17 December 2009

Queen's College Cambridge Sucks

That's right. You heard me.

Let me set the story. Here I am, singularly glad and happy to be going back to school, starting a PhD, and at Cambridge no less! I get all my paperwork in on time. When the University sends me something, I return it within 24 hours. And after researching Colleges, I put you down as my first choice. I got my formal offer from the University, I believe dated November 10th. The only thing left was to get my College membership and I would be sorted and ready to start!

So you got my paperwork somewhere around then.

One week passed.

Two weeks passed.

I called the Graduate Studies Office, they said it takes time.

Three weeks passed.

Four weeks passed.

I called the Graduate Studies Office again. They expressed alarm that you had held my paperwork for so long and said they would chase it up.

Five weeks passed.

I call again, now concerned. It's a week before people leave for Christmas. My adviser needs to know my start dates. My industrial partner needs to know my start dates. My funding is held up because I don't have a College. I can't get a rail pass (because of how my PhD is set up, I'll need to commute between London and Cambridge and on my student stipend, that rail pass will be a necessity). I can do NOTHING because I don't have a College and my application is not finalized.

So Monday I talk to Graduate Studies and finally get someone who is willing to put me on hold while they call you, Queen's College, to see what the hell is going on and why you've had my paperwork for over a month. The woman comes back to tell me that oh, you didn't realize that I was for a January start, so you just put my paperwork to the side and ignored it. Oh, and on top of that? You weren't offering me a place after keeping my papers all that time! She assured me that my papers were being sent back and I should call Thursday (today) to follow up with my second choice College since time was now so short.

So I called today.

Would you believe... no I know, you won't believe.... Queen's College hasn't sent my fucking paperwork back yet?! I know! It's very hard to believe, isn't it? I mean who would do such a thing? It's just internal mail for chrissake. And you found out that you had royally (no pun intended) fucked up on Monday and it's now Thursday and NEXT WEEK is Christmas. What the hell??

So the woman at the Graduate Studies Office was somewhat apologetic but apparently there's very little they can do when a College fucks up. In fact, there seems to be little recourse at all for when Colleges do wrong. She says to me, well you know, your application can get sent to up to five Colleges and usually we give them three to four weeks. Well that's just not possible now is it? No, it isn't because Queen's College fucked up.

So I call my second choice College directly, I mean, why wait? And I ask them if they have any places left for the Lent term (seeing as how while Queen's was sitting on my papers, other, responsible Colleges were making offers to other students) and I'm sure you see where this is going, but no, my second choice College is full now. So no good.

Now apparently, Queen's was going to 'reconsider' my application today, or that's what they told the woman at the Graduate Studies Office- but I just checked my online self service page this evening and it says Queens did not accept me. WHAT THE HELL??? Do you think I'm actually going to be offered a College place in a single day, ie, tomorrow?? You screwed up so I get screwed? That is NOT fair. And what was so wrong with me anyway? I don't need accommodation. I'm fully funded. What would it matter to you at all?? The LEAST you could do after fucking up was to try and make amends. But nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

You suck. You suck. You suck. You suck.

And you turned what was otherwise a lot of excitement and glee about going back to school into a huge fucking headache and misery. I realize there is nothing I can do, so I just hope this post gets googled and you get outed as being the hugely irresponsible organization that you obviously are.

Shame on you Queen's College. You suck.

12 December 2009

Family

I suppose in part it's the time of year when family weighs heavily on the mind. I recognize that my thoughts of what family mean to me are probably not traditional, or typical. Though every family has their own unique quirks and skeletons in the closet. My musing on this subject was brought up by a request from a friend for people to talk about their fathers. This makes me think of many things.

It's hard for me to envision my family as a cohesive thing, mostly because it isn't. As an only child, my sense of family is limited to my interactions with my parents mostly, and a select extended group of grandmothers, aunts, and uncles. But both of my parents chose to live in a city away from their relatives, even though in very different ways, they both grew up with a much stronger and cohesive sense of family and location. Both of my parents had siblings- my father, two brothers, and my mother, a sister. Both of my parents lived in areas surrounded by aunts and uncles and cousins and relatives. Each has a strong memory of a family home or foundation. A matriarch or a patriarch.

I grew up with none of these things. On top of which, when we would visit with cousins, on either side, there were no children of age to me. So I was in a strange family void. Contemporary cousins to me were generally much older, and later, when they had children, those children were much younger. So there was no camaraderie in that sense.

So on to my own family. Parents who argued, who separated when I was six and divorced when I was seven. I don't remember a happy home, but I know that mostly I stayed out of things. Stayed on my own. I wasn't a child who craved attention. I suppose as an only child, I got used to entertaining myself. And I was fairly compliant. If I was told to go here or go there, I went. It never occurred to me to argue or disagree with such things.

But in saying this, I do not want to suggest that I idealized my parents. In fact, I think I learned much earlier than most that my parents were simply people. With their own flaws and foibles. My father in particular behaved poorly when I was younger. In his quest to 'get back at' my mother, for what, in retrospect, I'm not actually sure. He saw nothing wrong with using me as a tool and in fact told me as much once, when I was 13.

My mother was in some ways no different and still to this day will get angry and upset just thinking that I have given some token of affection to my father that I have not afforded her. It's all a competition. And that's wrong too.

My parents are complex. And flawed.

And yet, both of my parents love me very very much in their own ways. This is the one thread that has held my version of my family together. Because as flawed as my parents are, as I am, we all love each other and care about each other and it is this bond that is my version of family. No matter how that bond is expressed, or how annoyed we get with each other, or even if we don't understand each other. We are bound to each other in a way that is steady and firm and dependable.

I live far away from both of my parents now. And part of me is afraid of that day, when one and then the other will be gone. Afraid because I don't know how I'll handle such a thing. I don't know who will be there to support me at the time. Part of me is afraid of that extra dimension of being truly alone.

Maybe you don't really miss something until you actually don't have it anymore. That makes me sad. I fear that on some level that's my future, but the complexities of every day life don't leave much alternative. On the other hand, often most things look better through the glasses of history. We're all just people you know? Even our parents.

05 December 2009

Around the Corner

Well, the flatmate and girlfriend moved out today. It briefly stirred up for me bad feelings about the entire situation and I recognize that no matter what, I am much better with them just gone. My home means so much to me in terms of the place it serves in my psyche, that it is really not acceptable to have strife in it. So while I'm actually a bit stressed that I've yet to find a replacement flatmate, I feel confident that this will be sorted by some time in January and it's really all just money and it's okay. Really, it's okay.

Work is rushing to its inevitable conclusion and then school starts. I've said this here right? About how I finally got accepted into the PhD I applied for at Cambridge? I can't be bothered to go back and read what I've actually written about it. The only thing I'm now waiting for is what College I've been assigned to, and then I can try to sort out things like getting council tax exemption and student rail cards and the like. But I can't do any of that until I have my College because it's all through them. In the meantime, I'm supposed to start January 5th or 12th or somewhere around there and time is getting a bit short if you consider the holiday season stuck in the middle. Still, it's all going to happen, it's just a matter of how messy it all happens, but it will happen.

Speaking of leaving work, that's a bit of a humdrum. I don't like leaving things. So even though this time it's of my own accord, and I'm not really 'there' like I was 'there' (read: an employee) before, I feel sad about the leaving that will happen. That things just go on without you when you aren't there any more. That something you were a part of suddenly you are not. I don't really like that. I guess it makes me feel transient and replaceable. Which, to be fair, everyone sort of is, but it's not nice to feel that way.

In two weeks I go to the States which should be interesting. It's really not on my thoughts at all at the moment, although there are a lot of things I'd like to do when I'm there. I'll only be in NY for this trip as my mom got me the ticket and I'm only going for a week.

I don't know. It's not that I'm particularly depressed but I feel a bit lost at the moment, and somewhat overwhelmed. And there's always that overriding issue that okay, some things in my life are really going well, but then other things seem at a total standstill or loss. I haven't talked to Heathrow about officially ending our agreement but that's because I don't feel that I need to like I did before. It doesn't change things. We aren't really talking at all. I don't think we are mad at each other, it's just how it is. But I'm feeling very much alone. Maybe spurned by an inordinate amount of people I know having babies. I just have this sense that it's not the way my life is going to go. Not because I never wanted a relationship and family but because it just isn't going to happen for me. That makes me very sad on a certain level. But also incredibly frustrated because it's not something I think I can change in any meaningful way. And I don't want to feel like I have a lesser life because of it. But it does make me feel a bit left out of some wider picture of life. Sitting on the sideline or something. Being passed over. That's not so nice.

