Thursday, June 30, 2005

super quick and super dirty recap
Here’s a top-line executive summary of the breaking news from Palais Badger:
  • After three years together, Housemates J and D have broken up. Housemate D will be moving out within a month or so. In any other circumstances, TA and I would be consoling Housemate J (TA’s sister) and saying you’re better off without him. However, since he pays rent, what we’re actually doing is whispering “we’re screwed!” to each other. I am hatching contingency plans along the lines of evict them all and find new housemates.

  • Goldie is a widow. Tricky the goldfish was found dead in the bowl yesterday. Live fast, die young, leave a slightly contorted corpse.

  • I am still meant to be grinding on deliverables. Mainly it’s my teeth that are grinding.

The PR speak will end soon, promise.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I shall be "heads down" as they call it here "grinding on client deliverables" for the next week or so to ensure that a client event in Amsterdam goes smoothly. Blogging will likely be light. Wish me luck, I hate grinding anything other than coffee beans, nuts and spices; and the thought of actually grinding *on* things makes me feel ill.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Apparently, there *was* an internal candidate and they are still deciding next steps. Gits. You've gotta hate those internal candidates.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

after and before
Even though this is not a diet blog, I suppose after stirring up a hornet's nest about dieting/body image I owe it to you to follow up. I’m just not sure how to shape the content (pun somewhat intended).
It’s been nearly four weeks since I decided to make changes. Today I am wearing my wedding underwear, a strapless corset and tiny smalls; obviously, I am also wearing clothes on top of this sumptuous underwear (a summer dress with spaghetti straps and a jacket, since you ask). Although I know that I'm slimmer – since my clothes fit and TA can see the difference – I don't actually feel any different and try as I might I can't really see the difference in the mirror either. Odd, don't you think? And while I feel on top of things I know that were I to get morose bad eating patterns would likely return. (Remind me one day to write properly about bulimia.)
How did I get here? Well, mostly it was easy, I could write out a diet sheet but that isn’t really important, what is important is that my mindset changed. Changed literally overnight as I sweated out a few too many glasses of wine and reassessed body, diet, work, writing and my relationships. But now I have the other mountains still to climb – job change, investing in my creative life, paying attention to my friends and loved ones – and I must confess I find myself tired at the thought of all the energy and commitment this will take, even though these changes will benefit me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"Everyone knows if you give alcohol to women it is easier," he said
Today's headline is taken from today's Guardian, for no other reason than it amused me. Isn't the weather lovely and isn't it easier to feel happy and in control of things when the sun is shining? Give me a glass of wine and perhaps a selection of cheeses and the living really would be easy. Sadly, I'm facing eight hours of work spaced out over the next nine hours all the while thinking if only today was the day I could hand in my notice. More post to follow later when some of those eight slave hours have been completed.
so many possible topics, so little inclination to shape them into a post
  • I think I might well be a 'toxic colleague' at first everybody I made friends with got made redundant, that was phase one; phase two is more active, no everyone who talks to me ends up wanting to quit. Oh dear.
  • Still no word from blooming Bupa. I'm beginning to hate them and feel used and sordid.
  • Aloe Vera is better! Her leaves are perkier and the brown is receding
  • TA and I bought crabs at the market and had them for lunch on Sunday, which gave me the opportunity to learn a valuable lesson - next time buy the bag of claws, so much less work.
  • Another lesson learnt, no matter how early I go to bed, no matter how many hours of sleep I get and no matter that on Saturday and Sunday mornings I leapt out of bed full of energy and joie de vivre, come Monday I will still find it impossible to get out of bed

Saturday, June 18, 2005

whoever said 'no news is good news' lied
Still no word from Bupa, even though the lovely recruitment chappy said that he'd be calling them today to discuss me/the role/next steps. What on earth is going on? I have moved from feeling nervously positive to terribly fatalistic. Time to climb back on the horse and get those job applications out. Bugger, bugger, bugger.

