Category Archives: Life

Happy

Happiness means different things to different people.

For example, to some people (Pharrell Williams), happy means feeling like a room without a roof. Some people (Pharrell Williams) have an odd description of happiness.

I think my definition of happy is a pretty standard definition. I feel happy when I see other people smiling. I like knowing that the people around me are having a good time, and that they have the things they need and that they are enjoying life. Sometimes (read: literally constantly) I help people feel happy by providing them with copious amounts of baked goods. Less frequently I give people hugs. Sometimes I make jokes.

Normally my jokes are terrible and don’t make people happy.

I’ll do just about anything though, to put a smile on someone’s face. It’s utterly selfish. I truly believe that we all deserve to get that warm fuzzy feeling of genuine proper happy, which is a little bit lacking in the world at large these days.

Sometimes I get caught by surprise by happiness, because it turns up in unexpected forms. Today, for example, I was thanked for a bunch of things I barely realise I’ve even done. It was so unexpected that I caught myself actually grinning (which is terrifying and I think we can all agree should be avoided). I hope that someone else got their happy from knowing how happy they made me. God bless all the happiness vampires of the world.

Given that this has taken a turn, it’s probably time for me to set my keyboard aside and go back to the other things that make me happy (my bed, netflix, late-night coffee) but before I do, please don’t forget that the best way to make me happy right now is to come to all of the things – as a reminder, they are:

Leeds Vocal Movement

Leeds Vocal Movement summer concert, 16th June, Left Bank

The Wedding Singer - LIDOS

Wedding Singer – 19th-23rd June, Carriageworks Theatre, with LIDOS

Left Bank Opera Festival

Left Bank Opera festival – 22nd-26th Aug, Left Bank, with Northern Opera Group

Perspective

You know sometimes you have one of those weeks which just ages you. Like, it goes on for a 1,000 years and everyone else is just confused by why you’re tired CONSTANTLY but it’s because time is going differently for you.

Last week felt like one of the longest weeks of my life, and like everything which could go wrong, did. Murphy’s Law in full force, from all sides. I think I let myself get secretly ill (which I sometimes do) and that probably didn’t help.

And then a huge old thing happened to give me a massive smack in the face of perspective. Funny like that, life.

Sometimes it genuinely is about looking around you, and measuring your life by the things you have, not the things you don’t. By the choices you make and the chances you take, not the things you miss or the shoulda-woulda-coulda. I’m not trying to be poetic here, I just mean that we live in an age where we are constantly seeing everyone else’s half-full (or overflowing) glass, and finding ours lacking in comparison, and we should just stop. Take a deep breath. Look at all the wonderful things you have.

I used to have a rule that I never went to sleep angry, and recently I’ve probably broken that a few times. But I’m standing by it. Life is too short to get angry. I’m not saying the bad things don’t exist, but try to not let them throw a shadow on the good things, not all of the time.

They are all just things, in a big old world of things.

Not an ad (part 1)

Spoilers: It’s totally an ad.

It’s an ad for a show I’m so keen about that I drove all the way to Horsforth today without actually checking to see if I was needed.

I was not needed.

Good thing it was a lovely day for a drive.

So, what is this show that I am happy to drive all around Leeds for? And what do you mean I’m in a show again, didn’t I grow out of this? WELL. That’s what you thought (and I thought, and I mean I think we all thought I’d move on from this phase but now look)

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This won’t be the first advert either, because of several reasons (to be elaborated on later) including the fact that I have to dance, that I have a child (possibly numerous, still unsure), that it’s genuinely hilarious, and that I potentially (unconfirmed) get points if I bring people. And points, as we know, mean prizes (probably).

(If you’re struggling to read my post today because of all of the bracketed clauses I’d like to apologise and say I KNOW but I just can’t help it, so there we are)

I’d also like to advertise gardening as an excellent thing to do with your life. Having discovered I didn’t need to be at rehearsal I promptly went back to the shop and bought wild flower seeds, which I’ve not planted yet because my garden is a hideous lumpy mess of weeds. But slightly less hideous and lumpy now that I’ve given it 5 hours of my life. Look at me, being all kinds of an adult.

Other things to advertise include Avengers: Infinity War (but only if you’re quite into the MCU) and the Lego Avengers game (because let’s not pretend I’ve actually fully become an adult – that may never happen).

Homeownership

It’s a good thing that I didn’t resolve to blog more frequently this year, because it would have been disappointing to fail so soon. I’ve been so busy owning a house that I’ve not had the chance to write slightly whimsical stories about it all.

Owning a house is expensive y’all. Admittedly, I did know that the house was going to need work and was therefore going to cost me money, but I didn’t expect things like ALL THE SNOW which made my kitchen roof leak within days of moving in. I didn’t expect to discover a series of ropy electrical choices that even I, with my limited knowledge of household wiring, know to be incredibly questionable. And which I have now had to pay someone to essentially just turn off.

I’m also still stuck with prepayment metres. I have called to try and get this changed (not because they are particularly more expensive, actually, but just because I don’t remember I need to top them up and then suddenly I just have no hot water – it’s not ideal) but there are no appointments. No appointments. Like time maybe just stops in about 2 weeks, and all the engineers are booked til then. So, great.

Some news is good though. I was incredibly lucky to get a lot of furniture given to me, so the house feels very much like a home. A slightly wobbly, slightly death-trappy home. Which I have only made worse by doing things like touching live wires (don’t worry Mum, I’m fine) and by taking things apart in a slightly wanton way.

But I can, because I OWN it. Which is not an excuse to immediately break it, but at least it’s my own damn fault if I make the place completely unlivable.

Which I won’t.

I mean, I own scatter cushions. It’ll be fine.

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.