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I have totally lost the habit of posting to journals, but I am still alive. Life continues to be ridiculously busy both work and socially. I have invites to three weddings in August - which is both lovely and a bit eeek, because time to hide away with a book is a vital part of survival.

Anyway, what's new...

Good stuff - boss sprung an annual review on me last week, which was fine because he thinks I'm awesomely amazing. I felt it wise not to argue with such a summary :-)

Not so good stuff - Hubby's father is rapidly declining healthwise and the family have been stressed with trying to figure the best way forward for his care. It doesn't help that he isn't inclined to cooperate with medical support. Also one of my nephew's is causing us major concer on both mental and physical health issues. I seem to spend a lot of time on the phone with relatives making soothing noises as there's little I can do to fix any of these problems.

Good stuff - my holiday to Vietnma and Cambodia was totally amazing. I was so tempted to just keep travelling for ever.

More good stuff - my boys are both healthy, employed and happy, and Hubby is coping OK with the whole Dad thing.

More good stuff - I have freelance editing coming out my ears so maybe next year there will be more travelling.

And finally it isn't stupidly hot today and there will be curry and beer with my boys. Life is good.
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So new job has resulted in an invitation to be part of the senior strategy team. Eeek - scary. First meeting is mid-March, which gives me two months to get over the whole 'What me? Are you sure?' insecurity I'm feeling. There's some seriously talented people on this team - feeling well out of my depth now. *deep breath*

In other news, our lovely niece who has been lodging with us for best part of a year has found a delightful one-room cottage to rent much nearer her place of work. So she is moving out today. We will really miss her as she is very bouncy and chatty. (On the other hand, we won't miss hearing her come home at 4am after a night clubbing.) We've had two other house guests this week, so tomorrow the house will seem very, very quiet with just the three of us.

Decided to blow off the creative writing day school today. The morning is dedicated to critiquing a story called 'Bullet in the Brain'. Seriously, why would I want to spend a Saturday morning trawling over a story that focuses on a senseless act of violence? I was in two minds about going anyway because this week has been crazy busy and I have a pile of OU editing sitting on my desk. Reading the prep for the day clinched it. Also last time the other students mostly sat around whinging about the course and the tutor. This course gives back what you put in - it's a level 3 university course, the tutors don't expect to spoon feed students at this stage. Yep, I just can't hack any this today.

Instead of that I'm going to see Life of Pi tonight. I will critique that instead - if I don't fall asleep. Did I mention it has been crazy busy this week?
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So I kind of have a new job. It's a bit complicated because I'm taking on a new part-time role while remaining employed by my current employer. They are renting me out ;-) This actually makes a lot of sense because the part-time role may end after a year or two, so this way I have the security of a full-time permanent contract. Also the new role reports to my current boss, which is also a good thing.

Anyway, new job is fun challenge - a much wider admin role working with 80+ churches across the UK. Not sure how it will pan out at the moment, but I get to attend some pretty cool meetings and mingle with some interesting people. Meanwhile my assistant is gearing up to taking on some of the conference and event management I've been doing so I actually have time for this new role. We also have a lot of connections into Russia and the various countries that make up the former Soviet Union so I'm hoping there just might be an overseas trip or two along the way.

In other news I've just become the Company Secretary for a brand new charitable trust for the social action arm of the work we do. Yay for Very Important Label. Not so yay for the extra work. Still, it gives me good grounds to argue for a pay rise come April since my boss commented that a CS role is board level equivalent - not that we pay our board of directors, but still.

So basically life is very very busy. Lots of new opportunities and fun things. Our staff team is growing rapidly. My volunteer team is having a bit of a shake up, but the new folks coming on board are great, and it feels right to have some change.

In other news, the creative writing course continues on. I'm waiting for the mark on my first ever radio script. Over Christmas four small playlets (teeny tiny things) were performed to an audience of 500+ so that was pretty amazing. Can't say I'm enjoying the course all that much - student interaction in my tutor group is pretty much zip, which is frustrating. Chatting with others students about writing is half the fun of a course like this.

I'm still freelancing for the Open University although at the moment I have two live contracts but they are yet to send me the work. I'm really hoping both lots of work doesn't arrive at the same time. On the plus side, other job is so busy I haven't really had time to edit even if the work had turned up.

Talking of travel, I think I need to make plans for a long weekend away somewhere. Our major vacation this year is in June and I definitely need some down time before then. I'm thinking somewhere in Italy - never been to Florence and I've heard Verona is wonderful. Then again, I've always wanted to visit Moscow. So many choices, so little time!

