Sunday, 14 December 2014

Week Fifty-Three: A Year and a Day

Now, this was not meant to be an entire week of photographs, and as such it is not. What follows are the final (i.e. 365th) day of the Year of Thirty, plus the first day of Thirty-One (i.e. my birthday). Also there are a number of random thoughts and observations, purely out of my sickness-addled mind.

Day 1 (365): 8th of December
Much shorter trip to London this time, but just as fun as always. Birthday treats to oneself are a great thing. The weather keeps strangely cooperating with me on these sojourns, so I must be doing something right. Honestly, though it was a bit chilly, it only rained one morning, and the rest of the time it looked like this. 

As this was my departure day, I had a well planned travel schedule to get me to Gatwick in time to spend a bit of time (and money) in World of Whiskeys. Sadly, Thameslink was not in on my schedule (or perhaps it was and was having a bit of fun). This train was stuck and motionless at my station, which meant both north and southbound trains had to use the one open platform. As I watch the expected arrival time for the next train to Brighton slide ever further into the future, my planned purchases of booze slid ever from my grasp.

In the end I made it to the plane just in time. And because Life has a sense of humour, we pulled away from the gate and were told by the captain that we'd be sitting there for a while due to a broken ATC radar in Milan. One hour, more fuel and a new flight plan later, we made it out, and I got to see the sun set over the clouds at 30k feet.

Day 2 (366 or 1): 9th of December
So I say it's my birthday. Happy Birthday to me. As the sun set on my first day as a 31 year old, I thought a great deal about Deep Things (and a greater deal about Silly Things). And thankfully, had a friend to make me dinner and celebrate a rather unremarkable birthday (no one cares again until one turns forty). Got to take His Lordship home as well, and now get to focus on getting him back into live-outside-again shape. If ever there was a cat that wanted just to live outside, Merry is that cat.

Lovely drive home in the waning light.Seriously, if you've never taken an iPhoneto over the steering wheel whilst driving at 120 km/h, I highly recommend it.

10th of December. Felt rather naughty going a whole day without taking a photo. Kind of like liberation, but I do genuinely enjoy taking photos. At least now the pressure is off and I can focus more on taking the photos I really want, rather than just because I have to.

So after a year and a day as a "thirtysomething" I've come to some interesting conclusions. Firstly and foremostly, I still have no idea what being a grownup is supposed to look like. I've reached the point in my life where hearing a news report about a "28 year-old mother of three" makes me scratch my head at the very thought of what I was like at 28 and how horrible I'd have been as a mother of three (and still would be at that). The world has shifted a great deal in the last couple of years, and I find myself less equipped than ever to even think about being responsible for another human. Life is cluttered enough on its own, you know?

Secondly though not necessarily forelessly, Things are remarkably interconnected, and in ways that still don't make a huge amount of sense. By that I mean to say a theme of Being Thirty (or maybe just of 2014) is one of pushing limits. My car and my body were both pushed to their respective limits on the second day of the year, when some anonymous Italian slammed into the backside of my poor downtrodden vehicle at great speed, proceeded to leave the, and later attempted to file a claim for damages against me. Nearly a year on, Gertie is slowly coming to pieces even after the repairs, and my back has only regained about 80% of what it was before. Besides my spine, my face literally took a beating when a drunk Irishman smacked me in the face in Dublin. I'll not go into the story, as it is a bit ridiculous. Even my foolish heart took its share of lumps thanks to that ability people have to have a go with others' emotions. Then there's Work. The dreaded Job. It is one that I love doing, but it unfortunately results in long days, and in people loading seventeen things on my plate, fully knowing that I can only do ten of them, and expecting only half to get done. Not my preferred MO for leadership, but what can one do?

