Sunday, 30 January 2011

An achievement

Well I promised snow when I had worked out how to put photos on to the blog and so here is snow.  It is next doors garden from the last lot of snow we had.  Although I feel I have to be honest and confess this isn't all my own work.  Mrs Pao loaded the disc thingy that came with the digital camera onto my computer and today my friend TJ came round for tea and scones and I sort of persuaded him to show me how to get the photos from the  camera onto the computer (I did this by supplying chocolate swiss roll as well). It has then taken me over half an hour to figure out  how to get the photos from the file in which they are stored onto the blog - and I have done it.  In my new optimistic and positive frame of mind I have to say 'very proud of self'.  Of course I'm not entirely sure how I did it, and I don't know how to make the photo smaller or put it in a different place and I think it might have disappeared from the file it was originally in - which isn't exactly what I wanted to happen - but all things considered I think I can say I have a result.  I am optimistic that it will now be 'onwards and upwards'.  Goodness such a lot of optimism, and on a Sunday too!!!!

and here is a squirrel running down the side of the building opposite just to prove it wasn't a fluke my getting the photo onto blog - so now I really really can be very proud of self.  I didn't know squirrels could do that.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Considering options - castles in the air

Well there is nothing on television and I have inadvertently deleted Timothy Olyphant so I can't watch him again so having started blogging I thought I had better carry on.  I now have a sense of panic relating to blogs and I still don't know how to add the photos.  My friend Mrs Pao is indisposed so I have to try and figure it out myself therefore it may take some while before photos appear.

As I have said I would quite like to use this 'break' (enforced) in my 'career structure' to do something different with my life. I was a finance manager and I no longer wish  to do anything in anyway related to working with figures - ever, ever again.   I was absolutely hopeless at maths at school.  In fact I didn't do maths, they wouldn't let me,  I did arithmetic and only just managed to get a grade five CSE, the next grade was a fail.  So how come??? you might be asking me.  Well,  I  fell into working in finance by accident aged 17 having taken a very short term temping job in a finance office.  I should have run away  from the calculator as fast as my legs could carry me as soon as they offered me a permanent position but unfortunately  due to a crush on my tall, dark and handsome manager (no really he was and, in retrospect, luckily for me a happily married man) who told me I could do the job combined with a strong, but ultimately unfulfilled,  desire to go back to school and say to the maths teacher who used to shake his head sadly at me  'nah nah naaah look what I am doing', I didn't.  Handsome manager was right, I could do it, bookkeeping isn't maths its sums and  logic, but it didn't make me happy and I didn't  like it.  Once I had moved on from the crush  phase - eventually - I did try on more than one occasion to get out of finance but didn't find it at all easy to change track.  In my last and most notable attempt I went off to do a degree in History and English and American Literature as a mature student (my 40th birthday was slap bang in the middle of my first year  exams so my celebrations consisted of a lunch party by a pond on campus - it was lovely and is one of many very fond memories I have of uni). However on graduating and finding myself unemployed I also found  I lacked the financial and in particular the emotional resources to hold out for what  I wanted which was a career change. Unfortunately jobs were scarce and so I accepted a position in finance via a temping situation (again!) Back where I started I vowed to make the best of the situation, worked hard, took exams, got promoted a few times and was, by the time they made me redundant 12 years later, thoroughly unhappy and incredibly stressed out.  Now financially I am in a slightly better position than I was on graduating, emotionally - well I'm older if not wiser. So, here I am - again.   Holding out this time.     In one of the worst recessions for many a year.    Yikes!

Therefore over the past few months I have been considering future career and life path options.  My ideal option (other than becoming  beautiful, thin and very rich - suddenly) would be to write a book.  As a child I avidly wrote stories which were regularly read out in class at school each week. If I wasn't writing I was reading or drawing. So, obviously I will write a book. Actually I have started many books over the past few years.  I am the proud possessor of a rather pretty box which is choc full of opening sentences, opening paragraphs, ideas for books, ideas for stories, titles for books, one poem, lists of characters,  none of which match with any of the others.  However, this book was going to be different, it was going to be based on real people in a real situation.  Gritty realism.  It was going to be a best seller.  It would go straight to the top of the charts in hardback, be translated into sixty-eight different languages, someone in Hollywood would turn it into a film and  Meryl Streep would play me.  I have my oscar acceptance speech already written. Melvyn would bring back the South Bank Show just to devote it to me.  And indeed I started it. It is still there on my computer.  One thousand, three hundred and seventy one words, the start of my novel about the organisation that was responsible for my present state of affairs.  Apart from why anyone would want to read about it in the first place I floundered because I didn't realise I had such vitriol and desire for revenge in me.  I was shocked.  So these words have now joined my 'writing' box and I have gone back to the drawing board.  Being optimistic - there must be something I can do that isn't finance related...........................