So that's me. How are you all?
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Happy New Year to one and all. I hope your celebrations were fun and that the year ahead is awesome in many many ways.

Now the doh! I'm supposed to be posting pics of Daniel to a lj community today (and yesterday!) Tried to log in to lj just now and it is down again - at least down in my part of the lj world. Does anyone else have access? If you do, is it possible for you to post an apology on my behalf to the Daniel pic community?

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Wow, it's been a while since I posted - blame twitter and also a really busy November. Life continues to be bizarre. I recently did an event where I ran the sound desk alongside a guy who is Daniel Craig's stand in. Very weird - he really did look like Daniel Craig. I'm still smiling about the fact that 'James Bond' told me I'm awesome. Then this weekend I did an event with Carrie Grant and Jo Enright - both lovely people. I am now smiling about the fact that David Grant offered to make me a cup of tea when I went into the green room to check everyone was OK. What a sweet guy.

When I took this job I never imagined odd things like this happening. It is kinda fun.

In other news, Hubby is working like crazy. Various kitchen appliances are dying. Eldest son got through the next round of his navy application (final stage in in March) and is also now licenced to drive honking big motorbikes. Youngest son is settled into his new job in Bedford. It has rained a lot. The cat is less than impressed with the rain.

This weekend I am off to the Cotswolds for a three day retreat. I can't wait - peace and quiet, here I come.


Oct. 8th, 2012 07:02 am
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Life continues to be crazy busy, but yay - my new creative writing course has started. Loving it so far. I have loads of story ideas from the first couple of weeks' exercises. Now to decide which one to run with for the first assignment. This is a key decision because the second assignment is to write a script based on the story. I've done some fun exercises on conflict, though, so that's really useful.

In other news, work is busy, busy, but Hubby and I are off on holiday for a week next Wednesday. Can't wait for that. The Philippines trip was fun, but not really a holiday. We are really looking forward to having time to ourselves to just chill and sightsee. First, though, there are three days of events in the building and today we have a big clean-up from an event last night. Never a dull moment!

Tomorrow my youngest son is graduating from uni so we are off to London for the ceremony. I'm looking forward to doing the proud mother thing :-)

I may post some snippets of fiction here some time soon. I've decided for NaNoWriMO, I'm going to spend the month editing the novel I wrote last year.

Oh yes, and i completed my tax return yesterday. Ghastly dratted thing - we hatessss it.
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It is Saturday and the only event taking place in my building is an internal one which means not only do I have the day off but my brain isn't secretly taking on the responsibility of what may or may not happen in my absence. Yay!

On the downside I have to suffer the annual family BBQ. I may take a notebook and start on the sit com I threaten to write every time I have to suffer Hubby's family en masse (sp?). On the plus side, we aren't hosting and he is driving which means that I can observe the lunacy from the far side of a wine glass.

In other news, I am changing job roles two days a week from January. Not sure yet how this will pan out, but I think it will be a good thing. That probably needs a separate post.

Meanwhile, I need to figure out what is coming up on TV this autumn - apparently there are new episodes of George Gently out there, Fringe is restarting in the US, so hopefully here too. What else is new and worth watching?

I also have to come up with an answer to the question: Do I want to see the Dredd movie? I can't decide - yes, it is Karl Urban, but no it is R-rated violence. Oh Karl, why can't you play the lead in some nice costume drama where you flounce around in frilly shirts and tight pants?
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Much to my surprise I've been caught up in the Olympic fever. It would be hard not to be really given loads of my friends have had tickets to events - and all come back raving about how wonderful the atmosphere has been. Plus Team GB has been doing really well and giving us lots to cheer about. Unusually for Britain, people are out and about smiling and enjoying themselves and being very upbeat. It has made me realise what a nation of whingers we have become. Is it too much to hope that the good mood carries on?

Not much else to report. It is fairly quiet at work which is good as I need to prep for Sept/Oct, which will be manic crazy months. I'm planning to get back into the writing habit this month. Also I'm going to download Scrivener and have a play with that. It has been recommended by a bunch of other writers and I feel I need something to keep track of all my half-written novels and stories.
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Looking back at my journal the last time i posted (June 9th) I commented that the next three weeks would be manic and then I was off to the Philippines. Well, the weeks were manic and I did go off to the Philippines. Just arrived back today.

