You do EVERYTHING wrong.

I’ve gotten to that happy stage where all/nearly all the jobs are done and I can go to bed. I woke up tired, I got through the day tired, and I’m tired now.  And you know how I know I’m tired? My other half is laughing at the computer and he is too BLOODY LOUD!

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My lack of love of humanity is growing. I always wanted to find myself on a desert island with the absolute assurance of never meeting anyone.

Right now he is laughing, and coughing, because he had a cough, and I am going to kill him.

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THIS REFERENCE IS 26 YEARS OLD

I did manage to exercise, and to stick to my diet. I’ve found some earnest thing on youtube who insists on maxing the envelope, and so forth. My cup runneth over.

Right. The daily endurance that is my life is over for another day. Good night to you all.

Sparkling Wit, and Graceful Repartee.

Repartee.  Repartae? Tae? Cup of tae? Is there any? No? Not to worry, all good then.

I am very tired. I had a busy, and stressful, day, and it has left me almost disassociating I’m so tired. I can’t even get the caption thing to work on this blog and I’ve no energy to get it right.

I’m just done, all. Everything is loud and noisy and I’m listening to old time jazz tunes so that it doesn’t clash. As far as I know I didn’t go over the diet, but wow at what a cost. I use food to make me happy, and I am not happy right now.  I’m going to drink this coffee, and go to bed, in hopes it will keep me upright for the next half an hour.  Night night.

 

Oh, p.s. I would like to thank my computer for spending 40 minutes upgrading this morning, thereby making my 5 am wake up utterly unnecessary.  Nicely done.

 

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The Katering Show. I very much recommend.

Back to Business.

So yesterday I returned to work for the first time in two weeks. The prospect of missing Big Guy all over again was not one I was looking forward to; the next time we’ll have an uninterrupted week together is Christmas. And as I drove into work, there was no other way to describe my feeling as ‘absence’ – the absence of his voice, his face, his hugs. I really do need to win the lotto, dear reader, so as to be at home for him more. Any spare change? *Rattles can*

I managed, in the middle of my middle-class mum angst, to still stick to the diet. I had a lot to do, and it was clear by about 12 noon that I was only going to get so much done that day. But I broke the back of it and kept on moving. Big guy was shattered by the time I picked him up, and he’s fighting off a cold, so the rest of the evening was spent tending to him and getting him to rest.

Today, Tuesday, I got to do it all again. My mood is getting lower, meaning that the sugar is leaving my system.

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Tomorrow features a day of important meetings, and after that I’m determined to do some exercise. It depends on what time we get home, and what we have to do when we get there. Wish me luck.

Day Five done. 

Into Action

So.

Day three.

One of the most difficult aspects of life is the conflict between reality and expectations.

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Speaking as someone who tries to avoid reality, who is surprised by it and who has no business in it, I remind myself that just because I expect things to go one way, does not necessitate that it actually will.

Meaning; I can plan this, but the actual experience is less than I expected.

I eat to reward, to placate and to provide succour, and the anticipation of that comfort will get me through the day. How else to keep the demons at bay and my rage on hold?

In brief; I kept to the near zero carb count, and am feeling less and less joyous about life, a sure sign that I’m on a diet. I carried out a thirty minute workout, and have a pleasant muscular ache on foot of it. The near constant rain today made everyone soporific, and the lack of high or low meant it appeared to be a Wes Anderson film.

Tomorrow I am back to work, with three separate and very competing agendas re-entering my life.  Wish me luck.

 

If I Can’t Eat, I Spend.

Day One.

This is the beginning. As best as I can figure it will take me over one hundred days to lose this damn weight. One hundred and forty-four to be exact, and that’s just an optimistic hope on my part.

But today? Today is day one.

So breakfast was an omelette. Lunch was scrambled eggs. Afterwards was a different type of treat, where I had a coffee with a friend I haven’t seen since Christmas. There, I had a salad that tasted a lot better than it should: greens, walnuts, feta cheese and figs. We had a fantastic chat, and we made it even better by going to the bookshop afterwards. I had a great time.

Pile of books

Oh, yes….

Does the fact that I read so much make me a better person than you?

Yes, yes it does.

