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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 09:32pm on 10/08/2008 under
+1 I made flapjacks!

-10 The rain, it rains.

+3 I made these delicious things.

+2 Also, I made more raspberry sorbet.

+1 And I have blackberries for future!blackberry sorbet.

+10 My sister is visiting.

-5 I had to go to a school reunion.

+5 It was my sister's year's reunion, so none of my school"friends" were there.

+3 My dad won a prize for his sheep:

-3 He didn't win the overall Supreme Champion prize. Here he is with all the other loser sheep:

+20 Matt dug up LOADS of potatoes at the allotment.

-20 I couldn't be with him because I had to wait in for someone ALL DAY on the only sunny day of the week.

+50 There was an amazing thunderstorm last night.

-7 The congregation at church have stopped listening to the organ during hymns, which means they're often half a line ahead of or behind me. I pulled out nearly all the stops today, but it made no difference. I wouldn't mind if it was consistent, but they seem to randomly get faster in the middle of some hymns, slower in the middle of others, and every now and then they cut the long notes short by almost a whole beat. (You might be thinking that there's only one of me and dozens of them, that it's more likely that I'm getting it wrong but I'm really not. I have never, in all the years I've been an organist/accompanist/pianist, messed about with the rhythm to the extent that whole beats go missing.)

+7 I'm going to play so loud next Sunday that I won't be able to hear the congregation at all, and then it won't matter how out of time they are.

+15 I managed to channel a lot of the week's anger and depression into Operation De-clutter 2008, so the bedroom and living-room are wonderfully free of ornaments and junk. HURRAY!

-5 The ornaments and junk from the bedroom and living-room are piled up in the piano room and office. Oops.

-10 I am having a problem with Matt's family.

-100 Matt is sad about the problem.

TOTAL: -43

Yep. Feels about right.
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 03:16pm on 16/07/2008 under ,
Turns out I will do almost anything* rather than deal with the pig story.

My "working" method seems to be that if there's a BIG!thing I have to do, then I will put off doing it for as long as possible in favour of doing something little instead, although it takes me a few weeks to admit to myself that I'm not going to get the BIG!thing done before I do actually tackle the little thing. And, even then, I don't tackle the next biggest thing on the list. Oh no. That thing is still pretty BIG! in my lazy opinion so, after again a few weeks of building up to admitting to myself that I'm not going to do it, I'll move on to the next thing on the list. This process of admitting my own laziness and getting past the big things on the to-do list continues for MONTHS until I've skipped everything on my list and am left with the smallest, least useful, least important, most pathetic little task imaginable and, after only a week or so of thinking about it, I'll get on with it. Once that task is done I'll suddenly find myself able to do the next smallest task, etc, and gradually work my way back to the BIG!thing. It's funny how there are always other, lesser tasks to push that BIG!thing further away...

I have now run out of things to do (see footnote) and am consequently getting the urge to make some more home-made cleaning products, which is always a sign that I have time on my hands.

I think I need a new method.


* And by "almost anything" I mean unnecessary housework, letter-writing, 'net-surfing, rosette-making, obscure-Japanese-craft-researching, book-reading, Haydn-Sonata-playing, bra-buying, crumble-baking, chutney-making, tax-form-completing, concert-organising, OCD-spreadsheet-compiling, sunbathing-on-warm-limestone, weeding, lame-DVD-watching, planet-tracking, knitting and, last but not least, flicking Matt's face with water while he's brushing his teeth.
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 12:04pm on 04/07/2008 under ,
There's a ^*%($^* rat in our kitchen again.

It was only in May that the stench of decomposing rat (it died LAST YEAR in the wall cavity between the kitchen and the bathroom after the pest control chap left poison out for it) finally stopped oozing out into the kitchen.

And it's not as if there's any food accessible to the rat. It can only get into two cupboards from the hole in the wall cavity. One cupboard is full of oven trays and baking tins and old tupperware tubs. The other is the one under the sink, where we keep all the home-made cleaning things and empty jam-jars.

