Cross-Stitch: Let’s Finish Santa! (Stage 9)

Hey everyone!

I’m really, really enjoying this thing. So much so that last week, I decided to skip an update post and instead do more stitching. Totally! (It wasn’t at all to do with fresher’s flu-related laziness. Nope, nope!)

But, seriously, I’m loving this stitch. I’m completing sections of it quite quickly now, it feels, and it’s very satisfying seeing Santa get so close to completion. Here’s where I’m at now:

Santa 9

I love all the shading, and the contrast between the white/beiges and the reds. I am also really glad that I “chose” this aida to work on, as well – I think it’s really going well with the colour scheme, although it’s really hard to tell to what effect through a camera lens. I’m still not sure if this is the exact colour it’s meant to be stitched on (again, the photo in the book is a photo, and the aida in said photo is a bit more washed out) but I think it’s working really well anyway.

Very soon, the coat will be finished. Squee! After that, I’ll probably move onto doing some backstitch. Because backstitch is something I normally loathe, I’ve decided I’ll do it as I go along, rather than all at once at the end. We’ll see how it works out, anyway.

Now I’m off… to do some more stitching. Huzzah!

Writing 101: Day 20, The Future

Written in response to The Daily Post’s latest Writing 101 offering, Finding Everyday Inspiration. This is Day 20’s prompt, and we’ve finally reached the end of the course.

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It’s taken a while, but I’m finally beginning to consider my career. What do I want to do with my life? How much should I be using my degree? How do I wish to be spending my 9-5 days?

The job I have been in for the past five months is a temporary role. I didn’t really consider the implications of that when I accepted the offer, but now that I’ve worked – and loved – the job, I’ve begun to regret the fact. It’s the job I want to be doing, but it isn’t going to last. Anytime between Christmas and May could be my leaving date.

Recently, a new job opened up in my department. It’s not exactly the same role, but it’s within the same team and follows the same ethos. It’d take me right out of the enviroment I’ve come to prefer being in, and would provide an extreme challenge to my confidence, self-belief and social skills.

It’s also a permanent role. More hours. A way to keep my foot firmly in the door.

For a few weeks now I’ve gone back and forth. Do I apply? Do I take myself away from the career path I’ve chosen for the sake of challenge and security? Or do I let it pass by and potentially regret the opportunity?

(There’s a chance that, if I got this, I’d be stuck in a full-time job I wasn’t suited to; a job that doesn’t fill me with as much happiness as the current one. But, then, does that really matter when the current one is going to eventually end? And does something like that even matter when the world isn’t set in stone? Because, after all, there’s also a chance that, if I got this, I’d be stuck in a full-time job I love that fills me with more happiness.)

Today, I took a step forward, for the sake of my career, and visited the potential role in action. I only had an hour, so ultimately I didn’t gain much from the visit. But I did gain enough to realise that there’s no use fretting over this. I’ll never know if I’m entirely suited for the role until I actually do it. I’ll never know if I even have a chance with the role unless I apply for it. And, heck, I still have plenty of time left – supposedly – to get back into that preferred environment if I’m ever given the chance to leave it.

And who says that this may not be the start of a new career path?

I have support from my colleagues. I have support from my parents. I have worries, nagging, pessimism and “what ifs” swimming around my mind. But I also have that huge dollop of hope.

I don’t know what lies ahead of me for the rest of 2015. I don’t know what job I’ll be in after October ends. I don’t know what I’ll be doing with my days, or how I’ll be feeling.

All I know is that I’m going to go for this. Take the risk. I want to progress, and I want to continue challenging myself. There’s no use stagnating, or just sitting around and waiting for my current low-hour, temporary job to end. I’m tired of waiting for things to end.

It may not be exactly what I want to do, overall. But it will be exactly what I need to be doing.

Wish me luck.

Writing 101: Day 19, Feature a Guest

Written in response to The Daily Post’s latest Writing 101 offering, Finding Everyday Inspiration. This is (sort of) Day 19’s prompt, and I’m aiming to complete each day of the course.

