Posts Tagged ‘fun’

Another two weeks have passed since I wrote a weekly update. It’s been a combination of busy work (finally!), waiting to get some photos uploaded, and then a down period in the middle of last week which means that the post I wanted to write would have been more down than it deserved to be. We’ve all had enough of down posts recently. At least I have. I’m starting to worry that you’re all going to think I’m a big puddle of sadness and depression and homesick, when there are moments of fun and happiness and comfort. So, on with the last two weeks:

Funghi on log in Banstead woods. Autumn = leaves and mushrooms!


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not yet opened

After purchasing the Cafe Corner last month, (all photos of the model as now here) and getting out the lego that was shipped over with all my belongings, I’ve re-discovered the fun of lego model building. And discovered that I’m not the only one. There’s, not-surprisingly, entire communities out there, commonly called Adult Fans of Lego (AFOL).

I’ve spent some time over the last few weeks browsing various blogs and flickr sets looking at what other people have built based on the specifications for lego buildings inspired by this particular set and getting ideas (and I accidentally found this post via a completely different blog, it amused me lots, I feel like I’m making a similar confession). I’ve also realised that I’ve previously had a much more expensive, equally creative and yet bizarre hobby, aka the SCA, so if I choose to spend money on lego there’s no real problem. Oh, and there’s a pick-and-mix option on the lego.co.uk site, and a lego designer software which allows you to design a model, price it and then request a custom shipment. My first one should arrive this week. On the wishlist for birthday and Christmas are the Greengrocer and Fire Station sets.

By Tuesday I’d worked out that I had enough pieces from medical related lego sets I received as a child to build a quite decent medical clinic based on these specs. So, most of my spare time this week has been spent doing that. It’s gone through about 3 re-builds so far, as I’ve played with decoration, placement of the stair case and internal walls. The delivery this week will get me a black tiled roof, and enough pieces to hopefully finish it off. Well, except for a basement and a small access ramp I want to build…

Wednesday Jed and I went on the first of what might become regular weeknight a’ventures. We decided on dinner in London, specifically chinese dumplings and a colleague recommended a place in the Chinatown that made their dumplings in house. It was fantastic! Exactly what we were after, to the extent I declared it was nice to have “real food” at the end of the meal. Very reminscient of beloved dumpling places in Ashfield, and sitting on metal stools around communal tables in Thailand. We had two plates of pork and bamboo shoot dumpings, steamed and fried, a small place of soy chicken, and a small plate of bok choy. With rice and bubble tea/iced pineapple drink. All for £30. Heaven!

It was a wonderfully warm evening, and the sun was still up So we then wandered around China town. I introduced Jed to durian, as the smell of it was deliciously wafting across the courtyard. We bought two fortune cookies for dessert. Mine read “your dreams will soon come true”, I’m hoping it refers to a meaningful job. We ran around inside a Korean sweet shop, and came home with random boxes of chocolate biscuit-y things, and some black sesame glutinous rice balls. Nom!

Friday was games night with friends. Introduced them to Settlers of Catan which we recently acquired. Jed bases his strategy on observations of Mat(my former flatmate)’s tactics and we’ve decided that the development card deck is now called the “Mat wins” deck. It amuses us. Unfortunately the robber piece has also been renamed “the gimp”, which seems to amuse everyone except me.

Saturday I went to a friend’s birthday party in nearby Wallington, in which I got off the bus waaaay too early and had a nice walk from one town (Purley) to the next past gardens and fields. This map should give you an idea. I got off the bus halfway up Foxley Lane/A2022. I walked to Wallington, the next town NW of there) Only two blisters to show for it. On the other hand, my friend, the lovely Dee, lives so close that we can plan regular tea or beer catch ups, I just have to get off the train 3 stops earlier. This is really cool, as it was the one thing that was really missing. Regular chats with someone who’s not Jed.

Sunday we went Blackberrying up on the Common, picking a small ice cream container’s worth to make into a dessert later this week. It was warm and sunny, perfect for picking blackberries which were warm and juicy, although probably at their best in another week or two. Also perfect for getting the requisite blackberry scratches and unobservantly standing right next to a tall stinging nettle plant and getting stung on the back of an elbow. Which I did. All of which brought back many childhood memories. Including that nettles stings are nowhere near as bad as bull ant bites, or as icky as leeches, so I could just deal with it (all three of which occurred to me on one regular family camping trip up the back of the Hawkesbury).

