Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Odd socks

I've still got nearly every sock I've ever had since I was 16.

When one wore out, I would keep its twin; many of them did wear out, though, so perhaps a more accurate comment is, I still have half of the socks I've had since I was 16.

I wore odd socks for a while too.

The biggest hit to my collection, came when my sister went to university. Unlike myself, who lived in dorms for two years and stayed at home for two years (because it was local), she moved further afield and went straight into a house share. We had often borrowed and shared socks between ourselves, and I was just as sneaky as she was about it. Aaand, we're both kind of last-minute people. So, as she was packing the night before, I'm pretty certain sorting out whose socks exactly were who's wasn't high on her priority list. If she had some of mine, clean or dirty, at the time she left, she took them with her.

Then she and her housemates ended up treating all socks as communal too, and a matching pair was cause for a celebratory lunch; by the time she left, it was also several housemates later. Again, she was packing at the last minute, but seeing as this journey would be made by car, rather than the van Dad had hired the first time around, the goal was to (aim to) travel light. Things like odd socks got left behind, and then they were gone forever!


I still have a LOT of socks.

About 200, just to pull a figure out of thin air.

To be clear, that's 200 spare socks. I have about 20 pairs of socks that I actually wear. I switched to black socks, rather than coloured/patterned ones, about 18 months ago, but my odd sock collection was already well established.

I do have them set aside "for a purpose" -- for sock puppets! Although to be honest, I was saving them before I thought of that.

I remember the story behind almost all of them. Most of them were Christmas extras, when my socks were starting to run low (Mum didn't know I was hoarding them...). I remember which ones are my sister's that I never gave back. In some cases, I remember what happened to the opposing one: the red stripey one got a huge hole on the top of the foot because I pulled at a loose thread that wasn't so loose after all. The Little Miss Sunshine sock wore a hole through the bottom, after my shoe had worn a hole through it (actually, that happened several times... I generally tried to make shoes last longer than they should do). The socks with my name on were rescued from my sister's clutches a few days before she went to Australia. After they were washed, I put one of them in her case, with a note saying:

Uh-oh! A stowaway!
Make sure you bring 
me back safely.

...and then snaffled it back amongst the ditching of stuff when her case was too heavy at the airport. My  socks have memories.

But, I'm moving to San Francisco. Hopefully not permanently, but who can tell? For all intents and purposes it might as well be. At the very least it will be several years. And, moving stuff costs money. Lots of money. Plus, the apartment is smaller than here, etc.

More to the point, let's be realistic. I ... don't need ... 200 spare socks (that was difficult to say). Yes, I may someday want to make sock puppets. Yes, I may one day have children with whom to make sock puppets. But... probably not a whole school full. And honestly, for most Mums I know, just getting through the day with a vague hope of clean dishes, clean undies for tomorrow, something semi-nutricious for dinner, and, (if you cross your fingers and are very, very fortunate), having a focused ten minutes of concentration on homework from their children, is generally about as good as it gets. Everyone wants to be the sock puppet/flower picking/snowman making/telling old family stories Mum/parent, and, in the families I have witnessed, I have yet to see it actually happen. But, even if I did have a sock puppet moment, what are the chances that I couldn't locate one of my, or Pete's, socks for the occasion?

I could use the socks for other reasons, such as dusting mitts. But would I still need 200? Likely not. And again -- I could just nominate one of my current pairs of socks, or one of Pete's, for the occasion.

But, when I think about throwing those socks away, it makes me sad. Apart from anything else, it's the death of the sock-puppet dream. The death of the dream of being that Mum, maybe. The death of all of the potential I'd poured into it, waiting, wishing and hoping, for someday.

Death is sad.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

This happens. This happens every time.

This happens. This happens every time.

I start something off with gusto, and I work on it for the first chunk of time. Depending on the thing, and my motivation, and the deadlines, the chunk of time varies, but the pattern remains the same, and it's rarely ever more than a couple of days at the most.

Honestly, the more I can accomplish in this initial burst, the better, and ideally, projects would be so short that they can be done and dusted before I run out of steam.

Because run out of steam I do!

