Sunday, May 30, 2004

change jar economics
I've always had a change jar or money box. As a child, all change had value: even a penny, even a hapenny (they were phased out when I was small) - all coins were carefully hoarded in my money box. When I had a pound my mum would exchange all my coppers and silver for a pound note and we would take it to the post office to deposit. As a teenager coins under a certain amount began to lose their value - the money box became a change jar and coppers and five-pence pieces were deposited rather carelessly. In the summer, when I was working as a waitress/chambermaid/low-paid skivvy, ten-pence and even twenty-pence pieces went into the change jar. I didn't want all that low-value shrapnel weighing me down! Of course, during the winter when I wasn't working and impoverished the change jar was regularly raided until it was empty even of coppers.
A couple of weeks ago TA and I had a bit of a heated discussion about what constituted 'change' and what coins should be placed into the change jar. The discussion was prompted by me tidying up our room. TA had left a handful of change on his bedside cabinet and I had, recklessly in his opinion, confiscated all coins upto twenty pence and put them in the change jar. When we were both working anything under a pound would go into the change jar, after we both stopped working I subconsiously reassessed what had value and what didn't - fifty-pence pieces suddenly became worth holding onto. Clearly, TA had decided that twenties and even ten-pence pieces were worth their weight.
I have a job again and I'm looking forward to adding fifty-pence pieces to the change jar.

Friday, May 28, 2004

it worked part II
I forgot to mention: I got a hefty payrise to boot. With profit share, a £6K payrise. I think that's pretty hefty. Of course, it's going to take us a while to recover from four freaking months with no income, but still, the milky bars are on me!
My last night at the deli went well. They really want me to stay and offered all kinds of incentives: a month's unpaid leave, fewer hours etc etc and I was considering it, but then I opened my paycheck. I earnt a little over £70 in a week - how can people survive on this pitiful pay? There were some really talented people working there (granted there are also some right slackers). I found myself wondering if it was racism that kept them in low-paid menial roles; apart from the store manager and a few uni students I think I was the one white, British-born person there. I worked with a guy who is studying chemical engineering. He said that when he graduated and worked at the deli full time he'd be made supervisor. I was really puzzled, 'don't you want to work in your degree field?' I asked. His reaction was telling, he acted as though that was an unobtainable dream. Another guy worked stacking shelves in the evening as well as lecturing in IT part time so that he could spend time with his kids. Be nice to your supermarket staff, offer them a better job.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

lamb with time
Right then. I officially start the new job on TuesdayThursday, I finish at the deli tonight. Life has changed dramatically. Now, free time is actually free time - not guilt time or panic time or omigod I should be looking for work time, but really, truly free time. It feels wonderful. Time has value again. I have value again.
Last night I picked up a shoulder of lamb on special. Today I roasted the lamb. TA had a roast dinner for lunch with the choicest cuts of what is a incredibly fatty joint, together with roast potatoes, buttered spinch and carrots - how decadent for a mid-week lunch. I then made lamb stew with the bone and the rattiest looking bits of meat and a lamb curry with the middling bits. It's a good job that TA adores lamb since it looks like he's going to be eating it for days.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

champagne, celebrations and my last day of unemployment dawns
Last night was a little crazy: TA, housemate C and I cracked open the champers as soon as I got back from the deli. Head honcho PR guy called from Oregon and we thrashed out the contractual gubbins and the finer points of what made up their offer. I sipped champagne. I grilled head honcho about pension schemes and dependents' health insurance and dental cover. I boldly and baldly stated that I had hoped for a higher basic. Head honcho explained how good the bonus scheme is and how I have a training budget to spend at my discretion. I sipped some more champagne. I accepted the job! I watched a West Wing DVD, I ate cheese and drank yet more champagne. I checked my email and blog. I gleefully wrote to all the recruitment agencies I'm registered with explaining why I couldn't attend the interviews I had lined up. And, at 2.30am, I went to bed.
The interview itself soon degenerated from a serious panel interview into a 'hey! we're giving you the job, how about that?' love in with everyone gushing a lot. Now that's the kind of interview I like! I picked up a bottle of champers on the way to meet TA at Monmouth and then, after coffee, came home only to get changed and head straight back out to the deli. The deli staff were really lovely about me leaving so soon after starting, the store management have decided to be arses about it. Last laugh is on them though as, due to rostering vageries and the fact that I'm still on probation, I only have to work two more nights to fulfil my week's notice requirement. Woo-hoo!

THANK YOU, big, big thank yous to you all - I really couldn't have done it without all your good luck messages. I'm totally in your debt.
a triumphant quickie
I've been offered the job - I'm just waiting to hear back from Oregon with the formal offer before I formally accept. I will probably start on Thursday - I'm guessing that the offer will be okay, if not there's always tomorrow's interview!
THANK you all so much, your support has meant the world to me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The interview is at 3pm UK time, it's a panel interview with the London team. These are the people I'd actually be working with if I were to get the job. I WANT the job. I need you all to get behind me on this one. Please... Please help me to pay my rent, animators are expensive to keep you know! The interview should last about an hour. I will, of course, let you know how it went as soon as I get back. Thank you for all your kind thoughts last week, they really did help.
Chant: She gets the job and a hefty payrise to boot...
it's the final countdown
I woke up with Frou Frou 'and I'm high enough from all the waiting / to ride a wave on your inhaling' playing in my head, delicious. But then I remembered. At 3pm today I'll be meeting the team, finally! The soundtrack to my day changed abruptly: 'It's the final countdown... [trumpets: dododoodo dododododoo dodododo dolodoldodododododo dodo] We're heading for Venus (Venus)/ And still we stand tall/ Cause maybe they've seen us (seen us)/ And welcome us all / With so many light years to go / And things to be found I'm sure that we'll all miss her so It's the final countdown...
Disturbing huh?
So, hopefully, one last push will do it. Please, please, please at 3pm UK time send me good luck, cross your fingers and toes, chant the chant, visualise me being offered the job. Because, I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted.

