Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Therapy

Some of you will remember that after dying my hair black at the beginning of the year, I decided I would aim to do something outrageous each month, and I have so far succeeded. In January, as aforementioned, I dyed my hair black. In February I gave tea up for lent (the one thing I knew I would really struggle to give up). This month I had a fringe cut into my hair for the first time in seven years. I've decided that, starting tomorrow, I am going to post every day in April. 

My workload is currently at its heaviest, and last week I was so stressed out that I considered signing out of blogger, and not returning until all my assignments were complete. Then, yesterday I took some time out from essay writing, and posted a short blog. I found it so therapeutic that when I returned to my assignment, I really engaged with it. So, each day for the next month I'm going to post. Don't expect anything profound. With the amount I have to do, each post is likely to be short and sweet, and if I am feeling really pressured I may just post a photograph, or a quotation. It will give me some relief each day, while I am working frantically to make those pressing deadlines. 

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

A Day in the Life of K

This is Tuesday 30th March. 

My day began at 7.30am when I awoke to the sound of Spud's radio alarm, on full volume as always. The fact that Spud almost always sleeps through this racket never ceases to amaze me! I lay in the confined space between his hi-fi and a box of videos, which has been my bed for the last week or so. It's not the most luxurious place to sleep, but the roll mat eases the discomfort, ensuring I don't wake up to aching limbs each morning. I have no complaints - there's nowhere else for me to sleep. Spud's father put his head round the door a little after the alarm went off to ascertain that Spud was awake. He repeated this ritual once or twice more. At about ten to eight Spud rolled out of bed (I promptly rolled in) and began to get ready. Five minutes later, he kissed me goodbye and left to catch the bus. I allowed myself a further forty-five minutes in bed, but after lying awake for twenty-five minutes, decided it was time to get up and get on with my assignment during Spud's absence. 

I dressed and ate a breakfast of assorted fruit: a handful of grapes, an apple, and a glass of orange juice. I then returned to Spud's bed, creating a cosy nest surrounded by my notes, where I could work effectively. I worked for twenty minutes and produced about a hundred words. Pleased with my progress, I continued, but unfortunately it proved to be a false start, and after about an hour I was almost back to my previous word count. Disheartened, I took a short break and posted the blog prior to this one, which I found extremely therapeutic. When I returned to my essay I was ready to work, and did so almost continuously for another three hours. I took the occasional break, during which I read the latest blog posts. (Sarah, I did wear yellow today in memory of your friend. I was already dressed - unfortunately not in yellow - but I slipped a yellow hair band on my wrist, and still have it on now). 

By 1pm I had upped my word count by nearly 500 words, and had more or less reached the halfway mark. I was pleased with what I had produced, and content to put my work aside for the day as I didn't expect to write anything further. I went through to the kitchen to organise lunch. Spud's mother, father, sister and little brother were around, although everyone but his sister went out while I was heating up some ravioli (from a can) for lunch. When I had finished eating, I had about an hour to spare before I needed to meet Spud, and so I returned to my laptop (this time for leisure). Somehow, I returned to my essay and managed to produce a further fifty words in that time, pushing my word count over the halfway mark! I still had a few minutes, so I did two of my daily readings (Adrian Plass and Guy Browning), and when I had finished those it was time to go. 

