Sunday, February 29, 2004

Sailing on the ship of fools
Sunday morning: coffee fresh from the stove and a head full of half-formed thoughts. If none of what follows makes sense blame it on the caffeine.
Where to start? Never before have I felt so strongly that I am chained to the wheel of fortune (feel free to hum O Fortuna from Carmina Burana while you read). In truth it feels more accurate to say that I am a gambler transfixed by the roulette wheel. My thoughts run like this - at any moment our situation could change completely, could return to 'normal' with both of us working (halcyon days of disposable income, theatre, holidays and future plans). Therefore, we just need to hold on, stay strong and wait it out. But, as the animator reminded me this morning, we've been thinking this for the last two years, unemployment/money anxiety/everything put on hold - this is our normality now. I'm so tired of holding on waiting for the wheel to turn, waiting for our luck to change.
And yet despite everything we are both so positive in our outlook and sure that things will change and change for the better. Without this certainty we wouldn't have married and I would never have quit my job. These moments of awareness, when we talk of where our lives are going and hold each other, comfort each other, it is during these moments that I recognise that we are adrift, but not alone. It's a strange sensation. I'm so grateful for what we've got, and we have so much, but at the same time I'm so frustrated by this sense of being becalmed, waiting for change, powerless to turn the wheel.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Celebrity death match No 243 - Dr Atkins vs. Stanley Green
I think I can safely say that Dr Atkins the popular diet guru needs no introduction. Stanley Green, however, is perhaps less well known. Also a diet guru, Stanley Green published Eight Passion Proteins. (Thank you Joe).

Friday, February 27, 2004

On the table in the living room is our lease renewal waiting to be signed. We've been in this apartment for a year and there's so much about it that I love: the location; the view of St Pancras station in all its gothic glory out of our bedroom window; standing on the roof looking out across the city; the shape and size of the window in the living room, it has a certain cathedral-like grandeur; and practical things like the dishwasher and the really powerful shower. The list goes on and on, in fact it's easily the best apartment I've ever lived in... So why this strange reluctance to sign the lease renewal? We're not even signing up for a whole year, since with everything so precarious and housemate C looking to move out eventually a year was just too long. I've got itchy feet that's why and with all the events of the last few months, I'm beginning to feel extremely claustrophobic. I want to be hiking in Mexico. I have this vision of me in battered sandals, denim cut offs and a faded tee shirt, my face tanned and freckled by the sun, my hair tied back in a braid walking alone along a dusty track in search of tequila and chili. If only I could escape everything, but of course since the thing I most want to escape is myself, not even a trip to the Mexico of my dreams is going to solve the problem.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

From tomorrow, I shall be observing Lent. This will be the first time I've ever even considered it and I'm looking forward to the formal commitment to take time out, make some sacrifices and think about where to go next. It seems that this year, Lent has come at the right time for me. I shall be keeping you posted on my progresss and thoughts. Happy Shrove Tuesday and I hope that you enjoy your pancakes.

Monday, February 23, 2004

What to write, what not to write - the editing process is one that creates different decisions each day, different selves each day. When I wrote that this week has been pretty tough did you read between those sparce lines all that I had edited out? Did you read the self-questioing (verging on the self-hating)? Did you read my insecurity and fear? This week has been dead time to fill - full of questions only time can answer. I don't know whether the decision to quit my job was a good one; I don't know whether our decision to marry (and stay here) was the right one. I feel as though I've been parachuted in to adulthood - without my rucksack of life-saving rations and before I'd finished learning those vital survival tricks - my birthday is approaching, the one where mid twenties fade into late twenties and shouldn't I know some of the answers by now? Shouldn't I feel competent?
As they say on the television, 'answers on a postcard to...'

Saturday, February 21, 2004

An ebay twist on those annoying Mastercard adverts... A nice cup of tea? Priceless. (via Bloggerheads)
On the whole this week has been a pretty tough one. For the first time since I started this job hunting lark I didn't have an interview to attend this week and The Guardian wasn't a rich seam to mine either. Financially, things are getting pretty hairy. Luckily, the animator has a few days' work lined up and the tax man is finally paying up - after a two-year wait - so we won't be arranging our cardboard boxes under Waterloo Bridge just yet. Still, life feels precarious.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Afganistan under the Taliban or the land of the free?

