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Brief soujourn at the keyboard 5 September, 2014

Posted by monopod in Blogging, Him, Self-Absorption.
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I keep meaning to write and then ending up doing something that involves nothing more than mindless staring at a screen. Which sounds suspiciously similar to work on some days. I have the memory of a flea because I (think I) coast through life not paying enough attention to things, which is somewhat ironic considering that the thing I find most rewarding in my professional life involves real, genuine listening to people. When I’m not in that mode, though, I worry that all the precious memories I should be keeping forever in my mind will disappear if I don’t help myself by recording some of them here, so I can be delighted when I chance across them, maybe when I’m old and grey, or nostalgic, or lonely. So at some point in the future I am going to write about all the things that the little one is learning to say, and how I’m feeling remarkably positive about my professional life at the moment, because I think I’ve identified my vocation and I’m taking concrete steps to get there. For tonight, however, I’ll just finish off with the memory of last weekend when we scoured ingredient lists and thought hard about what additional allergen was making the nut-allergic toddler red and blotchy and puffy, only to discover that Him had put mirin in the scrambled eggs two days running. Social services, anyone?


Standards 10 June, 2014

Posted by monopod in Self-Absorption.
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In a blitz of procrastination I’ve just been looking at forgotten draft blog posts (as opposed to papers for work that would be better off being forgotten). Apparently in 2009 I thought that a yogurt bar and half a can of Coke did not constitute even an acceptable snack, let alone a proper breakfast.

Looks like my standards are slipping in more ways than one…

Crisis 10 June, 2014

Posted by monopod in Self-Absorption.
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How much does having children – maybe also growing older – change you? I seem to have lost all my lighthearted moments; sorry to anyone who used to come to this blog for the odd chuckle, because it feels rather a bit bleaker around here lately.

On Friday morning someone told me that it was good to work with someone with a brain and I told him perhaps he ought to work with someone else. I was only half joking and I think the sentiment reflects all that seems to be wrong with work at the moment. I had my annual appraisal a few weeks ago during which I was very positive about my professional development (supported by positive feedback from senior colleagues) but over the past few days it’s felt like that only happened because I saved up a huge wodge of positiveness and applied it all in one go.

In a bit of a whinge to my sister last week I said: “I find it hard to care about what I am doing and I no longer feel at the top of my game. I swing between not wanting to be part of the professional world and very brief bursts of energy at work.”

I’m sure it wasn’t always like this, although looking back over the past few years I can see that perhaps it’s been building for a while, this – what should I call it? Disillusionment? Dissatisfaction? Today I realised that I feel like I no longer have an affinity with this organisation, and find it difficult to muster interest in anything beyond the immediacy of what I’m having to deal with (if that). It is almost as if I am consciously withdrawing from engagement; I don’t feel invested in the outcomes and had to admit to myself today that actually, I don’t care.

Ok, maybe that’s overstating things a little. I feel duty bound to confirm that I do care about continuing to perform well. But I don’t actually care about the work. I can’t feel the value and the contrast I see between myself and other colleagues who *do* seem at the top of their game makes me feel inarticulate, unmotivated, distant, and basically just thick.

I thought about a sabbatical today and then mused that were I to succeed in securing one, I might not come back.

Whinge ends. Back to normal programming (hopefully).

Music Appreciation 4 May, 2014

Posted by monopod in Him, Self-Absorption.
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Me: I was just thinking of a song that we used to sing at school and in church, at baptisms and the like, called Welcome to the Family. I think I’ll teach it to Ethan; it was a nice song. *sings*
Me: See? Nice right?
Him: I dunno. I can’t tell without the music.
Me: …

2009/2010 26 February, 2014

Posted by monopod in Self-Absorption.

My renewed enthusiasm for blogging precipitated a scrolling through of all my Facebook posts from the start of 2011, which was when I started writing again after that last post here in October 2009.

I’ve been thinking about that year (and a bit) after I returned from maternity leave. It was a difficult year on a number of counts, coming to terms with being an inadequate mother, an inadequate wife and an inadequate employee. Hence the reference in an earlier post about not juggling things successfully. Or at all, for that matter. Reflecting on this, part of it was really my fault for having come back to a new job in a completely new area, at a higher grade, and managing a team for the first time – clearly one does like a challenge, which is probably part of the problem (expectations and being your own worst enemy, anyone?)

That was a very difficult Autumn. I wrote posts, and then I cancelled them, and then I wrote them again, and then I abandoned the blog altogether. I nearly had a breakdown partway through the year and was on the verge of handing in my notice, but with some timely support and native stubbornness managed to hang in there. This scrap from early 2011 gives a small flavour of things:

Every night I’m so tired but I dread going to bed, because that just means the morning and more failure comes around all too quickly. Ethan told me yesterday “Look at where your life is going Mummy!” I’m not sure he meant what I took from it, but he’s right, you know?