I left the house at 2.30pm, and walked the short distance to the bus stop. After about a five minute wait I spied a yellow shape upon the horizon, and identified it as the bus. I joined two other passengers on board, and then switched off, letting the world pass me by. A few minutes into the journey I regretted that I hadn't brought along a book, and decided to use the time to pray instead. I arrived outside the mall at 3, fifteen minutes before our prearranged meeting time. I waited at the entrance, and found myself gazing into the window of a (brace yourself Anna!) Yankee candle shop! I have never, in my life, seen so many Yankee candles in one setting, and I was enticed in. I collected a handful or two of the smallest, sample-sized candles. Two were presents, but I also bought two for myself as a treat - one called Cinnamon Sticks, and one called Midsummer Night (partly because I love the colour, and partly because I love the name). I also bought two candle holders to go with the two bought as presents. The lady at the till was very friendly, and because the shop was empty we ended up chatting for a several minutes. She asked if the candles were presents, and I explained that I had bought two as treats to help me through my studies. This then led on to a conversation about my course, and when I told her about my dissertation I learned that she was currently reading Jane Eyre, and had previously read Rebecca. Another customer was, by that point, waiting to be served, and so, exchanging friendly goodbyes, I returned to my spot outside the mall. It was quarter past three by then, and I expected Spud to arrive at any time. While I was waiting, a woman, leaving the mall, dropped 2p on the ground. Having heard the chime of the coin as it hit the ground, she glanced back and obviously deemed it not worth picking up, for she continued on her way. The coin was not far from my feet, and despite its low value I contemplated retrieving it. A rhyme I learned as a childhood echoed through my mind: 'See a penny, pick it up, then all day you'll have good luck'. Of course, I don't believe in luck, but I concluded that there was no point in leaving what was clearly not wanted. After about a minute, I stooped and plucked it from the ground, feeling a blush rise to my cheeks, wondering if anyone saw and judged. 

Shortly after this Spud arrived, along with his friend and class mate, Louise. We hung out for a bit, and went to a few shops before Louise had to go home. Then Spud took me to Pizza Express for dinner. We had a two for one voucher, which cut the cost down. We arrived just before five, so it wasn't too busy, although there was a reasonable number of customers. I was tempted to go for my favourite Quattro Formaggi (that's four cheese pizza for you non-Italian speakers out there - mind you, I don't speak Italian either, lol) but decided to try something different, and in the end opted for the Il Padrino (chicken breast, tomatoes, chargrilled vegetables). Spud chose the Pollo Pancetta (chicken breast, yellow peppers, smoked pancetta). The service was good, and the food delicious! When we had finished and paid, we raced over to Iceland to buy some milk, and made it to the bus stop just in time to catch the bus home. 

We finished our day by cuddling up in front of a couple of films, 'Good Will Hunting' and 'The Beach'. And that was my day, more or less. And, in the time that it's taken me to write this, it is now over an hour into the next day! 

Jigsaw Puzzle

Writing an essay is a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle. Once I have done the sufficient research and I have all the pieces laid out before me, the next task is to fit them together and construct the desired essay. I have a tendency to rewrite and rearrange the essay as I go, cutting paragraphs and trying them in different places, seeing where they seem to fit best. Despite the analogy, the task is harder than a jigsaw puzzle. Unlike a jigsaw there is no one place for a piece to go. There is considerably more ambiguity. Sometimes, as I work on the phrasing, I will lose a hundred words in one go, which is disheartening to say the least. That's what I did just now, and I'm just having a breather before resurfacing again. I managed to write over one hundred words but now I'm almost back to where I started. I haven't done a jigsaw in years, but this post has evoked a desire within me to do one. It'll have to wait though.

Now, back to the essay...

Monday, 29 March 2010

Giving Up

For the first time in years I've given up on a book, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Lawrence Sterne. It is the final book on the syllabus for one of my modules, and a weighty read, to say the least. I somehow managed to get through the first hundred pages, which is roughly one sixth of the way through, and then realised that there are enough books on the reading list that it isn't necessary for me to read and study every one. So I'm opting out of this one. Normally, I would continue with a book regardless of whether I'm enjoying it or not, but this one really is impossible. I honestly could not tell you anything about the hundred pages I've read! 

Which means I've reached the end of my reading list (albeit a little prematurely), and I can enjoy some lighter reading. Well, at least I can once I've finished working on my dissertation. I don't think I'm going to be doing much else for the next month...

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Second Lent

This time next week Lent will be over and I will be able to drink tea again, but sadly this will mark the beginning of a 7 week period apart from Spud. Granted, it will be our final separation, but I can't help but perceive that it will be about the same length as Lent, and Spud and I will be forced to give each other up for that time (although we will still phone each other daily). 

On Friday he took me to the theatre to see 'Cymbeline'. He purchased the tickets as a surprise, little knowing that 'Cymbeline' is my favourite Shakespeare play, and one I've always wanted to see performed. He isn't a fan of Shakespeare like I am, and so to sit through two and a half hours shows real dedication! I think, dear readers, he must love me! 

