Evolution/Re-volution

Again, I find myself writing a blog post for the first time in a long time. This time, though, the reason behind the lapse is not laziness or apathy. It’s the complete opposite, in fact. Some weeks ago, I made a conscious decision to take a sabbatical from social media. Here is one of my last Twitter posts:

17 Jun – I’ve decided that with vacation time around the corner and my mood at an all time low, now is a good time to take a sabbatical from Twitter

And this is a copy of an email I sent to my ENTIRE address book on the same day (names have been changed as usual):

Hi All

I’ve had a couple of enquiries about this in the last 24 hours so, thought it probably best to send out a wee email…
I deleted my facebook account. I posted a status saying I was going to and then just did it. I guess it removed my status from people’s timeline when I deleted the account.
I just got fed up with it. And I’m a bit fed up in general, mostly from missing Strawbug and I was beating myself up for checking facebook whilst she’s awake and with me, only to read endless horoscope and mafia games postings (my timeline was full of crap – not from you, i hasten to add – and only now and then did I share messages with people directly)…
Those who know me and love me (i.e. you guys) all have my email address and my phone numbers. So, I decided to revert to “old fashioned” communication (haha, as opposed to “totally ancient” communication – i.e. letter writing!) and start actually talking to people rather than posting a sentence on the internet like a project status report (although, email IS allowed – LOL. one has to wean oneself off gradually!).
Sorry if I sound a a bit grumpy, I am – Strawbug has decided sleep is for wimps and inevitably has ended up in our bed kicking 7 bales of sh*t out of us for the last 2 weeks. So we’re all pretty shattered.
Anyway. I’m trimming back my internet activities, for now, and focusing on the little time I have with my Beloved and Strawbug instead. I hope it will lead to a better work/life/technology balance for us all.
I hope you are all well. We are off on our holibobs for a week, couldn’t have come at a better time!
Speak to you all soon
xxx
2 days earlier, I posted this on my Facebook page (which is my actual account linked to my family and friends, not for my pen name):

15 Jun – I’ve decided to close down my facebook account… But you can contact me in the future by phone or by email. Thanks everyone – stay safe and happy 🙂 xxx

It was the result of what I called at the time, a “mini meltdown”. And, if I’m honest, I would still call it that.

Somewhere between 8th June and the 15th June I became engulfed by a wave of guilt, compounded by a wall of tiredness and a weight of sadness I had only experienced once before.

As a person who has suffered from medical depression (not just the kind that a bottle of wine and a giggle with the girls will cure, but the kind where you can’t sleep, or get out of bed, you can’t look at anyone, speak one word or eat a morsel of food and genuinely want it all to end) I was relieved to find that I consciously recognised that I was at a crossroads. One of the paths led to ending it all and the other, well, I wasn’t sure where that path lead, but my heart and my mind were telling me that it had to be better than the path I had travelled before.

So, I (very swiftly) cut out the distractions and tried to re-focus on my priorities. I have logged in to Twitter once since I started my sabbatical, to respond to a kind message from a kind Twitterer asking if I was OK. And I haven’t been back to Facebook at all. As you can tell, until now, I haven’t blogged either.

Although I still use email and text a lot, I call people more often than I used to. It’s quicker and easier to mail/text but it’s so much nicer to talk. I make a conscious effort to be “present” when I’m with my baby Girl and make the most of the little time that we have together. And my Beloved and I are also trying very hard to communicate and connect more often and more deeply. More difficult than it sounds, with a full time job and an almost 1 year old! We’re still tired, but the quality of our family time is really improving.

The biggest effect my sabbatical has had, is that it has given me time to think long and hard about my priorities, my needs and my wants. And I have come to the conclusion that I can do without the iPhone 5, I can do without the 6 weekly hair highlights and I can do without the 5* luxury breaks if it means I get to spend more time with Strawbug. So, in a couple of months, I’ll hopefully be working part time. Maybe even as little as 3 days per week. And for the remaining 4 days I’ll be a “present” Mummy and a housewife and I can’t wait! My “thinking” (in part, thanks to the recent local riots) has even gone as far as ruminating about moving to an entirely different country where Strawbug can grow up to value knowledge, culture, health and morality over gadgets, trainers, handbags and size zero bodies. But that’s for another time. I’m still mulling it over.

Am I evolving? or am I revolving? Either way, I don’t really care. The net result is bliss.

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My Top Tens – Part Two

I’m currently playing the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack to death!!! in the car. We stumbled on the film on one of our 9,000 Sky channels on Friday night by pure chance and remembering how brilliantly funny it was (and what an amazing soundtrack it has) immediately watched it, taped it and got on amazon and bought the CD! Definitely one of my top ten films of all time.

So that got me thinking… what are the other nine?

