Friday, April 28

Writer's block
I haven't been able to think of anything to write about this week. Still can't, so here's a Friday List.

Things that happened this week
  • I think I'm becoming cold and heartless as I watched Crash and didn't cry. (However, before it started just the trailer for uber-chick flick In Her Shoes got me welling up.)
  • My little fur-baby Blod has become a woman. Yes, she is on heat. Bleeeeee.
  • I ate way too many cakes (coffee cake, cherry bakewell, toffee cake, carrot cake, blueberry muffin, half a flapjack). Ooops.
  • But to balance it out, I have returned to aerobics classes and remembered why I used to go all the time. It's so true about the ecstasy-inducing endorphins. Weeeeeee.
  • I lost my mobile phone. Bah.
  • I have been seduced by the charms of my silver-tongued, silver-haired mortgage advisor, Alister (or Smooth Al as I like to call him).
  • My Welsh teacher asked me if I was even born in 1985, meaning she thinks I am (frantically tries to do hard sums in head)... about 21. Hurrah.
  • Boys or those of a nervous disposition look away now... the mooncup is in use. Eeeek.
  • Tuesday, April 25

    Sail away

    While exploring the blogosphere I came across this lovely, inspirational quote from Mark Twain.

    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."


    Monday, April 24

    Modern Art

    I was reading an interview with Stella Vine in the paper yesterday. I turned the page and was faced with this painting, that I'd forgotten about.

    I couldn't stop giggling for about 15 minutes. It's the caption that gets me every time.

    Sunday, April 23

    Although she was undeniably cute, she wasn't known for her great intellect

    Saturday, April 22

    Weekend Walk

    Today was a beautifully sunny day, so we went down to Rest Bay and got barefoot on the beach for the first time this year.

    Friday, April 21

    The Friday List

    10 green things that I love

    1. Peas
    Peas are perfectly round and sweet and green. You can eat them in curries, you can make them into soup. You can pretend to kids that they are little sweets to encourage them to eat their veg. I have some seeds sprouting on my kitchen windowsill at the moment, so I will have an unlimited supply of organic, home-grown peas this summer. And let’s face it, with all the fighting and bad stuff in the world, we all hope for world peas – like John Lennon said, we really should give peas a chance.

    2. Frogs
    Last weekend, I went for a walk here and had some frog encounters. There were oodles of frogs hopping across the paths – it was hard not to step on them as they were quite camouflaged. I bent down to have a closer look and saw that they weren’t individual frogs, but pairs of frogs on top of each other.

    “Aw look,” I said, “it’s mother frogs taking their babies to a safe place.” Mr Meep raised an eyebrow and had a look of despair, “Er, that is two frogs bonking.”

    Euw, I felt like a voyeur, crouching down to watch them ‘at it’. I love frogs, but I am not some kind of froggy perve.

    If anyone ever wants to buy me a present, I have been coveting one of these for ages.

    3. My eyes
    I pretty much hate everything about my appearance – mingy face, flabby arms, too tall, wobbly stomach, dreadful hair, blah, blah, blah. However, I have green eyes, which I quite like. They don’t work very well (I am sooo short sighted), but they are a nice colour.

    4. Green tea
    Oooo, it’s fab. Slightly bitter but very refreshing and feels like it’s doing you loads of good. Apparently, it makes you thin, keeps you young and fights lots of cancer-causing nasties. I like the proper stuff from Japan but my budget doesn’t often stretch to that. Well go on, get the kettle on.

    5. Trees
    Well, what can I say about trees – they are fab for so many reasons. I think this calls for a sub-list:
  • You can hug them
  • There are squillions of different types
  • They provide oxygen
  • You find them in forests, in cities, at the beach, in the desert
  • Planting them helps reduce the greenhouse effect

    6. Avocados
    I used to eat an avocado every day and my skin was so soft. Don’t believe all the rubbish about it being fattening – it’s good fat and all the goodies in the avocado far outweigh the calories. My favourite way to eat it is to mash it up and spread it on seeded toast with a little bit of marmite. For breakfast. Controversial I know, but it totally sorts you out for the day.

    7. My green coat
    I have a coat which makes me feel happy whenever I put it on. I’ve pinned a big purple flower corsage to it for added happy value. Sadly, I saw quite a frumpy woman wearing it last weekend, which put me off it a bit.

    8. Green cake
    Yes, green cake. I have only had this when I’ve been to IKEA – they have little green cakes in the cafeteria and they are lush. I think all cakes are pretty fantastic (except maybe for the pointless non-cake, the iced bun), but especially if they are green. The next cake I make is going to be a green one. Watch this space.

    9. Caterpillars
    They’re sometimes furry, often green, have loads of legs and they turn into butterflies. What’s not to like?