I think I'll actually feel better once it's January and things are underway. There just seems to be so much going on right now, and then nothing going on right now. And I'm feeling particularly and keenly alone at the moment. But... it'll pass.

20 November 2009

Blogus Interputus

I was writing the post that follows two weeks ago. I was formulating something that was important to me, a few things, that had been on my mind. I was in the midst of doing this, when my flatmate came downstairs and had a total blow up at me which has resulted in him giving me one month notice and my needing to find a new flatmate.

This rather took priority at the moment and since. And it's been impossible to get back to the point where I was, with what I wanted to say, because, as with most things blogular, it was an impression of a moment and the moment was lost.

Still, it seems wrong that the post languish in limbo forever, as it belongs here with everything else. It's just that it wasn't finished or complete. And there was more to say at the time, I just didn't get there. And now, because things have moved on, I never will. Still. for the record....

Definitions

I'm going through a strange phase I think. One that I suppose creeps up on everyone from time to time. A sort of weighing and considering of the self. Looking for my definition.

Recently there have been some changes, and some changes are on the way. Personally, I think it is fair to say that things with Heathrow have come to an end. The reality is, is that it has been nearly three months from when things tangibly changed, and it has been a steady decline ever since. We are now at the point where I would simply refer to him as 'someone I know' and perhaps not even a friend. But then friendship, true friendship, is incredibly important to me and not a term I would throw around lightly.

So that's been something of a disappointment. Not because I thought it was forever, but because it didn't end how I thought it would. I guess I figured one of us would find someone else we wanted to be with at some point, not that one of us would grow bored with the other one. That's how I feel from his distance. I don't think he's seeing someone else, though I suppose that's also possible. But I think it's more likely that whatever interested him in me has now passed. And I still think it's related to when things changed way back when. But we're so far away from that point now that it doesn't matter. In fact, the reason behind the actions don't really matter because the end result is that things have changed and now I don't want to be with him in that intimate way. He doesn't inspire me to feel interested, excited, or open to the idea. In fact, just the opposite.

The only nagging issue is that we haven't actually discussed any of this. It's just the current state of affairs. And this for me, will not do. I do not want to pick a fight with him- but for me, I need a degree of closure and for things to be in the open. And I hope that actually, if we discuss the pink elephant in the room, then maybe we can actually just be friends. Like actual friends. Not the acquaintances we are now. But who knows.

This all leads me to a related musing of late in that, I can't work out where kink sits with me anymore. I don't know what I want from it. In some ways it's lost it's appeal. Or maybe I've just become too jaded by all the screwed up people I've met. Tomorrow night I'm going clubbing. I don't know why I'm going clubbing. Ostensibly to hang out with kink people I know. But why? I feel so much that I don't belong there, that every time I see these people, it only heightens for me how much I feel I don't belong as opposed to easing over time. It reminds me of how I felt when I was a teenager and went to university parties. I feel so completely wrong in these environments...

And that was all there was.

10 November 2009

Nightly News Rant

Once upon a time I used to get really cross listening to the news. This was when the republicans were coming into power in the States, just coming up to the first baby Bush election. Every single day when the NPR radio alarm went off, I would listen to the news reports and get angrier and angrier at the information being shared with me.

In fact when I moved to this country, it was one of the first things I noticed- how not angry I was all the time about the news, but probably that's because I didn't know much about UK politics or people. That's changed in six years.

Because this is my spouting off place, I'm going to spout off on some current topics in no particular order just to get them off my chest. You have been warned.

1. Roman Polanski
How quickly this has come and gone from the news, yet it still lingers slightly. What really steams me is these celebrity fuckwits who have signed some petition to let him off. I really would like any of them to read the transcript of just what happened to that 13 year old girl and then say that they think skipping country is 'okay'. I don't care if he was going to get a harsher sentence or made an example of- he raped and sodomized a child after drugging her. That's disgusting and despicable, and if he wasn't famous or an 'artist', no one would cut him any slack at all. I'm glad it looks like he's willing to finally head back to the States. And none of this bullshit about 'how his victim wants it dropped'. Yes, she wants it dropped because the fuckwit skipped country and made her hellish situation EVEN WORSE by making her the only person the media could get their grubby little hands on. She wants it all to go away, but it should have all gone away a long time ago. Oh yeah, and back to those stupid celebrities, stick to what you know, and stay out of stuff you don't.

2. Global Warming
Anyone who can't work out that we've seriously fucked with the planet at this point needs a serious slapping. How it's all going to play out is debatable, but it's likely that an awful lot of people are going to die from this tampering. And yes 'warming' is probably the wrong word because it's not just 'warming' it's also 'cooling' and 'turbulent'. But you can't go around saying Global Fuck Up because children are sensitive don't you know. And oh yeah, it's not that the planet will die, of course the planet won't die. The planet has lasted a long time. It's just the living things on it that will die, or at least an awful lot of them will. Remember the dinosaurs? They used to live here, now they don't. Lets stop talking about whether it's real or not and actually start to do something about it. And oh yeah, I don't mean being punitive about it either, I want to see global investment in cleaning up the little mess that everyone made. Okay, maybe you didn't make it, but you sure as fuck can get a broom and help out. Don't want to? Then maybe you should go live on the Maldives for the next oh... 30 years or so. And good luck with that.

3. Letters from the Prime Minister
Yes, I know this one is particularly current but if I hear one more time about this stupid woman who is being manipulated (quite obviously) by the Sun and looking for someone to blame, then I'm likely to go postal myself. Is everyone really so stupid? Like... you get all these people up in arms that the BNP might get to be on Question Time (although a lot of people voted for the BNP, so why they don't get to be on Question Time is beyond me, just because you want to ignore it doesn't mean it's not happening) but the media thinks it's okay to repeat this idiotic slander that the Prime Minister who hand writes a note to this woman may have, god forbid, spelled something wrong! Get over yourselves! And by repeating it, even when it's repeated with commentary in support of the Prime Minister, then every single media outlet is doing just as much harm as the Sun. By the way, how much do you think she's going to sell that letter for in a few years huh? No, I'm not cynical at all....

4. US Health Care Reform
As an American who grew up with mostly private health insurance, I can say, having experienced UK health coverage that I think that I received better medical care and attention in the States. However. I do think it is the obligation of a government to care for all of it's citizens needs. I also recognize that while US health care is better than others I have experienced, I am not at all sure that it is worth how much Americans are forced to pay for it versus people in other countries. Of course if you have money, you will be impacted very little by US health care reform and to deny health care to your fellow citizens is both stupid and misguided. I can't even be glad that something passed in House because it is so far removed from anything reasonable that this all going to go tits up, oh wait, it already has.

4a. Abortion debates in US Health Care Reform
Doesn't belong there and get your petty fucking religious moral views out of my fucking politics. Now.

5. Gay Marriage
Ditto what I said about abortion. Fucktards.

Thank you, and good night.

05 November 2009

City Living

Here's another post of processing things that have come up lately from more than one person. If I refer to the previous post of the three legged stool, this is probably the leg that I have had the least trouble with, at least for some time, and that is the concept of 'home'.

I was born into suburbs and I was raised initially in the suburbs. An experience which I think provided me with many good memories and experiences of digging in things and climbing things and growing things, not to mention the safety of the neighbourhood and the gang of kids who lived there (though that's slightly misleading because bad things could and did happen, but generally not the case). But when I was 9 we moved to the city. THE city, New York City. And it was a whole new world.

When people ask me where I'm from I say New York because I think it explains a lot more about how I engage with things and what shaped my world view. I was there as I matured from child to pseudo adult. My friends and I did not roam our neighbourhood but rather Manhattan. We hung out in Central Park, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in Times Square, in Herald Square, in Soho Square. I can't even begin to name all the nooks and crannies that created the backdrop to my youth. But the reality is, this post isn't about that.

This post is about knowing as an adult where it is you want to live in life. What features of a place do you find the most comforting and desirable? I for one, have always known that I wanted to live in a city. It has never been a particular question in my mind when thinking upon the topic that I would be most happy in an urban environment. I don't need a garden, though I wouldn't mind a roof deck or a good sized balcony. But a square outside my house is almost just as good. Because although I think I could like gardening and sitting outside, it's not really what I want. I want to see people and hear noise and be a part of a hive of activity that I see as a city.