A really nice weekend all up.

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This weekly update is a bit late. Oh well.

Last week was spent mostly receovering from whatever illness I had the week before. Maybe swine flu, maybe just normal flu passed on from a child. Jed and our flatmate seems to have avoided it, so maybe it was just a common English variant that L and I didn’t have immunity to. Which means I am now dreading winter.

On Thursday Jed and I had one of our adjustment blow-ups. Not an angry one, just a space where one of us emotionally cracks about a particular issue and then we talk, meaningfully, about why and what has triggered it, come to an understanding of the other person’s perspective and perhaps come up with a solution to the problem. Not surprisingly there’s been a number of these since March, as we sort out a relationship and living together. “Hot-housing” is the term I’ve come to use for our situation. Most relationships go through a steady build up, where each person gets to slowly learn the foibles of the other, their preferences and attitudes and there’s time-out space created through not living together. Not this situation, we have very little time-out space other than going to work. Emotional outbursts are not worrying, since our reactions are healthy, and we build from there.

Actually, in some respects this is my current lesson. Learning to identify when I am upset or when I feel that I should sacrifice myself for someone else’s (assumed) feelings, rather than speaking up and communicating what is wrong and either saying sorry if it’s my fault, or being able to say “this hurt me” if it wasn’t. I’ve spent most of my life trying to not rock the boat, trying to have as little impact as possible, avoiding conflict and subsuming problems, scared that I’d not be loved if I wasn’t nice and accommodating, or if I caused anyone any bother at all. This has been the benefit so far of this situation, learning when to state what is actually going on, and learning that I will still be loved. Lots.

The outburst was probably also caused by the 4 month crash. 4 months since I arrived and stuff is now mundane, not shiny and new. Habits and patterns have set in, as has a form of homesickness.

Bridge over the Avon
So, in order to escape from these patterns, and to give ourselves some adventure time together we booked a last minute weekend in Bath. It was lovely! We stayed in a guest house on Great Pulteney St, with a view over the cricket field. We visited the Roman Baths, lots of good history there, being able to walk through the excavations of the site was fantastic. We played River Pirates Adventure Golf (mini-golf for the Australians, the River Pirate stuff was the result of puddles on the pitch). We avoided the 30 minute talk in the Jane Austen centre, actually we avoided that entirely deciding to not jostle with die hard fans who secretly want to wed Mr Colin-Darcy-Firth, we had lunch by the weir and discussed the racist attitudes of seagulls to the lesser pigeon half-breeds (aka juvenile seagulls that had pigeon colourings) and came up with a way of talking about the root of the problem that caused the outburst on Thursday, so that should start getting better.

Just what we needed.

The photos will go up in a week or so, once the Lego ones have been processed. In the meantime, here’s one I took last time I was there in 2007.

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An odd week. I spent Monday at home on the couch, sick, tired, worn out and typing out a job application for Department of Energy and Climate Change. Which I sent off in time, and then subsequently checked 2 days later and it’s rather unpolished. I’ll be amazed if I get an interview, on the other hand they are hiring for lots of positions, so perhaps they‘ll overlook the lack of polish and decide I’ve got the experience they’re after. Crossed fingers.

Spent most of the rest of the week worn out, tired, listless, and playing Rollercoaster Tycoon 3. Not sure why, as I don’t really like the lack of structure in the game, maybe simply because it’s there and it’s a game you can leave running with no end point so it sucks you in. Maybe. Although, reading back over emails it was also a week of small adjustments between Jed and I resulting in an absolutely wonderful weekend.

Friday night was a rather boozy dinner at our friend Tom’s house, in a part of the local area I’d not been to before. Gorgeous house and garden, lovely food, and fun conversation. Tom is a DJ, of sorts, so we all had fun for a while mixing up songs on his kit.

