Thursday, March 31, 2011

You could have been in a ditch!

Hmm, they didn't answer their phone, it must be upstairs. Or maybe in their coat pocket, or bag. Or maybe it's on silent? Or maybe they left it in work. Or on the bus. Or maybe it fell out of their pocket. Or they accidentally dropped it in the canal.

Or maybe they fell in the canal. Or maybe they dropped their phone on the path and went to pick it up and fell onto the road and got knocked down and their phone got run over and they were brought to the hospital but the hospital didn't know who to call because their phone was broken and and and...

Sometimes, some days, this is how my mind works.

Like the morning one of the lads in work, who was generally about three or four minutes late, didn't show up. When there was no sign of him by twenty past I texted him. No response. Then at twenty to I rang him. No answer. So I rang him again. Still nothing. He cycled to work, so I started to worry. I had him in a ditch.

About five minutes later he rang, sleepily, to tell me that he had slept in, with his phone on silent. When he arrived he pointed out that there weren't too many ditches between Ringsend and the city centre.

Or this morning when by 10.40am my manager, who had a meeting first thing in one of our other offices, hadn't shown up. She had expected to be in around 9am, but I expected her to be delayed. Odd though, that she had been delayed that much. It did say on the radio this morning that it was very windy last night. There was trees falling all over the place in Galway wasn't there? Dublin's not that far really?

So I rang the other office, and asked if anyone had seen her. I didn't need to talk to her, I just wanted to check. I had her in a ditch. However, I was reassured that she had been there not too long ago and as I put down the phone she walked in. Not a bother on her and sure why would there be?

Maybe it's my overimaginative brain, or the fact that I am turning into my mother, but this jumping to conclusions involving ditches, making my heart palpitate, stomach swirl and ears burn can't be good for me!

I need to learn how to shrug! Become one of those people who assume everything's grand, which it usually is.

But what if they are in a ditch?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Operation Project

I started this post a week ago, full of vim. Great plans, great thoughts, great ideas, but I didn't finish. Neither the post, nor the sentiments. So, to finish and update.

Operation Box Room (aka Operation Clear Out)

My first mission is to clear out the box room and make it a storage room. It is currently a storage room. 

However, at the moment you need to be flexible, with good balance and quick wits, to manoeuvre your way in or out between the Christmas decorations, rolls of wrapping paper, never used futon, empty suitcases, unwanted presents, bags of clothes, shoes and bags destined for charity shops and documents for shredding.

Not to mention the boxes and general clutter occupying the wardrobes in the spare room and sitting on top of the wardrobes in my own room, which have never been opened since the day I moved in. I know there are months of House & Home magazines in one box, but which box and what is in the others is anyone's guess.

So the plan is to be ruthless! Throw everything that has not been seen, used or worn in the last 12 months! Not sit reading old diaries, looking at old photos and trying to remember who gave me the fairy sitting on a dolphin holding a sunflower picture frame from their holiday in Playa Del Wherever circa 1998.

Then I will venture Northside to a little bit of Sweden to purchase a system. Not shelves, not a bookcase, not a DVD cabinet, but a system. A system that will house my ever expanding and ever wobbling pile of alphabetised DVDs, the books I'm unlikely to read again but will never throw out, photos from pre-digital days and boxes of cards, programmes, tickets and other memories.

This will still go ahead, I have gone so far as to ask my Dad about skip hire and have mentally pencilled in a date, when I am off work, to complete the task.

Operation Spend Less (aka Operation What The Feck Do I Spend My Money On)

Inspired by an article I read in a magazine (which cost €1.59) and motivated by curiosity and feeding the obsessive compulsive part of my brain that loves a list I decided to keep a money diary this week. 

I'm not sure what I hope to achieve by doing this. Maybe I'll scare myself into spending less time and money in the food hall in Marks & Spencer? Probably not, and I certainly won't forego my morning white coffee, but I hope it will be interesting nonetheless and I aim to share it with you when complete.   

Everything single thing I buy, with cash, debit or credit will be recorded and listed. It should appeal to the economists, the foodies and the nosey parkers among you. 

The money diary lasted about two or three days, then I forgot to keep a receipt one evening and couldn't work out how to keep track on a night out and it spiralled into a forgotten idea. Probably for the best, it was a bit scary.

Operation Lose 8lbs (aka Operation Lose 3.6287396kgs)

Eat less, move more. It's a basic principle, equation, solution. I would prefer to sit on the couch eating biscuits, but life doesn't always work out the way you want.

So I have set myself a manageable target of 8lbs. I haven't given myself a deadline, focussing on what rather than when. Though a wedding in 5 weeks and clothes that are just teetering on comfort should keep my mind, and my mouth, focussed.

I love food, good food and bad food. I love cooking and I love eating out. I love talking about food, reading about food, thinking about food and writing about food. This can work for or against me, so it's just a matter of balance.

The gym and I have long since parted ways, we just weren't meant for each other, but I'd walk till I ran out of road. Preferring to have a route and set out on my own, at a fair pace, with some music or a phone call to keep me occupied.

This might be the thing that starts and stops the most often. In the week where I was full sure I was going to make progress I went out for two lovely dinners and put back on the 2lbs I'd lost the previous week, and the wedding is now in 4 weeks! A definite work in progress.

It got me thinking, this almost unfinished but not forgotten post, but I didn't come to any conclusions. I started thinking, but didn't quite finish. So instead of thinking any more I decided to hit 'publish post' instead.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

So I opened the door in my pyjamas.