Thirdly, though firstly and secondly were quite a lot, is that dreams are a wonderful thing, and not something to be ignored, squandered, or taken for granted. This year I did rather a lot of crowdfunding, and discovered that there is something really quite special about helping another person realise his or her dream. The perks one gets are fun as well, but mostly it's cool to be a part of a creative project. One day I hope to have the wherewithal to realise my own dreams, but for now, supporting the dreams of perfect strangers (and the occasional old friend) will have to do. Dreams are what keep us going; even if we don't have a clue how to get there, the thought that we might just do it is often enough.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Week Fifty-Two: Things Need Done

Almost done with this thing. Only a couple days until the birthday. Turns out back in Week 14 of this blog thing I managed to mess up the numbering of the days. Sadly, that was only the first of several cascading number issues, resulting in this week initially ending nowhere the 364 that is correct. Figures I'd not catch on until the bloody end. Now have to go back and fix many weeks of wrong days. Oh, and putting in another plug for the Birthday Campaign.

Day 1 (358): 1st of December
So I have this list. It moves from page to page as things get crossed off, but it never seems to go away. It just inches its way through the notebook, wending amongst the doodles and bits where I've splashed tea. On the way home, it seemed as though someone had lit Naples on fire. The whole region was awash in smoke and smelled like a pile of burning logs (surprisingly enough, not like burning Detritus). Made the clouds look quite cool though.

Sunset through smoke is always neat.

Day 2 (359): 2nd of December
It turns out a mind that is rather active is not good bedfellows with Adequate Sleep (pun intended). That list I mentioned yesterday? Keeps growing and changing and not having any part of this whole Getting Things Done plan of mine. Should really end one's year on a high note, no? Never one for doing as one should, I've decided it will be more fun to stress myself into oblivion so when people hear it is my birthday, they assume I'm turning 45. Silly unnecessary trip to the other base. But got to see more mad armageddon clouds.

Day 3 (360): 3rd of December
Got a birthday email late last night from the grandparentals. Now, some might be upset that one's own relations have one's birthday off by a week, but as I am the most rubbish at remembering anyone's birthday (including my own...honestly, I've nearly missed my own a few times), I'm hardly one to judge. Gives me a surprise happy note in the inbox. And were this blog not in existence, I'd take it as a reminder to myself to not toodle on and forget that 9th December is significant for more than just the Butkus family. Drove into a freak hail storm just as I arrived at home. Nothing like the feeling that someone is dumping gravel on one's less than perfect soft top. This is really what the sky looked like.

This is what Week 14 looked like. Where it all went wrong. And I forgot how numbers work.

Day 4 (361): 4th of December
Company holiday party this evening. Cat carrier to fetch before so Merry can go to the vet (I know) tomorrow. Sitting in the usual airplane crossing traffic. Gotta love it. Best timing ever. Getting in the way of Doing Things. Bloody Alitalia.

This is much improved over WorserFence.

More mad clouds. But portending of Bad Things. Update: holiday party was a smash. And by that I mean some car windows were smashed and many doors opened to nick many things from many cars. Thanks, Pozzuoli. People ought to have known better than to leave anything in their cars, but still.

Day 5 (362): 5th of December
Big Plan to the Merry to the vet today was utter failure. He must've known or sensed what I had planned, because he never showed up. Not in the morning, and not in the evening. And I did such a great job of Getting Things Done. Felt I was on a roll. Now it'll have to be done before going to the airport in the morning, which will add loads of stress and things and may not be feasible. Grrr. Fool Cat. OOh...Pretty Sky.

Day 6 (363): 6th of December
Thank you, London, for being you. Now, I'm not one for Big Cities. In fact, I usually avoid them like deep and meaningful relationships. Did I say that out loud? I mean to say like adult wardrobe choices. That wasn't any better. Fine. I avoid them. Leave it at that. But Town is always so welcoming. I don't even hold a grudge about the whole burgling my government phone business from last time. One can hardly blame a whole city for the action of one Artful Dodger. I love the Blackfriars area. Has an interesting rough beauty to it.

Many Santas on the steps of St. Paul's. Apparently for some mad pub crawl. In the whole area there must've been at least a thousand (fine, maybe two hundred) people in fancy Santa dress.

But St. Paul's itself was lovely, as usual.

Day 7 (364): 7th of December
Lovely typical December day in London. Bit soggy, bit cloudy, bit chilly. But not unpleasant. And as usual, a refreshing change. Thus the soggy rooftops.

This is out a window in my hotel room. At least I can run away in a fire...

Many Things on The List this week, and it's unlikely The List will get smaller anytime soon. I guess this is what that whole Being a Grownup business is all about.