Warning - Some posts may cause choking, spitting of beverage and /or a severe giggle fit. This advice brought to you by regular reader Louisa.

Friday, 23 July 2010

That Was The Year That Was....

Today is the last day of my thirty-third year, and what a year it has been! I think that the last year has probably had the most life-changing events for me personally than any other in the past (barring the birth of my children, that is). There has been  a fair few ups and downs this past year, and most of them have contributed to the person that I am now on this, the eve of my thirty-fourth birthday. Sure, events from every year of our lives shape the people that we are today - experiences alter our view of things, mistakes help us to learn to do better, and successes help drive us forward - but it sometimes happens that some years are almost non-eventful, while others have a spate of occurrences that somehow wake you up from the Plodding Through Life slumber.  My thirty-third year definitely falls into the latter category.

July 2009

My birthday falls on the 24th, so technically I can't include all of July in my recap of the last year, but the last week of July in 2009 can definitely be mentioned. I remember waking up in a mixed mood. I was feeling a bit down because my husband was starting his annual two weeks of working away from home that day, so I only got to see him for an hour or so - not the best start to my birthday. But then I logged into Facebook and was bombarded with lots and lots of lovely birthday messages, which cheered me up no end. I saw my husband off and spent the day opening cards and gifts, then finished it with a few friends sharing a celebratory drink with me. Lovely!

August 2009

August can best be described as a blur of madness. Most days were spent trying to entertain my kids in the limbo that is The Summer Holidays. *cringes* All would be well and good if we actually had decent weather and plentiful funds, but when most of the days are rainy and miserable, and finances are tight, entertaining two highly active children for almost seven weeks is exhausting. Yup, August was a bit of a blur.

September 2009

Back to school joy-ness! Soon to be followed by back to school annoy-ness. *snort* Schools tend to hit you with purse-emptying events in the first month of the academic year. As if being skintified by the Buying School Uniform Gloominess wasn't enough, we are bombarded by school photos, school trips and 'fund raising' events in the very first few weeks of term. Still, at least we don't have to worry about entertaining the kids so much now, eh?

October 2009

I started blogging! The first big 'up' of the last year.*grins* I never thought I would ever start blogging - it's not really something that a procrastinator does because blogging generally means commitment. I did really well in my first month, and blogged every day. I made a few new friends, had a ball writing the daily blogs, and discovered that my personal brand of craziness was mostly accepted by the blogging community. Awesome!

November 2009

I wrote a novel! Seriously, I did! *faints* NaNoWriMo sucked me in for the first time ever, and not only did I finish my 50,000 word novel, I also blogged every day too (well, I missed one day, but I don't hold it against myself *winks*). I introduced requests to my blog this month too, and also let loose on the general public the loony-ness that is Taff. Best month ever, November. *nods*

December 2009

December passed swiftly, what with the Christmas build-up and the general busy-ness that it brings, and the extra excitement added from the daughter because her birthday falls so close to the festive season. Mostly a good month, but with some underlying tension which was a prelude to what was to come....

January through March 2010

Dire, very dire. New Year's day brought with it a change in my personal circumstances, and this change led to a very big dip in my well-being. I've always been prone to periods of depression throughout my adult life, but usually I pulled out of them all by myself. This time it took my GP to pull me back from the abyss. After several attempts, my doctor finally found the right medication for me, but it wasn't until the end of March that I started to feel more like myself. Although the first quarter of 2010 were the worst months of my life, they actually caused me to take a step back and reconsider a lot of things. I finally lost the bulk of the weight that had literally been bogging me down for the last seven years. Okay, the first twenty pounds fell off me with no effort at all - not eating or sleeping properly for a month will do that for you - but the next twenty pounds came away through sheer doggedness and refusal to slip back into bad habits. Coupled with the new determination to look my best was a change of attitude in general. After too many years of plodding along through life, I finally took charge and allowed myself to be heard. I let myself speak up for the things that I wanted, and for the first time in a long time I didn't always put everyone else first. I'll never say that I am grateful for the circumstances that started this chain of events, but I can honestly say that I would probably still be stuck in a rut if they hadn't have happened. It's funny how the worst things in life sometimes lead to the best things. Maybe there is a God up there after all, and maybe He does work in mysterious ways.

