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


(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