Friday, March 31, 2006

Manchester tart

After work today I had the energy and the motivation to go out in my garden. I haven't done hardly any gardening because of aforementioned job, but that's all in the past. Last year I was a gardening fiend and I have loads to catch up on this spring. My mother-in-law suggested I plant more shrubs and perennials but personally I love annuals and flowerbeds. I love picking fresh flowers for vases in the house. I think our yard would be classified as a cottage garden. Informal with gallons of flowers growing willy-nilly.

Here's the tally so far:

  • Sweetpeas (planted out)
  • Cosmos (planted)
  • Cornflowers
  • Marigolds (planted)
  • Zinnias
  • Nicotiana (planted)
  • Tomatoes
  • Nemophilia (planted)
  • Carrots
  • Godetia (planted)
  • Fennel
  • Larkspurs (planted)
  • Lettuce (planted)
  • Bergamot (planted)
  • Lavendar (planted)
  • Snapdragons (planted)
  • Onions (planted out)
  • Aubretia
Today I planted out some seedlings and pulled a few weeds. My gardening duties this year have expanded to include picking up dog poo. And throwing various toys for dogs to play with. And relieving dogs of toys they are not allowed to play with, for example my gardening gloves. Have I mentioned how helpful the dog is when it comes to gardening?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Artist as a young woman

This week I worked two days at my new job. The first day I had the other cook with me, showing me the ropes. The second day I was by myself. All by myself. It was a little scary. I didn't know where much was, I had to come up with recipes by myself, and I had to choose what to serve for dessert. I serve breakfast (easy: cereal, toast, and oatmeal) and lunch, which is the main hot meal of the day. I made a cottage pie with two vegetables and gravy, and a choice of two desserts. I ended up making what is alternately called a custard tart or a baked egg custard, and fruit cocktail with ice cream. Not homemade ice cream, thankfully. But homemade custard tart. I had never had one, and had only heard of them the day before. But I guess it turned out okay, because most of them ate it. Oh yeah, did I mention where I work? I'm the cook at an old folks' home. I cook from scratch mostly and do baking as well as main meals. My first day I baked some jam tarts. They have little baked goods for their afternoon teas, as well as desserts with their lunches.

I'm getting used to the language around here, albeit slowly. At work, desserts are called puddings but at my old work, they were called sweets. Bathrooms are generally called toilets. That one was a hard one for me to say. The nurse asks you not to pee in the cup, but to wee in it; I almost laughed the first time I heard that. And people do not sit on their butts but their bums. To me, wee and bum are words a grandma would use to a child.

I've picked up my paintbrushes a little these past few weeks. Right now I'm making drafts for a big painting for our bedroom. It's of a red haired woman reclining on a fainting couch under a pear tree. It may or may not go up, depending on how well I like the subject matter. I really wish I had a model to paint from, but I don't know many artists' models. Plus, I couldn't pay one anyhow. It'd have to be an amateur and someone I know. However, I don't want it to be a portrait. So I don't want it to be someone I know! Maybe I should make it a red haired man instead and ask partner to pose for me. Last summer I did a few paintings of flowers from the garden. I have a nice one of some gladiolas in a vase. I'm quite proud of it. I might frame it and hang it up or give it away. I also went outside one day and painted our flower garden and the back of our house. I gave it to my mother when we visited in July.

It is my day off and father-in-law has returned to his home, so I get to clean. A thin layer of dust coats every surface in the house now, thanks to the sanded floors. I'm talking everything, from plants to curtains to walls. I have a major dusting and vacuuming adventure ahead of me.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Zombie noises at night

So far home improvements are going pretty well. What happens is this: husband and his father have a cup of tea. They discuss their plans. They finish their tea half an hour later, get out the tools and then have an argument for about three hours, by which time the project might be half done. I disappear onto the computer or playstation or possibly behind a book and try to stay out of it.

The closet doors have been made and they fit, so today they are getting finished. Or at least partially finished. The room looks so much bigger without the contents of the closet disgorged all over. I was worried that in the middle of the night, the closet clutter would reach out its polyester tentacles and creep slowly with intent to cause severe bodily harm. In the morning we'd wake up and find one of our number covered in loud stripes and polka dots, gibbering for mercy.

Yes, I'm extremely pleased with the closet doors and partner has even plastered part of the bare wall in the bathroom. The floor sander is being picked up today (Friday) and will be returned on Monday. Which incidently is when I begin my new job.

I'm not sure I want to talk about work yet, just to say that I'll be working fewer days than before and have more time off. Well, technically I won't really since I'm working the same amount of hours, but in my old job I worked split shifts which were a nightmare. They took up my whole day. This job is from 7.30 in the morning to 2.30 in the afternoon. So I get evenings off and will be working alternate weekends. I'm pleased about that. And I will work three to five days a week, but more three than five. With four weeks' paid holiday.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Or a caterpillar

My father-in-law is up staying with us while we do home improvements. So far wallpaper has been put up, and wall tiles have come down. I hated those wall tiles. They were so cheap looking and ugly. They were ceramic, but they covered the entire room floor to ceiling. And they weren't squares, they were long rectangles. And they had the stupidest outdated cloud pattern printed on them. Printed, I tell you. If you looked closely you could see the pixels. I always thought I liked ceramic tiles, but in this country they make em ug-lee. We had absolutely disgusting ones in the kitchen as well. I guess they were supposed to be stone-effect tiles, because they were jagged and pitted but they were a nightmare to clean and they kept cracking because they had been laid badly. I never had a look up close to them as they were on the floor, but I wouldn't be suprised if they were pixelated as well.