I am so sick of this.
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 04:20pm on 14/06/2008 under ,
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 09:13pm on 09/06/2008 under ,
Via boingboing, J.K.Rowling's commencement address at Harvard:

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.


This fits too neatly with a few things I've been thinking recently. Oh well.
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 01:05pm on 01/06/2008 under ,
Two complaints, actually.

1. My back still hurts when the temperature drops. Like today. It's been nearly three months since the accident and I am now fed up of feeling like an old lady. The only relief is in pressing my back against a cushion (or Matt), or wearing far too many clothes for the time of year. Do not want.

2. It's T.T. Week here on my rock, which means there are thousands of motorcyclists clogging up the roads. I appreciate that some of them have ridden hundreds -- possibly thousands -- of miles to get here, and that it's probably their main holiday for the year. I appreciate that they love motorbikes, and are all very happy to be in a place where there are lots of other people who all love motorbikes too. And I appreciate how liberating it must be to see a no-speed-limit road sign and know that it does actually mean that there's no speed limit for the next however many miles.

But. I have to use the road too. It's exhausting, having to keep on checking the mirrors for the sudden appearance of speeding motorcyclists -- who proceed to overtake on the right, on the left, when there's traffic coming towards them, on corners, on the brows of hills, when there are motorcyclists overtaking the oncoming traffic, at junctions. They ignore all speed limits (no doubt reckoning -- rightly so, by the looks of it -- that there are simply too many of them for the police to catch) and road markings. They overtake queues of traffic at stop signs and traffic lights and pull in at the front of the queue past the road markings, getting in the way of pedestrians and other vehicles. Some of the junctions have been altered since last time they were here -- new roundabouts, new traffic light timings, etc -- and they don't realise until they're in the middle of the mess.

A lot of them come from countries where you drive on the other side of the road. There are signs up all over the place warning people to KEEP LEFT in several languages. You still get the odd stupid tosspot who forgets about this, who rides along at 120mph on the right hand side of the road and, if they're lucky, has a near miss. One German tourist a few years ago was not lucky, and ploughed into the oncoming traffic, killing eleven people. So you have to be vigilant about that too. There's a motorbike up ahead, coming towards you -- will they remember to stay on their side of the road? Are you about to die? It's horrible. Part of the T.T. course -- miles and miles of main road between Ramsey and Douglas -- is one-way for the whole week now, to stop this kind of thing from happening.

Thousands of Manx residents leave the island over T.T. Week, rather than have to deal with the motorbikes, the danger and the inconvenience of road closures while the races are on. I don't blame them. If I could afford it, I wouldn't be here either.
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 11:24pm on 18/04/2008 under , ,
Okay. Having thought more about what I wrote in my last entry, and the comments thereof, I've decided to make more of an effort to be a good diarist. It occurs to me that maybe one of the reasons I haven't been writing at all is that I've let this journal go stale. Perhaps, if I write more regularly here, I'll be more inclined to write more regularly over there. *points at story files* Or maybe I've got the wrong cause for this effect. Won't it be madly interesting, finding out?

I mentioned, yesterday, that I'm still aching with whiplash. When my back gets cold it feels as though it's cracked open around the right shoulder-blade. Playing the piano makes it worse. I have to play the piano, and not just because it's my job. I just have to, alright? But I do also have to play it because of my job -- now more than ever because the Manx Music Festival is coming up and I have approximately fifty song accompaniments to learn.

I'm playing for the opera class this year, which mostly involves doing tremolos all over the place. A tremolo on the piano is when you have a bunch of notes (for one hand, unless you've got tremolos in both hands at the same time, which some of my accompaniments do have, the little buggers) and you kind of shake your hand over them so that the thumb alternates with the other fingers very quickly, over and over again. Shaky hands! They're funny to watch, but they're not easy to do, especially when they're quiet. Guess who has to do lots of quiet ones? ME! Anyway, the problem with doing shaky hands is that I end up tensing my upper arms. Try tapping your fingers on the table now, switching back and forth from thumb to little finger as fast as you can. Can you feel the tension in your upper arm? If you can't then you're a better trembler than me. But the tension in my upper arms gradually works its way into my shoulders and upper back until the crack effect around my shoulder-blade gets so bad that I finally notice it (funny how much you can ignore when you're pounding away at the piano). At which point I go and look pitiful in front of Matt until he makes me a cup of tea.