Young girls - they used to be as young as 11 or 12, although in recent times they have more typically been 15 or 16 - are given away in marriage solely on the say-so of the prophet. They will be traded among the men like chattel. Often, their designated husbands are old enough to be their grandfathers, or even their great-grandfathers, and have multiple wives and children already. Not only are the girls not consulted ahead of time; they are effectively raped on their wedding nights, and held in a state of captivity thereafter.
"It is at the point of being a terrorist organisation," she said. "People there believe they can make their own laws in defiance of all governmental control. They are prepared to die for their leader, and that's exactly what's going to happen if American citizens choose not to show concern. These people are no different from suicide bombers in Iraq."
For a sober and sobering synthesis of current global warming and demographics research read this article. (thanks K)
I think that it's important not to feel overwhelmed and paralysed by the enormity of the situation, which is why I set myself small but (hopefully) achievable goals.

Plan of action:
  • Walk there

  • If you can't walk/bike there, use public transport

  • Use less stuff, choose the item with the least packaging

  • Buy local and reduce the miles your food travels to reach your plate

  • Grow your own

  • Take organic waste out of the garbage and compost it instead

  • Recycle and reuse. Buy second-hand when possible

  • We're not perfect, we don't achieve all of these (five and six are just not possible where we live) certainly not all of the time. But as the saying has it, every little helps.
    Triumphantly strange soup
    I had an abundance of cabbage in the fridge and - since it's an English fridge (less than half the size of a standard Aussie or US model) and we share it with housemate C (two lots of milk, cheese and ketchup, three different sets of multivits etc) - I needed to make some room and get rid of the cabbage. So, what should I do with one red cabbage, half a green cabbage, a tiny bit of iceberg lettuce, a carrot that was past its best and a leek? Soup of course! The following discussion with self ensued:

    L1: Cabbage soup? Yuck, that's diet food.
    L2: No it's not it's kind of Chinese, almost. Mum does that nice red cabbage dish with cider vinegar. I have balsamic and white wine vinegars, lets shove a bit of both of them in.
    L1: Well that's certainly going to be sour!
    L2: Hmm... you could be right there. What would sweeten it up and give it a kick? I have some Wensleydale with ginger in it. Perhaps the creaminess of the cheese and the kick of the ginger would balance and mellow the sour cabbage?
    L1: Yum, ginger! There's some fresh ginger in the cupboard, go on, I dare you to add some more.
    L2: Why not!
    L1: Sour ginger red cabbage soup? Whatever happened to the 'sweet' in sweet and sour, eh?
    L2: Bugger, I finished up our honey the other day when I was making the animator some honey and lemon for his sore throat. [looking in the cupboards and fridge speculatively] Well, there is this homemade jam Mum gave me. Mum adds apple and onion to her red cabbage. This jam is apple and tayberry. It's a nice colour too. What the hell, plum sauce is Chinese - plum sauce, apple and tayberry jam - who could tell the difference?
    L1: You freak, I'm leaving the room now. I cannot believe you've just put two large tablespoons of jam into that bubbling cauldron of muticoloured cabbage.
    L2: Hmm, the green cabbage does look a bit odd. Perhaps if I just stick it all in the blender?
    [five minutes later, after cleaning tiny purple splashes off the tiles and toaster, sampling the finished product and adding some soy sauce to the thick reddish-purple soup]
    L2: Hey you can come back in now! This is yummy soup!
    L1: You're right, it is strangely delicious...don't show the animator though or tell anyone about it. That sure is one freaky recipe for soup.
    I was standing by the recycling bins getting rid of week's worth of tins, bottles and jars when my nose detected the smell of stale cigarettes and alcohol. Before the brain had time to process this I heard an Irishman's voice: "That's right, you rule the world. It is a nice day isn't it?" I turned and looked into the face of an old man, scuffed and crumpled like a discarded paper bag, but he was already moving away. I finished sorting the recycling and counted my blessings. It is a nice day and even the smallests acts can make a difference.

