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Quisalan's Journal
20 most recent entries

Date:2013-02-10 16:42
Subject:Operation Borneo
Mood: hopeful

I'm sort of throwing this over all the social media I can so apologies if you see this several times. Also, I know that I've not written anything for a long time, but hey... at least if you're breaking radio silence, it's worth being interesting!

I have been offered a place as a volunteer manager this summer in Borneo with Raleigh International which is pretty damned awesome. I'll be managing a group of 17-25 year olds doing community projects in deprived areas in Sabah, the Malaysian part of Borneo.

I'm currently in negotiations for a sabbatical, which is interesting, and more details to come in a locked post.

But in the meantime... I need to fund raise £2,000 to be able to go. So in a shameless pimp, please find the link to my JustGiving Page.


Some basic details are already there, and I have my fingers crossed!

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Date:2012-04-23 23:00
Subject:Why, hello there LJ-Land!
Mood: cheerful

I am currently in Rome, having had a really nice dinner in the centre of town, a stone's throw from the Vatican. This means I win at Google Latitude game!

Also, I am about post an enormous entry, so I felt I should vaguely wave on LJ before spamming it horribly after months of silence.

I am determined to write up EasterCon, too. :)

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Date:2012-01-05 14:39
Subject:Christmas in Rose Cottage!
Mood: accomplished

R and I were in the Cottage for Christmas Day. We didn't have central heating or hot water, the hob isn't connected and I hadn't used that electric oven before, but we managed and it was great :).

Our tree cost us £5, as we wandered in on Christmas Eve to the tree place at about 3pm.

"Can we have a small tree please?"
"All trees are now £5 considering."
"Really? Can we have the biggest tree you've got please?"


So, just for venta, two photos. One of the kitchen in use, and one of the lounge:

Read more...Collapse )

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Date:2011-12-22 12:27
Subject:PSA - Opps!
Mood: guilty

I have a grovelling apology I need to make.

You know that a couple of weeks I posted asking for addresses for Christmas cards? Well, I...er... haven't managed to get round to it and I don't think that they will reach their destinations if I do them today (*looks at fenikkusuken especially*).

I'm really sorry peeps :(.

It's all been a bit frantic this month. Being _determined_ to get into the cottage by Christmas, we've been both cutting money right to the bone at times so there wasn't enough to buy cards without falling over the edges of my overdraft until I got paid in the middle of the month (I kid you not), and working at the house at the weekends, and being tired and demotivated in the evenings. Still, we're on schedule to be in this weekend, and we'll be getting hot water and central heating on the 9th January, so after that all visitors will be warmly (both literally and emotionally) welcomed!

I'm sorry everyone. I'll send out new address cards with photos when we're in to make up for it.

In other news, I have a google plus account, and actually tend to stick stuff on there every now and then. Feel free to add me: I'm on there under my real name so I should be pretty easy to find if you know me...

Happy Christmas all!

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Date:2011-12-05 10:02
Subject:Meteor: That Night...
Mood: thoughtful

Since lanfykins wrote a post-session Meteor fic, feel free to have a mindset from our party. Only of interest to Meteor players I suspect, and possibly not even that :).

Natalya is drunkCollapse )

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Date:2011-12-02 08:30
Subject:Christmas Cards!
Mood: cheerful

Come on peeps, you know the drill!

If you would like a Christmas Card from sunny Middle Barton (R and I are moving in next week), please leave your postal address in comments below!

All comments are of course screened for privacy.


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Date:2011-11-13 18:06
Subject:In France
Mood: calm

I am in in France with Les Parents.

Archie and I are forming a tentative relationship, which means I can stroke and fuss him in the car or if I have food in my hand, but not otherwise. For I am obviously terrifying to such a small, tiny dog who just happens to weight 45kg *cough*. The weather is crisp and warm, and the food, as always, is lovely, although we did cheat today on eating local and had an English Sunday Roast with lamb (I did the roast potatoes) which was fab.

