For Kate… / (January round-up)

Dear Kate (and anyone else who is under the impression that I live in a pristine house),

 

I think I need to point something out.

My house isn’t pristine.

It isn’t even close.

 

Okay, I have cleaned my toilet more times in January than in the last 2 years put together, and kept the dust off my bathroom ‘mirror-shelf’. I have also made sure my kitchen sink was shiny or at least empty [almost] every evening before going to bed. I have made my bed in the morning, and made sure I got dressed before going to work. Most days I eat breakfast, drink more-or-less as much water as I ought to, and can control my mean thoughts (or at least not let them out into the wild ;)).

That’s about the extent of my greatness.

There were admitedly a couple of ‘clean spells’ in the midst of the chaos, generally spurred on by the thought of company (best said in Badger’s voice ;)), but I have a long way to go before I am cured of leaving-things-out-for-later, of can’t-be-bothered-right-now-I’ll-do-it-tomorrow, of I’ve-cooked-and-the-kitchen-looks-like-it’s been-bombed-but-I-don’t-really-care, of piling-plates-on-the-counter-instead-of-emptying-the-dishwasher-to-make-space-for-them, of dropping things in the hall when I get home, remembering them only when I trip over them in the middle of the night. It’s still dark in my hall, because I haven’t got round to fixing the new light in place yet, despite buying it in November.

I have a whole machine-load of towels decorating my bathroom floor, waiting to be washed, because I’m not home long enough to make sure the machine doesn’t catch fire. I am a one-person household – think about how long it takes to gather that many towels together…

I haven’t been to bed before midnight more than a handfull of times this month, mostly resulting in being late and getting ranted at.

I haven’t done my ski-exercise-video nearly often enough. Or been swimming, or cycling, or otherwise very active.

I haven’t been tackling hotspots, or decluttering, or picking up after myself.

I haven’t revised for my exam or finished putting up my postcards.

There are a great deal more things I haven’t done, than things I have.

Like I said before, I have a long way to go…

Assuming long journeys begin with the first step, I’ve taken it, but I haven’t taken many of the others!!

Maybe one day I will reach the top of the clean-freak-mountain. Maybe I won’t.

If I’m honest, I hope somebdy stops me before my entire life revolves around things being and staying clean. It would be nice to have space to be creative, to know where I’m supposed to be and when, to have something reasonable (and clean) to wear when I go dancing (or to work), to know I can invite people over whenever I feel like it and not worry about the state of my house or whether there’s enough looroll to go round.

However.

On the whole I’m pretty sure this cleaning lark is a way of making those things possible, and not the aim itself. Even if it is this year’s project.

 

Thanks for believing in me 🙂 One day I’ll be as great as you think I am…

Lots of love,

Me xxx

On doing things I’m good at…

Today I excelled at the things I do well 🙂

I went to bed in the early hours of the morning, far later than I originally wanted to, after distracting myself with other peoples’ blogs and cooking a galoptious potfull of almost inedible brown gloop.

I slept until almost midday, whereupon I proceded to lounge about in bed until about half past midday alternately reading email on my phone, updating my phone book (my old phone is back from the dead :)) and sleeping.

A friend phoned me. I phoned her back (I don’t pay to phone people*) and we talked. And talked. And talked. For 4 and a half hours 🙂 And that didn’t officially break my record 😉 Was good though. And as well as enjoyable, parts of it were even productive – she’s back at school so I asked her lots of questions about what she knows (= lots). A couple of years ago I did the same course, so I have the course book (and a big head ;))

Once we decided we’d talked long enough we hung up and texted each other instead 🙂

At some point after that I fell asleep. Again.

When I woke up and noticed that it was dark outside I remembered all the plans I’d had for the day. One of my more urgent plans had been to go shopping and buy more looroll. Sometimes (read “extremely often”) it gets to Saturday evening and I decide I have enough food to get me through until Monday and don’t bother going out. Sometimes, like today, this isn’t really a viable option. I looked at bustimetables and figured I needed to leave in 10 minutes – which left me no time to shower, and I really needed to shower – or 40 minutes – which gave me plenty of time to do nothing for a while before I went through the whole, get undressed-wet-dry-dressed rigmarole. I obviously did nothing long enough to miss both busses, and a couple of others.

