where they were, that they felt like they were being treated like naughty schoolchildren. Okay, here's the thing... I didn't hold a meeting for the fun of it, and I didn't hold it to discuss whether you fancied a change. We're moving, that's not up for discussion. Telling me you don't fancy it? Waste of my time and your breath. *sigh*

When I briefed my boss on how it had gone, he said if they weren't capable of managing it like adults, we'd just put them wherever they fit in his plan. Fine by me, I made a seating chart, he signed it off, and they were informed of where they'd be sitting. See how fast that was? Easy peasy.

Until about three days before the move. A girl in the office (my predecessor, actually) decided that she didn't like where she'd be sitting, and when she came to me and got "sorry, that's where your name is, that's where you'll be", she went over my head to my boss, who didn't realise she'd already spoken to me and been told no and somehow had forgotten that he'd told me to hold the line on the seating chart. I personally don't give a flying... well, you know... where anybody sits, it's just a desk, but when I get told it's final, in my head, that's that. When she informed me that she'd not be sitting where she was put, I was considerably confused and went to my boss. When he realised what she'd done, he went back to her and informed her under no uncertain terms that she couldn't behave that way, and that she'd have to sit at her originally arranged desk. This was Thursday night.

Friday morning, I turned up at quarter to eight to have a quick bite to eat before the movers showed up at eight. They were already in the lobby waiting for me... *lol* We got stuck straight in, only to find that the people who were meant to pack up their desks hadn't done it. Then the previously mentioned girl arrived and informed me that she would sit where she pleased and that it was none of my business where she ended up. Then she directed the movers while I was down the other end of the floor to move some furniture (and screw it together with other pieces) into places where it didn't belong, so I had to come along afterwards and unscrew it and have them move it to where it was meant to be in the first place. Then she unplugged a bunch of phones and piled them on the desk so we couldn't tell whose was whose (which matters as our phones take their extensions with them) and it took me half an hour I didn't have to sort that out. You're catching what I'm throwing with this, yes? Around half three, I realised I still hadn't eaten anything, and in fact had not yet sat down as I'd been physically under desks and helping the guys move and install bits and pieces since I walked in the door. At that point, I walked out the door and did not return.

By the time I left at half three, every single person had a working phone and a computer connected to the network. Remember that lovely girl I mentioned? Apparently, she organised a similar move about six months ago. Two days later, they were finally connected to the outside world and each other.

My boss is wildly unhappy that it went that way. Because, yes, I did call him to tell him how it went and that I was leaving early and why. He's asked me to run a little excercise in the office meeting on Monday entitled "The Office Move: How Do We All Think That Went?". I'm meant to ask what went well, what didn't go well, what we'd do differently in future. And I'm meant to fully expound on how it went for me. It's going to be interesting.

So go on, have a chuckle at my expense. That's the only reason I wrote all this out, somebody has to get something positive out of it. All I'm getting is gray hair. *grin* Hope you're all having a great weekend, enjoy the sun. x

30 June, 2010

Frumpy McFrumperson.






















Today, I look hot. I say this because yesterday, I was frumpalicious. I mean, like Tweedledee in a dress, but without the stupid hat. Not attractive.

I've always thought I was born in the wrong era. Since my youth, I've been compared (unfavourably) to the long, lithe, tanned limbs of the girls in the magazines. I've never been thin, I've always been "healthy". Unless I was "just plain fat" which is what I'm hefting around now. *lol*

Since Rubenesque isn't the done thing, and since the one thing the doctor keeps harping at me over is that excess baggage aggravates hypermobility, I'm taking the bull by the horns and *gasp* starting an exercise regime. A couple of workmates and I are going to join the little gym around the corner from our office, and I'm going to start swimming on a regular basis. No impact, full body, cardio and all... I'm already tired just thinking about it. *lol*

That said, I've already taken steps to eat more healthily. I keep a drawer full of dried fruit and granola bars, and two bottles of water on my desk so I remember to drink during the day. I've been taking my supplements (when I remember while I'm dashing around like the proverbial chicken), but hey, something's better than nothing, right?

So, London had better watch out. Thinner Gabs will certainly be Gabs with more energy. God help us all.

28 June, 2010

Aural bliss.


Now stop that, I know where your mind went.

I refer, of course, to the most harmonious of undertakings, the Hard Rock Calling concert on Sunday. Elvis Costello, Crowded House, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and the ever marvellous Paul McCartney.