I'm sort of chilled. I'm still wound up from everything at the moment, so relaxing isn't happening (it's not helping that I'm also working on spreadsheets atm for Monday morning and there's no option not to be), but I'm hoping I'll sleep more and look less stressed later this week.

Mmmmm... carambars!

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Date:2011-10-08 11:33
Subject:The Trouble with Mansfield Park... I'm talking to you, Ms Austen!
Mood: dorky

A woman walks into an eighteenth century Inn adjoining Mansfield Park in Northamptonshire. A handsome regency rake sits dispondantly at a table, contemplating the glass of Hollands in front of him. Sitting opposite, the woman waves at the surly barman who after eying up her clothes in digust slides over a noxious looking glass. She sniffs experimentally and grimaces, pouring it into the cat's waterbowl when no-one's watching.

"Good morning, Henry."
The man raises an eyebrow at her fowardness. "Do I know you, Madame?"
"Nope, but this is my 'never-happened' vingette, you'd better play along before I turn you into a labourer or something, Mr Crawford."
He gives a well-bred shudder, "That would be a fate worse than death. You do seem to have the advantage, Miss Quisalan."
"Quite. So, why the long face?"
"I'm struggling with my motivations."
"In what way?"
"Well, I was a bit of a flirt. I admit it. And I did toy with women's emotions, but that was before I met my dear Fanny and fell in love."
"As in Fanny Price? As in the woman who if she entered a battle of wills with a wet haddock, would be having the vapours within five minute whilst the fish did victory laps?"
"I'd rather you didn't speak of my beloved in such depricating terms, but yes. It was almost like one of your films: handsome, popular boy at school heads out to seduce the class geek and ends up head over heels for her instead."
"So what happened?" The woman pretends to ignore the cat investigating its waterbowl in bemusement, before it adds a paper cocktail umbrella.
"Well, I'd decided she was the one. I spent months trying to win her affections. There were chapters devoted to it in the book. I perservered. I tried. I was quiet and gentle as she prefered. I pulled strings using nepotism to get her brother promoted, and please don't pull that face at me, I know it's different in your time. I didn't balk in horror when I went to her parents' horrible, low class house in Portsmouth and was pleasant to all her ill-bred relatives when all I wanted to do was run screaming. I asked for her hand in marriage up front so she knew I was serious. I wanted to prove my sincerity and I knew it was a waiting game and it just needed time. Even Austen admits it that if things had gone their natural course, she would have accepted me and we'd have been married."
"So what happened?"
"Right at the end of the book, off-screen in about three pages, I go to London and run off with Maria Rushworth, you know, Fanny's married cousin who I had a flirtation with when she was engaged at the start of the book."
"Wow. That was... unexpected."
"You're telling me. Months of work ruined and I lose the love of my life to go off with a woman I wasn't that bothered with in the first place, who I'd been flirting with for less time than I spent chasing Fanny and deliberately didn't make an offer for even though she was panting for it. And I don't even know why I did it, apart from Austen mentions it hurt my pride that Julia ignored me, so I decided to charm her. And somehow, charm become elope. In God's name, how? Elope, I tell you! I'm too well bred to elope, especially with a married strumpet! And Austen even says at the time that it was mainly Maria making it happen, and I was thinking of Fanny the whole time. I don't know how she made me do it." He eyes the cat merrily lapping at the bowl before adding darkly. "I suspect rohypnol."

At that moment, an attractive, vivacious woman woman enters the bar, carrying a portmanteau. Spotting the pair at the back, she does an elegant redirect and joins them at the table. A small glass of sherry appears at her elbow by the smitten barman.

"Hello Henry. What is the cat doing?"

All three look at the hiccupping cat, one paw slung across the dog's shoulders as it meows out eternal friendship.

