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Why? Who? What's this blog about? It's about MEEEE!

Being a Widow

My experience of dealing with grief as a widow

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About Jane's brain tumour journey: Astrocytoma.co.uk
 

The Wedding Planner

28 March 2006

So, we have secured the date. 3rd of June. Now we don't want a Big Wedding but we still need to do some Organising. YUK!

How do people get there?
Who gets an invitation to the lunch after the ceremony and who gets an invitation for the Walk-in reception in the pub afterwards?
Where do we 'do' the lunch and/or reception?
What do I wear?
Do we want new rings?
And legal stuff we need to think of?

ARRGHH.......

Civil Partnerships/Civil Wedding Ceremonies in England are weird. They are totally different than the ones in The Netherlands. In The Netherlands, a Civil Ceremony gets the same attention as a church wedding. But her it seems that a wedding in a Register Office really is like a step-child. No speech, no real ceremony, nothing. In The Netherlands, I am used to the registrar taking some time to write a little speech to make the wedding personal. But here they don't. Well, not if you get married in the Register Office because you only get about half an hour for the whole thing.

If you have your wedding elsewhere, in an Approved Venue, a registrar comes to the venue and takes more time for you. But that also costs about 8 times as much, on top of the cost of hiring the venue.

So we decided to just do it in the register office and then go somewhere nice afterwards for a bite of food.

I am quite looking forward to it actually.

Now we just need to find 2 nice places for the lunch and for the reception/pub afterwards.
Keep Reading: "The Wedding Planner"

What is it...?


Spotted at IKEA. So if it is not chocolate, what is it, I wonder?
Keep Reading: "What is it...?"

Wedding in the 21st Century

22 March 2006

Keep Reading: "Wedding in the 21st Century"

I am not alone anymore

21 March 2006

Laura posted this on her log:

Do not try to liquidise honey in the microwave without taking the lid off.
Otherwise it will explode once you take it out, leaving your ceiling, every cupboard and the floor with a irremovable layer of it.
And burn blisters in your face and neck.

Although I feel sorry for her pain, I am somewhat pleased. I did the same thing 2 years ago and badly burnt my arm. I wanted to make myself some nice honey and goat's cheese sandwiches and I put the honey in the microwave. Done it before but this time, I forgot to unscrew the lid of the plastic container. Not a problem as it was only going to be 10 seconds.

Then the phone rang. JD on the phone (this was before I moved to England). As we were chatting away, I suddenly remembered the honey in the microwave. It had by now been about a minute. I opened the microwave and removed the expanded plastic bottle just in time to avoid an explosion IN the microwave.

But remember this: When you turn a microwave off, the molecules in your food keep moving around for a bit longer. And so the honey continued to boil and then the container exploded in my hand. The honey covered my lower arm with a thick layer of boiling honey. I was screaming in pain and I dropped the phone.

JD was screaming at me, wondering what was going on, I was yelping in pain, trying to tell her it was nothing major, whilst trying to cool my arm in the sink. My flatmate heard the noise, came downstairs and assessed the damage. She picked the phone from the floor and told JD that I had burnt my arm and that she was taking me to A&E.

At A&E they cooled it with some nice cream but I could see the blisters popping up on my arm. And then the skin started to come off. They wrapped my arm up and then I had to come back every other day to have the dressings changed. It looked horrible. My dad even thought I was never going to recover from it. Poor man.

Of course I recovered nicely and you can hardly see it these days, apart maybe from the skin being a fraction lighter on that arm.


JD told me off for being stupid. But I am now pleased to know it happens to other people as well.
Keep Reading: "I am not alone anymore"

Paramedic it is (for now)

15 March 2006

So I have made a, preliminary, decision. As someone with ADHD, I know that this may very well change at any time, or may never happen again but hey –ho, for now, I have a GOAL.