Monday, May 24, 2004

job hunt update
I should be attending two interviews this week: the final meet-the-team panel interview for the US PR company and, on Wednesday, a preliminary interview for a content manager role in Kingston. I'm also staying busy at the deli. TA is currently at the job centre/picking up new files from producer Nick/at the bank or missing in action.
I'm not feeling too creative or upbeat today, which might help explain the prosaic nature of this and the previous post. Actually, I'm feeling really frustrated, impatient and just a little bit aggro.
eyes right
If you cast your eyes to the right-hand side of the page - that's right, there at the top of the sidebar - you'll see that I've made a crafty addition. I've avoided doing this before because it always felt too commercial for what is, after all, a very personal blog. However, it could be that I'm missing out on wonderful opportunities so I've decided to do a little bit of prospecting.
Many people are unaware of what a copy editor and designer can do for them. If you have a small business and produce any kind of promotional material, investing in some editorial and design expertise is really going to raise your game.
Between us, the animator and I can:
  • Provide you with a consistent corporate design and house style, including templates in MS packages

  • Write promotional material, news articles, press releases

  • Produce multimedia presentations, for sales pitches, meetings etc

  • Advise on print buying and getting the most from your promotional budget

  • Design websites

  • So, if your window cleaner's flyers are full of greengrocers' apostrophes or your hairdresser wants a website please pass on my contact details. You can email me at the usual address for more information.

    Saturday, May 22, 2004

    something to learn, something to teach
    I was just reading David's career advice section on his blog ripples when the mail arrived. I've got some personal tutoring lined up! The hourly rate is double what the deli gives me. Things are looking up people, now if I can just persuade TA to register with them...
    day off/off day
    Round and round spins Fortuna's wheel - up and down we go, no wonder my heart seems to have permanently lodged itself in my mouth. I kept putting off posting until I'd heard back from Oregon, but that doesn't seem to be happening. Also, today is the first day in a while that I've had nothing much on the to-do list to worry/fixate about (apart from find a job, earn some money, pay the rent - but familiarity breeds contempt) so I decided to take a bit of a break from thinking. Two pints (really) of Colombia's finest generously laced with Frangelico certainly ensured that my brain was freewheeling down the steep slope of oblivion, hey, if I can't do this once in a while just exactly what is the point of unemployment? I was having fun with a new toy too: mashed up music. DINbOT's tracks have been on a loop all day - inspired! (Thank you so much for the heads up Free Man)
    Unfortunately, TA required my services as a shoulder to lean on (animators don't cry), an audience to rage at and a compos mentis wife to comfort him. Badger playtime ended abruptly. Now that TA has had his self-esteem and energy levels boosted a little (three hours of deep and meaningful talk, three hours of intensive hair stroking, 20 minutes playing a violent shoot-up game on the PC) I'm ready to play again - any suggestions?

    Friday, May 21, 2004

    friday fun
    Have you ever seen a baby pigeon? Click here, it's pure class, although does nothing for my pigeon phobia.
    bedtime scene
    [Loving husband retrieves a white chef's jacket, which is hanging over the door, and hunts for a hanger while wife watches him and waits for husband to come to bed.]
    Her: "It no longer reminds me of Jamie Oliver. Now it reminds me of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'."

    Thursday, May 20, 2004

    cream crackered
    Just to bring you all up to speed, I've now completed the writing test and am waiting to hear back from the HR dept in Oregon about whether the final(!) meet-the-team interview has been scheduled for tomorrow or Monday. My stomach is still somersaulting like a Russian gymnast and my nervous system is shot to bits. I think I may start sufferering from adrenaline withdrawal symptoms once things calm down as I seem to be constantly wired at the moment. I'm not sleeping too well either, averaging six hours a night instead of my normal eight. My palms are constantly sweaty and my heart is racing faster than a greyhound on speed. My mental faculties, such as they were, have deserted me. If I don't get this job I may have to be placed in a padded cell, otherwise I doubt I'll survive the comedown/let down/deep depression.
    When I stop gazing adoringly at my own navel for a moment I start to worry about the animator. For a while there both of us were out of work and neither of us were attending interviews. Of course this was terrible, depressing and bloody scary, however, at least we were both in the same boat. Now, I'm getting interviews and agents are calling me - I've got a sense of urgency and a pent-up energy about me - but the animator is still not getting anywhere. It is so hard for him to maintain the job hunt momentum - he's been looking for such a long time now and is totally exhausted. He's beginning to think that there's something wrong with him. There is nothing wrong with him - it is just a very difficult industry to break into. I wish there was something I could do to help, but there isn't and right now I have to stay completely focused on landing a job myself.
    It is tough you know, really tough.
    agencies, forms, tests, chores
    This morning has already been quite eventful. I've filled in the forms for the PR firm and had a call from an agency (funnily enough the same bunch who were rude to me) wanting to put me forward for a couple of positions. I said no to one (the money sucked and it would have been a long commute) and yes to being put forward for the other, working - indirectly - for Ken Livingston (mayor of London).
    Thanks to my PR pal K and the lovely Byker, I now have a much firmer grasp of how press releases are put together. I'm just pulling myself together and psyching myself up for the one-hour test: coffee has been drunk, notes read, TA has left for his teaching job...yes I'm procrastinating! But only because I'm terrified of ballsing it up.
    I'm working at the deli tonight, five til ten, and have some more admin (for Safeways this time) and chores to do before I go. It's going to be such a relief when I finally return to full-time employment. Being out of work is certainly no holiday let me tell you!
    thank you
    Thank you all so much for your good wishes and positive thinking, I'm sure it was this that got me through.
    I'm so exhausted right now, too tired to be excited. Back to the deli tomorrow, that and sitting the writing test and filling out reference check forms. I'm one pooped badger.
    stop press!
    I'm through to the next round. That was quick! Next interview will most likely be on Friday. Don't uncross those fingers yet.
    but wait, there's more
    Interview went well (I hope). Video conferencing was on the blink most of the time so it was more like interview by conference call (with occasional live action), with one person in the room and two chaps hooked up at the other end.
    This interview was much more editors talking to editors about editing - something I can do! Although one of the chaps said: 'I'm going to be direct. What do you look for in a manager?' My answer: 'For a moment there I thought you were going to stop at 'man'. [luckily this got laughs] Well, I guess I look for the same qualities I strive for when I'm managing a team: supportiveness and clear communication...' Towards the end as we were winding things down I was asked to supply references (yippee).
    It's not all good news however.
    There will be another interview and another test. I kid you not. The next (I daren't use the word final) interview, should I get that far, will be with four members of the London team and the US editor who interviewed me today. I will also be asked to write a press release in an hour.
    *Sighs. Shakes head*
    Better get on the blower to my PR pal K pronto for some tips. Got any suggestions Byker?