Saturday was spent with a hangover (horrid one- me, mild one – Jed) while we wandered around IKEA buying bookshelves and a bed base. As well as mucking around on the gas lift bar stools, crashing out on one of the beds, having a pillow fight and dancing to our own beat-box music next to one of the displays. To quote Jed: “Can I marry you? We just went through IKEA and didn’t have a fight, I didn’t have to take a coffee break mid-way through, and we had a pillow fight”. We then wandered around East Croydon shops, I had a bra fitting as I’ve no idea what my size is here. This turned into a 1.5 epic as there was a line for fitting, a chatty shop assistant, then I had to find a couple that I liked, and then line up to pay. This was supposed to be a quick nip in to get a bra on sale. Sigh. Finally we had a lovely very late lunch at an Italian restaurant while it rained lightly outside, then caught the train home with our purchases, riffing about Donkey Banks on the way home (I forget how it started, but we were in fits of giggles at the silliness).

Sunday I made ricotta and berries on toasted brioche for our breakfast (thank you much missed Satellite café for the inspiration). I can highly recommend keeping a bottle of Monin sugar syrup in the cupboard for such breakfasts, it tied the whole dish together.

After breakfast we canvassed the options for the day:
Quiet day around the house, then head to a friend’s place around 2 for a beer, then walk to Reigate
Got to Crawley to get some things Jed found the previous day while I was bra shopping, but could n’t be bothered waiting in the really long queue for
Or, eventually after we’d agreed on option 1:
Go to Brighton and buy a Lego set each.

Not surprisingly we chose option 3. It was a really lovely day, we have friends in Brighton, it’s about 40mins away on a direct train, and well, Lego! I am now the proud owner of this set, which I’ve had my eye on since last July, and I spent most of yesterday evening working on it. I’ve completed the first two storeys. Will do the final one this evening. It’s perfect for display on a bookshelf (which we purchased on Saturday) and has a flat side to be a stylish bookend. Or certain girls who stay over could play with it. It is Lego after all. Jed got 3 Space Police sets, so now has a couple of bug-eyed monsters, a robot dog and a space policeman, which amused him greatly. He resisted the Millennium Falcon model, although I’m sure that will be purchased in the future. Photos of the model will be up in the next week, for gloating purposes J

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Recent History

Wherein the author provides a short long treatise on what she’s been doing recently and reflections related to the subject matter.

I fell off the face of the internet for a week, and social life in general for a few months. It was entirely necessary. So, if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, here’s the answer.

Last Wednesday night I completed my Masters Degree. Hooray! (pending advice that I actually passed the subject, of course). This was the major reason for the internet absence. The first part of the week was needed for study, the second part for recovery. I couldn’t even stomach the idea of engaging the text-based communication side of my brain until about Sunday night.

So, I played SimSocieties instead. I’ve read the reviews, and sort of agree with most of them. BUT it also fixes some of the issues I had with SimCity 4 AND was so completely visually based and mostly mindless that it was the perfect antidote to study.

I realised last Thursday precisely how much strain I’d put myself under and how much this degree of mine wasn’t as simple as I was deluding myself that it was. I was trying to be superwoman (again) and should have known better. On Thursday morning I ‘danced’ to work with a smile on my face for the first time in months. I possibly even did a tiny bounce into the air, with a small squee at the wonder and joy of life in general and the future that is currently unfolding. For those of you who have seen excitable, bouncy, squeeing me you may be slightly disturbed when I say that was the first one since about August.

Two weeks ago I got sick again, the ‘low-level virus’ that has been hanging around for months. I took two days off work, and hung around in KoL chat. It was nice. But, at the end of the two days I found myself bawling my eyes out, missing support networks and ‘just…want…someone…to…cook me…dinner’. Mostly I was worried that I was going to fail, and so therefore the basics of life were not being looked after, which led to a cycle of not studying effectively, which added to stress which created this lovely spiral effect. Not pretty. Luckily, I have an awesome, wonderful sister who let me study at her place and fed me good homecooked food. I don’t know what I would have done without her. The low-level virus has disappeared. Perhaps I actually had a case of ‘study anxiety’? Or at least a compromised immune system.