Well I've done it now........

The only new years resolution I made was not to make any new years resolutions - and I've broken it already!!!  This is all the fault of Crazy Aunt Purl who's blog I read not 15 minutes ago and because she was going to do brave things it inspired me to do  something brave and so I did.  I posted my first blog.

Now this may not seem a brave thing to you but to me it is quite momentous because I started writing the blogs end of November/beginning of December last year and the confidence crisis that has been crippling me over the last five years hit again and I just couldn't post them.  I love writing, I love using words and I love reading.  As  a child I was always reading, writing or drawing.  At school English was by far my best subject and I loved it along with art and history.  Maths made me cry.  Yet I have spent a life-time working in the world of finance where words were basically redundant and any creative use of those that were allowed was frowned upon.  Systems and procedures, facts and figures, statistics and policies governed my working life and were slowly destroying my soul.  I want to change.

Realising that in order to get what I want (words, creativity, a new life, a new me) I have to be brave.  I have to  overcome my fears (and they are legion) and most importantly I have to overcome my confidence issues relating to my ability to write and so I have  bravely posted my first blog.  I have written my second out of a sense of panic - and now feel the need to go and lie in a darkened room to recover. More may follow.................oh and I have to work out how to put the photos onto the blog, there seem to be too many wires to me - I did mention I'm not too good with technology didn't I...........................

A New Beginning

When I was made redundant, after I had recovered from the not inconsiderable shock, making chutney became my therapy.  I made gallons of the stuff, obsessively. I think I had at the back of my mind the idea that I was creating the new Wooden Spoon Company.   However, it's ten months down the line and I am still unemployed and although I am still making chutney - obsessively - I find myself in need of a different kind of therapy.   I was never going to be able to make a living from making chutney anyway.  Just about everyone who has been made redundant recently has started a cottage industry making jam and chutney.  At a local food fair I stopped counting after I came across the sixth stall selling homemade chutney.  There are only so many jars of jam, chutney and jelly a person can buy and consume. So I need a new idea for the career front as well as  I so don't want to return to the old career as it was making me ill.  And as a therapy the chutney was all well and good but it could be a little fraught as, despite my best efforts to follow the recipe exactly, it somehow never went without incident. In fact very little of my cooking seems to be incident free.

I would email my friends about the culinary disasters I was experiencing, just for something to do really, but a few of them started to  email back saying 'it's just like a blog' and 'you should write a blog'.  I had no idea what a blog was.  However my dear friend Mrs Pao has introduced me to her blog (take a look - it's lovely) and the art of blogging and so, taking my lead from Crazy Aunt Purl (check out her blog - it's good and she's funny), I have decided that blogging is going to be my new therapy.  As Aunt Purl says I get to talk about myself and I save the cost of therapy sessions.  And it will be nice, as I attempt to change my default position from that of pessimist to optimist, not to have  someone sitting opposite  me nodding and saying every week 'you sound confused about your abilities and your role in life'.  I know I sound confused - that is why I am there.  What I want to know is how to get unconfused and how to get on with my life after a few awful years that have knocked my confidence terribly.  I'm obviously not going to do it through therapy and I'm not going to do it by making chutney either that's for sure.  And blogging away at all hours will also give me a break from the obsessive baking which has also recently afflicted me.  So far this week I have made two batches of scones, an apple pie and a chocolate cake and it's only Wednesday.  Plus there is only me here, there is no room in the freezer - it's full of soup, last weeks obsession - and as we are up to our letterboxes in snow, nobody will be coming round to eat any of it either.  Well, up to the letterbox may be a slight exaggeration but there is lots of the stuff.  I have taken a photo of the snow with my nice new digital camera but Mrs Pao has  to show me how to post it to the blog first. Watch this space for snow photos (just in case you haven't seen enough).

So, blogging here I come.  It's cheaper than therapy and baking.  It might improve my computer skills (sadly lacking in that department), help me deal with the stresses of looking for work, sort out my confidence issues and  possibly might lead to a new and interesting career.   That was quite optimistic wasn't it, see it's working already.