Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Multiple Orange Day 2013

It's that time of year again where we get to share citrus fruits with people that we care about: yep, it's Multiple Orange Day. I've got my orange cardie on and some satsumas in my handbag and I'm ready to go out and spread the citrusy love. If everyone shared some citrus fruit with each other more often the world would be a better place, I'm sure. May the (citrus) fruit be with you!

In a completely unrelated sidenote:

Me: Oh, your hair is really soft!
M: Thanks! I grew it myself! 
(innane grinning ensues)

Ah, that boy, he makes me laugh...

Monday, 28 January 2013

Lovely Graffiti and other ridiculousness

I love the girls toilets at work, they always have really uplifting graffiti:

we have the loveliest graffiti <3

Other things that happened this week:

* My car took pity on me and not only started first time, but also let me play Ella Fitzgerald which I went on to warble at the top of my voice with gay abandon. I can only assume she was feeling sorry for me in the cold.

* I got caught by my friends several times dancing about in public places - such as the High St and the beach front. I'd like to blame this on the Jive classes but I think the true cause may be that I'm just a bit special sometimes.

* I had an interesting time with a dysfunctional tea-set when going out for tea yesterday. Much comedy tea spilling and throwing about of milk ensued. I miracuously managed not to throw tea all over myself, though M did not fare as well (presumably because I was wearing a black t-shirt, while he was in light grey - which is prime tea spilling colour most designed to show up anything you spill). Neither did the table, the sofa, my coat or the tea tray. Watch out for tea sets made of metal, and keep lots of napkins handy.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Social Nutrients

I hadn't seen Middle B for a while, both of us are starting new things and leaving behind old things and generally in a state of flux which means that neither of us have any idea what is going on with our schedules. I spontaneously texted her on Thurs to see if she was free... and she was! So I trundled over in the slushy snow and we made soup - Moroccan Chickpea and Spinach to be precise - which involved dried apricots, chickpeas, spinach, onions, chilli powder, cinnamon and stock and was incredibly yummy. It was so filling we didn't even get round to having the apple pie and custard I'd brought round for dessert.... possibly the first time we've ever not had cake! It was perfect winter day comfort food with some lovely company and I even got to take some home for lunch with me the next day.

Moroccan Chickpea and Spinach soup

Today, I met up with another friend that I haven't seen for a while. I was delighted when she suggested we meet for breakfast. We met in the Goods Shed, where you can pick and choose what you want - I had brown toast with scrambled eggs, mushrooms and bubble & squeak with brown sauce. We had a good old natter while watching the world gradually come into life as we drank coffee and giggled and talked about life and love and stress and heartbreak and work and joy. It was a lovely way to start the weekend, I sincerely hope we'll be doing that again.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

You Make Me Wanna Dance

You may recall that over the new year I went out dancing for the evening and much joy and merriment was had. When my friend, Miss Mac, said that there was a jive class starting up on Wednesday evenings I jumped at the chance. For a while. Then after that I got a bit nervous about my level of co-ordination (or lack thereof) and my complete inexperience of dancing with partners. This is not something that is taught anymore, which is a great shame (especially for the people dancing with me).

In the event, I mustered up the courage and went to the first class yesterday. It was much more relaxed than I thought it would be! There weren't that many people because it's been snowing round these parts and so they were waiting to advertise it. Most of us were wearing jeans and trainers (good job too, it was freezing out), and there were a good few men to dance with (aparently this is a perennial problem). One couple there had only had two lessons, and another couple had been jiving for a year so there were lots different levels there. Since I was a complete newbie, most of the directions were aimed at me. We learned several basic moves and it turns out that jive is much easier than I had thought - it essentially constists of twirling around. Which was fun. So. Much. Fun. I'm very much looking forward to going back next week. I'll be dancing around the place pretending my life is a musical before you know it.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Fantasy Dinner Party League

Today, we had our first knitting group of the year. We meet up every Friday for a knit and natter, or a stitch and bitch as the rest of the world knows it. They are a quirky, fun little group and I really enjoy spending time with them. We shared various projects we are working on, what went on over Christmas and any spare gossip, but as usual, as time progressed our conversation got a little bit more random. Today we got chatting about what famous people we would invite to dinner. Initially we included dead people (like Oscar Wilde, Erasmus Darwin and Steve Irwin) but the list got so long that we had to limit it to people who are actually alive and could theoretically come to a dinner party. I had said 10 people, but in the end we were just throwing names out there.
So: in no particular order, people who we would invite to a dinner party would include:

David Attenborough (this was completely unanimous)
Stephen Fry
Tim Minchin
Stephen Hawking (this was suggested by Miss T, to much nodding of heads)
J.K. Rowling (shouted out by Miss C)
Brian Cox
Simon Pegg (anyone who photobombs Tom Cruise has to be awesome!)
Neil Gaiman
Dara O'Brien
Eddie Izzard
David Bowie
Judi Dench ('Can we have more women, please?' so here you go...)
Michelle Obama
Barack Obama ('He's the coolest guy ever!!' exclaimed Mr T)
Michael MacIntyre

....evidently we are really into scientists and entertainers! We have a couple of other people thrown in just for good measure. I though Nigella Lawson could cook for us, but Charlotte thought Heston Blumental would be more fun. Eventually Teya and G started hatching a plan to get us all matching bobble hats and a secret handshake and we all knew it was time for us to get back to work.

People I would have added:
Jenny Lawson - the Bloggess
Amanda - aka Euphoria Girl
Vi Hart - the girl from Doodling in Math Class
Bill Bryson
Ken Wilber

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Resolutions: Mrs Fox 5, January 0.

I've already started on my New Years resolutions: on Thursday I let the team at the Centre know that I'm quitting my position there. I don't think anyone was particularly surprised. I'll still help out a bit every now and then and I'm still going to be teaching meditation every week, but it was a really major stress in my life recently and I'm glad that I let that go. Hooray for letting go of stressful situations!