Hot, sunny weather; Hyde Park crammed full of aged hippies; Elvis Costello sweating his head off in a purple velvet suit; Crosby, Stills and Nash covering the Stones' "Ruby Tuesday"; Paul McCartney covering "Tequila"... These were but a few of my most excellent experiences on Sunday.

I've never been to a concert alone. The cinema, yes. To dinner, yes. To a concert? Nope. It was a truly eye opening experience. I haven't done very much completely alone in the last few years. Being married means you have a built-in companion for everything, and it doesn't even occur to me to book something for one person. This was no exception to that, actually, it was more a strange array of incidents that saw me traipsing on my merry way to Hyde Park alone, but it's made me keen to try it again.

I sat where I wanted to sit, in the dirt with a bunch of strangers, and made conversation with them where I wouldn't have had I been accompanied. I loaned out my sunscreen to people turning a bit pink in the sun. I handed my water bottle to a girl who had been directly after me in the path of overflowing beer from a guy walking past, we washed off and had a laugh together. I danced down the front in the crowds of people (something Himself HATES and refuses to do).

It was a bit of a return to the "me" before Himself and grown up life, and made for a nice departure from the norm.

The moral of the story? Paul McCartney's a proper weirdo in person. I mean, weird. He kept putting on this bizarre Jamaican/rastafarian accent, and he swore more than I thought he would. Which, of course, means I never pictured him swearing at all. *lol* Gotta hand it to him, though, the man's still got it. OAP gyrations aside, his pipes are still totally intact, perfect pitch and lovely tone. Eleanor Rigby made my day.

23 June, 2010

Fabulous Friday Frivolity.

And it's that time again! My five happy things for the week are as follows:

1. Seems like a silly thing to get so happy over, but it turns out there's a tiny little postage stamp of a garden at our office building. Surrounded by fairly well established hydrangeas, it boasts a garden bench and a picnic table. The grass is dotted with tiny daisies, and it gets a good amount of sun in the afternoons. It has become THE place to be at lunchtime, gets us outside and away from computers, and it makes such a difference to the rest of the day. A haven at Heathrow Express, if you will.


2. I've been dying to get a massage for ages now, it's been months since the last, and in general discussion early in the week a girl in the office mentioned that there was a spa behind our building, so we wandered over to check it out. Turns out that it's not only a (very) well appointed little spa, it's a bite-sized gym as well. It's got a Fastlane pool, the sort that's very small but creates a current against which to swim, and a sauna, and all the machines I'd ever have the inclination to use. Even better, the lady that runs the place said that as we work so close, she'd give us ten percent off anything (massage, gym membership, anything!), and we could do a month at a time on the gym instead of having to sign our lives away for the next two years as most gyms require. The workmate that took me down wants to join for a month and try it out, we could go over at lunchtimes for a quick swim, and if it's both of us going there's accountability and we're more likely to go. Can't wait to get in that pool!

3. In the kerfuffle surrounding my hurty foot, a piece of fairly startling (but at the same time, not so much) news came to light. I've been diagnosed as hypermobile. I grew up calling it double jointed, thought it was cool that my thumbs could go flat against my forearms, and used my extreme flexibility to show off at karate and at yoga. Now that I realise it's not only not natural, but potentially harmful to my longevity as a mobile person to continue contorting myself, I can take better care of things as they are now. It's got me taking my supplements again, gelatine and fish oil, one a day multivitamins, the lot, and I'm feeling better already. Clearheaded and alert are the order of the day. This may not sound like a happy thing, being diagnosed with what is essentially a life-altering condition, but at least I know about it now and can be more careful. Knowing is half the battle, a reference which may or may not be lost on you depending on your year of birth and in which country you were spawned. *grin*


4.The Etsy thing is rolling ahead at a slightly alarming pace. The girls in the office are chomping at the bit to get their mitts on my shop address, and as soon as I get the logo and banner sorted out with my sister's design mate, we're good to go. I've ordered shipping boxes, tissue in which to wrap the goodies, and yet more supplies as I'd begun to run out...! This Saturday will be spent crafting to my heart's content. Now if only I could figure out how to stop the moggies attempting to eat my feather stash...


