April Resolutions (pt 3)

For those not in the know, I don’t do new year’s resolutions. I don’t want to do anything in January except sleep and eat cheese. A far better time of year is April, when the sun is beginning to shine (intermittently, admittedly) and the birds are beginning to sing, and everything is right with the world (apart from famine, and institutional racism, and Trump, but you get my drift).

So, this years resolutions are:

  • Bake more. A constant resolution for me, which is not only fulfilled by the insane amount of baking I’ve done today alone (two banana loafs, 17 cookies, two chocolate-coffee roulades, but who’s counting?)
  • Walk more (but do so healthily). I walked home last night, which I do often. However last night’s walk was about 3 times as far as usual, and today my foot hurts. A lot. So more walking is a yes, but maybe in trainers.
  • Exercise. Again, a regular resolution, but this year has been a particularly bad one for my fitness levels. The aim is to get back to doing at least 4 HIIT circuits a week.
  • Keep my house clean. Now I have one, I resolve to keep it clean and tidy, despite how enormous it is. Lots of hoovering is in my future, and I’m ready for the challenge.
  • Make more friends. There’s nothing like a big life-changing event to make you look at yourself and realise the things you’ve been missing out on. I love people, but I have very few close friends. And they are beyond enough, and I’m so very lucky in them. But I also can and should meet new people and make new friends. So I shall.

What do you want to do this (tax/financial) year?

Easter Fools

9 year old me was hilarious (which in interesting, given that my inability to take a joke is practically a talent now).

Why do I say this? Because in December 1999, we made time capsules at school, because of the millenium or something (the rapture, the end times. I don’t know). And 9 year old me, in her infinite and wonderful wisdom, set a very specific opening date for this time capsule. Not December 2009 (10 years later) as you might expect. Oh no.

Little me told me to open it on April Fools day. Because little me is hilarious, as previously stated.

As these things do, it got packed away in a pile of books and papers, and only resurfaced this month when I moved into my new house. EXACTLY 10 YEARS AFTER I WAS MEANT TO OPEN IT. You can’t write this stuff.

So yesterday, as instructed by tiny me, give or take a decade, I opened my time capsule. And it was magical.

There was a checklist of things to include in the time capsule – some personal details, a list of favourites, a picture of your family, and then some weird things like “the top 10 things in your house” (mine included books, bookcase, the Video [no idea why definite article and capitalised, but it was clearly significant]) and an odd spider-diagram with the central field time:web.

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Personal high points include:
– How pale I am in my family drawing, and how tiny my brother is
– The importance of ART
– Enid Blyton and JK Rowling as categories of books (distinct from author)
– Mystyrys
– The fact that rather than actually including any additional things apart from the key ring, I just wrote a list of “ephemera” and included that (lazy child)
– The fact that I knew the word ephemera at 9.

Good work little me. This really was a hilarious thing to open on April Fools day, even if I was a decade late.

Home is where the house is

Remember how last time I wrote a blog it was to whinge about how long it had taken me to get close to buying a house?

Guys, the house is now mine, and has paint, and furniture, and all kinds. It’s pretty exciting, not gonna lie.

I’m also totally convinced it’s full of criminals and ghosts (and the criminals are ninjas because I can’t see them but I can hear them walking around in the night) but that’s All Fine Probably.

It has been a whirlwind couple of days, but thanks is due. To my wonderful friends who have hosted me in their home for the last 6 months, which was the most amazing and charitable thing to do when I felt like I might not have anywhere to go. To my grandmother who has provided me with 85% of my furniture. To my best friends who have kept me sane through this process, with wine, pizza, and podcasts. And to my fabulous parents for taking 3 days out of their lives to come up to the grim north and move me in (inc. building ikea furniture and carrying very heavy pianos) (well, one piano. But still)

I’m basically pretty chuffed about it all.

Buying Houses (& Dido)

I should probably open by saying that I’m not buying multiple houses, and I’m not sure why I made the title plural. It just sounded better. I’m buying one singular house, and oh my god it is the most complicated and stressful thing I’ve ever done.

Now on the one hand, I should have expected it to be a bit stressful. It’s a well-known thing that house-buying is complicated and kind of a big deal (what with how you are tying all of your money into some bricks, and you probably don’t know a tonne of stuff about bricks anyway). And I did expect it to be stressful, but just not this stressful.

It’s mostly stressful because the person selling me the house has NO IDEA what he’s doing. Really really no idea. His solicitors also seemingly have no idea what they are doing, or possibly think that everything needs to be done with a minimum wait time of a week before they ask for the next thing. I think I could probably qualify to do conveyancing in less time than it has taken them to sort out this one transaction.

The issue with being stressed is that I handle it very badly, due to my core coping mechanism – overcommitting.