The return from maternity leave #2 was different – new job again, but a sideways move and this time no management responsibility. The confidence crisis was far less protracted and six months in, I think I’m doing an ok, if not particularly noteworthy, job. I suppose I’m older and wiser, with more work experience, and also had more perspective borne out of the fact that having been forced to leave work on time to pick Ethan up from nursery, and then being too tired to work much once he was in bed and the house put in order, inadvertently gave me a better work/life balance. If I’m honest, though, I do wonder to what degree simply ‘caring less’ about work has to do with it. I now find myself regularly dreaming up exit strategies and wishing I were with the kids. Maybe I’ve just moved further away from being a perfectionist than I would like to think and am actually happy settling for mediocrity at work.


It’s Been Over Four Years 24 February, 2014

Posted by monopod in Ethan, Family, Him, Self-Absorption.
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I was reminded about the existence of my blog this weekend, so took a tentative look at it and decided that I liked what I saw. Rereading some of the posts conjured up such marvellous memories that I decided it would be remiss of me not to capture more and similar, now that I am a mother of two. So yes, that’s what I’ve been busy doing over the past four and a half years; raising and guiding and teaching and occasionally losing my marbles over my now nearly-six-year-old, and learning the ropes all over again with the little dot who is my sixteen-month-old daughter.

There is probably a fair amount of ground that I’d like to document since I all-but-abandoned the blog in 2009 in favour of posting on Facebook, but for now, I thought I’d leave you with two classic exchanges between Him and me, one slightly vintage, and one hot off the press. Hello again world.

Him: Why are you using that knife to spread the butter?
Me: Because I already used it to cut the bagel.
Him: You used a non-serrated knife to cut bread?
Me: Yes.
Him: And now you’re using it to spread the butter?
Me: Yes.
Him: Do you want a screwdriver instead?
Me: Would you like me to stab you with this non-serrated knife?

(while Whatsapping, talking about a house purchase)
Him: That one is promising as well, according to the agent.
Him: Sorry… that last message was mean’t for my dad.
Me: Mean’t???
Me: Disgraceful, hope that was an autocorrect
Me: Anyway, promising as in the lady might accept the offer?
Him: Heheheee… Got someones hairs up…
Me: Alamak then where you need the apostrophe it is missing
Me: *facepalm*
Him: I guess… it need’s to be a joint decision between the two joint owners.
Me: …
Him: Hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe

One Day 28 October, 2009

Posted by monopod in Self-Absorption.
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I’m only human, I’m just a woman.
Help me believe in what I could be
And all that I am.
Show me the stairway, I have to climb.
Lord for my sake, teach me to take
One day at a time.

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do.
Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time.

Late Night Conversations are the Stupidest Conversations 19 September, 2009

Posted by monopod in Him, Self-Absorption.

Me: I’m tired but I can’t sleep.
Him: Go get a book to read. If you keep trying to sleep it’ll get worse.
Me: *ignores Him and closes eyes*
Him:… or you could talk to me.
Me: Hee hee.
Him: Yeah, because that will probably make you fall asleep right. Because I’m so exhilarating.
Me: I love you precisely because you’re not exhilarating. I love you because you’re boring.
Him: Thanks a lot.
Me: I love you because you’re sturdy and dependable.
Me: Like a packhorse.
Him: Go to sleep.
Me: …
Him: Come on, at *least* a shire horse.
Me: Ok, shire horse. Can’t a packhorse be a shire horse? Or is a packhorse more like a donkey?
Me: Hee hee.
Him: Go to sleep.
Me: I think I’m going to go blog.

Vignettes 18 April, 2009

Posted by monopod in Observations, Self-Absorption.

Today I was standing at the counter at the post office, minus brain, when the member of staff who was serving asked me what was in the package I was sending, and I dreamily replied “a birthday present for my mum”. It took me a few seconds to realise he wasn’t really interested in my filial piety.

Then later in the afternoon I got on the escalator and someone tried to pick me up. It would have been flattering except he was creepy, so after he told me I had a sweet face and asked whether I wanted to be his friend I politely told him that I didn’t think it was a good idea, then proceeded to look studiously in the opposite direction and thank my lucky stars that escalators are short.

In other news, today Ethan woke up and had a big milk feed, then ate a big bowl of porridge for breakfast, then had a big milk feed after his morning nap, then had a big bowl of pasta with pork, tomatoes and herbs, then snacked on a biscuit and bits of my fish while we were out in Birmingham, then had two biscuits in the car on the way home, and then had mushroom risotto for dinner before finishing off his epicurean day with a nice big milk feed. I think someone is having a growth spurt.

And finally, the reason that you have been looking at totem animal poetry for the past two months is that I have not been juggling everything successfully and have had to give priority to fending off evil nursery bugs and going to work with all my buttons buttoned in the right order.

First Day 23 February, 2009

Posted by monopod in Self-Absorption.

List of things to do, made on first day back at work: get settled in, eat breakfast next time, replenish painkiller stash, cook more, rule world.

List of things I did, made on first day back at work: missed Ethan like crazy, worried about milk supply, remembered how to walk in high heels and skirt, got new job.