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sunshinebloggersawardHey everyone!

A little while ago I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Anushka at A Dark World Inside. With my illness and some unexpected busy-ness at work, it’s only now that I’m getting round to accepting it. Forgive me!

As you may notice, I’m titling this under Writing 101’s Day 19 task, even though it technically isn’t a response to Day 19’s task. This is because I’m a cheater, and I wanted to kill two birds with one stone: get this award post done, and not give up Writing 101 on Day 16 again (like I did last year… gah!). I see this as a kind-of collaboration, as the questions were set by Anushka herself, and it also fits into the roundup thing because I get to list blogs and people and stuff. So, apologies for being said cheater, but this is a genius idea.

In terms of the award, I’m really glad to have received this. There’s something so humbling about being recognised – in any shape or form – for the blogging you do. I know I’m a bit of a rubbish blogger, and I certainly wouldn’t call myself a Sunshine Blogger, but it’s still nice to be nominated for these things. Thanks very much Anushka – it means a lot. :)

So, as with all other blogger awards, there are rules to follow and questions to answer. The rules are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Answer the questions from your nominators
  • Nominate (eleven) other bloggers and give them (eleven) new questions to answer

There’s no way I know enough bloggers to nominate 11, so I’ll keep it at 3 for now. (That’s an improvement – last time I nominated 0!) And I don’t think I’ll set any of my own questions, just as a continuation of the cheating theme.

And now for the questions, set by Anushka:

What is your biggest fear?
I’m not sure, really… I haven’t thought about that for a while. Probably losing a close family member, or my cat. You know, all the usual boring fears. Or crashing my car.

Which one thing are you addicted to?
Sweets. I’m actually surprised my teeth haven’t fallen out yet, because when I’m given a pack of sweets I finish it off stupidly quickly. It’s the fruity, chewy ones. Couldn’t live without them!

Have any bookish pet peeves? What are they?
When people moan and yell about spine breaking. I think that a book is loved the most when it’s been read and damaged. Okay, you don’t want to go tearing off the cover or ripping pages out of books, but if a book looks weathered, even after the first read, then it’s been loved. There are a few people who insist on keeping books in a pristine condition, and to them I say phooey! I’m gonna get a book and I’m gonna break the spine. Immediately. And only then am I loving the book.

What is your perfect idea of a ‘relaxation day’?
Sofa, games consoles, Mexican food and a large, fluffy blanket. I talked about my perfect relaxation day on Day 7 of my venture into Daily Prompts back in August. I wish I could have another, honestly. I had so many days off work in July and August due to needing to use up holiday time, so it felt like I was having a nice, relaxing day every week. But now, weekends aren’t enough – they’re over too quick. I can’t wait for the day when I can go back to my boyfriend’s house, camp in his living room for the whole day, and just chill. No responsibilities, nothing. Amazing.

How do you deal with stress?
Not very well… haha! Recently, I’ve been taking early nights whenever I feel at all down or stressed. What I want to do more is allow myself to zone out and go and do something else for a while – but it’s often hard for me to turn away from whatever is making me stressed.

Which is one habit of yours you wish to improve/change?
I want to be more chatty, and more social. Something my mum said the other day really hit me: “You should go out and get some friends, you’ll be happier then.” Of course, I do have friends… but I barely do anything with them or see anyone other than my boyfriend. So I’d like to do that, really. I know it’s not really a habit, but meh…

Your favorite ‘hanging out’ spot?
My bed. Of course.

How do you spend your weekends?
These days, packing in as much productive stuff as I can. Two weeks ago I spent the whole afternoon washing my car (so therapeutic) and last weekend I did some cleaning. Generally I leave Sunday to the relaxing/fun stuff and make sure I do lots of things on Saturdays. But honestly, each weekend is different, and more often than not I’m away from home during them.