    Wednesday, May 19, 2004

    please sir, can I have a job?
    I feel really excited - pleased to finally be here on final interview day - and raring to go. I'm also terrified. I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I really want this job. I've told everybody who will listen about how much I want this job. It is going to be embarassing, to say the least, if I don't get it.
    So then, what I need from you, loyal, long-suffering readers, is the power of positive thinking. I'm going to out gun the other candidates by having the most people cheering for me from the sidelines. That, and having the best hair (always a sure-fire winner). At 4pm today UK time, and then as often as you can spare a moment for the next hour or so, I'd be ever so grateful if you could chant 'she gets the job and a hefty payrise to boot' or 'go girl' or just imagine me doing a fabulous interview. Whatever works for you will hopefully really work for me. In return, I'll be buoyed up by knowing that people all over the world are sending me good luck and when I get home, even before I ring my mum, I'll post and let you know how it went.
    *squeal* I'm really looking forward to it, am I insane?
    asleep at her post
    Not quite, but nearly. Not much to say today... The deli thing is working out well, I think, but there's an awful lot to learn right now. I'm sure it will get easier.
    Big interview tomorrow: 4pm UK time. In preparation, and to make me feel more super confident, I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow at Tommy Guns (trendy soho salon where they give beer while you wait, woo-hoo!), the last time I got my hair cut was seven months ago. It needs a cut!

    Tuesday, May 18, 2004

    I'm often asked, 'where did it all begin?' Well, Badger Girl, probably with episodes like: Stripey beats up Mr Barker. Look and Read was better than Shakespeare as far as we primary school kids were concerned. And the theme tune, sung by Derek Griffiths and writen by Peter Howell, should be this site's anthem:
    Leave the town behind,
    The traffic
    In the street.
    On the moor you'll find
    There's grass
    Beneath your feet.

    Ponies running wild,
    Badgers livin' free.
    Come on,
    City child,
    There's always something new
    For you to see
    ...(my emphasis)

    Interestingly enough, as an adult I saw Derek Griffiths play Feste, he was excellent. And, if you think a badger mauling a pony rustler is unsuitable viewing for six year olds, you wouldn't believe Boy From Space. It. Gave. Me. Nightmares.
    I'm a sucker for a uniform
    I love my deli uniform! I feel like Jamie Oliver in my smart, crisp white chef's jacket - with an extra formal-looking double row of buttons. I have a cute little red hat and smart red matching apron. The black trousers fit just fine (maybe I'm high waisted?). Today I just did a couple of hours running through fire safety training videos and paperwork, tomorrow I'm learning from an experienced deli person. I'm working all morning to earn less than I used to in an hour, but because I've got the best uniform in the shop I'm excited! I'm going to be the sexiest deli girl you've ever seen.

    Monday, May 17, 2004

    gotta run
    Lots to do today. Chores and errands and then my first deli training session. My stomach is still in training for olympic gymnast of the year due to my excitement/tension of the approaching interview, which also means I've got to run...

    Sunday, May 16, 2004

    doubt is in fashion
    I don't know if TA noticed, but yesterday we (perhaps just I) had a bit of a falling out. I've written before about how I'm constantly checking that our marriage is what I want it to be and how TA thinks that this is rather odd. Comforting, then, to know that other women - world-class fashion designers, committed feminists with PhDs - do this too:
    Prada sat silently for a moment and sipped her wine. 'I am always checking to see how I feel about my life and my marriage,' she said. 'I am always asking myself if it's good enough. Is everything the way I want it to be? And the truth is, I have to admit, I may hate him and want to kill him, but late at night when he comes home I am always at least a little bit happy.'

    Full article is here.

    Saturday, May 15, 2004

    relaxative, not laxative, needed
    I got Wednesday's interview schedule through from the Oregon office this morning. Two people on site (senior managers) and two people (team members) via video conference. I had to run to the loo before I could finish reading. If this continues I'm going to have dropped a dress size by Wednesday (no bad thing) and be a nervous wreck (a very bad thing indeed).
    The animator has warned me that he's going to be horrible to live with for the next few days, how heartening. He's reacquainting himself with 3DS Max and learning Character Studio so that he can get to work on the stuff for Nickleodeon on Monday. Wonderful.
    On my to do list this weekend is: write to the in-laws; grocery shopping; tidying/cleaning; and exercising.
    If you have paint drying I suggest that you go and watch it, it'll be more interesting than hanging around here.

    Friday, May 14, 2004

    deli-ghtful, deli-cious
    I've got a job at the deli counter! Working evenings and weekends from now until all our debts are paid, or until I fall over in a swoon from overwork; whichever comes first.
    Benefits: I can work evenings and weekends; I get trained in food safety and how to use the chopping and slicing machines (cross-transferable skills that will help at home!); after a month, I get 10 per cent off my grocery bills; I get a snazzy uniform, including a hat!
    Drawbacks: I will have to work evenings and weekends; my co-workers aren't the brightest sparks (the HR woman was amazed, she'd never had someone score 100 per cent on the maths test before); I'll need to curb my snacking habit; Safeway trousers are tailored like old men's - the waistband nestles invitingly under the bust, or possibly nipple if you are an A-cup.
    I begin health and safety training on Monday. I answered all the health and safety questions so well that they thought I'd already got my food hygene certificate. On that evidence alone, I'd be scared to shop at the deli counter.
    all interviewed out
    Today's interview is with Safeways and it feels really strange to be following through with this just when my employment prospects look rosiest, but financially it's a necessity.
    The third-round interview with the PR company is going ahead next week - probably Wednesday afternoon. I'll meet two people from the US in the London office and then we will video conference with a further two or three over in Oregon. It sounds pretty scary and I can't help but wonder how many people have got through to this stage. Is this last stage (it had better be the last stage) the deal maker or is it a formality? Probably, it's somewhere in between.
    Last night I kept getting over-the-top excited, thrilled that I'd finally managed to pass a goddamn test, thrilled that I'd got to this stage, thrilled at the prospect of getting the job. I have to remember that I'm not there yet and just make sure that I don't fall at the final hurdle. Better start training now!
    It worked!
    Keep your fingers crossed for me, I'm through to the third-round interviews at the fabulous PR agency. Phew...
    *dances a victory dance*
    ready, steady, cook
    I found this wonderful sounding recipe in The Age the other day. I'm trying it out tonight:

    One of the most common and intriguing preparations in Vietnam is a quickly assembled stew with tomato and pineapple at its base. Though it might seem reminiscent of the sweet-and-sour concoctions of a couple of decades ago, its sole source of sweetness is the pineapple. It is primarily sour, usually with heat contributed by chilli. The sourness comes primarily from the tomato, and from a hefty dose of lime or tamarind.
    The dish can take many forms. In Vietnam I have eaten it with everything from frog to catfish. It's also served as a powerful-tasting vegetarian soup.
    I like it best either in its pure vegetarian form or with veal. The sauce comes together well with almost anything, but is never better than when it coalesces around bits of browned meat. Veal, because it becomes tender almost as quickly as chicken (and frog), is always a great choice for quick braises such as this (overall, it takes about an hour - not the quickest of dishes, but for more than half the time, it takes care of itself).
    The recipe is straightforward but the heat level can range from extremely mild to quite hot - I usually make it with a single small Thai chilli. The sourness, however, should be pretty intense. Lime juice does the job, but about a tablespoon of concentrated tamarind paste would work well.
    Finally, a cup or so of white turnip (or daikon radish) is a nice touch.