Friday, June 17, 2005

getting on
I have never had any belief that I am down with the kids, hip, cool or trendy – even when I was a kid (gangly, specs, nose in a book - not much has changed). However, recently things have been happening that have made me wonder if in fact I am a member of a new breed, the opposite of the odious kidult, but not quite a young fogey, with none of the conservative world view that term suggests. The other day Housemate M, she of the scat-trailing fish, came in to the living room to show off a new pair of jeans. I was dumbfounded; they were all torn and faded. Now, I know that people walk around in torn and faded jeans, but I had assumed that they either bought them vintage at the market or that they were wearing a well-loved pair. Obviously, this is not the case – they actually spend loads of money buying them new on the high street. I should add here that jeans are a particular source of woe to me and that I avoid buying them. I own two pairs – one I bought at Tesco’s for pocket change when I was too fat to fit into my old pair and my old pair, which are actually rather nice, amazingly so given how tricky it is to find trousers that are long enough, and fit and suit me, but I didn’t buy them, they are hand-me-downs from a friend.
The second maturity giveaway is that I have discovered that I like listening to BBC Radio Four. There’s no hope for me is there?
Still no word from Bupa – I wonder if this is their way of checking that I have a strong constitution?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Still no word on Bupa, but I'll let you know as soon as I hear. Feel sick with aprehension. Is this new job nonsense worth the stress?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

all about TA
Blogging, by its very nature, tends to be very self-centred, but today – for once – I’m bored by the idea of writing about me. So, what’s new in the animator’s world? Well, he completed his first piece of official, paid, freelance work for the PR agency last night: a 3D representation of a digital mammogram for a GE Healtchcare press event; he’s a bit cut up because Henson’s is closing its London office (meaning no future opportunities to return); and he’s still working on his groundbreaking RPG, “FateStorm”, various CG game ideas and his showreel.
A couple of days ago – while I was in pre-interview self-absorption – TA’s friend, A, dropped in for dinner. Dropped in from Helsinki to be precise, just for dinner! She left at 7am on Tuesday morning to fly back to Helsinki before then flying back to Oz, like you do. It was wonderful to see her, but the visit was such a whirlwind – if only she could have stayed longer. A is a playwright and also writes for television, but was telling us that in the last eight months she has essentially gone into partnership with her husband, who is an animator, as his writer/producer. Thanks to her hard work and networking, now they are receiving funding for projects and the work is flowing in – after a very painful two-year period of drought. There was a degree of ambivalence there – the idea that she was pulling his cart at the expense of her own was floating in the ether – but there was also an enormous sense of achievement and personal growth.
Of course TA and I recognised the parallels. And inevitably, like iron filings to a magnet, this post returns to me. Could I, should I invest more of my time, skills and energy in backing TA’s many and varied projects with the aim of getting him (and, consequently, us) established in the games industry? I have no doubt that at least 50 per cent of the ideas he has in development have a good chance of being profitable, if only we could find backing. TA is just not good at the business, funding, networking and promoting side of things; I’m not sure if I could be – but do you think I ought to try?
glug, glug, gulp
I think I interviewed okay: I smiled, I sipped my water, I think I made some intelligent points about web usage, marketing and editing. The test was a complete mare though! They use an html editor I'd never seen before, not the nice Dreamweaver I'd been practising with. I will know on Thursday whether there will be a second stage of interviews and whether I have been shortlisted, got the job straight off the bat, or neither. I'm kind of confident, but not really. I went through a whole period of questioning whether or not I want all the upheaval associated with handing in my resignation and moving on to a new job this morning and then TA brought me to my senses by asking "do you want to be here in a year?" I hope I didn't balls up the test too badly. Please, please keep those digits twisted for me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

wild life
Housemate M has two goldfish in a bowl in the living room. I'm not a big fan of them - they make odd noises and are a bit disturbing - but find that I often can't help staring at them. I was reading up on html coding yesterday to prepare for today's test and interview when a dark shadow darted across the page. I looked up and over towards the fishbowl. I stood up to get a closer look. I called TA into the room to confirm that my eyes weren't deceiving me. Both fish were trailing poo, but one fish was dragging a poo that was longer than its body. I am not the kind of girl who can easily forget an image like that.
For the last two nights I have dreamt that I have cancer. The first time it was breast cancer, yesterday I nervously prodded my front but all seems well, last night it was cancer of the jaw. I also dreamt I'd missed the interview and all the other standard permutations of panic dream - naked, running, falling. I woke up with that slightly at sea feeling that says, yes go to the loo now, don't stop to put the kettle on first. When TA got up I told him I was having a goldfish morning, he understood then how nervous I am. And now so do you.

