Monday, 31 March 2008

Happy Monday?

We had a funny old weekend. Part DIY frenzy, part practical shoe-shopping, part sitting in a traffic jam outside Cribbs Causeway for an hour.

On the CC subject - I remembered whilst sitting in the traffic jam that I swore never, NEVER to go to Cribbs at a weekend, particularly a wet weekend. Due to my significant error I allowed myself a wee trip down memory lane when the gridlocked traffic meant that myself and my two marvellous aunts were unable to leave the lovely mall until quarter to seven in the evening. We were so high on latte we could have rocket-fueled our way down the M4 but, no, the shops stayed open and we had three extra hours of browsing. Not fun.

On this particular occasion I had taken the boy for school shoes, trainers and football boots - yes, all three. We managed very well thanks to JJB Sports, NOT JD Sports (again, my error). I also used G's left over Argos vouchers to buy a shiny blow up gym ball so that I can find my abdominal muscles which went missing just about 11 years ago.

Lovely, I thought. I will organise the playroom so that I can do a bit of exercise in the mornings when I can't get to the gym (yes, dear reader, I said gym - I'm enjoying it, I still shudder when I say I'm enjoying it).

Little did I know that when I left to go the gym and restock our cupboards on Sunday morning, my beloved offspring would burst nice shiny gym ball, reducing it to possible knitting material (if you can slice it, you can knit it). That's where it all went wrong.

I won't go into too much detail as we were all fairly traumatised especially on one hour less sleep. It doesn't suit our family psyche to be tired.

Needless to say, Sunday wasn't great.

But - hey, Monday's been much better - G's been to work, the kids have been to school and I had several hours being arty with jey?, jaye?, jeye? cloths. If, indeed you see said cloths on your travels - any colour accepted - please purchase and send to me for reimbursement. I've got blue but am sure there are other colours that are just waiting to be sewn and stitched and drawn on.

I've nearly sorted out how to get a battery for less than £50 to replace the one that has died. Pictures will follow - promise....

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

I knew I shouldn't have started this...

I knew I'd get myself into trouble one day. I've been quietly getting on with my sketchbooks, sorting out loads of stuff at home instead of going to college and trying to get organised and rustle up some work (preferably paid) for when I finish my foundation year in May.

What do I do? I start having ideas. I took it upon myself to email a suggestion (knitting/crafting related naturally) to the programmer of the Big Screen in Swindon (see: www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/big_screen/). I received a reply to call the gentleman in question and we had a very pleasant chat about how knitting was great but not necessarily that engaging as an on-screen proposition. I could see his point and I did wonder who or what he was imagining as he was talking to me. Anyway, he said he'd give my number to one of his colleagues.

Twenty minutes later I'm agreeing to be interviewed on local radio as, luck would have it, they're talking to an American author about her knitting group related novels and they wanted someone in Wiltshire who knows about knitting groups! So, tomorrow at 2.45 apparently is the time of my call. Crikey. This has prompted me to re-ignite 'crafty coffee' but this time, at night, AND in the pub. I got a funny look there as well.

So, no more ideas for me. Back to my sketchbooks.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

mind the gap

I know, it has been 8 days since I last blogged. In my defence I have been to the gym four times since then and spent hours eating overpriced chocolate in the form of eggs.

We've had visitors, made birdtables and boxes, created a garden, built an aeroplane and a tank, I've tried to tidy my room (again) and I've made some more jolly felt chicks.

We've watched 2 lord of the ring films and went to see the Spiderwick Chronicles at the cinema yesterday. E has suffered 2 nightmares subsequently. Bad parent, yes I know. There is an upside, now E has experienced the hideousness of the orks and the creepy sliminess of golum, I feel that her hitherto terror of the wererabbit (wallace and grommit) can now be put into perspective.

The Spiderwick Chronicles was great - scary, I thought but very entertaining, just right for Easter. I had an incident with the chocolate eggs I'd smuggled in - I opened my packet of v. special Green & Blacks, an ogre appeared on screen and the eggs flew in all directions. Not good.

It also had this really scary undercurrent of 'dadphobia' in it - the father was absent, 'with someone else', Mr Spiderwick had ignored his family's safety because he was too busy writing about beasties and the dad at the end turned into a hideous troll. Methinks someone has issues.

Anyway....back to normal today. I have decided to spread out my sketchbooks and sort them out in preparation for the interview I may be invited to, I want to go to the gym at some point and then have a trip to ikea planned this afternoon en famille.

