Tiny Sparks of Joy

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This sticky toffee pudding. Far too much but oh so delicious.

img_20190522_182509An easy read, free from my local library. Every time I get a book via the order system I marvel at the awesomeness of what’s available.

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This mess, because it means the end of our gross stippled ceiling and progress towards a new kitchen.

And also these messes, because ditto. I’m trying to look beyond the whirlwind of stuff in every room in the house and concentrate on a nice end result.

Tiny Sparks of Joy

Reeling in Repeal

 

It’s been a whole year since we repealed the eighth. This week last year, I was very, very worried. And nervous. And hopeful. And anxious. I was uplifted by my journey home from work the day before the vote, being handed a leaflet by canvassers who lifted my spirits. A leaflet I stuck up on the door before we rushed off to school and which is now in a box, along with a copy of the Irish Times from the Monday after the referendum and our repeal sweatshirts and badges.

I don’t think I’ve fully grasped what the campaign and vote and result really meant to me until quite recently. I needed a break from all things repeal, so while I followed the passage of the legislation and the implementation of services very closely, I listened to little analysis and read even less about what was going on. Some distance was necessary.

I’ve slowly started listening to some podcasts from around this time last year, featuring those I cheered and those I loathed. It’s been somewhat cathartic and frustrating. The same arguments come up, the same lies are repeated and the same frank and brutal truths cut through the nonsense.

Something I’ve watched many times is this short video. It was hard to watch, but covered so many of the emotions I felt. I don’t think I will ever forget 10.01pm on 25th May 2018, when I couldn’t believe that exit poll, until I did and it was all real.

Reeling in Repeal

Home.

img_20190522_090404As you can see, this book is well loved. We’ve read it countless times, in two different homes. It’s a slightly fantastical book about the different places people call home. I could’t stop thinking about this morning, having listened to the proposal for “co-living” being defended and slated by various interested parties.

Our family has been in the very fortunate and privileged position of never having had to endure the stress of living in insecure housing. This shouldn’t feel like a privilege, but I know it is given the current state of the housing market and how people who rent are treated.

I cannot imagine the difficulties of living in insecure housing, the stress that puts on people and relationships and the knot in your stomach when you’re waiting to hear if a lease will be renewed, rent will be raised or what has been a home is now being turned into something else. Hearing the horror stories from people we know who are navigating the Dublin rental sector makes us feel beyond lucky and a little bit guilty, to be quite honest.

I don’t know what the answer is, beyond build more homes, all sorts of homes. And not ones which would confine people to a single room and make them share a kitchen with 40 other people.

Home.

New Kitchen

Couldn’t think of a snappy title for this post so this one will have to do. After three years in our house, our new kitchen is on the way. In a fortnight I’ll have said goodbye to a tiled floor that I curse daily, a giant fridge which doesn’t seem to have enough space, weird triangle shaped narrow cupboards and peeling veneer that I’ve never liked.

In preparation, I’ve started doing this:

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The Ikea storage boxes we bought eight years ago for our wedding and which have served us through two house moves are currently being pressed into service for a kitchen clear out. I had decluttered a lot of stuff before we moved and during what I thought was a ruthless organisation session last year but there is still a lot of stuff. I’ve been weeding out the stuff which I know I won’t use because I haven’t used it in the three years we’ve lived her.

I’ve also started doing stuff like this:

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Clearing out our cupboards of eatables and drinkables is satisfying. I’ve had two bags of coffee beans for a very long time. I found a coffee bean grinder mid clear out and put it to use. The first grinding was only ok, I’ll try the second tomorrow. Either way, the coffee will be drunk as we’re nearly at the end of the stash we picked up on holidays last year in France.

This is a boring yet satisfying process. I’m tempted to leave everything in the boxes for a few weeks, only retrieving what we actively want in a given moment, in order to see how little we actually need.

New Kitchen

Scents and Sensibility

img_20190301_211655I bought this candle on New Year’s Eve as a little gift to myself. I had avoided scented candles for a long time after becoming heartily sick after an overdose of Yankee Candles. This one has a lovely subtle scent and I’ve learned to light it for a little while and then extinguish in order to enjoy it even more.

I’ve since bought and been given a few Max Benjamin candles, and I’ve liked each one a lot for different reasons. I was out on some errands today and was tempted to buy some new candles, until I gave myself a stern talking to and reminded myself I had a surfeit of same already and so I resisted the urge to acquire more.

I’m going to light the ones I have and enjoy them and not replace them until they’re completely finished. This one deserves to shine this evening as we enjoy the finals of Great British Menu, which makes us very hungry.

Scents and Sensibility

The Worst Boss I Ever Had…

…was, in a way, the best.

When I left college in 2004, I didn’t really have a plan. I was working in retail at the time, mainly because I had a great part-time job throughout college in a large department store. I had a lot of experience under my belt in retail, but a strange lack of confidence in my ability to break into another sector. I don’t know why, because more than one person told me I appeared to have buckets of self belief. At the time I remember feeling annoyed with myself that everyone else seemed to have things sorted and knew where they were going and what they were doing.

With the benefit of hindsight, I know many of my college peers were just as all-at-sea as I was but from my perspective the fact they had office jobs for Major Accounting/Banking/Finance Firm gave them a veneer of success of which I was secretly very envious. I didn’t really want a job in that area, but nonetheless I wanted to appear as though I knew where I was going in life.

I wanted to earn more money and I wanted to progress towards something, so I applied for and got a job in retail management in a smaller store. I didn’t really have a long-term goal in mind so I figured this would do until I had a bit more clarity about my life. I can’t remember what I expected to get out of the job, but I gave myself a year or two in the role to see what would happen.

While I’d worked under what I thought was a reasonably personable boss all the way through college, this was not the case in my first Real Job After College. My boss turned out to be a complete nightmare. She engaged in what I’ve since learned is common, namely, information hoarding. Everything she touched caused stress. I walked on eggshells around her and put up with a lot of what I would tackle head-on these days.

I never knew if taking the initiative was the right thing or would result in a Serious Conversation about how she knew best. I couldn’t change even minor things without her changing them back or having a Serious Conversation about how she knew best. She was demotivating for other staff and I slowly started to plan my exit.

At the time I was conflicted because I enjoyed the role and many of the people I worked with. It wasn’t a dream job – is there ever such a thing, really?! – but it was a step forward in my working life and I learned a lot about what was important to me personally and professionally and what I was able to tolerate and what wasn’t acceptable to me in any way. I grew up and grew into myself quite a lot.

After nearly two years I had gained enough experience to allow me to move on and upwards a little and I thanked my boss in my head for teaching me more lessons during that time than I ever thought I would learn. She was a terrible boss, had no management skills and was entirely unsuited for her role, but in some ways she was the best boss I ever had.

The Worst Boss I Ever Had…

Finally, A Real Orchid

img_20190501_112249This is not the best photo but this is a real orchid which I have managed to keep alive for six weeks. I’ve never managed this before so this feels like a bit of an achievement. Maybe our dark hall and the fact I keep forgetting to water it is helping.

It’s the loveliest colour and shape and I hope it survives for another while because it definitely sparks a lot of joy. Plus, Marjorie would definitely approve.

Finally, A Real Orchid