    Wednesday, February 18, 2004

    I don't know how long it will stay there, but please check out that banner ad for the Isle of Wight Festival. Seems like quite a good deal to me. My parents attended the greatest festival ever, the one where Hendrix was playing. I was so proud when they told me. Unfortunately, they didn't stay long enough to see anything. Mum to Dad: 'Isn't it muddy!" Dad to Mum: "Yes. Let's go home."
    Read those clutter articles linked on Rebecca's Pocket then, for a sense of how bad things can get, check out these pictures. Suitably inspired, I'm off to tidy up the flat. I hate hoarding and it is one of the few things the animator and I disagree about - he comes from a family of hoarders and it's always a struggle to get him to throw things away...but if you don't throw things away, or better yet recycle, they trap you.

    Tuesday, February 17, 2004

    It makes me spit with anger:

    The Bush administration quietly shelved a proposal to ban a gasoline additive that contaminates drinking water in many communities, helping an industry that has donated more than $1 million to Republicans.

    Full story is here.
    The animator is watching Excalibur. I go to join him on the sofa now, not because I love the film (I don't), but because I love him.
    little bird lost
    Imagine you're a fledgling. No, better than that, imagine that you have left the nest all together. And now cast your little bird brain back, think about how nice and warm and safe the nest was: lined with the softest feathers and moss, being guarded by your parents and having yummy food constantly shoved down your throat. Imagine you go back. Perhaps it's a bit of a tight fit, perhaps a bit claustrophobic, I mean you've grown a bit since you were last in the nest, but it's nice, it's safe. Now, finally, imagine you're on your own once again after spending a few days in the nest. Doesn't the world seem even scarier, your little perch even colder, the cupboard even barer? It does for me.

    Friday, February 13, 2004

    In praise of other blogs
    If you haven't clicked through the sidebar yet please do. For, as Mulder used to say, the truth is out there. In truth, many truths are out there and much beauty too. If you only have time for one or two I would especially recommend Living Small and Ever So Humble. Right now these two feel like my daily bread.

    I've also spent half an hour in Rebecca's Pocket and suggest that you might like to do the same - she's collected some fine links about clutter.

    Have a great weekend. I shall be filling my lungs with sea air and enjoying my family's company.
    According to the gender genie, I write like a man (I tried it twice goddamit). Who knew?
    For health and safety reasons, I think that this warning page should flash up after two hours' of uninterrupted surfing (via too clever by half).
    Reasons to visit Sandown, Isle of Wight, as if you needed any.

    Thursday, February 12, 2004

    You know, sometimes you've just got to be thankful for what you have and not worry about what you haven't. I'm thankful for my family and friends and for the animator, without his support I would not be nearly as daring and my life would be poorer as a result.

    We got married at short notice, which turned out to be the best way to do it because it focuses your mind on ensuring that you achieve what is important for you. For us, that meant having as many family and friends as possible help us celebrate our relationship - not worrying about ceremony, invites, napkins, flowers and tailormade dresses (I got my corset from Retail Slut!). We got married at Camden Registry office and then moved on to The Clerkenwell. We had hired the entire place and they did us so proud - it was a fairytale. Cleaning out my old work email I stumbled across our wedding reception menu:

