I have spent my sunday working and writing the last bit of this chapter feels like going to a room full of knitting people and trying to bundle up all the wool while holding the ends and getting the colour coordination right.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Posted by Helen at 6:02 pm
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Seriously, every time I log onto facebook someone else is engaged! it’s quite astonishing, the other day I logged on twice and TWO people were engaged!
I guess it’s the age I’m at, and Id better just get used to wearing uncomfortable shoes just in case I get invited to weddings and all of those fun things.
The funny part is how often the freshly-engaged tend to want to spread their happiness! I have been told:
“You’re next!” (x15 or so)
“It won’t be long! P1 was looking so happy the other day1”
“Don’t you wish you were engaged too? we could go dress shopping/venue hunting together!”
And the not-engaged ones tend to either moan about the doom of our generation, or else ask me if I’m jealous.
Short answer… no.
Long answer… nope.
I am so happy for everyone who has decided to settle down. Every single one of them has found someone amazing and I couldn’t be less than thrilled that they’re so excited and in love.
I am also not ready for that yet. I am married to my degree and I have been for so long that I have a lot of life to live first.
Besides (touch wood) we have a long time (unless 2012 is really the apocalypse in which case I’ll post a retraction). The rest of your life is significantly more than like… a week (I hope).
Why rush into it? surely a few years is worth waiting if you get the next 60-odd?
The people with shiny new accessories (ok I AM a sucker for shiny things, so if anyone out there wants to send me alternative diamond accessories please feel free) are all exactly where they want to be.
And so am I.
Just less shiny.
Posted by Helen at 2:38 pm
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I stole this from Jenty
Favourite Shop – I hate shopping, much more of a fleamarket type! I did find an obscure vintage place near my house that was very cool though!
Favourite chocolate – nutella!
Favourite food – soup, anything involving bacon (my mother has banned it from the house to ‘reduce our dependency on nitrates’ so I am a bacon hoover whenever I’m not home.
Favourite meal that I make – I guess ginger chicken stirfry. I made coconut lemon chicken the other day but it wasn’t well received (my family took exception to the 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper).
Favourite flower – daffodils, they’re dfferent, and I love yellow!
Favourite colour to wear – blue
Favourite shoes – right now I think its my death-butterfly skater shoes with 80-threw-up laces. I like pretty heels but my leg hsn’t recovered enough for me to wear them yet.
Favourite drink – in a G&T phase right now
Favourite lens – My old faithful 18-55
Favourite place to walk the dogs – Along the river near my house, they love it!
Favourite coffee for every day at home – Anything from grounds, I think if you’re organised enough you should never have to drink instant coffee (shudder). I also rarely drink coffee at home as I’m trying to avoid those caffeine-headaches by limiting t to work/lab only.
Favourite coffee shop – Cafe Vida!
Favourite pizza place – Luigi’s, or Col’Cacchios (which is where I learned that avocado is not entirely awful and should be eaten with biltong!)
Favourite place to take photos – anywhere, I love walking around with my camera, although that is much harder in the city than off in the bush somewhere.
Favourite place for holidays – Holiday? that seems like such a distant concept… I love going anywhere though, right now I have pipelined two hiking trip, a diving trips and a family trip to Namibia. Just need to finish a degree first…
Favourite joghurt – anything that doesn’t have disgusting chunks of ‘fruit’ in it. Lately I’ve been eating a lot of vanilla yoghurt with dried cranberries thrown in, but that’s more to do with it being in the fridge than my seeking it out.
Favourite website – the one where I get to see my niece everyday!
Posted by Helen at 3:11 pm
Monday, May 23, 2011
I went to a workshop which addressed some of the issues you can have in a working (even student) environment. One of the sections described the types of people we have to work for/with, and one of the descriptions gave me quite a fright.
Paraphrased: The Passive-aggressive person is not openly hostile, and often claims to be a friend while sabotaging mainly by directing a combination of hostility and guilt. They promise everything but don’t keep their word and dislike any kind of obligation.