Monday, June 13, 2005

pray for me
The interview is tomorrow at 1.15. I'm more than a little nervous. All positive thinking on my behalf is very, very much appreciated.

Friday, June 10, 2005

the skinny on me
Hello, my name is Lisa and I am 5'11 tall, medium build (except my hips, which could house triplets and their trikes), I have size 7 feet and a 34C bust. Once, at university, I gained a whole heap of podge and was around 13 stone, but most people thought I looked okay - my mum said that I could tone up a bit. When TA and I met I was hovering around the 11 stone mark and wore size 14 to 16 clothes, some of which were rather loose. In the run up to our wedding I lost a fair bit of weight and dropped to under 9 and a half stone, but most people thought I looked great - one male friend said I was too thin. I thought my thighs were still too fat, but enjoyed the flat stomach and the compliments. Once the wedding snaps came back I was shocked at how skinny my arms were and how bony I looked, yuck. I relaxed a bit and gained a few pounds. After the wedding I had all my favourite clothes tailored to fit since I was swimming around in them and it was cheaper than buying new ones. I stayed at around the 10 stone mark for over a year - I was happy with how I looked and maintained this weight without feeling deprived.
Then I quit my job and spent three months having a crisis about not being able to find a new one, I ate. I ate a lot, some of it reappeared as my bullimia returned. Then I started a new job where there were bagels every morning. I eventually joined a gym to compensate for eating bagels. Then I went to America on a work trip and ate, and ate, and ate! When I returned TA hardly recognised me - my face had changed shape! Back to the gym. In January I cut back on cakes and biscuits and began to lose weight again. My clothes were beginning to fit...but then we moved office, I started partying with co-workers and eating out and then snacking from the free vending machine. My clothes no longer fitted.
So. This time I mean business, the last 18 months - nearly getting back in shape only for it all to be ruined by eating and drinking like a mad thing - have really pissed me off. I have no idea how much I currently weigh but I imagine I'm currently closer to 11 stone than 10 stone. I prefer to be around 10 stone. I currently wear size 12 mostly, but sometimes wear size 10 tops or size 14 trousers. It will be enough for me to lose the half an inch off each thigh and inch round the middle, that's all it will take for me to feel back to normal again.
To achive this I am following a sensible diet of mainly fruit and veggies with low-fat protein and healthy, low-GI complex carbs and have cut out caffeine and alcohol - caffeine because it keeps me out of the kitchen and away from the chocolate dispenser, alcohol because I'd been partying too much. I suspect that it will only take a few more weeks before everything is back to normal.
Through all the ups and downs though, no one has ever thought I needed to lose a bit of weight except me and TA. It constantly amazes me how differently others see me from how I see myself. (And Tim, what on earth was it about my writing that made you think I'd be a strapping lass?) There's another woman at work who is my height and skinny but big-boned and yet everyone thinks she's very, very tall while I'm merely tall - I've no idea why. I often feel like a scyscraper surrounded by bungalows.
There, that's the skinny on me.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