Well, I’ve blogged about my top ten smells, tastes, sights, feels and sounds. So, here it is folks, for your eyes only, my top ten (as in my favourite) films of all time. (Obviously, I reserve the right to the usual caveat: like most things in my transient mind, these things will probably change from time to time, do feel free to leave a comment and remind me of what I’ve missed :-))

Top Ten: Films (in no particular order)

1. Beverly Hills Cop
2. Some Like It Hot
3. Miracle on 34th Street (1994 version with Sir Richard Attenborough)
4. Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
5. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
6. Romeo Must Die
7. The Big Sleep (1946 version with Humphrey Bogart)
8. Dirty Dancing
9. Toy Story 2 (and I pretend it’s my Baby Girl!)
10. Life is Beautiful

And a couple of others that are so very close to being on the list; Metropolis, It’s a Wonderful Life and lastly 2 guilty pleasures – My Girl and Marley & Me.

Forming Bad Habits

Last night, for the third night in a row, little Strawbug ended up in the big bed with us from around 3am until it was time to get up this morning.

I say “ended up in the big bed” like she’d woken up, wandered through and climbed in between us. Clearly, at 8 months old, she didn’t wander through by herself. And given the height of the “big bed” is such that I sometimes need a leg-up myself, even if she was able to toddle through from her own room, she’d unlikely be able to climb in unaided.

Yes, our baby girls progress towards sleeping through the night is not linear to say the least (and that’s my version of sleeping through and not the ‘scientific’ definition of 5 hours sleep). It has characteristics of the good, the bad, the downright ugly and the cute as hell.

The Good: She now goes to bed “drowsy” and with little complaint she takes herself off into the land of nod. She no longer needs feeding between going to bed in the evening and waking in the morning. She also sleeps pretty soundly until that 3am witching hour.

The Bad: She has a period of wakefulness around 3am which, if left unattended, results in murderous screams. 8 month old lungs are extremely powerful (I know, this shocked me too!)

The Ugly: Me/My beloved falling out of the princess and the pea “big bed” and bouncing off the walls as we stumble through to play “get the dummy in the baby’s mouth, and not in her eye, whilst blindfolded” (well, not blindfolded exactly, but by the power of night light). And then caving in when it doesn’t work, picking her up and putting her in our bed.

The Cute As Hell: Strawbug, lying on her side in the middle of the two of us, reaching out to hold on to you so that she feels safe enough to go back to sleep…

I say go back to sleep, in reality the sleep part is preceded by about an hour of talking to herself, laughing and kicking the hell out of my neck, throat, tummy, chest, back, head… (never my beloved, always me – why is that? But, then I do seem to get all the cuddles when she does eventually go back to sleep, so I can’t really complain).

Now I know that she doesn’t know any better. And I know that it’s our job as responsible parents to teach her. But it’s so hard when;

a) you’re shattered because you haven’t had a full nights sleep since your 1st Trimester when you couldn’t stay awake
b) she’s shrieking so loud you can’t work out if she’s possessed by an evil spirit or she’s totally playing you
c) she looks at you with those big, loving eyes and cuddles into you like you were the only thing in the world that matttered

So, tell me (genuinely, I need the advice!)… I know that we are forming bad habits on her behalf and we’re also making a rod for our own backs. But, how is it possible to get your precious little bundle to sleep peacefully all night long, all on their own?

Finally! I’m blogging for a living

Well sort of…

I’ve managed to convince my boss that an Intranet would be hugely beneficial for the Company because it would a) be informative b) be fun and c) would encourage improved communication. And, per the norm here, if you stick your neck out – you’re it. RESULT! It’s my baby and after weeks of chasing the developer, the structure is ready for population.

The ‘look and feel’ presently leaves a lot to be desired, but I’m not complaining. For the last 6 working days I have been like the proverbial pig, or if you prefer, the cheshire cat. Head down, iPod on, typing away. HR procedures, project processes and hours on end spent writing blogs about this and that. And even more hours trawling the internet for fun stuff to “enthuse” my colleagues and boost morale.

It takes me back to when I was a graduate trainee and my 3rd placement was with the IT Intranet department. I learned basic HTML and spent weeks ‘being creative’ buidling pages upon pages of Intranet info for our Graduate Team and jazzing them up with animated GIFs.

In reality, I was avoiding what I was supposed to be doing as this was far more fun.

And here I am, 10 years later, doing it all over again!

Not that I care. It is a good initiative and just because it’s fun doesn’t mean it’s not work. This must be what it’s like to do a job you love. (Actually, I already know what that’s like, thanks to my baby girl – yes, I’m a sap, I know).

I’m genuinely excited about this little venture… I just hope everyone else gets excited by it too. Because if it falls on it’s face I may just have to face the fact that I was not born to blog and I may even have to give up blogging for good!

Sleep, Glorious Sleep

Phew! What a week!

I had my first really “critical” day at work on Monday with back to back “important” meetings – all the time feeling quite flu-ey and run down. I was set my first short, highly visible and business critical deadline since my return and I was nervous about colleagues thinking I couldn’t cut it anymore.

Then on Monday night the brothers grimm showed up for a 24 hour visit (I came down with a tummy bug), which completely wiped me out. On Tuesday night, my little Strawbug hardly slept because she was really miserable (and therefore, neither did we). We couldn’t work out what was wrong with her, poor wee scone.