 

Anyway. Home, to a dinner of bacon and mozzarella cheese, followed by tea with a ranting blog. Time for bed, and the first day is done. Done!

See? Easy! *Twitch*

A New Day, A New Me…

… must be the most tired sentiment ever.  However, I am old and experienced enough to know that sometimes, inventory must be taken, and when something must be changed you should change it.

So. There are 144 days until the New Year, and this is what is going to happen.*

  • No sugar
  • No carbs
  • Daily exercise; either five minutes or thirty or an hour, but no zero days.
  • Writing every day. This blog, finish that novella, short stories, whatever. Ideally start the sequel to the novel I just finished. But no zero days. And, no, TWITTER DOES NOT COUNT.
  • Keep the son’s learning going.
  • Stay very much away from social media. It’s as pervasive as sugar and just as toxic.
  • Save money like a mad thing. You need it to get away from rental fun and neighbours and terraced houses and all of it.

It is entirely possible I will be bringing you, my dear reader, on this delightful ride with me. I know that you must only wonder what delights we will see together. Rest assured, you will find me very, very, hangry.

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*Yes it WILL don’t you JUDGE me it’s NOT a PHASE!!

In a south Dublin Bedroom

It is late, and dark. A man and woman lie in bed. He silently leans towards her, and she quickly turns over and away from him.

He lies there, staring at her, frustrated and hurt. She is as still as a stone, not looking at him. He doesn’t move, but continues looking at her.

But then, something terrifying to both of them happens. A strange shadow moves in the corner.

Alarmed, they watch in horror as it quickly solidifies into the figure of a middle aged man, who then walks towards them. It turns out it is a priest, urban, but untouched by the circumstances of his appearance.

Unaware or unconcerned about their fear, he speaks as though in a coffee shop, or perhaps Doctor’s office.

“I see,” he says, “that you are refusing your husband his conjugal rights. Have you thought about using the excuse of no contraception as a method of rejection to him?”

For a moment the couple are silent. The insane conjunction of an unwanted priest, and the words out of his mouth render them speechless. The woman recovers first (and why wouldn’t she, she’s used to this rubbish) and takes a breath.

“Listen here, sunshine. Firstly, you have no right to be in this bedroom; you weren’t invited.”

Father Trendy isn’t put out by her attitude. He merely nods and sits on the end of the bed. He opens his mouth to speak, but she’s not done.

“Secondly, I am not refusing my husband his rights. I am maintaining my own, and for reasons that don’t need to be explained to anyone else. You are aware I have bodily autonomy?”

At this, priest-boy falters. Mired in the works of St Paul and the 1 Timothy 2.12-13, he sees women as the handmaids of men, nothing more. He’s still trying to come up with a correct response when she continues.

“Also, why would not using contraception allow me the right of refusal? My own will, thought, inclination and desires matter so little that I need to come up with an excuse? That’s the best you can come up with? Not only am I just a tool, himself is just a child to be placated?”

Priest-boy leans back slightly, gathers himself, then leans in. “You seem to be of the opinion that your marriage is a loving relationship, and that you can just opt in to procreation. Your every act of intercourse should be open in principle to the gift of life. How can you refuse someone sex if you aren’t going to get pregnant from it?”

She’s speechless again, and he’s happy about that. Women disagreeing with him were disagreeing with God, he knew, and they really did have to cop on as to how wrong they were. But damn and blast it, she was going to speak again.

You seem to be of the opinion that the only way God can be found to exist is in the procreative principle; that by pregnancy is He to be found. What about compassion, respect, seeing God in not just the creation of life but the betterment of it as a life is lived? Or does God not fully love us at all?”

He’s done, confused; either he rejects the principle that God loves us each moment, or he recognises that there is no concrete reason for the theological principals surrounding procreation. She sees the confusion and seizes it.

“Enough! Out you go.” And with the slam of a door, he’s gone.

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Enough.

So. Back to work and back to life. My Christmas was. That is all I am going to say about that.

However, I did manage to catch the flu, and it was the real flu. I had, at one point, a temperature of 41.1 C, which was enough for the window to be opened in our house, let me tell you. The curious thing about that level of fever is that your appetite dies, it just dies. I’m still looking at food as if it is an enemy. Every time I have a meal I have to fight the urge not to throw it up, my stomach hates it so much. And life has such a sad and unchanging routine these days.