Saying this, I also came to realize over time that I didn't want to necessarily be in the hugest city. There is a certain scale of urbanism I find more attractive than others. I don't prefer Manhattan, I like Brooklyn better. And I like Boston better than New York any day. Which is probably why I like London even though it's a big global city, it's stature does a lot to mask this.

And in knowing this about myself, I can craft what I look for in a home. I'm not really conflicted about wanting a skyline view and a garden for the dog. I understand between those options which I would want more- because even though I can see attractive potential in a variety of scenarios, I know over time which one I would get bored with and which one I wouldn't. And it's not the city.

So I guess it confuses me sometimes when I meet people who swear fervently that they are 'city people' but then suddenly start talking about how they have to have a house and a garden and maybe even a car (or two). Because the thing is, then you aren't really a city person then are you? It's one thing to like the idea of a city and still want a suburban lifestyle and it's another thing entirely to like the idea of a city and embrace what it really means to be a part of it. How do they think the suburbs got invented anyway? But there seems to be such a stigma for someone to just up and admit that they'd rather live in a suburb. Which to my mind, is fair enough, but wouldn't it be better to be honest with yourself then try and make a square peg fit in a round hole?

Cities are expensive and dense. And there are compromises you make for the benefits you enjoy. If you don't enjoy them, then by all means move out. But if you do enjoy them, and you aren't a billionaire, then accept that maybe you don't actually need all those rooms and spaces in your house- not when there's a whole city to get out and explore.

04 November 2009

Balance

At some point along my years of discussing life with my friends, someone, not me proposed this analogy of the three legged stool of life. Now, oddly, the purpose of this metaphor was not to suggest that the goal was somehow to get the three legs in balance, but rather to exemplify that it is pretty much impossible to ever get all three legs in balance and this is what gives people drive and motivation to change and work on themselves.

The main caveat being, if you could get two legs of your stool sorted, then you were probably doing okay. But if two or three legs were in disarray then you might find that instead of just being inspired and motivated you were actually depressed and discouraged.

In this particular metaphor, the three legs were as follows:

One was your work or profession, whatever that happened to be, and everything that it entails. Not only doing something that you want to be doing, but doing it where you want to be doing it, and with people that you want to be doing it with. People spend something like 30% of their lives at work, and if you consider that 33% you are sleeping, that means almost half of your waking hours are devoted to this particular past time. It's important for your personal well being to get it under control.

The second leg was your home. Where you live, under what circumstances, and with who. Obviously this also expands into something quite large because where you live starts to have an impact on what sorts of activities you do or don't do and what friends you see or don't see. A home is also not just something that gives back to you, but you must also put a lot of effort into as it will most likely mean a rent or mortgage (or the tolerance of parents and siblings), it requires cleaning and maintenance, and it contains or should contain those things that can give you respite from the world. A place for the physical expression of your inner self, however that needs to be.

The last leg is relationships. Or love. Not necessarily just friendships, though maybe I'm discounting that because I'm referencing myself and it should be included. It has to do with the emotional need to connect to other human beings. Oddly enough, out of all the three legs, this is the one that in many ways you may have the least control over. Because while you must live someplace, and you must be supported financially in some way (being out of work, I suppose, would mean your work leg was in distress), but there is no corresponding necessity related to emotional fulfilment. But it doesn't mean it's less important.

So in a nutshell there are the three legs. And if you go through your friends you will find that it's pretty difficult to find anyone where all three legs are strong and in balance. Usually there is one that is lagging behind the others. And then there are friends where two legs are gone and they may be struggling more, and then there are those with all three out of whack and they are pretty much a mess.

For me the legs have mostly been consistent. It's always my relationship leg that's given me the most trouble, but at times my home has given me trouble, and certainly this past year my work has as well (but was complimented at least by something of a respite in the relationship leg which worked out well). I think I'm back to my standard position, that it's the relationship leg that causes me the most grief. Work has sorted itself out this year, and I love my home and have for some time, so that's all good. And I do my best to work on the relationship leg, I think I've made a bit of progress in the past two years lets say. So that's good. And I am hopeful about opportunities in the future, mainly that I am about to meet a whole bunch of new people and you never know where that could lead. So although it's not where I want it to be by far, it's also not quite so bad a mess as it's been in the past.

The stool isn't really ever supposed to be able to be balanced, but I think I'm pretty okay with where mine is at for now.

Dump

I know, again it's been a while. Not for lack of things to say, or lack of things going on. More time and inclination to be honest. It's not that I have anything exceptional to write about. It's more like... I've been holding off on just decompressing all of the thoughts that mill about my head, mostly having to do with people I engage with in life.

Everyone needs a place to dump.

At the moment it seems to me like very few of my friends are particularly happy, for various reasons- and with more and less degrees and levels of 'of their own making'. It's hard.

Do you know what friends want for their friends more than anything else in the whole world (at least good friends that is, not back stabbing pseudo friends)? They want their friends to be happy. That's what I want. I want the people in my life that I know and care about to be happy. (And as a side note, I want all the jerks and assholes that I know about to suffer karmic retribution, but that's a separate post.)

It's just incredibly frustrating to watch your friends not be happy, particularly and specifically if they are partially or even wholly there, in whatever place they are in, because of something of their own making that they either aren't working on or won't even acknowledge, let alone recognize and then begin to work on. And you just watch them be unhappy and suffer to various degrees and of course there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

It's draining when you hear about all of these miseries and hurts. Not because I'm not sympathetic, or perhaps empathetic would be a more appropriate word, but because I just wish that these issues and cycles and patterns would shake the fuck up and move on already so that my most excellent friends, the people I love and cherish and care about and think are pretty awesome and amazing individuals can just have something more like the lives that they undoubtedly deserve.

It's hard because everyone has their own row to hoe. Has to learn their own lessons. Has to get there on their own. If it were that easy to learn just be hearing or by example, then we'd all be blissful right now. And I've certainly been there. You can't make people learn self truths, you can only be along the ride there for them, as they make their own way.

And I suppose what else is frustrating is that they may not get there at all. Maybe this is how the theory of reincarnation comes from. Maybe one life time really isn't enough to get to all the matters and issues. How sad then to think one shot is all you get. And maybe it makes sense in a spiritual sort of way to think that we work through issues through lifetimes until we do reach a higher place. And that everyone has the potential to get there in the end.

It just may take a long time. Longer than what I can see. So I guess it's not really comforting. There aren't any guarantees in life. You aren't 'owed' or 'promised' true love, a great job, money, health, etc. It doesn't work like that. You get the hand you get, and you have to learn to make the most of it. Be aware of what is within your control- try not to put all your fantasies of happiness in the realm of things you can't control. Be adaptable to change. Be open to new ideas or possibilities. Be willing to walk away and admit you were wrong, if you were. Not that any of these things are even easy, but for gods sake, WORK on it. Because you do really only get the one life that you're aware of. And being miserable or unhappy and repeating patterns and cycles endlessly seems like an incredible fucking waste.

(And if you're my friend, and I care about you, then you know what, you really do deserve to be happy. You do.)

23 September 2009

Randomings

I can't think of a main topic that I want to talk about, so I'm just going to ramble here and see what comes of it. I find that things are in a somewhat strange place at the moment. I'm not happy nor unhappy. I'm not overly active or overly bored. Everything seems to be in some sort of stasis. I feel as though things are quiet. Though they are not necessarily quiet at all, it's the overwhelming sense that I have of my life at the moment.

A good part of things right now is about waiting. Or maybe it's about endings. Or perhaps new beginnings. Or all of the above. I have been working back at my old office on an hourly basis for what amounts to about four days of work per week. This has been really good in terms of my solvency as well as being busy. But it's a bit strange all the time, to feel a bit like a ghost in a place I once was and place I no longer 100% belong to anymore. After all, I'm not a real employee, I don't have the same issues as other people. I could also be asked to leave on a moments notice. There's certainly no security, though we are busy, so I'm not really afraid it will end tomorrow, it's more the feeling that comes with the possibility more than anything else.

