Tuesday, February 27, 2007

thar she blows! (pff)

We all have limits - the point past which we can no longer sit back and do nothing. They can apply to anything; the amount of alcohol we can consume before it makes us sick; The amount of time we can spend with that old but increasingly annoying friend before we stop calling; The amount of abuse we can take before walking out of a bad relationship.
Or the amount of crap we can put up with at work before we down tools and walk out.
It's much like a car's engine. The engine has limits. If you continuously rev it into the red then at some point it's going to break down - normallly in a spectacularly smokey fashion, as anyone who has ever watched motorsport will know.
Well, today I feel like a Formula 1 engine that has been pushed too far in one too many races. Although, strangely enough, I don't feel like blowing up in a brief but fiery explosion. Instead, I feel like simply stopping. I have been battling with the same problem for months now: lack of co-operation from people with whom I am supposed to work closely, simply due to the nature of my job and theirs. I have been pretending not to notice being ignored. I have constantly told myself that it surely must be my imagination and there isn't really a clear complete and utter lack of respect shown towards me. I've had a rough couple of years emotionally so it makes sense that I'm simply being over-sensitive.
But you wanna know something? I have failed to convince myself and this morning's events have left me deflated, demotivated and downright gatvol*

The worst part is that as much as I want to leave, there are a lot of reasons not to do so.
I just got a really nice salary increase and have been booked on a training course in April that will be really good for me. Plus, although just short of 2 years may seem a reasonable length of time to be in a particular role, I don't feel that my skills and knowledge are sufficient yet to go out there and get another DBA position. There is still too much I don't know. And I really don't know what other job I would want to do. So I'm kinda stuck. And I don't have the mental energy to figure this one out right now.

So I'll tell you the good news instead:

Our Daff's started flowering while we were away in Spain.**

Cool eh?


* An Afrikaans word that translates almost literally to 'arse-full', but more loosely to having just had enough. As Afrikaans words go, this is one of my favourites.
** Pictures and stories to follow shortly, just as soon as I've caught up on enough sleep to not feel like a zombie, and thus write something slightly entertaining for y'all.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

hasta la vista, dudes

I'm off to Barcelona on Thursday, with young Cinderella and my sister.

I won't bore you with the details of how obtaining a visa took three trips to the embassy plus another to Irish Immigration (it truly sucks to be a foreigner living in this place at times like these) or how when we finally went to fetch the visa today (nothing like leaving things till the last minute) we managed to gatecrash a hugely exciting impromptu strike because some silly foreign (i.e. not Irish, not Spanish and not South African... - are you still with me?) woman had the cheek to harass the woman behind the counter after jumping the queue.
She didn't even have a number!!!
(Oh you know - as you arrive they give you a little numbered ticket so everyone knows whose turn it is so as to avoid beaurocratic riots and such)
So the ladies responsible for issuing visas got all upset and downed tools. Can't say I blame them. I've dealt with the public before - it isn't always terribly pleasant.
Nope, I'm not going to tell you all that.
All you need to know is that before the sparrows (or our local alarm-bird) even think about opening an eye on Thursday morning, we'll be flying out into the great blue yonder.

What does this mean for you? Well hopefully I'll have some pictures to show you. I just realised there has been a serious lack of visual aids on this blog just lately. So, I'll be back on Sunday and will rectify the situation as soon as possible.


Friday, February 16, 2007

cheep imitations

I may have mentioned that we were hit by some rather stormy weather recently. I recall complaining about the wind, especially. It was loud and constant and one of the most annoying side-effects was even more noise - with the wind came power cuts, and with power cuts came the down-side of home security: Errant house alarms.
We live in a fairly new housing estate and all the houses have them and they all make the same piercing "wee-waw-wee-waw!" noise when they go off. With the storms we were having, they went off A LOT. Yes, even ours. One night the power was off long enough for the thing's battery to die and around 4am we awoke to a head-shattering scream. Fortunately, with no power and no battery, it sort of faded away to a "ploop-ploo-plo" all on its own and if it hadn't, at least we were there to turn it off.