    ~ ~ ~
    ~ ~ ~
    ~ ~ ~
    ~ ~ ~
    ~ ~ ~
    ~ ~ ~

    Are you hungry now?
    Spurred on by the terror in the night I googled for more job websites this morning and sent off yet more apps. Also, have plans to get out of the flat today and do something lovely and inspiring instead of cleaning, which is what I did yesterday. So, I'm off to the V&A "the world’s greatest museum of applied and decorative arts" later.
    Tomorrow the animator and I are going down to the Isle of Wight for a few days - posting will be sporadic or non-existent. It's my Dad's birthday (good golly he'll be 73) - which for me is more important for me than any Valentine's weekend nonsense - and I'm looking forward to giving him presents and being spoiled in that 'what great people my family are' way.
    I'm not sleeping. I tried: closed my eyes, rested my head on my favourite feather pillow...but then the fear came. The thoughts that I supress crowded in: how are we going to pay the rent; when will I find work; when will the animator find work; how ARE we going to pay the rent? Then the adrenaline started pumping and I got the urge to run. I tried breathing into the fear. I tried positive visualisation. Now, it is late and my eyes are heavy, dry from staring at the screen - will I be able to sleep?
    Hey! Ex colleagues! This is my leaving gift to you: Metrosexual tarot (again, thank you Ernie).
    Do you ever get the feeling that your surfing is somehow ordained? That against the odds, serendipity enters the equation and you chance upon the very information you didn't know you were looking for? Well, tonight it happened to me. Thank you Ernie for leading me, as if by magic, to Planning your future. I shall be taking notes.
    AL Kennedy reminds me why I don't have a television:

    So now I finally have a proper grasp of what's important in modern life. And mainly it's tits - big tits, cheap tits, posh tits, Germans pan-frying tits with their consent, plastic tits, real tits, squint tits, famous tits and the unfortunate tits of strangers. If I'd known how fascinating tits were I'd have spent quality time with mine much more often. But if tits don't do it for you, I've seen more arses in these last weeks than I would have if I worked on an arse farm. Why do arses matter? Well, I'm still unsure, but I think it's because you can siphon the fat up out of them, then inject it back into your face [...] Because I am now completely up to speed on the vital issues of the day. Is your sofa new enough? Are your teeth white enough? Is there enough fat in your arse to inflate your head in case of emergency? And are you spending enough? Because if you're only spending what you've got, that's not enough - you need to be IN DEBT. Not just a little bit overdrawn, I mean proper, wake up screaming, selling your underwear, Russian roulette in Soho basements to win back your kidneys debt.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2004

    Physician heal thy self. I think this Atkins story will run and run (no pun intended).
    Lisa's incomplete, and quite possibly unhelpful, guide to surviving unemployment and retaining sanity

  • 1. Have a plan. The word here is routine. I get up before 8am, any later and I'd feel like a slacker, put on my sports bra (and other items of clothing) and hit the road. Ten minutes of 'running' and I'm at Regents Park. Once there, I walk, regain my ability to breathe without wheezing, clear my head, listen to birdsong and then 'run' some more. It doesn't take much for me to get an endorphin rush and it feels good to start the day constructively. Once home and showered etc I put in some time job hunting. Yesterday I made the mistake of blogging first. Never again!

  • 2. Think positive. I'm working on visualising exactly the kind of job I want. I'll admit this is proving somewhat difficult because the job I really want is mother/homemaker/gardener, however, I cannot pursue that goal without saving money and becoming financially secure, so job first.

  • 3. Develop constructive hobbies. I'm weblogging and learning html coding. This writing every day buisness is helping me to approach writing a novel. I realise that sounds obnoxiously grandiose. I took writing classes at uni but never took it any further, despite having (what is to my mind at least) a knock-em-dead synopsis. I'm scared of committing myself to writing and being crap at it. But from now on that's not going to stop me.

  • And there you have it. A three-step approach to remaining upbeat with no visible (or invisible) means of support.
    Paris Hilton's indecent proposal . No really, if accepted this will be indecent. And of course it will be accepted, who would turn her down? (via Bookslut)

    There will be a longer post later - detailing the state of my brain and adventures in surviving unemployment - but hey that can wait until after I've sent off some job apps right?
    This one is for C the housemate (via the ever-excellent and beautiful Frangipani).

