Wednesday, 16 February 2011

When I was missing … Time with Dad

So I often go missing from this blog, sometimes with a reason or explanation and some warning, and more often not.

A few weeks ago, Dad flew in from Australia for five days.  I met him off the plane in Manchester Tuesday afternoon and we ventured over to Leeds for some family time. 

Whilst Grandma’s passing (and the reason Dad was here) hung heavy at times, it wasn’t all doom and gloom either.  Dad and I got to spend some great time together in a place full of different memories and emotions that I don’t think either of us would have ever thought we’d have.  And then there were times when we just had fun and enjoyed where we were.

Leeds is a funny town, often maligned by the English yet noted for some of the best shopping outside of London.  Oh, and it’s pretty close to some remarkable national parks.  Playing tourist in it was reasonably easy, aside from every landmark having a memory for one or the other of us.

Anyway, enough trying to explain what I don’t know how to explain, or maybe don’t want to explain.  Here are some pics from my time with Dad that I treasure.


Corn Exchange - Leeds
Yorkshire Dales
Castle Bolton – Yorkshire Dales
Playing at Clarence Docks, Leeds
Mini snowman we built – Yorkshire Dales (en route to Lake District)
Castlerigg Stone Circle – Lake District
Honister Pass – Lake District
Buttermere – Lake District
Skimming on Derwent Water – Lake District

Dad – thanks for coming for what I know would have been tough trip.  It was so great to have your support even if I maybe didn’t always show it.

Ten on a Tuesday - 67

Thanks Chelsea for the lovely summer questions

Ten questions, twenty answers this week.  My housemate Kate is sitting beside me and helping me not do my CV or my banking or things of that ilk.  Instead, we’re painting our nails*, watching Glee (The UK is behind – it’s the Teenage Dream episode) and answering these questions.  Kate's words are in italic - I may have ad-libbed for her along the way a little.

That's Kate on the right, me on the left and Jason, our third housemate.

1. Any vacations you are looking forward to this summer?
Me – yes.  I’ve just (like 15 minutes ago) booked a trip to Valencia in March.  Not summer I know, but I’m not that far advanced.
Kate – yes.  Hells to the yes (that’s from me). Koh Tao (Thailand), a safari (somewhere in Africa).  (Kate’s just resigned to go freelance and travel for 6 months or so.  So from May, her life is a holiday.

2. What is your favorite article of summer clothing (shoes are included)?
Me – havianas.  They’re the first thing to come out when the weather warms up and the last to be put away as winter comes.
Kate – a particular tee she bought in Manly or her her denim cut-offs.

3. What is your favorite summer drink (alcoholic or non)?
Me – slushy strawberry daquiris
Kate – Pimms (did I mention she’s English)

4. Do you tan or burn?
Me – Burn (although I’m pretty sensible about it all). My bather lines are still visible from last summer and not because I tan but because of freckles.
Kate – tan.

5. Any goals you are working toward this summer?
Me – no, not really.  I don't have a summer of travel planned like last year but I'll do something no doubt.
Kate – see above (she’s got the entire summer off).  Being happy, free spirited and less serious (she’s not very serious but we’re laughing because she won’t say hiney)

6. What is your favourite summertime food?
Me – Calipos (icy poles) or fresh pineapple
Kate – Strawberries and cream (yeah, I already said she’s English, didn’t I?). Raspberries too.

7. What song most says “summer” to you?
Me – Boys of Summer (All versions so far, including Don McLean, DJ Sammy, Ataris and Kings of Leon)
Kate – Jason Mraz – I’m yours

8. Any home improvement goals planned for this summer?
Sue – no.
Kate – no.

9. What is one thing you hate to see at the beach?
Sue & Kate – litter, especially and cigarette butts.

10. Did you ever go to a summer camp?
Sue – No, but I went to camps throughout the year (brownie, guides, youth group etc
Kate – No.

