Monday 30 September 2013
So, anyway, 5 foods... here goes:
I love chocolate. Any kind, really, but I consider things like Fruit & Nut to be slightly sacrilegious - who needs any of the contents of the chocolate wrapper to be used up with things like raisins? My favourite chocolate is Dairy Milk, but really anything by Cadbury's will do.
I eat way more chocolate than I should, even though I'm trying to cut back a bit for the sake of my mental state. This is not helped by the fact that I have a metabolism which can cope with an entire big bar of Dairy Milk (the ones that are sometimes on offer for £1 in Tesco) eaten in one sitting, without putting on any weight at all.
2. Roast beef
Roast beef will always mean Sunday lunch at Mum's. My mum does the finest roast beef in the land, and I haven't had it for ages. Mr Smile doesn't like beef, so it's not something I'm ever really likely to cook at home; furthermore, Mama Smile won't cook it when he's there (my mother is (sensibly, in my opinion) one of those people who refuses to cook more than one thing for dinner - if you eat at Mama Smile's, you'll eat exactly the same as everyone else), so I think I'll have to go and stay there on my own or something in order to ever taste it again.
I love a cup of tea.
To me, Weetabix is the ultimate comfort food. I can eat it any time, any place. I would happily eat only Weetabix for the rest of my life. When I was in primary school, I wouldn't eat at all outside of home, so for breakfast I would eat 6 Weetabix to keep me going for the day.
5. Anything made by my husband
One of my weird food issues is to do with cooking for other people, which I find hideously stressful. And of course, once I get stressed, I can't eat. So cooking anything for dinner is basically a no-go, and hence Mr Smile does all the cooking in our house (well, mostly... 4 nights a week he's at his mum's, and I have started making the odd meal sometimes). So I like food made by Mr Smile because it's, like, symbolic of something.
Tuesday 24 September 2013
- Generally laughing at me at all
- Acting like you don't believe something I'm saying when I know it's true
- Saying I'm untidy or messy, when in fact I've just been feeling down and not tidying up is one of the first signs of that
- Racism. Because not everything is about me.
So, 7 things I want. And I'm not going to write stupid stuff like 'World Peace', for the same reason that the 9 loves wasn't all 'Jesus'.
1. More time
Really, my life could use a few more hours in the day, or a couple more days in the week. Given that I thrive when I have at least a couple of hours of silence each day, and then I have to sleep and eat and wash and crochet and knit and read and get dressed and do church stuff and do housework and read more and listen to music and talk to people and work and read and ride my bike and pray and meet friends and read and bake and cook and DO ALL THE THINGS every day, I could use more time.
Or possibly, I could do with slowing down a bit and not trying to do All The Things every day.
2. Restored relationships
I hate when people fall out, or shun each other, or argue endlessly, or stop speaking. To me, disagreement, hurt, and betrayal are part of relationships, but they are balanced out by love, forgiveness, fun, joy, encouragement, hope, sharing, listening, being together and enjoying each other.
As a friend, you don't lose me easily. I'm generally not bad at forgiving, and hanging in there, and not walking off in a huff if you upset me. You could probably try to murder me, and I'd be like "So, what say we have a cup of tea and try to talk through why you might want me dead?". So it upsets me when other people fall out, especially over stupid stuff, and I particularly hate being dragged into it.
So if you could all just get along, that'd be great.
3. To be able to travel again
I've always loved to travel. I love seeing new cultures and places and hearing new languages and seeing things that are different. But in the past few years I've not been able to do that, for Medical Reasons (namely, that if I go more than 20 miles from home, I get hysterical and need medical intervention).
Mr Smile has never been to Amsterdam, and I'd like to take him. I'd love to see a cheap holiday to somewhere new and just book it. I want my children to experience foreign cultures and learn that the world doesn't revolve around them and that their point of view is not the only one.
I've always wanted children. I used to think it'd be nice to have a whole football team of them, but now I've lowered my limit to maybe just a couple. I love working with children, seeing how they look at the world, enjoying their weird random ideas and thoughts, and learning to trust and love and learn through their eyes.
5. Northern Ireland to sort itself out
Ok, this is maybe a bit too close to 'World Peace', but I'd really like Northern Ireland to stop fighting. I love our country - the hills, the mountains, the fields, the rivers, the cities. I love the people, the banter, the craic, the music, the culture. I love the way we do things and the way we welcome visitors.
I just think we need to stop fighting over stuff that might or might not have happened up to 300 years ago, which we're generally not that clued up on anyway. We need to get over the 'my side is better than your side' thing, and the stupid flags and parades and naming play parks after terrorists, and murals and riots. We need to stop throwing a hissy fit every time things don't go how we would like them to.