It was a great trip with a great team of people. We got to do loads of stuff - our big project was decorating a rented house that Mercy in Action want to open as a boy's home in September. The tiled floor was filthy and the walls had been painted a depressing shade of dark sea green. We painted all the walls mostly white, but the lounge in a lovely pale blue and the kitchen in a cheerful yellow. Then our team artists set to work and painted some jungle book murals. I spent a lot of time scrubbing floor tiles, not being much use with a paintbrush!. It looked great when we'd done.

We also spent quite a bit of time with the street kids. Mercy in Action provides them with some basic education (with a view to getting them into school) as well as a place to shower and a hot meal (if they come along for the lessons). As a reward for attending lessons all week they get a Friday treat - we took them to a local swimming pool, which they loved.

Some of the older boys are now signed up for more formal lessons with another organisation and are doing really well - two of them passed exams while we were there, so there was much celebrating.

We joined Mercy in Action on their weekly prison visit - they keep a check on some youngsters aged 16 - 18, most of whom are waiting to go to court for fairly minor demeanours. They are locked up for hours in a small cell open to the elements. The Philippine justice system is very unfair to the poor - people often serve long jail terms before their case ever comes to court because they don't have the money for bail or for a legal representative to push for a court date.

There is loads more I could write, and i may try to post some regular updates from the diary I kept while out there. Meanwhile, I need to slot back into the routine of every day life. I'm hoping August will be fairly quiet, but whenever I say things like that, life is usually crazily busy.

Looking forward to seeing both my boys this weekend, and particularly catching up with G. who has finally passed his degree! Yay!
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My trip was great. Had a lovely relaxing time in BC with the lovely sg1jb. We stayed on the Sunshine Coast for a couple of nights which was just fabulous - great scenery, totally peaceful, good weather, good company. It was perfect.

All to soon I had to fly off to Redding, but the conference was awesome. Lots of great stuff to think about and implement in my job. It is quite something to be in a room of like minded people who, being admin folk, are all pretty multi-talented. Apparently admin is one of those jobs that attracts people who are jack-of-all-trade folks. Anyway, so it was a great four days, and i feel I learnt a lot of useful stuff. Looking forward to putting it into practice because my job gets bigger every week and I also have some new assistants and volunteers working with me, so busy, busy. I really need to focus on team building over the next few months so everyone feels a part of what is going on and gets to use their skills and to grow.

In other news - creative writing course is finished. The lovely sg1jb helpled me polish my final assignment. The next course starts in October so I have a break over the summer. Did I say summer? What is with this crazy weather? Sooooo cold. I had a heater on in the office today. Now I'm up nursing a sore throat with lemsip. Please can we have some warmth and sunshine? One of my colleagues is on holiday for a fortnight - I feel for her because super crappy weather is no fun.

This weekend is busy - off to two parties tomorrow, staying overnight in my home town (hoping for dry weather Sunday morning so we can walk on the beach). The next three weeks will be manic and then it is off to the Philippines.

Never a dull moment!
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A friend lost her fight with cancer yesterday. She has battled twice before with this evil disease. The first time, after surgery and chemo, the doctors were optimistic by her future. The second time they declared her in remission after chemo, but all too soon it returned and we all knew there was only one way this would end.

I was at a wedding when the news came through. A small group of us knew this friend and we whispered the news and consoled one another while smiling at the bride and groom (who didn't know her) and going through the motions of celebrating their happy day. It was weird.

It is still weird.

She was a friend, although not a close friend in the sense of spending a lot of time together. but she was someone who when we did meet was open and honest about her life and with whom I could be open and honest. Our kids are similar ages. We both loved Star Trek. She was American and I would tease her for still having an accent after 30+ years living in the UK. She loved that I did, and would call me Honey in that southern drawl of hers.

She will be missed.

Rest peacefully, my friend.

A theory

Apr. 6th, 2012 01:47 pm
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so I have this theory that the Fringe writers have caught wind of Stargate fans noting the similarities between Daniel Jackson and Lincoln Lee (particularly the new geeky version of Lincoln). Hence when planning the episode I've just seen they clearly sat around the table wondering what to do until someone commented that the Stargate fans always proved when Daniel was whumped. Heads nodded all around the room and they set to work writing a 'whump Lincoln' episode.

Poor guy. (Of course, when they introduced his character the first thing they did was whump him good and hard.)

Now, where are all the hurt/comfort Lincoln Lee fics? *Eyes the Internet quizzically*
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... a four-day weekend. Hurrah. Youngest son is home until Monday morning. So nice to have him around for a few days.

I am so ready for a break!