    Veal with pineapple and tomato

    2 tbs neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
    750g-1kg boneless veal shoulder, cut into 3cm or smaller chunks
    1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
    1 tbsp chopped garlic
    1 small chilli, stemmed, seeded, and minced, or ½ tsp dried red chilli flakes (or to taste)
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1½ cups pineapple chunks, preferably fresh
    1 cup chopped tomato
    1½ cups peeled white turnip or daikon radish, cut into 2cm chunks, optional
    2 limes
    ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves

    · Put a 30cm frying pan over high heat and, a minute later, add the oil. Add meat in one layer (you may have to use a little more oil, and brown in batches). Cook, undisturbed, until meat is nicely browned on the bottom (about 5 minutes).
    · Add onion, garlic, chilli, and some salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions soften and any bits of meat stuck to the pan are released (about 5 minutes). Add pineapple, tomato and turnip; stir, reduce heat to low, and cover. Stew 30 to 40 minutes, or until veal is tender.
    · Juice one lime and quarter the other.
    · Uncover the mixture; if it is soupy raise the heat to high and cook, stirring, until it thickens a bit. Add lime juice, then taste and adjust seasoning. Cook about 5 minutes longer. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with coriander and serve with the quartered lime.

    Badger amendments: I am using tamarind paste and a little lime juice (me, sour?) with dried pineapple (sent over in the in-laws' care parcel). Our budget can't stretch to veal so I'm using a mixture of soya and minced beef. I'd love to be using daikon, but since there's none in the fridge I'm making do without. I am baking sweet potatoes and I think I might serve spinach too, not sure on that front.

    Since the oven is on for the sweet potatoes I thought I'd also have a stab at the animator's mother's recipe:

    Marshmallow pudding
    2 eggs
    2 cups of milk
    vanilla essence (I use vanilla extract)
    1 tablespoon of sugar
    marshmallows (the animator likes the plain ones)

    Beat the eggs with a little milk add the vanilla and sugar beat until the sugar has disolved and then add the remaining milk. Place mixture in a dish, scatter the top with marshmallows. Cook in a bain marie in a moderate oven for around half an hour.

    Thursday, May 13, 2004

    Chickens in the city.

    In other news, yet another interview today. This time it's with an agency. A 'catching up and, by the way, why is it you haven't found me a job yet?' kind of thing.
    So... The interview went well I think. The interviewer was a nice woman about my age and I think we bonded as much as you can in a short interview. It was clear though that she wasn't the decision maker, in fact she was only in London to hold the fort until the position is filled - next week the senior managers and members of the editorial team are coming over from the States and will conduct further interviews. Whether I get put forward for stage 3 (bloody hell, just how many stages can an interview process have?) will depend on how well I tested.
    The test. No matter that my confidence was dented yesterday, this test was about as different as can be. It was not exactly a traditional subbing test, although there were elements of that; it was not exactly a PR test, although there were elements of that; it wasn't a test to see if I was aware of US/UK English differences, although - you've guessed it - there were elements of that. The test came in three sections, each section had very detailed instructions (all edits were to be tracked, editorial queries were to be colour coded as were factual references). Section 1 was a press release, it needed to be subbed to AP style (I've never worked with AP style before), however, once a first sweep had been made it became very difficult to see what was happening to the text because it was littered with tracked changes and highlighted notes and queries. Section 2 was a fact-checking exercise, ensure that all proper nouns are correctly spelt and 'show workings out' by inserting a link to your source document, highlighted in turquoise, between square brackets. Google showed me where others had clicked before. I tried to better substantiate my claims (yes I'm that competitive) by finding additional source material, or better - previous candidates had only visited (ie referenced) a news story that quoted from the very same press release we were checking; that's not good enough! Finally, there were 20 or so sentences to correct, standard grammar textbook fayre. Unfortunately, it said if the sentence is correct write C next to it. Talk about fuelling paranoia! Some of them are correct??? The interviewer said there were no time limits, again fuelling paranoia. I left after about an hour and a half - I'm exhausted!

    Wednesday, May 12, 2004

    I'm really annoyed that my haloscan comments keep disappearing, so have enabled blogger's own comments system - I hope it works okay.
    lucky charms
    Feng shui crystal has been polished, money plant watered, Chinese symbol of luck hung on the front door and pewter wealth plate (a wedding gift) placed in a prominent position. Ancestors have been prayed to as have guardian angels. In a break from the interview norm, I have decided to wear my long-line red silk jacket from East over a black 'shell' (essentially a vest top made out of suit material) and black trousers - I usually wear a much more traditional suit (from Coast) and shirt combo, but somehow never feel very confident in it.
    Please think of me between 10am and 11am - keep thinking: she gets the job and a hefty payrise to boot, she gets the job and a hefty payrise to boot, she gets the job and a hefty payrise to boot... you get the idea.
    over the Rainbow
    Hey you! Yes, you! The reader who works at Rainbow Studios. Have you got any freelance work for the animator? I see you have jobs there and he has all the skills...we're just not sure about moving to Arizona... although...
    Seriously, please check out Soluus, as all feedback is welcome.
    good news, bad news, good news
    The interview went okay, but somehow my heart just wasn't in it - perhaps it was reading Gardeners' World Magazine that put me off - the mag is pretty uninspiring, it takes a very conservative approach to the wonders of gardening. Whatever it was - I also took a strong dislike to the agency chap* - I had bad vibes about the job. At the end of the interview came the test and it was pretty evil. I got almost all of the layout 'mistakes' and all of the things that I would normally check for on final proofs: running head consistency, page numbering, right pictures etc. I missed some basic spelling errors/typos (eeek), but what do they expect in half an hour when you also have to write a headline, intro and subheads? I guess the BBC expects perfection, except that this is a contract publisher and the position would not involve hands-on subbing. Bah! No matter, the agency guy said that I'd blotted my copybook by answering (truthfully) that I'm not a big reader of consumer mags. Sigh, I thought to myself, yes I'm not really that interested in this rubbish.
    *He was very rude about my previous employers, and said things like, 'well you certainly did the right thing in leaving'and 'perhaps, if you'd worked for a proper publishers...' what a total - I feel like swearing - tosser.
    I have an interview with the American PR firm tomorrow and am really excited about the possibilities of this position. I was totally psyched by the phone interview and the opportunities the HR chap was discussing.
    Fingers, toes and all other extremities crossed.
    I've finally heard back about that Content Manager role in Kingston and will be interviewing for that next week.
    Fingers and toes crossed.
    -stop press-
    As I was typing this I got a phone call from LexisNexis who want to put me forward for a Editorial Manager position. It is in Croydon...but still, trains go there from Kings Cross.
    Fingers crossed.
    One, two, three, four; who declares a bidding war?