    Perhaps one day I'll visit China and Japan. The world is so big and there's so little time to see it - I'm just grateful for the bloggers who give me a window on their worlds. It is the little stories that illustrate how rich and diverse our lives are. And sometimes even though the worlds described are geographically close, the lives lived are still a million miles away from my own. It is strange, I find myself drawn to people who share my aspirations, but live far away; or to people that live a short walk away, but in another universe. Reading these blogs is like going to the cinema and seeing familiar London streets starring in other people's stories. Drew, for example, I wonder if I ever pass him on the street only to go home and read about his day?
    Well, it's mostly up and running again (there are a few sidebar links missing, but I'll reinstate those as I miss them) and it only took me TWO HOURS. Not to worry, I've learnt my lesson - yes, I now have the entire site template saved as a txt file. Sigh...
    Arrrgh. I spoke too soon, in a moment of muppetry I deleted my template. Normal service will resume as soon as I've fixed it.
    Okay, I was finally brave enough to add a commenting system. Thank you Claire for making me think I might manage the copy-and-pasting this involved (I thought it'd be much trickier). This means, of course, that I'd welcome your comments...anyone? :-)

    Tuesday, February 10, 2004

    Been checking through my referrals. Someone visited this site after searching for "how to improve a sheep's lifestyle" - I'm sure I don't know the answer to that, other than become vegetarian. Anyway, I hope they found their visit enlightening. If any helpful readers have advice on sheep lifestyle issues I'd love to pass it on.
    A bitter pill from The Age:

    While sugar growers won no new access...Mr Vaile said Australia had protected sensitive areas, including the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, local content for the film and television industries and export monopolies for wheat, sugar and grains, which the US wanted to eliminate.
    But US pharmaceutical companies won significant changes to the scheme, including the right for an "outside review" of decisions excluding their drugs from the PBS, extended patent periods, and consultations when makers of generic drugs apply for approval. Mr Howard insisted that these changes would not raise the cost of the scheme.
    The fine details in the agreement's text will not be available for another month or more. It will then be put before Congress.

    What it boils down to is the US refusing to buy cheap sugar without Australia agreeing to buy expensive drugs. I wonder how long it will take Howard to capitulate?
    The animator and I drink bottled water. I have issues with this as there is no recycling facility that will accept plastic bottles near us, but on balance I think bottled water is best for us, if not the environment. One reason I won't drink tap water (and we filter any water we use for hot drinks) is that I distrust the chemical make up of tap water. I do not want to drink fluoride, for example. Fluoride applied topically (in toothpaste) can help prevent tooth decay, but swallowing fluoride does not help teeth - in fact it can lead to fluorosis, a brown mottling on the teeth. Fluoride can also interfere with the thyroid gland. ENN has an interesting article that states good diet not fluoride prevents tooth decay (via Path to Freedom).
    A red squirrel haven. Growing up on the Isle of Wight, I was lucky enough to be familiar with these shy little blighters. Really, red squirrels deserve their haven. Now, living in London, I see the bigger, fearless grey squirrels on a daily basis and they make me smile - they dart up trees and run across my path - however, wouldn't it be much nicer to have our native red squirrels instead, even if that meant not seeing them as often as not? Don't we have enough American imports already?

    Monday, February 09, 2004

    It was the postman that made me feel unemployed. Usually on a weekday morning the alarm goes off and then, once I hear the postman deliver the mail, I get up and get ready for work. Today was different. Today I got up and went for a jog around Regents Park. Sadly, I'm very unfit and only managed about five minutes of actual running. However, it is a beautiful cold crisp day and the birds were singing - it felt great to be outside. Now I just need to buckle down and do the daily job hunt. Interview is at 3pm, so I've got plenty of time to get nervous :-)
    Quiet Sunday. Walked to the farmers' market this morning to pick up groceries. Veggies were all present and correct and I also found an enormous goats cheese that looks divine, but sadly the lady who sells fabulously creamy unpasturised milk wasn't there. Hope she's back next week as I want that milk!

    The animator has spent the weekend completely overhauling his website and reacquainting himself with the joys of html. Go check it out. I know I'm biased, still I think it's pretty damn hot.

