#GSList Nomination

GSListHi again!

I was nominated by haruzuzu to do this thing called “#GSList”. It doesn’t appear to be an award, but instead just a challenge. I don’t know much more about it, nor am I really involved in the communities that do these kinds of things, but it sounds fun, so I thought I’d have a go anyway! So, let’s have a look at the rules:

  • Make a list of the 10 things that make your life happy
  • Tag your post with hashtag #GSList
  • Use the #GSList picture in your post
  • Nominate five (or more) blogs you want

I’m not going to be nominating anyone myself, simply because I don’t know of many blogs right now! (It’s a stupid excuse, I know.) But if you want to do this challenge yourself, please feel free – and I’ll link to your post here, if you let me know!

I always like an excuse to be positive. Here are my ten things:

  1. Ice cream. My family have been consuming way too much ice cream this summer, but in all honesty, it’s really heightened our spirits! There’s nothing quite like enjoying food – as I’ve already said – and ice cream has never yet let me down. (Except for the Irish liquer-flavoured stuff I got at a restaurant a few months ago… that was vile. To me.)
  2. Having a job. I know, I know, I’m letting myself grow up too fast. But it’s so nice having a job! Not to mention the fact that it’s the kind of job – almost exactly – that I want to be doing right now. All that could improve it is my own confidence and if the role could be full-time permanent rather than part-time temporary. But we’ll see what happens.
  3. My cats. They say that stroking a cat helps if you’re in a low mood. And it really does! We have two cats, Mischief and Rascal, and they are both really amazing. Rascal is twelve years old now and a bit doddery, but he’s the most loveable thing. And so soft! Also, last week my aunt, who lives just down the road, got a new cat, Summer, and she’s even more adorable (sorry Rasc!). I find myself looking forward to getting home every day just so I can snuggle with a cat. Cats are awesome.
  4. Flavoured handwashes and shower gels. A bit of a strange one, but I look forward to washing, showering and bathing now just because of all the wonderful (and weird) scents bathtime things have these days. We had a cola bottle-flavoured handwash the other week, and it made me so ridiculously happy whenever I used it. I also had some marshmallow-flavoured shower creme, which was so smooth and so lovely. I want more. Every week. I wish it were all edible…
  5. New music. A bit of a cliché, I know, but I’m really getting back into music recently, and listening through headphones has always been the most amazing part. The new album by Nightwish, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, is really quite good. And Lifehouse’s new one, Out of the Wasteland, has really captivated me – I can’t stop listening to it! What’s even better is that I have a 40min-1hr drive to work, so I can listen to a full album while driving. Great for those slow mornings.
  6. Going Geocaching. My boyfriend and I live for the days where we can spend a whole day Geocaching. It really is the highlight of our free time, and it’s so great getting so much fresh air after living such a sheltered life for so long. (What can I say, I gave myself a crappy adolescence.) It’s rewarding and satisfying, and also really frustrating when it wants to be. But it’s a great bonding activity – my parents are even into it, somewhat! – and a great way to explore the world.
  7. Being nice to myself. I feel like I’m finally getting to grips with the whole “love yourself” thing. I’m beginning to understand my flaws, to appreciate them and work with them. I know what needs improving, and I know what I don’t want to change. It’s very nice not feeling constantly down with myself – something I experienced almost all the time from the age of 11 onwards. I’m not entirely satisfied yet, but I am now starting to be a lot more forgiving towards myself when things go wrong. It’s a great thing.
  8. Hot chocolate every evening. I find that having one before I go to bed really helps put me in a better mood for sleeping. I’m beginning to include it in my daily routine, and it gives me something to look forward to. For those wondering, I have Galaxy milk chocolate. It’s so smooth!
  9. My hamster calendar. I’ve had them for a couple of years now, but this particular hamster calendar has made me really happy. The pictures are so cute, and turning to a new month is really special. I still wish I had my own hamster, but having the calendar almost makes up for it. Having it hung up in my room really brightens the mood.
  10. My boyfriend. La-di-dah, I know, cliché, soppy, whatever. But he really brightens my life. Because we live apart, I have something to look forward to every other week – and because he lives somewhere else, we have two cities to regularly explore. He’s so kind, forgiving, and I really don’t appreciate him enough.

