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.

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!

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!

Progress?

Easter Sunday is upon us and Lent is drawing to a close. So, I’ve been thinking about the promise that I made almost 40 days ago to refocus on positivity by “looking for small ways each day in which I can help others through the power of positivity”. I also remember writing that I’d keep you posted with updates on Twitter and possibly even a blog. Well, this would be that blog.

As is the norm in my apathetic life, I was extremely enthusiastic about and committed to my latest venture for the first 2 or (at a push) 3 days and then it kind of dwindled…

And so, moving swiftly on, I thought I’d also take a look at how I was doing on my longer term objectives, my New Year’s Resolutions, to see if I am faring any better.

Resolution: 1. Lose 2 stone
Current Status: I’ve lost 1 stone (nearly). So that’s a pretty positive start!

Resolution: 2. Attend a Zumba or a Dance class (something energetic to assist with #1)
Current Status:  I went to two classes. Yey! and then soon after I started back at work and now I’m too tired to go (OK, I just can’t be bothered, BUT I’m trying to find a new rythm which includes working full time AND spending time with Strawbug and my Beloved – a girl can’t do it all!! If you need any more excuses, I have a list as long as my arm. I’ve been practising this for years…)

Resolution: 3. Re-start Yoga (again)
Current Status: Hmmmm, I looked at a timetable. (For excuses, see above)

Resolution: 4. Write retrospective “diary” of pregnancy and mummyhood
Current Status: Now this one, I have been doing…. Sometimes… I’ve written approx. 4,000 words. Yey! What? That’s not a lot?

Resolution: 5. Save up for a mac (for documenting #4)
Current Status: Having recently reviewed my budget, this item has had to plummet down the priority list… On the positive side, I was given a pre-loved mac as my work machine when I returned after maternity leave. So, I’ve kind of achieved this goal, just in a way I hadn’t expected.

Resolution: 6. Try, really try, to post regular, meaningful, interesting and humorous ditty’s on my blog.
Current Status: 4 blogs in 4 months. No idea if anyone finds them meaningful, interesting or vaguely humorous… Hmmm. Could do better!

Resolution: 7. Spend as much time with my baby girl as possible (she’s growing so fast and she is so much fun to be around!)
Current Status: Well, now, this is a tricky one. If you follow my Twitter feed, you’ll know that I spend Monday to Friday distraught at being away from Strawbug and Saturday and Sunday ecstatic just to be in the same room as her! What I can say is that a) I spend all my waking and sleeping hours thinking of her, b) any time that i am not working I spend with her, c) we make the absolute most of that time as a family which consequently means that d) none of the housework, boring chores or any of the above resolutions get a look in. But, then, who in their right mind would choose vacuuming over peek-a-boo?

Nurserycam is the new Twitter

Today marks the close of week number 3 back at work. And I have never been so glad that it’s Friday!

I knew going back to work would be difficult. It’s a major gear change having a baby but you get used to it very quickly and I, for one, didn’t want to shift back into work mode.

So, I set a handful of days to go into the office and some to put Strawbug into daycare as a practice run for both of us. I’d been warned that I’d cry every day for approximately 3 weeks when I went back and had to leave her every day. I was advised to keep a big box of tissues and a make up bag in the car to clean myself up before going into the office.

The “practice” days were extremely hard. I honestly felt a dull ache in the middle of my chest as if someone had reached in and ripped my heart out. It was a physical feeling as well as a deep emotional sadness. And there was me thinking it was the baby who was supposed to suffer from separation anxiety!

The first “real” day at work was awful. I cried the minute I got in the car after dropping her off. I thought I just might throw up. I cried all the way to work and thought of nothing but Strawbug until I picked her up at 5:30pm.

I’d returned to a new, slower paced role and to get started I had some learning to do. So, I spent most of my day reading. I say reading. What I was actually doing was looking at a book with my iPhone hidden inside constantly logged into the Nursery Webcam watching my baby girl. I’d been warned to avoid this specific activity for some weeks also, for obvious reasons. But instead of making my pain worse, it strangely made me feel better. After all, I’d spent the last 6 months just looking at her constantly. Marvelling in her beauty. Amazed at her presence. Obsessive, maybe. But I didn’t care. I still don’t. And now, through the magic of the internet, I could still look at her. I could see that she was still breathing, still alive, crying but alive, so she was OK…’ish.

I started to write this blog 2 weeks into returning to work, my iPhone lay between my arms still permanently logged into the Nurserycam watching Strawbug playing around on a playmat. I’d stopped crying every morning after dropping her off. Although I was still extremely sad to say goodbye. And it hurt like hell.

This week, we’ve both been a little under the weather. I’m not sure if it’s that or if it was destined to be a bit of a rollercoaster ride, in any event. But, it’s been hell. There have been tears again most days. I’m completely shattered both physically and emotionally. To the extent that I’ve been in bed by 8pm every night this week.

I’m not the only mum in this position. Almost 30% of Mothers work full time (Office for National Statistics). Whether it’s because they want to or they need to is another blog entirely. For me, it’s definitely purely a financial need and I would stay at home with Strawbug in a heartbeat if I could.

And as I update the post now, I’m still not doing much work. And I still think of nothing but Strawbug 24/7/365.  And I can’t help thinking, which will go first… nurserycam or my job. After all, something has probably got to give!