    I've had a joyful weekend, a weekend of counting my blessings. Top of the list has to be the animator. It struck me after writing yesterday's post - how many other men go into clothes shops looking for one item that was pointed out months ago to see if it's on sale? He even checked to make sure the one remaining jacket was in my size. Actually, he's even more amazing than that - he often scouts out wonderful clothes for me, things that I would have never found for myself. He's also given me the confidence to go into the trendy shops near the Seven Dials. Clothes here are a shorthand for something more. It's the care he lavishes on me, the way he pays attention to my needs and nurtures me so that I can become a better me. He also supports my left of centre lifestyle choices - he might not be enthusiastic about composting toilets but he knows that I am and has agreed that when we build our house we'll look into installing one.

    Another blessing is living where I do. Being able to walk to places easily. Being somewhere where there is so much going on - so much to see and do, so many lives, so much energy.

    I have another interview tomorrow. As always, wish me luck. The animator will also be hauling his ass round town looking for gainful employment. Please, think positive for us.

    Sunday, February 08, 2004

    Met up with ex colleagues last night. Went to The Bloomsbury then on to a great Japanese restaurant nearby, where the waiting staff cook your food on a hotplate embedded in the table - very similar to a scene in Lost in Translation. Hot sake and fantastic food, not to mention wonderful company made for a really lovely evening. It's a shame that these kind of get togethers only happen when someone leaves, and especially sad when you are the person leaving.

    Today I got my summer clothes out of storage - just to look at them. It will be months before I get to wear them again, but I wanted to touch the silk trousers I bought at the end of last summer and not yet worn. I also needed to put away a top bought on impulse yesterday. Not that it was my impulse to shop yesterday...

    The animator came home all excited. 'This is your birthday present,' he said, 'open it now - they have a sale on.' My birthday is a month away. Inside the envelope were two £50 vouchers for East. 'The sale is really good and I saw that red silk jacket you like.'

    So after lunch we strolled down to Covent Garden and, sure enough, the sale was good. The red silk jacket I'd sighed over at Christmas was reduced from £150 to £45 and with the other voucher I managed to bag two pretty cardigans, a red silk vest and a grey wool beaded and embroidered 'shell' (a top that is fitted and sits nicely under suit jackets). Full price these items would have totalled nearly £400. Who buys things full price in these shops? So now I have to hide these birthday presents away so that I won't be tempted to wear them before the official hand over.

    If all unemployed days are as nice as yesterday I'll never want to work again! But sadly I think the bank manager would have something to say about that.

    I've been feeling a bit malnourished recently - I've been assessing my nutrient intake on fitday and have discovered that my diet is deficient in certain areas - so took the momentous decision to attempt to eat fish. Tonight I'm cooking the smoked kippers I bought at the farmers' market. This will be the first fish I've eaten in many, many years and I feel quite apprehensive about whether I'll be able to stomach it. I'm going to cook the kippers in milk and serve with braised leeks, carrots and parsnips.

    Friday, February 06, 2004

    Last post of the night - when will I learn that drinking more than a glass of wine gives me insomnia?
    Badger Mansions is a truly lovely building and we are lucky enough to rent a corner apartment (bigger than the others) on the top floor (better view). It's a building with history: Kenneth Williams used to live here, as did his less-successful actor friend, John Hussey, my great uncle - a coincidence that made my move here feel blessed by the ancestors. It has a nice atmosphere and is well mainained. The caretaker exhibits paintings nearby and Bloomsbury still retains a local village feel. I like it here. Unfortunately, as with any apartment building, there are neighbours I'm not so fond of. Underneath us live a moderately successful chick lit novelist, her labour party lobbyist husband and their small, noisy child. We know this because within days of us moving in novelist & husband (N&H) were posting rather nasty letters through the letterbox threatening us with legal action and eviction. Why? Because, apparently, they were afraid that we might be noisy and disturb child's naps and N's work. Eventually things settled down, but only after our lovely landlord had threatened them with legal action over their harassment of us. N&H did succeed in making us feel very precarious in our first few weeks here though, leaving me with a desire to see her next novel get pulped.
    I've never read any of the N's novels, not liking chick lit myself, but did notice that each plot synopsis on Amazon featured noisy neighbours. Oh! And she was once nominated for a bad sex award, but wasn't good/bad enough to win. Even better, she was comissioned to write for one of the titles we had in development, it gave me great glee to read her copy - it was appalling. The title was scrapped and her work didn't get to print.
    Anyway, all of the above is background for what follows. The other night I was perusing the noticeboard in the lobby. Someone had pinned up a photocopied newspaper article about rising property prices and the gentrification of Bloomsbury/Kings Cross. One paragraph was highlighted. There was the N holding forth on how great the local patisseries are (although to my mind the cheese shop is far better) and how she invested in her flat before the area improved. But what I want to know is who pinned it up? Surely the N can't be that desperate to self publicise, can she?
    This seems strangely accurate (via ever so humble). My cheese rating is Hipi Iti. Hipi Iti is a semi-soft New Zealand cheese. It is made from sheep's milk that gives a sweet, caramel taste. The name means "little sheep" in Maori. The cheese ripens in two months, and is similar to Feta.
    When the animator wakes I shall ask him to confirm that I give a sweet, caramel taste.

