Monday, 27 April 2015

And on and on

These dolphins represent... I don't know, my
inner conflict or something.
I need to make changes to my life. Not big ones; well, not ones that seem big any more. Big things in my life are my family, and what I need to change is just my job. Specifically, I need something that brings in a little more money without completely eating into my time. The problem with a lot of stuff in the next band up is that they start expecting late Fridays and weekends out of you, and that's my family time which they absolutely can not have.

But yes, I need a slightly better paying job with equal flexibility if I am to continue to have a family life and a bit of leisure time, and maybe one day get back to my Dr Who CD subscriptions and upgrading to a 2 credit Audible account.

Interesting digression, having an Audible account gives you credits you can use for any single audiobook, regardless of its actual cost. I  now find myself looking at the options thinking 'yes, that's a good author and a good reader, but is it 20 hours long?' I may swing back towards heroic fantasy, if only because you get a lot of book for your buck. Sadly Jack Vance's Dying Earth is sold in bits.

I've got some big stuff coming up. We're going to the Natural History Museum to show Arya the dinosaurs this weekend, then I have a week with Arya and Hanna in which we plan to sort out the kitchen a bit. It's likely to be a testing time, as I don't doubt we'll all be pretty ragged by the end of it, but it's also a chance for me to spend a whole week with my girls. I'm aware of the pressure - almost entirely internal - to be all awesome all the time, and I'm thinking that maybe we should arrange for each of us to have some 'time off' to hit the cinema, perhaps, and recharge. Of course, it's still up in the air whether my Unlimited Card will be any good next month, and whether anything else will be in place.
“She wants to be flowers, but you make her owls. You must 
not complain, then, if she goes hunting.”

It's also about a month to our anniversary, and I'm still not very good at those. I've not had very many, all told. I want to do something special, but thrifty, which is difficult these days. I'm thinking of something involving cooking. Hanna is also very into the recent trend in grown up colouring books and has suggested some colourable postcards might be well received.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Black Dog Days

Morissette, I will take your ten thousand spoons over any
number of knives.
Oh, that hurt.

I've been looking after Arya while she has chicken pox, and the virus seems to have snuck in and tried to give me shingles. Fortunately, I had chicken pox and my immune system had words, but they were strong words delivered in the manner of one of the fight scenes in the new Daredevil series, and left me well and truly trashed. I was literally unable to face the train journey home on Sunday, so had to make my way directly from Ipswich to work this morning and I feel like I climbed a mountain.

Actually, I've climbed a mountain; I've climbed two, and I never felt this rough afterwards*.

It doesn't help that I was pretty hammered this time last weekend. I really need to get some sleep. Ah well, I guess that Wednesday night Marvel Marathon is out of the question.

On the upside, I had some super quality time with my daughter, in between the howling-at-the-injustice-of-illness moments and the exhaustion. On the downside, before I worked out that I was sick and hungry on Sunday, I was careening towards a state of black depression like I've not known in a good while; probably not since I stopped teaching. Fortunately Arya's presence helped to stabilise me, but it was pretty alarming.

I don't talk about my depression much, but it's always there, hovering in the background. It hits me like the proverbial black dog**, knocking me down and taking all the wind out of me. It makes me physically slower and makes me question my worth and my contribution. Arya helps because just being with her I know I am loved and held in the highest value, and that I have contributed to making something wonderful. I ought to be able to remember that when she isn't there, but it doesn't work that way.

Perhaps the most insidious aspect of depression is that it makes you feel blameworthy for being depressed. This is a trap, but knowing it is a trap and avoiding that trap are two different things. I spend much of my life on the brink of the pit, aware that there is solid ground to my back but unable to step away. It's not a unique feeling, and was described by another famous black dog sufferer***. Not that I have had actual suicidal thoughts for a long time now, but the vertiginous sensation is all too familiar.

I'm much better today, because I'm no longer fighting off infection along with exhaustion, and I can look back and, not laugh, but recognise the tricks the dog played on me and acknowledge them with a nod and a grim smile. He won't be there tomorrow, but he'll be around; it's just a case of taking it a day at a time, and keeping him out in the yard where he belongs.

* Full disclosure, they were smallish mountains in the Britannic mould, and I suspect that the invigorating fresh air helped a lot.
** "The black dog I hope always to resist, and in time to drive, though I am deprived of almost all those that used to help me…When I rise my breakfast is solitary, the black dog waits to share it, from breakfast to dinner he continues barking, except that Dr Brocklesby for a little keeps him at a distance…Night comes at last, and some hours of restlessness and confusion bring me again to a day of solitude. What shall exclude the black dog from a habitation like this?" - Samuel Johnson
*** "I don’t like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand back and, if possible, get a pillar between me and the train. I don’t like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second’s action would end everything. A few drops of desperation." - Winston Churchill

Monday, 13 April 2015

Weariness, books and old friends

It's all up with my spoons at the moment. I am super tired, thanks to Arya kicking me out of bed at a critical time.

I can tell I'm especially tired because a) having retreated to Arya's bedroom after being kicked out of my own, I woke up panicking that she was gone and b) I misheard the interests of one of the contestants on Swashbuckle as 'carnage' instead of 'colouring'. I also really wanted to know who was going to win in Kerwhizz*, which can not be a good sign.

Still, we actually managed to get some time to ourselves this weekend, so Hanna and I finished off The Musketeers and watched a bunch of The 100 which has been sitting on our Sky box for ever so. The fact that we stayed up to get to the end of the finale of The Musketeers may not have helped with our spondular deficit.

We also had a visit from my old friend Jon, whom I've not seen in person in ages. On the up side, we have some tentative board gaming plans for the near future.

Also went to the dentist; all seems to be good. Yay!

I am a coherent blogger, damnit!

* Which describes itself as 'the quiz with added whiz,' although I maintain that it is actually the quiz with added er.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Life is Over and Under and Up and Down

This weekend has been a super-challenging one, as I was Arya's sole on-the-scene carer for all of the long Empire weekend. Hanna and Andrew seem to have had fun, and so did I; Arya is harder to judge, but for the most part I think it went well. We baked and I managed not to be too obsessive about keeping mess to a limit.

As a result, however, I don't have a lot to write about that isn't covered in my baby blog, because damn that was hard work. Single parents, I don't know how you do it. (Well, apart from the ones who live in filth, send their kids to school at five with no language comprehension, and spend the child benefits on booze and ciggies; I know how they do it. I mean the ones who do it right.)