On Chaos practise

People are always talking about the chaos theory

If they knew me better, they could talk about the chaos practise.

Especially if they watched me packing and/or trying to catch a bus.

On rain at lunchtime

The canteen at work is designed for people to go in, sit down, eat and leave again. It’s not designed for everyone to sit around talking once they’ve finished eating.

Today it rained. Very very hard. It started raining at midday, just after I’d got to a table and sat down. The people who had been about to leave, and the people who’d been eating when I arrived and had now finished, stayed put – waiting for the rain to stop. My ‘generation’ of diners also stayed put. The new arrivals had nowhere to sit and wandered about forlornly looking for an empty table..

Something like looking for a parking space in a carpark next to a concert.

On perfume shopping (part 2)

The perfume fiasco didn’t go unnoticed by my dearest DB. We didn’t have enough time to rectify the situation before the wedding and I thought I’d got away without buying one until we were on the boat to England a couple of weeks later.

The trouble with ferries is they are equipped with dutyfree shops and more time than most people can bear to sit and stare out of the window. I happily agreed to accompany DB in, and to watch him buy whisky and stickers for the van’s headlights. I wasn’t aware though, just how sneaky he can be. After choosing his whisky and picking up the stickers, he steered me not towards the tills, but towards the smelly part of the shop I’d been avoiding – the perfume department. It didn’t look like I was getting out of it. We sprayed numerous paper strips, but neither of us had a pen to write the names down, so by the time we’d sprayed the 4th or 5th scent and mixed up the strips, we had no hope of ever figuring out which was which.

When the helpful voice in the overhead speakers told us it was almost time to land and that the shop would be closing shortly, we bought the one we could remember having sniffed twice.

It smells like rather artificial lemons. But I guess I wanted one which had a recognisable scent.

On perfume shopping (part 1)

– or shopping with SD continued-

I’ve experimented with perfume even less than with make-up.

I hate it when people leave scent trails, unless they’re REALLY good ones, and then I stalk them MWAHAHAHAHAA!!! No. I don’t really stalk people. I’m just really fussy about the ones I would stalk if it was down to smell.

My dearest DB asked me to buy myself a perfume, which he would then pay for when he next saw me. I wasn’t keen on the idea, but it seemed important to him (I don’t think he was trying to tell me something…) and I’m one of those people who love to please 😉 so we went into one of the smelliest shops in the city……and failed.

I sprayed a million strips of what felt like good drawing paper with a million different chemical offerings. Nowhere in the whole shop was a perfume to be found that actually smelt of a specific thing, be it peaches, roses, lavender, cloves, or bleach*. SD thought the idea that perfume should represent anything hilarious. Also, it is impossible to sniff more than about 5 or 6 different perfumes without deadening your nose to everything. I have no idea how anyone chooses a perfume based on anything other than the bottle or the name.

After a very long time, and even more persuasion, I sprayed one onto me instead of the paper strips. SD chose one she wanted to buy and we left.

SD’s boyfriend was waiting for us when we came out. SD held my arm up to his nose and asked what he thought. Confusion doesn’t come close to describing his expression. Once she’d explained that he was supposed to give us his opinion on the perfume, he duly obliged, sniffing and saying it was ‘very nice’ in that polite way people do when they don’t actually care, but don’t want to offend. I could understand his lack of interest – if anyone had asked me a week earlier I wouldn’t’ve reacted any differently. We wandered towards the clothes and jewellery shop, chatting about random things, until SD remembered she’d been successful and waved her own wrist at him. He pulled a face and said, “what on earth’s THAT???” Which was much more honest, but didn’t go down very well, especially since mine had received a rather different reaction.

She stomped off ahead, leaving us to exchange glances, and trail after her.

We didn’t make things better when she asked us what we thought of a salmon coloured shirt. As a style-no-hoper, I got away with saying I didn’t like the colour much, her dear boyfriend, who also didn’t appreciate the delicate orange tones, got the full brunt of her displeasure. I can’t say I was jealous 😉

I bought earrings and a couple of flowery hairslides – they’d at least keep the hair out of my eyes if nothing else – and I was fully kitted out to go to the party.