    Tuesday, May 11, 2004

    it's a rollover
    Go on, stroke my badger. I bet I've just doubled my google hits with that sentence.
    interview and currying favour part 2
    So today's the day, I am interviewing for the position of deputy production editor for Gardeners' World Magazine. I will also be sitting an editorial test - eek I hope they don't include misspelt latin plant names. Here's the skinny on the position:
    To sub, proof and trim copy to set deadlines, as well as creating headlines and sells, to ensure sense and completeness and maintain appropriate house style. To take specific responsibility for complex pages, larger features and significant sections of magazine. To co-ordinate work of Subs/Senior Subs and pass final checks on certain sections/cromalins as well as deputising for the Production Editor in his/her absence where appropriate.
    It's pretty much what I used to do at my old job. It's only a stage 1 interview with the agency and I'm feeling fairly laidback about it.

    After saying I was going to cook my mother in law's chicken curry I actually only got round to it last night. It turned out pretty good and is so simple to make, ideal for leftover roast. Here's the recipe:

    2 cups of cooked chicken diced
    1 diced onion
    1 tablespoon of hot madras curry powder
    1 tablespoon of tomato relish
    2 sticks of celery sliced
    2 dried pineapple rings finely chopped (chunks about 1/8cm)
    500ml milk
    cornflour to thicken

    Next time I will add red pepper (capsicum) and cashew nuts.

    Cook the onion in some oil or butter until soft and translucent. Add the curry powder and celery. Allow to cook for a few minutes, add more oil/butter if necessary. Add tomato relish and pineapple, cook for a further few minutes. Add milk and bring it to simmer. Add cornflour to thicken the sauce. Keep stirring and then add chicken. Allow chicken to heat through - five or six minutes - and serve with rice.

    Monday, May 10, 2004

    Fifteen years ago today I bunked off school. Most of my friends had gone on a week-long school trip (my parents said there was no point me going as I'm not sporty and really would I enjoy rock climbing and kayaking? - it all sounded quite dangerous) and I was bored of whatever activity we sad remainees were supposed to be doing, so I bunked off. Steph and I walked down the road to get some sweets. The sweet shop was next door to my parents' house, but why should that stop us? We had to cross a busy road to reach the shop. I was in the middle of the road and there was a car coming, it was close but I thought I'd make it if I ran. I was wrong. Up in the air I went. Down I came. I think I died.
    I remember the tunnel, the light, the people waving, picking up my old, sadly missed dog and cuddling her, the sadness as the people, the light, my dog - everything - receded. I don't remember the panic or the nurse, who was in the shop, running out and trying to keep me alive until the ambulance arrived. I don't remember my brother arriving (he'd been home studying) or the trip to the hospital.I definitely don't remember passing the vet's. The vet's where my mother was sitting hoping that our new dog would survive after impaling herself on a stick, sitting listening to the ambulance go by with sirens wailing.
    I was told afterwards that Mum got to the hospital in time to see me come out of surgery. They'd pinned my mashed up arm, but there was nothing they could do about my head injuries except wait. Mum says she knew I was going to be okay when, as she was holding out a bedpan for me to be sick into, I covered her in vomit and said, 'I always did get car sick.' Must have been the morphine talking.
    Children have amazing powers of recovery. I was only in hospital for a week, mum stayed with me sleeping in the parents' room on a couch. The arm healed fine and, seemingly, so did the head. When we got home my mum's birthday cards were still up.
    My friends came back from their adventure holiday and so did I. Today I feel lucky.
    bare-faced blog
    Trying to think of a good title for this, but couldn't come up with one. Besides, blogger has been googled and the new interface has unsettled me - a bit like drinking out of someone else's mug at work because your's has disappeared - everything works the same it just looks wrong.
    So. I'm back from the Isle. I'm back, for the time being at least, from deep, dark depression and I'm ready to reassess. First off, I don't tell you everything and sometimes I feel guilty, I realise I try and make myself sound a bit better than I am. A prime example is my recent weight gain. In the ten or eleven weeks I've been out of work I've gained over a stone. I can blame this on a lot of things: boredom, desperation, self-destructiveness. But, essentially, I've gained that much weight because I've been eating like a pig (and sometimes throwing it all up again to 'make it better') and not getting enough exercise. This has to stop, my clothes no longer fit me and I'm frightened that when I do get a job I'll have nothing to wear.
    Another good example is that I haven't admitted that I'm not very good at job hunting, I really need to kick some butt there and get a job ASAP, but each day goes by and I make excuses not to fill in this form of surf Guardian. This also has to stop.
    Deep breath.
    I must beat the odds. The kitchen cupboards are FULL of chocolate like you wouldn't believe. We've had a visit from some aussies that brought over a care package from the in-laws: six packets of TimTams, Kaluha-flavoured slices, Mint Slices, Tia Maria-flavoured TimTams, Shortbread (coals to Newcastle, no?), Pollywaffle bars, Peppermint Crisp entire nylon shopping bag of confectionary, not to mention the enormous bag of Macadamia nuts and family bag of Twisties.
    It is going to take the animator weeks, maybe months, to work through this bounty and all the time it will be calling me from the cupboard. I must be strong, I must rediscover my willpower.
    Deep breath.

    Saturday, May 08, 2004

    Off to the Isle for my mother's birthday dinner party, normal service will resume on Monday.