The lady running the course told us to be very aware of these people, as they are everywhere and they are often well hidden unless you are looking for them. And she warned us that they are toxic and if you are unlucky enough to end up in a working relationship with one of them, then to get out of there as soon as humanly possible.
After 21 years of friendship Leia called me dishonest, then admitted to lying to me, then told me she would fake being my friend but lose touch as soon as possible. She forced me to apologise for being angry, but refused to apologise to me for making me angry in the first place. And because I would not accept her ‘fake friend’ deal, I must be aware of the fact that I am the evil one who ended the friendship. Ignoring of course that even though she went out of her way to make my life difficult I still had to organise the sit-down-and-talk session.
She even mocked me for going to other people for advice when I am confused.
Then she proceeded to do a very good job of making sure that none of the people in the lab came near me ever again, and made sure that I can hear them giggling and having fun whenever I’m around. It’s interesting to watch the results as someone you used to trust trash-talks you to people you thought were friends. Even my therapist was stunned.
Did I mention that she has handed in and has no business being around in the first place? I was actually really excited to be able to do my work without her standing behind me having loud conversations while I try to concentrate. I’m guessing she will do a PhD because she’s safe being the queen bee in a lab of people who do whatever she tells them to do. All I know is that I need to graduate because being in the same room as her makes me nauseous.
This from the person I considered somewhere between a little sister and a best friend.
So to Leia: I hope that one day it comes back and bites you in the ass.
And to the others: Good luck. I hope you’re never happier or more successful than she is because she will destroy you. Probably while doing whatever she’s ‘punishing’ you for. Because the rules don’t apply to her.
I just wish it didn’t take me two decades to figure it out. The signs were actually there for a long time.
Posted by Helen at 4:26 pm
So I did a little quiz
The Five Love Languages
My Primary Love Language is Quality Time
My Detailed Results:
Words of Affirmation:8
Acts of Service:6
Makes sense (I think)
Friday, May 20, 2011
As always from here
1. People always tell me I look like someone they know. I spend half of my life trying to figure out who everyone around me is, and how I know them (and IF I know them).
2. Friends don't let friends wear shirts and tights. Please guys, remember to put pants on!
3. A sunny day is perfect for sleeping in the sun. Particularly after going for a run and having a shower (with the added excuse of ‘drying my hair’)
4. My favorite accessory is my collection of hats. Also glow bangles, and dangly earrings.
5. If I could afford it I would travel all over the place.
6. The cure for boredom is to think about how many things you have to do and therefore reclassify boredom as ‘pre-productivity relaxation’
7. I am currently "in like" with mixed berry super-Cs, my big heavy patchwork quilt, sprite zero and anything involving bacon.
Posted by Helen at 4:44 pm
So the lab won a 'you are awesome' award from some university bigwigs. And the journalists descend...
Posted by Helen at 2:38 pm
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
How people complain when you do something, but then complain when you stop.
and how communication can be a big issue of sighs and 'not again's,
but then they wonder why you don't tell them what's wrong.
which is quite funny because most of the issues that people have culd
be solved with the proper communication.
Posted by Helen at 10:22 am
Thursday, May 12, 2011
So the other day I really felt like cooking. And after a few Googles, a vague remembering-what-was-in-the-fridge session (aided by my having made mother’s day lunch), bolstered by my confidence from making awesome cheese sauce on the weekend…
I attempted lamb chops in pepper sauce (insert dramatic music).
And they came out super-well with mashed potato and creamed spinach. and as I kind of made the recipe by combining a bunch of other recipes (so it’s not mine, but not NOT mine either), I figured I should post the recipe to avoid it going the way of the tomato soup recipe (which was lost forever)…
- 4 shallots, finely chopped (I only had 3 shallots so I used a couple of tiny baby onions too)
- 10 ml olive oil
- a little bit of butter
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon of wine vinegar (all the recipes say this, I misread a label and bought malt vinegar and it worked just as well)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of cracked black peppercorns (to crack them, put them in a ziplock bag,wrap the bag in a serviette and smack repeatedly with a hammer).
- 1 glass red wine (I used the arabella cabernet sauvignon which worked really nicely).