We go antique hunting in Hythe

To celebrate, I met up with my friend Jean yesterday. We drove down to Hythe and went antique hunting. After I'd managed to spend ages trying to park adequately with Jean outside helping me ("Now turn the wheel this way! Come forward a bit more!"), we went into the Malt House to look though the Antique Market. She found a lovely coloured table runner, so I bought that as her Christmas present, and I found a 1950's Jewelcraft costume bracelet so she got that for me.

1950's Jewelcraft bracelet
It was nice going along all the little booths and stalls and looking at all the teacups and jewellery and Grandfather clocks. I saw a Grandmother clock (smaller than a Grandfather clock with no pendulum), scarf clips (apparently ladies used to wear them keep their scarves in place but I'd never seen them before), an invalids cup (looks like a mug with the top half covered over and a spout so that the sick and elderly could drink tea) and a shaving mug (there is a spout where you dip the brush in and a hole at the top for the soap). At the far end was a little cafe where some gentlemen were sat gossiping. They usually tell stories and jokes ("They're ever so saucy", says Jean "Some of the language, I tell you!") but today he was telling about a trip to the doctors. It's got a really nice atmosphere, everyone talks to each other and you can see all sorts of bits and pieces and if you stay for long enough I dare say you'll hear all sorts of stories.

I succumb to temptation
and buy a hat
After that we went to the Old Willow for lunch. The food was good (though not that much for vegetarians) and the portion sizes were more than decent. It's quite a nice old building too. We had a good old natter for a while. Then we decided to pop into another shop (where I saw a shoe horn back scratcher). We were making good time, so on our way home we stopped in the garden centre and went to Butterflies cafe for another pot of tea and some pear and ginger cake. Jean used to go there a lot with her best friend Maureen when she was still alive, and the owner did ask about her which was touching. The cafe itself is pretty quirky, and it's completely decorated with various things with butterflies on them - apparently people used to bering in things especially for them - so it's a real mix and match job. Alas, they also had some charity books for sale and I ended up buying a book. And also a hat. Oh well!

Butterflies Cafe

All in all it was a very nice day out.  If the weather is better, next time we'll stroll along the sea front and hike up to the church, but I think that might need to be on hold til spring. So: I've let go of stressful situations (resolution no. 13), I've connected so someone (no. 1), discovered a new place (no. 3), made time for something that made me happy (no. 14), and seen my friends more (no.17). So far it's Me 5, January 0. Sticking to resolutions is turning out to be fun!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Because Neil Gaiman said so.

Still on the theme of New Year, Neil Gaiman had these words of inspiration to add:
It's a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world. 
So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we're faking them. 
And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it's joy we're looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation. 
So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.
So here's some joy for you:

All a-flutter! 

Friday, 4 January 2013

Christmas Holiday Round-up

I arrived home this afternoon after a good 12 hours of a plane and two and a half hours on tubes and trains. It was all pretty smooth, though there weren't any dancing cowboys on this flight. I miss my parents and I wish we lived closer, but holidays have to end sometime so it's back to normality for me... whatever that may be!

Things I got up to while I visited my folks:

- went to see The Hobbit in 3D... I do like those glasses!
- went to see the Faberge exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts (incredibly intricate artwork with some historical context of the situation in Russia at the time) - we ended up getting VIP tickets because the lady at the ticket desk liked my accent!
- went for coffee (no change there, then)
- read lots of books
- ate curry
- ate sushi
- did a bit of knitting
- had a pretty rigorous facial with the lovely Eva
- watched a lot of telly. Loads. No really. We watched: The Artist (which I loved), Sherlock (stunning!), the Adventures of Tin TinDoctor Who (Matt Smith as the doctor who I really appreciate), and many many episodes of Merlin (my step-mum has become a little obsessed!). Thanks, Netflix!
- danced the night away on New Years Eve
- went to see Les Mis (extraordinarily moving! Bring tissues. Lots and lots of tissues.)
- drank Vietnamese coffee at the Bean and Leaf Cafe
- went to Muddy Water Zen for some Sunday meditation

I think that's quite enough for one holiday!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year!

I rang in the new year at Trish and Paul's house, which inevitably included yummy food, wine, and dancing the night away - including the Time Warp, the YMCA, and a zombie conga line for Thriller. Hailey and Alex were in charge of the playlist, but we made sure there was a lot of Motown which got all the parentals up and dancing. Since both of them are musicians, there was a lot of air guitar to be had, which degenerated into air violin, air saxophone, air trumpet, air trombone, air tamborine (which looks rather like jazz hands), air triangle, and air xylophone.  With 4 sticks. These are talented air musicians, I tell you. I knighted Rudi (with a corkscrew) so she could become part of the British Contingent even though she's from Kalamazoo. We counted down and rang in the new year with hats and garlands and whistles and champagne. Afterwards, we were just having a conversation about bow ties with Alex when a man with a bow tie walked in. When Rudi asked if it was real, he replied "Only a waiter wears a clip on bow tie!", so she asked if he could show her how to tie one and he very graciously took his tie off and let her put on his tie. What a gentleman! Well, start as you mean to go on: in which case, I can only assume that the year will bring more zombie conga lines, bow ties and sparkly hats.

It's time for resolutions! A new year has started: what will we accomplish?

connect - create art - discover new places - do more yoga - drive better - evolve - fall in love with fictional characters - find my balance - get focus and clarity about my spiritual path - get healthier - heal my body - hit the gym! - let go of stressful situations - make time for the things that make me happy - meditate more - read some beautiful books - see my friends more - simplify my life - travel

What will you all be up to this year? Any resolutions that you'd like to share?