"Errr... working on interspecies boundaries? Anyway, hello, Mary,"
"So what are you doing?"
Henry shrugs as he looks at his sister. "I'm drowning my sorrows at accidentally running off with Maria, and the general unfairness of Jane Austen to the Crawfords."
"Ah. I think I may join you."
"Not over Edmund Bertram?"
"Not in the slightest."
Their visitor looks at them both quizzically. "Edmund?"
"Edmund Bertram of Mansfield Park. I loved him, he loved me. We had our differences. We were from different worlds; he was practicality, pragmatism and morals..."
"Boring and selfrighteous, I call it" mutters Henry under his breath.
"... and I am more of the world in understanding its intrigues and class politics, and able to navigate them," she continues, ignoring Henry's interjection. "Yet were making it work. Despite his firm assertion that I would have to completely change to accomodate his views, he was bending slightly, such as when he decided to be in our play rather than damning it, and I was coming around to the idea of being married to a man of the cloth. It would be hard, but we could do it. Even Austen said that in the natural course of events we would have been married and happy."
"I'm getting deja vu and a sense of 'but' here..."
"Maria ran off with Henry, so he decided we couldn't be connected anymore. Which was sort of expected by his moral code, but deeply annoying. However, I still can't wrap my head around why Maria would run off with Henry."
"Maybe she really loved him?"
"Possibly, but even if she did Maria loved Society more. Austen states it a number of times about how they desperately wanted a Ball in the house, about how she loved London and being in the centre of it all. She would have known that to run off with another man when married would ruin her and she'd lose everything. She wasn't stupid and she certainly wasn't ill-bred enough to not realise the consequences."
"There's no way Maria would have run off with Henry. Had an affair with him, certainly, but not run off with him." She pats Henry on the hand sympathetically as he nods. "Terrible state of affairs."
"What do you think happened?"
Henry and Mary Crawford exchange glances, before Mary answers. "I think that Austen had decided Edmund and Fanny would end up together at the beginning, and when the story just wouldn't make it happen naturally, she applied a sledgehammer to the plot to make it happen that involved a number of parties acting out of character."
"That's... not great."
"Neither is the epilogue. Austen skims over the fact it takes Edmund a long time to get over me, falls in love with Fanny, and then marries her. Oh, and her uncle decides that she's his favourite daughter after all by taking out Julia by the expediant of making her elope off with someone too, Mr Yates. That little drama only gets about two paragraphs, and again is completely ridiculous. I don't think she even liked him that much, but he's about the only male character mentioned earlier that she could run off with that wasn't the aged Admiral or Fanny's sainted naval cousin William Price. It's like Shelob making it onto the top five hot females of Middle Earth simply by existing."
Mary snorts inelegantly. "I tell you, this one'll never be a classic. It's not a patch on Pride and Prejudice."

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Date:2011-08-09 08:59
Subject:Calendar Muppetry!
Mood: amused

I'm off to Scotland today. I have an appointment at 3pm with the Respiratory/Sleep Department at the Edinburgh Royal, two hour meeting with a clinical specialist afterwards, and another at 11.30pm at the same hospital with the night staff. Tomorrow I'm Aberdeen, and then a late flight home. I hadn't gotten around to booking my hotel until yesterday as everything has been frantic this week, so popped on to Laterooms.com (I've done this before for Edinburgh with great results - two nights in The George for less than £100). And was a little shocked to find that there were pretty much no good discounts.


In fact, most of the (more than 100) hotels were fully booked as well! I poked it suspiciously, and re-ran my search. Same results. And then, banged my head on the desk as realisation hit.

Only I could manage to book two appointments in Edinburgh over the Edinburgh Festival!

Ah well. I managed to get somewhere to stay not too far from the Hospital (Ellersly House Hotel) for just about within night budget, and it looks pretty nice. Still feel a bit stupid though :).

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Date:2011-04-01 11:27
Subject:Things not to do on a Thursday night
Mood: sore

On a Thursday night, do not:

  1. Let yourself be wound up and tired by work on your way home.
  2. Go to the cottage, and be upset at perceived lack of progress since the weekend since you're paying out £320 per day in labour alone now.
  3. Go back to where you're living and have a minor breakdown about not having enough money to finish the project, and then end up having a near-argument with your OH over it, who doesn't get why being massively in debt and overspent is scary, horrible and feels like being a failure.
  4. Decide the best way to cheer yourself up (and get away from the conversation) is to use your shiny new Global knife to make dinner. Which you've not used before.
  5. Especially don't try and remove the plastic ring around the bottom of the new knife with a blunt knife, forgetting about the riquochette effect when the ring finally breaks.
  6. Especially, especially don't do this whilst holding the knives in your hand. And your fingers are nearby.