So our spare bedroom is pink with one wall papered with stripy wallpaper. It has an closet but no doors on it yet. And the floorboards will be sanded and varnished. It will be lovely.

Our bathroom is kind of a peacock blue at the moment, with one wall bare. We took out the shower as it was leaking badly and now have a tub/shower. We plan on putting in cupboards where the shower was. And attempting to sand and varnish the floorboards, but they have seen a lot of abuse so we might have to put down linoleum. Our bathroom is absolutely huge. We should put up a disco ball on the ceiling and hold dances in there.

I think that's all the home improvements we're doing this time around. Floors sanded/varnished, closet doors made. Doesn't sound too bad, does it?

Friday, March 17, 2006

The hamster wheel

I've spent the past two days doing absolutely what I want to do. I've been relishing the fact that I'm my own boss for the next week and a half. I want to do all kinds of creative things. But first I want to clean my house. I haven't been doing regular housework in months. Just about all that gets cleaned is the toilet and the kitchen. I change the sheets on our bed occasionally. Not much else. I just haven't had time for it. I mean, if I'm working all day from eleven thirty in the morning to nine at night, when I get home I don't want to be lugging a vacuum cleaner all around the house. I need to take a shower, sit down, unwind. Then when I'm unwound it's midnight and time for bed. Not a good cycle to be in.

I'm also catching up on some sleep. I haven't been sleeping well the past few months. I kept having dreams that I would go to work and something so stressful would happen that I'd just walk out. And then I would wake up and realize I actually had to go back to work. Like even in my sleep I couldn't get away from work.

It was a nice get-together the other night, however. They all showed up except for one, but I guess that's ok. Everyone said good luck and the managers told me I could have my job back if things didn't work out. I said thank you very graciously. We left at nearly midnight in the firm knowledge that I NEVER HAVE TO GO BACK. Dear God, that is such a wonderful feeling.

Ok enough moaning. On to the future. I'm going to clean my house.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It's the pronunciation

My job is now over. I never have to go back. Well, I have to go back tonight. But not to work. I invited all my coworkers to meet me for a drink there. And then I never have to go back. I'm so glad.

I got a computer game for Christmas this year that I've been playing tons. It's the Sims2. It's great. I forgot how much I loved the sims until I got this game. I love watching them grow up and sometimes I get anxious waiting for them to die. It's fun to make them have nervous breakdowns and throw tantrums and get rejected by the love of their lives. It's also fun to have them succeed in life. Almost as fun as having them fail. I have a whole neighborhood of sims and I'm working on their bloodlines and genetics. I'm trying to weed out certain genetic traits that make for funny looking faces. Only it does take time, seeing as sims just don't grow up overnight. Maybe if I was up all night playing they would.

Since I've moved to England, I've adopted a new pronunciation of my name. My parents call me guh-LAY-dree-el. I call myself guh-LAA-dree-el. AA as in cat or dad. It's kind of a new name without changing anything really. New name, new identity.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

No name no address please

I guess I must be back. I thought I was gone for good but apparently I'm not. Good for me.

I guess I quit writing because I had a sudden upsurge in my work schedule resulting in a noticeable lack of free time. I've been working like hell for the past months and getting more and more stressed but I've given my notice at work. I only have one week left at that job. And then I will never work nights again. Ever. I will work days only, alternate weekends, and I will have time off to pursue my other talents such as writing.

But I don't want to talk about work.

We have a new dog and her name is Lucy. I was going to upload a pic of her, but I can't seem to find it now. She's part Staffordshire terrier and is currently trying to open the door to the stairs by turning the handle with her paws. Lucky for us all she isn't pulling the handle, otherwise she'd have it open. As it is, she's just making deep score marks in the door with her claws and a muddy circle around the handle. She tries to open the closet door for some reason as well. Not sure about that one. There's only coats and shoes and a vacuum in there. But she does like feet so maybe that's it.

One of my friends is writing a novel. I started to write a novel but that was before I had to work so much. Maybe I'll pick it up again in a week. I've just read partner's blog and he's a good writer himself, but I really knew that anyway from all the emails he used to send me. He's been stressed out as well, but I've kind of phased out his stress because of my own. I think I should be more attentive. I wonder if he's read my blog? Maybe I should email the link to him. Thing is, I'm kind of embarrassed that I haven't kept it up. But I have an excuse (or so I keep telling myself).

A lot has happened since I last wrote, but this post would go on for days if I tried to recount everything. I guess I'll just go over what's happened recently.

a) Dog. Has been mentioned.
b) Job. See above.
c) Various Household Minidisasters. We have no kitchen floor, a hole in the bathroom floor, and deep score marks in the door to the upstairs.
d) Money. We had to wait three months after our mortgage was approved to actually receive the money and were nearly reduced to bathing in the pond and eating Ramen every night. Oh yeah, we got the money one week before Christmas. Excellent timing.

And thus it ends, but I think I will be back.