Not so with one of the houses a block or so away. It seems someone had bought a house, set the alarm and then simply left. For weeks the thing was screeching; 30 minutes on, 5 minutes silence and then it would begin again. It was doing my head in! We could actually see the alarm box with its evil flashing blue light from our back yard, and we were beginning to wonder just how upset our neighbours would be if we procured a shotgun and blasted the thing to kingdom come. I could hit it from our back yard, I know I could! And I suspect the neighbours would have thanked us, too.
But as it turns out this no longer appears necessary as the offending gadget has now either run out of juice or has been turned off in the last two weeks or so.

Last Saturday morning I was having my constitutional lie-in, waiting for Hubby to bring me my coffee in bed (yes I know, spoilt rotten, I am!) when the peace of the morning was sliced by the sound of that infernal alarm. Only... it sounded different. Not quite so shrill... and it would wail about three times then taper off.
And there was something odd about the tone of it, too.
And then the consistent "wee-waw-wee-waw" seemed to lose it's way a little and it dawned on me that it was in fact not an alarm, but a tweetie bird outside singing in the bright spring sunshine (because it was, indeed, a morning of glorious sunshine, never mind what the temperature was).
It seems the local wildlife is a little confused.
The poor creature has been brainwashed by the house alarms and he (or she) has now become a fixed feature in the neighbourhood, perched on a nearby chimney singing his little heart out like a house alarm until eventually, when he gets no similar response, he seems to tire of the tune and it then turns into a sort of remix version.
Who ever said life was dull in the 'burbs?!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

lowlights and highlights

Everyone feeling all hearts-and-flowery today..?
Nah, me neither.
I'm finding it difficult to write a post this week. Not for lack of stuff going on in my head, mind you. I just don't feel like talking about it. Well, maybe just a little.
I'm p*ssed off with someone for being selfish and thoughtless but since it doesn't affect me directly and also because it's someone I swore off speaking to or interacting with a long time ago, there's nothing I can do about it so what's the point. All I can do is be there for the people whose lives this person's decision does directly affect. It doesn't stop me from feeling p*ssed off, but I'll get over it.
Perhaps I'll tell you about my weekend, instead...
On Saturday I went to The Point theatre to see a musical called Mamma Mia. The show was, in a word, brilliant! In it's simplest form, it is a love story. It is funny, and poignant, and highly entertaining. The singing and dancing are excellent and the characters are believable and likeable. Best of all, the music is that of one of the best-loved bands of all time: ABBA. The story has nothing to do with the band but their songs have been cleverly woven into the tale. If you get the chance, go see it! I was hoping to get tickets for my friend and young Cinderella for this weekend, as my buddy is driving up to visit us, but it seems the tickets are all sold out. I'm not surprised.
I went with six other women: we were six South Africans and one Irishwman in total. This, in itself, was entertaining... picture a gaggle of women all out for the day sans husbands and kids; a rare occasion indeed. I was a sort of tag-along, invited by a South African woman I met a couple of years back, in Ireland. The rest of the women appear to have known each other for some time. They are ALL mothers, first and foremost. Two are about 7 months pregnant. There was a lot of conversation about husbands, breast-feeding, labour, pregnancy, nappies (diapers) and all the other charming stuff that you'd expect when a group of such women get together.
And then there was me.
"So Terri, do you have children?" they asked.
"Er, none of my own, no.."
This seemed to stump them, as if they weren't quite sure what to do with me after that. Who was this woman? Some sort of alien? Perhaps they were afraid to ask me why, in case I had some deep dark tragic medical secret that I'd suddenly blurt out and ruin the happy, almost prison-escapee-freedom mood of the day.
My friend placated them by telling them I have step-children. They relaxed then, safe in the knowledge that there wasn't a spy in their midst.
I've had more stimulating conversations with pot-plants...
Nonetheless, I'm glad I went because the show was a treat and I guess the women were really quite nice and I had some laughs, too. In fact I would probably do it again.

So anyway... Happy Valentines Day, my little blog buds!