April/May 2010

I really started to get back to my usual self around about here, which could be taken two ways. For the good, I no longer turned into a cry-baby on a regular basis, so the episodic depression was thankfully under control. Unfortunately, the return of my normal self brought with it the return of the Procrastination Princess, so while it was nice to be in control of my feelings, the downside was knowing that my bad habits were slowly but surely creeping back into my life. But do you know what? Despite the fact that procrastination isn't really something to be proud of, I actually like being like this. I think if I became this organised person who did everything properly and kept to deadlines and what-not, I wouldn't be me. And for the first time ever, I am happy with who I am, procrastinator or not.

June 2010

The epic fail of BuNoWriMo should really have put me back into the Pit Of Doom, but thanks to the new-found acceptance of myself, I wasn't bothered that I didn't manage to complete my second WriMo. Oh, I felt disappointment in myself, sure, but it wasn't the kind of disappointment that sucked me into LaLa-Land and made me want to crawl into a corner and hide. I was able to shrug off the failure and see it for what it was - a blip in the general plan, but not something that would affect the rest of my life. I also started back at my old job this month, which in spite of the impact it will have on my writing, is actually a good thing. Getting out of the house for a few hours every week is actually fantastic for getting you out of a rut, and although I was feeling better in a lot of ways, I was still stuck in the Waste Time Just Because I Can zone. Now that my days are structured according to whether I am working or not, I have to fit things in as and when I can. Gone is the There's Always Tomorrow attitude, and it has been replaced with the Acckkk!! I Have To Do It Now Or Else It Will Never Be Done attitude. So despite having to get up at stupid o'clock three days a week, and having to deal with snarky customers and figures that don't always balance, going back to work was a good thing.

July 2010

Arriving back at my birthday again, in summary I would say that although the badness of last year probably outweighed the goodness, I am still in a much better place than I was on the eve of my thirty-third birthday. I'm healthier (dropping 40lbs was the best thing ever), I'm happier, both with myself and with my life in general, I've written a freaking novel - ! - and although far from being Blogger of the Year, I have mostly stuck with it and not delegated this blog to the Abandoned Projects pile (which is precariously teetering on the brink of collapsing owing to the size of it).

So that was the year that was.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


Why is it that the older you get, the faster time seems to pass? This is a puzzle that has made me think a lot over the last few years, with each year passing making me puzzle over it more. As a child, the time between birthdays and Christmas etc seemed eternal, whereas even though we are now only midway through July, already I am panicking about Christmas 2010. I know, it's five months away for crying out loud, but from experience I know that those five months will soon be behind me and the joy (stress) of the festive season will be upon me. Its nuts! I have a birthday coming up (unfortunately), and it honestly doesn't seem like it has been a year since my last one. Looking back on it is like looking back at a day from a couple of weeks ago. What's up with that?

I noticed that time seemed to speed up when I hit thirty.  I mean, sure, the years went a little more swiftly in my twenties when compared to my childhood, but a year still felt like a relatively long time. But when I reached thirty, suddenly a year felt about half as long as it should be. And it also seems that time appears to go faster when you have things to do. Back in February (I think it was February anyway, it may have been last week for all I know), I made a five month plan with regards to my NaNo novel. I fully intended to edit  the messy bits and add another ten thousand words so that by the end of this month I would be ready to start trying to sell it.

Now, I have made decent progress on it considering how much of a procrastinator I am, but it is far from done. Of course, I can take off a couple of months because I was back on forth on different meds for my depression, and most days I didn't know whether I was coming or going. Definitely not the right frame of mind to be in when you want to edit a novel. But I was finally given meds that worked, and over the last three months I have gradually got better, and although I know I am not completely back to normal, I am not nearly as bad as I was.  So allowing for adjustments due to the meds thing, I guess I could say that the last ten weeks or so should have seen a lot of work done on my novel.

Well, I have worked on it, but not nearly as much as I should have. I keep thinking to myself that it is only March or April, and then stop short when I realise that we are now in July. Logically I know it is July, but it just doesn't feel like it is. The time going faster as we get older thing is definitely part of that, but the whole Being Out Of My Tree for the first third of this year has also added to the problem.

I'm still determined to get Cardiffella edited and ready for submission by September though. I have this funny feeling that September should be a good month to do it, and being a bit of a stickler for 'funny feelings', I want to go with my instinct.  I just hope that September doesn't arrive before next week or something, because at the rate time is slipping by me this year, it really wouldn't surprise me....

