Finishing Law School

Finishing Law School

0 comment Monday, September 1, 2014 |
The party tomorrow is the first one I've held here this year, and the first one I've held just for me and friends in more years than I can count. I haven't really felt like I've had the energy or will to entertain and most of my friends are going through equally difficult times. Some really awful stuff has been happening in everyone's lives at the moment and the party was therefore in jeopardy as people didn't want to come and "ruin the vibe". I've had to reassure people that this isn't a socialite soiree; it's for all us Languished folks to have a chance to have a breather without wearing the "I'm Fine" mask and reciting the "I'll Get By" speech which we usually do to other people. I will not be horrified if someone breaks down in tears, I will not sniff in disdain when people unwrap their special-diet treats they had to bring as it's the only thing they can digest. I will not make not-so-veiled comments are someone falling asleep on the daybed or on my own sheets if they find sitting and watching a video too emotionally daunting (and sometimes, that's a lot of work. I know how it is.) And I trust that they won't go round expecting my house to be neat as a pin and everything organised and perfect; they won't whisper at the fact I'm wearing mismatched woollen socks beneath my velvet and lace, and snicker as I hobble about and occasionally have to stop for breath in between hostess bustling, or knock over the lemonade with my super wide black woman's ass.
We're dolling up (I've got dreadfalls to put in tonight which usually takes about five hours to do, if that's any indication!) and we're going to be arming ourselves with tea and sympathy for all the trials and tribs we've been dealing with over the past few weeks. And even though I've had a rough go, I will be the first to admit that it's nothing compared to what a lot of my mates are going through, so this is my way of bolstering everyone, trying to give them a few hours' respite and strength. I've washed my sheets and I'm spraying them with lavender and chamomile essential oils for anyone who really can't keep their eyes open and need a powernap. I'm bringing down velvets and silk pillows for people to stretch out on. I will be preparing some paper for everyone to decorate with watercolour in commemoration (and this is an important ritual to me as one dear friend coming is dying of cancer; I want someone made by her hand in my house.)
And of course, true to my way of doing things, I am making and ordering Entirely Too Much Food. Note the insane amount of butter for the legion of biscuits I'm baking today to decorate tomorrow. And I have two cakes coming. And more biscuits. And two quiches. And about six different tea pots with 20 different offerings of tea. And coffee. My friends know by now to expect me to do things so big that they're probably going to need to undo the lacing on their corsets about halfway through. And of course with all this stuff I make there's also friends who won't be able to eat any of it unless it's organic, or wheat-free, or without e-numbers, so I've ordered things they CAN have. What doesn't get eaten will go home with friends or will be put into the freezer for tea-for-two treats.
And if tears get shed, if someone "loses" it or the "I'm Fine" mask slips, then they are among company; I was the one who suggested the terminal friend see a doctor when she first started feeling tired. Friend who lost her favourite dog can be comforted by the "animal whisperer" friend. We can all comfort the person who is dealing with the first death in his family. We're goths, after all - death is not foreign to us. No trying to put the brave face on as there's no expectations - and then, when that's done, more tea, more chocolate, smiles and jokes through tears and I daresay everyone will feel better for it. I have no expectations other than everyone comes and breathes in, then breathes out and relaxes with my Halloween cats, some tea and the video Coraline or Brothers Grimm in the background.

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After consulting with the folks with regard to a woodburning stove...it's just too much money. WAY beyond my means and even though I have quite a bit saved, I'd need to double it just to get everything sorted out as it turns out the chimney does need lining. After much soul-searching, the truth remains: I am renting. I'd rather buy a few space heaters and have done, save a bit for the winter costs and leave it at that.
However, I still have this windfall sitting here and I am still trying to figure out what to do with it. Child's room has been updated, he has new clothes, new shoes, a bit left for his checkup with the dentist this summer (he has to go private for heavy sedation and they are so lovely it's worth the money), I've had some clothes for myself done, shoes as well, cleaner for house...what else?
Well, I'm considering getting myself a new computer and giving my son my laptop, for many different reasons. I like being able to update bits and bobs rather than having to do the whole thing, and more to the point, if the hard-drive fries I can just get another one. If the hard-drive on THIS fries, I have to buy a whole new computer regardless. Sproggo could have this one and then I could get a new system entirely since I need the power and the storage.
I'm still going back and forth about it, frightfully indulgent but my portfolio and writing work is stored on this thing and I simply cannot risk losing all of it yet again.