    Friday, May 07, 2004

    After yesterday's burst of optimism re job situation and great interview, today I'm back to feeling really crap, useless and pathetic. Bugger. Bugger. Bugger. Must maintain energy and apply for jobs. Must exercise and stay mentally on top of things. Must eat healthily and nourish myself. Must polish my feng shui crystal and water my money plant. Must ignore nasty letter from the bank. Bugger. Bugger. Bugger.
    I feel really let down when I've been reading a blog for a while and then the author stops writing about an event or topic - all the plot threads just left there hanging in the wind - but at the same time it feels really poncey to return to a topic in 'what happened next' way, when really it might be that no one cares.
    So. The phone interview went really well (honestly, I enjoyed it) and I think I'll need to sit an editorial test and then attend an interview in the London office before finding out if I'm shortlisted. This is good in that phone interviews can be a very flat experience - there are no clues as to what the organisation is like or, I don't know, the general atmosphere of the place. These indefinables matter and I want to see the London office and meet the team. But also it's bad because, after not really caring about this particular application (the animator sent me the job ad while I was on the Isle and I really didn't think it was worth applying for) I now have discovered a burning desire to get the job.
    In other developments. Thank you for all the feedback about G the cleaner. I shouldn't feel bad for expecting my employee to work to the standards I expect and the for hours I pay her. Ultimately, it's not about whether my cleaning standards are high or low its simply a matter of setting sufficient tasks to fill the time I'm paying for. It is possible to do a lot of cleaning in two hours and if G is unwilling to stay that long and work that hard we should pay her less or, better still, find someone who will clean for the full two hours. This badger has just turned into a hard-hearted employer!
    The animator and I met up with a few of his old St Martins classmates last night, none of whom are working full time in animation. It was good to know that TA isn't the only one who is finding it tough, but it is also pretty dispiriting because it means that there just isn't enough work out there at the moment.
    This afternoon's phone interview is for a content manager role based in Kingston upon Thames wrong job! This is a production editor role, different company, phew good job I checked! It's quite well paid and would be a small step up in terms of experience and prestige. I'd have to:

    provide Editing and Production support to our U.S. and European clients to meet their unique and changing needs.
    · Copy-editing: Copy-edit client and agency press materials, including technical documents; impose consistency, clarity and correctness; create, use and maintain style and reference resources
    · Client service: Coordinate production projects; manage press material distribution; meet deadlines; provide on-site support for various events, including pressroom coordination and press kit building; provide on-call service after hours
    · New-business projects: Format and copy-edit materials for new-business pitches
    · Agency business support: Add information to the agency’s knowledge resources, including client and agency style guides; participate in professional development classes; use employee education fund to seek continual professional improvement; participate in team and agency projects as assigned

    The ideal candidate is a college graduate with a degree in English, journalism or a related field, and at least two years of professional copy-editing experience in a similar fast-paced and demanding environment. Strong copy-editing and proofreading skills plus the ability to explain fine points of grammar and usage are required, as are problem-solving skills and an entrepreneurial spirit. General knowledge of journalism, public relations or the high-tech or bioscience fields is strongly preferred. Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Access, Excel and PowerPoint is required; graphic design expertise and the ability to create HTML e-mail messages is highly desired. French or German language fluency is a plus; this position will require regular travel.

    Wish me luck - I hate phone interviews, although at least it means I don't have to dress up.

    Thursday, May 06, 2004

    Someone up there likes me, on the very day that I'm due to have a job interview by phone with a HR guy in Oregon (the job is in London, go figure) I discover the badger's banana phone where can I get one? (via Bloggerheads)
    meeting the animators from TA's course tonight at the John Snow pub. What an interesting place London is.
    currying favour
    I've been looking forward to writing this post ever since the Easter parcel from my in-laws arrived. First off you need to know - if you didn't already - that my in-laws are Australian. Second of all you need to know that they are devout Catholics. And, finally, you need to know that the animator, like all other men, has a keen sense of longing for his mother's cooking, in particular her chicken curry.
    Once upon a time...
    Our story starts long, long ago when we were first dating. 'My mother is a genius cook. She fed all five of us kids really simple meals from her own recipes and they were always delicious. Her chicken curry is amazing and her cheesecake is really great too, A [TA's brother] sent home for the cheesecake recipe. God was it good. Hmmm...chicken curry.' At this point TA drifted off into a reverie. Honestly, Proust's madelaines were nothing in comparison to this chicken curry. And don't get me started on the purported wonders of TA's mum's marshmallow pudding, just don't. These scenes of starved reminiscence have been repeated regularly throughout our three-year relationship.
    After the animator and I had been together - and living together - nine months or so we went to Australia to attend his friend's wedding. We were there for two weeks and I met all his friends and family. The first week was taken up with wedding preparations as the animator was best man. We still got some time to see his parents, but not much. The second week was planned to be a holiday - off doing touristy things together. Unfortunately it wasn't to be. The day we were supposed to go and see the animator's grandmother, the very morning of that day, she died. Obviously, the second week of our visit was completely given over to supporting TA's parents, me supporting TA and arrangements for the funeral. I hoped that during this painful time perhaps some good would come in terms of me bonding with TA's parents. Although we'd not been together all that long we both knew that it was for keeps and it was obvious to those around us that we would marry eventually.
    I went to the funeral with the animator's family. TA's parents introduced me to various cousins, aunts, the grandmother's nextdoor neighbours... 'This is Lisa, the animator's friend.' At first I was shocked and then I was hurt. They deliberately kept me at arm's length, TA felt unable to ever tell them that we were living together, our relationship was always glossed over - all because we weren't married. In hindsight, I expected too much and clearly our relationship wasn't all that important right then, they had much bigger concerns, but when we were preparing to get married it did worry me. I hardly knew these people and soon we were going to be family - marriage is always about more than just two people. There were some minor bumps in the road, they wrote to us expressing how sad they were that I wasn't Catholic, but what can you do - you have to marry the person who is right for you, not the one who is right for your family.
    Nearly now and now...
    Since we got married TA's parents have gone out of their way to try to connect to me - not easy over such a long distance. There have been sweet birthday and Christmas gifts, they phone on my birthday and always want to talk to me when the animator calls them. To let them know how much I appreciate this, I wrote to them after Christmas thanking them for making me feel that we are family even though it's a long getting-to-know-you process. As a postscript I asked if perhaps they could email me the famous recipe for chicken curry as, although I had made TA chicken curry, the animator really missed it and often spoke at great length about its glories.
    The animator's dad emailed me and said that M (TA's Mum) was putting together a parcel of Easter chocs for the animator and that the recipe would be included. When the parcel arrived as well as easter chocs it contained: curry powder, tomato relish and marshmallows. There were two handwritten recipes - one for chicken curry the other for marshmallow pudding - and a note explaining that the recipe's success was dependent on these key ingredients.
    Tonight I am going to cook chicken curry. I'll post the two recipes later.