    10. Greenpeace
    My favourite charity. Can you imagine the kind of beardy mumpets that work there? They would be sipping green tea, munching avocado sandwiches and green cakes, stroking caterpillars, and hugging trees and each other all day long. Bless.

    I’m running out of ideas for Friday lists – any suggestions?
  • Thursday, April 20

    MSNed to me by a colleague a second ago

    "I don't want to work in an office where they write the department name on the sweetener"

    Couldn't have put it better myself.
    31 things... an update
    Back in January, I made a list of things I wanted to do this year. I thought I'd have a look at it and see how I'm getting along.

    Things I've done
    9. Do some freelance writing
    Yup, had two little bits in The Guardian.

    29. Attract wildlife to my garden
    Already have Mr and Mrs Blackbird, lots of bees - and Hedgey the hedgehog.

    12. Volunteer for something
    Yup, starting with basic skills people in a couple of weeks.

    17. Have a weekend in Brighton and eat at the yummiest restaurant ever
    Yes. And very nice it was too.

    30. Stop watching TV altogether
    Yes, don't ever switch it on anymore.

    27. Go to the ballet
    Yes, this one. Was fab.

    In progress
    1. Climb Pen-y-Fan
    Doing this on Saturday - weather permitting.

    2. Make cakes for friends birthdays, weddings and christenings to get lots of practice in
    Have made lots of cakes, but could do a lot more.

    5. Go to the Lake District
    Hopefully going in June.

    6. Grow the following in my garden: mint, basil, leeks, garlic, chillis, tomatoes
    Basil, leeks and tomatoes are germinating as I type.

    8. Knit a scarf
    Started it, messed it up, unpicked it. Have started again and it's going much better.

    11. Visit Totnes, my spiritual home
    Planned for September when I go to my friend's wedding down that way.

    13. Read A Suitable Boy
    Have started this but it's way too heavy to carry in my bag every day. One for holidays, I think.

    18. Save £3500 for a rainy day
    Getting there.

    20. Quit my job
    Well, sort of. Still not 'official' and now having HUGE confidence crisis about my 'talents'. Hmmm. Need self help book.

    19. Read a biography of someone inspiring
    Halfway through this.

    21. Finish Year 1 of my Welsh course
    Yes, enjoying it lots. My teacher reckons I could easily be fluent. Bless her.

    25. Start jogging around the park with Blodwen
    Done this a few times, but it's not as regular as I'd like.

    26. Write a children's story
    Halfway through the 'masterpiece'.

    28. Watch one foreign film every month
    Jan: Talk to Her
    Feb: Tie me Up, Tie me Down
    March: Central Station

    3. Teach Blodwen to: lie down, drop, stay
    I am definitely no Babs Woodhouse.

    4. Learn to make tiramasu
    Nope, haven't done this yet. It'll be a dessert for the first barbecue of the year.

    7. Have winter colour in the garden
    We'll have to see what happens in winter.

    10. Make a driving compilation tape I can sing along to
    I know what songs I want on it, but making a tape is soooo boring.

    14. Paint a picture
    Not yet.

    15. Sell something on E-Bay
    Well, I've bought lots of stuff, but haven't sold anything yet.

    16. Get up and running
    In the hands of Mr Meep.

    22. Make a collage/painting for my niece's bedroom
    Nope. Actually, will probably be crap and shoved in a drawer.

    23. Go to a rugby match at the Millennium Stadium
    Didn't make it this time round due to tickets being a) v scarce and b) about £50. Will go to one in the autumn.

    24. Finish all the annoying DIY jobs in my house
    So dull I can't even start them.

    31. Learn the names of trees
    Bought a book about trees. Now have to remember to take it out and about with me.

    Sunday, April 16

    Happy Easter

    Mr Meep has a Muslim friend from Sudan who was asking him what Easter was all about the other day. Mr M told him the story of the Baby Cheeses going on the cross on Friday, then coming back in time to get his chocolate eggs on Sunday. As a humanist-type person, I would have said that Easter for me is a celebration of new beginnings. The sun is starting to put in an appearance, things are being born, plants are beginning to shoot from the ground. It's a good time to evaluate things, have a little think about your life and start things afresh if you feel the need to. (Maybe I'm going into Pagan territory here, but hey, I'm a big fan of Mother Nature.)

    Is it just me or has Easter become the new christmas? This year it's gone from a pleasant enough chill-out bank holiday weekend to a social frenzy.