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0 comment Sunday, August 31, 2014 |
My son's school is closed again - he's been in school now for a grand total of three days since Xmas break, thanks to the general ineptitude of southern counties when it comes to dealing with snow. The busses can't make it round a turn which is clogged with cars to either side, and Wiltshire doesn't believe in plows or gritters. Argh! So I've had to cancel my TS appointment and I will now spend the day trying to entertain my child.
This is a problem most parents face on such days, but my son isn't the sort of child you can leave to entertain himself. So far in the past 24 hours, he has peeled even more wallpaper off his walls (and this would have been the week I'd go and start stripping the stuff, but I can't if the schools are going to be closed for the rest of the week, which looks very likely). He has soaked the bathroom carpet (stupid place for carpet if you ask me), broken a slat on his bed (again) due to jumping on it, thrown a small meltdown as I had to bring him inside as he's completely unaware when he's starting to get cold - his hands and toes are red. It will be constant videos played on my laptop as the telly broke before the holidays, and me wracking my brains for new entertainments with a child who has an attention span for activites which lasts all of 10 minutes maximum.
I'm glad I managed to put my hair in dreadfalls last night - it's one less thing to worry about; being able to just get out of bed without having to style or comb my hair is awesome. And besides, it looks pretty cool too!
I'm on energy-reserve mode right now, keeping an eye on child outside, doing dishes and a load of laundry but nothing horribly ambitious when it comes to cleaning. My son won't stop going till 7pm and I'll have to be able to keep up. With all the snow, sprog will want to spend a good portion of time outside, so the radiators will be well loaded with wet clothes most the day.
Sprog will be outside all day if he could - the new-fallen snow is a wonder he hasn't managed to grow weary of, but he only saw snow for the very first time last year when snow fell nearly a foot deep in London. I let him out early, before sunrise, when the lights were still on and the neighbourhood has that eerie orangish glow that happens only when snow is coming down thick and fast. He tromped all over the yard, with Ludo, then a rather smallish puppy, at his heels, round and round, in lines that crossed back and forth.
I pull him in due to necessity as his clothes aren't entirely suited for this kind of weather, and his skin is very sensitive to chafing. It's not easy to get him in with all that snow, and I cna't blame him. It certainly looks lovely out there - but needs must. I admit I'm a bit envious; I can't go outside in the cold and snow these days for very long if I want to still be able to move, and moving with Sprog is rather vital. But it's still pretty, maybe even more so if I don't have to go out in it and feel the cold.
And so...here we go, sprog inside now demanding Bob the Builder. Maybe I can tempt him to cook with me a little today.

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Rosa Parks in the US is credited for starting the civil disobedience movement during the 1960's. At the time, African-Americans were supposed to sit at the back of the bus, but one day, a middle-aged, dimunitive Rosa sat at the front and refused to move. Her subsequent harassment and arrest was the spearhead of the whole of the civil rights protests.
And why did she do it? "I was tired" she answered with a small smile.
It's strange how one small action can create huge change - sometimes in directions you never imagine, for good or for ill. Rosa never envisioned herself as the heroine of an age - as a matter of fact, at the time what she was doing was willfully breaking the law. But the effect of one action can snowball, and before you know it....well, plant one acorn and it can become a forest.
I didn't really think about this project in any other terms than "My son is bored and I'm tired, I need to do something." I wasn't thinking about changing the world or educating the public or touching other people in any way. Yet I've received seeds and trees and volunteer help from people I've never met before, and maybe never will - from all over the UK, Ireland, and even some mentions in blogs in the US. I've petitioned for funding, inspired other groups to raise more awareness, and generally just shouted for as loudly as I could, for as long as I could.
Today, I attended a meeting with the Parks group of Salisbury Council; the last thing I'd ever consider doing. We discussed the creation of a community garden/orchard space near where I live. The land is free and there's definitely enthusiasm from their part, but they need to see more enthusiasm from the community - I'm already spreading the word and the enthusiasm they receive might surprise them! This project is in its early stages but is already looking as if it will gather momentum. Let's just see whether we can keep on with it.
I never expected any of this; not everything goes completely to plan, there are setbacks and difficulties and having to be extremely flexible. Enthusiasm is important, and not giving up. It requires not taking "Well, nobody would want that!" as a blanket statement and instead asking "Well, what about you, personally, then? If it's yes, sign up, what have you got to lose?"
I do not have a massive horticultural education, or loads of money or, it must be said, energy. I'm not gifted with more brains than average, or friends in high places. I'm just one person who had an idea, and decided it was worth trying to bring it to the attention of others - not because I'm a grand visionary, but because I'm tired, and frustrated, and just pissed off enough to set the ball in motion if no one else will because sometimes, just like the "coloured to the back", Some Laws Are Really, REALLY Dumb.
I didn't do anything special - I just stood up, and walked in, and gave the pitch. I'll drum up the enthusiasm and do what I can to get the ball rolling - and acknowledge when the ball is rolling without me, and can therefore stop kicking the damn thing.
It only takes one person, really.
Someone just like you.

