Scattered Brainings XV

26 01 2012

* What ever happened to common courtesy? Have we become so consumed in our own lives and problems that we cannot be bothered to even be the slightest bit friendly? We have an open plan office setup at work. At some or other point in the day, you are likely to cross paths with most of the people in your section, like when you go to pick stuff up or make copies at the printer. The least you can do is to give the other person a smile, or at least a nod of acknowledgement when they say ‘hullo’ to you (though saying ‘hullo’ back would be preferable). Many times, this does not happen. I’m not asking you to be the nicest person in the world, but if I say ‘hullo’ to you, would it really kill you to say ‘hullo’ back? I’m now at the point where I’ve given up trying and don’t greet certain people when I see them because I cannot elicit a response from them. Time to bake some murder muffins

* About a week ago, one of my colleagues asked me how I was doing despite – and I quote – “the deer-caught-in-the-headlights look” that can be seen on many a face when referring to the upcoming submissions. Being me, I immediate wondered how this would translate into fashion – what would the key colours, style and accessories be for that definitive deer-caught-in-the-headlights look? What will make you look confused, scared, and ‘cute’ all at the same time? (Confession: I think I may be losing it…)

* Saw this on Facebook and just had to share. As a Scooby-Doo fan, I approve:

* Last week, while dining out, my Significant Other asked me: ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ This is one of the most annoying/ scary/ shrug-inducing questions ever uttered by man. I had this sudden urge to answer, “About two and a half months away from turning 30”, but decided against it.

* Don’t you just hate it when something silly/ annoying gets stuck in your head for days on end? You have that song playing in your mind when you wake up; it sneaks in every hour or so while you’re busy working; and it might just make another appearance before you go to sleep. Oh, and don’t forget the accompanying imagery! I watched a certain YouTube video that has been ‘harassing’ my mind for perhaps over a week now. I have four words for you: “Every day I’m shuffling”

* I’m a bit worried (already) that I won’t reach the goal I set myself for my 2012 Reading Challenge on Goodreads. Last year I was able to read 145 books (yes I did!), with my initial goal being 100.  This year, I’ve decided to set the bar at 100 again, and then see how it goes. I was off to a bad start since it took me nearly two weeks to get through one book – not because I’m a slow reader, but simply because it failed to fully capture my attention. Luckily I’ve been able to pick up the pace and am ‘on track’, according to Goodreads… yet things are going to be super busy until mid-March here at work. I’ll just have to catch up…

* Paper cuts. (Enough said?) I am the self-proclaimed queen of paper cuts. It’s not that I get a paper cut every day or anything like that (although, yes, there are often days when they appear out of thin air and leave me exasperated as to their precise origin). It’s just how things turn out when I do get one. When I get a paper cut, it has to be exceptional. Take Tuesday, for example. Three paper cuts… on the same finger… at the Exact. Same. Time. (!!!)

* Yesterday morning on our way to work, I told my Significant Other that I’m not meant/ cut out for writing. (Haters gonna’ hate?) I just feel disconnected from my writing. Stephen King says that if you have any hope of becoming a successful writer, you should read a lot and write a lot. I’ve got the reading part down pat, yet I am lacking in the writing part. I have been consumed by the schools sector of the written word… I still enjoy reading other people’s manuscripts (not only at work, though it is part of my job – I’m talking about actual ‘real-world’ novel writers) and doing some editing/ providing feedback… but that makes me feel… I don’t know… like a hypocrite? They say those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach… or edit. Which has always bugged me. Because if you yourself cannot write, how can you teach someone else to do it and tell them what is right/ wrong (or grade them on it, *cough* one of my university lecturers *cough*)? In any case, I think I need a big nudge to get me started on my own writing again.

* Being home alone in the evening makes me want to bake and watch a Disney movie (usually THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG or TANGLED). Why is that? I ended up baking raisin-and-flaked-almond oats bars last night… and watching THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG… again…

Topped off with melted chocolate chips!!

* I say the word ‘um’ a lot… at work… while talking to my line manager. This annoys me. It reminds me of an English lecturer we had at university who would say “and, um…” before/ after Every. Single. Sentence. Not the best way to focus on PARADISE LOST, I can assure you.