Sunday, 11 July 2010


To coincide with the drabble challenge over on my writer's group blog (Burrowers, Books & Balderdash - *coughshamelessplugcough*), and also because I know I won't have time to blog tomorrow (er, today), I thought I'd schedule a post for you.

The Burrow (which you should know by now is my writer's group) has been drabbling to images for over two years now, and we've published our projects online at our showcase website www.the-burrow.org/ since December 2008.  Put simply, a drabble is a story told in exactly one hundred words. Technically they aren't really stories - telling a complete and cohesive story in a mere hundred words is nigh on impossible - but it is amazing what you can convey in such a short piece of text. It is also amazing how many different ideas spring forth from our imaginations when we have a word or an image as a prompt. The weekly challenge over on Burrowers, Books & Balderdash is very simple. We, The Burrow, will post an image every Sunday, and we'll invite each and every one of you to submit your very own drabble inspired from that image. Every Burrower will take a turn at 'judging' and picking the best of the weekly entries, and these will then be published on our blog the following Saturday. No prizes as such, except for the bragging opportunity of being published on the fantastically brilliant Burrower Blog (*coughs*).

And to get you in a drabbling mood, here's a drabble that I wrote for last year's Easter project.

That's right, go ahead. There's plenty of grass, there's no need to worry. Don't hang around waiting for me; I can get my fill right here. Off you go, don't you fret. I'll look for you every minute, and in my mind's eye I'll see you eating your fill. I'll try not to picture where you really are; I'll try not to imagine you being somebody else's grass.

Next year I'll say goodbye to another of my lambs, and I'll wish that I could have been taken the same way. When they slaughter, it's not only the lambs who suffer.

Image courtesy of Petr Kratochvil.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Pussies Galore!

Last evening the hubby and I took the kids to a friend's house for a few hours of socialising. Nothing special, just a few drinks in the backyard and a little tarot reading from yours truly. The kids had a whale of a time because our friends have a dog, two lizards, two cats and last, but by no means least, four little kitties. The dog had great fun attempting to hump my daughter *shifty* (we told her that he wanted to cuddle her), the kids enjoyed handling the lizards, and everyone, whether they were cat lovers or not, thoroughly enjoyed watching the kittens frolicking on the grass.

Of course, I am a BIG cat lover, having grown up with them and almost always having one for a pet. Hubby is not the biggest fan of cats (he generally loathes them actually), but even he can't ignore the cuteness of kittens. Anyway, despite the fact that we already have a cat - and one that the hubby is actually quite fond of - I was floored when just before we left to come home, I was informed that one of the kitties was coming home with us. *faints* Hubby had arranged it weeks ago and kept it quiet, bless him. The most shocking thing of all is that my eight year old knew of the surprise, and had kept her lips sealed for the past three weeks! *faints* Now, my daughter is not known for keeping her mouth shut, so the fact that she kept it from both me AND her brother was a huge surprise, almost as big a shock as being told I was taking a kitty home with me.

We smuggled the kitty (who has been named 'Angel' by the daughter) into a taxi and arrived home faced with the task of introducing the new baby to the old baby. Now, the old baby is called Belle, and isn't really 'old' as such, but she's almost three now and is used to being the baby of the family. Much hissing and fur-on-ending happened, and Belle gave a good impression of the Puss-in-Boots eyes thing  from Shrek (at one point her pupils were so large it looked like she had completely black eyes). Kitty was relegated to the bathroom for the night and Belle was fussed over - well, about as fussed over that is possible when she was hissing and scratching at me - before we settled for the night.

So today we are progressing a little. Belle is swinging between the glaring and ignoring strategies, while Angel is happily making herself at home by avoiding her own food and stealing Belle's, ignoring her bed and taking over the sofa, and growling at Belle (well, squeaking more than growling really) when she catches her glaring at her. It's all fun.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Ranting and Thanking....

So I have to go and get myself a birth certificate apparently. Not because I don't have one already - and the original copy no less, too - but because my employers and a bunch of nit-pickers. *mutters darkly*

Some of the things I was asked for when I started back to work was my passport, my National Insurance card, and a copy of my birth certificate, so that I could prove I was 'eligable' to work in this country. Now, I've never had a passport, don't have any plans for leaving the country any time soon, and don't see the point of shelling out eighty odd quid for one (especially because I don't really have a spare eighty odd quid right now as things are really tight). Anyway, I figured it would be fine because I had the other things they wanted. I dutifully took in my birth certificate and N.I card and they were faxed off to head office. And that was that.