*sigh* So yes, there was a lot of blood (it got everywhere, including the floor, down the kitchen cabinets, all over the sink, down my arms, on Russell), and a trip to A&E at the John Radcliffe Hospital. Thank God for shock: the best painkiller of them all.

I'm mostly fine. I'm missing the top slice of the end of my right index finger. It was bad enough I took it with me in case they wanted to graft it back on (they didn't). I have it strapped up and have to go to the GP this afternoon to have all the dressings changed so I'm working from home which is OK, and have painkillers. I also have to have my arm strapped in a sling most of the time to keep it above my heart level, and to stop me using it/stubbing it on anything.

Think that's going to put training out for a week or so, though. Which is pants as I'm supposed to have a grading next weekend in TKD :(.

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Date:2011-03-31 08:42
Subject:Huge (and Cheeky) House Favour - Your Quisalan Needs You!
Mood: hopeful

So, I have a favour to ask of any Oxford-based people. I'm aware that it's cheeky, but I'm hoping...

Some of you may be aware that my sister has recently sold her house in order to bugger of back to Asia and spend the next few years bumming around on their yatch *envious sigh*. They're using the money from the house to buy 3 flats and will be renting them out, and using the rents to 1. pay whatever mortgage is left over, 2. pay their way in Asia.

This means they have a large amount of Stuff to get rid of since it can't go on the boat, there's no point in storing it and the flats are unfurnished. They've eBayed whatever they can, but some things aren't worth bothering with because they're old. Like the spare bed. And the oven. And the spare sofa.

You can see where this is going, can't you?

The timing is nearly perfect for me. I'm pretty sure we won't have any money to spend on equipment once the house is done (Actually, I don't think we're even going to have the money for the kitchen right now), so anything we can use for 6 months whilst we save is appreciated and will be used.

The issue is storage. We don't have a garage, our outbuildings were mostly pulled down and those that are left are being used as tool sheds, and if I try and put anything more in the house whilst R, J and co are still putting in wiring, plastering etc they will string me up with electical cabling from my very pretty beams. We already argue about how much stuff is stored on what is essentially a worksite. And buying storage costs £50 a week - we'll do it if we have to but anything we can save is a bonus.

So my questions to you out there is: do you have a spare garage or any sort of storage area that I can use for a month? It would be from mid-next week to the end of April/Start of May, so a maximum of 6 weeks. I don't care what state it's in as we can lay plastic down and cover everything, and it's not for too long. It would need to be able to take a bed (it folds into two peices, so it's not too bad), possibly an oven and other various bits and pieces depending on what my sister hasn't eBayed.

Payment will be my eternal gratitude, along with dinners, wine and use of that very spare bed when the kitchen's finished and I can have guests...

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Date:2011-03-28 09:17
Subject:Day 6 - Write 30 interesting facts about yourself.
Mood: cheerful

I have a complete narcicism day! Look at me! Wheee! Oh no, my head's getting to big to get through the door! Help, help, I'm stuck!


On with the facts!

30 facts about me, cut for the uninterestedCollapse )

Hopefully those are interesting. Any questions, clarifications or contradictions - you know where the comments are :).

(I should also admit this is a cheat: it was written on Sunday morning, and saved for today)

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Date:2011-03-27 08:42
Subject:Day 5 - a time you thought about ending your own life.
Mood: determined

(I figure whilst I'm awake, I should make use of the time!)

A scene from when chrisvenus and I discussed the topic when it first came up:

"So what's the topic for day 5?"
"Eerr... 'A time you thought about ending your own life'. WHAT??! I've never thought about that!"
Chris surveyed me from the other sofa. "You're clearly not emo enough for LJ."