Well, this post has really gone on long enough now! Thank you to haruzuzu for nominating me, and I hope to see other people accepting this challenge.

See you soon!

Cross-Stitch: Let’s Finish Santa! (Stage 5)

Hey everyone!

So I caved and broke my 15-post winning streak. Wah! It doesn’t matter, though – I’m proud of the posts I did write, and I know that I can at least keep up 2 weeks of posting every day now. Improvements!

I’ve actually been craving cross-stitch recently. With August coming to a close, I’ve been itching to finish my Santa Claus project – or, at least, make significant progress on it – before December. Of course, with how much time it’s taken me to do this much, I don’t think it’ll happen, but it’d be stupid for me to not try.

For those who have forgotten, this is the project I’m working on:

santafrombookIt’s the December offering from Sue Cook’s Bumper Cross-Stitch Collection. It’s quite a large project, and I don’t really have any reason for doing it other than it’ll be a nice keep-sake for Christmas. I started it before Christmas last year but barely got anywhere. And now, yet again, I feel the year trickling away before me…

I did quite a bit of stitching yesterday with this newfound motivation. My Santa now looks like this:

Santa 5If you look at the finished design, I’ve actually done a lot! Next up I’ll be doing his hand, then his boots, and finally his coat, before doing a bit of backstitch and then moving onto Mrs Claus. The red did get quite tiring, although it looks really great to have such a large chunk done. Observant people will notice a slight difference between my work here and my previous update – I actually did a load wrong and had to unstitch it, which added more time onto my already sluggish attempts. Wah!

I’m going to set myself a mini-challenge for the duration of September: do at least an hour of stitching each day. That may not seem like much for some people, but it’s got to the point now where I go days and weeks without doing any. I’d like to dedicate at least some time to this project every day, just to see how far I can get to finishing it before Christmas. Who knows, we may have a Christmas miracle on our hands…

I’ll endeavour to post progress updates at least once a week. Let’s see how I do!

Day 15: Take a Chance on Me

I feel like we are all taking big chances, every day, by simply living.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past day, you’ll have heard about the Virginia shooting. Two innocent people lost their lives yesterday, and one guilty killer decided to throw away his. Death on live TV. It’s every TV reporter’s worst nightmare, I guess – being harmed while interviewing someone, particularly when reporting from a dangerous place. But I don’t think that it’s ever crossed anyone’s mind to worry that they could potentially die while in front of the camera. I certainly never expected it to happen.

Another incident. On the Saturday just gone, a vintage plane failed its manoeuvre and crashed into busy traffic on the A27 in Shoreham. It’s thought that eleven people have lost their lives, and the pilot is in a critical condition. It may have been an accident, but we aren’t positive yet. Those people driving down that road on that day didn’t expect that their lives would come to such a tragic end. They just went out for a drive. They weren’t aware that they were taking a chance by doing so.

I’m not writing this to spread around my opinions on gun laws, air show regulations, or disgust at these events. It’s just opened my eyes that little bit wider to the danger of the outside world. We take chances every day – and yet, we don’t necessarily realise that we’re taking them.

I’m a pessimist – I know that. But I can’t help but feel scared about all the risks we’re put through each day. By just getting in a car we’re risking being involved in an accident – whether involving cars, cyclists or people. By just being around other people we’re risking attracting the attention of someone who wishes to do us harm. By being outside, we’re risking being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Of course, it’s unlikely, still, that bad things will happen to us. Both these events, plus every other bad thing that happens each day, haven’t been regular occurrences. Not all of us will be involved in road accidents in our lives; and certainly, most of us won’t be mercilessly shot. And the rest. But we never know when these things are likely to happen. We simply trust that they won’t, and go on with our business as normal.

I just can’t get my head around it all.

Day 14: Only Sixteen

It was the first – and practically last – house party I ever went to. I spent what felt like the whole night stood on my own in the hallway, saying nothing, interacting with no one, and just watching as everyone else got more and more drunk. I didn’t like any alcohol then, so goodness knows what I was drinking. Lemonade, I guess. I remember that hallway clearly: the stairs, the front door, the coat hooks. The people. People everywhere.