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Her Day


Today is her day, because for twenty-one years she has poured her heart and soul into nurturing and nourishing, teaching and guiding, encouraging and comforting, strengthening and supporting, giving selflessly, and loving unconditionally. 

Today commemorates... 

the times we've hung out together
the times we've smiled together
the times we've laughed together 
the times we've cried together
the times we've prayed together

the times we've danced together
the times we've sung together
the (very few) times we've argued... and then made up again

the times we've been reunited
the times we've supported each other
the times we've learned from each other
the times we've confided in each other
the secrets we've shared
the hugs we've shared
the memories we've shared...

The list is endless...

I hope that we will continue to share these times for many, many more years. I hope also that in a few years time, when this day is my day too, I will be a good mother to my children, like she has been to me. 


(A very old picture!)

XXXXX Happy Mother's Day, Mum! I love you! XXXXX

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Life's Small Surprises

I just spent my final birthday Waterstones token online, and discovered afterwards that I still have £15 left on the card! *Happy dance* I didn't actually know how much was on the card in the first place, but just assumed it was £10, like the others. It was a very pleasant surprise! 

It's 10.30, and despite being awake two hours I haven't done anything productive! I have no immediate deadlines until the end of April, and intend to take things easy today... Well, perhaps 'easier' would be a more appropriate word. I really need to write a poem for Tuesday's poetry workshop, and I want to start reading the next book on my 'Birth of the Novel' reading list: Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding. I also need to put the finishing touches to two job application forms, and construct the accompanying letters. 

But still, I might wear a dress instead of my usual jeans, and enjoy a coffee in the garden if the sun holds on. I like Saturdays! :)

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Sex Happened Back Then Too


(Picture from google images)

This week's read has been Pamela or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson, in preparation for next week's lecture. The novel, narrated through a series of letters, tells of a virtuous young waiting maid's resistance to the unlawful seductions of her master. It was first published in 1740 and 'marked a defining moment in the emergence of the modern novel' (in the words of Oxford World's Classics). It was 'preached for its morality, and denounced as pornography in disguise'. 

Mr B is very forceful with his advances, and seems unable to control his attraction for sixteen year old Pamela. He kidnaps her in the hope that in seclusion he will have more success with his 'attempts on' her, and on one occasion, even comes close to raping her; climbing into bed with her in the guise of another maid, her usual bedfellow! 

The novel is narrated, mostly, through the correspondence between Pamela and her low-born parents. Recognition that loss of virtue is consequentially worse than death, drives her to defend her innocence in desperation. But even when her virtue is rewarded, she still has further trials to contend with...

I was quite shocked by the content of the novel. It's hardly surprising that it caused a stir when it was first published, because for a novel of its time it is quite explicit. 

Monday, 8 March 2010

Catch Up

It's funny how much I've missed blogging this last week, but it's one thing I've had to put to one side recently, amongst others. I even dreamed about posting a blog last night! 

I keep reminding myself that in three months I will have all the time in the world for blogging, and various other pursuits. Although I don't have any major deadlines until May, I have had two personal deadlines to meet, both for this coming Thursday, but thankfully I got one out of the way beforehand. That particular deadline was an informal presentation I was due to give this week, but because a classmate was absent last week I was able to take his place and give my presentation then instead. 

My other deadline is for another chapter of my dissertation. I have my final dissertation meeting a week today, and after that I will be working solo, a frightening prospect! My lecturer needs to read my work beforehand, and has given me the deadline of 12 noon on Friday, but because I don't work well under pressure, I aim to have it complete by Thursday at the latest!

My other news is that I am applying for a job! I was looking casually for jobs in Spud's city, and for the first time came across a position I felt I had the experience for. It's very exciting! 

Despite the work pressure, I enjoyed a night out on Saturday for Dearest Friend's 21st birthday! I thought I would include a couple of photographs because I had my hair cut recently - see if you can spot the difference! 




This is just a brief post to bring you up to date, and let you know that I am still alive and well!