6. A reduced amount of stuff, but not of craft stuff
Recently I've become more and more attracted to the idea of minimalism, of not having more than you need, of clearing the clutter and releasing myself from the hold of stuff. I'm kind of a hoarder (though I've improved a fair bit in the past few years), and I can always look at something and see how it might be useful some day. The number of things I have filed away in case I ever need somewhere to plant stuff is becoming insane.
I've never been a big one for buying lots of stuff in any case. My phone, car, tv etc are all pretty old (well, I now have a newer tv, which belongs to Mr Smile), and I'm happy with that. I'm not constantly worried about what will happen if they get lost or damaged; nor do I have any interest in upgrading to the latest and best, because I'm quite content as long as they perform their intended function. I try not to spend money unless I need to - not out of trying to save it all up, but simply because I'd rather be able to use my money for good stuff than to waste it on stuff that's just going to get chucked out in a few months or years.
I'd love to be able to be more generous; to give more stuff away. When a friend needs cash in an emergency, I like to know I can help out. I prefer stuff to be communal rather than private. I like being able to lend stuff and borrow stuff, rather than having to own it, and then own a space to store it.
But I do like craft stuff, and I keep a ton of it on the basis that I might need it for a project some day.
7. To really enjoy food
I have a love-hate relationship with food. I quite enjoy cooking, and I like to experiment, but I also have weird hang-ups with food which mean that sometimes I can't stand to be in the same room as it. I'd love to be able to say "Yes, I'll go for dinner with you to try that new restaurant", without getting there and panicking because it's all food and food sometimes makes me cry.
So I'd love to be able to really enjoy the sight, smell and taste of food.
For as long as I can remember, I've been terrified of vomiting - either doing it myself, or someone else doing it near me. If someone throws up, I have to leave the room. They say that when you have children, you learn to cope with this sort of thing, and that had better be true, or my kids are on their own.
2. Fear Itself
They say there's nothing to fear but fear itself, but fear is pretty freakin' scary, so I think I'm justified with this one. I have a kind of panic disorder, which means that I can randomly start freaking out at any moment. This tends to liven up parties for other people, but not so much for me.
3. Losing My Friends
I'm not sure what I'd do if all my friends somehow disappeared. But probably not Good Things.
4. Seeing Friends Trapped By Bad Choices
Sometimes my friends do crazy things. And then I get scared that they won't get back because they'll be too ashamed or something. And then I work myself into a frenzy, and that doesn't help anyone.
5. That I'll Never Be Free From Fear
Medication helps keep the bogey man away, but they haven't get discovered a drug that can work well in the long term without developing side effects after a while. It would be nice if they did, or if I just stopped being anxious all the time.
6. That I'll Mess Up My Children's Lives
Not that I have children. But if I do, at some point in the future, then I'd like to think that I could help them to navigate to adulthood without any major traumas.
7. That My Children Will Be A Bit Dull
I still don't have children, but if I do, I want them to be interesting people, who are fascinated by everything and can find good in everything they come across. I want them to live and love and be creative and positive and to generally make the world a better place.
8. Going Blind
I've always had a fear of darkness in general, and blindness in particular. I'm quite fussy about my eyes, and getting them tested and stuff, just in case.
Anyway, loves. Here we go:
1. Reading, and Books
I love reading, and I love books. I love books even when I'm not reading them. I love new books, and the anticipation of new worlds and new stories. I love already-read books, and seeing them on the shelf, and seeing my favourite ones and stroking their spines and from time to time taking them down and hugging them. I love bookshops, and looking at other people's bookshelves. I love finding books I love and finding books I hate, and arguing about their relative merits with people who thought the exact opposite.
Oddly, I do not like discussing books a la Book Groups.
I quite like E-books, for convenience and portability, but I'll usually still buy a hard copy to keep on my bookshelf.
Aged 14, my uncle bought my sister and I our first brand new bikes, and I spent my summers exploring the narrow roads which wound through the countryside of the Ards Peninsula. Without money, helmet, mobile phone, or puncture repair kit, and certainly without any accompanying adult, I became something of an expert in the geography of the drumlins, inlets, towns and villages in a 10-mile radius.
Eventually, the bike was brought to Belfast, and during my year out it took me from student house to coffee shop, to office, to Bible study and then home. At about that time, I discovered the newly-emerging cycle network of Belfast and the surrounding area, and racked up plenty of miles exploring my options.
That bike was stolen from my garden, which was sad, but paved the way for the current bike, a fabulous ice-blue steed which has travelled many miles already. I'm passionate about making the streets safer to cycle on, and I've loved seeing more and more people get involved with making that happen.