    Wednesday, May 05, 2004

    What follows is a very boring post, sorry, but actually I'd welcome your comments if you can bear to plow through it - are we mad/expecting too much of G?
    clean sweep
    I live with two men and we have a cleaner. She is supposed to clean (not tidy) the shared areas: kitchen, bathroom, hall and living room. She comes once a week. I have quite a lot of issues with this, mostly guilt at making someone clean up after me, but on balance when the three of us moved in together (and two were working full time, the animator was studying full time) it seemed the best way to avoid arguments.
    When G, the cleaner, started I wrote out a list of the things we wanted done. I probably wasn't all that prescriptive, prefering to write, for instance, 'vacuum' rather than 'vacuum, ensuring that the edges of the carpet and the skirting boards are clean'. After writing the list I cleaned the flat doing the tasks I had outlined, I'm pretty thorough, it took me just under two hours - but I did have to do a fair amount of tidying as I went. G cleans a number of flats in Badger Mansions and seemed happy to add us to her clients, she also seemed happy with the list of tasks and my predicted time of two hours. We pay her for two hours. She cleans, the place is habitable.
    Fast forward a few months...
    The animator was home one day when G arrived, she looked a bit shocked to see him as we were usually out when she cleaned. G asked if it was okay if her boyfriend helped her. Sure, of course, no problem. Two people get the cleaning done in half the time, so we are now paying for two people to clean for one hour. We trusted G to instruct boyfriend on what needed to be done and left them to it. During this time I left my job - so now we have one full-time worker (housemate C), one part-time worker (TA) and me looking for work. Money is understandably tight and a cleaner is an extravagence, but housemate C is not at all domesticated and TA, although very thorough, doesn't clean as often as I would like - without a cleaner I fear that I would end up being the house skivvy or living in squalour. We decide that we still need G's services.
    Fast forward to the present moment...
    G's boyfriend isn't very well, G now brings a friend to help her. Friend vacuums while she cleans.
    Now, if I'm honest the flat is often a bit messy - it is not G's job to tidy up, but if she comes at a time when we're not expecting her (like 7am yesterday morning) we (meaning I) don't always have time to make sure the draining board is clear of dishes and that the coffee table is clear of mags and mugs - this probably slows her down. So perhaps it should take two people more than an hour to clean and we should pay her more. This is not what is happening. G and helper are in and out of our flat in 30 minutes. Obviously, tasks are not getting done to the standard I would like and expect. Because of this I find that I am either cleaning again after G has been or getting uptight because things are not as clean as I want. Just to put this into perspective, G does do a cursory clean - our flat doesn't look obviously dirty - however, a closer look shows up areas are being missed: limescale is left to build up on the shower and taps, the edges of the carpet are grey where the vacuum never reaches, and so on. Equally, the boys are pretty annoyed at, in effect, paying G double what we agreed.
    What to do?

    A. Sack G and clean ourselves.
    B. Sack G and employ a new cleaner, being much stricter from the start.
    C. Talk to G, restating what we expect her to do.
    D. Start paying G less on the understanding that she is only doing half the work.

    We like G, she lives in Badger Mansions and she's a nice girl, also I fear that without her we'd soon be living in a verminous mess with each of us at the throats of the other two claiming that they never clean up - so that pretty much rules out options A and B. We talked about the G situation last night and decided that we'd begin with option C. I agreed to write out a new list of tasks on the understanding that I wouldn't be the one to talk to her - I feel guilty enough as it is.
    This morning I wrote a new list, it is very prescriptive, it looks impossible to complete in under two hours. I showed the list to the animator, he thought I was insane: 'No one can do that much cleaning in under two hours!' he exclamed. Housemate C suggested I write about this in today's blog post. Am I mad, are my expectations too high? Here is the list:

    Sink – clean thoroughly (including the overflow) with cream cleaner, ensuring that taps and plughole are free of limescale (use descalant if necessary), wipe down pedestal and pipes, clean the toothbrush holders.
    Mirror – clean and polish.
    Tiles – clean with cream cleaner or spray cleaner around the sink, under the sink and in the shower stall. Other tiles can just be wiped down.
    Toilet – wipe down the pedestal, pipes, under the seat and the water tank, scrub bowl and under the rim with bleach or toilet cleaner (do not flush the cleaner/bleach), polish the seat and lid.
    Shower – clean the tray and plughole with cream or spray cleaner, ensuring that they are free of limescale (use descalant if necessary). Clean the shower fittings (shower head, water pipe, dial, shelves etc) and the inside of the shower screen; unfortunately, descalant is always necessary on the metal fixtures and the screen. Wipe down the outside of the shower screen.
    Floor – sweep or vacuum and wash. The floor is an odd shape and dirt accumulates in the corners. There is an old toothbrush under the sink in the kitchen that can be used to clean these if the vacuum attachments don’t reach.
    Skirting board – clean off dust/dirt.
    Door – wipe down with a damp cloth and/or furniture polish, including the top of the door.
    Please empty the bin.

    Doors, dado rail, shelves – dust and polish.
    Skirting board – dust, clean off dirt (the vacuum attachments might help here).
    Floor – vacuum, paying attention to the edges – use the vacuum attachments.

    Surfaces – clean with cream cleaner or spray cleaner.
    Hob – remove black trivets and clean the metal surface, clean around the knobs, wipe down the oven door and the wooden drawer underneath.
    Sink – clean the sink, plughole, taps and drainer with cream cleaner, use descalant if necessary.
    Tiles – clean with cream or spray cleaner around the sink and behind the oven and work surface. Other tiles can just be wiped down.
    Cupboard doors – wipe down with a damp cloth, use spray cleaner if necessary.
    Microwave – clean inside and out.
    Appliances – (fridge, freezer, washing machine) wipe down with a damp cloth and spray cleaner.
    Skirting board – clean off dust/dirt.
    Floor – sweep or vacuum and wash. Dirt accumulates in the corners and under the units, there is an old toothbrush under the sink in the kitchen that can be used to clean these if the vacuum attachments don’t reach.
    Please empty the bin and wipe it down.