And post

Mar. 30th, 2012 07:22 pm
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So I finally managed to get 5000 words, a synopsis and a mini bio into the post yesterday for the Good Housekeeping novel competition. I have no illusions about winning. Despite having weeks of warning the submission still felt last minute to me, especially the synopsis writing. Gah - I hate synopsis writing despite downloading a book on the subject.

Anyway, it is gone and I can focus on the next writing task. Well actually two - i have an assignment to finish for my course, and I want to enter a short story comp this month. So, busy, busy ...

In other news I'm going to Vancouver for a couple of days next month to visit the lovely sg1jb - yay.

And relax!

Mar. 20th, 2012 07:01 am
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Horrah - I actually have a week that isn't looking crazy stupid busy. Yesterday the boss was on leave so the office was quiet and I got loads done. Today and tomorrow I'm out of the office at a conference - no early start today for a change. Then on Friday - and no laughing! - I'm off to my home town to pick up my sis and then we're going to see the Osmonds. Ah to be 13 again :-)

It will soon be Easter too - lovely long weekend to enjoy.

In the creative writing department, I'm on course to sub some chapters to a novel competition. Don't figure I stand a chance of winning, but someone has to and if I'm not in then I can't win. Next assignment is almost done for the course - I'm actually ahead of the deadline this time - yay. Plotting and scheming an entry to a short story competition next month. After Easter I really must get back to the fantasy novel that is in need of a darn good edit.

In other news, have you all spotted that the Shanks has now joined the world of Twitter. So cute.
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I just posted an old entry here that I posted to lj a week or so ago - just in case anyone wants to know what I've been up to who is here but not there.

And in other news, today was the first day in ages that work wasn't ridiculously crazy. You'd think this would inspire me to do stuff tonight, but instead I feel like flopping about doing zip. However zip isn't going to get sample novel chapters written for a competition!
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Haven't posted in a while due to busy, busy and more busy. So a quick update ...

Creative writing course is going OK. I'm waiting for my mark on the poetry assignment (hopefully back tomorrow). Poetry turned out to be more fun than I expected. It's like extreme editing :-) The residential mini course I went on was wonderful. Brilliant tutor and a great bunch of people. Also it was in a Georgian manor house and the food was out of this world. I seriously want to live there and be a full-time student.

Running - yes, I have blown the dust off the trainers. Ran the Milton Keynes half marathon in the most atrocious weather. It started out wet and morphed into wind and snow. I kid you not - SNOW! Gah. Still I finished. Wasn't bothered about how fast as a large chunk of my training involved drinking beer and eating chocolate in Bruges.

Ah yes Bruges - wonderful place. Hubby and I walked miles, visited eight museums in one day, and ate some great food. Our hotel was a laugh a minute - we never knew what services would be working. During the weekend the electricity went off, the water went out, the wifi was iffy at best, one elevator packed up and the swimming pool was permanently out of action. On the plus side the staff were delightful and breakfast was great.

Work is crazy crazy. One step forward, one step back on the building project. Never a dull moment on all fronts. I do enjoy it though being a bit of a chaos junkie.


Feb. 9th, 2012 07:21 am
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Son's not-girlfriend is now officially his girlfriend. Facebook says so. :-)

In other news - busy as always, but counting down to our trip to Bruges next week. Really looking forward to a long weekend away with the Hubby.

Poetry assignment deadline is beginning to loom large. I really must get on with that.

Work is going well at the moment. Slightly shy of hitting my target for the year, but I said from the outset it was ambitious, and there is still time for the last bit to come in before year end in March. Good news is that next week the trustees should be giving the OK to my assistant doubling her hours from April. So far this year I've managed to keep my working hours to a sane level. More of her time will really help that to continue.

So yay, yay and more yay.
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... I will meet my younger son's not-girlfriend. She's a not-girlfriend because they are doing a year long training course that stipulated no dating between participants. of course the minute you tell a bunch of young people that they can't do something ....

Anyway, today could be interesting.
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... a one-armed drunk tried to push past me to get into the building where I work. Seriously, I kid you not.

It was a very odd moment. I was conscious of two completely independent strains of thought:

1. OMG drunk guy a good six inches taller than me trying to get into my workplace. Scary, scary.

2. Seriously? You have one arm and you're drunk and you think I'm going to move out of the way and let you in? Really? Because this is so ridiculous it is funny.

It got even more bizarre when he told me that 'I had to let him in'. Hmmmm, let me think about that. No, I don't think I do.

Also today I got to help the police help a victim of domestic violence, which was very satisfying even if I did have to call the police to check that the guy on the phone claiming to be a police officer actually was. Gotta stay alert!

It's a crazy life. At least I can't complain of being bored.
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