Once we were all thoroughly tired of shopping, we went to buy icecream.

Icecream can make a lot of things better, and I can’t actually say I hadn’t enjoyed myself, but I think in future I need a fairy Godmother with a magic wand – getting all prettied up was never that much work in the fairytales!

Oh yeah, and the sandals had made holes in my toes while I was walking.

 

* No. I don’t want to smell like bleach. I just wanted them to make their perfume smell like something.

On make-up shopping

– or shopping with Swimming-D –

I don’t wear make-up.

I was going to add ‘ever’ but that would be lying. I dabbled in it a lot, or rather dabbled in a lot of it, as a toddler, smearing lipstick over my forehead, cheeks and chin while my mother wasn’t looking*, and again as a teenager, for parties where I had to be a pirate or a goth. I’d even tried ‘normal’ make-up a couple of times, but it hadn’t been a hit – my boyfriend at the time said he preferred me without any – and I was too lazy to learn to do it properly and/or fast enough for it to be an integral part of my being. I decided at some point that it’s much better to be “naturally beautiful” [insert cheesy smile here] and banished all things make-up related from my vocabulary and thoughts.

Recently though, I was caught on camera wearing make-up at a wedding.

Apparently going to weddings not only calls for pretty dresses, it also calls for make-up. Even if you don’t wear any the rest of the time.

Swimming-D told me this.

She was at my house to help me choose a dress and shoes and jewellery (serious business this wedding lark I tell you!) and asked where my make-up was. When I finished searching through my [newly organised] bathroom cupboard and [not so organised] jewellery box and presented her with a mascara, a bottle of bright red nail varnish and a couple of eyeshadows, she was appalled. Even more so when she discovered that the mascara had dried up (probably years ago) and most of the eyeshadow had seen more solid days. She decided we were going shopping.

This wedding had better be worth it – I’ve already been dress shopping this year!

SD went home, more in despair than disgust, having arranged to meet up in town the next day.

I wore one of my other new dresses to go shopping in. SD had said I should wear it “just because”, instead of just on ‘special occasions’ so I did. I figured going shopping for make-up needs different attire than my usual plain T-shirt and floppy skirt. One obviously can’t go out in a posh(ish) dress without wearing matching shoes (obviously!), so I wore the sandals I’d bought with E last year and hadn’t worn properly since, and I left my hair down. I hardly ever leave my hair ‘open’ because it flops in my eyes, gets in my way, makes my neck sweat. In turn, these factors have a tendency to make me aggressive. I’d only just had it cut though, and both Swimming-D and my DB (= dear Boyfriend) had told me I had to leave it down for the wedding. So I was practising.

She only just recognised me when we met up in town. Her bf had no idea who I was until SD made a beeline for me and hugged me.. To be fair I’ve only ever met him a handful of times, and if he stood with his back to me outside a shop wearing an army uniform (as an example of something I can’t imagine him ever wearing) I almost definitely wouldn’t recognise him either.

It’s quite disturbing how much of an impression clothes make.

So anyway.

There we both were in town. Me dressed up in a dress and high-heeled sandals, SD in her usual ‘chic-but-not-too-chic’ going shopping clothes.

As we made our way through the crowds of milling-about-people towards the closest make-up shop, I felt like a small child being dragged somewhere it really doesn’t want to go, but knows it has no choice. I generally steer away from the sort of shop that sells make-up, feeling out of place among the thousands of scantily-clad, but thickly-masked ladies, but on this occasion I was a woman on a mission. Or at least WITH a woman on a mission. SD led me directly to mascara aisle. Okay, so the aisle wasn’t entirely devoted to mascara, but every shelf along the aisle had its own mascara section. Why they have to sort the shop out by brand and not by product I don’t know. It seems a silly idea. If they tried doing the same thing in a supermarket they might as well open a dozen smaller shops inside the main building, as well as a load of stalls for the companies too small to warrant a whole shop.

Apparently mascara-application is a science. Each manufacturer has a range of brushes and they’re accompanied by a variety of silly names.. volcano for example. I think I’d actually rather not look like a volcano, nor would I like one to go off in my face. But there we are. I don’t have a clue.