    The animator's cheese rating is: Oaxaca. Oaxaca is a stringy, semi-soft Mexican cheese, also known as Asadero. It is used in sandwiches, or melted on cooked foods such as pizza or nachos.
    Pizza and nachos - oh yes, they know him well.

    Housemate's cheese rating is: Mascarpone. A soft white cream cheese with a mild taste. Mascarpone is thought to have originated in the area between Lodi and Abbiategrasso, south and west of Milan, in the late 16th or early 17th century. It is not actually a cheese at all, being the result of a culture being added to the cream skimmed off the milk used when making Parmesan, and as such, it is suitable for vegetarians. It is often used in Italian desserts.
    Housemate loves puddings.

    I'm already planning a three-course dinner party menu based on this tool of deep psychological insight.
    So yesterday was my last day at SPG... the feelings are stronger than I expected and I'm a bit raw. When I got home I discovered that the animator had put flowers on my dressing table. We celebrated with cheese, wine and chess. The animator kicked my butt. We played draughts for light relief. The animator kicked my butt again!
    The Daily Star is apparently 'reporting' that Hugh Grant and Brad Pitt will star in a biopic of Armin Meiwes. Hats off to The Age, great headline shame about the media source, paraphrasing Meiwes's lawyer somewhat: along with legitimate newspapers, there are quite a lot of newspapers that can in no way be regarded as legitimate.
    "Ooooh, zucchini!" Veggie porno ad does it for me, but I'm married to an Aussie and I'll never change his sausage-loving ways (via boing boing).
    Pigeons: I hate them. I've been known to start retching when I see them, quite a disability living in London. In fact I'd say they drive me round the bend. However, according to BBC news, it is we who are driving pigeons round the bend! Good to know.

    Thursday, February 05, 2004

    Let me strip myself bare for you. Here’s my subconscious mind laid out on a platter for your delectation. Last night I had three dreams.

    Dream 1. I’m at my desk, a girl offers me an enormous slice of chocolate cake. It has chocolate frosting and chocolate on top, cream in the centre. It looks fabulous. I devour it sinking my teeth into soft, buttery, chocolatey abundance. Then I take another huge slice of cake, the last on the plate, saying that I’m saving it for someone else. I hide it in my desk drawer and sneakily eat it.
    Dream 2. The animator and I are walking back to my parents’ house after going out for the day. In the dream I have a choice between two paths to get home, one path snakes around the base of a mountain the other goes straight over it. I choose the one that leads over the mountain. For the rest of the dream I am struggling to climb over rocks and scree, my hands bloody and my limbs heavy.
    Dream 3. I’m sitting a seemingly eternal editorial test.