    Thursday: gig and beers
    Friday: Mrs Jones' Good Friday Luncheon (my friend Sara likes a festive gathering - she also does Mrs Jones' Festive Soiree)
    Saturday: Spring flower show and Easter meal out with friends (oh, and managed to find a few hours in between to become obsessed with compost)
    Sunday: Easter lunch at parents; Easter party around another mate's house (that's what the cakes above are for)

    I need a break! Luckily, Mr Meep and I are off to beautiful Brighton tomorrow. Am going to stay here, eat here, go and drool and be jealous of the talented peeps here, and generally womble about having tea and cakes and nice beers.

    Note to self, must not repeat behaviour of every previous visit and look at houses and/or jobs while I am there and create fantasy world of living exciting bohemian lifestyle in Brighton.

    Friday, April 14

    How to bounce back from disappointment

    I made a mistake last night. I got pissed. This generally isn't a good idea due to the appearance of the black dog on my shoulder the next day. The combination of the hangover blues, waking up at ridiculous AM because of boozing, plus the whole 'one step away from my dream job' malarkey did not make for a pleasant Good Friday state of mind.

    After a few hours moping about the house, my inner life coach kicked in. I thought, I can either choose to spend the day moping around feeling sorry for myself. Or I can make the most of having a Friday off work on the first warm day of 2006. I chose the latter, got my notebook out and a 'to-do' list was born.

    Things I've done from the list so far...
  • Make a chocolate simnel cake to take to friend's house for lunch

  • Drink tea and make veggie sausage sandwiches
  • Take the dog for a nice long walk in the park
  • Go for lovely long lunch at friend's house with lots of other friends
  • Put washing away and do some more washing

    Things I'm going to do next...
  • Clean the house
  • Do a beauty session in the bath
  • Iron nice green coat, sew buttons on spotty coat
  • Read some Maya Angelou (bought four books off E-bay for a fiver!) in the garden
  • Cook a lovely pasta/fresh pesto dish for tea
  • Watch a lovely film
  • Go to bed early with trashy magazines and a cuppa

    Hurrah. Normal Meep service is resumed.

    *Last night was actually a lovely evening with lots of my favourite people. Went to see my friend Al's band and Al took up my challenge of getting some 'meeps' into the songs.
  • Sometimes, life really is a bit shit
    So imagine you'd decided to leave a job that made you really unhappy. Then a couple of days later, you stumbled accross an advert for a dream job. The kind of job that really doesn't come up very often at all.

    You read the job description - it describes you down to a tee. You send in an application and have an anxious few days wondering if you'll get an interview. Then you get the call. They want to see you in a week's time.

    You spend the whole of that week having anxious dreams and sleepless nights. You spend your waking hours researching and writing notes and preparing and preparing and preparing a bit more.

    The day of the interview comes. You love the people straight away. You fly through the interview, no hesitation at any questions. You even make them laugh. They say they'll let you know tomorrow. By lunchtime.

    Another sleepless night. You wake at 3am and can't get back to sleep. The morning is the longest of your life. Checking the mobile phone, watching the clock. You feel sick with hunger but you can't eat.

    1pm passes. No call. Then 2pm. Then 3pm. Still nothing. At 3.30pm, the number flashes up on the mobile. It's them. Your heart is racing.

    But it's bad news. You didn't get the job. It was between you and one other person, but you were pipped at the post. You want to cry, but keep your cool. The nice man says he can't fault you in any way. Your interview was excellent. Your writing was fab. You had all the experience they needed. They've spent the whole day weighing up you versus her. Her versus you.

    But she won.

    You didn't get it.

    You were second best.


    Sunday, April 9

    I have moved into the noughties...

    ... and got myself a Flikr account. Have a look at my lovely photos (well, there are lots of my dog and cakes I've made, and they are probably quite dull to anyone else).
    The Meep household, Sunday morning
    When we got Zebedee, our big grumpy cat, he wouldn't come anywhere near us. He was terrified and hid behind the sofa for about a week. Even when he eventually settled down, he would never sit on either of us. I'd be at one end of the sofa, and he'd be at the other end with his back to me. How rude!

    Then we got Blod and things got worse. Zeb spent most of his time upstairs to avoid being chased by the mad puppy that had turned his cosy little cat world upside down. We thought they'd never get on. Mr Meep had dreams that he'd come downstairs in the morning to find the pets cwtched up together having a little sleep. We didn't think that would ever come true.

    Six months later, the pets live in harmony. They chase each other around a bit, but they generally live in harmony. Yesterday... this happened!

      Posted by Picasa

    Five minutes later both pets were asleep on me. A picture of furry Sunday morning bliss.

    (Apologies for me looking so minging - it was very early and I had no make-up on. I don't normally look like this. Honest.)

    Friday, April 7

    Dirty Stop Outs
    Tonight, Mr Meep and I are having our first Friday night in together... since 2005!