This is a really short entry, because I have never, every seriously thought about ending my own life.

I've been down, I've been utterly miserable, I've felt completely worthless, I've felt like everything was pointless and hideous and I'd never make anything of my life, and yet I've never, ever gotten to that stage, because there are always alternatives. Instead, I'll burn (metaphorically) everything in my life instead. I've done it twice: jacked in my job, left where I was living, stored my possessions in garages, and just upped and left the continent for months.

I feel really strongly about this - nothing is worth killing yourself over. Nothing.

If you have nothing to live for, then you have infinite freedom to do whatever you want, because whatever you do will be better than death. You can leave the continent, change professions, go live on a beach for a year, not speak to your family for 5 years if you feel like it; whatever works. If you want to check out of life, then do it - check out of your life, and go get a different one. I very much believe in the old adage, "Where there's life, there's hope."

Life's a gift. It's a waste to throw it away.

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Date:2011-03-27 08:17
Subject:Good Morning World!
Mood: awake

Well, I'm up, showered and dressed, and it's 8am (although by Body Clock 7am). There's a long story, but can be summarised by these short phrases: R out with two friends last night, all stranded in Buckinghamshire, all too drunk for taxi, 6am panicked drunken phonecall.

When we got back here half an hour back, I had both R and J and both were drunk and crashing out. Now, in Chris' flat, we only have the lounge as a spare room for guests. In the interests of housemately harmony (and general practicality) I figured it was better to stay up and get R and J to top and tail in the bedroom, so both were in the same room with a door as they're likely to be out of it for at least 5 hours, and leave the lounge free for Chris and I to use. Plus, sleeping next to someone doing vomit-flavoured hiccups is never pleasant!

So, anyone else awake?

And more, if you are awake, anyone in Oxford fancy breakfast? :)

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Date:2011-03-24 20:00
Subject:Random Questions Meme (as tagged by Bateleur)
Mood: calm

I have been tagged by bateleur by the expedient of reading LJ. Pants!

The Rules:
1. People who have been tagged must write the answers on their blog and replace any question they dislike with a new, original question.
2. Tag eight people. Don't refuse to do that. Don't tag who tagged you.

N.B. I wrote this over the afternoon between work, so some of the thoughts are a little incongruous for 8pm!

Questions and AnswersCollapse )

As to tagging, the first 8 people that read this and would like to reply suits me fine. Although I'd like to see hungry_pixel, chrisvenus and fenikkusuken if you're so inclined...?

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Date:2011-03-22 15:22
Subject:On Places to Take a European Work Colleague
Mood: amused

At the moment, I have the European Product Manager for Sleep with me in the UK. We've been visiting accounts to give her a better overview of our market, since it's so complex. She arrived yesterday morning, stayed in Oxford last night, is in Heathrow tonight and flying back to Munich via Paris late tomorrow night.

Now usually when you have a visiting colleague you work closely with, you look after them. So I'd put aside my Monday night to spend with her. The chat on the way home from the customer visit went something like:

"What would you like to do tonight? There's a really lovely resturant in Oxford called 'Jamies' which does Italian and we can go there, and you get to see a bit of Oxford itself. Or, if you're tired, the hotel resturant is supposed to be nice, and the hotel has a pool and a gym, and I can join you or not as you'd like." {pause and cheeky grin} Or we can always go kickboxing, it's a training night tonight."

"Really? You'd take me kickboxing? I really value exercise time because I travel so much!"

"Err... yes, but we can also go to a really nice dinner on expenses..."

"No, no, I'm really up for trying a new sport!"

And so it was yesterday that I spent the evening ducking flailing fists from a statuesque, 5ft 10 Germanic blonde who was giggling wildly, and her amazing dinner on expenses was a salad from the local M&S. Still, she told me it was a blast and was considering looking into classes back in Munich, and as I've never taken anyone from work along before, she felt privileged. Plus, it was fun and it was probably a lot better for me than eating out for yet another evening (I've eaten out in resturants more than I've eaten in over the last three weeks due to work).


