Saturday, 19 February 2011

Things that are rubbish no. 135: Growing up.

I am having a really bad weekend. Well a really bad since Thursday. My depression is rearing its ugly head and making me feel really sad and blue. I want to see The Boy, but he's not back til Monday and I have work and uni and probably won't see him til next weekend, which right now feels like years away.
I promised not to be the clingy girlfriend, but when you're depressed and hormonal (never a winning combination) it's really hard not to want a hug from someone who says you're beautiful when you're not wearing any make up and who says they want to be your light in dark places. So, Sweden, can I have my boyfriend back???
I'm proud of him (if you're reading this, I really am) but a tiny part of me is scared I might lose him to this sport, I don't want to be a hockey widow. I don't get to see him as often as I would like, and now he's saying he's going to commit fully to staying on Team GB, gym everyday, training once a week, healthy eating, less coffee. It feels like it's also going to be less me. Which is selfish and probably irrational. But right now I can't help it.
I'm a bundle of stress as it is, my contract's up in May and so far I haven't really worked out where to go from there. My degree is ending around the same time, leaving only the dissertation due in August, I sort of have a topic, but beyond that not a whole lot. I want to get my other essays and reading assignments done first, so I have space in my brain to think. I've decided against going to a music festival with my friends this summer, the dissertation is due in not long after and as the job situation is up in the air, I can't really afford it. This sucks, but that's life. I think I'm over being a grown up, it's just making me feel worse.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Bookworm: The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery

This is a rather sweet little story about the residents of an apartment building in Paris. There's Renee the concierge, Paloma who lives in one of the apartments and is planning to kill herself on her thirteenth birthday and new resident Kakuro and the bonds they forge. Paloma is trying to be a philosopher, and writes her philosophical thoughts in a notebook. Renee is trying to hide her true intelligence and passion for life, literature and film inside the stereotype of the surly concierge. Kakuro's arrival starts to change their lives and change the people they're pretending to be.
The ending is a bit sudden, and it is a little slight, I wanted to know more about Renee and about Kakuro before they came to the building. But if you want something light and quite lovely (and set in Paris!) then perhaps you'd like to find out what makes a hedgehog elegant.

Monday, 14 February 2011

A Valentine's Day Poem

Since my Valentine is out of the country at the moment, I thought I'd share one of my favourite poems with you. It's by Wendy Cope, who is very clever and very funny.


My heart has made its mind up
And I'm afraid it's you.
Whatever you've got lined up
My heart has made its mind up
And if you can't be signed up
This year, next year will do.
My heart has made its mind up
and I'm afraid it's you.


What a week I've had. Those of you who follow me on Twitter probably know some of what I've been up to. But here's a more detailed round up.

Last Monday was the only day I ate dinner at home, I've been so busy, rushing around doing things (fun things mostly.). I'm more or less recovered from the virus I had, so Monday was back to work time, and Monday evening was veg out night, as it is pretty much every night.
Tuesday evening was spent being cooked for by The Boy, and Wednesday was Reading Week at uni, so I had the day off to spend with my lovely helping him pack for the Ice Sledge Hockey European Championships (he plays for Team GB, I'm really proud of him). He left on Friday for 10 days and I miss him terribly. They've done well, winning their first match.
Thursday night was a trip to the theatre, to see Blood Brothers, which was excellent, if you get a chance go.
Friday night saw me at Victoria station waiting for a train to Sussex and a weekend away by the sea. The train took an hour, we went out for dinner and I spent a relaxing weekend pottering around Lewes and Rottingdean, looking at antiques, the sea, and eating delicious food. I also visited Much Ado Books in Alfriston, a little village with lovely quaint cottages, the shop's run by two American imports from Massachusetts, and they sell all manner of new and old books. If you're ever there, say hi!
The only problem I had was that I'm allergic to cats and the gorgeous house I was staying in has four. Lovely creatures they are, but my eyes were all puffy and my nose runny on Saturday night, which was a pain. But Frankie, Mabel, Phoebe and Kitty didn't mean it, and I'll be down when it's sunnier again, to see the ducks and lambs and llamas!! Yes, there's a llama farm down the road.
All in all a fun packed week. This week I have nothing planned, so I'm going to watch TV, read some books for uni, and just chill. Next week's shaping up to be a busy one too.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