It starts with a slowing of progress, then the novelty wears off, so it's harder work (plus I do the easy stuff first, to gain momentum), then something comes up  - life gets in the way - there's always a fire to put out. Then that's over, but I've broken my momentum, so I now don't want to continue, then I try and drag myself to do it but it doesn't work so well, so now I'm carrying that heavy mental weight and not seeing any fruit from it, then I get overwhelmed, then I get discouraged, then I think the whole thing was a stupid idea to begin with, then I ignore it and hope it will go away, and at the same time, "if I don't face it, it won't hurt me, right?" Then I see the deadline looming, so this picking it up and mentally trying to force myself to do it increases, but still for little-to-no fruit, lather, rinse, repeat, until the deadline is HERE where I start again, for a bit, and then it's HERE and I'm extremely focussed and people need to either be helpful or get out of my way, because I can't afford to lose focus, but I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off, and not always in a good way.

So anyway, that's happened. Hit the slump with wedding planning arranging. Making a "done list" was incredibly helpful. A to-do list... not so much.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Not My Kitchen

The friends I live with have done some alterations to their kitchen recently. Not remodelling or anything, but some adjustments. It started when they got a fridge-freezer, to replace their under-the-counter fridge that had seen better days. Doing this necessitated removing the small section of counter that had covered the smaller fridge, plus a small upper cupboard. Which necessitated finding new homes for the things that had been in that cupboard. Which necessitated a bit of condensing and re-arranging of items in other cupboards.

The piece of counter that was removed, had been the most-used piece of counter for food prep, and the rest of the counters were crowded. So, this past weekend, when I was at my Mum's, they rearranged the entire most of the kitchen, moving items into different cupboards, throwing some things out and moving the appliances.

The freed-up counter space looks marvelous! But... from my perspective (and let me be clear, it is only my perspective)... it still doesn't work. The cupboards that didn't get rearranged, in my opinion, should have been. Personally, it seems like half the kitchen now works really well, and the other half... still needs improving.

I made a couple of small changes -- they got changed back. This happened a couple of times over, until we both knew it was deliberate. Then I had to take a step back and say to myself, It's not my kitchen. Let it go. We could have had a passive-aggressive power-struggle over where they go, but what would be the point? It's not my kitchen.

But I don't want to do the same thing with Brenda. I want to be able to move things, and honestly, I want to be able to do it without having to ask.

I think Pete and I are both self-aware enough to be able to say "what is your reason for wanting to do it this way?" so that even if we do fight about it, we're fighting about the real issues not the veneer. Brenda and Pete and I have had the chat about moving things, so I know I'm worrying for nothing, but still.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Make a Plan Monday -- 50 in a fortnight

Mum and I went to a wedding fair yesterday, and I think the challenge is now on. Vendors have started saying, "Oh, you're cutting it fine now, not having it arranged." So. Challenge time. Let's make a game of it! Mum's going away for a fortnight, and, having just been to the wedding fair, motivation is now up. I'm challenging myself to do 50 wedding things in that time. So, 50 phone calls, emails, decisions, conversations, arrangements made or quotes received. Anything that will actually give us traction, not busy-work.

1. Text Photographer to arrange time to meet. (My mate from church, which is why I'm ok texting.)
2. Looked through 30+ menus.
3. On finding nothing suitable, wrote out food wish-list.
4. Made drinks wish-list.
5. Text Mum re: do we need wedding insurance? + Follow-up phone-call, conclusion is "probably yes, do some research into other options for it."
6. Went through Mum's (extensive) list of concerns/queries and gave answers to almost all of them; have marked ones without answers for follow-up.
7. Went through all leaflets acquired from wedding fair, + all those I had previously, discarded anything irrelevant to us, paper-clipped like with like and labelled the items (e.g. all the leaflets about flowers together), and have sorted each into the relevant section of the wedding book. For perspective, the pile acquired today was nearly 3in thick.
8. Wrote extensive to-do list (not as good as a Done-list like this, but I needed to record them somewhere).
9. Collated/organised/labelled nearly all info in one section of wedding book (Before the Wedding). Have not so far included all the info about attire, but that's probably as big a task again.*
10. Messaged my friend who's doing the cakes to ask if they will be delivered or need collecting.
11. Found out she delivers -- score!
12. Message my cousin to see if she still makes lingerie.
13. Looked up hotel for first night. It doesn't look that impressive (but it is very close to the train station).
14. Tried to ring hotel to see if they have a bridal suite -- no reply.
15. Looked up attractions in the place we're thinking of going to for our honeymoon. There's loads of things I actually want to do in that place! Maybe too many -- we'll easily have earned a holiday by then, and we don't want to be running here, there and everywhere all day every day. But at any rate, the decision to go there has been confirmed.
16. Found a nice hotel to stay in.