The exam itself was the most surreal I’ve ever done. I used to like exams, would generally do quite well in them as I’m good at thinking on my feet. This one, well, the pre-dominant thought that ran through my brain in the exam room was: “why am I here? Why am I sitting an exam in this room at age 30? Exams are things you do in your early 20s”. Which was odd, but sums the mentality up. I was just over it. Walked out with 15mins to spare, did not do any editing, I know there was at least one paragraph-sentence in there, if not more. But my hand hurt, I’d demonstrated I’d paid enough attention to pass the course, and that’s really all that matters.

On Thursday most of my work mates commented on how much better I looked overall, most specifically that I didn’t look tired. One night. It took one night to look better, and THE ONLY thing that had changed was the fact I didn’t have to study anymore. I didn’t feel utterly exhausted, which had become the norm.

I am walking straighter. I run for the joy of it. I can think strategically again, which has been useful as this week I’m the ONLY person in my team and line of management at work, so I’m sort of acting 4 positions at the moment. Sort of, only for emergencies. This week I am relishing it, last week I would have crumpled.

I can remember detail again and can dream about the future (that wonderful, exciting future). There was this big dense wall that was blocking anything post Nov 12. So, if you’ve told me something in the last few months, OR you’ve invited me to something and I’ve not been there, OR you were waiting for me to do something OR there was an obvious connection between two pieces of information that I should have made and then told people about, then it’s entirely possible that it was a detail I simply could not hold onto. Planning anything beyond the present was very, very difficult. Related to this is the fact that I’ve not seen, or corresponded with a lot of people I love. I miss you guys and am getting around to fixing it.

Talking work, this week I’ve had bunch loads of deadlines and intricacies and people seeking advice, and I coped, more importantly I coped well and was able to communicate and feel competent. Again, last week this would not have been possible.

My landlord has decided to sell the house I live in. Which I found out about an hour before my exam. At least it gave me something else to worry about. I’m dealing with that remarkably well, however it looks like the house selling timeline and the moving to the UK timeline might match up extremely well anyway.

On the weekend I went to a museum, wandered through the botanic gardens, took photos of both, spent time with friends and played board games. Utterly lovely.

My house is cleaner, I’m getting through my to-do list (have you seen http://www.rememberthemilk.com/ ? It’s fantabulous!).

And in two very, very short, wonderful weeks life takes on a whole new aspect and a deep gentle smile may become a permanent feature, and it seems likely that I may never have to deal with the world alone again. It’s good to know that I can, but the promise is so much better.

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I had a post lined up about the joys of Christmas, the problems with consumerism and other related issues. Then, in the rush of life just before Christmas and a slump in my energy levels it feel by the wayside.

Today I am back at work, cleaning our inboxes and intrays, doing some filing and catching up on report reading. I came across this article on the wii which made me laugh. It needed to be shared, if only for the final paragraph:

But if the holidays are a time of reflecting on the past and the future, you might as well hang out with your friends and play Guitar Hero on the Wii. After all, donating to cool charities and supporting local artists is something you should be doing all year. You should buy a cute present for your sweetie from Etsy when it strikes your fancy, not just when the capitalist juggernaut tells you to. And, of course, you should never be off-line for a day. That’s just taking things too far.

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I <3 my colleagues

I’ve had a rough week. Still somewhat exhausted from moving. LOTS of stress in various areas of my life. Most of which erupted today for one reason or another.

My colleagues are wonderful, gorgeous people, who supported me in many ways, as they have since I started here. One of them wrote me this poem which I thought I’d share:

Oh that Miss Krin,
She has a fabulous grin,
It comes out when there’s tonic and gin,
And we like it better out than in!

she’s feeling cheery,
As the party’s getting near-y,
There’s gonna be some beer-y
To make everything less dreary!

We’re going to a party
Because we are so smarty
And we’ll surely party hearty
Without a single farty

It’s our work Christmas party today, the party she’s referring to, so now I am off to swan around with cocktails and win the trivia. Maybe.

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A Season’s wish

I know it is now Boxing Day morning, so this is a bit late. But this was sent to me in game, and it tickled my fancy. So best belated wishes for the season:

“Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.
I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great (not to imply that England is necessarily greater than any other country) and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishes.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms:
This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.
Disclaimer: No trees were harmed in the sending of this message; however, a significant number of electrons were slightly inconvenienced.”

This greeting was shamelessly stolen from Poki via DiscoDoris.

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