Once we decided Volcano Mascara was the one to go for, it was time to look at face powder. I’ve never been at all convinced it’s necessary, but even I could see it was sneaky stuff. You can make the bags-under-your-eyes blend into the rest of your face, so even though you look worse close up, from a distance no one can see you haven’t slept enough for the last 3 years.

We chose one that doubles up as foundation if you apply it wet. It hadn’t got nearly as interesting a name. Not even the colour was exciting. It appears my face is beige. Well isn’t that dandy?! I’ve always wanted to know I have a beige face.

Next we moved onto nail varnish. I’d brought my dress with me, so we colour matched. The best match was naturally on the shelf marked ‘expensive nail varnish’ (or numbers to that effect),

I added it to my basket, along with a white pearly one, and 2 different clear lacks. Yes, I suppose I got carried away, but nail varnish is something I know more about, and actually wore on a regular basis until I started school here and my mother gave them to my aupair daughter. Okay, I didn’t wear them plain, the way most people do, I wore multiple colours, or stripes, or spots, or flowers or anything else I could be bothered to paint with them. I didn’t ever go as far as getting them done professionally though.

SD dragged me away from the brochure telling the world how fantastically cool it is to wear a different colour on each finger (amen!) with the words, “ARGH! You’re going to a WEDDING…”

The finishing touch was provided by an ‘enhancing’ lipstick, supposed to amplify your original colour. SD was more taken with various shades of pink, but I was adamant.

I paid, and the contents of the barely lined mini-basket cost as much as, if not more than, a weekly grocery shop.

Next stop perfume.

ARGH.

On polishing ones fingers

It’s not recommended.

In fact, I would say you shouldn’t do it.

It’s the sort of thing that can mess up your plans.

Except, thinking about it, my plans mostly aren’t up to scratch, so they might as well be messed up or completely got rid of. Sometimes doing things you shouldn’t do seems to work out pretty damn fine.

I wanted to go to see a nice man about a dog glassblowing. About making my Meisterstück to be precise.

It was semi-sorted out and I was going to practise making lots of Things so that I’d be good at it before I got there so that he wouldn’t despair of me or kick me out after the first join.

I also had a huge sleep debt and a bad-tempered colleague. And the Summer had decided to arrive in full force. 35 degrees (C) is nothing.

I had a whole lot of other Glass Things due to be collected very soon, and work Things probably come before private Things, at least in the eyes of the boss.

I was even going to miss the football match* so I could attempt to catch up with myself.

There I stood, in my workshop, polishing important Glass Things by myself, minding my own business and not watching the football. I even put a brand new polishing wheel on the machine.

Suddenly I was no longer polishing important Glass Things, I was polishing my finger.

I’m a glassblower.

My fingers are pretty darn important.

In the grand scheme of things they’re a whole lot more important than the important Glass Things.

I stopped polishing my finger, turned the machine off and washed the polishing muck off so I could see the damage.

I’m not good at blood. I go all queasy and have to lie down (sometimes more quickly than intended). However. I’m also good at self-preservation. This gives me about three and a half minutes (total) between injuring myself and falling over, in which I am still able to function properly.

As I said, I washed my finger, held it up to my face, washed it again because the blood was in the way, bent down to look at it under the tap, got a plaster out of the medicine cabinet, decided a plaster wasn’t going to cut it (or cover it even :P), got out a bandage with a cool joined in gauze patch and a paper towel, washed my finger again, dried it, wrapped it up… and sat down – so as not to fall over.

When I was sure I could stand up without damaging the floor, I turned off the lights, locked up the workshop and went to watch the football.

… to be continued….

* No. I still don’t like football. I just think you should support people you know if they’re crazy enough to play.

Quote: daring greatly

“It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs,
who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst,
if he fails,
at least fails while daring greatly…”
– Theodore Roosevelt from his speech Citizenship in a Republic

On Kindergarten Windows

I love how creative kids are. I love the different interpretations of a task, “draw a butterfly, colour it in and cut it out”. All the butterflies are different and that’s fantastic. I think it’s brilliant when the stuff the kids make gets put up on the walls or the windows.