Don't think I'll take anyone else along from work though :).

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Date:2011-03-04 12:06
Subject:World Book Day Meme
Mood: busy

(Yes I know I should be doing the '30 days of LJ, but I'm really busy right now and a few lines is easier than a full post)

The book I am reading: 'Angelology' by Daniella someone-or-other. It's trashy bad supernatural fiction described by one glowing reviewer as 'a cross between the Da Vinci Code and Twilight', may good taste forgive me. I was bored in Edinburgh Airport, m'kay? And as I am going to stuck in another airport on Sunday and Thursday (to/from Austria), it's being kept in reserve for that.
The book I love most: No idea. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings, possibly? Maybe Austin's Pride and Prejudice? Or Frank Herbert's Dune? It's hard because my mini-library has been in storage for over 18 months, and I'm starting to forget what I own and default to reading when I have them available :(.
The last book I received as a gift: As a side note, people don't tend to give me books. Which whilst sad, is not necessarily a bad thing since at the moment I don't have anywhere sensible to store them until the Pit of Misery is finished. After that, my Amazon wishlist is going to go bonkers rather than the restrained items it has currently. Anyway, my last gift book was from the office Secret Santa and was a 'History of Mythology' book which showed a little more thinking than I was expecting :).
The last book I gave as a gift: A Photographic History of Muhammad Ali to Russell for Valentine's Day, although he didn't deserve it from trashing my car two days before. Can't remember the author.
The nearest book: *Looks around* A large version on the Collin's Dictionary and Thesaurus. I work in Marketing, what can I say?

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Date:2011-02-22 10:01
Subject:The Livejournal 30 Day Challenge
Mood: thoughtful

I've just caught up on this, and I quite like the idea of it. I'm putting the topics below for my reference. I'm behind everyone else, so I'll do two posts today.

No guarentees I'll keep it up though! :)

Topics per dayCollapse )

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Date:2011-02-13 21:43
Mood: amused

Last night at glittertigger's birthday, we ended up having a discussion of Steampunk and the general steampunk subculture (as it is), which is somewhere between Victoriana and Goth with some gadget-tech, crossed with Jules Verne and HG Wells.

It was during this conversation that killala enlightened me as to the existence of something called 'Chaphop'. It's essentially taking the elements of hiphop (R listens to a fair bit as his music genre, and my iTunes is now covered with things like 50 Cent, Jedi Mind Tricks and the rest so I'm pretty familiar), and then performing it by people in the steampunk, victoriana style. So terribly English, rapping about drinking tea or cricket. I spent at least half an hour this morning on Youtube giggling. My particular two favourites are probably these two:

Fighting Trousers by Professor Elemental (this is a 'dis' song to Mr B, below!) and
Chaphop History by Mr B.

It's so very civilised ;)

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Date:2011-01-02 12:08
Subject:2010: Year in Round-Up
Mood: cheerful

I figured that since I've barely written in my LJ this year, this might possibly make up for it slightly!

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
Living in a complete hovel (although we did do 2 months of it in 2009, but in the Autumn so not so bad)! Russell and I spent 8 months of the year living in Rose Cottage with no central heating, no hot water, no real cooking facilities (a George, a microwave and a kettle), living in dust, shivering through snow, storing all my clothes in the boot of my car and showering at work every day. It was certainly an experience, but I'm never doing it again. At least, not with a full-time professional job!

Also, a new martial arts style, Taekwondo. Always good to pick up a new skill!

