Category Archives: Friends

Practising restraint.

Gag Law

Restraint and diplomacy are not my stronger points, in fact neither are a trait I would say most people would attribute me with.

I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve opened my mouth when I should have just bitten my tongue or when I’ve said completely the wrong thing in the most inappropriate of settings. I have to admit it’s not my most redeeming quality, it’s not something I do deliberately and it’s probably why I’m struggling right now.

You see, I know something.

I know something that is not for me to share, nor is it for me stick my nose in, but in knowing this thing I’m frustrated and angry and I want to do something to change it. I also want other people to know what I know and be equally as frustrated and equally as angry and for them to want to change it too, But, I know if I share this thing, or if I do stick my nose in there is a 50:50 chance I’ll do the wrong or say the wrong thing and make it worse, I know people will be upset with me so instead I’m practicing restraint and writing a frustratingly ambiguous post instead.

Seasonal Craziness

I have issues!! Seriously Christmas brings out the crazy in me in the form of OCD and boy have I got it bad!!

For years the Christmas season starts for me in a flurry of decorating, the tree, the windows, the fire place….  but do I share a tender moment with my devoted son while we choose whether to have the angel or the star atop of the tree this year?

NO BECAUSE HE’D DO IT ALL WRONG!!

I have to decorate in certain way, in a certain order, lights, then ribbon (NOT TINSEL) the fir cones, then the baubles. If anything, in my mind, is out of place it drives me insane, It has in previous years taken me a a whole day just to put up a tree, but even better THEN and only then can the star or angel be put on top  – and this has to be chosen last of all and sometimes not until the day AFTER putting the tree and the rest of the decorations up because once chosen it has to stay there – no swapping and changing AT ALL so this is an important choice!

The colours have to be evenly spread and JUST SO and the fireplace swag has to match the tree and be decorated in the same order at the same  no compromise – as an example of how bad this is when we unpacked and erected the tree this year I couldn’t decorate it!! We’d managed to leave the swag in the loft and I just couldn’t put anything on the tree until this was down too!!  Luckily for me James is very understanding of the crazy and went back up to hunt for it as I could feel myself become quite silly about it!!

Last year was the first year I introduced colour to my tree in the form of bronze and red to go with the well established gold and ivory theme I’ve had going for years in an attempt for make myself loosen up a bit – I’m insane!

All this causes much mirth and derision particularly from my not so understanding sister and much exasperation and frustration from myself.

BUT IF You think that’s bad I used to be worse, much worse, for instance (and  I’ve worked hard at getting over this one because it was ridiculous as I would hunt for days to get this right), the gifts used to have to colour coordinated – the adult presents would be gold or ivory paper with red ribbon and the children’s red with gold or ivory ribbon and wrapped just so….

Notable insane moments:

  • The year I unwrapped ALL the presents and started again because they didn’t look right (unwrapping one or two to start again isn’t a rare occurrence in my house BUT all of them is a stretch by even by standards)
  • Taking down the tree and starting from scratch TWICE!
  • Letting TBK and James hang baubles only to go ahead and move them when I thought they wouldn’t notice because they were in the “wrong” place.
  • Point blank refusing to let James bring any of his decorations with him when he moved in with us as they wouldn’t match mine, and then buying him decorations that matched my colour scheme and still refusing to let him hang them on the tree because they’re just not right!
  • Finally succumbing to my OCD and buying TBK a tree & decorations for in his room as I didn’t want him to miss out on decorating his own tree and he can have as much tinsel as he likes!

So with all this in mind imagine how I’m coping this year with two very mischievous cats who are spending their first Christmas with us!!

I took the decision early on not to put out my nativity scene and I’m glad I didn’t because they keep knocking things over and pulling things down. They keep climbing my tree and flattening the branches and knocking off baubles  and chewing my ribbon, and yesterday they discovered if they pull hard enough they can pull my fireplace swag clean off the surround thus clearing any obstacles for them to sit on there – somewhere THEY NEVER CHOOSE TO SIT AT ANY OTHER TIME OF THE YEAR.

This year it’s going to be kill or cure for my OCD as I’m either going to have to deal with it – or go not so quietly insane battling with those damn cats – I’m hoping for the first option but as I left for work nearly in tears this morning as I again found my beautiful fire place destroyed I think odds are I’m currently leaning towards the latter!

Good Deed December

December means  Christmas, which to most means presents and food and drink and parties…and to be fair it does to an extent to me too but I’ve been thinking lately about the spirit of Christmas, the good will to all men and peace on earth sentiment possibly the romantic view but I thought why can’t it be like that? At least a little bit anyway, All it would take is a little effort to put a smile on peoples faces…

…So this December has been decreed Good Deed December, my own advent of good deeds.

Between now and Christmas day I plan on trying to complete a good deed each day and hopefully update here and my twitter feed (@essitam) using the tag #gooddeedfortheday, (when I get around to it, I suck at keeping blogs up to date maybe this is the impetus I need).

I’m sure some deeds will be more worthy than others but it’s important to remember the little things also count……

1st December Carried a ladies bags up a flight of stairs.