And now I must sleep, because rehearsals start just after 9.00am.
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 10:23pm on 17/04/2008 under
Last month I backed up all my old LiveJournal entries, and skim-read them while I sorted out the formatting. It's a bit of a mess, this journal, isn't it? Reading it all in one go left me wondering what the point of it was. My main reason for starting it was that I didn't want to lose touch with my on-line friends, as we all drifted away from the forum that had brought us together in the first place. And here I am, four years later, with a collection of whiny wordcount updates, random lists, and photographs of bags.

I don't know what to do with it. Should I carry on? If I do carry on, what should I write about? Should it be more narrowly focussed? Or less? Should I have written about the cold I had last week, the pain in my left shoulder today, the way my whiplash ache still hasn't gone away? Or about the story of me and Matt and our struggle to earn enough money without giving in and getting jobs in offices? Or about the piano, what I've been practising recently, things my pupils do (or more frequently don't do), my thoughts on piano music generally? Or should there be more on writing, and why exactly I've done nothing for a whole year, and what's wrong with the story, and how I want to fix it, and the other five stories I have lined up that I want to write, and my sadness at setting the imagined stories down in words because it kills off so many possibilities, and on and on and on? Would you like allotment updates with photographs? Or pictures of the tide crashing against the shingle across the road? Do you want to know about Operation De-clutter 2008, and how circumstances have left the house even more cluttered than it was at the start of the year? More about the island? More about the books I've read? (Although surely there are enough book review blogs out there by now.) Should I have described in detail what I did on my birthday? Should I be raving on about my favourite things? Or should I stop maintaining this journal, and just keep the account so that I don't revert back to being an anonymous commenter?

Any or all of the above? I have no idea.

Maybe I'm just too spiky and private to be a public diarist. I've added almost no friends since I first joined LJ. I have nearly no interest in searching for people to add to my f-list. And nearly no people have added me, if you don't include the fictitious characters.

(And, while I hope this doesn't need saying, I'll say it anyway: this is not a fishing-for-comments post, nor even a fishing-for-reassurance post. It's a genuine question. Is there much point to my keeping this journal? It's not like you learn much of my daily life from it anyway, and I do tend towards the verbose in my comments on other people's journals so there'd be no question of actually losing touch if I stopped updating here.)
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 08:47pm on 12/03/2008 under
This is the fullest of self-pity I've been in YEARS.

I'm going to spend the next five minutes having -- like the hippopotamus -- a damn good wallow.

1. My grandmother -- aka my last grandparent -- is dead.
2. My car is dead.
3. Even with the extra money coming in from the daytime teaching work, my salary is still pitiful.
4. Matt's salary is worse.
5. We're never going to be able to afford to buy a house.
6. I'm almost 34 and still haven't started a family.
7. I want a cat.
8. and a dog.
9. and a garden.
10. I still haven't revised the pig story.
11. I wrote a poem and it's BAD.
12. I'm lazy.
13. I'm a stone heavier than I was a year ago.
14. My mother is going to have to have proper, full-on, cut-your-head-open brain surgery in 2009 to remove the acoustic neuroma.
15. I miss my sister.
16. None of my close friends live in the same country as me.
17. The back of my head still hurts.
18. *long bit here about unsupportive parents*
19. I have to drive for a living, and all week I've been quietly freaking out when cars pull up at junctions on my left.
20. *cries*

I don't know why I thought that would make me feel better. Knowing that it's a list of trivialities doesn't help either. It just adds self-loathing to the mix. Wah, indeed.
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 05:56pm on 19/01/2008 under
Matt turned 30 on Tuesday. I realise now that a lot of my "I'm still young!" attitude was based on him being in his twenties. I am not still young. Hmmm. You know, we'd both be under a lot less pressure if our ages were swapped around.


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