Thanks for all the comments - I had 4 in one go! You must have missed me. I'm still not sure about this list thing. When I make a normal list, I've always got something else to add to it so the process never does anything to make me think I'm achieving something. Is this why I am not CEO of a major multinational?

Sunday, 16 March 2008

dry, not high on Sunday night...

I was brave, I took v.1 of 'money spinning idea' to a friend's house last night .3/4 were positive, 1/4 pointed out that it was very country cottage and maybe not ideal for a modern interior - which is fine and I agree. I'm going to do another one this week inbetween cleaning and cooking and colleging (oh my!) just to see if I can be more modish and contemporary. The problem with asking friends though is that they're well, friends, and I suspect reluctant either to hurt my feelings or incur a project related strop.

The priority though is to get our camera sorted so that I can take photos of my new idea and start rustling up business. If I can bear walking into Swindon to college tomorrow, I might have some luck getting it fixed.

On the writing front, I've entered one poetry competition and am finalising a short story to enter elsewhere (no, not there!) by the end of the month. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and nothing financial is being gained as you might have gathered so I must do something to make myself feel useful.

I have also formulated an equation related to country living:

years living in countryside x size of vehicle + av. carbon emission = greater distance travelled in the middle of the road

Saturday, 15 March 2008

time marches on

It's raining. I wonder how many blogs start 'it's raining'. The kids are on the wii, G is getting ready for a night out in the city and I'm putting off tidying up my room (again). E and I went to a table top sale this morning. There was no fabric, I repeat, NO FABRIC in the room. I did, however, get a stack of knitting magazines for £1 and some delightful china for £3.

That reminds me, need to look on ebay to see if I've made my fortune.I have, though, stumbled on a potential moneyspinning idea which I will share once I've done a little research. My stars say I'm creatively unstoppable which sounds a lot more exciting than unobtrusively engaging (see previous post).

Just a couple of days left at college before the Easter weekend and the gardening marathon I've planned. I suspect it will rain - ever the optimist, that's me!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

I have left the fence....

A decision has been made - I am going to apply to do a BA Fine Art (Drawing) at dear old Swindon college. This, I hasten to add, does not mean I shall be starting a degree in September. I'm applying because if I don't I won't be able to do so at a later stage without starting again. This way I can apply, defer if I want to and then spend a year earning the wherewithall to pay for the tuition. The only way I will get a grant is to banish G to the divorce courts and that seems a little selfish. I feel self-indulgent enough just thinking about spending three years contemplating my creativity with a bodkin in one hand and possibly a pencil in the other. I suppose the expression is - watch this space - the likelihood is that you may have got bored by then anyway.

Today I have mostly been having 'ideas about my final project' - I got to 11 and then stopped. I have lots of ideas but not a great deal of skill to bring them to triumphant fruition. It didn't help that H the photographer who sits beside me seemed to have some kind of sighing syndrome today. It must be very trying for him to sit next to a middle-aged mother of two instead of H the textile darling who sits at the other end of the room - she's a much more suitable booth buddy.

As part of my application I have been provided with a reference which describes me as 'unobtrusively engaging', 'quirkily original', 'self-challenging' and 'occasionally convoluted'. If I'm feeling brave, I'll post the whole thing sometime. It was very odd being described by someone who I have such a limited but unique relationship with. Odd.

Anyway....I also went into Swindon town centre and bought some stickers to finish my collage and some more bananas. Me and mine must have the highest levels of potassium in Wiltshire. I often think of Peter Andre when eating a banana as, you may remember, he gave himself banana poisoning whilst filming the iconic video for one of his forgettable pop tunes when he emerges from the surf looking rather shiny and muscly.

I digress....bananas, apples, potatoes and two reduced steaks for supper (very economical). I think the Sainsburys I visited must be one of the oldest in the country - not very sainsbury-fied and no smiley posters of Jamie Oliver. An unexpected plus for the day.

G is ironing. Having asked him to iron his stuff when I was working I now feel positively guilt-ridden when I hear him get the ironing board out. Is it right I let him iron now I'm contemplating my creativity and not bringing home any bacon? Answers on a starched linen pillowcase please.

PS: Will the commentor (you know who you are) indicate whether you are happy to share your little secret with my wide and extensive readership? I'm sure your secret will remain relatively secret....

Monday, 10 March 2008

he's a poet and now we know it

I went with my delightful reading and writing friends to see John Hegley last night at the Egg Theatre, Bath (www.theatreroyal.org.uk/the-egg). I'd heard of him but couldn't for the life of me remember any of his work. He was very funny - a sort of cross between Billy Bragg and Peter Kay but from Luton. I didn't expect him to sing so much but he did, even managing to get a fairly reticent Bath audience to sing along with him. Most impressive.