But I NEED to make it work because I do not really get a second chance at my age (God, I sound old)

Coventry University do a Degree in Paramedic Science (as do a few others but Coventry is close by). I have about 1 million things that I am interested in but throughout my life, only one of them has been more or less constant: Nursing.  I have thought about it a great deal and I have realised that, even though I am very interested in Nursing, I feel I would get bored with it pretty soon. I think I would struggle to deal with the hospital-structure and paperwork etc. Only one job in particular makes me sit up and say: YES. I want to do THAT.

Paramedic. I applied for a training position last year but was rejected out of hand because I do not have the correct category on my driving license that allows me to drive a minibus/ambulance. That is easily solved for a mere £1,000 (cough).  So that is step 1. Where do I get £1,000 from I don’t know yet but I am not letting a silly thing like money put me off my plan for now.

I am too late for a start in September 2006 so it will have to be in September 2007. Good. That gives me time to get that licence and do volunteer work for the Red Cross and St. Johns Ambulance Service perhaps.

Then all I need to do is apply, get in, study 3 or 4 years and I am a Paramedic.
Problem 1: The courses are over-subscribed every year so I may not get in for a few years.
Problem 2: Money. The course would cost £2,000 in tuition fees per year. Add the cost of books, say £1,000, per year. So it would cost, with all kinds of things thrown in for good measure, £4,000 per year. But it is a full-time University degree course that will make me a Bsc in Paramedic Science. That means I can not work (much) whilst studying. JD will still be in University as well, studying for a Phd for another 3 years, so neither of us will be making any money. JD gets money from her folks and has a bit of savings so she is OK to get by. (In fact, we split all the costs 50/50 at the moment and she still has more money than I do and she does not even have a job!!)

So, that may well be the biggest hurdle: No money. At least not until JD finishes University and gets a full time job.

So what to do now? Go for it, follow the dream and take the risk of crashing out at the last moment when there is no money? Or should I decide now that we can not afford it and find something else to do? What if I do not get in in Coventry? Should I apply elsewhere? And if I do and I get into University on the other side of the country? What about JD and me?

This would all not be such a problem if I wasn’t already paying off a student loan from when I thought Journalism was the thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I only have a mere £10,000 left to pay on that loan (cough) so I am not really willing to add another £10,000 to that. Although hen I listen to students here, having a load that big is the norm rather than the exception so maybe I should just throw caution to the wind and do it.

I am feeling quite excited about this idea. People who know me will know that it is not just a fluke, not just a thought that has suddenly occurred to me. They will know I have mentioned Paramedic many times before. I just never thought about having to go to University to do it. But it seems to be the easiest way to get there. The hardest step is not studying. It is getting in and paying for it.
Keep Reading: "Paramedic it is (for now)"

Hail Police!

Well done to the Leamington Police. They rang me this morning to say they have recovered the medical bag from the rugby team that got stolen from my car last week!

They 'turned over' an address in Stratford-upon-Avon and they found it there. I am aboutto go to the station to pick it up and give a statement.

So for those of you who think it makes no difference to report a car crime, it really DOES make a difference. The police have been extremely helpful in this case.
Keep Reading: "Hail Police!"

The thirst for change

13 March 2006

It is no secret that I am unhappy with my current job.  I want something more challenging. But what? I have always admired people with a dream. People who know exactly what they want and work to get to their goal. I know, there is a downside: if you do not make it, you have nothing to fall back on. But not knowing what you want is just as hard. Employment agencies always ask: What kind of job are you looking for? And my answer really is: I don’t know, something fun, active and creative. And that does not really give them much to work with.

So I am looking for something else that I would like to do. And that is a problem. Because there are so many things I think I might like to do. Because I just like learning new things. So I might like it for the next 3 years but then I might be bored and wanting to learn something new again in 4 years time. So what to do?

Go to University and start a new study? That would cost money and time and with no assurance that I will still enjoy it in 4 years time.

And how would I pay for it? JD keeps saying she wants to contribute to it. But my pride is in the way. Am I just being too proud? I feel extremely uncomfortable with the idea of a 22 y/o student paying for my University. Especially as long as she does not have a job herself. She has been lucky with her parents gathering some really good savings for her so she could afford it I guess but I don’t want her to spend all her savings on me. Not that I don’t have faith in our relationship but what IF we break up in 5 years time? After she has put me through University? She will have no savings left.