* Since I have a pear-shaped figure, does that mean I should only eat pears? Or can eating a different fruit help change my shape? *Ponder* I’ve heard of people who are pear or apple shaped, but not a word about any other fruit. If you were banana shaped, would you be bent? Are small, plump/ round people grapes? And what about really large people – are they watermelons? I’m thinking about this too much!!

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Trust me, I’m hangin’…

16 01 2012

Happy Mondayn, everyone!

Here’s hoping that each of you will have a good week and be able to hang in there… even when it feels like life/ work (etc.) is ready to take a liberal chunk out of your rump…





I’m too busy thinking of… other things… to come up with a better title

10 01 2012

My dearest blog readers!

I trust that most of you are back at work already (if you’re not, enjoy it while it lasts…)

I started working again last Thursday (I’ll admit that I checked & responded to e-mails a few days in advance, obsessive-compulsive and all that), and so far, things are… well… crazy. That’s as good a word as any.

I’m not entirely sure if that’s crazy in a good or bad way, sometimes it’s actually both, but it is kuh-raaaaay-zee nonetheless.

As ever, I have many figurative face-palm moments when dealing with people who come across as incompetent, stupid, petulant… the list goes on and on. You try staying all helpful and happy while explaining to someone how to find and apply styles in Word, saying the same things over and over and over again – perhaps there is something to that old saying that patience is a virtue!!

It’s all right, though. I manage to stay very calm during the day, addressing problems as they arise (the ‘joys’ *cough* of Project Management) and working for (more than) my money’s worth. Then I get home after a long day and prepare supper – some ‘quiet time’ while my Significant Other is busy working… a good time for contemplation…

Those 50s housewives had the right idea

Yip, nothing nicer than taking your aggression out on whatever you’re busy whisking/ stirring/ whatever and finding your centre as you think about the things you’d like to say to other people (or, yes, the murder you want to commit – we’re all mad here…) A kitchen is as good a place for thoughts of malice as any, don’t you think? I’ll start brewing a storm in a teacup and see where things go from there…

So if you see me on an extremely crazy-busy day, and I’m calm & ‘relaxed’ & smiling (vacant, borderline-psychotic expression optional), you know what I’ll be thinking of that night!

[That’s probably also why I enjoy baking and have taken many treats to the office – a sort of, “here you go, enjoy, I imagined your face as I was beating those g*ddamn eggs into what could possibly be termed a stupor”, the grin never leaving my face… If I ever take the time to bake you some treats, you’ll have to decide what my intentions were for yourself.]





Happy birthday, Libby!

6 01 2012

Another family birthday for the week: first my husband, and now my older sister!

Haaaaappy Biiiirthday, Libby *big hug*

As always, I wish that abundant happiness, prosperity, love, success, and all those other lovely sentiments will be bestowed upon you this year, and in all the years to come… Two more years, just two, then you’ll be 30 😀

But for now, just relax, enjoy the last bit of your leave before it’s back to work, and make the most of what is, after all, your Special Day. If we lived in the UK, I would definitely have bought you a Simon’s Cat cake!





Another happy birthday

4 01 2012

Today is a very special day…

…because, for the 4th year in a row, I get to spend my Significant Other’s birthday with him 🙂

The day started off with yours truly preparing him a champagne breakfast, followed by a visit from my parentals, and a bit of game time (“Orcs Must Die!”) for my S.O. We’re about to leave for lunch at Ocean Basket – nyummy sushi! – which will be followed by a movie at Cape Gate (the new SHERLOCK HOLMES)… and dinner at La Pineta!

Yes, I am spoiling him rotten – because he deserves it.

Happy birthday, my dearest, and remember that I Love you soooooo much ❤

This is the birthday card I made my Significant Other. Doesn't Smudgy just look thrilled...?





The books I read in 2011

1 01 2012

Happy New Year, my beloved blog readers!

I hope that you’ve all been having a superb day, and that 2012 will prove to be an amazing year for each and every one of you *hug*

Following the trend of the last two years, I shall again be sharing with you the books that I managed to read this year. Since I only read 57 books in 2009 and 57 books in 2010, I decided that I wanted to break out of this ‘pattern’ and set myself a goal on Goodreads: to read (*dramatic pause*) 100 books in 2011.