*I thought I'd made a follow-up post to the one where I mentioned the Wedding Book, but I've just checked and I didn't -- apologies. Yes, I went with a book in the end, not a binder. I had a tabbed notebook, which I've repurposed, with sections as follows: Before the Wedding, Rehearsal Dinner and Hen-Do, Day of the Wedding and Ceremony, Reception (needs it's own tab!), Honeymoon and Emigrating. Now I've been using it for a little while, I've noticed that some extra tabs may be useful, namely: General (currently I'm just tucking those things into the front of the book, but it's only semi-working), and USA Reception (we're videoing the day, and having a party to show the video off once we get back stateside, but that probably needs a bit of organising, too). I have another of the tabbed books (the same as the current one), so I might see if I can take a couple of the dividers out and insert them into my book. The dividers are moveable, but I've already written contents pages at the front of each section -- I'll see what I can do.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Feeling nervous

Pete and I had a long chat today, mostly about gift lists. I think they're the height of bad manners and will do pretty much ... a lot of stuff ... not to have one. I don't want my wedding to have an "entrance fee". That is kinda how I see it.

Pete can see my point, but not as strongly as I see it. He can also see Brenda's point -- she's (by the sound of it) driving the "you need a gift list" van pretty heavily. I'm going to talk about that with her.

But, I'm nervous.

This is the first time, I think, we've had a major difference of opinion.

Partly it's cultural, perhaps. Maybe there's also an element of "tradition for tradition's sake" (which, in general, I am not a fan of). In my case, it's the way I was brought up, so there's definitely an element of wanting to please my Dad and my late Grandmother about it, coupled with, having considered the matter from an admittedly biased perspective, I have found no reason to change my view, but only to strengthen it.

I especially hate the idea of sending the gift list with the invitation. And yet, isn't it putting more stress and hassle on guests to have them look it up somewhere? Isn't it better just not to have one? To ask for recipes and photos and such instead, that don't have a financial cost?

We'll see, I guess.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Plans change -- 4-way call.

Pete was very helpful handling my dilemmas mentioned yesterday. He helped me break it down into what needs to be done now, and what needs to be done later. It's not the worst thing in the world if I ship half-finished craft projects or books I want to read later. He's pointed me to recruitment agencies rather than struggling through trying to apply for jobs entirely by myself. Maybe stepping back a little from facebook and the internet, even if not completely.

We had the 4-way call with Pete, Brenda, my Mum and I recently as well. We talked about the balance of risks with having a large crowd at the wedding: either, we need to book the venue and pay the deposit, and risk having a room for 250 people and have 60 people show up and look lost in it, or we need to delay finding a venue until we have replies back from invitations, and risk that we won't be able to find anywhere at much shorter notice. It's a risk either way, especially given that, due to the international nature of mine and Pete's relationship, there are likely to be quite a few who aren't able to make the flight, but we have no idea how many "quite a few" is.

So, we're sending the invites early (next week, if we can), and are putting "reception details to follow".

I hope people are willing to commit that far in advance!

In other news, the call went well, we spoke for about an hour, although we were all surprisingly nervous! I even got changed and put on make up specifically for the occasion, and it's my own Mum! (I have spoken to Brenda without getting changed or wearing makeup lots of times.) Mum and Brenda were both a bit nervous about meeting each other, I think. But it went well. We recapped all of the decisions we've made so far, we got the details about the invites sorted, we have the provisional details about when Pete is coming over for Christmas, and we've agreed to speak nearer the time about all the details relating to the week before the wedding.

Everything sounds good so far! And I am happy to have one thing to focus on regarding the wedding, not 7000 or so. Invites. I just need to do the invites, and we'll worry about the rest later.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Make-A-Plan Monday -- Overwhelmed!!

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.


Monday. 1st September. Time for a fresh start. Go put the kettle on, and then come join me at the dining table. If you could take notes, that will enormously helpful.

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.

As I posted recently, I've been overwhelmed and taking it easy on myself. This has worked out at taking 2 weeks away, and I feel better for it, but I've realised that now is the make-or-break moment. Either I find a way to make a schedule for blogging and make this work, or I give up on the idea because I'll have left it too long. I still think the idea has potential, so I'm here now. I'll write a bunch of posts up in advance but I'll aim not to miss a day in September, and see where that gets me. I'll also aim not to post about blogging again -- I know it's boring.

Right now, I am overwhelmed, and I really need a plan for how to move forward.