    I'm planning veg fajitas with guacamole and salsa, lots of Theakston's Old Peculiar, some great tunes and much chatter. Bliss.

    Thursday, April 6

    I have a second blog
    I've been meaning to set this up for ages - somewhere I can rant about green issues.

    Here it is.

    Wednesday, April 5

    If ever I have doubts about leaving my job...

    When I'm freaking out with the "Oh my god, what am I thinking. I'm crap at writing, no-one will give me job. We'll starve. The bank will take our house away, blah, blah, blah..." I will read this post.

    The following is an e-mail that was sent to everyone in my department yesterday.

    Hi All,

    We seem to have lost a number of the whiteboard pens, which are kept on top of the fridge. Out of a full set of 6 white board pens, there is only 1 remaining, the others seem to have gone missing in the last week or so. If anyone knows where the others might be please can you let me know, before I have to buy a new set.

    Ricky Gervais couldn't have done it any better.

    Monday, April 3

    I’ve just been to a funeral

    As you do at funerals, I started thinking about life, death and what it’s all about. It made me think about how precious time is and about how family and friends and love are so much more important than anything else.

    I spend a lot of time thinking about the future. Will I ever find a job I like? Will I have children? When will I be able to get a bigger house? Have I got enough money saved up for retirement? Why can’t I afford a bigger house/more clothes/nice haircuts/faraway holidays?

    But in the big scheme of things, this kind of stuff really doesn’t matter. Not a sausage. It’s all about enjoying the now, seizing the day and all that malarkey.

    Is anyone going to get to 80 and think, ‘Wow, I earned loads of money and had some fantastic shoes”? Will I be rocking in my chair reminiscing about how I had four bedrooms in my house and it was always super-clean?

    If I die tomorrow, will the last day of my life have been a happy one?

    I’ve been writing some daily mantras in my notebook over the last few weeks – I read them on the train every morning to make sure I have a mumpety sort of day.

  • Embrace my curves
  • Feel lucky for what I have
  • Practice random acts of kindness
  • Tell friends and family how fab they are
  • Talk to strangers
  • Be creative
  • Eat food that makes me feel good
  • Wear colour
  • Chase my dreams
  • Have experiences, live big

    That's my little bit of handbag philosophy for every day.
  • Sunday, April 2

    Sofa cinema
    We tried to go to the flicks today to watch V For Vendetta. I looked up the time of the film on t' world wide web this morning. It started at 3.45pm, so we timed the rest of the day's activities around it. Took Blod out on her walk quite early, got home and I cooked lunch while Mr Meep did his weekly Sunday bread-making session.

    By 3.30pm, we were ready to leave. We stopped off at the Co-op for a couple of bars of their yummy fair trade dark chocolate, and I was really looking forward to cosying up in the dark, munching on chocolate and drinking coffee (I like to wait until the drink's cooled down a bit, pop a square of choc in my cakehole, then take a swig of coffee so the chocolate melts on the roof of my mouth - it's an almost religious experience).

    We thought we'd have a nightmare trying to park the Meepmobile because of some horrid sporting event at the stadium, but the parking goddess was on our side and we sailed straight into a spot just outside the cinema.

    There are usually lots of scary 'nagers at the cinema on the weekends, but today was fairly quiet. There wasn't even a queue for tickets. Got to the counter, looked at the screen showing the times - V for Vendetta had started 45 minutes ago. At 3pm. Bugger.

    Mr Meep really wanted to see this film, so we went outside and called the other cinemas in town to see if it was on anywhere else. UCI didn't have a showing until 6pm. Vue didn't start 'til 5.45. Double bugger.

    So, a change of plan. I quite fancied TransAmerica and that was starting in the original cinema in about 5 minutes. Perfect.

    But when we got to the desk and asked for tickets, ticket chick was very apologetic. "Sorry, it's not actually on - there's a mistake with the timings."

    Grrrr. I was cross. There we were, armed with our choc and ready to be entertained, and we couldn't actually get in to see any films. We trudged back to the car feeling dejected.

    All the way home, I huffed and puffed and swore a lot. I like having a plan for the day, and I don't like it when the plans mess up. I got home and sat on the sofa staring at the ceiling and wondering what to do next.

    Then it came to me. If we can't go to the cinema, the cinema can come to us. I closed the curtains, rearranged the furniture in the lounge so the chairs were in rows, made us a cuppa, got the chocolate out, and we watched Ripley's Game on DVD. Mr Meep hitched it all up to the stereo so we got cinema-style sound.

    Cinema tickets and coffees would have cost us about £15. Closed curtains, rearranged furniture, mugs of tea and a DVD was free. And I got to enjoy the experience with a dog at my feet and a cat on my lap.

    Sofa cinema (with added pets). Lovely.