For me, nothing compares to cycling along a wide path by a river, on a sunny day, knowing that you've nowhere to go and all the time you want to get there, with a picnic stowed safely in the panniers.
I've always loved making things, in any possible manner. I learned to knit when I was about 6, and then taught myself crochet and sewing later on. Any time I need to relax, I'll sit down with the knitting or quilting and I'm happy.
I love looking at craft, figuring out how things go together, and exploring different materials.
I love being by myself (unless it's at, like, a social event or something, where I just look like a loser and pick up weirdos). I love the feeling of having no responsibility for anyone else for a little while, being able to do exactly what I want, processing the thoughts that have been lurking in the background, and not having to make conversation.
I love my friends. As an introvert, I tend to have a very few, very close friends, and, as I think they generally know, I'll do pretty much anything within my capability for them. I love the idea of friendship; of having those few people who are really special to you, who can be relied on and can annoy you and delight you and disappoint you and forgive you and hurt you and be forgiven and encourage you and delight in you and push you to be better than you would be if they weren't in your life.
I love words, and playing with words, and learning new words. I love language, and learning to speak foreign, and hearing other languages. I love learning how words were formed, and how they evolved over time.
I can't stand puns, though.
I love mountains. They're like a giant landscapey hug. I love being on top of them and in between them.
8. Gospel freedom
I said I wouldn't make this list all "Jesus, Bible, World Peace", but Gospel Freedom is something that's maybe not on everyone's list, and it's something which I've experienced and which has released me from the past in a way that nothing else could. The understanding that I am forgiven, and therefore I can forgive others, is something which cannot be described, but has to be plunged into.
I love talking about it, and I love seeing it become real in other people's lives as well.
I love new ideas, creativity and resourcefulness. I love seeing obstacles overcome by imaginative thinking. I love new ways of thinking about things, and unexpected ways of viewing situations. I love things that are a little bit different. I love creative, resourceful people, who can look at a problem and see a ton of solutions, and then get on with doing them.
Tomorrow: 8 fears.
Monday 23 September 2013
So I'm currently going through a phase of insomnia, due, as far as I can tell, to a change of medication. I very rarely have trouble sleeping, and this is only night 4, so it's still something of a novelty (“I'm awake at 3am! Yay!”), but I can see how it's going to get old pretty fast.
The thing is, there's not much to do at night. Or at least, not in my world. My friend Sean once looked out of his window in the middle of the night and saw two blokes walking past carrying a toilet. That's the sort of thing I'm after. But I looked out, and nothing.
So now I'm trying to think up ways to entertain myself without moving or making any noise (so I don't wake Mr Smile), and all I've come up with is "Think up an adjective and noun for every letter of the alphabet", like 'awesome alligator, blue bus, cute car' etc, which is what I use to calm myself down if I'm having a panic attack, and let's face it, it sucks.
I'm open to suggestions.
Wednesday 11 September 2013
So Mr Smile just showed me this thing that one of his friends had shared on Facebook. Now, for a kick-off, it was from a page called "The Romantic Box", which should have given him adequate warning that this wasn't something I was going to fall for, but against his better judgement, he showed it to me anyway.
I can't find it to share it here, but basically it was a photo of a dress, on a bed, with a label attached saying something like "Dinner at 7. Put this on. Be ready at 6.30. I love you." So I stared at for a good 30 seconds, and then I was all like "I don't get it".
So Mr Smile explained that this guy had bought the dress for his wife, and was telling her to wear it when they went to dinner.
Apparently this is the most romantic thing ever, according to Mr Smile, and I was all like "Never ever do this". Apart from the fact that I don't eat out, there are several problems: what if the dress doesn't fit? What if the colour doesn't suit me? What if I don't have shoes or a bag to go with it? What if I already have plans for 6.30? What if I only get home at 6.25 and I haven't shaved my legs and stuff? What if I got peckish in work at 5 and scoffed 8 bars of Dairy Milk and now I'm not that hungry?
But Mr Smile won't believe me that this is the worst idea ever, although I have warned him that if he ever takes it into his head to buy me a dress and take me out for dinner, I'd really more appreciate it if he just gave me the cash.
So we're putting it out to a vote: is this the best or the worst idea in the world ever?
Friday 6 September 2013
Topic 1: Marriage
So remember I said I was reading a book about marriage and it was making me feel a bit sarcastic? Well, Mr Smile asked me for my reasons, and at the time I'm not sure I had them properly established. However, since then I've had coffee with my friend Emma, and she recommended a book, and I looked it up on Amazon, and it's subtitle was "What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?" and I was all "YES!!! THAT'S what I want to read about!". So I think the problem with the current marriage book is that it's all a bit "making your marriage work" and I don't really want to read about that, not because it's not important, but because it's not very exciting, and I want exciting.