Are you a movie buff? What are your favorite movies?
Recently, I am trying to be a movie buff… I’ve missed out on so much over the past few years! The Back to the Future trilogy are my all-time favourite movies, but I also love Saving Mr Banks. 80s comedies are great, and so are Disney films (well, before they went 3D, anyway).

Which is one book you feel has changed your life?
Probably The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It really opened my eyes to what writing alone can achieve, and also gave me one of my first insights into literature based on a different culture.

Sea-beach or hills?
Hills. I much prefer spending time in country parks and nature than being on the beach for five minutes! Sure, it’s nice to go occasionally, particularly in the evenings and when it’s quiet, but I loathe the whole sand thing, the pebbles, naked children (plus parents) and the smell of seaweed. I’d much rather be further inland – or on the promenade watching the sea!

And that’s it. :) I like answering these questions! It’s nice having a little snippet of life to look back on.

Now to choose some bloggers. I nominate…

Haruzuzu, for being an uplifting voice,

Amelia, for having a great outlook on the world,

Hannah, whose content inspires me.

I don’t know any of these guys particularly well, but I hope my nominating them cheers them up! It’s always great to be recognised, as I’ve already said.

I won’t set my own questions, simply because I like Anushka’s so much – but I will alter them a bit to accommodate more than just “book people”. Even if I haven’t nominated you, feel free to answer them yourself if you wish – I’d love to see some different responses to these!

  • What is your biggest fear?
  • Which one thing are you addicted to?
  • Do you have any pet peeves? What are they?
  • What is your perfect idea of a ‘relaxation day’?
  • How do you deal with stress?
  • Which is one habit of yours you wish to improve/change?
  • Where’s your favorite ‘hanging out’ spot?
  • How do you prefer to spend your weekends?
  • Are you a movie buff? What are your favorite movies?
  • Which event do you feel changed your life the most?
  • What did your ten-years-younger self think you’d be doing right now?

Thanks for reading, and I hope this is an acceptable attempt at Day 19’s task. I swear on my favourite bookmark that I’ll complete tomorrow’s task properly… if only for some closure before NaNoWriMo prep begins! (Yes. I’m one of those!)

Writing 101: Day 16, Search your Stats

Written in response to The Daily Post’s latest Writing 101 offering, Finding Everyday Inspiration. This is Day 16’s prompt, and I’m aiming to complete each day of the course.

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Let’s not talk about the two days of Writing 101 that I missed. There’s just no need, as everything was said in my Day 13 post. As it turns out, I actually did die. For two days. Plus a weekend. And you can’t blog when you’re dead.

I’ve done well so far, though. Haven’t I? All those days, all those prompts I did attempt (even when I wasn’t particularly inspired by some of them). It’s been a good challenge, and I’m really hoping to get back into the swing of things and complete this last week. If I do, I might buy myself a pizza. Or two.

Did you know that my most popular post from Writing 101 so far has been Day 2‘s? Yep – with 24 hits, it thrashes everything else. It’s funny how posts with little effort put into them can become so popular! I always like to try and put as much effort in as possible, but there are some days where it’s nice to just put something nice and quick up. Day 2 was one of those posts. It was quick, and easy, and I thought that adding things to the list – explanations, if you will – would ruin the effect. While others chose to make the list into a full post, I wanted to keep it just as a list. I think it worked quite well.

I didn’t want to do a list for myself, so instead I wrote a list from my cat’s perspective. (I also knew that it’d probably be more popular due to its quirkiness.) And anyway, I’d already done a list for myself a few days before – the #GSList was a list of my favourite things at that moment in time.

I must admit, though – the voice I adapted in that post doesn’t suit my cat at all. I mean, he does do those things, but he isn’t particularly sarcastic. I just wrote it like that for some kind of comedic effect, really. So, if you ever meet my cat, he might not speak like that. But, hey. What’s the use in being totally accurate?

