Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Being diplomatic about diplomacy

I have to write and publish 300 words on a historical article regarding diplomacy by tomorrow. It's not assessed, I'm not paid for it and most importantly I'm more interested in the history of ant secretions than diplomacy. Or the giant weird black ladybirds we kept on getting until the cold hit. In fact the history of virtually anything else except diplomacy. I have a book by Richard J Evans (who I respect - he's a good writer) but I disagree with him in his attacks on postmodernism. His argument is that the best way to argue with people is on their sources, where they're getting their facts from. I feel like he's dictating to me on what I can argue with people about. Why can't I just say 'Look, I've had a hard day, I'm a union rep defending poorly paid people from bullying and cuts. Diplomacy was never relevant and it isn't now. Shut up. Read your own article and write your own reviews. I've got better things to read. It's called _______' [Insert favourite book title].

But I have to be diplomatic. I'm paying these people good money to teach me things. The other problem is that (and this is a technical issue) we have to analyse the sources of the article. My good friend (who shall remain nameless) photocopied the article so I'm almost eternally grateful as it saved an estimated 5 hours of work trawling round this and there looking for the damn thing. Anyway, the bibliography and references weren't photocopied. So I have an article which I'm not interested in, with the actual information I need unavailable.

Where are those black ladybirds?

Monday, November 12, 2007

The answer to our prayers

I was chatting to a friend and it seems that quite a few people are on the verge of nervous breakdowns at the moment. I was encouraging the use of sleeping tablets. But the real answer to our prayers is one I had strangely and stupidly forgotten about until another friend mentioned it: The interest-only mortgage. It seems to be a relatively new invention but everyone's at it and it seems to take that stress and overwork out of every day life, not to mention the benefits of hundreds of extra pounds each month.

I will suggest it to husband shortly. Hopefully a third party (our new accountant of all people) will convince and life will be bearable again. We will be together, not apart. On an even keel and not worrying about cash as you do. I feel a two day week coming on.

I wrote myself a list of priorities today as I was banging on to someone else about how crucial this was for wedding planning. Top of it and underlined was 'Living Together'. In fact I don't remember underlining any of my priorities for the wedding, so I'm pretty convinced that this major priority will soon see fruition.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Working Ten Hour Days

I've realised quite late on in life the ten-hour-working-day-lifestyle which these lawyers, teachers, Chief Execs and city types go on about. I've already got routines which make it possible. Some people call them 'snacks'. We have a 'fruit at work' scheme at work, where you pay 20p for a piece of fruit. So at about 2pm I purchase 2 pieces of fruit. I eat them at 5pm. This then keeps me going until I leave work at 7ish, eating dinner at 7.30ish.

The other trick is having early nights. I'm now the Queen of this. Twice this week I've been in bed at 8.30 - fast asleep by 9.

I feel a bit how God must feel - the all-seeing-eye when no-one else is around. Then you bump into someone who's from another office also leaving the same time as you, and make small talk about how this is the busiest time of year and the problems of information technology these days. I don't suppose God has to join in the small talk.

I'm enjoying work and I'm enjoying my course. It's excellent.
Not enjoying being apart from my husband. But when I think about him I smile, the separation is only a temporary thing. Smiling's been pretty permanent since 20052005.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Connie's Cous-Cous

I have to admit the wonderful Connie is an amazing chef and makes a damn fine meal. She has taught me how to make her Cous-Cous which I have to make on Thursday to prove I've learnt it.

You take an onion and fry it until golden brown- about seven minutes - laterally adding two cloves of diced garlic. Boil the kettle for the cous cous. You then add one packet of Passata (sieved italian tomatoes). You then add half a chopped red pepper and a chopped courgette. Then cover the cous cous with the boiled water and let it soak. Then add a tin of chick peas to the tomato mixture and reduce for about 3 minutes, adding a handful of fresh coriander. You add some vegetable stock and mixed seasoning to the mixture. Then serve with the cous-cous and a slice of lime.

Delicious, the quickest thing in the world and good for you.

The blog is I'm afraid the last thing on my list of priorities. It may well have served its purpose in getting me writing confidently, trying to improve with feedback in preparation for the MA.

Anyway it's probably a nice way to keep in touch with friends and family, although Connie is instilling me with a renewed paranoia about identity theft. I know the last time I tried to knock the blog on the head I had some rather unpleasant news which meant I carried it on for therapeutic purposes.

While it's still going - other lovely news to impart is that I spent Sunday with my cousin and family, and got reinvigorated nuptial-wise with the viewing of unseen marital photographs.
Husband has a week off and I had the earliest night ever last night of 8.30pm. I would love to say that the house sale is progressing as fast as Paula Radcliffe's postnatal running achievements. Hopefully we'll still be in for Christmas, although I'll be so busy writing essays that I suspect the house will be bottom of the list of priorities, although higher than the blog.