(In case you're wondering why I'm reading all these books about marriage, it's not that I'm having a marriage crisis; it's more that because we got married fairly quickly after getting engaged, we didn't have time to go to any marriage preparation classes, and in any case we probably would have been thrown out because we would only have sniggered at the sex bits, so I'm reading some books in case there's some vast wisdom out there that I've missed out on. I still snigger at the sex bits, because I am Not Very Mature. It's also because some people bought us books on marriage for engagement/wedding presents, so it would be rude not to read them).
Topic 2: Loving People
I came across an article on 'tinternet the other day, all about how to love people who annoy you, and it was fine as far as it went, but then I got in a discussion on The Facebook, which lead me to think "Really the command is not to get along with people, it's to love them. And really it's not about people who annoy you, it's about actual enemies and that". So I have some Thoughts On That, which I'm preparing to dispense.
Topic 3: Friendship and being nice
A third ongoing issue is that of how to be a good friend, especially to someone who has let you down or who is doing crazy stuff that hurts you a lot, or, you know, that kind of thing. And it has seemed to me that it is not important to be nice, but it is important to be all manner of other things which are much more difficult and scary and possibly unpleasant and risky but which are also (as far as you can ascertain) loving and helpful and therefore you have to do them because the person is your friend and you care about them. But also you don't want to completely just feck the person off by being an utter twat (incidentally, Mr Smile and I are currently involved in an ongoing argument as to whether 'twat' is a really bad swear word, or just a funnier version of 'twit'... please feel free to get involved), plus they're an adult, and frankly, when they want your opinion they can ask for it, and anyway you might not be as Right as you think, and anyway also you should probably sometimes just shut up and listen.
This reminded me of my second form chemistry teacher, who once said during a lesson (I've no idea why, but this may explain why I have only a very basic grasp of chemistry) that he would never want to be described as 'nice', and this shocked me because I was a 12-year-old girl and being thought of as 'nice' was the only ambition I had at that point. But now I think I agree entirely with him, because, as they say, no one ever changed the world by being nice, and also because we're supposed to be like Jesus, and I don't know that He was really all that nice, when it came to it.
Topic 4: The Inanity Of Following Your Heart
This was prompted entirely by this article, and I like it because I've never been comfortable with following my heart, but people seem to tell me to do it sometimes, and therefore they are Wrong and I am Right, and I like when that happens.
Also, it gave the opportunity for her over at Living Gently to share the following quote on Facebook, and is worth a lot for that reason alone:
"Should I bolt every time I get that feeling in my gut when I meet someone new? Well, I've been listening to my gut since I was 14 years old, and frankly speaking, I've come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains."
So these are all grand, and I hope to come back to them, but I think we also need some light entertainment, and so I present some of it here:
1. This is the work of a genius. An evil genius.
2. Daily Odd Compliments are hysterical.
3. Very British Problems will hit home.
4. Pins which amused me this week were this, this and this.
Thursday 5 September 2013
Remember this from a few years ago? Well, turns out I've signed up again, only this time it's at the Titanic slipway, which we can only hope is warmer than it sounds. Anyway, in glad I made the list, because Saturday's forecast is for a monsoon, basically. So a list will help.
Tuesday 3 September 2013
The main thing I learned during the course of the week was that The Book contains only bad ideas; between the Moses baskets, the salt dough and a reading for the Sunday service which involved the deaths of a LOT of horses, I think we can safely say that next time round we'll explore alternative sources.
Anyway, we had upwards of 25 children* during the week, and they all seemed to have fun, so that was good.
* Yes, that means we had 26 children.
Now, that whole thing took a while to recover from, and the following week was a blur of meeting people for coffee and being very tired.
Then on Saturday there, I was leading a cycle ride which involved Wendy Houvenaghel off the Olympics, and that was good. Of course, the official line was that I followed her entire career and did not in way slag her off for complaining that she didn't get picked to actually cycle in London 2012, and then after I actually met her I discovered that she's really very lovely and I felt a bit bad about slagging her off for complaining.
Now I'm exhausted, possibly because my doctor is reducing the medication that I'm on, and although the medication usually makes me drowsy, it seems that removing the medication is also making me drowsy, which may suggest that I'm some kind of medical marvel.
I'm also reading a book about marriage which Mr Smile's work colleague gave us as an engagement present, and I'm trying not to be prejudiced against it, but every now and then it makes me go all sarcastic. I might tell you more about that in due course, but for now I'm going to have a small nap.