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any specific ones, and I'm not going to make any this year either, but I do have a number of things I would like to achieve in 2010:

  • To finish Rose Cottage! The aim is the end of March 2011, and we've got our fingers crossed.
  • Once the cottage is finished, start window shopping for a new job. I love my current job, but I've been there for over three years already, and it's going to be three and a half once the cottage is finished. I can get promoted, but I'd have to leave the UK to do so, which isn't an issue for me but is an issue for Russell, so whilst I'm with him, I'm primarily UK - and Oxford - based. Which means I can't move within the company.
  • Run a one-off (or a three-off) RPG game in the cottage
  • To hold at least one tea party, one BBQ and one big evening party at Rose Cottage
  • To have Christmas in my own house, hosting at least my parents, Russell's parents and our respective siblings and other halves
  • To go horse riding at the local stable in the village over the summer.
  • To do something amazing for R and my 5th anniversay, because we didn't do anything this year or last year due to the cottage, which was rubbish. And half a decade is pretty notable.
  • To see my cousin Melika who I've not seen for years.
  • To finish LongFic and send fenikkusuken a bunch of flowers when it's finally, finally finished!

I adamantly hold that they're not resolutions though :).

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Steve and Shayna had Violet, my lovely friend Jo B at work had their baby boy Alfie, there were another two babies at work from acquaintances whom I like. Seems to have been a year of babies.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness. Although after 2008 I have no grandparents left, so this question is possibly even more worrying.

5. What countries did you visit?
Leaving out UK destinations (including Scotland and Wales):

  • Dublin, Ireland (Feb 2010)
  • Porto, Portugal (March 2010)
  • Var, France (April 2010)
  • Lyon and Var, France (June 2010)
  • Munich, Germany (July 2010)
  • Brussells, Belgium (October 2010)
  • Var and Lyon, France (November 2010)

I have been to a lot more places in past years; this was relatively sane. Of those, only the trip to France in April was purely for me: all of the others were work. However, wherever you see Var that's me nipping over to see my parents - the TGV only takes an hour from Lyon (the location of our French office) to Marseilles.

Is it bad that I'm proud of this rather than worried about my carbon footprint? :)

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
My own house with a kitchen, and bathroom and can be lived in!

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Mmm... none really. Lots of things happened, but none really jumped out on a specific day. If there is any date, it's probably 17th April, which was davefish and keris's wedding where I was an usher during the Volcano.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Ran a European Product launch for work! These are usually done by the European Product Manager, but ours had just been promoted and we'd not managed to recruit a new PM by then, or a European Sleep VP either who would have usually covered. It was pretty cool, although the conference calls to speak to Sydney and San Diago were a little complicated, and did end up with me having less sleep than I would have liked :). It means that I'm now known in the US and Aus now, and have been told that if I ever want a job in either location they'd be happy to have me... ;)

9. What was your biggest failure?
It's not so much a failure as the biggest disappointment, but not finishing renovating the house. It's no reflection on Russell or anything else, but it was still a horrible feeling in September to realise that it wouldn't be finished by Christmas. It's why both of us pretty much pretended Christmas wasn't happening until about November.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Labyrinthitis was the strangest (all of the bad points of being drunk such as falling over and feeling sick, and none of the good ones), but I've has some absolutely rubbish long and malingering colds that lasted over a month at a time. I'm blaming the renovation due to general stress which has stressed my immune system. No proper injuries though.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Assorted power tools! Probably either my DeWalt drill or the second belt sander. I'd love it to be anything else (especially my boots I bought in December), but it is probably the power tools.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
chrisvenus! We officially moved back into his at the end of August with rent, but all the way through the year he's left me with keys and always left his door open for me, let me abuse his hot water in at least one bath a week when I was showering at work, stealing his internet when all I wanted was an evening on the sofa, and let Russell and I sleep there as often as we pleased (although we desperately tried to keep it down and not take the piss). If he hadn't been there, I honestly think I'd have ended up in huge debt just paying someone to do it, and it would have been the worst financial decision I'd ever made, plus Russell and I might not have made it through. Doesn't bear thinking about!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
No-one's really. I think it's a bonus of growing up that you generally see people you like, and there's less drama in general. Although that could also be a function of not being in an RP society ;)

14. Where did most of your money go?
On my house. Where else? :)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The RP Con in April! Oh yes! :) And it was awesome :D.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Oddly, there aren't any specifics. It's been the year of Spotify though!