And of course, while this feels in many ways like something that could just be indefinite, it is in fact, not indefinite at all, because in January, I have another plan and another direction that should be starting. I was offered a PhD studentship at Cambridge. But the issue is, I was offered it through the department that secured the funding, but I haven't been officially made an offer by the university yet. In order for that to happen I had to apply, formally, which meant I had to get transcripts and references and I have only been able to complete that this week. It's all moving forward now, and there is no reason whatsoever that I should not be given a proper place, but there's this nagging doubt that it could all still go wrong as long as I don't have anything in writing. So I've been rather reluctant to talk about this too much. Still, it will mean a massive change in my whole way of life. In what I do every day, in how I think about who I am and what I'm doing, about what becomes important to me, about how I structure things. I can't begin to wrap my head around it yet, I feel I need to approach it one step at a time. So perhaps this also part of the reason I am not dwelling on things too much. First, let me get accepted and I'll take it from there.

Things with Heathrow are perhaps dwindling. Or perhaps not. It still doesn't stress me out. It's difficult to always be away every weekend. Sometimes I have things I need to do and I simply can't be away. And he doesn't come to mine and so that means I just don't see him. He came around last weekend because I made a dinner for a group of kinky friends, and that was cool. But he didn't spend the night, so while I saw him, we didn't get any intimate time together. It seems this upcoming weekend something similar will happen in that I will likely see him on Sunday at a kinky party I've been invited to, but Saturday night I've got plans in the city and he won't come to that probably, so again, the weekend passes and we don't get any alone time together. So then it's the following weekend I guess. Who knows? Part of me is sad that he doesn't seem to have the drive to want to see me more. Part of me isn't that bothered because if he isn't willing to join in my things, I simply have other things I have to do. Heathrow will always be a friend of mine. I just don't know how much longer he'll be an intimate friend of mine. Though until anything else comes along (another thing to think about when starting up at Cambridge and all the opportunities that might present) I'm satisfied with how things are. In fact, more than that, I truly am thankful for the experiences that Heathrow has brought to my life.

Friend-wise, I perhaps feel a little bit alone. Between friends moving away and friends having crisis and friends finding partners and friends going mental, I feel isolated from my usual group of social connections or maybe just distanced is a better word. The problem is, even when I have contact with my friends I find that I have to make an effort to find things to talk about. My life to me at the moment seems alternately self indulgent and incredibly boring. I don't feel like I have much to offer my friends just now which tends to make me withdraw. Given that for many reasons different friends are withdrawing anyway, this isn't the best approach. Or maybe it's just an example of the parroting I talked about in the last post. Very hard to tell.

Okay. Enough maudlin for now. Maybe I've gotten enough of my chest for the moment that I can actually return to posting about more amusing things. I promise, there are actually amusing things in my life, I just haven't felt motivated to write about them. Maybe for the next post, I'll start with the whip.

21 September 2009

Of Time and Parrots

It's been a while, huh?

Lots of stuff going on. As usual. Life is sort of like that you know. Good stuff, bad stuff, mundane stuff. All being lost to the relentless pressing of time. It's okay though. I have a wealth of things now that I could talk about and record. But as it stands, what I really want to talk about is parrots.

This weekend I had a revelation, which was not entirely new to me, but refreshed rather, that I am in many ways a parrot towards people I interact with.

I relate this to the golden rule. I don't know why but the golden rule is the foundation of my interactions. I use someone else's behavior as a method of judging my own response or reaction towards that person. If you show up late to my house without a good reason or excuse? Then I feel validated in showing up late to your house without a good reason or excuse. If you bring wine or a gift to my house, then I will bring wine or a gift to your house. If you show up to my stuff, I'll show up to your stuff. You get the idea.

The thing is, and was pointed out to me over the weekend, this way of interacting has a tendency to predetermine my actions without me perhaps considering what I want my actions to be instead. In fact, what I want is very hard to pinpoint. My actions frequently seem to me to be already decided based on what someone else did first.

And maybe this isn't so great.

It all makes sense really. I remember talking to the therapist about how it's hard for me to verbalize or acknowledge sometimes things that I want. Things I want seem to end up being consequences of other actions, not generated from my own place of independence.

I feel like this is something I need to work on, though I'm not one hundred percent sure about how to go about it. It's really second nature to me, this parroting thing. It's not like I think about it, it's not something present in my mind. It's more like, when I sit down to actually describe my rationale for behaving a certain way, it often comes down to parroting and not grounded in what I desire or want. Not that what I want or desire is necessarily anything different, but I'm not even sure I can discern the difference at this point.

Weird.

16 August 2009

35

Today is my birthday.

For a very long time I have tried to write a journal entry on my birthday. Not that I care much about birthdays to be honest. An August birthday is not kind to a child growing up. In particular it is not kind to a child growing up who must spend their summer with their other parent, in another state, far away from their friends who might actually still be in town as opposed to on holiday with their families.

But I do enjoy marking time and milestones. I like when things seem complete or whole, and so for that reason, I like the idea of birthdays. Whole numbers of whole years of time that can be measured. And taking measure, for what it's worth, of a moment, of a year, of a life.

So what can I say about this last year? Firstly that it has been a tremendous time of change, in a way that I did not anticipate or expect, mostly having to do with work. Although I don't see this as a bad thing. It scared me, certainly, but in a way showed me that I was stronger and more versatile and adaptable than I thought. It also showed me that I had better connections and networks than I knew. I was glad to find that I could rely on myself. That I managed my life in a way that when things went badly, I had allowed for a way to adapt. That I had resources to adapt. Okay, those resources have dwindled somewhat, but they were there for me when I needed them, and that's what I think is important.

On the personal side of thing, I really did get rid of the influence Mr.Aloof had on my life. At the point of my birthday last year, I would not say that I was over things. But now, a year later than that, I can say with confidence that I am well and truly over that. And I met Heathrow. And have had the opportunity to have a different sort of relationship with a different sort of person. And that has been lovely. Of course, writing this I am conscious of the fact that things with Heathrow may be coming to a close, but retrospectively, I appreciate that he entered my life when he did, and was the person he was and we have had what we've had so far, even though I don't know how much longer it might continue. It doesn't mean that I am so sure that I will find the 'one' for me for the future, but it all made me feel a little less freakish. A tiny bit more confident. Slightly more prepared for when I do meet the next person, and have a relationship, and how that process will go, and how I will be. So that's been a good thing about this year.

I did a lot more cooking this year, and I rode my bike a lot more, though not nearly enough on either count. I ate a lot more vegetables which is good. I ate out a lot less- through necessity. I learned some basic guitar which I continue to work on and have enjoyed. I returned to sailing which I've also really enjoyed. I've read more books than I've seen movies, though not very many are shelf worthy.

I was in my first wedding party. I had three flatmates over the course of the year. My dad finally came to visit me. I've had really good friends leave London, some going farther than others. I've made new friends, though only time will tell if they are the long lasting sort. The long lasting friends I already had have (both near and far) continued to grow and develop and be the mainstay of what I consider my social life.

Some more friends had babies. And probably for the first time ever I considered that it will be really sad if this is something that never happens for me. But I didn't dwell on it too much.

And what about the year ahead? There is so much uncertainty in the future that it's difficult to make any sort of concrete goals. I should be getting my dual citizenship soon, so there's that to look forward to. Again, a nice and compact accomplishment that will be deeply satisfying. I hope to have my job situation under control. I hope to make a trip to Africa- not because I particularly want to go to Africa but because I have the opportunity to and when would I ever go otherwise? I'd like to say my relationship situation might find its way but I think the reality is that is less likely as opposed to more likely, and again I don't see the point in dwelling upon it. I will continue to live my life in a way that I hopefully find fulfilling and satisfying. Continue to learn and grow.

It's a strange thing to think that you could easily be halfway done with your life. And what do you have to show for it exactly? What's the legacy that you'll leave? These are the things I think about sometimes.

At any rate, here's to a good year. I can't begin to imagine now what it's going to be, but there's one thing I can be sure of, there's no way it's going to be boring.

31 July 2009

Boy Logic

I will never, ever, understand it.

I had other stuff I would have written about. Pictures to share of better rope. Updating on how I didn't get the teaching job, although they really liked me so vaguely offered me a lesser position maybe. How I didn't get the two PhD's I applied for. How I'm still waiting on Birmingham. How I've applied for another PhD. How it feels to be working back at my old office.