I hadn’t eaten all day, what with hardly leaving the bedroom and all, so I was starving by the time I was washed, dressed and ready to go out. I cooked a load of spaghetti and warmed up some of the brown gloop. Being left overnight often does wonders for food. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case, and all the posh-mushroom flavour I’d carefully disguised yesterday had come back in full force. I did some more disguise work and managed to eat about 3 forkfulls before realising I had 4 minutes to be at the busstop in time to catch the last bus to the shop-I-don’t-mind-going-to-if-I’m-late-remembering-I-need-to-buy-things.. I left the house in a bit of a hurry, remembering just in time to take my purse out of my work bag and put it in my coat pocket.

This is a post about things I’m good at. It would obviously not be complete if it didn’t include getting to within 200 yards of a busstop in time to see the bus pull away. I could have made it (I think) if I’d run (like I usually do). The thing was, it had snowed, and the ground was that kind of slippery where you’re not sure which bits are safe and which bits are going to make you fall over. I don’t particularly like running at the best of times, and any running which results in me falling over is my least favourite kind of running. I walked sedately up the hill, watched the bus drive sedately up the hill past me and off into the distance then walked sedately past the busstop and into town, quietly cursing the fact that this meant I’d have to go to my least favourite supermarket. It’s the biggest, most confusingest, longest-opening supermarket in my town and while it’s not actually as bad as some of its brothers and sisters (which take up 2 floors) I think it’s pretty grim, in a I’m-still-thankfull-it’s-open-and-willing-to-sell-me-looroll-at-10pm-on-a-Saturday kind of way.

One of the things I most dislike about the shop is its maze-like qualities, and its inability to arrange things in the same way as other supermarkets. I am generally in favour of difference, but I appreciate things being logical, and putting milk in a completely different section from things like yogurt and cheese just baffles me. However. I’m slowly getting the hang of their reasoning and made it to the looroll department without too many problems. As I got there I stepped onto a piece of thick packaging paper which someone had kindly left on the floor, skidded, just about managed to get off the paper and back on to the floor without damaging myself or knocking anything off the shelves and came to a halt 3 cm away from some bloke who looked bemused and carried on with his last minute shopping.

A minute or so later, as I was faced with the near impossible task of choosing between 57 varieties of Vitamin B12, the bemused bloke approached me (of all people) to ask if I knew where the sugar might be hidden. Not having much of an idea, but not liking to be unhelpful, I pointed him in the direction of the baking things. I hope I was right. In that shop it’s liable to be kept next to the biscuits (because people put it in tea I suppose) or the fruit and veg (think strawberries and cream), or the shower gel/olive oil (sugar scrub). Or somewhere even less logical. Like I said, I hope I was right. He might have been there all night otherwise. Is it mean to be glad other people have the same problem finding things as me?

I nosed through most of an article about sexism-at-work and only thought about paying and going home when the speakers stopped playing elevator supermarket music to annouce that they were about to shut and would I please like to make my way to the checkout. I put the magazine back on its shelf, found my way to the checkout desk, paid and, surprisingly, caught the bus home without having to wait 27 minutes first.

People warn me not to go shopping hungry. I was, but I was also tired/not-particularly-awake so I didn’t buy loads of random stuff. I only barely remembered what I was there for. In the end I bought looroll, 3 boxes of milk, 2 boxes of cocoa, more B12 tablets and a small tube of water-and-heat-resistant glue apparently suitable for sticking glass together. The checkout lady must wonder about the lives people lead.

Once I was home I ignored 3 years of cooking lessons and re-reheated the spaghetti mixture which I ate in front of the computer and a lot more blog posts with the odd Youtube video/picture-of-a-cat thrown in for good measure.

I didn’t declutter anything. I didn’t start the new project I promised myself I was going to start in February. I didn’t wash the floor in the kitchen or take the organic-waste outside to the bin. I didn’t do any washing.. And I didn’t finish my calendar page.

I am about to go to bed. It’s much later than I’d planned. Tomorrow I will wish I’d gone to bed earlier. That, too, is something I’m good at.

*okay, so obviously I do pay the phone company, it just doesn’t bother them if I phone anyone or not..

On mushroomsauce

Don’t try this at home.

It is a waste of time, energy, electricity, ingredients and willpower.

You have been warned.