Or so I thought.

I had a phone call yesterday evening from my supervisor telling me that head office had been in touch and said that my birth certificate was the wrong one, and that they needed the full version of it. The copy that was sent was the copy that my father picked up ten days after I was born,  but as it only has the basic information on there it is not good enough for those nit-pickers up at head office. The silly thing is I used to work for them before, so it's not as though I'm a new identity. Also, because of my married status, I had my supervisor fax a copy of my marriage certificate off at the same time as everything else. I figured it was best to cover all bases.

Anyway, despite having worked for them before, and despite having sent faxed original documents to them, and despite having my N.I card details too (which, by the way, is usually good enough for any employer to show that you are 'eligable' to work in this country), I need to get a new birth certificate. Ugh.  You know, this Not Good Enough To Prove Eligibility Certificate was bloody good enough to prove who I was to get married, by the way, so why it isn't good enough for my employers is completely beyond me.

Oh, and if I don't have it done by Wednesday next, I won't get paid either. *mutters again*  Because of the timing problem, I can't order one by post, online or by phone, because they can't guarantee that I will get it back by Tuesday (I'm out of the house just after 5am on Wednesday, thus will miss the postman). So I will have to go to the registry office in person. If I get there by 11am, I can expect to pick it up on the same day, but will have to wait till after 2pm for it to be ready.  Ugh!! That means wasting almost an entire day! My employers are not only nit-picky, but incredibly disorganised too! I mean, they had the stuff sent to them on June 21st for crying out loud! Why didn't they let me know as soon as they saw there was a problem? Bloody bloody. *humphs*

Anyway, rant over. It just really annoyed me. *shifty*

In nicer news, my writer's group has had a fabulous debut week for our blog - Burrowers, Books & Balderdash already has 43 followers! How awesome is that? I just want to say thank you to everyone who has dropped by this week and left such wonderfully supporting comments!  My debut post goes up today (in just a few minutes actually *bites nails*), and I can only hope that I don't cause a dip in the trend so far. *snort* Hopefully the blog will continue to be as successful as it has been so far, and I have no doubt that I will love contributing to it as much as I love the people who contribute with me. *hugs Burrowers*

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Taffy Potter

Abow eight yers ago, just afta me doorter was born, I discovvahed 'arry Potter. I was bored like, you see, and coz me doorter was a right 'andful even when she was a baby, I 'ad to keep 'old of her for most of the time, so I needed lotsandlots of books to keep me occupied.

Anywayz, one ov me Taffy slags gave me the first four books in the 'arry Potter series, so I was well chuffed becoz it ment I could finally read all abow the craze what was sweeping threw Britain like. Becoz it was supposed to be, like, a kiddie book, I fink I read the first one in abow free hours or somefink. The story was wicked though, and I was a fan from the very first line.

Now most ov you probably already knowz all abow 'arry Potter, but becoz there are still possibly a few clarts out there who've never read the books, like, I'm gunna give you a quick summary ov 'arry's first adventure.

Now, first ov all, the story starts wiv baby 'arry being dropped off outside his aunt's house. There's this wicked wizard see, (and when I say wicked, I means wicked as in evil, not wicked as in bangin') and he's called You-Know-Who. Well really he's called Voldermort, like, but nobody sayz 'is name propa like coz it gives 'em the 'eebie jeebies. Anywayz, You-Know-Who has totally, like, murdered 'arry's parents, and even tried to pop off little 'arry 'imself. But 'arry becomes the Boy What Lived and stuff, which is wicked (ov the bangin kind, not the evil kind).

Not much 'appens for like ten yers, but luckily we gets to skip ahead and not, like, read threw pages and pages of boring stuff. Then 'arry gets visited by this huge clart called 'agrid, and it turns out he 'as to go to this magic school coz he's a wizard just like his parents was, like innit?

Now this is where the venture starts like, coz when 'arry gets to school like, he starts vestigatin some well dodgy stuff that's bin appening. He ends up wiv two clarts - well really it's a clart and a clit, like, innit, coz one's a boy and one's a slag. Anywayz, the trio (cos that's what peeps calls 'em after this point) find lotsa clues and stuff, and spend the next undred pages or so trying to work out who's tryin to steal this fing called the filosifer's stone.