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0 comment Saturday, August 30, 2014 |
We've managed to finish most of our stockpile stash over the Easter Holidays; taking my son shopping is much too difficult a task, so we eat what is here and I stock up when I have money and time. This is a pretty crucial time right now, actually, as the garden isn't producing yet, and it's too nice out for me to resort to bean soups, which I tend to enjoy during cooler weather. Right now, it's all about barbecues and fresh fruits, and this means we tend to rely on more meats and fresh produce rather than the larder items.
But I've not baked bread in a while now, and I've noted I'm nearly out of flour. I wanted to make some cakes, but I have no eggs. I'm drinking the decaf tea because it's all that's left. I'm nearly out of my home-made washing powder as well. Argh! I hate being low on supplies, it sets off an alarm system in the back of my head thanks to all those years when I was in a much worse state than now.
So it's back to the routine on Tuesday of going in for a huge stockpile shop. I have to go into town for this and will be taking a cab back, but in a few months I'll have a debit card again and won't have to trundle about so much, but can have my shopping delivered. It also means I can buy more for less - I'll be getting my spelt and kamut flower in bulk directly from the supplier rather than at retail prices, which is good news as I enjoy and prefer to bake my own bread whenever I can. I can also invest in a lot more of the borax substitute powder and keep making my own, which is better for my son's skin and also for my pocketbook.
Today has been further plant-faff; yesterday I mucked about with the compost bin, giving it another shift-and-turn, spreading a bit of the compost over my plants, and starting my final potato tub with compost and paper shred. I've also started the compost-planting ring for my squash, which I've decided to put in the front garden to keep the dog out of it! However, I'm not convinced I'll be able to keep the local yobs from lobbing my pumpkins, but hope springs eternal. Just need to keep an eye on them in October! Again, I'm using the compost as well as cut grass from the front garden to plant the squash in, and as we're heading out of frost time, they should be safe to put outside soon! The tomatoes are in dire need of being placed as well, and though I have no raised beds yet to put them in, I'm going to put them along the wall on sprog's bit of garden, probably in some windowbox containers. Then I can support them by securing them to the fence, and they'll get plenty of sun all day long. The sunflowers will also get the windowbox treatment, along the other side of the fenceline where all the weeds are. I figure I can place the boxes there and choke the weeds out, even though I am doing my best to pull them as I find them, but in this hard-baked clay, not the easiest of tasks!
I'm back to working on promoting business, as well as making plans for sending my things out for others to sell for me during the summer months, when getting out and about to do fairs and things is just too difficult for me. Yes, I am going to try to keep working; I don't think I could do without it entirely, but I am cutting back as much as I can. I am on the waiting list to talk to an occupational therapist, and then see about doing some house modification so life isn't so difficult for me round the house. On top of this, of course, is the usual cleaning, cooking, and everything else I do in order to keep the house running and things going smooth. Sprog is actually trying to help in this regard, and has been doing "cleaning" (a given value of) and watering plants on his own, which I am awarding .20p for in order to keep him keen. Since he buys his own toys these days, with a bit of help from me if he wants something large, this is a good trade off.
I've got loads of soap to make in the next week, but I'm low on supplies, so I will have to stick to salt bars for now, which I hope will sell well. There's unfortunately going to be a fair bit of competition there, but the thing most people don't realise about Salisbury is how "local" they are - if they don't know you, they don't buy from you, and I'm a well known face round here. So we'll hope for some good business, and maybe I can even finish perfecting the bubble bars in time as I want to offer something new.
So, gettin' back to it today...and that means doing the dishes and laundry now as well as measuring up my oils for my first batch of the day.