But the real truth is that is depresses me greatly to think that I, at 30 years old, would be reliant on a 22 y/o student to help me with my finances. I have improved greatly since I moved here but it is still very hard for me to keep control over what I spend.
(See: Money Management for Adults with ADHD). At 30, I have £1200 to my name and actually that belongs to the government as it is to pay off my University loan.

The only course that would go some way towards solving this pride-problem is Nursing. It is paid for by the NHS. We would have to live on a severe budget for 3 or 4 years, but at least JD would not have to pay for me to do it.

Nursing is interesting. But is it my career? I enjoy playing with computers. So would IT be a career for me? I am fascinated by plumbers. But a career?

So many questions. But even worse: too many answers.

I wish I had a dream job. Something to focus on. I just like too many things. I like to learn all the time. I think I may have come across one of the most difficult aspects of ADHD. I can learn tricks to concentrate better. I can learn tricks that will help me control my finances. But I can not find a way to make myself stop searching for things to learn.  The thought that I might forever be searching for ‘something different’ is quite depressing.
Keep Reading: "The thirst for change"

Nerd Alert

Feeling smug yesterday. Nothing special but I managed to re-install Windows XP Tablet Edition on my Compaq TC1000. You think that is easy? Try booting a system that has no CD-Rom player, nor a bootable CD-Rom or a USB device that will do.

On EBay, I had bought a set of Compaq Recovery CDs for £15 as my TC1000 had ‘fallen off the truck in a remote village in Italy before I obtained it.

So I had to do it via a LAN network, using my desktop as server. True, someone on the web had written a manual on how to do this but there were still minor issues that were not in that manual that I had to sort out myself.

In the end, it worked just fine.  I guess that makes me an anorak. Oh well, anything that gives me pleasure these days will do.

Oh, and I requested an info pack be sent to me from the NHS about a university degree in nursing. Hey, one has to at least try and make a change.

Keep Reading: "Nerd Alert"

Employment agencies suck

10 March 2006

They are fucking rotten.

When they think they have a position for you (read: When they think they can make money by putting you forward), they are over you like a rash. They promise nice jobs, good pay, blah blah blah.

So you go for an interview and call them back to let them know how it went. They promise to call you back with feedback and then....you never hear from them again.

She promised to call back Friday afternoon. Last week. I heard nothing so I rang today. Some intern said she was busy but that the system said that I did not get the job. Yes, she would call me back with some feedback. She didn't of course so I rang back. Intern again. Can I speak to Suzanne this time? Well, let me see if she is busy (I KNOW his desk is next to hers so he can see that right away!) After 30 seconds, he gets back to me and says: She is on the phone but there is no real other feedback. You did not have enough PA experience it seems.

Well thank fuck for getting back to me you bastard wankers!! Clearly as soon as I am not going to make them money, they don't ring back. They don't ring back to perhaps help me with some feedback on how I did. Feedback that could help me with my job search. No.

You have to fucking call them yourself, wait for the non-existent return call and fucking speed to their office next time they think they can make money out of you.

This has happened to me about 10 times now: Yes, I will call you back with some feedback right away. And then you just don't hear from them anymore. Not even to say that you did not get the job.

Fucking bitches they are. Fucking bitches.

And yet, they seem to be my only way out of here.
Keep Reading: "Employment agencies suck"

Business antics

My boss has resigned. He has been headhunted for a high-paid job and will be making loads more money in a job that is loads more stressful. Fair play to him.

The mood in the sales team has just plummeted. And I don't understand why. The two other sales managers seem to be angry, disappointed and spiteful about his decision. Yesterday the whole team was in and you could feel the anger in the air. Little was said and conversations were limited to short sentences and blank stares.

Why? What is his crime? Leaving? Not telling people sooner? When do you tell people you are leaving? Right after you have signed the new contract? Why should you? You hand in your notice, serve your notice time and that is it. You tell your team when you hand in your notice. Unfortunately the rumour mill had already leaked the info to the world and I guess finding it out from our trade partners will have pissed the other sales guys off big time.