Parrently, this stone is well wicked becoz it like gives you immortality and stuff.  Course, it's pretty obvious that it's You-Know-Who what's afta the stone like, but becoz the orfur wants to make it a little birrov of a misstree, the trio totally gets the wrong end ov the stick like and blames it on this teacher clart what's called Snape. Anywayz, there's this ovver bad clart too, and he's also a teacher (or a prufessor actually, coz that's what they calls the teachers in these books like, innit). This bad clart is in league with You-Know-Who  - sorta like one ov 'is minions if you like, like - and he totally fools everyone, speshally  'arry. Well, to be 'onest, 'arry can be a little birrova lame clart sometimes and dunt usually understand what's going on until the last minit, so it's not really a surprise that he gets fooled like, innit?

So 'arry and his clart and clit ventually cottons on that the bad teacher clart  is about to like steal the filosifer's stone on a particoolar night. They tries to tell the good teacher called Macgonnergle, but she like totally finks their lying and basiclee tells them to du....  uh, go away. Of course, the trio finks they can save the day all by themselves like, so they hatches a plan. Well, to be 'onest they dunt really hatch a plan, they just sorta muddles threw everyfink, but youknowzwhatImean.

Course, afta they've solved a few puzzles and stuff, the clart and the clit ends up 'aving to stay behind (coz the clart ends up knocked out and the clit wants to look afta him like). So 'arry ends up confrunting the bad teacher all by 'imself. Now I won't spoil fings for those peeps that avent read the book yet (I mean, I knowz I've already told you lotsov stuff already like, but I aint givin everyfink away, like innit?), but suffice to say that 'arry, even though he's a birrova lame clart mostly, manages to save the stone.

And that's basiclee the end of the book like, cept 'arry  spends sum time in the school infurmurry, and gets visited by the clart what has the long white beard (who is actually the 'eadmaster of the school, by the way, and is called Dumbledore). Anyways, they shares sum sweets (which aren't very lush by the way coz they tastes of really 'orrible things sumtimes, like ear wax fer 'xample), and the clart with the white beard torks alittlebit cryptically to 'arry about this and that (mostly about nuffing much, to be 'onest, coz the dude with the white beard never really 'xplains fings properly, which I gorra say is a little bit annoying to be truthful).

Anywayz, 'arry ventually leaves the infurmurry and meets back up with his clart and clit, and they all joins the rest ov the school for the final feast ov the yer (I just ramembered that I forgot to tell you allabou the feasts - they has these bangin' feasts at the school  fer speshal accasions like, and the last meal ov the yer is usually one ov the times they does it). Anywayz, the feast is well lush as usual, and before we knowz it, eveyone is back on the train to go home fer the summer like. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you abou the trains too. Never mind, I'm sure you can get the gist anallat.

So that's where the book ends like, innit. I was well chuffed that I was given the first four books togevver, coz I'd have bin a bit ducked off if I couldn't have read any more right away. Course, I was well into the story and so I started the second book right away, but I'll leave that for anovver blog like, innit?


Monday, 5 July 2010


Yes, some of you probably already know what I am about to ramble about, but although I am late (as usual) in doing this, I simply can't NOT blather on about the exciting new blog that my writer's group has just launched.

Burrowers, Books & Balderdash is now live! And, although I'd hate to tempt fate by saying this, I am knocking on wood and declaring that it is already a success. The blog was launched less than twelve hours ago and ALREADY has 19 new followers, and a thumping good list of complimentary comments too! Of course, it really helps that a certain Watery Tart wrote the virgin post. Our Naked Friend has a fabulous network of blogging buddies who dutifully followed their Misattributing Mistress over to her new dungeon, and in the process made the rest of us Burrowers feel very happy indeed.

I won't ramble too much about my writing group because I have mentioned it at least a thousand times in the past. Also, I'm pretty sure that several of you have already been bombarded with Burrowing Bits today, what with not only the Watery Tart, but the Digressionista Diva and the Coffee Goddess too (fellow Burrowers who already have fantastically popular blogs, and also have the dedication to blog about our new venture immediately after it was launched (unlike moi, who procrastinated up until the last moment *shifty*).