Yes, yes, a funny place to have a door... ba dum tish!

On Saturday morning I woke up at 8.13am, then again sometime later, strangely blurrier and unable to read the clock, after ten. I walked downstairs, put on the kettle for coffee and put a bowl of oats, milk and raisins into the microwave.

Then the doorbell rang, a once rare occurrence in this house. There I was, standing in the kitchen, in my pyjamas, Dolores Keane hair, no dressing gown and no clue who it could be. A hostage in my own kitchen. After a few minutes I gingerly opened the kitchen door, looked out and saw a familiar, but unexpected, silhouette.

I let him in, made more coffee and continued about making and eating my porridge.

Porridge and coffee and some time gone and the doorbell rang again. Seriously!

Bolstered by my earlier experience of opening the door in my pyjamas and wondering who it could possibly be this time I went out and answered the door to... the census guy!

I hadn't put a lot of thought into this. I thought any person ringing the doorbell before noon on a Saturday would either be horrified by my purple fluffy dressing gown and lack of make up, or could be told in no uncertain terms that I didn't have any requirement for whatever they were selling.

So there I stood, in my bare feet, and I started telling him my situation and that of anyone on the street I knew. I couldn't stop myself.

Mr and Mrs Number 3 are up every night till at least 1am, the light's always on at the back of the house. Mr and Mrs Number 9 are lovely, she'll have you in for tea. The end house on the right is rented, I think, her alarm is always going off.

I had become my mother, though less appropriately dressed than she would be.

I grew up on this street, in this area, with these people. I remember doing the census here years ago, taking it oh so very seriously. He was a nice man and this was his first house, on his first day. I wanted to make a good impression, maybe to make up for my attire, but mostly because it's nice to be nice.

Must do that more often, it felt good, I should write it on my hand.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A balanced weekend..

Last day of working solo, my old manager having left at the end of December and my new manager starting on Monday. After a long, busy but boring, two months working alone I left the building with a spring in my step. Ready for the weekend.

I walked down Grafton Street, nipping into Marks and Spencer to fill my basket full of goodies for the first weekend in a few that I will spend entirely in Dublin, and with minimal plans. 

Pastries filled with spicy chicken & chorizo and feta cheese & herb, falafel, Moroccan butternut squash parcels, chilli beef empanadas and a Greek olive selection. Carrot sticks, reduced fat houmous, half fat brie and reduced fat cheddar - fooling myself. Smoked salmon and organic Italian salad. Butter basted chicken breast with lemon and herb, extra fine asparagus, tenderstem broccoli and spuds for baking. (I did warn that food would feature around here!)

Got home, took off my coat, and piled all the food into the fridge. I'd barely finished when the doorbell rang, a rare enough occurrence in this house. I went out and saw someone in a blue and red jacket through the glass. Thinking it must be the kids from down the road looking for sponsorship I opened the door and found a woman standing there with a bunch of roses. For me. Pure spoiled.

A tidy up of house and self (and a dash over to my mother with an almost-forgotten delivery of Zloty) later and the doorbell rings again, this time expected.

The food in the fridge assigned to different parts of the weekend and beginning of next week. A couple of wood fired pizzas ordered and a bottle of wine opened. Parts of the Late Late watched (The Commitments were on!). An attempt at watching a movie we've talked about for six months only for me to fall asleep.

A lazy morning spent in bed, silence, writing and having breakfast in stages. Porridge with raisins and a huge mug of coffee, followed by a homemade scone with butter and jam.

Shortly I'll get up, do some housework, get some groceries (real food and cleaning products) and start my day properly. Possibly pop into town for a wander around the shops. Later a trip to County Swords for some dinner and wine with friends.

Return from County Swords, eat the multitude of pastry parcels while The Match is on, and I read my book. Then in the evening a roast dinner and maybe finish that blasted DVD at last.

Some me time, some us time and some them time. A good weekend, just started.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The sky's the limit

I have developed a recent penchant for the lottery.

My Dad calls it a tax on the stupid. (He refers to hangovers as 'entertainment tax').

I've bought and / or scratched a number of scratch cards in the last couple of weeks. My three stars are in the post (but I stupidly used my Dublin address so it's unlikely I'll be called). My free ticket win resulted in a free ticket of nothingness.

Every time I start to scratch I think I'm going to win. Two €40's, two €80's, two €10,000's... Then crestfallen when I win nothing, then checking and double checking (with one eye closed to ensure accuracy - a sign of getting old) to make sure there isn't a third hiding.

Scratch cards are a new departure from the very irregular lotto ticket buying, which in itself has become somewhat more regular of late.

A panel of numbers made up of family birthdays, another panel of either friends' birthdays plus a random number or, more often, a quick pick.

I used to do it so infrequently I would have to read the instructions on the back first. Now I know how to fill in my numbers, select Plus and have even established how to do multiple draws, dangerous!

Panicked that My Numbers will come up and I won't have done them. Bitterly disappointed when I do it and I don't win. Planning what I will do with my millions.

A house in my neighbourhood for a friend who is no longer within walking distance. A Range Rover, a Jag and whatever you're having yourself. A movie to finance, maybe two. A few college funds for some little girls and boys. Whatever my family want or need. A trip to London to collect a friend, a trip to Vienna to visit many, a trip to Spain and Italy for a holiday, then off to Australia for a spin, first class.

 At 19.57 my life could change.

At 20.00, chances are, I'll be raging!