I [re]started taking B12 supplements this week. They’re [supposedly] good against tiredness, grouchyness, depression, energy-deficiency and a whole load of other stuff. The catch is, you have to take then half an hour after eating. This means you not only have to eat, you have to finish eating at least half an hour before you go to bed. This means cooking it in time to eat, in turn meaning starting to cook in time to finish cooking, eat and still have half an hour before bed. I suppose the only options are get organised or cancel out the energy benefits by sleeping less. Unfortunately the second option seems most likely.

I came home from work late and tired as a tired thing. I would have gone straight to bed if it wasn’t for needing to eat and wanting to post. I took a bag of semi-posh frozen ‘forest mushrooms’ and a pack of minced beef out of the freezer on my way in (my freezer’s on the landing outside my second front door) dumped them on the counter in the kitchen and turned the computer on. I officially wanted to read my email and write a post for day-1-month-2. So much for planning. Instead I stalked the people who’d liked my posts, the people who’d liked their posts and some people who came up in a search including my post, and here I am 6 hours later wondering why I’m not asleep yet.

The seemingly only connecting factor between all these things is this saucepan of brown gloop resting on my knee.

I remembered I didn’t like the slimy texture of the forest mushrooms last time I ate them, and that I’d whizzed them into a sauce and mixed it in to… something. And there was the first hurdle. I couldn’t remember what I’d mixed it into. No problem I thought, I’ll make something different. Mushrooms are good I thought, I shall make something like bolognaise sauce but with mushrooms instead of tomatoes.

Famous last words.

Because I am lazy and it was late and I really need to go shopping, I limited myself to very few ingredients. I whizzed the mushrooms (probably waking up my neighbours – they must love me :)), fried the beef mince, added a couple of chopped onions, fried everything a bit more so I was sure the meat was done, and added the mushroom goo. So far so good.

Then I tasted it.

BLEUGH!!

That was something I hopefully won’t repeat too soon.

So anyway. There I am with half a saucepan of grey-brown sludge. I am a big believer of not throwing food away, especially if it’s got animal in it, and even more of a believer in my ability to rescuing things which go wrong. Besides. I had a B12 tablet and a ravenous stomach waiting for me to eat and not a lot more edible options. I looked around and opened drawers and the fridge and found the following things:

  • black pepper
  • 2 beef oxo cubes
  • a lump of cheese
  • a tin of kidney beans
  • 3/4 of a tube of tomato puree
  • curry powder
  • worcester sauce
  • marmite
  • cumin seeds
  • paprika

and maybe some other herbs/spices which I’ve forgotten about.

Half an hour later and with the help of these things, I’d created something slightly more edible than my initial creation. I am sitting here eating it as I write.

I don’t think I will make it again. I think by the time I’ve figured out how to trick myself into eating the rest of the saucepanfull I will be thoroughly cured of the idea that posh mushrooms must be better than normal ones, or at least as good as people say. Hopefully I’ll remember not to [ever] buy them again. I’ll stick to ‘proper’ mushrooms in future. By proper mushrooms I mean the sort you buy fresh, in blue (or black or green) plastic trays with cellaphane/clingfilm over the top 😉

Also, I shall aim to keep enough milk about the place, that I can eat muesli and go to bed without braving the weird world of unknown cuisine.

Quote: the end?

Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.

– ?? (If anyone knows who said this first, let me know)

Day X

<or on Flying and boredom>

Hello dear people 🙂

I have decided that repetitive lists of filled water bottles and shiny sinks are rather tedious. I’ve moved them to their own blog which you can find here.

The interesting parts might be allowed to stay :p Happy reading 😉

Quote: your offering

Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.

– Barbara Kingsolver

On motivation.. (or lack of)

< something I wrote yesterday >

"I work in a motivation vacuum. Any motivation I ever had, even what was stored in reserve, is sucked out of my being as soon as I walk through the doors. No matter how inspiring the weekend, how urgent the task at hand, the nagging and stropping of my colleague, the shinyness of my sink, none of it helps. Occasionally I can hide it until midday, but it's always found and sucked away. I don't want to end up some kind of wreck. I actually like what I do, naja, at least when it works. I want to make amazing things, but somehow I have no energy, no strength, no oomph. I don't actually know what the problem is.. If I did it might be easier to do something about it. I've tried changing places, washing the windows, decorating the wall. I have a [marginally] later start time. I still don't make it to work earlier than absolutely necessary, and often come too late. My exam is in less than 6 months and I can't bring myself to find the bother to care or revise or practise."