When is too much too much? And when can I say stop?

Entitled to a Title.

Monday – Important meeting with boss to sort out the rest of the year. We’ve had a superb head of school for the last three years, and I would love to chain the woman to the post for the rest of her life. But she’s more than eager to go and do research, and so it really is time to start the process for searching for a new head of school. I’ve spoken to most of the staff members personally or in a meeting, and we’ve agreed an external search is what is needed. So I and an academic colleague go to meet with our boss’s boss to get the process started. I’m surprised by how nervous I am. But it’s all very straightforward, and in that way that can happen we all agree with each other and it’s all over before you know it.  I can only hope the rest of the week goes well…

 

Tuesday – We have a conferring! Our MSc and MLIS programmes take place in the O’Reilly hall, and I’m amazed at my attitude to them. Previously, I regarded them as the highlight of my year. I’d met these kids at orientation, and then would be lucky enough to see them, robed and ready, able to accept their parchment. But this year, with so much on my mind, it was just a task I needed to get through. That’s not right, I need to ensure that doesn’t happen again this year.

 

Wednesday – Staff meeting! Let’s all have a meeting! And there is a lot to discuss at this one. For one thing, there is a rather large change in our undergraduate programmes, not least the addition of a fourth year; we’ll need to add new modules, and new teachers. There’s a lot to discuss.  I wanted to go to the gym at lunchtime, but nothing doing.  I go home and prepare, prepare, and prepare some more.

 

Thursday – Right. Off we go. What’s happening today is I am giving a small talk on the Job Grading Scheme for admin staff in UCD you can see a lot of it under #Inclusiveucd. The important thing to note is the promotional prospects for any admin here, which are listed below:

Nothing.

If you are an academic or a technical member of staff, it is possible to apply for promotions. If you are an administrative member of staff, you do not have access to any promotions, or job regrading, or pay rise. And in case it wasn’t clear, inflation means that prices have gone up and up. So administrators in UCD are placed in the grossly unfair position of having their skills devalued and their pay reduced over and over again.

Unsurprisingly, most of them are women.

Poster

My poster from the event. Read it, please, it’s important. 

So when the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Report was being launched, I put my name forward to speak on the issue. I produced my poster on the gender bias that is recognised to exist and went along with my notes.

  • I spoke about the incorrect belief that managing staff is harder than front-facing roles; so teaching, support and admin work is believed without any proof to be easy, while being a manager is hard. But we do what managers tell us, even if they are rubbish.
  • I spoke about formal knowledge rather than institutional knowledge is lauded, which ignores the institutional knowledge that is crucial in a place like UCD.
  • I spoke about how ‘Freedom to Act’ criteria is false, and ignores the many crucial autonomous actions staff take, especially when time is a factor.
  • I spoke about how we used to devalue nurses, thinking that only doctors had wisdom and value.
  • I spoke about how skills that are believed to be ‘womenly’ such as food-preparation and child-care aren’t seen to be skills at all, but an inherent trait a woman has in the home, and so is lowly paid.
  • I spoke about how when a woman does a man’s job, she’s paid less, valued less, and judged more harshly.  But when a job is seen to be women’s work, it is devalued to the extent that it is not seen as skilled at all.
  • And that I wanted to present them with a radical idea; that the work of the administrative staff is of value, and should be paid accordingly.
  • But remember, that all this is academic. Because right now what was on offer to administrative staff was this.

Nothing.

I sat down, job done. The woman after me spoke kind words about my speech, saying how could she follow that?! And the administrative staff who attended were moved, and angered, and grateful that it was spoken about. I am not smart enough to speak about this, but I am the only to do so, and so I’m stuck with me.

Was I nervous? Yes. But I was also angry, and that was hopefully apparent. This is wrong. Fix it. Or I will.

The rest of the evening was spent trying to find my son and mother-in-law, who were trying to find me on campus. I had a mind full of terrible imaginings but after nearly two hours found them.  Then home. Then bed.