So now, not only am I trying to buy a house from the least competent person in the world, but I’m trying to do so while also helping to project manage the creation of a new organisation-wide strategy at work, while inducting two new senior managers, while being in a musical, while being in a choir, for which I’m also now the treasurer, while helping build set for a completely different show, while also trying to have a social life.

It’s all a bit much, really. No wonder I look so tired all of the time.

There isn’t really a remedy to this. In the future I might finish buying the house, and that’ll help. So in the meantime I’m just trying to stay a bit self-aware, take appropriate breaks, and listen to a LOT of Dido (one of the greatest female voices of our time, if you think I’m wrong then fight me). Constantly aspiring for the day when I don’t feel like ‘Life for Rent’ is an appropriate personal theme song.

You’re welcome.

CV.doc

A revision on my current skillset

Name: Sally
Age: Some (more than last time)
Gender: is (still) a social construct

Skills: Administration inc. diary management, meeting admin, note-taking
Event Planning
Human clicker (powerpoint, prezi, etc)
Hypocritical lecturing on various topics
Good phone manner
Amateur graphic design
Project management
Budgeting
Comprehensible in 4 languages (higher competency when drunk)

Experience: 5 years admin experience
3 years management experience
Lifetime experience in being slightly below average
1 week+ experience of functioning on hardly any sleep
3 years of Benjamin Button skin (becoming more greasy/teenage as I get further into adulthood)

Personal Qualities: Friendly
Enthusiastic
Very consistently late (~40mins)
Will apologise for anything/everything
Generous with food
Unable to say no

Mildly Contradictory

I think I’m a confusing person.

Well, I know I’m a confusing person, just in general, but that’s not exactly what I mean. I don’t mean that I articulate things badly, or in an overly convoluted manner (as illustrated). Maybe I should rephrase. I think I’m a confused person.

I have a confused personality, and it’s something I’ve found myself explaining to people a lot recently. What do I mean? Here are a few examples:

  • I used to be president of the Opera Society, but my go-to music is dubstep.
  • I do an office job, but walk over 10,000 steps almost every day at work.
  • I’ll stay up late to watch the Superbowl, or to watch live-stream Dungeons & Dragons
  • I have no idea how to do my own make-up, but am obsessed by having perfect nails
  • I’m outgoing but intensely shy
  • I hated my Masters, but still want to go back to do a PhD.
  • I don’t understand other people but immediately pick up their accents (which is apparently a sign of empathy, something I would say I am terrible at)
  • I love art, but have absolutely no opinions on it at all
  • I’m happiest when I’m around people, but always avoid making plans
  • It’s my professional role to organise things, but I’m perpetually late
  • I want people to think I’m “cool”, but still a) write a blog and b) post links to my blog on social media
  • I’ve moved to a new continent by myself, but can’t bring myself to go on holiday alone

And I mean, I know these aren’t all contradictions, but it is just a lot of stuff to try and build a personality out of. It makes it difficult to convey what I’m like as a person, because actually I’m not even sure I really know. Or maybe I do know, but it’s just that I have 8 different personalities and that’s quite difficult to get across without sounding slightly mad.

Maybe I just need to settle on slightly mad, and leave it at that.

Jitters

I have spent this evening repeatedly telling people that I’ve not auditioned for 9 or 10 years, and in the interests of honesty I should say I’ve realised that’s a lie.

Technically I auditioned about 4 years ago for a music theatre showcase. I sang ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ because I’m everyone’s mum and I’ve got a posh girl singing voice. I didn’t get in, which was a blessing because on the evening of the actual showcase I had no voice and only just made it through the evening. I also auditioned 8.5 years ago, when I first started university, to be in Grease. I was also unsuccessful there, but it did help me find my place backstage, so I mustn’t complain.

Regardless, this evening when I auditioned for the first time in a fair old while (if not actually 10 years) I remembered what it feels like to be genuinely, face-shaking, knee-knocking nervous.

As a general rule, I’m a fairly nervous person. I just hide it well with facts, and lots of confidence in other people. Once I know people I also hide my nerves with wild gesticulations and slightly ridiculous voices. I’m just used to having low-level nervousness most of the time.

In a slightly unexpected turn of events, most of my nerves came through in my singing (I think), and I managed almost all, if not all, of the basic dance. A definite first for me.

One way or another, I’m looking forward to the Wedding Singer – it seems like a fab show, and if I don’t get to see it from onstage then I’m sure I can see it from the wings or the audience. And one way or another, I’m proud of sticking with today, pushing past (to a certain extent) the nerves, and getting involved. When the worst outcome possible is someone saying no, that’s not a terrible thing at all.