Instead, Heathrow is behaving inexplicably and it's upsetting me so I'm going to write about that instead.

Last Friday we were emailing, as we usually email and had been throughout the week. We exchanged some emails about his website. He asked me for feedback, I gave it. I sent other websites as examples. It all seemed like fine and normal conversation. Then he said he was going to bed (at the end of his last email) so I replied to all the other stuff he said and signed off.

The only thing about this exchange that I can call out as different or unusual in any way shape or form is that when I sent my goodnight email his way, I signed it off just not with my usual -K but with an xo -K. It wasn't some sort of intentional gesture. It was like... he was going to sleep. So, you know, hug and kiss goodnight. But it has occurred to me that I never signed any email to him with any sort of hug or kiss before.

Suffice to say, he hasn't said a single word to me since then, via email or otherwise.

I've sent him a couple of things. Some humor I found on the web and a normal chatty email. But I've gotten nothing. It's been abrupt. It's not been explained. It's not the normal pattern. And I am not at all pleased. I don't know- did I freak him out or something? Probably. He's clearly made some sort of decision not to talk to me this week (and for who knows how long), but just neglected to inform me of this decision which is, frankly, hurtful.

I don't care if we're dating or not dating or whatever the story is. But when your behavior towards someone changes so drastically without warning or explanation it's bound to upset the other person in question. And I am upset.

I just don't know what to do about it. It's more in my nature to come out blunt and honest. I don't do the pussyfooting game. I'd rather get things out in the open and if someone isn't willing to do it themselves, I'm the one who is quite happy to throw the lid off myself.

But I feel this is not the correct approach in this case because it's likely to inflame whatever the hell is going on as opposed to addressing it. On the other hand, how long am I supposed to wait being ignored before I happen to mention that I've noticed, and that I don't like it?

And let me assure you, I really don't like it. It's the sort of behavior that gets my hackles up entirely and makes me become instantly defensive and be argumentative and ready to fight. Which is clearly not the right attitude to have when addressing this sensitive matter.

Stupid boy logic.

21 July 2009

Erotic Weekend Activities

Well, some of my various weekend activities. I think I've said there's a newly formed regular rope event that Heathrow is one of the organizers for? Or maybe I wasn't quite so specific about who was organizing... no matter- he is, and I've been going. This happens to be a picture of my hands from the third event which was last weekend. I thought I'd put it up here because I like it and it's obviously anonymous enough. The guy who was doing it was lovely. His first time doing any sort of tie at all. Rope virgin he was, getting a lesson from Heathrow on the basic wrap and cinch. One of the cornerstone ties in rope bondage, ever so versatile. And isn't that rope lovely? That's Heathrow's rope. The real stuff, all the way from Japan. It makes a difference you know, the diameter and the smoothness and material (that's jute). I tell you, that's good stuff and I'm quite spoiled now as I don't want any inferior kit if I ever get around to getting my own rope. I think a full set is like 200 quid, and by full set I mean ten pieces/lengths.

Needless to say, I won't be getting rope for myself anytime soon.

There were some other photos taken this past weekend at a club in Cambridge that are not so anonymous. Well, I think a couple were though. I'm waiting to get those, and I may put one or two up here. Unfortunately the one I liked the best- the one that was over exposed because the flash was wrong, I was told I won't be getting. Shame, because I could see manipulating that photo to be pretty awesome (and anonymous) and it was from the front. But the photographer saw it as a mistake. Well, we'll see what comes through.

Did I mention there was some fun roping over the weekend? As well as some fun whipping. And forced orgasms while suspended from a frame. Oh such fun. My legs were pretty wobbly yesterday though. Tee hee.

Speaking of rope, there's an interesting life drawing session with one of the best UK rope artists at the Resistance Gallery on Thursday. I'm thinking of going to that. It's close to my house. Although a tenner is a bit pricey. I think it should be a fiver to be honest. Especially for those of us not entirely employed! Well, we'll see. I always really enjoyed life drawing though. And I could see how this could be really good. Not only because it's life drawing but seriously, Murakawa is by far an excellent rigger and I didn't see much of his work during the Japanese Rope Festival a few weeks back. So score on both counts. The drawing thing reminds me of Dr. Sketchy which never seemed to succeed in London though I'm not sure why. Oh wait, I take that back entirely. Looks like it's been relaunched and events are running- excellent! I'll have to get along to one of those as well!

In other less entertaining news, I got a ding letter from one of the new PhD's I applied for. So still waiting on the other and waiting on Birmingham. But at least I have the teaching interview next Monday. Entirely nerve wracking. I'd rather be thinking about naughtiness than work.

16 July 2009

Dishwasher

I just made a rather large amount of dishes dirty to make a rather small portion of food. In fact, it was just enough food for one person for a meal. When I started, I thought that maybe I'd have leftovers and enough for lunch and wouldn't that be nice. By the time I was done, I was surprised that I didn't even fill a single bowl. Well, I mostly filled one bowl. But that was it. Though it was tasty. Yum yum.

News of the moment is that I've been called in to interview for the teaching position I applied for, but I haven't heard anything yet from any of the three funded PhD's I'm waiting on. Even the Birmingham one which I called earlier this week in general frustration of not having heard anything at all since handing in the last asked for submission. I had to leave a message though- no one answered the phone.

I'm excited about the teaching interview although of course now I'm completely plagued by doubt that I'm not actually good enough for the job. I wrote the application with confidence and now I'm freaking out a bit. The interview is a week from Monday though- so there's time to get my head in a better space. It's only a 30 minute interview apparently. I wonder how many people they're seeing?

I continue to have some work at the old office which continues to be a life saver at the moment. It's my only income and I desperately need it. At the moment I'm working on the money that will see me through October. I've got August and September covered as long as I don't spend anything big (or medium). It's good to know I'm now okay for a couple of months, but still frustrating to be so close to not being okay and worried about when this particular cash flow is going to dry up.

I'm off to see Heathrow tomorrow in Cambridge and we're going to a bdsm club that I've gone with him to a couple of times now. I'm coming to the conclusion that I'm not a huge fan of bdsm clubs- mainly because I'm not interested in casual play with people. Even if I know people, it's too intimate- it doesn't turn me on. I don't mind playing at a club with someone I'm with, but then Heathrow and I don't really play at clubs together. He might tie some people up and I may or may not get involved in something but rarely do we get involved in something together. This is generally because of him- he says that when he is sleeping with someone, he finds his interest in doing bdsm things to them dwindles. Which seems a bit odd to me. It's not that I'm lacking in cuddles and attention otherwise, but just not a huge amount of kink attention. Although saying that, the weekend before last we had a very fun episode that involved vet wrap, rope, and some scissors. And he tied me last weekend at the Peer. So I'm not saying it doesn't happen- but it's definitely not the focus of our interaction.

Anyway, so the club tomorrow night in Cambridge is the plan. Then whenever we get up on Saturday we'll drive to Heathrow to go sailing provided the weather is okay. Given what it looks like at the moment, maybe I should check that. There's a party at the reservoir in the evening but I don't think we decided if we're going to that. Then on Sunday there's another Peer in Coventry, but I'm not sure I'll go that. If I go, I won't get back to Cambridge until midnight or so and then I'll have to find my way back to Hackney to go to work on Monday so maybe it's not really worth it. But we said we'd play it by ear because maybe Heathrow won't go either. We'll see.

I cycled to work today. I think it's the first day I've cycled where my ass was not sore in some way. I think this is a good thing. I need to build up some endurance so I can enjoy the Skyride (previously Freewheel). Cycling to work is a good start but I realize I'm scared to try cycling to many other places. I cycled once to the Stoke Newington Reservoir which was good, but I think that's the only time I've really ventured out to somewhere new. I should work on this.

If I was smart I'd go pack my bag for tomorrow now as I need to pack a variety of things- a fetish outfit, sailing stuff, regular clothes, and possibly gym kit for the peer. I'm sure I'll leave it to the morning however.

11 July 2009

Applications

It's been a manic few days around here. I'm still in it just a bit. I was finishing up my teaching application so I decided to have a look on the academic job listing website to see what else was out there, only to find that there were two more PhD programs (funded) that were very similar to the one I have already applied to do, and the deadlines were this past Friday, and Monday respectively. Cue panic.