cans, worms and other topics
I want to keep on the body image topic, I do, I do - I'm loving reading the comments and hearing tales of the tall and fair. But I'm not sure how much I can add without turning the UB into a diet blog, something I've assiduously avoided, and anyway I have other things to blog about too. This is a bit of a stream of consciousness effort though so you never know weighty matters might surface again in a few paragraphs' time.
Do I have any female readers based in London I wonder? I am organising a Mexican Sunday in mid-July. A group of pals, pals who don't know each other very well, if at all and only through me - is meeting up outside the Tate Modern to have a Mexican-themed picnic and then we're off to look at Frida Kahlo's finest. Very excited indeed. Have become Welsh. As Eddie Izzard would say. Anyway, this is an odd way to say - join us! (But only if you are of the female persuasion and in London, no teleporting males please.) Send a stamped addressed e-mail to the usual address, now visible at the top of the screen.
Miracle number 3. In my delivery from the evil supermarket - whose name I shall not mention since to shop there is to feel shame, but I only ever buy things I can't get at the market, honest - I received an unordered bonus, Jordan's Special Luxury Muesli. Someone up there knows exactly what I want and seems to be taking great pleasure in ensuring that it arrives gratis, first the bucket, then the rocks and now a breakfast cereal I would never buy because it is too damn expensive. It is sitting on top of the cupboard waiting for the weekend when I shall take infinite pleasure in eating some with Yeo Valley Organic yoghurt as a special decadent treat. TA has asked me to buy a lottery ticket this week.
Today, as I was walking to and from work, I saw a busker quite unlike any other. He was playing a flute/recorder-type hybrid reasonably tunefully and wearing - well, he was wearing black leather: a black leather cap, studded black leather shorts and a studded black leather waistcoat, oh, and big black leather boots! I very nearly gave him money and if I had had some I almost certainly would have acted on the impulse. He looked so threatening but in slightly camp way and the gap between the clothes and the fey, dainty instrument, not to mention the comedy associations (if only he'd been playing Edelweiss), it was too glorious for words.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

the real slim shady?
Where to start this - what I fear will be - rather mixed-up post? It's about dieting and body image (which is something I try to avoid discussing with anyone but TA, for fear of sounding neurotic/obsessive) so feel free to skip this post if the topic doesn't float your boat.
Yesterday I was chatting to an older, male, co-worker in the kitchen. I was making myself a cup of green jasmine tea while he was staring longingly at the 'free vending machine'. 'I'm trying to find a non-chocolate-covered biscuit,' he said. I suggested that he try a Special K bar, but he replied that these are foul. 'I would have one of those sultana Elevensies bars,' he said, 'but they are 300-odd calories each - you'd have to do about an hour on the treadmill to get rid of that!' I nodded knowledgeably. He settled for an Alpen bar and I asked him if he was watching his figure. 'Yes, I've been watching it expand ever since I started here!' Sighing, I said, 'This place has that effect on everybody!' To which he replied something to the effect that I didn't need to worry about that, which was very sweet of him but rather missed the point. I know the calorie content of every bar of chocolate and snack in that damned machine. I was in the kitchen making green tea, green tea without milk. I walk at least five miles a day, quickly. Finally, after having a very tearful, drunken conversation with TA about the extra weight I've been carrying for the last 18 months, my inneffectual efforts to lose it and how my size and shape are having a negative impact on how he thinks I look (he essentially said that I'm not making enough of an effort with my appearance, which is true...because many of my nice clothes don't fit me anymore and I refuse to buy bigger ones), at the moment I'm strictly following a GI-inspired diet. As a result, I am hungry before meals. I often go to sleep hungry. Which is pretty much how it was in the run up to our wedding too, I was hungry almost all the time for a few weeks, before my stomach got used to smaller meals.
This conversation got me thinking yet again about the paradox: the women we [I] most frequently look at thinking "if only I could look like that, naturally skinny" are the ones who are the most likely to be walking around feeling hungry.
And here's another odd thing, I'm not sure that walking around a little bit hungry is such a bad thing. When I'm feeling good about myself and aren't trying to bury feelings under a mouthful of something sweet and comforting, I think that it's no bad thing to REALLY want your next meal (and believe me, if I don't snack and if I eat small healthy meals, I ALWAYS look forward to my next meal). I'm not convinced that those BMI index figures aren't a little too high. I know that I have some degree of body dysmorphia and let's face it a deeply problematic attitude to food, but I am currently at the low end of ideal in terms of BMI and yet - TA and I agree - I'm still carrying around a fair amount of lard, too much lard.
Where am I going with this? I'm really not sure, I told you it would be a mixed-up post. But I wonder what the human body looked like back in those long-distant, hunter-gatherer days. We were lean, right? And there's research to back up this idea that a little bit of hunger is good for us - those that eat a calorie-restricted diet tend to live longer - right? So, in this media age, when we are bombarded with pictures of malnourished people - both as models and victims - and yet live in a society that doesn't really know hunger and where food is constantly available, is it any wonder that our instincts get mixed up?
I'd be interested to hear your thoughts - on hunger, body image, the media or even the twisted concept of supplying a free vending machine in the office stocked full of chocs and crisps and a drinks machine that spews out terrible pre-sweetened hot chocolate and other vile hot beverages, but very little fresh fruit and often no water.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