*Ironically, we were painting our nails Fiji, by Essie.  The perfect colour for writing about summer holidays

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Bookworm at work

I'm not spending all my spare time watching movies, I'm also getting back to books.  I use to be an avid reader.  Not so much now but I do miss those days.  With that in mind, and many a book recommended, I stockpiled a few weeks ago.  Here's what I got:

So far I’ve read:

Never Let Me Go - interesting and I’m looking forward to seeing the movie but I’m not sure I get the hype about the novel itself.  I didn’t really connect with the characters as much as I would have liked to.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place  - I was super keen to read this after seeing 127 hours.  Knowing the outcome, and some of the details of Aron’s entrapment didn’t take away from it.  It was a great read.  It includes the obligatory photos all auto biographies have – including one of his trapped hand, post self amputation.

The Happiness Project – Two thirds of the way through this and really enjoying it.  Whilst Gretchen and I are at very different points in our life and have little in common, I still find I can relate to her well.  An easier read than I maybe predicted.  I haven’t begun my own happiness project and I’m not sure I will but there are a few quick take aways from this that I hope to keep up.

Still to read:

Rasputin’s daughter – only a few pages in so no real comment.  I quite like historical fiction and have a bit of an interest in Russia at the moment which is why I chose to order it.

The Great Gatsby – a last minute add for £2. I asked a colleague what his favourite book was as I was ordering and he said this.  With a movie in the making, I’m keen to read it before I see the flick.  I’ll let you know what I think.

Have you read any of the above?  Any suggestions or recommendations.  I’m not a crime thrillers/sci-fi/fantasy fan but more or less anything else goes. I seem to be particularly interested in historical fiction and biographies but don’t limit your recommendations to these categories. 

Other books I’m keen to read are when I next stockpile include:

{All pictures from the Book Depository, and are links to said book on said site.  It’s where I buy my books from if I buy online}

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Ten on a Tuesday - 66

Life is back on track now.  That’s not to say I’ll post every day (lofty ambitions that just won’t get fulfilled if I even had them).  Tuesday though, I’m pretty reliable, thanks to Chelsea.  And randomly, here

1. What’s your favourite kind of donut
Chocolate iced ring or fresh hot jam donut (especially if at the football)

2. Do you use the snooze button?

3. Do you write in cursive, print, or a combination of the two?
Combination.  Depends on my mood, the purpose, the pen.

4. Tell us a joke.
I can never remember good jokes.  The best I’ve got (and it’s bad) is:
What do you call a woman who stands in the middle of a tennis court?

Annette.  Baddabing.  Not rally baddaboom.

5. How many languages do you speak?
One.  English.  Often quite poorly.  I’ve learnt German and I sometimes try but I’m really really bad.

6. Why did you start blogging?
I think as a way to ramble, have a voice.  Not so much for the voice to be heard but so I can put things down, write them out, share etc. 

7. Do you use bar soap or liquid body wash?
Liquid body wash mostly.

8. Do you buy bottled water?
Yep.  At work I buy a 1.5 litre each week and just keep refilling it from the fountain

9. What did you think of the Super Bowl Half Time Show?
N/A – I was sleeping.

10. How do you feel about Steve Carell leaving The Office?
N/A – I’ve not watched the US version.

An lame set of answers from me this week – not great but I tried.  To try and make up for it, I’ll share a pic of this weekend’s flowers.  They were all closed up when I got them with just a hint of pink but now they’re blooming.  This vase is the lounge but I’ve got a few in my room and one in the bathroom. You like?

Monday, 7 February 2011

More Movies

My fixation on movies continues, as I’ve been to the cinemas three times in the past week.  Escapism?  Maybe… but if so, a bit of a fail on that front.

After a tough day at work last Wednesday, a few of us took off and saw The Fighter.  Loved it.  I was keen to see it but was surprised just how much I liked it.  I recommend some mid week Marky Mark for all and sundry.  I didn’t especially like the the fighting scenes that took place out of the ring though.  And Christian Bale – wow!  You might need to see it to understand, but I’m so so thankful not to be one of the Ward or Ekland sisters. 