Today the train I was on went past a kindergarten.

I was appalled.

The windows were obviously supposed to be chic.*

The butterflies were arranged by the colour of the paper they’d been cut out of. Each window was a different colour.. red butterflies, yellow butterflies, green, blue, purple… That wouldn’t’ve been so bad, and might even have been very effective, if the butterflies had all been individual and facing in different directions. Instead, each window had 7 identical butterflies** in the exact same “random” pattern.

5 identical windows.

And that in a kindergarten.

ARGH.

* Or the Kindergarten ‘teacher’ had OCD…

** okay, to be fair, I couldn’t see the other side of the window. Maybe they were beautiful. Maybe they were very small children and had been given the pre-cut butterflies to colour in…

Who knows..

On being informed v being ignored

I have a boyfriend 🙂

This happened at some indecipherable point between the beginning of May and the middle of June. I don’t think it’s all that important to have a date, but he does so we’re going to have to think of one.

It’s now August.

I’ve told most people the news.

I’ve also been incredibly busy*.

Being busy not only translates into not-being-at-home, not-being-online, not-making-time-to-phone-people-I-haven’t-spoken-to-for-months-to-tell-them-the-news…..but also into writing-blog-posts-on-my-phone-and-saving-them-as-rough-draft-emails-instead-of-finishing-or-posting-them.

Some people are decidedly not amused at not being told sooner.

Other people are decidedly not amused that I’ve stopped writing.

The second group of people includes myself.

So I’m going to start again.

Writing on the computer that is.

And posting.

And phoning people up.

And maybe being online more often….

Maybe.

Being online isn’t good for my sleep-account.

Then again, not being online doesn’t seem to be so good for my friendships.

Maybe I can get online and still get enough sleep. That would be a first. And firsts are exciting.

 

Watch this space.

 

 

*not always boyfriend related 😉

On Perfect days

(Anyone who read my earlier posts – or spoke to me during May – knows I was invited to spend a week “messing about on a river” (and connecting lakes). This post should have been posted directly after getting back (mid June) but somehow wasn’t. I’m going to post it now anyway)

________________________________________________________________________________

Some days are just so perfect nothing could make them better. They’re even perfect in the moment you’re living them, not just in your memory afterwards.

They’re pretty few-and-far-between, but they do exist.

The first Saturday of the boat trip was one of them. The rest of the boat trip was fantastic too, but there’s something about doing things for the first time that makes them special.

This post won’t do it justice, but I’m going to write about it anyway in the hope I can convey a fraction of the amazingness to screen-paper.

______________________________________________________________________________

I arrived on Friday, was picked up from the station, fed, watered and sent to bed.

I woke to the promise of warm breadbuns for breakfast. By the time I was up and dressed the promise was reallife and waiting for me on the table.

We packed the car and after a brief detour to the workshop to do some last-minute finishing off, we found ourselves parked in a playground on the banks of a huge lake on the outskirts of the city looking at a row of motor and sailing boats, one of which was to be our home for the next week-and-a-bit.

We unloaded the contents of the car into a heap on the pier and I misused a kid’s trampoline while R parked the car where it wouldn’t disturb anyone. I love trampolining, even if the sign forbids anyone over 14 the pleasure of bouncing. Luckily the trampoline police were on duty elsewhere and I got off with being laughed at by R as he came back to start loading the boat.

The only way onto the boat was a thin wooden plank leading off the wooden pier and across the water.

The plank wobbled.

Also the boat rocked if you touched it. I don’t balance better when holding onto something unstable.

I’m not particularly scared of walking on curbstones, and the plank was considerably wider than a curbstone. However. Something in the knowledge that the plank was at least a metre above the water, whereas the curbstone is a maximum of maybe 10cm above the road, made walking along it that much more nervewracking.

Having made it to the boat carrying considerably less than I could carry along a curbstone, R wisely decided I ought to stay inside the boat. He fetched the rest of our stuff while I stowed it somewhere it’d be out-of-the-way yet accessible for the rest of the week.

As soon as the pier was empty we were off 🙂

R’s friend A and A’s nephew D were already onboard A’s boat and waiting for us to get our butts in gear and catch them up.

