Saturday, 22 February 2014

Life, lately

I have about five projects I have started and have yet to complete, and so, in the finest spirit of procrastination, laziness and distraction, here is what my life has been like the past month...

Pusscat has made herself at home. It feels really weird to call her by her name (Ginny), as I just call her Pusscat or SpecialCase. She is simultaneously annoying and a sweetheart. She seems content to sleep the day away, and then become a horror at about 11pm and race randomly from room to room. She wakes me up religiously each morning by meowing in my face, demanding food. When she purrs with her head tilted back, she sounds like Gollum. She tries to sit on my lap at any time when it's not convenient, and her poo stinks to high heaven. It's like, nostril hair singe-worthy.

And the past week, she's become braver at going outside. Normally she just stands at the kitchen door and becomes terrified and hides on top of the kitchen cabinets, or runs upstairs. But this past week when I've shown her outside, she's taken more of an interest, and today had a little roll on the patio. If she continues this way, I will invest in a cat flap. Unfortunately that will cost me £300+ as I will need a glazier to do it through the glass back door.

(N.B. In the UK it is pretty much understood that if you have a cat, they will be allowed outside. Cultural differences.)

Look Mum, I'm outside!


I know folks across the pond have been suffering with the snow, but here, we have yet to see a single flake. Instead, we have had the worse storms ever. My friend at work's roof blew off her garage. I felt my house shake. And we're not in the worst affected region. And with the storms, there has been rain. And more rain. And even more rain. This is near my parents... Only the left third of this picture should actually be river. The fields that are covered in flood water normally have cattle or sheep on.

Unfortunately, one night as I was pulling into my drive, I had to stop and get out of the car to move my rubbish bins, that had blown across the driveway. And then I crushed my thumb in the car door. It was unreal. Vati told me to drive round so he could drill a hole in my nail, but I couldn't face it, took some painkillers and went to bed. When I woke up two and a half hours later with my thumb THROBBING, I regretted that decision. I spent a few hours on Youtube watching videos about using a burning hot paperclip to relieve the pressure, but in the end I chickened out and just lay there in agony for about five hours. And then went to work, where oh yeah, I have a physical job and have to use my hands all day. Let me tell you, it is amazing how much you need a thumb. But it's been a couple of weeks now and the pain has gone, so now I'm just waiting to see if the nail falls off.


Valentine's day was pretty horrific. I don't even know how I made it through the day at work without crying, like some horrible emotional wreck of myself that I didn't even recognise.

I went on a date the week before. I was talking to a guy online who was good on paper: teacher, able to form a complete sentence, etc. His profile said he was 5'5, which is still taller than me, so that was fine. Turned up at the pub, and let me tell you, 5'0 was more like it. It was a bit like hugging a munchkin. I thought, never mind, height isn't everything, but as he talked I realised he'd gotten me confused with someone else ("So, how often do you go climbing?" "Um, never?"), and that the way he talked was exactly the same as one of my autistic learners. Could. Not. Cope.

And that was that.


I am so lucky to work with a couple of amazing people. Recently I've really been appreciating their presence in my life. They pick me up, support me and relentlessly pick on me when I need it most. I really do need to find a way to repay them. We went and saw Maroon 5 together, went to see Twelve Years a Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street at the movies, and had an impromptu Disney evening. I feel like a bad friend when I'm around them, as they do so much for me. Their support means a lot.


I have a new obsession. 

Wicked is on tour in the UK, and Vati surprised Mutti and I with tickets to our nearest venue (still a bit of a drive). And OMG, I love Wicked now. Having never seen it, with only the vaguest notion on what the story was, I went in expecting to have a good time (hello, musicals are awesome), but I was totally not expecting to love the story and the characters and story THIS MUCH. I have spent the past ten days listening to the soundtrack on repeat, reading the novel by Gregory Maguire, reading fanfiction, reading a memoir by a standby, and watching every Youtube video possible. And I've been back an extra two times. My bank balance is going to be feeling it (not only tickets, but also fuel!!!) but I don't care! I can't put into words how much the story and characters have resonated with me. Elphaba is my hero now. If you have even the most remote chance of going to see it, DO!

And that's pretty much life, lately.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Book Review: The Brave

Another book down! I have been struggling with things at work lately and reading has once again become to me what it was when I was at school - an escape. I'm really in the swing and the groove of reading regularly again, and it's awesome!

The second book I have officially finished this year was The Brave by Nicholas Evans. Evans has written some of my favourite books - The Horse Whisperer and The Loop. If you haven't read either of those I thoroughly and whole heartedly recommend both of them. I've also read Evans' other books, and whilst I enjoyed them they didn't get me hook, line and sinker like the first two.

I think the same applies to this one. Nicely written, but large sections of the book seemed redundant to the plot, and other parts were touched upon but not in nearly enough detail.

Set between Britain and America, we get to see lots of 'Wild West' and Hollywood action, but the best writing occurs when the main character is in Montana - Evans' favourite state where most of his books are based. Personally, I love being in this world, of horses and ranches and fields and nature, but there just wasn't nearly enough of it. I also enjoyed the beginning of the book where the main character goes to a quintessential English Boarding School. The main story is woven around one central character, and switches between present day and his childhood, and the issues with his parents as a child, and the relationship with his son as an adult. A key theme running throughout is about the choices we make, which I loved. Choices are important.

So yeah, there were parts I enjoyed, but I found the plot pretty predictable - I had all the key points worked out in the first few chapters, once we'd been introduced to all the characters. No surprises for me! It was still very readable, though it never stood a chance of usurping The Horse Whisperer or The Loop in my heart. Three stars.