He looked as if he was enjoying himself which must be important for a sole performer. His series of poems about animals left me a little cold but then that's because I'm not into animals that much. I particularly liked his 'brother in law' poems.

I'm planning to email him as he talked about a maori tradition and idea of ancestors lining up behind you in life - very much like some work I did a couple of years ago with a group who use something called 'systemic theory' to work out issues, problems and conflicts. The exercise they gave us was to get a group of objects, nominate each object as people in our lives and then position them on a board or area of the floor. The act of doing that and reflecting on that is amazingly powerful. Sounds simple but it really does make you think about how you sit amongst those you love (or not) most.

And another thing....read yet another article about being tired all the time. Here's a little oprah-fied something to help out with that. As well as making interminable, unachievable lists (including those things that move along the lists and never get done), make another list of all the things you actually achieve during the day. I've been trying to do this whilst watching trashy telly and it makes you feel amazing when you've got a couple of days/weeks of stuff achieved in front of you.

NB: This list also works with, exercise I've taken, things/people/stuff I'm grateful for, stuff I never thought I'd have

I swear it works - have a go....

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

tickets please.....

I am currently on three journeys:

- my educational journey
- my creative journey
- my gym journey (for which I need to meet with someone called Aimye several times? Answers on a paper towel please....)

You may have noticed that 'Ski Sunday' no longer involves a great deal of skiing. Similarly modern 'journeys' no longer involve a great deal of travelling.

It is no longer enough to start a course, get a bit of learning, do a bit of soul searching or get a bit fitter, they all have to be incorporated into a journey, a quest, a discovery that lead to self-improvement and, it seems to me, an air of self-congratulation.

On the interminable 'Masterchef' constestants, to the last cook, mentioned their journey through the trials of the programme and the competition. They often seemed to have forgotten that they downloaded the application form, had the thought that they might stand a chance and put themselves through the whole thing. No-one forced them to, no-one said that searing some yellowfin tuna and roasting a couple of poussin would make them into a better person? It was only food.

Equally - my 'journeys' are thus: to learn, to create and to get a bit thinner. Once those three things are done, I might treat myself to a trip to New York.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

dithering

I am faced with the horrible prospect of removing myself from just one of the fences I love to sit on. I must choose this week whether to pursue a degree or, well, not.

I have always been terrible at making decisions. I decided not to continue aged ballet, aged 7, because I couldn't bear the pressure of being bought pretty little shoes and having the responsibility of NEVER BEING ABLE TO GIVE UP. It was clear that dithering, even at my young age, was not to be tolerated.

I decided to give up gymnastics, aged 8, because I didn't want to be bought a leotard. This, too, would have meant I must to gymnastics for ever and that it was a big decision, not to be taken lightly.

I have always been acutely aware that deciding to do one thing means a rejection of something else. People who don't feel like this are quite at liberty to make the assumption that I am woolly and non-committal. I would, in my defence, like to disagree. I even bought a book (being borrowed at present by a friend who, I suspect, has a similar personality trait) called 'What do I do if I want to do everything?' by Barbara Sher (here's a review at http://blogcritics.org/archives/2007/03/01/062521.php). Despite it's self-help-nonsense title, it made total sense to me mainly because it told me that I was wonderful and that I didn't really have to decide. I just needed to change my perspective a little. I did one particular exercise and discovered that there are, in fact, lots of things I don't want to do....

- study science
- learn more about history than I know
- work/study/be near animals of any description
- work with food
- collect cacti
- collect anything really (apart from glass fish)
- go on walking holidays
- go on a cruise
- learn about geology
- find out more about space travel

Which of course means I've got oodles and totes and shopping bags full of time for arting, writing, crafting, gardening, wifing, mothering, friending, lunching, eating, cooking and, of course, blogging!

Monday, 3 March 2008

a list of things that happened today

In no particular order:

- I went to the gym
- I ate chocolate despite telling myself I wouldn't
- I received a card from my mother
- I learned that I must decide whether to apply for a degree next year by a week on Thursday
- I worked on my cross-stitch 'to label is human, to brand is divine'
- I made tea for 4 kids
- I felt hailstones on my neck
- I woke up in the spare room
- I wished the beloved good luck for his new job
- I went to the supermarket
- I wished I could take photos
- I wish there was an extra day in each week
- I forgot to kiss the kids goodnight before I went to the gym (notice I got that in twice)
- I spent some more time looking at blogs that are far more interesting than my own