And did I make it? Well, ……

…I managed to bump it up to 145, so I think things didn’t turn out too badly 😉

I’m really quite pleased with myself, especially if you factor in that I got married in May (i.e. two-week honeymoon in Scotland with virtually no reading) and that I have spent most of the year working (as opposed to a chunk of 2010 when I was still job-hunting and, accordingly, sitting at home with a lot of free time on my hands).

If you’re not in the mood to scroll through the looong list below and peruse it now, you can always download the PDF version thereof: Books Read 2011

Oh, and if you want me to recommend any of the books on the list or highlight some of the ones I enjoyed the most, you only need to ask. Happy reading!!

BOOKS I’VE READ THIS YEAR:

* Kiss of Evil – Richard Montanari

* Twilight Hour – Carol Smith

* The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

* The Night Ferry – Michael Robotham

* The Uninhabited House – Mrs. J.H. Riddell

* The Haunted Bookshop – Christopher Morley

* The Mating – Nicky Charles

* The Colorado Kid – Stephen King

* 100 Quotes to make you think! – Wolfgang Riebe

* The Keeping – Nicky Charles

* The Princess and the Penis – R.J. Silver

* Soul Identity – Dennis Batchelder

* The Tenth Chamber – Glenn Cooper

* Soul Intent – Dennis Batchelder

* The Demon Girl (Rae Wilder #1) – Penelope Fletcher

* The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Series #1) – Suzanne Collins

* Catching Fire (Hunger Games Series #2) – Suzanne Collins

* Mockingjay (Hunger Games Series #3) – Suzanne Collins

* Freedom Incorporated – Peter Tylee

* Out the Door – Troy Blackford [got to read the manuscript J]

* Under the Wall – Troy Blackford

* Just After Sunset – Stephen King

* Gerald’s Game – Stephen King

* Cycle of the Werewolf – Stephen King

* The Plant – Stephen King

* The Gunslinger (Dark Tower #1) – Stephen King

* The Drawing of the Three (Dark Tower #2) – Stephen King

* Classical Mythology – Geddes & Grosset

* Bond with Me – Anne Marsh

* The Whole Truth – David Baldacci

* The Taking – Nicky Charles

* Our Tragic Universe – Scarlett Thomas

* Hide in Plain Sight (Three Sisters Inn #1) – Marta Perry

* The Variant Effect – G. Wells Taylor

* Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander – J.K. Rowling

* Black Silk – Jan Gordon

* The Defector – Mark Chisnell

* Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King – Lisa Rogak

* Alinora – Kara Lockley

* Night Shift – Stephen King

* Kiss Me Deadly – Michele Hauf

* The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & the Olympians #1) – Rick Riordan

* The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson & the Olympians #2) – Rick Riordan

* The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson & the Olympians #3) – Rick Riordan

* The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson & the Olympians #4) – Rick Riordan

* Skipping Christmas – John Grisham

* The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson & the Olympians #5) – Rick Riordan

* The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus #1) – Rick Riordan

* The Healer’s Apprentice – Melanie Dickerson

* The Glades – Clifton Campbell

* To be Loved – Ian Woodhead

* Twisted Imaginings Vol. 1 – Garry Charles

* Twisted Imaginings Vol. 2 – Garry Charles

* Twisted Imaginings Vol. 3 – Garry Charles

* Twisted Imaginings Vol. 4 – Garry Charles

* Of Mice and Murderers – John Stockmyer

* Darkness Under the Sun– Dean Koontz

* A Christmas to Die For – Marta Perry

* Buried Sins – Marta Perry

* Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen series #1) – Joanne Fluke

* Strawberry Shortcake Murder (Hannah Swensen series #2) – Joanne Fluke

* Bleachers – John Grisham

* Blueberry Muffin Murder (Hannah Swensen series #3) – Joanne Fluke

* Lemon Meringue Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen series #4) – Joanne Fluke

* Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hannah Swensen series #5) – Joanne Fluke

* Formland – Troy Blackford [got to read the manuscript J]

* The Night Season – Chelsea Cain

* Sugar Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen series #6) – Joanne Fluke

* Peach Cobbler Murder (Hannah Swensen series #7) – Joanne Fluke

* City of Masks – Mike Reeves-McMillan

* Cherry Cheesecake Murder (Hannah Swensen series #8) – Joanne Fluke

* Key Lime Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen series #9) – Joanne Fluke