Friday – the rest of the session. A lot of people had kind words, but I would love to see it become something more concrete than that. And soon, there is a lot of salary I should be earning right now, thank you very much. But I was just glad to have a day that didn’t see me fret or bother. And then I answered emails, drank coffee, and went home on one of the coldest days of the year, facing into the coldest weekend.

And guess what? The boiler’s borked. Night night all.

 

Negative Space is Still Space, People.

Okay, children, while there isn’t much to be said, there’s a lot to be said. For every major event, there’s a lot of negative space, a lot of waiting, breathing and thinking about it. This week was all about the preparation, and how it happened. Here we go:

Monday: Seriously. How often can one woman look at the phone in fear? Each time there’s a ping notifying me, I’m double-checking that Mad Lady hasn’t released the hounds on me. Her case is nonsensical, but I know nonsensical lawyers, and there’s been nothing to stop them yet.

However, I am confirmed  to speak the next week at an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion workshop, about the Job Grading scheme set out for Administrative Staff*. It’s a big topic with a lot to cover, and there’s a lot riding on it. I find myself atrociously nervous about it, and spend the day trying not to throw up. I have to present my research in a five minute ‘lightening talk’ and the big concern is learning to cover everything in five minutes. People who research, you have my respect. This is difficult, and makes me very vulnerable. I put something together, delete it, put it together again, then remember I’m supposed to be doing real work.

 

Tuesday: I attend a Universal Design Workshop, and am reminded of this;

Equality Does Not Mean Justice

Justice – vs –  Equality. 

It’s about insuring equality of access, not just justice. It takes seconds to ensure items can be embedded with text, so a reader can have images confirmed by visual readers, etc. Myself and my colleagues are ready to make the small changes to our website to get this going.

I go to the gym at lunch, and actually really enjoy myself. I have to say, exercise puts me in a good mood, and I’m back at my desk all chipper and upbeat about what I’ve got left to do on the presentation. See, the skill is to be succinct, and to the point, and can I do that? Sure I can. Easy.

 

Wednesday: WHY DID I AGREE TO THIS?! I have arranged to speak to kind colleagues in a mock presentation and I wake up terrified. We all meet at 2pm and they are, well, they’re exactly as I would wish. They’re annoyed and flabbergasted and irritated, and I am delighted. I can feel a slight sense of hysteria creep into the uncatalogued mess that is my brain. Maybe I can might just be able to do this.

 

Thursday: I know I did other things today. I know I got up, got the beloved child to school, worked, ate a lunch, learnt a beloved colleague might be leaving soon (there’s a lot of it about these days), chatted to the other half, answered the phone and made calls, operated heavy machinery and gave appropriate social responses, but really all I am thinking about is the SURE-EXTRA-DRY-MOMENT-THAT-APPROACHES-ME-OH-GOD. Bins out, dinner, bed.

 

Friday: And the other shoe drops like a Christian Louboutin (I had to look them up, I had no idea what they were called, don’t judge me here). They don’t want a slide show. They want ONE SLIDE. One, to cover all the policy and history and impact, all of it. Well, if that’s what they want, then that’s what they’ll get.  I sigh, drink more coffee, pull up my sleeves and get on with it. One slide, done. And one poster, done, gone to the printer. I press ‘send’, triumphant.

Please god, no typos.

 

Saturday: I. Meet. A. Friend. I kid you not, I put the kid in the car and we go and see Sinead O’Hart. Yeah, seriously, that Sinead O’Hart,  and I hope you’re all jealous because she’s a bloody important person and fantastic. Sinead, going to take you to lunch over Christmas, girlie, promise. She reminds me that, excuse me, why am I not writing, and hell and all, she’s write, sorry, right.

Myself and the other half go out to dinner at a friend’s house that evening, and I stay awake until 11pm. See, I can be a big girl when I want to. I go to bed like a zombie, and sleep well until…

 

Sunday: I’m woken by beloved child at 5.50 am. The fubbing joy.

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We spend the day taking photos in the wood, he likes pictures. Then groceries, dinner, making lunches and freaking out. It’s half ten right now, and I’ve got to go ‘adult’ tomorrow. So night night all. And please wish me luck.

 

*I aim to give full details on this next week. Watch this negative space.