There isn't any guarantee obviously that I'm going to get the Birmingham PhD. One of two still means only a 50% chance (better than the original 20% chance, but still, one person is going to be disappointed in all this). So I was very excited to see that there were other opportunities to do basically the same thing, and still get the same stipend at other schools. In fact, to a certain degree, these new PhD programs seem at first glance even better tailored to me and my interests than the Birmingham one. So I'm nervous and hopeful and stuck waiting again.

My biggest fear now being that I get Birmingham and somehow will need to convey to them that I want to wait to hear about the other ones. Seems like it might be bad form. But lets not count the chickens until we've even seen the eggs!

This mad focus on applications has meant that my work slipped a bit towards the end of the week and I didn't get done what I had wanted to, and in fact didn't even work as many hours as I would have wanted to. It's not the end of the world, but it's hard to balance all of these things. I think long term security takes priority over short term cash, but cash is low, so it's important too. Oh... I'm sure it's all fine, I just don't like when I don't get done all of the things I'd like.

Heathrow was supposed to come with me tonight to a joint birthday party but he's canceled so this means I'll only see him at the rope event tomorrow and we'll get no real private time. Maybe beforehand, but maybe not. It's okay though. I don't mind a down weekend of having time to myself. And I do have this last application to finish. Still, it means I won't see him until next weekend... but then hopefully I'll see him all next weekend and that will of course be fun. We've gone sailing a few times now and it's been really enjoyable. It's a little bit scarier though out on the big reservoir as opposed to the tiny one. But at least I'm learning.

New flatmate is working out fine. It was a slower start I think, to feeling 'comfortable' with each other, but he's settling in and we're more chatty and easy with each other so it's all good. And he is very neat and tidy and he doesn't eat toilet paper. So really, that's generally pretty good. My only complaint so far is he forgets about the no shoes thing which I don't really understand as there is a shoe rack right by the door. But that's minor. Neatness counts a whole lot more.

Nothing else is coming to mind that I should record. Life is about applications and waiting just now. Not the most exciting.

08 July 2009

Chocolate Pretzels

Very little can be wrong in the world when I can sit and eat chocolate covered pretzels. This particular bag of booty was purchased in April when I was in the States. It's actually the first of three bags that I've decided to open. I hoard food you see. Sometimes I think it's good just to have something and then I'm reluctant to actually eat it because then I won't have it anymore. I realize this isn't the best pattern of behavior, but it's not really something I do consciously. In fact, when I think about such things, I try to 'give myself permission' to eat the good stuff as it were. Hence my current enjoyment of my pretzels. It probably also helps that I have two more bags after this one. Baby steps.

So what else is new around here then? Seems like work at the old office is continuing on a bit. I'm certainly not complaining about that. Given my new rigorous spending habits (or lack thereof), the money I have earned in these five weeks, plus the money I get from my lodger will get me through September. And I hope that by the end of September, I'll have made more money which will get me past then. That's how it works now really. Living on an extended timeline of cash. Until what time in the future can I afford myself. When does it become critical? How far ahead can I keep that line?

It's not awful mind you- it's just a very different way of thinking about things. It's not at all the same as a regular paycheck. Your entire way of making plans and thinking about the future changes completely. It's not bad- because I somehow manage to keep that line just ahead of me. But it could be bad. There's always that feeling of risk and uncertainty. I'm still somehow managing it okay, it's just weird.

No word from the PhD people. This of course leads me to think that I'm not going to get it and I keep waiting for my ding letter or phone call. Which is silly, but really, I just hate the waiting.

In the meantime I'm putting in a teaching application which would be pretty cool. Actually in some ways I think it would be cooler than the PhD. I don't know. I'm stressed that I'm not going to get anything at all. Fantastic opportunities passing me by and I don't get anything. Well, we'll see.

Things with Heathrow are alright. So alright in fact, that I fear it's the niggling beginning of the end. Because how can things be so alright with no possible opportunity for forward movement? How long can you stay happy but know that you've reached some sort of limit? I don't know. I'm not unhappy now by any means and I think it's important to stress that. The time we spend together is great. I hugely enjoy his company. We have lots of fun. It's just that it's all there is. Only good times. See, a bit confusing. Well, whatever. When I am truly dissatisfied or unhappy I will obviously need to revisit this topic. I guess I'm just mentioning a point. A small point. Perhaps a turning point. We'll see.

So what else is going on in life? My birthday is just about a month away. I've made no plans for it yet this year. Ideally I would have done a house party but I just can't see that happening this year. Two days after my birthday I'll be going to the ukulele proms with Heathrow which should be a hoot. But my two best friends won't be around so maybe I don't feel like doing all that much. It's still a month off though, so we'll see.

Anyway, that's the news from around here. No news is good news? The chocolate covered pretzels await.

25 June 2009

Why Write?

Once upon a time blogs seemed to be the hot thing. People got book deals. Inner worlds were exposed. Those who wrote were either brave or stupid, exhibitionists, egoists, etc. The Internet, once just for porn was now for soul exposing intrigue and nosiness.

And then there was overload. Every one had a blog. Everyones mother had a blog. Everyones mothers ten cats each had their very own blog. People didn't update enough. People didn't say enough. Good bloggers disappeared. Blog readers became jaded. Expected more. Commented less.

Yet the blog persists. I have written before that I certainly don't see my blog as an exercise in attention. There are very few people who I know through my regular life that know about this blog and I think count to a total of three (unless one of them has told someone else which is possible). Only one of those people did I specifically tell about the blog. I think the other two found it. It's not that hard, something I have also previously discussed. Something I sort of regret at this point, but I don't see a good way to change.

I am amazed that I have had this blog over five years and managed to stay generally anonymous and out of the eye of friends and family, whom I admit, I speak about with some degree of regularity. Saying things I probably wouldn't say to their faces uninvited or unasked, but simply recording my thoughts on my life as I live it. So this blog is for me.

Which isn't to say I don't like the comments I get from readers, or knowing that people (even if it's a very small number) read. But it often feels more like a Greek chorus than a group of people I know in any way. The universal voice. Everyone wants to speak out to the ether and be answered, and so goes a blog.

Recently, friend S, the newly married, moved to Africa. Not really wanting to be there, and not having a job (or a television or a reliable Internet connection, or a car for that matter), she was thinking she needed something to do. S can be one of the funniest friends of mine in a really sharp way so I thought about it and told her she should write a blog. But not a blog where she tries to be funny or writes to her friends and family far away, but a blog where she records accurately how she feels about this place she doesn't really want to be, how it affects her new marriage, and how the next two years generally go for her (presumably they're going to try baby making soon, so add that to the things to write about). I figured this was a book I might buy, and certainly a book she might write, after the fact- something she says she has always wanted to do. I thought it was a good idea.

And I thought I convinced her it was a good idea. Her first post was full of promise- the delicate expression of fears, the biting humor. Her voice was taking shape.

Then, not two posts in, she decided to tell all of her friends and family about her blog. So far her mother, and this asshole twat from her wedding have felt the need to comment on every post. And her third post starts to lose the voice, pandering to the audience. Sanitizing.

I'm disappointed.

I know you can't make people do things, and I know that her blog will probably become an amusing place to tell stories and keep up with people. But I am pretty sure the new path it's taking means it won't have the substance necessary for a book. It won't be 'real' enough. And it makes me sad because I think she could have really done this thing and it would have been amazing.

But then again, maybe being stranded in a very foreign country where you pretty much don't at all want to be means that it's more important to have that sort of contact from people than it is to write down your thoughts where you continue to dwell on how much you don't like feeling stranded and alone.

Ah well.

As for me, five years on in my corner of the Internet and I have nothing particularly interesting that would make a book, don't have a legion of loyal readers, and have somehow, for the most part, managed to keep my anonymity while writing down for the most part pretty much exactly what I want to.

I don't mind that. After all, it's really just for me.

11 June 2009

A Moment of Calm

It's been a bit busy around here. The interview went very well. So well, that they called me on Friday to say that it was between me and one other person. The problem being however, they can't decide which one of us they want. I had a second interview the following week with the architect who is sponsoring the research and I think that also went well, but it did not move the panel towards a decision. I now need to answer a few questions and write up a three year program of work and resources and outcomes and then maybe they'll pick me or this other person. Who knows. I'm obviously very flattered to have made it as far as I have and to obviously be well thought of, but dragging out the process is just that- dragging out the process. And one of us isn't going to get it, you know? So it's all a bit meh.