But why does that have to lead to them treating him differently all of a sudden? Is it because of some misconstrued notion that we are all friends instead of co-workers who happen to get along quite well?

When a manager leaves for a different job in the same market, surely it is in the best interest of both parties to end the contract asap. Surely keeping someone to 3 months notice will create nothing but tension. If anything because our trade partners know he is leaving and might use the info he is still gathering whilst he is here to help his future employer, who happens to be another one of our trade partners.

The business is going to struggle without him. Not even because he was so fabulously brilliant but because there is nobody else with the abilities needed to lead the team. He was sitting in the middle between 2 other managers who are both a tad volatile. Now that he is leaving, it will be me sitting in the middle.

It has started already. I am already feeling shit. I am very sensitive to mood changes and silent tension. I can not handle it very well at all. I have rung the employment agency to let them know they should increase their efforts to find me a new job.
Keep Reading: "Business antics"

CSI Warwickshire

09 March 2006

Well, the good news is, I did not forget to lock the car after all. The bad news is: they punches a tiny hole through the door to open the lock and get in.

So now I have to pay £160 to have the car repaired.

Had to go to the police and they fingerprinted the car and some random other bits they might have touched.

CSI sounds better than SOCO (Scene Of Crime Officer). My SOCO was perhaps no more than 25 (photo here soon). Blonde hair, nice friendly woman who said there should be more police in my street becasue there had been so many break-ins recently.

By the way, they also took the rugby team's First Aid bag. Some junkie is now getting high on Freeze Spray and Deep Heat. I hope their nostrils burn to a crisp!!
Keep Reading: "CSI Warwickshire"

Sexism

I seem to be turning in to a feminist lately. But yesterday I got really annoyed again.

At JD's university, a place of open minded people you would assume, JD walked in to the toilets. Some American girl followed JD in and said: Excuse me, this is the Ladies' toilets. (suggesting JD was a bloke). JD turned around and said: I have boobies. The girl apologised and said: oh sorry. I thought...you know...with your short hair...

JD then spent 5 minutes looking in the mirror, feeling insecure and complaining about the hairdresser having cut her hair too short and now she looked like a man. I don't think JD looks like a man at all. But this stupid cow only saw the back of JD's head and just made an assumption.

When she said: "It's just...the short hair...", what she was really saying was:: "You do not fit my image of how women should look." It is extremely insulting because she did not say: Excuse me, are you a man, because if you are, are you aware that these are the Ladies' toilets?" No. She just said, as most people do: "Sorry, but these are Ladies' toilets." Leaving the insinuation hanging in the air as some kind of accusation. Suggesting that the other party does not belong there. This leaves the other party the responsibility to say: "But I am a woman, can you not tell?"

You think that is funny or over-reacting? Well, let's turn it around. Let's do the stereotype that all lesbians look like men or have short hair. If I said to a woman with long hair: "Sorry, this is the Ladies' toilets and you do not fit my image of a woman", the woman in question would be extremely offended and accuse me of being so narrow minded that I would only see people 'like me' as women.

So why is it OK for others to just assume someone is not a woman, based ONLY on looking at someone with short hair from the back?

These days just about 50% of the women have short hair so this American cow was clearly not very intelligent (what was she doing at University???) or she is plain ignorant, rude and even sexist.

I found it all extremely insulting. It happens on a regular basis that people assume, without looking properly, that either JD or I are blokes when we walk in to a toilet. I never used to think about it much and would just laugh it off. But seeing JD getting insecure about her hair being too short, looking like a bloke etc. after the throw-away remark from an ignorant American, it just made me think.

It is insulting. If you think a bloke is walking in to the Ladies' toilets, make sure you know it is a bloke and not a woman who does not fit your stereo typical idea of what a woman should look like. Because an ignorant remark like that can really hurt someone.
Keep Reading: "Sexism"

Burglary

07 March 2006

JD insists on having a huge metal lock around the steering wheel of the car, to deter people from stealing it. I forget to put that on sometimes but last night, I put it on again, after forgetting it for the past 3 days.