    Living room
    Wooden surfaces – (shelves, tables, DVD holder, window sill etc) dust and polish, don’t forget the shelves behind the door.
    TV – dust, pay particular attention to the screen (use window cleaner if necessary).
    Computer desk – DO NOT TOUCH!
    Door – wipe down with a damp cloth and/or furniture polish, including the top of the door.
    Sofa and armchair – vacuum cushions and arm rests with the brush attachment.
    Skirting board – dust, clean off dirt (the vacuum attachments might help here).
    Floor – vacuum, including under/behind furniture and paying attention to the edges (use the vacuum attachments).

    I'll admit the list looks pretty over the top. I included details of what cleaning products to use because said products last for a suspiciously long time - I wonder if G uses one damp cloth for all. I thought I'd better check the list of tasks for feasibility. I tried to stick to only tasks on the list (even if that meant redoing things that were done yesterday), but once I got going I saw things that hadn't been done since we moved in. I'll admit that some of what follows probably only needs to done once every few months (I wouldn't dream of suggesting that G do all of this every week) and also that things weren't as dirty as they would be normally because G was here yesterday, but this morning:

  • I washed the bathroom ceiling

  • I pulled out all the furniture and vacuumed behind it

  • I used the vacuum attachments to get the dust off the upholstery and skirting boards

  • I completely cleaned off all the limescale - shower screen, shower, sinks, taps, plugholes - and then polished the metal, glass and enamel surfaces

  • I cleaned all the kitchen work surfaces, the hob and the oven door as well as the kitchen appliances

  • I scrubbed the floors - including the carpet (using upholstery shampoo) - and paid proper attention to difficult-to-reach corners and underneath kitchen units

  • I cleaned all the doors, including the tops of the doors

  • I cleaned the bathroom extractor fan

  • I polished furniture and dusted all the black and beige plastic boxes: computer, TV, DVD, stereo etc

  • I washed down tiles (bathroom and kitchen) and cupboard doors

  • I took the shower fixtures off the wall and cleaned the accumulated soap and limescale off them as well as the limescale that had accumulated on the tiles behind them

  • I tidied up a bit as I went. We live in a small flat and I work quite fast. It took me just under two hours.
    I'm not a political blogger - I never feel up to the task or well enough informed to comment. I do however read political blogs and would suggest that everyone takes a look at Balders's post on the heartbreaking situation in Sudan.
    work in progress
    The animator: models for this, note the inclusion of a badger and a squirrel; a revolving globe for an Irish haulage firm; and a promo for Nickelodeon (if producer Nick ever gives him the models, he was supposed to have the files ready weeks ago).
    Me: preparing for an interview for a very nice job working on this magazine.

    Let's all say it together shall we:
    and, louder now,
    one last shout everybody:

    Tuesday, May 04, 2004

    I've been being very mean to the animator recently. I feel so trapped by everything that's happening, or not happening, trapped and frustrated and, of course, TA gets to bear the brunt of it. He gets to hear all about my how I wish we could leave London, how my life wasn't supposed to be life this, all about how this person just isn't me and what the hell am I doing/going to do? It's not that I blame him for where we are, in fact I blame myself, it's just that he's the only one here to listen to me. Poor bloke, he's in exactly the same boat and me ranting and moaning is not helping either of us to stay afloat. So I've made him a big chocolate cake to say sorry. It's got three layers and chocolate frosting. I hope it tastes okay. I hope he knows how much I love him.
    words chanced upon
    I found a bookmark in Barbarossa: The Russian-German Conflict - a book I'd borrowed from the animator's shelf.
    Under a celtic cross were the words:

    I arise today
    through the strength
    of heaven, light of sun
    radiance of moon
    splendour of fire
    speed of lightning
    swiftness of wind
    depth of sea
    stability of earth
    firmness of rock.
    (St Patrick)

    I'm not religious, but the words resonated with me. Life is quite a trial at the moment and, despite the fact that I have so many things to be grateful for, I have a tendency to wallow in bleak despair. Good then, to be reminded of the fundamentals occasionally.
    more ebaying
    Roll up, roll up - what a curious collection of intriguing things.
    Highlights of the purge include Moloko CDs and the Dungeons & Dragons DVD, bid now! More items will be appearing shortly as this clear out is going to be comprehensive - it's long, long overdue - the animator is such a hoarder and our limited storage space is bursting at the seams. Puzzle fun: see if you can accurately state which items were mine and which were his. Which of us is the Schwarzenegger fan and who was responsible for All Quiet on the Orient Express?

    Tough one isn't it? By the way, Magnus Mills writes brilliantly, his books are highly recommended.

    Monday, May 03, 2004

    weighty matters
    The animator has been working on a heavy lift all weekend, now finally achieved. I've been applying for jobs. It's got to the desperate stage and I have even applied to Safeways - figuring that even once I get my so-called career back on track we'll need the extra money to get out of the financial black hole we've recently been sucked into. I think we are both feeling pretty sorry for ourselves. The animator has some freelance animation work lined up, hopefully next week. I can't quite believe it has come to this, I'm never going to quit a job without lining up the next one ever again!
    happy tree friends
    The animator is worried that everyone except housemate C thinks he is a despotic and cruel husband, in fact he is contemplating setting up a competing blog called something like 'the animator is the victim here'. To be fair to him, I am happier when I am thinner and I am glad that he supports me in my efforts to be fit and healthy. Not a day goes by that he doesn't tell me I'm beautiful. However, he's also fixated with squirrels - perhaps that explains the attraction? Speaking of squirrels and housemate C... C brought home a new DVD the other night - happy tree friends - scary stuff. It made the animator question his career choice.
    The animator made me a dancing badger - look at him go!

    Sunday, May 02, 2004

    Me: Do you think my face looks slimmer now?
    Him: A little, you look less like a squirrel [pushing his cheeks towards his mouth to demonstrate the squirrel-cheek look].

    Well, that's good news isn't it? Notice the judicious use of the word 'less', in fact my husband still thinks I look like a squirrel, just a squirrel storing fewer nuts in its capacious cheeks, wonderful.
    When Monday is media Guardian job hunt day and you need to find work ASAP to pay this month's rent, Bank Holiday weekends are not good news...
    However, housemate C is taking us out for dinner tonight at the lovely local Hare and Tortoise. This is perhaps because he feels sorry for us, but perhaps it's also to say sorry for waking us up when he forgets his door keys (three times recently) and wearing the animator's ironed shirt to work, leaving his own shirt on the couch. The animator had to iron a second shirt - something to do with C's shirt not having double cuffs - before he could leave the house, how I laughed!