2nd December Dispatched James to an elderly neighbours to get her shopping list and went to the super market after work just for her (I needed nothing myself)

3rd December took the lovely lady in the post office a Lemsip, she was suffering when she dealt with my parcels and I thought she could do with it.

Continue reading Good Deed December

My Mix Tape

I have been “eavesdropping” in on a conversation on twitter regarding mix tapes,  Dan Slee has done a wonderful job of summing up the “history” of mix tapes so I don’t have to but I love the whole idea of them being the original Social Media – THE way to share in the 90’s and it got me thinking about some of the tapes I received as teen as Dan puts it:

They could be a love letter, a  sign of friendship or the grandstanding of musical knowledge.

…and I couldn’t have put it better myself.

When I was in senior school I used to swap mix tapes with my friend Jess. We were, in our opinion, the optimum of cool and shared  a mutual love of all the artists and bands the supposed “in crowd” hated, Nirvana, Hole, PJ Harvey, Chilli Peppers, to name a few and with our mix tapes playing through the earphones of our walkman we looked down upon the lesser beings with our musical snobbery. It cemented our friendship and I went on to purchase some of my favourite albums on the back of tracks Jess  included on those now long lost c90’s.

Yet the most impressive mix tape I have ever received wasn’t a tape at all, it was a CD and while I’m sure it started out as a “grandstanding of musical knowledge”   it turned into the greatest love letter I have ever received….

In Steph's Honour

“In Steph’s Honour” given to me by James in December 2005  – 4 months before we became us. He told me then it was an “education” as we liked some of the same music, but he  has since admitted that he was trying to  impress me a little and I have to admit it did!!

Disk 1 – The Rock Show

  1. One Armed Scissor (At The Drive-In)
  2. A Box Full Of Sharp Objects (The Used)
  3. Vessel & Vine (The Lucky Nine)
  4. 57 (Biffy Clyro)
  5. If You Don’t, Don’t (Jimmy Eat World)
  6. The Sign (Foo Fighters)
  7. The Graduate (Third Eye Blind)
  8. Corduroy (Pearl Jam)
  9. Sad and Lonely (Secret Machines)
  10. Stockholm Syndrome (Muse)
  11. My Tortured Soul (Probot)
  12. Superunknown (Soundgarden)
  13. Inspire (Cave In)
  14. (I Am) What I Am Not (Idlewild)
  15. I’m Not Okay (My Chemical Romance)
  16. Beating Heart Baby (Head Automatica)

Disk 2 – Late Night Ditties

  1. Wishlist (Pearl Jam)
  2. I Never Came (QOTSA)
  3. Blue and Yellow (The Used)
  4. Switching Off (Elbow)
  5. Between The Bars (Elliot Smith)
  6. Pink Bullets (The Shins)
  7. Walking On A Wire (The Get Up Kids)
  8. The Light And The Sound (Rocky Votolato)
  9. Scary Mary ( Biffy Clyro)
  10. And Then You Kissed Me (The Cardigans)
  11. Drop (Clarkesville)
  12. Amie (Damien Rice)
  13. Those Crimson Tears (Ed Harcourt)
  14. El Capitain (acoustic) (Idlewild)
  15. The Sun (Joseph Arthur)
  16. Title and Registration (Death Cab For Cutie)
  17. My Sundown (Jimmy Eat World)

Four years and a bit years on I still haven’t made this track listing a playlist on iTunes or on Spotify because nothing compares to the feeling of finding this CD off the shelf , remebering just how much effort went into it and putting it into the player and dancing around my living room. It is such shame that with digital music this is a dying art,  and while Philip John is correct when he wrote that “Spotify needs to get social” I doubt a shared play-list on Spotify or a recommendation on Mflow would have the same feel good impact as picking up something tangible and knowing that someone made it just for you!

Merry Christmas

Maybe you are my friend, or maybe we’ve never met before.
Maybe we speak to each other daily, or maybe we’ve never so much as passed on the street.
Maybe I know you virtually in my on-line world of Twitter, of flickr, of moblog  or facebook.
Maybe I know you in the real world and every so often we’ll see each other in the pub or you come to my house and we laugh and joke the night away…
…but but however we may, or may not, know each other friend, family, acquaintance or stranger may I wish you the best for this festive season and a very prosperous new year…..

...after.

Merry Christmas.
Steph
xxx

Rich and Sal

The other week we went to the wedding of Rich and Sal.

They are two of the nicest people in the world who together make the most wonderful couple. It was wonderful day, fitting to the couple and what they stand for.

Rich and Sal. Saturday 11th April 2009.
A toast

The service was beautiful with readings and prayers from  friends of the  couple, the boys playing during the signing of the register, one of their own tracks “Nothing Stands in Her Way “and a stiring rendition of Blur’s “Tender”.

Rich and Sal. Saturday 11th April 2009.
Pretty in pink

After the service we all went to Fairlawns for the wedding breakfast and reception whereRich and Sal greeted everyone with their usual humility and grace.

Rich and Sal. Saturday 11th April 2009.

The best apple tart ever

It was privilege to be able to share their special day with them.

I only hope that when it’s my turn to get married my day can be as special to me as I’m sure the memories of theirs will be for them.