Occasionally someone I knew would appear, and I’d go with them to another part of the house. For a while, at the beginning of the evening, we all stood in the kitchen/conservatory and someone took some awful photos. Again, I don’t remember what I was drinking, but I definitely had a cup.

This is who I was when I was sixteen. A loner. A party-pooper. I remember feeling fine until people started arriving. I remember wanting to feel – but, of course, not feeling – fine when all my friends went off with other friends. I remember just going along with it, despite being quite bored, and even scared. I can do this, I thought. I can do this whole party-thing. I can be a social person. I want to be like them.

I’d like to tell you that I was a social person that night. But I wasn’t. I just stood around in the same place for most of the night and barely spoke to anyone. I don’t remember being included much, and I certainly don’t remember particularly enjoying it. I just wanted to return home – to my novel, probably. To my imaginary friends. To those characters who were also sixteen, but who lead much different lives to me.

I probably looked like an idiot, just standing there. I still do that nowadays – just stand there, watching, occasionally laughing while much more social people interact with each other. (And, often, forget my presence.) I’m glad, in a way, that that part of me has remained, because it makes me feel like I’m still me. But, all the same, how strange I must have seemed. Must still seem.

I did speak to one person – one person I didn’t already know, that is – that night. And I’d like to say that I did return home to my novel and continue writing about my imaginary friends with my thoughts in the clouds. But it was my first boyfriend who I met that night. We talked a bit, exchanged names, and then spoke on Facebook the next day. And then that whole “growing up” process began.

I still wish I could go back. Back to the time before that party, before the complications of having to find jobs, pay car insurance, and make my own dentist appointments. Sixteen was a strange age. Old enough for some independence, but innocent enough for my future self to be envious of. I wrote a 100,000 word novel when sixteen. I took Art and Music in sixth form. I watched Friends all the time and went to bed with music and headphones every night. What do I do now? Dream about being sixteen again. It’s strange.

Of course, I do prefer being this age. Because I’m not depressed all the time anymore. I’m a tad more social and confident. And I spend a lot more time outside my house now, which is great. Being outside is great.

And I haven’t been to a house party since that night I met my first boyfriend. Which suits me just fine.

Day 13: No, Thank You

Due.

Don’t you think it’s a horrible word? Due. However, dew, as in the tiny sweet drops left on grass in the mornings, is a nice word. It’s all flowy. It knows that it’s cute. But due? Due is just pretentious. Arrogant. Not cute at all.

Today’s prompt by The Daily Post, No, Thank You, asks us to describe one word that we would ban from general use. Now, I thought long and hard about this. Well, as long and hard as my tired little brain could manage, anyway (I always get round to these prompts late!). Unfortunately, however, I just couldn’t think of my go-to answer for this. Some people will say moist, or wet. Some will say disease, or vermin. And I know that I have an equivalent word – a word that I hate hearing, and would love to ban from the dictionary. But for some reason, my mind’s gone blank.

So, instead, I’m going to pitch another word that has been annoying me recently. And that word is due. Not jew, or dew, just due. Due is a devilish word; tricksy, dishonest, unreliable. Due is the laziest word on the planet, and I’ve never known due help anyone.

Picture this. You’re standing at a bus stop. There’s one of those electronic status boards that tells you how long until a bus will arrive. Next to every bus is an expected time. Next to your bus, however, is the word DUE.

Due means that the bus is coming. Due means that, any minute now, the bus will arrive. But due also means that the bus is late. Due means that, like it or not, the bus is going to take it’s sweet time arriving. Because once a bus is due, it stays due until it arrives. There’s no LATE option after due. If the bus doesn’t arrive, it’s just removed from existence.

If something is due, then that just means that a small window of allowed time has opened. Due just means that something is closer and closer to being late. Like the unborn baby who’s currently due but hasn’t yet showed his face. Like the unreliable friend, who said they’d arrive bang on six fifteen, but who, come six fifteen, still hasn’t arrived. And like the email you’ve been expecting that doesn’t appear when it’s supposed to.

Due creates that anxiety. Due makes you wait. Due makes the world stop. Due is a horrible, horrible word.

And, and, and. You know what else? Due is one letter away from die. And that’s really bad.