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0 comment Friday, August 29, 2014 |
Today the sun is shining outside like mad and I am determined to get out there in it before taking my medication for the day as it tends to knock me for six. I've also been "garden grazing" this morning, checking on crops, slug damage, and picking and eating whatever takes my fancy; pea pods, raspberries, strawberries, loganberries, a leaf of lettuce, and a sprig of mint. I'll be bringing mint in for tea, harvesting one of the entire sage plants in the next month with much pomp and ceremony since it is one of my sacred herbs, lavender bunches and amazing marigolds that look like gerberas. Our huge sunflower grows well and will provide food for birds during the winter, and I share my toasted muesli with the blackbirds which have double-nested this year.
The chimney experts were here and as per usual tried to sell me lining; no thanks, I'd rather have someone check to see if I need it first before I plunk down �1,000 on lining alone on a house that isn't even technically mine. So a camera will be sent up the chimney flue to see whether or not the mortar is all sorted which should cost a few hundred quid. If it's all right, then we'll proceed, if not, I may just skip it and heat the lower bit with an extra space heater though it's ridiculously expensive; there's a lot up in the air.
Child's summer break comes soon and I have just realised (ugh) that I have hospital appointments the day after child is off from school. This is a worry of mine, honestly; I have a lot of appointments and blood tests I have to take and none of this stuff is anything I can wait on, yet at the same time I cannot go dragging a hyperactive autistic child along with me for blood tests. I keep trying to find solutions but there's precious few options. I'll wrack my brains a bit more.
Still trying to plot out things to do with child which won't cost the earth or exhaust me and I'm coming up a blank. This maybe is due to just being Monday which is hard for me anyway to concentrate (even though child was with his father this weekend it was anything but restful). Everything involves not just planning for child but also planning for me whether or not I will have taken the chemo drugs, had my reactions, come out the other side, had a flare, dealing with fatigue...yeah. But we'll see what we can do, as I miss our times out.
For now, a walk in sunshine before I fill my body with poison. Raise a glass in my honour!

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It's half term and we're managing to get through it, though I'm still recovering from being ill and haven't really been able to do much. It's boring for child but we've managed to play games and do some playdoh things, baking cakes, and so on.
The pace keeps reminding me that I've got to slow down; I'm trying to work, and I enjoy it, but only if I have the energy to actually do it. I'm gritting my teeth and having to admit to myself, even though it stings greatly, that I simply cannot and should not be working right now. At all, really. I'm gutted, but it's true. I have several scripts, I've got paintings and so on out there, and a book finished, another in the works. But all of this is slow, slow, slow. There are days I actually open the good ol' Word programme and just...stare at the screen trying to figure out what it was I was trying to say. I have three paintings going which I haven't touched - two candles I want to paint, as well. And I DESPERATELY want to paint them. But I just...can't.
I have been persevering because I'm scared to death of losing the house, of not being able to buy food for my son or get him clothes or the hundreds of other things we need but, naturally, neither DLA or Social Services will bother to get for us. I've been doing what I had to do because I have little choice. But the same old signs are starting to appear as last year; simple colds become more than just colds, exhaustion kicks in to the point even brushing my hair is an ordeal. I'm charging headlong into the next crash and burn, but I'm just trying to hold out until the housing benefit kicks in, until the Mobility DLA for child (and am I even remotely well enough to drive if we manage to get it?), until the school stuff is sorted...there's always another reason for me to keep pushing my failing system just a little farther, just a little longer, even if it's the worst thing I can possibly do.
But I think before the summer comes, when there's six weeks of full time child-duty to sort through and I know any work I have will absolutely have to cease if I'm going to get through it, I need to face the music and shut it all down to "hobby" status. No more tax credits (and believe me that's a huge portion of my income right now). No more trying to hit the deadlines no matter how foggy my brain or how much my hands hurt. And that means having to be careful with our food and other expenditures as the money just won't be there - neither will any help if things go horribly wrong.
Not sure who these "most vulnerable" are who are being protected but it damn well isn't us. So, I'm going to have to see what I can do in order to keep the wolves at bay.

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