Clearly my brain has got space to remember only 1 safety measure as I promptly forgot to lock the car.

When I got to the car this morning, there was stuff all over the front seats, the glove box had been emptied, the back seats were down and stuff strewn around. It took me a second to realise someone had been going through our stuff.

Hey had clearly used our own torch to help themselves to a bit of light whilst looking for valuables.

On the front seat was the ripped envelope that contained two cheques, made out to me, so useless to anyone else. I found the cheques on the floor. I bet the thief was disappointed.

Sometimes I forget my wallet or phone in the car. But not this time. So no luck for them there. Dissapointed again I reckon.

As he must have been with the contents of the boot: a medical bag for the rugby team, two rugby balls and 6 empty water bottles. Needless to say they were all still there.

Nothing seemed to be missing, apart from the Bluetooth hands free headset, which I only bought last Friday!!!! It made me smile that they did not take the car charger for that and the mains charger is in my house. So unless they have the correct charger, the thing is useless to them.

And they left all the CDs on the front seat.

Why? Is my music taste so bad that nobody even wants to STEAL my CDs? What is wrong with Indigo Girls, Janis Ian, Emmy Lou Harris and a copied collection of English folk? Huh? Well?

I am very insulted by the fact that a thief did not bother to steal my CDs. Was he trying to leave a message: Your fucking car is useless and your music is rubbish too?

I am picturing it like this: Would-be thief walks around, looking for car to break in to. Sees car with big steering wheel lock which is unlocked. Excellent, a chance of some loot without having to break in to the car. In fact, he can sit down in the car, turn the light on, pretend the car is his. So he pushes the front seat back, takes the torch from the glove compartment and feels a warm glow of victory. Bring on the cash! And as he goes through the stuff, his anger grows. This car is useless. Ah! CDs. Instant cash. Janis Ian? Who the fuck is that? Can’t sell that on the market. Shit, a built-in stereo that won’t come out. Ah, an envelope. Some cash? Crap. Cheques made out to a person. Useless rubbish. Shit, crap. I’ll have this ruddy Bluetooth earpiece. Let’s try the boot. Waterbottles? Rugby balls? Geez…this car belongs to a dyke!! Gets up, walks away in disgust.


Strange. Someone broke into my car and I am not sure if I am angry about the break-in, pissed off about his judgement of my music taste, or smug about the fact that there was nothing for him to steal?
Keep Reading: "Burglary"

Careful

03 March 2006

My little toe still broken. After 5 weeks, it still rotates in an odd way and, even better, you can feel the bones snap around when you move the toe. Great party piece but not very useful when it comes to rugby.

So I went to the doctor yesterday who told me off for having played rugby with it for the past 5 weeks. I told her that her colleague had failed to tell me the toe should be strapped and so now would be a little late to start strapping it. Even so, I was told to strap it for another 4 weeks and absolutely no rugby and, if possible, no shoes. If it still has not healed by then, I need to go back to the doctor. Not sure what will be next because they just do not treat broken little toes. I don't mind having a non-healing fracture. But I just want the pain to stop. I am going on a bloody snowboarding trip in a month and I really really really do not want to jeopardise that.

I did not realise this of course. Otherwise I would have not played rugby from the day I broke the bastard toe. Now it will be a bit of a race against time, hoping the toe will heal enough for me to go snowboarding. The problem is that it is the little toe so it gets lots of pressure from shoes on the side, as opposed to the other toes.

Over the next 4 weeks, I will be kissing my toe (yes, I am THAT flexible), carrassing it, keeping it chilled and elevated, give it nice strapping and wear my nice open-toe sandals.

I am getting quite attached to wearing sandals actually. They are very very comfortable. I look silly with the woolley socks. Like a vegetarian.

See you later, I am off to the Organic Market for some Patchouli Oil and some Tofu!!
Keep Reading: "Careful"