Anyway. Back to it, Writing 101 – I’ll be both glad and sad when you’re over. And thanks to everyone who’s been reading my posts, and to those who made Day 2 the most popular! :)

Writing 101: Day 13, Compose a Series of Vignettes

Written in response to The Daily Post’s latest Writing 101 offering, Finding Everyday Inspiration. This is Day 13’s prompt, and I’m aiming to complete each day of the course.

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Imagine a long voyage, out at sea. The water is calm for the first few weeks of the journey with not a raincloud in sight. Everything is normal, and life goes on. The crewmen go about their business manning the ship, and no one expects that anything could go wrong. After all, what harm is there in that silky ocean? What could possibly happen to them while the waters are that calm?

But then, the weather begins to gradually change. Imagine that one day, the waves start to get a little rougher. Picture the crew, previously optimistic, stopping their tasks and questioning their surroundings. On day two, the ship is still doing fine; the waves aren’t particularly dangerous at this point. But the crew, natural pessimists, realise straight away that the ship is going to sink. They know that a storm is coming, and they brace themselves for something terrible.

On the third day of changing weather, the rain comes. It’s a mere trickle at first; hardly enough to soak their aching bones. On day four, it gets heavier. The ship begins to tumble over the heaving waves, and the crew struggle to keep the ship’s masts afloat the grey sky.

On day five, the rain is heavy. Very heavy. Imagine a panicking crew; a dark, miserable sky. Imagine wet boards, a soggy mast, and a slippery deck. Imagine the captain, stood at his post, calling out orders to his crew with as much of a bellow as he can manage. But imagine also the fact that the crew can barely hear him over the rain.

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Back in university, we had what was known as “Fresher’s Flu”. And when I say we had, I mean that everyone – without fail – got it at some point in that first year of study. It was something to do with all the new students, the hundreds and thousands of germs being brought into the area.

I got it. Being single and lonely at the time, I spent most of my days in bed. I barely ate. It was the most dramatic “flu” I’d ever experienced in my life. I thought I was going to die. My ship was sinking, and fast.

We all got it in years two and three, as well. Around September/October, maybe even November, we’d all one-by-one come down with terrible colds, making us paralytic for days and giving us plenty of excuses to skip lectures. We’d all laugh whenever someone got it. But then, when we got it, suddenly we stopped laughing.

But eventually, the waves would stop crashing and the rain would subside. And then university life would continue, with the ordeal of Fresher’s Flu over with for a whole year.

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I work in a college. I started the job in May, when everyone was settled into their own routines and most students were wrapping up their studies. I got sick within a couple of weeks of working there. But it wasn’t even Fresher’s Week. It was near the end of the academic year. Everyone should have been immune to the flu by that point. So how the hell could I have picked it up?

It wasn’t so bad. I remember one day of feeling like a sinking ship, my eyes watering and my throat burning. I survived it, though. No one had any sympathy for me. “Everyone gets sick when they start working here,” I was told, multiple times. “You’ll get through it.”

And that I did. It was over with pretty quickly, if I remember rightly. I never got ill again. My ocean was calm, not a cloud in sight amongst the blue of the sky.

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The new academic year started a few weeks ago. New students flooded into the college to enrol, bringing with them ne, and often vicious, germs.

It all started on Saturday. Despite feeling fine on Friday, I woke up on that dreadful morning and felt a tickling in my throat. I’d been sitting idle on a calm ocean for weeks and weeks. I wasn’t feeling bad, but it was a surprise. I hadn’t been expecting it.

On Sunday, I still wasn’t feeling too bad. But the tickle was getting worse. Throughout the day, it grew and grew until I couldn’t ignore it. And it was then that I realised I was going to sink. There was no hope for me.

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The world is ending. The waves are so high and the sky is so dark. And my nose won’t stop running. And I can’t breathe through it. And I keep coughing. And there’s nowhere else I want to be than deep inside my warm bed, watching old Doctor Who episodes and drinking milkshake.

Just so you know, I have Fresher’s Flu. And I’m pretty sure I’m dying.