* Candy Cane Murder – Joanne Fluke

* Carrot Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen series #10) – Joanne Fluke

* Cream Puff Murder (Hannah Swensen series #11) – Joanne Fluke

* Plum Pudding Murder (Hannah Swensen series #12) – Joanne Fluke

* Apple Turnover Murder (Hannah Swensen series #13) – Joanne Fluke

* Gingerbread Cookie Murder – Joanne Fluke

* Devil’s Food Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen series #14) – Joanne Fluke

* The Night Before – Lisa Jackson

* The Morning After – Lisa Jackson

* The Rosary Girls – Richard Montanari

* Case Histories – Kate Atkinson

* The Wasp Factory – Iain M. Banks

* The Skin Gods – Richard Montanari

* Feline Philosophy: Life Lessons from your Cat – Mike Hatt

* Merciless (UK title Broken Angels) – Richard Montanari

* The Secret History – Donna Tartt

* Badlands (UK title Play Dead) – Richard Montanari

* The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

* The Echo Man – Richard Montanari

* The Perfect Husband – Lisa Gardner

* The Third Victim – Lisa Gardner

* The Next Accident – Lisa Gardner

* A Match for Melissa – Kathryn Kirkwood

* A Season for Samantha – Kathryn Kirkwood

* The Baker Street Letters – Michael Robertson

* 7 Simple Steps to Unclutter Your Life – Donna Smallin

* Mile 81 – Stephen King

* The Brothers of Baker Street – Michael Robertson

* The Killing Hour – Lisa Gardner

* Say Goodbye – Lisa Gardner

* Gone – Lisa Gardner

* Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen

* Scotland: A very peculiar history, Volume 1 – Fiona Macdonald

* The cat who could read backwards (Cat Who… #1) – Lilian Jackson Braun

* The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking trilogy, #1) – Patrick Ness

* The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking trilogy, #2) – Patrick Ness

* Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking trilogy, #3) – Patrick Ness

* The cat who ate Danish Modern (Cat Who… #2) – Lilian Jackson Braun

* The Maze Runner (Maze Runner #1) – James Dashner

* The cat who turned on and off (Cat Who… #3) – Lilian Jackson Braun

* The cat who saw red (Cat Who… #4) – Lilian Jackson Braun

* The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) – James Dashner

* The cat who played Brahms (Cat Who… #5) – Lilian Jackson Braun

* The cat who played post office (Cat Who… #6) – Lilian Jackson Braun

* The cat who knew Shakespeare (Cat Who… #7) – Lilian Jackson Braun

* The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus #2) – Rick Riordan

* Uglies (Uglies #1) – Scott Westerfeld

* The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3) – James Dashner

* Pretties (Uglies #2) – Scott Westerfeld

* Joanne Fluke’s Lake Eden Cookbook: Hannah Swensen’s recipes from The Cookie Jar – Joanne Fluke

* Specials (Uglies #3) – Scott Westerfeld

* Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1) – Jim Butcher

* The Demigod Files: A Percy Jackson & the Olympians Guide – Rick Riordan

* The cat who sniffed glue (Cat Who… #8) – Lilian Jackson Braun

* 20th Century Ghosts – Joe Hill

* The cat who went underground (Cat Who… #9) – Lilian Jackson Braun

* A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

* The cat who talked to ghosts (Cat Who… #10) – Lilian Jackson Braun

* An Awesome Book! – Dallas Clayton

* An Awesome Book of Thanks! – Dallas Clayton

* The cat who lived high (Cat Who… #11) – Lilian Jackson Braun

* The cat who knew a cardinal (Cat Who… #12) – Lilian Jackson Braun

* 11.22.63 – Stephen King

* The cat who moved a mountain (Cat Who… #13) – Lilian Jackson Braun

* The cat who wasn’t there (Cat Who… #14) – Lilian Jackson Braun

* The cat who went into the closet (Cat Who… #15) – Lilian Jackson Braun

* The House of Silk – Anthony Horowitz

* Divergent (Divergent, #1) – Veronica Roth

* Demon Day (Rae Wilder #2) – Penelope Fletcher

* Legend (Legend #1) – Marie Lu

* The Merchant’s Daughter – Melanie Dickerson

* Little Critter’s the Night Before Christmas – Mercer Mayer

* Fool Moon (The Dresden Files #2) – Jim Butcher