(And when I’m alone, I can sing the below shake-free, and it’s a fab song)

My Mediocre Middle-Class Millennial Memoir*

I maintain** that one day I will write the story of my life. And when I write my novel (read: when I cop out and compile this blog into a book, which apparently works for some people and frankly they aren’t great at writing so I don’t see why I shouldn’t benefit as well, but I digress) I am thinking of the above title.

Mediocre – well, it is a bit. Today I had a huge life drama when I realised that the person who is trying to sell me their house probably won’t succeed in selling me their house, because they are terrible at paperwork and adulting. In the grand scheme of my life, that’s  big news,  but in the grand scheme of the world it’s not exactly a tsunami. My drama is very much the teacup-based storm type.

Middle-Class – in every way really, from my background, worldview, lifestyle, the whole kit and caboodle (inc. idioms, apparently)

Millennial – despite my best attempts I fall firmly in this category. Not least because I write a blog, which is almost as millennial as avocados and depression.

My book will include wonderful anecdotes of failed attempts to lose weight, terrible dates,  and awkward encounters with old acquaintances whose names I can’t quite remember. It will be oddly interspersed with playlists and reviews of musical theatre productions.

Occasionally, it will attempt to be “real” writing and deal with controversial topics (badly) or to be incredibly deep and meaningful.

Mostly*** though, it will be remarkably average. Which I like thinking about, because on days like today when it feels like most things aren’t going very well, it reminds me that all of my woes are terribly average, storm-in-a-teacup problems. And if a whole world of exceptional writers who have experienced really fascinating, troubling, amazing experiences have lived through them, then I’m sure I’ll be fine.

 

___

*Yes, I am aiming to use every ‘M’ word in the English language
**5 points to Gryffindor
***more additional points

Oh yes I did

Two weeks of panto is over. I’m exhausted and I feel like I could sleep for a million years, but I also had a fabulous time.

I’ve done a lot of amateur theatre in my life. A good dose of school shows, a bit of village-hall drama, and a very serious amount of university society theatre, both backstage and front-of-stage.

Since I graduated I’ve been thinking I’d like to find a new group. I don’t really know what stopped me particularly, because I know of a lot of different groups performing in Leeds, doing all the kinds of things I love to be involved with. Maybe it’s an innate shyness which held me back – waiting to be invited, so I didn’t feel like I was diving in alone to prove myself in a brand new group of people.

I don’t know why I was worried, but I was, and I’m happy to say that 2 weeks later I feel ridiculous for ever thinking that way. You could not wish for a kinder or more welcoming group of people than the people I met doing the panto with LIDOS. From little trinkets and good luck cards, to hot cups of tea and biscuits in the interval, it was like settling into a family.

I was also lucky enough to talk to a lot of people who have been involved in the society for years, and learnt all about the history of amateur theatre in Leeds, especially those groups based in the old Civic theatre and latterly the Carriageworks. This city is so vibrant with culture, and the Carriageworks is a wonderful hub for the amateur sector, so I was horrified (as so many people have been) to learn that there are plans afoot which will seriously impact on the amateur groups who currently use the space.

If you have a moment, please read and sign this petition, which gives much more information about the proposals for the Carriageworks. It’s fabulous that Leeds has such an active, friendly, and engaging amateur theatre scene, and we should do what we can to preserve that.

Oh yes we should.

Fashion (and other things I don’t know about)

I recently learnt a great phrase I’d never heard before – “dress for your diary”. It’s very appropriate for my job, because it’s a typically relaxed environment with occasional need for business dress, or sometimes full-on formal. Or sometimes hard hats and steel-toe boots. It’s a mix.

The challenge with the dress-for-your-diary concept is when you have a formal meeting in work at 4, but need to be in the theatre ready to crew by 5.30.

What I’m saying (in a roundabout way) is that I’ve found a new theatre, and reignited my passion for moving things quietly in the dark. It’s been a couple of years, and I’m much more tired and old-lady-like now (which is what having a full-time job will do to you, basically) but I am honestly having the most fun. I don’t know why I ever left really.

I think it probably says a lot about me, that the biggest challenge of going back to technical theatre has been the fashion side of things. Firstly, remembering to rescue my steel-toe boots from under my desk at work, where they’d been gathering dust following the end of our major building refurb (it was immeasurably helpful that I had my own pair, because apparently your standard construction site spares don’t come in tiny size 4). Secondly, having to go out and buy more plain black clothes. It only takes a few years of mostly being seen during daylight hours to force you into buying clothes with actual colour (or at least various tones of grey, my usual look).

Finally, and probably most challenging, has been picking out outfits which are appropriate for work, but which either transition to backstage easily, or fold up small enough that I’m not carting around an entire second wardrobe each day. Having coached myself into the world of coloured clothes I now don’t really want to go back, which means changing at least one item day to evening.

I didn’t ever think I’d be preoccupied by fashion choices. It’s amazing what a few years can do.