Okay, so it's not only that, I don't want to give too much information because I want you to visit the new blog too. *smiles winsomely*

Anyway, there are going to be seven regular contributors to the blog (seven being the most powerful magical number of all *winks*) as of now, and we hope to add a few more Burrowers in the future. In the meantime, expect some nakedness, nuttiness, digressions, food for thought, cleverness, musical knitting and, of course, insanity to be coming your way. I'll leave it to you to figure out just who will be dishing out each of the above. Yes, that means you have to VISIT the blog regularly!

I really hope you take a peek - in fact, I hope you take more than a peek and go back for more!

But before you do (because I just know that you will), I will leave you with a little something that my eight year old wrote in school today. I'm happy and proud to be able to say that my daughter appears to be just as obsessed with writing as her mum. This is not the first time she has brought something she has written home with her - in fact, she writes most days, whether she is in school or at home. Mostly she likes to write songs, but every now and then she'll venture into a little poetry or story writing. Today's contribution falls under the poetry heading, though she tried something new and decided to write something that didn't rhyme. Of course I am biased, but I happen to think she is awesome. *nods*

"Love" by Ellie Smith (8)

Love is pink and red

Love sounds like a heart pumping

Love tastes like strawberries

Love smells like a flower

Love feels like flower petals

Love looks like kissing in the park

Sunday, 4 July 2010

High Potty News

If you're wondering what 'High Potty News' is, it's just a silly way of saying 'hypotenuse'. Why I am saying 'hypotenuse' in a silly way? Well, because it's maths related and I seriously cannot stand maths, and so anything that makes it silly is always a good idea.

Back in the old days (er, when I attended school), maths wasn't always a problem. I was always placed in the 'top set' right the way through primary school and all the way up to my third year of secondary school. Then the dreaded Year 10 arrived, along with GCSEs, and while I was still placed in the top set, I suddenly became the class dunce. I was still just as competent at basic maths, but whereas before the top set placing meant that you had decent brain cells that worked, a GCSE top set meant that you would study a higher maths level. Most of my fellow classmates were able to cope with the higher level of learning, but not me. I'm good with numbers, sure, but start throwing trigonometry and quadratic equations at me, and I am lost. It doesn't help that I tend to panic if I don't understand something either.

Then there was my maths teacher, who, shall we say, wasn't exactly patient if you didn't keep up. I worked really, really hard at maths for the entire two year course, and even revised for the actual exam (yeah, revision for all my other subjects just wasn't happening *shifty*). Yet despite all my studying, I failed my maths abysmally (yet strangely I passed all of the other subjects with no revision at all).

It all came down to the actual papers that I sat. The higher set sat papers 3 and 4, and the possible grades were A,B,C,D or U (for ungraded - the polite way of saying FAIL in big capital letters). The next set down sat papers 2 and 3, but the highest grade possible would have been a C. Now, a C was the equivalent of the old style O Levels, and so the desired outcome of all examinations was a grade of C or above. I sat the higher papers and got a D for my efforts. Not an epic fail by all means, but not the C that was desired (I got four B's and four C's for all of my other (unrevised) subjects by the way, so I obviously had a brain, albeit not a genius one). Anyway, the really annoying thing was knowing that had I sat papers 2 and 3 instead, I would have had my C grade without a doubt. You see, my D grade was achieved solely from answering all of the questions on paper 3. When I sat for paper 4, I had a,  um, let's call it an 'episode', and didn't answer a single question. It stands to reason that I must have had virtually all of paper 3 correct to have been able to attain the D grade. So if I had sat paper 2 I would almost certainly have answered all of the questions correctly. But my teacher wouldn't move me down a set because.... well, I don't really know why to be honest. Anyway, I failed.

Why am I talking about my maths exam? Well, it's because of the job I am doing now. I've always worked with money, so having basic number sense is a must. In the three jobs that I have had, I have had to cash up the tills, manage the floats and safe, and deal with banking the takings. Now, my maths teacher always told me that I wouldn't get anywhere without passing my maths exam. The amount of pressure that she put me under no doubt added to my complete inability to stem the panic that arrived whenever I saw those funny litle x's and y's. But even though I failed my maths GCSE, I have, throughout my entire working life, been dealing with numbers and figures on a daily basis.

So I'd just like to say something to my maths teacher: Ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha! You pressured me no end, didn't have the patience to explain things clearly to me (and made me snort way too much because you always had a button undone on your blouse, by the way, not to mention the funny walk that you did that was akin to John Cleese doing his Hitler impression), refused to move me into a more suitable set, and made me believe that I would be unable to find employment because I couldn't understand what a hypotenuse was supposed to be.