I've been working on the teaching application as well. I thought it was due June 10 but actually it's July 10 which is four days after the next PhD installment is due, so at least that gives me some time. In some ways at this point I think I'd almost prefer the teaching position and sod the PhD but I think I'm only saying that because I'm frustrated and nervous. The reality is I think I'd be happy with either.

So my dad was here with my stepmother. That was exciting. In the six years I've lived here, my father has never come to visit (although my stepmother has). He really hates traveling and spending money so it wasn't really a surprise that he hadn't come to visit, but it was a surprise that he did come to visit. And we had a really good time, despite his quirks and that he almost broke my computer (but managed to fix it). The visit was short overall but my dad said things like, "The next time I'm here..." which makes me think he'd consider coming back which is cool.

Then there was the wedding. Very hectic for the bride and so by default me as I felt a bit like the diffuser or the dumpster for some of her anxiety. Not that I minded overmuch because I figure that was part of my job and what I could do for her, but it still made it a more stressful experience than just a purely fun experience. The event went off alright with a few explosive glitches, but overall okay.

Of course the wedding, which was on a Sunday was followed by my being in Bristol on Monday, having my second interview on Tuesday, my parents leaving on Wednesday and the bride moving off to her new home to be with her husband in Kenya on Thursday which also saw me start work for a month back at my old practice who called me to say they needed some help.

And on the weekend I went to see Heathrow because it had been a while and I missed him and I'd be damned no matter how tired or worn out I was that I was going to miss it. So I got myself to Bottisham (don't ask) and spent last rainy weekend having amazing food in Newmarket (seriously, one of the best Thai restaurants ever is in this small town- I don't know why, but it's beyond simple or even medium expectations- truly exceptional) which is the second time we've been. There was of course the standard messing about business which is always enjoyable. And lots of just cuddling and snoozing together. Simple pleasures I tell you. I could easily waste a large portion of my life in bed doing just that.

And then it was back to London on Sunday and off to dinner at a friend's and then back to work on Monday. This week has been a bit busy too. Oh, I forgot to say that the original New Zealand flatmate also came back the same week my dad and stepmother arrived. Her sublet was still here. So this past Tuesday the original flatmate had all her stuff packed up and headed back to New Zealand for good and just today the subletting flatmate moved all of her stuff out as well. So on top of everything the house has been something like a small disaster area while all this other stuff was going on. Luckily, today the cleaner came so the flat is pretty nice and tidy just in time for the new flatmate to move in on Saturday. I'm going with a guy this time. I think I had enough of messy girls for a bit. I hope the guy works out and isn't too odd. He's slightly older and Australian- I'll try not to hold these things against him. He seemed nice enough.

So what else can I talk about other than just an update as to life in general? I suppose there are lots of things I could talk about but I don't really feel that motivated. Maybe after this rush of being 'on' all the time I'm sliding into a bit of a lull. It's not surprising really. It doesn't feel like any sort of major depression or crash, maybe just a mild one. I just need to recharge a bit. Which hopefully I'll do this weekend. I'm not seeing Heathrow as he's taking a course, and other than the new flatmate moving in I've got nothing going on so I can work on my applications and just chill which sounds like just the thing.

26 May 2009

Merry Month Of

Been a while again. I wonder how many of my various journal and diary entries start this way? I go through phases where I write all the time and then I stop for a time and of course life progresses and goes about it's business- I just neglect to record any of it. It's cyclical. It's fine.

Tomorrow is my interview for this PhD. I am feeling somewhat ambivalent about it and I'm not entirely sure why. It may be because I am only one in five and so four people will be disappointed by this exercise which are not good odds. It could be that even if I get the PhD it means my life is not really settled or secure in that I will still need to find other sources of income, though I will be at least protected from complete disaster- it will not be enough for me to really enjoy my life the way I would like to.

Or it could be that I'm just scared of undertaking such a thing so I find it difficult to get motivated and excited about it because actually it scares me. I think this is probably the most likely culprit, mixed with a firm understanding of 20% odds. Ah well. I will do my best and it will be what it will be.

This past weekend was S's hen weekend which went well for all the effort put into it. I've managed to collect almost all the money owed to me and have paid off the expenses I undertook for it which is all good. The pictures to show for it are excellent and a good night was had by all. The tea on Sunday was okay- certainly not the best I've had in London and the company was not nearly as fun and exciting as Saturday, but it was a good compliment to accommodate all the people that needed to be accommodated, so that was good.

Unfortunately it was followed by some drama involving the hen and her parents who are, pretty much, crazy. And of course when you say this, someone will say, "Oh yes, but everyone is crazy.", which is true- but lets face it- some people are more crazy than others and her parents are somewhat high on the scale. So a week before her wedding her parents are on the phone to her being aggressive and horrible and telling her what a nasty person she is and how everything that is wrong with their trip to the UK so far is her fault. Charming.

The wedding is next weekend and I hope it goes off without a hitch. I imagine though that there may be various stories that come out of it, I just hope that they are funny as opposed to horrifying. My dad and step-mother arrive Thursday morning and that is it's own bubble of issues. I called them yesterday and they are having one of those moments in their interaction where my step-mother is really fed up with my dad. Not that I blame her, I just wish it wasn't coinciding with this trip although in fairness, it has probably been egged on by the trip and in particular because my dad can be one cheap bastard.

But I can't really think about them at the moment because I am only thinking about my interview and presentation and getting on trains and wearing my suit and then coming back to London and going straight to the wedding rehearsal which is frankly enough to think about at the moment.

In other unrelated but related news, there is another job I can apply for which could be good- another part time opportunity though I do start to see the benefit to this arrangement at the moment. I have requested the application pack and figure I will know about the PhD soon so if I don't get it, new application is going out pronto.

Things with Heathrow continue to be what they are. I saw him last weekend but not this past weekend as I was obviously busy and I won't see him next weekend because of parents and weddings. I miss that pleasant addition to my current lifestyle but know that it will return soon enough. It does not cause me any stress this thing with Heathrow, even though I know it isn't particularly going anywhere. It's just pleasant to have something nice for me for a change. Somewhat reliable and without drama. There is enough drama in the rest of life at the moment.

I am looking forward to June I think. Things should settle somewhat- one way or another.

06 May 2009

Chances

Let me get the most important news out of the way first. I have made it to the interview round for the PhD. My understanding is they have invited five candidates to prepare a fifteen minute presentation followed by a fifteen minute question and answer period. The topic of the presentation is good. Like a design problem. And I am all over it. In my head that is. I actually need to start getting it out into format and testing the timing of the presentation as I've been told it will be a rigorous and unforgiving fifteen minute window.

Still, what this means is I am down to the final five for this research. I imagine there were a few hundred applications, at least, so that's pretty cool isn't it? I'm sure all the candidates are pretty good though. So it's going to need to be a good show for the final round. But I have a chance. That's what's important.

I would be working on that this week if I hadn't managed to swing a small job for the week which takes precedence I'm afraid. Especially since I didn't really make much last week, and even though I made something, I haven't been paid for it yet, so that's not great. I mean, I will get paid- it just hasn't come through yet, so I haven't earned anything for almost four weeks now. At least I got paid finally for my last bit of the part time work I did, so that's going into my account pronto. It's down to counting pennies these days again. No fun.

Had a really good bank holiday weekend which saw me pass my RYA level 2 sailing course. I did this at the Stoke Newington Reservoir Centre which is not so far from here. It was really good. The wind wasn't as steady as one might like for practicing certain maneuvers, but overall it was really good and I got a serious workout in after six hours of sailing for two days in a row! I wish I had more funds so I could pursue this a bit better, but it's tricky at the moment to balance things I'd like to pursue with the resources to actually do them.

Guitar lessons also fall into this category.

Then Sunday night I went west to see Heathrow and we spent Monday together- went to Windsor and went around and then his friend T launched his little fishing boat at Windsor and we hopped on board for a bit of a boat up and down the river there.

I feel in some ways I had a very grounding time with Heathrow in terms of where I see us at, and what potential I think there is. And in many ways it reiterated for me that Heathrow is not a forever prospect. I really enjoy time with Heathrow, and I like him, but he has a lot of development to do for lack of a better way of putting it. I see him struggle with himself and recognize completely that he is in no position to include others into his life- really. I know he likes me and cares about me, but that's just what it is. It's not hurtful- because it's not personal. Part of me wants to say we just aren't compatible in that way, but I think the reality is, Heathrow can't be compatible with anyone in that way right now in his life. That's okay. I am still enjoying our time together tremendously and I am not feeling paranoid about anything at the moment. This, as far as I'm concerned, is positive.