Thursday, February 08, 2007


February is officially Springtime in Ireland.
The grass is beginning to shoot up, thick and green, and the daffodils in my garden are promising to flower any time now. Our trees, which for months have resembled nothing but dead sticks, are showing signs of life and there is evidence of new growth on the rose bushes.
So of course it's only natural that we're getting the first Snow of the season now. Not even pretend-snow, mind you, but the proper big white fluffy flakey kind. The kind that turns into brown slushy stuff in no time. What on earth posessed me to choose today, of all days, to wear a skirt to work??! It's bloody freezing outside!
I'll tell you a secret, though - I actually don't really mind. I love the snow. It's so pretty! I'm quite captivated watching it waft down silently outside the windows. Ja, not getting too much work done at the moment, hehe... If I were a poet, I'd be inspired to write something, I'm sure.
I do hope it settles a bit and stays around before melting today - at least long enough for me to go out and take a photograph or two. I'm a real girl-scout, me* - I brought my camera with me today, just in case.

* "Be prepared", and all that


Saturday, February 03, 2007

salsa sambo

Well it's been a really hectic week, what with working late unexpectedly a couple of nights, and fighting with bureacracy to organize Cindarella's visa for our trip to Barcelona* in 3 weeks.
But in the middle** of all of this was our third Salsa class.

Week one was a simple case of learning the basic step and rhythm. Cinderella and I partnered each other when the time came and all went well. And in case you're wondering the answer is yes, there are guys in the class, but they are very few and jealously guarded by their spouses. Although if you ask me, the couples made up of friends as opposed to actual couples probably have more fun!

Week two was, well, more of a challenge. Cinderella's buddy brought an extra friend and I found myself partnerless. [Oh the horror!] Fortunately it turned out I wasn't the only one to find myself in such a state and so I ended up lightly holding a young student of fashion design who had joined the Salsa class to give her insight on a project she was working on, designing clothing for this type of dancing. OK, perhaps 'fortunately' is not quite the right word.
You see, it was going really well right up until we took our first step...
I don't like to sound conceited but the fact is that the legacy of all those years of doing ballet as a youngster is my ability to dance; pretty much any sort of dancing, really. I have an excellent sense of rhythm and timing and I am able to pick up new steps really easily.
I'm guessing my young partner didn't have the same sort of background... the poor girl had no clue what she was supposed to be doing with her feet (or any other part of her body, for that matter) and it was like dancing with a young rhinoceros. I held my patience for as long as I could but eventually I just couldn't help but stop and give her some instruction.
["Left forward first... no, your other left; yes, that's it. Now it's one-two-thr.. one -two.. ok let's try again, one---twooo---" ... and so on and so forth.]
It's a big class, and the amount of time the teacher could spare for each person would never have sufficed. In fact when he saw me making progress with her he watched for a few seconds then nodded approval and moved on to the next 'couple'.
Mind you, I was as nice about it as I could, carefully treading the line between friendly assistance and condescending impatience - I would hate to think I were the cause of someone not wanting to dance because I made them feel, well, as bad as they looked. I love dancing too much for that. In the end, she figured out more-or-less how the steps worked and the smile never left her face. Ah well, at least she enjoyed herself... and she thanked me, too. I even think she was genuine about it.

So after that little experience I was a bit apprehensive about this week's class. My fears were confirmed when the buddy's extra friend pitched again and the four teenage girls formed their giggly partnerships leaving the wicked stepmother [a.k.a. me] standing man-alone in the middle of the floor after the warmup. It brought back all those feelings from my childhood of being the last one picked for the softball team in Phys Ed.
However, it turned out Fortune was smiling on me***. Our instructor, a friendly Cuban fella, pronounced that this was no good at all and proceeded to partner me himself.
Of course the first thing I did was blush from the tip of my toes to the roots of my hair - one of those deep purple flushes to which I am prone when I find myself unexpectedly the center of attention. Because of course, being the instructor, everyone was watching his every move - and therefore mine, by extension - to see how it's supposed to be done.
But once the embarrassment had subsided and the dancing began I had an absolute ball! I'd almost forgotten just how pleasurable it is to dance with a partner who really knows how to lead. And I was confident enough in myself not to feel like a freak with two left feet, so I was able to relax and simply enjoy the dancing. The downside was he had to keep dashing off to help other people but that's OK, I had fun anyway.

I don't know when or if I'm ever going to make use of my Salsa skills outside of the classroom but for now I'm going to simply enjoy pure pleasure of being able to dance.

* Yep, it's booked - yay!
** literally - it was Wednesday
*** at least for that hour, since Fortune was noticeably grumpy with me for the rest of the week.