The first port-of-call was the filling-station.

Filling a boat is very strange. For starters you have to pull up alongside the fuel pump in your boat and then tie it up before you can fill it. I don’t drive, but I’ve never seen anyone tie their car up, and I don’t remember ever tying my motorbike up. I clambered out of the boat and stood on the ‘bank’ out of the way.

When the tanks were full, we untied the boats, moved 50yards up the river and ‘parked’ (involving more tying up) so we could go shopping. We didn’t want to leave the boats unattended, so A and D went shopping first, then it was our turn. The shop was a good 5 minute walk from the river so they brought the shopping trolley back with them. We laughed, took photos 🙂 and walked the empty trolley back to the shop. R refused to walk the trolley back after we’d shopped, so we left it in its trolley shed and carried our shopping back to the boat.

We now had food for the boat and food for us. We needed water. We stopped at a very small port, where a man threw the end of a hosepipe at us and wished us a good day when we threw it back to him.

All things being sorted, we were finally ready to go.

 

It didn’t take long before R suggested I drive. Drive? Steer? Whatever one does to boats to make them go where you want them to go.

As I said above, I don’t drive, but I was curious and 8km/h is a speed even I can handle, so I agreed and he set about telling me how it works. I slid onto his side of the ‘sofa’ and took the wheel. A drove in front of us setting both the speed and the direction, so I just had to follow him without ramming him, the banks of the river, the other boats, or anything else really. There’s also a guage to tell you how deep the water is. Running aground does you no favours.

It seems I am surprisingly good at steering a boat :).

Having discovered this, R relaxed and lay back in the sun. I can’t watch people being lazy if I’m not 😉 and I was supposed to be revising for my upcoming Glass-Theory-Exam, so I dug my 400 painstakingly written 13×7 cards out and handed them to R with the request to go through and ask me the questions. The rest of the day was spent with me behind the wheel and R behind the cards.

Turns out R is dyslexic and, apparently, my handwriting is appalling. Reading is something that came pretty naturally to me, so I don’t really understand how it must feel not to be able to, even if I can understand not making out other peoples’ handwriting. He stumbled through the question while I tried to work out what I might have written, then I answered and he tried to work out what I might have written and whether it coincided with what I answered.

R knows loads – often more than the teacher – and can [usually] explain it in a way that makes me want to listen, so each card became the starting point for a mini-lesson.

 

After a while we arrived at the lake. A threw the anchors out and R and D attached our boat to theirs and we all went swimming (very cold, but okay once you were in).

I lay on deck “to dry” ;). R brought me a Thermarest which meant I lay there a lot longer than strictly necessary.. 🙂

A started washing his boat, I can’t watch people being lazy when I can’t, but I can’t watch people being quite so active while I’m laying around doing nothing (actively watching them be busy doesn’t count) so I washed ‘our’ windows. I’d been irritated by all the dead flies and gunk on the windscreen while driving but hadn’t wanted to say anything… This was a fantastic opportunity to do something about it – and prove my year of washing school windows was good for something.

R sunbathed – apparently watching people clean stuff helps him sleep ;).

As soon as everything on A’s boat and the windows on ours gleamed and glistened (wonderful words :)) we settled down for a BBQ and an evening in. Our boats were joined together so that we were practically all in one ‘room’. The BBQ was on theirs, so we were able to relax (even more) and wait to be served :).

In our supermarket dash it seems R and I had stumbled across the best lamb ever. I wouldn’t recognise the packaging if I was looking for it, and I don’t even remember what the shop was called, which is a bummer, but maybe its bestness wasn’t entirely due to the sheep…

 

D is clumsier than I am 🙂 He was our dinner-entertainment, dropping and spilling things to the amusement of all (and he laughed with the rest of us, so either he’s a fantastic actor or he really didn’t care).

A washed up, R lit the oil lamps and anti-fly-candles and I sat with a Baileys-and-milk listening to the Irish country band giving a concert on the far side of the lake (even if I didn’t believe R had booked them especially) and watching the stars come out.

 

I don’t think anything could have added to the “idylle” (idyllic-ness).