Let me outline the (other) things I need to be doing:

1) Planning a wedding. Perhaps I'd be better to say, arranging a wedding. Actually ringing people up to find out about things, making decisions about booking things, going ahead and booking it. SOON. The actual planning part, the dreaming, the visionary part of it, the fun bit... is mostly over. Just left with a long hard slog. This actually ringing up and booking stuff business does not come easily to me. Some people are detail-oriented. I am not one of those people. I get intimidated using the phone, basically to talk to anyone, but mostly to strangers. I don't really have a clear awareness of timelines and stuff. I don't know how to break a project down that easily.

I established, last weekend, with the help of my detail-oriented Mama, a sort-of timeline. The wedding is in April. I want to send the invites out with Christmas cards. I don't know the last posting day (I've just contacted the Royal Mail requesting this information via their website), but let's say the beginning of December for international mail. Well, if I want people to give it adequate consideration before getting lost in the Christmas shuffle, it's going to have to go out AT LEAST two weeks before then. Maybe more. Brenda wants a pile of them to send out in her own Christmas cards, so I'm going to need to send them to her during November (the earlier, the better). Which means that I'm going to need to get them back from the printers by the end of October. Which means I need to get the final design and information sorted by the end of September (at a complete guess). Which means I need to see a venue ASAP. Which means we need to do a budget to figure out how much we have to spend on a venue. Like, yesterday. BUT, I won't know the price until I've been to see it/been in touch with them. AND, I don't know what size of venue we'll need until we send out the invites and get the replies back (there might be quite a lot of people not able to come, especially the international ones. Why can't I just put "Reception to follow (details tba)" and then make an announcement on the day (not me personally, but still). ??

2) Wedding Book. I know. This seems silly. Just do the thing already! But I need some place to corral all of the information, to separate the done's from the still-to-do's. The plans I have for the wedding book are ... high quality. Excellent plans. I've put a lot of thought into this one, and I really think that once it's finished, it will be really good. Really good. Once it's finished. There is a LOT more sticking-and-gluing than I thought there would be.

3) I need a job. Neeeeeed a job. Something to get me out of the house, get me meeting a few people, get some money. Both for now and for savings. (Currently I pay my bills in kind, and I can go a surprisingly long time without much actual cash. But not indefinitely.) I get SO overwhelmed at the thought of the job-application process. Completely and utterly convinced I'll fail the interview if I even get that far. Not-quite-knowing which jobs to apply for, or how to write the application form to give me the best chances; it's all shots in the dark. Plus, the phone thing.

4) Cleaning the house. I'm a long way from perfect, but there's a lot of stuff that if I don't do them, no one else will. I defrosted the freezer this weekend, I've cleaned out and labelled the food cupboards, that kind of thing. I want to make life better for my friends if I can, and leave their house running a little more smoothly than when I entered it, as repayment for having me. Plus, the more good habits I build up now, the easier it will be when I move in with Pete, because I'm not starting from nothing.

5) My friend has written a book, and she's just signed on with a publisher, so I need to finish the proof-reading ASAP. I've done about 20% of it so far.

6) Getting ready to move overseas. Packing up my stuff, of which some is here and some is at my Mum's. Purging my stuff down. Doing things like, reading all the books I haven't got round to, the ones that aren't "keep forever" books (ironically, the keep-forever books are a lot easier to handle. I'll just give those to Pete to take back with him when he visits). Finishing off ALL off the partially completed/have-a-really-good-idea-but-haven't-actually-begun-them-yet projects and crafts that are lying around the place (but ditching (almost) all the supplies I don't have an actual project in mind for).

7) This one sounds a bit weird, but... just being actively present. With Pete, so wedding plans don't take over our entire relationship. For my friends, mostly on facebook. I know that 95% of statuses are cool but I'd live fine if I didn't see it, and they would too. But the other 5%... the ones where people are genuinely having difficulties and need an encouraging comment or a prayer, straight away? Also, I'm kinda link-sharer friend. Whom I never wanted to be. But, there's so much occurring in the world, in the news and in back-waters corners. Stuff to change our ideals over and maybe, just maybe, get a better world in exchange. There's so many petitions to sign, too. That sort of thing. I could step back from it, but if I'm needed, I'm needed now, surely?

This post has taken a lot of time to write, and I am calmer for having written it down -- hooray! Looking at the list, I hope I can begin to prioritise and actually begin to make traction in the world this coming week. I'll keep you updated.

1st September. New start. Bring it on.