Of course it makes me a little bit sad as well, but until I feel that it's not satisfying me and I want something more, or something different, then that's okay. I will enjoy what we share to the fullest, for as long as we share it.

So I guess I should start doing the work I'm supposed to be doing today since I made a notation to myself that I started working at nine and it's now eleven and I've done fuck all about actual work stuff yet. Looks like it'll be a bit of a late night.

27 April 2009

Precarious

I am glad to be home. My house seems sort of unfamiliar. Everything feels a bit strange.

Heathrow met me at the airport yesterday and we went to the reservoir to which he belongs and went sailing as part of their open day. It couldn't have been a better day. The sun was shining, the weather was mild. We had a really good time out there and it was a lot of fun.

Except... we didn't really make out or hook up and we certainly didn't have sex. We cuddled for a bit. But that was all. Of course, I am partially to blame because I am simply not aggressive when it comes to intimacy and find it hard to voice my desire for it. But then again, even though I didn't, he didn't either and while I know I am held back by fear of rejection, maybe he was held back because he just didn't want to.

This upset me, even though overall, we had a really brilliant day.

I got home and pretty much crashed, but got a strange call from S about work basically saying not to come in this week. In fact, it's been a week of my feeling paranoid about this already so of course now I am invigorated in my paranoia that I have lost my small part time job.

The only thing keeping me from completely losing my shit over this at the moment is that I just arranged some work through one of my freelance clients for this week which means I'll have something coming in, and then D, S's partner from work just called me about a personal matter to draw up a planning application for a house extension for him, so that would be work for next week. But then it looks like I may be entirely screwed.

I called the PhD people today and left a message asking about what's going on with the selection process.

There's a job through crossrail I need to apply for but I think I am under qualified for, and will have far too much competition for, but I will apply regardless.

I feel like I've come back to some alternate reality where everything that was just barely fine and under control is suddenly not fine at all, and not at all under control and if I don't hold on very very tight and pay very very close attention I am simply going to lose it.

Of course, if I lose it, there is only me to pick myself back up so it will be some sort of minor tantrum of embarrassment before it's left to me to pick up the pieces anyway.

I hope things settle back into some sort of positive routine soon. Because I don't know what I'm going to do otherwise.

25 April 2009

Fly Day

I have limited time to type here because computer access has been squeezed around when my mom has needed her computer.  It's the only computer here and she works from home so access has been spotty at best.

So today is the day.  In about ten hours I head to the airport, in about fourteen or so I should be in the air.  I started to feel sick yesterday which wasn't nice.  I know what it is of course- it's the phobia kicking in.  That dropping feeling in the pit of my stomach and slight nausea that accompanies me every minute.

This has created some stress.  And possibly just being around my mom has created stress.  At any rate, my personal psychosis that are triggered by stress are in fairly high gear at the moment.  The ones where I get paranoid about terrible things happening that tend to involve me, or more specifically, my rejection.  So I'm freaked about work at the moment- like maybe I don't have a job anymore.  And I'm freaked about Heathrow- like maybe he's not interested anymore.  And really those are the main things to freak out about although I'm also a bit freaked to see how my flatmate has kept up the flat, but that's less paranoia and more actual worry because she's very messy!

The trip has been pretty good overall though as far as such trips go.  Saw some people lots and others not as much as I would have liked and of course others not at all, but they don't live by me so it's hard.  I'd love to be able to see everyone but then I couldn't really see my parents and I'd spend my entire 'vacation' traveling around which, now that I haven't lived in the US for some time, seems like a huge pain in the ass.  But I got assorted cool and necessary things.  I ate lots of Mexican food (for some reason this was the trip of Mexican food as opposed to most years which have been the trips of sushi) and other tasty stuff.  I enjoyed the unseasonal warm weather and the blooming trees.  And I did enjoy the time with my parents even though they drive me nuts in their own special ways.

Last night I came within moments of having a nuclear explosion with my mother when the dinner topic turned to one that is vaguely off limits.  Still, it's something we haven't discussed since high school and I was astonished that her version of events seemed to have shifted unrecognizably.  Neither one of us brought up the particular topic- it was a friend of my mom's who was at dinner talking about her own experience.  Still, I would consider the time in my life that this particular thing happened to be one of the pivotal life-changing moments of my life.  One I have held up as the reason for the shift and vague deterioration of the relationship between me and my mother.  Mainly that when I was in my senior year of high school and getting ready to go to college we had a massive falling out over money- and more specifically about the money my father was supposed to be paying for my college education by order of their divorce agreement.

We had countless screaming arguments where my mother told me I would have to take my father to court.  That she was done taking him to court and it was my college eduction and it was my responsibility.  And I told her no, it was her divorce agreement and I wasn't going to take him to court that was her job.  And it all fell apart around this topic.

So last night this woman is saying something about her son going to college once upon a time and how his father wasn't paying and she didn't want him to take him to court because it would ruin the relationship and somehow our own struggle comes up but my mom was all like, "I would have taken your father to court if you had supported me." and denied completely that she told me that it was my job to take him to court and anything else that she actually said.

The topic was quickly dropped but what infuriated me no end about this exchange aside from it being blatantly a lie, is that it's not even logical.  I would like to ask my mother in her version of events that if she was so willing to take my father to court, then how come she never contacted a lawyer?  And what pray tell did my 'supporting her' have to do with anything?  I screamed at her I don't know how many times that senior year of high school to take him to court for the money.  Of course I supported her getting the money off of him.  So why didn't she do it pray tell?  Because if she was SO WILLING to do it, then please explain to the court why the hell you didn't?

I'll tell you why- because that isn't how it fucking went down!  Jesus.  As if I would forget those moments that changed my life forever or shaped me into who I am.  When I felt betrayed by the woman I loved and trusted and had supported my whole life only to have her come shit on me.  As if one could forget their mother saying they were done with lawyers and still paying off bills and weren't going to do it anymore.  As if I could forget the repeated comment of "It's your responsibility it's your education."  SO ANGRY.

Which only made me wonder what other nuggets my mother may have created to lie to herself about some of her more spectacular fuck-ups as a parent.  Like... what does she think happened with my aunt's estate?  When I said, please stop dangling money in front of me every time I speak to you, come to a conclusion about the estate, tell me what percentage you think I deserve, and then just give it to me.  And if that percentage is zero, then you tell me to my face you think my aunt would have wanted me to have nothing from her estate and so be it.  Well, I remember that conversation clear as day.  I remember where I was sitting.  And has she ever told me a percentage that she thinks my aunt would have wanted me to have?  Or has she EVER given me any money specifically as 'from my aunt'?  No. Every time she spends any money in the past ten years it's always I need to thank her specifically and meanwhile I know what money she got, and continues to get from my aunt's estate and she hasn't had the balls to say to my face that she thinks my aunt would have wanted me to have NOTHING.  Because that would be so much a lie that I'm not sure how you could even say it out loud.  And yet, with this recent distortion of the truth, all I can think is that she must have made up some bullshit story about that as well to make her feel better in life.

But seriously, my entire personality has been shaped about remembering details of interactions like this because I couldn't trust my parents.  Ask any of my friends about my ability to remember strange details and verbatim conversations that we may have had.  I developed that skill as a survival technique and I would bet my house and every possession I have about the words that were said to me and that I said in this particular situation.

However.

I don't want to leave here furious and angry at my mother.  Because what happened to me has happened to me, and so what if she remembers it differently?  How does that change the past?  How does that change how these critical life moments have made me who I am?  It doesn't of course, but I don't like to hear my fundamental truths denied or worse called lies.  That makes me so furious.  But then, she's the only mother I have.  Human like everyone else.  And particularly flawed when it comes to feeling like a victim.  I accept her for who she is.  I love her because she's my mother.  And I'll miss her.  Even if she makes me this angry.

I just don't want to think about all this before a flight.  It isn't a nice way to part company.  Even if I'm pushing it down inside- that just adds to my phobia stress and makes me pretty miserable.

Ugh.  I can't wait to just be home.  Leaving and traveling is difficult enough.  I didn't need this.