5. I've saved the best one for last. A girl in the office came to my desk on Tuesday with a pair of concert tickets in her hand. I asked what they were, and she said "oh, they're to see Paul McCartney on Sunday, but I can't go now, do you want them?" Sorry, do I want them? Uh, yeah, I want them. Sunday afternoon, Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park, Paul McCartney supported by Crosby, Stills and Nash, Crowded House, and Elvis Costello. For free, at the last minute. Awesome. Those are the kinds of surprises I'm totally behind. I have to pay it forward now, will be keeping my eye out for potential happy-making acts.

Go on, check it out. *grin*

http://www.hardrockcalling.co.uk/news/index.aspx?aid=50bc7296-60e4-464e-a88c-9df7acd4aab1

So, all told, it's been a decent week. Hope it's been the same (or better) for you all. x

21 June, 2010

Saturday saw Gabs and Co. en route to Chelmsford for the second chapter in the Great House Hunt. We had four to view which Himself had arranged with various estate agents in and around the area.

















The first house was beautiful, the garden was amazing, it was in our price range and very close to the station. The catch, you ask? A distinct lack of storage space, I reply. Where would my shoes live??? We moved on to the next.

It was a milk carton. Square, white, oddly arranged inside (a window in the front coat closet?) and smelled of rental property. Someone else's food, you know what I mean. On to the next.

The third was quite large, three bedrooms of which one would more than suffice for my in-house craftiness, utility room, garage, huge garden, in pretty decent decorative nick. Very nice kitchen, and the stove would be left for us. Right in our price range, and Himself reckons we might even be able to talk them down by £5k or so. Very promising, on to the next.

The fourth house was HUGE. Separate garage, wendy house in the garden with carpet and electricity, three bedrooms of which one was a loft and perfect for my Etsy business. Issues there are that there was rather a lot of mainly decorative work that needed doing, and it's thirty grand more than the other three which puts it over the threshold for stamp duty (another 3% of the entire purchase price paid to the government, for those of you not in the know). It also needed a new kitchen and none of the appliances would be left so would need to buy all new, and the garage door needed replacing. Himself thought he might could get them to knock off a decent amount of cash, but still wasn't enthused about embarking upon such a massive project.

End result is that we both agree that the first house was too small, the second too weird, the fourth too big of a project, and the third might be our "just right". He's arranging for us to view it a second time this week, will take my camera for those of you who care to see what it looks like.

As for yours truly, I'm trying to wrap my head around no longer living in London. It's going to be very, very weird. However, as Anne and LM Montgomery seem to feel, it'll all work out if we find our little House of Dreams. x

18 June, 2010

Existential tenets, or some such rubbish.


I know this should be my FFF post for the week. I'm breaking with tradition just this once.

Don't get me wrong, there have been happy things this week. One of the girls in our department had her leaving do on Tuesday night, and a convivial time was had by all. Things at work are falling into place, the cats have been silly, I've talked to family, etc. I just have something I want to say, and I want to say it badly enough to let it take the place of my five happy things.

I've had my iPod on shuffle at work for the last week, and it's funny how certain songs create a mental atmosphere. Calm, sad, joyous, angry, introspective, it's all there in that tiny black box. Ingrid Michaelson is a personal favourite, and in particular, the song entitled "Highway". For lack of a better way of expressing it, for me that song creates a mood of "enjoy it now, because things change".

I know once we die, we don't have regrets, but let me indulge myself in suspended disbelief for a minute. When my life comes to an end, I want to know that I've lived fully and well. I don't want to think back and wish I'd told the people I love how important they were to me, or wish I'd traveled or made love or cooked or just kicked back with a glass of wine and girlfriends more often. I don't want those regrets. I know I won't be thinking "I wish I'd tidied the house more". It's the things that feed me emotionally and spiritually that I want to savour and repeat as often as possible.

With this in mind, I try to live as fully in the moment as I can. If I'm talking to a girlfriend and I think she looks beautiful, I say so. I tell my sisters how wonderful I think they are, each in their own way, and that I'm proud of them. I tell my college roommate that she's one of the most interesting, talented, beautiful people I know. I don't see any reason to have positive thoughts and greedily keep them to myself. I want to seize opportunities with both hands, I want to say "yes" more often. I want to live.

So, maybe I'm a bit maudlin. It happens. The events of the past two weeks have been clarifying for me, sort of a distillation of the last few years. I'm a very different person now than I used to be, and I suppose it depends who you are as to whether you think the changes are positive or not so hot. My point, I suppose, is this. For better or worse, I am who I am. Love me or leave me.