- 1 cup of brown gravy sauce stuff (there is a fancy name that I had never heard until yesterday)
- 100ml cream
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley (I used the Italian parsley with the bigger leaves, with the regular parsley I’d only use 1/4 cup. Finely chopping by smacking with a meat cleaver is also the most fun ever).
- Lamb chops.
And the instructions:
- Season chops with salt ad pepper. Heat olive oil in a pan (to hot hot) and cook chops for 30 seconds on each side (enough to sear but not cook). Set aside.
- Melt butter in a pan and sautee shallots until they go transparent. Throw in peppercorns and vinegar.
- Add wine, and cook until the volume halves (once again there are fancy terms, and once again I don’t know them). Sip on leftover wine while doing this.
- Add in the brown sauce stuff and once again wait for the volume to halve. Add in parsley at some stage. There is a a proper time to do this but I find ‘Oh crap I forgot the parsley!’ works as a good indicator of the right time (throwing in a bit of salt occasionally as well as sprinkling in some sage and rosemary also makes you look like you know what you’re doing).
- reduce heat to simmering and add cream. Sigh in relief as it starts resembling something you might actually eat.
- once the cream is all mixed in and it’s simmering nicely put the meat into the sauce and leave it there to cook. It can’t dry out because it’s in sauce, so besides serving something still bleeding (my personal horror), you’re pretty much home free.
- Serve over mashed potatoes
- and of course don’t forget the veggies, I had screamed spinach ad eta and it was delicious.
It came out really nicely and I was totally proud of myself. Although to be fair I’m not much of a meat-eater, particularly when there are bones in it, so I ended up really enjoying the sauce on the accompanying mashed potato and giving most of my chop to P1 (who didn’t complain at all).
Verdict? it was insanely quick and nothing seemed to go wrong, plus you get to hit stuff with hammers, which makes it a winning experience all around!
Posted by Helen at 1:50 pm
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
I sat in the freezing cold, wrapped in a giant jacket (I love having a boyfriend who is 6 ft 3) discussing death with a plumber.
And as the discussion covered things like losing pets and then moved on to Alzheimer's, dementia and how many awful car accidents we’ve seen on the roads, the general consensus was a ‘live now we’ll die anyway’
Meanwhile I just wanted to hide under my bed in case anything horrible happens. After all, those terrible terrible things can’t happen to you if you stay at home (and really really reinforce it).
And just to clarify, I’m not being flippant about this. A year ago I’d never gone to the funeral of someone I’d known. Right now I’ve been to three. And I know now that death really really scares me. I’ve never really had to deal with it before.
And I don’t want to deal with it.
Posted by Helen at 1:27 pm
Monday, May 09, 2011
I’m going for my first manicure/pedicure on Thursday and I’m a bit nervous.
a) will she judge me for the state that my hands and feet are in?
b) will I be able to deal with someone touching my feet without having a ticklish ‘episode’ and kicking her in the face.
That said I’ve been working really hard, so bring on the pampering!
Sunday, May 08, 2011
I played Risk against a bunch of boys last night. One of them said before the time that (and I quote) “Girls just can’t strategise” – I did enjoy taking over three quarters of his territories in one turn.
This was after the guy-in-question’s girlfriend asked why I was placing last (unlucky dice-roll) when, as the only girl playing I “should have gone first automatically!”
I love them both but I hope they grow some sense before they have any daughters.
Thursday, May 05, 2011
The guts to sit in this:
in an inflatable bubble-tent:
with a cosy pair of Freudian slippers:
that is all.
Posted by Helen at 10:47 am
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
I’ve spent the last gazillion public holidays housesitting (my brother has a bull terrier that needs a lot of attention and a fair amount of discipline, but she is very cute) and rediscovering my love of reading.'
Everything from epic fantasy westerns:
To straight fantasy (because we were watching the series the other day):
to just plain ridiculous:
Ness and I were talking about our need for some mindless chick-lit and she lent me this:
And after about two days I was able to stop crying.
What have you been reading?
Posted by Helen at 10:08 am