Then, thinking I wanted to see it, I met some friends for Hereafter on Friday night.  Escapism this is not.  When you’ve been to the funeral of a loved one, a movie all about death and afterlife is an interesting proposition.  That said, it was a good movie – maybe not enjoyable and hard to recommend but I liked it and I’m glad I saw it.  Matt Damon’s got the salt and pepper look going on though – when did that happen?

And then to round off a brilliant weekend I saw Black Swan on Sunday evening.  A lot have already seen it.  It’s… a little amazing and a lot mind blowing?  I think the lightest thing about it is the credits at the end (reverse colours to usual).  I can see why there is so much hype around it.  And guys – do you really find that level of skinniness attractive? (surely not??).

Have you seen any of the above? Like, dislike?

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Ten on a Tuesday - 65

 Update: I  wrote all the below last night and it all still stands true - I'm mentally all over the shop. Compounded by possibly the worst/most bizarre start to a work day in memory.  If you follow me on Twitter, you will have an inkling (@SimonsSistaSays) but I stalled this morning on the way to work to draft a eulogy for Friday (which of course made me cry but happy tears as I read over my cousin's and my memories of Grandma).  Then, after finally leaving the house, I had a harrowing vomit inducing walk to the tube.  It seems a bus took out a cyclist this morning so the road was closed to all but pedestrians by the police.  There were loads of police, loads of flashing lights and loads of debris; a really grim scene.  Some poor family woke up this morning thinking it was just another Tuesday.  I don't know the outcome but I suspect it is anything but another day for them. 

I’m back.  My head and heart are still all over the shop, work is kaka chaotic/stressful/frustrating as I work around taking 5 days in 10 off and my friends who I’d probably rather hang out with/chat to are being ignored/pushed to the back.

I’m in London, heading back up to Leeds for Grandma’s funeral on Friday (which is the first crematorium spot available…12 days after her passing!!), and I’m juggling things as best I can.  It’s not all doom and gloom either, but I’ll share more later in the week (or next, more likely). Anyway, I’m back for today.  And today, being a Tuesday, means another ten questions.  Thanks Chelsea.

1. What is your favourite childhood memory?
So many to choose from.  I had a pretty darned great childhood.  I think girls nights in with mum (whilst Dad and Simon were at cubs/scouts) are one of the simplest.  Often we’d end up in the adult lounge room (as opposed to the family room where we use to mainly hang), dancing around to Elton John and Billy Joel.

2. What is your favourite quality about yourself?

3. What is your favourite thing that your child does?

4. What is your favourite thing to do to relax?
Lately, movies.  Escapism (although from what I’m not sure) I guess.  Movies at the cinema, movies at home.  Movies.

5. What is your favourite restaurant? And what is your favourite thing on the menu?
At the moment (changes regularly), it’s Wahaca (Mexican) and it’s the winter veg enchilada (although I only get that every third or fourth time as there are loads of things I like!)

6. What is your favourite piece of jewellery (besides your wedding ring)?
I guess my graduation watch? I’m big into costume jewellery so whilst I love a lot that I have, there isn’t a huge amount of meaning attached to much of it.  Mum’s jewellery (plenty of sentiment there) is something I left in Australia and only rarely wore so I won’t say that.

7. What is your favourite night of the week M-TH? And why?
It used to be Thursday but it seems I always work late.  I guess Monday – it’s the most socially acceptable night to stay in and have an early one, which is what I’m constantly craving at the moment.

8. What is your favourite dessert?
Lynne's chocolate mousse.  It's wickedly rich and amazing and delish and just about worth flying half way around the world for.  I can make it, but I like it so much more when someone else has.

9. What is your favourite item in your make-up bag?
Maybelline Full n Soft mascara (hard to find now but it’s been my go to mascara since I first tried mascara.

10. What is your favourite smell?
Baking (either garlicky goodness or sweet delights depending on my mood).