    I woke up this morning physically and mentally exhausted, and feeling guilty about even dreaming about eating chocolate cake. Yes it’s true, I’m one sick puppy.
    Another day, another rejection - feeling very sorry for myself now. I will find gainful employment, I will! At least the animator is going well - he's finished all the action segments of his new showreel, all he has to do now is put the files into Premiere and Cleaner, sounds fascinating doesn't it?
    Penultimate day at work and it hasn’t really sunk in yet. Tomorrow is going to feel very, very strange indeed. This was my first ever proper job – long ago I started in telesales – and inertia and financial peril has kept me static ever since. More than four years in one place. To put that in context, during those four years I have:

  • Dated seven different people (not to mention got married!)
  • Dyed my hair six times, many different colours
  • Lived in five different apartments
  • Made four new friends
  • Let three piercings close up
  • Gained and then lost two stone
  • Completed an MA

  • But in all that time only had one place of employment – the change was overdue. I’ve been working my ass off to get everything tidied up prior to departure – I was at my desk at 7.30am for crying out loud. I’ve got loads of health check ups booked (eyes, blood pressure, BC pill, smear – joy) for the next few weeks, again all long overdue. I’m just trying to keep motivated and unstressed while I totally blitz those online recruitment sites and Guardian media. Arrrrgh.

    Anyway, onwards and upwards.

    Wednesday, February 04, 2004

    Yay me - applied for loads of jobs tonight, I hate job hunting :-(
    I'd really like to do more with this site: an 'about me page', pictures, a call for work etc - but at the moment my knowledge of html and the constraints of blogger are holding me back. So, as a half-way measure, I'm going to write that stuff here and see if I can figure out how to link back to it via the sidebar.

    So then...

    I'm 26, soon to be 27. I've been married to the animator for just over a year and, although times have been pretty tough financially due to his career change and studying here, being married rocks and he's everything I imagined when I used to dream about meeting my significant other. I'm a laspsed bisexual - marriage equals monogamy in my book. I live in central London - one of the greatest cities in the world. I'm interested in arts and sciences and try to balance both sides by working as a healthcare/medical editor. One day I'd like to have children. I have a mum, a dad and a brother - I love them and we're close, just don't make me stay in close confinement with them for more than three days. My brother and I were adopted, and M&D have assured us that, while other parents get lumped with whatever arrives, we were chosen. They are very unique people and I'm proud they chose me. My biggest ambition is to build my own house, I want it to be built along environmentally friendly lines - to that end I'm teaching myself about permaculture and earthships. The animator is Australian, one day we'll move there. When I first started this blog I thought it would be mainly links, but it is fast becoming a journal. I'd like to write a novel, and one day I might just do it.
    Had an interview today - please keep your fingers crossed for me - this time I actually left the office thinking how nice it'd be to work there. Oh god/goddess/all the deities of creation and before, I hope one of us, goodness both of us, finds work ASAP. The office was in Kensington Village and felt really friendly and professional. The lady interviewing was nice too, which always helps. Anyway, at this stage I'm just hoping to make it to second interview. Perhaps if everyone does their positive thinking best for me I'll get the job?

    I'm still applying for loads of other stuff and looking into freelancing too, anything to keep some money coming in!

    Other than job search gubbins, diet is progressing well - lost the Christmas poundage and my skinny, post-wedding clothes are now comfortable once again. The animator is still working on his masterpiece, but hopes to have a new showreel with agencies by the end of this week - that sounds a bit optimistic to me, but here's hoping.

    Monday, February 02, 2004

    All of yesterday's quiteness was for nought. C strolled in eating McDonalds' finest at around midday having been in his words: a very clean stopout. The animator and I were thrilled to hear his dispatches from batchelorland - hours spent at Tiger Tiger playing sardines followed by a nightbus to Willesden. It all sounded very exciting to us - we're too poor to have a social life, but we're not yet old enough not to miss it.

    Finally, today after knowing about it for months I managed to get to the Farmers' Market that is held on Sunday behind the Waitrose on Marylebone High St. An abundance of delights. It's a nice walk from Badger Mansions all along New Cavendish St. I love that road - where else can a shop specialising in pink lacy corsets be found a few doors down from an old-style caff? Said caff proudly features an arrangement of catering-size tins of Heinz baked beans and tomato soup. As if to say: we won't try to fob you off with any 'homemade' muck here, all our food comes direct from the tin - just like you have at home.