stop press
As a friend would put it, I have a "trip to the doctor's" next week. Yes, that's right, I finally heard, I'm through to the interviews for the Bupa web editor role. The finger crossing and chanting starts here!

Monday, June 06, 2005

miracles on badger street
Once upon a time TA bought me an Aloe Vera plant as a present, at first she was tiny but over time she thrived and grew and grew until a few months ago she really was quite a big momma. She lived outside our front door at Badger Mansions and I thought of her as a bit of a guard plant. Fast forward a few months. TA and I have been mourning the slow and painful demise of our Aloe Vera plant since the move. She just hasn't been happy in her new home - I can empathise - she's too exposed and has been getting waterlogged. We discussed ways of, hopefully, saving her and decided that the only option was to re-pot her in a large pot with lots of drainage material - rocks - at the bottom. TA and I set out to buy a pot. Two minutes later, in unison, we spotted an empty black bucket rolling down the street. We looked at each other and smiled, knowing that we shared the same thought. We took the bucket home and set out once again to go to the hardware shop, where TA was convinced they would sell us some rocks. Due to some navigational confusion we missed the hardware shop and ended up at the supermarket where TA hoped they'd sell us some charcoal, but they had sold out of charcoal. As we walked home I said to TA, what we really need is a skip full of rocks that we can raid. As we turned into our road we saw a skip. It was full of rocks. I raided it. I hope Vera likes her new pot with extra drainage and recovers.
In other news, Tori was excellent and TA is off to Ireland tomorrow for a 24-hour flying visit to attend a wedding.

Friday, June 03, 2005

in concert
I am seeing Tori Amos sing tonight at the Hammersmith Apollo. Today marks my one-year anniversary with the PR agency. Today, in honour of these events, I am wearing a t-shirt that says 'Grrr'. I think the t-shirt says it all.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

que sera, sera
When I was just a little girl I told my mother that I would be rich, that I would marry a millionaire. I said it so often and with such commitment, belief and sense of entitlement that my mother was convinced that I would marry into money. These days, when she wistfully reminds me of my certainty, I tell her that I have married a proto-millionaire, the best kind since TA will never think I married him for his money! And for his part, TA has always said that he’s going to be wealthy, he even set a date – which comes due sometime next year. TA asked me the other day, if we were rich would you have a facial every week. This question highlights two things – we both desperately want to be wealthy and I’m often low maintenance to the point of scummy-ness, in fact I regularly run the risk of having my girl license revoked. After answering TA’s question with, “Yes, of course!” I started thinking about how our lives would be different if we really truly were won-the-rollover-jackpot, jaw-droppingly wealthy. Not just thinking – I wrote a lengthy, lengthy series of notes on the subject, which is what I always do when I'm trying to formalise a vision or the path I want my life to take. And it made me realise, after reading it through several times, that so much of what I associated with wealth was achievable without it, but not without a little discipline. That what was needed for, say, 50 per cent of my ‘wealthy desires’ to be met was only time management, planning or the creative spark. So either these desires aren’t all that strong after all or I’m just using the lack of funds as a smokescreen. I also started thinking about ways to improve my sludgy self – harking back to that feeling flat issue and I think I’ve come up with a plan to fulfil that 50 per cent and make me feel more rounded. I’ve begun implementing the plan and just maybe see some benefits, but more on that another day.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

where is everybody? It's very quiet around here...