What I've been doing while you've been out having fun

I'm sick. Spent the last 3 days at home in bed, feeling fed up and gunky. There's a lovely image for you.
So far I've read 5 books, 3 newspapers, watched 1 film, most of a boxset, and some random stuff on tv. I got sent home early on Tuesday from work as my voice was going and I felt off. I didn't make it to uni on Wed or work on Thurs & Fri. Today's Saturday. It's the first day I've worn make up or shoes since Tuesday. I've mostly been looking super awesome in pyjamas and moisturiser to save my skin from the curse of drying out from illness. I feel like death. Which is an improvement. My appetite seems to be returning, however I went for a walk earlier, and came back feeling worse than ever. Shaking, sweating, not pretty. (Again a lovely image).
The Boy is away at hockey training this weekend in preparation for representing the UK at the European Championship in Sweden (he leaves next Thursday for 10 days), so I haven't even been able to get him to pamper me. He's back tomorrow and I'm planning to spend the afternoon with him.
I have to go back to work on Monday, I can't really take anymore time off, so I need to shake this as fast as possible. Time perhaps for another mug of tea, it seems to be helping.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Bookworm: Squeezing in the reading...

Ok, so here's the first Bookworm post at Note to Self... Hope you like it!

In between working miles away from my house (hello horrid 2 hour commute), studying like a crazy person for my MA, seeing my lovely Boy, hanging with my awesome friends, and occasionally sleeping, I've been reading, lots of reading, not all of it uni related.
I should know better, when I did my BA in English Lit, I ended up having to abandon personal reading choices for academic ones for months at a time, which made me miserable, but also let me discover some great writers. I'm after the complete Mapp and Lucia books by E.F Benson at some point, as well as a few more of Elizabeth Taylor's (not the movie star) books as I think they're both fantastic. Benson is hilarious, especially if you're a Wodehouse fan.
But I'm determined to read some of my own choices and not have everything dictated by reading lists and research.
I've been contemplating re-reading the Sandman books and all of my Tamora Pierce books again, it's really starting to bug me that I don't have masses of reading time anymore. So I need to carve out a bit of time to just wallow in words.
I have however read Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant, Room by Emma Donaghue, A Room Swept White by Sophie Hannah as well as my required reading in the last week or so. I recommend them all. All completely different, all really well written.
Dunant is a writer of historical fiction, commonly set in Italy, as Sacred Hearts is, it tells the story of Isabetta re-named Serafina when she is incarcerated in a convent by her father, because she dared to fall in love. It's also the story of the infirmary sister Zuana, and the connection between the two women. I've read Dunant's previous novels, heartily enjoyed them, and devoured this one.
Emma Donaghue is an interesting writer, she's written all sorts of things, Slammerkin was a historical novel, Kissing the Witch a collection of fairy tale retellings, Stir-fry and Hood lesbian love stories. Room is none of those things, it tells the story of Jack and his Ma and their life. It's gripping, compelling, shocking and rather brilliant writing. Shortlisted for the Booker last year, go get a copy and get reading.
Sophie Hannah used to be a poet, now she writes thrillers. A Room Swept White is the latest in paperback. A woman has been murdered, she was cleared of killing her children, and now there is a concern that the murderer is looking for those connected to her case, and it's up to two detectives from her previous novels to stop them. If you like tight, intelligent crime novels, read this. If you like poetry, try Hotels like Houses, same author, completely different, it's a definite skill.

And that's my little book round up for you. Look for the next Bookworm post soon.