Pttthhhhbbbb! (That's a raspberry by the way, in case you wondered).

I may not know much about trigonometry, but I was still able to get jobs that involved plenty of maths. So there.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

A New Start

The start of a new month, the start of the second (and better) half of the year, the start of the summer proper, and the start of a new project. Not to mention that I'm writing an entry for Rowan Coleman's Short Story Competition, which, funnily enough, has the theme of - you guessed it - 'a new start'. That's a fair few new starts for the month of July, is it not?

I really like July. *sighs happily* It's my birth month, so while I hate getting older (which, by the way, seems to accelerate as the years go by), it's still nice because my birthday is the one day of the year where I get to be treated. This year it's even better because it will fall on a Saturday, and somehow birthdays are always nice if they coincide with the weekend, yes?

Anyway, I wanted to blog on the first of July mainly because my writer's group is currently in the final stages of setting up our blog. We go live on the 5th, and as one of the contributors I have the dubious honor of having THIS blog on the blogroll. Now, as we are aiming to be entertaining, helpful and professional, I figured I didn't want my most recent blog title 'advertising' me. Somehow I don't think *is a failure* quite gets across an image I'm happy with.

Anyway, the new blog is really exciting for me personally because I get to work on a permanent project with my writer's group (The Burrow, for those of you who aren't experiencing Deja Vu). We work on projects several times a year, but this time it will be something that will be ongoing, so I get to enjoy the whole 'group working' thing on a regular basis. It will also hopefully open up a wider network for The Burrow as a whole. We've been 'together' for several years now, and have gone from a small forum thread to bigger and better things. We have a fabulous website which showcases our work (those projects I mentioned before), and are well on the way to becoming the authors we all aspire to be. We've gone from writing fan fiction, to displaying drabbles to images in an art gallery, to debut novels, and although it's been a long road and we're mostly all still travelling, one of us has secured a publishing deal (the fabulous Tami, of Confessions of a Watery Tart). 2010 is looking to be our best year yet, obviously!

Another new start for me this month is that I am back in the land of employment again. I returned to my previous job last week, and although it's only three days a week mostly (except when there's overtime, which already I am doing *rolls eyes*), it's going to suck a whole lot of time up. All my shifts start at 6am, which means I have to be up at 4:30am. *dies*. One of those days is a Sunday, too, which is already my worst day of the week.  Of course, this means that I have to go to bed earlier the night before each shift (which cuts writing time). I also end up going to bed earlier on the actual day of the shift too, which means that five nights a week I am losing at least two hours of writing time. As I tend to write the best during the late evening, this is a major loss.

On the other hand, because I do NOT want to spend the next x amount of years counting newspapers and cashing up tills, it is incredible incentive for me to crack on with the serious job of editing Cardiffella. I remember thinking two years ago (which was when I resigned) that I couldn't wait to be unemployed so that I could concentrate on my writing. Of course, being the Princess of Procrastination meant that the actual writing didn't really happen. Sure, I have written over the last two years, but it's definitely been far from the daily habit that I initially hoped for. I have dithered away a good few months, procrastinated for a couple more, avoided almost completely for three months or so, and wasted time on Facebook and what-not for another few months. Less than half of the last two years (heck, probably only as little as three months or so, let's be brutally honest here) has been used for the writing that I was so intent on accomplishing.

Life gets in the way of course, so I'm not going to take responsibility for stuff that's been out of my control, but even if I ignore the last six months, that's still eighteen months that could have been used much better. The funny thing is, I'm actually a little bit glad to be working again, despite the sucky hours. For some strange reason I seem to work better when I don't have too much time on my hands. I think the thought of being 'free' from employment went to my head, and instead of doing what I should have done, I ended up doing anything and everything else, just because I could.

So....  that's a new month, a story about a new start, a new blog, a new life routine, and a new incentive to get my novel ready for submission. Lots of 'news'. Or lots of news, whichever way you want to look at it.

Keep an eye out for the new blog next week. I'm sure myself and my fellow Burrowers will all share the link not only on our blogs, but on our Facebook profiles too. We've all shared details of our writer's group on our individual blogs before, so it will be lovely to have you visit an off-shoot of The Burrow where several of us will contribute. Maybe you'll get to know us a little better, and hopefully we'll help and inspire as well as entertain.

Happy July 1st everyone!