On Wednesday I was playing catch up to hit my close of business deadline but pushed myself so hard I passed out about 2pm then was awoken by the nursery calling to say Strawbug still wasn’t right and could I come pick her up. Well, that was my deadline out of the window and down the lane!

On Wednesday night Strawbug and I slept in the big bed whilst my beloved slept on the sofa. He had to be up at silly o’clock on Thursday for a gargantuan round trip drive to the shortest meeting in history… (honestly, some Company decisions really do not make any sense at all.) And we weren’t really sleeping, more just cuddling all night because she just wouldn’t let go of me. Still miserable. Still couldn’t work out what was up.

Yesterday, we both felt a bit brighter in the morning, so off she went to nursery and off I went to work. Still playing catch up… but managed to get all my actions completed only half a day late. Go me!!

Strawbug on the other hand, decided yesterday was a day of rest and slept for nearly 4.5 hours at nursery. I wasn’t holding out much hope for last night I can tell you. And then the strangest thing happened…

My beloved got home about 9:30pm. “How has she been?” he asked. “Well”, I said… “she had lots of sleep today and then fell asleep at 7″… I wasn’t even sure I wanted to say the next bit out loud for fear of jinxing the situation but I did… “She hasn’t stirred once. I haven’t even had to put her dummy in”. Highly unusual.

So we lay there, each of us with one eye open, waiting… And nothing. She didn’t stir. Not once. Until 1am, for some milk. After which she promptly went back to sleep. And we lay there for a bit, each of us with one eye open, waiting… And nothing. She didn’t stir. Not once. Until 6:45, when she woke up singing and talking away to her teddy bears.

I can’ stop smiling. I feel like a whole new woman! I’m sure it was a fluke, a one off, a blip on the monitor. But I have to say it was a blip I needed this week. Sleep, Glorious Sleep, how I’ve missed you!

My Top Tens

Today, I bored my followers to tears on Twitter with my Top Ten Smells of all time. I was about to then begin listing my top ten other sense pleasers but thought that they’d probably read enough for one day. So I decided I’d list them on the old blog-a-doodle.

So, here they are, in no particular order (and I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know that for completeness I have also included my Top Ten Smells);

[caveat: like most things in my transient mind, these things will probably change from time to time, do feel free to leave a comment and remind me of what I’ve missed :-)]

Top Ten: Smell

  • Freshly brewed coffee
  • Just cut grass
  • Fresh Basil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Freshly Baked Bread
  • A Barbecue
  • Fresh Coriander
  • The Christmas Tree in your home
  • A new car
  • Fresh Mint
Top Ten: Sound

  • Waves meeting the beach
  • Birds tweeting/chirping/singing
  • Acoustic guitar
  • Silence
  • My baby girl ‘chatting’
  • Tall grasses ‘swishing’ in the breeze
  • Thunder
  • The distant rise and fall of thrill seekers squeals at a theme park
  • Loved ones voices at the other end of the phone
  • The word ‘Brilliant’
Top Ten: Feel

  • Freshly laundered sheets on the bed
  • Water on the skin
  • Hugs
  • Grass under your bare feet
  • Silk
  • Taking your heels off after a long day/night
  • A warm blanket on a cold night
  • Popping candy on your tongue
  • Kisses from my beloved
  • My baby girl in my arms
Top Ten: Taste

  • Ice Cream
  • Apple & Cinammon anything
  • My beloveds Lasagne (the BEST, I swear!)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Milk & Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Lobster/Langoustines from the barbie
  • Caprese Salad on a hot day
  • Creamy blue cheese
  • Mint tea
  • Apple Martinis
Top Ten: Sight

  • My baby girl
  • Blue blue sky
  • Smiles
  • A twinkling blanket of pure white snow
  • Tigers (such majestic animals)
  • Flowers in full bloom
  • My little cat snoozing
  • Dancing (anyone, any kind)
  • The haze of heat you can see on a hot hot day
  • Rain on the window (when you’re dry on the inside!)

An Oasis In The Desert

Today, I am spending the day with my little Strawbug 🙂 Just the two of us. Like old times. I can’t believe it’s been only 6 weeks since we spent our days together like this. Feels like a lifetime.

It already feels a little strange to be taking the afternoon walk and to have the time to read books and sing rhymes. And the fact that it feels a little strange makes me sad. But not in a helpless way, like I felt before I went back to work and was dreading it. In a motivational way.

A few weeks ago I sat down and worked out a “plan” to get us to a place, financially mainly but with a few life choices thrown in, where I could reduce the number of hours I work. The end game takes the plan a few steps further… But, I figure, one step at a time is best.

Worst case, the plan will take a year to come to fruition. A year I don’t want to miss. But, better one year than two, three or more.

So, today has been like a little oasis in the desert. Harbouring in the joy of spending precious time with my baby girl and a taste of things to come.

Wish me luck?! Although, I’m not sure I’ll need it. This time, I’m pretty sure this is one thing I CAN stick to!