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?
About the same I think. Both years have been contemplating the renovation!
b) thinner or fatter?
No idea as I don't own scales. Err... probably slightly fatter as some of clothes as slightly tight right now, but that could just be Christmas and they were probably just as bad last year.
c) richer or poorer?
Mmm... worse liquidity, but with a house at a better stage of progress so better fixed assets, and a payrise in line with inflation, so probably about the same.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Working on the house to push it forwards. I have gotten really slack and since about September when it got colder, I've done very little on it. In my defence, I can only work in the evenings and weekends, and I can't really be there without R since he knows what needs to be done. However, as it's his job, R works there all day so doesn't want to go back there later with me, so it all stalls. It's a good excuse, but it is an excuse.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Shivering and being freezing, especially in Feb and March when there was loads of snow (again).

20. How will you be spending New Year?
I spent New Year with friends at leathellin's and metame's party. And R turned up at 5 to midnight, so I even got a midnight kiss! It was great :).

22. Did you fall in love in 2010?
Nope. If I did, R might have complained :). Although I can't make any promises when I meet Archie, my parents' new dog...

23. How many one-night stands?
Nope. Long term relationships put a real damper on those ;).

24. What were your favorite TV programs?
There was a bit of a lack this year. Supernatural (we went through season 5, although we weren't as impressed as we'd hoped), The Walking Dead, any general Grand Designs or Property Ladder (just to see other people sharing my renovation pain) and Better off Ted.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope. Pretty chilled, really :).

26. What was the best book you read?
Errr... I got obssessed with Manga in the summer, and got a whole bunch off eBay and Amazon cheaply. Vampire Knight was one of the series, and I own all of the first story arc. I won't say it was the best, but it was entertaining. I also picked up Chrono Crusade which was good. lathany leant me the Inquisitors Trilogy (Wahammer 40K) which I liked, but I didn't like the main character, Eisenhorn, which has made it a struggle. Read some good books on Pricing and business strategy as well.

27. What were your greatest musical discoveries?
Spotify! Especially other people's playlists. They are brilliant for finding new music :).

28. What did you want and get?
After refusing to buy anything for myself for ages, at the end of the year I got fed up and bought some new clothes I really needed. So in Autumn I wanted and got a new coat, having needed one for over a year, and some new knee high boots after the decline of my old ones (which had already been reheeled twice). Also a new pair of work trousers in the sales this year.

29. What did you want and not get?
I wanted to buy my kitchen and bathroom this year so we could get them in the sales before the VAT hike. Unfortunately, you can't order them when you don't have the actual physical room to put them in and our shell for the extension isn't finished yet. Ah well.

30. What were your favorite films of this year?
Avatar (if it counts as 2010), Inception and possibly Shutter Island

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was in France with my parents as I was out there for about 5 days over my Dad's and my birthday. It was lovely, and we went out for dinner in one of the nearby villages. It was fab :).

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Finishing the house. I'm beginning to sound like a broken record!

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
At the house: dusty, plaster covered snowman in layers. At work: smart but a bit unkempt due to storing things in the car for a long time. At other points, funky casual.

34. What kept you sane?
chrisvenus, my friend Richard, the Con in April, IY Fanfic, Mass Effect 2, going away for work when we were living in the house (En suite with hot water! And central heating! and no dust! And proper food! Hurrah!), and I guess R, although we alternately kept each other sane and insane :).

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Err... probably Dean from Supernatural (yes, I mean the character not the actor) although he was immensely whiny in Season 5 which is why I'm not sure.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The Save the Tiger summit in Russia

37. Who did you miss?
Lots of people, especially my friends. When you don't have a house you feel guilty about accepting other people's hospitality too much so I didn't see as many people as I'd like, plus I didn't like leaving R alone in the cottage alone since he feels this far more than me and hardly sees anyone at the moment.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Err... I met a fair number of people through getting back to R's classes. Probably Louise - she's going to be a new shopping partner, definitely :).

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:
Never take on a renovation. Ever. Pay someone else to do it for you!

Happy 2011 peeps.. see you soon!

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