A Room with a View

Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday Random Ten: Cold & Flu Edition

Today, I can do no more than wade through the piles of tissues and throat pastilles littering our living room to turn the ipod on. Hopefully, my brain and nose will defug enough to allow normal posting to resume tomorrow. Until then, it's back to the hot lemon and honey for me...

Love Me Two Times - The Doors
Good Riddance - Green Day
Jeremy - Pearl Jam
Pure & Simple - The Lightning Seeds
Diminished - REM
Good Vibrations - Beach Boys
Last Resort - Papa Roach
Strange Currencies - REM
Staring At The Sun - U2
Just A Day - Feeder

Thursday, March 30, 2006

As seen at Aspiring Academic's place...

How to make a Pink Cupcake

5 parts intelligence

5 parts courage

5 parts empathy
Add to a cocktail shaker and mix vigorously. Serve with a slice of curiosity and a pinch of salt. Yum!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Although I've been blogging for quite a while now, I've never got around to subscribing to feeds of all my favourite blogs through Bloglines. Stupidly, I kept telling myself that I didn't have the time to sit down and sort it out, except, of course, the alternative has meant that I spend hours clicking through my blogroll several times a day, looking for new posts like some kind of blog stalker! Well, fear not, you will be stalked no more... I've now subscribed to all of your feeds (except the one person who doesn't have a feed, although she is forgiven at the moment, as she has her comps today!). I can't believe how efficient my blog reading will now be (except I do like to click through to read most posts, as I like seeing the familiar, colourful templates). In fact, I'm going to save so much time that I'll be able to add tons more blogs to my regular reading list! Yay!

They'll also be more visible changes coming up on the blog in the coming weeks. I've already got some inspiration from the best blogging book ever. So stay tuned...

Blissful slumber...

...That's what I'll be having when our wonderful new mattress arrives. Lots and lots of blissful slumbering will be going on around here! Oh yes!

We've debated getting one of these for quite a while, but always decided against it, as they're not inexpensive, and we certainly have more than enough other things in our new flat that need money spent on them. But, we've coped with a cheap IKEA mattress for too many years now and anything that will help my back is most definitely a good thing. Plus, we decided that it was stupid to economize too much on such an item, when (in theory!) we spend a third of our lives in bed.

So we test drove one yesterday and it was soooo comfy. Squishy in all the right places, but also very supportive, and so nice not to feel the mattress digging into me. It was kind of odd to be rolling all over the bed n the middle of the shop, but the salesman said we must try all our different sleeping postitions, and so we did. Must have looked terribly silly!

Yes, I know mattress blogging isn't the most scintillating of subjects, but look at the big picture...a well rested Pink Cupcake will write much more fascinating blog posts! And, of course, if I ever get the wireless internet working here, I'll be able to blog from the comfort of my bed. :)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A sign that I'm overly hormonal...

...I've started to use quotes from Hamlet's soliloquies in the subject line of emails to my husband.

Yes, I should probably go hide under the covers with a good supply of chocolate, tea and my lavender wheat pillow. O that this too too solid flesh would melt...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Slow progress...

I can't believe that it's already been three weeks since we moved into Dream Flat. What have we accomplished so far? Well, we finally got the telephone line working, only for it to break down again last Thursday. We finally got the washing machine plumbed in, only for it to overheat and enter laundy meltdown a few days later. Can you spot a theme here?

It's definitely a case of two steps forward and one (or maybe two!) steps back. Half of the kitchen is clean, but half, to adopt Clare's description of it, is still a rancid pit. Still, we've turned this negative into a positive by already building good relations with a whole host of local take-away restaurants. Such acclimatization into the neighbourhood can only be a good thing, no? :)

Also, although we haven't done a lot with them, we're now the proud owners of a whole host of exciting new DIY gadgets, so that's something, even if they are only cluttering up the living room and getting dusty. And, I'm now eminently qualified to write reviews on nearly every cleaning product on the UK market. In fact, I fear becoming a cleaning bore. For whilst I hate the act of cleaning itself, I'm becoming quite fascinated with the relative merits of different products. This is so not a good thing.

As far as unpacking is concerned, I'd say that we're about 10% done (which means, at this rate, we'll be all done in another 30 weeks! *sigh*). Of course, we have our priorities straight. We can't locate a single thing for the kitchen and all our clothes are screwed up in bags and cases, BUT nearly all our books and CDs are neatly shelved.

We've also mastered the enormous Community Recycling Centre which is run by the City Council. It's an awesome place, which totally stops everyone just dumping everything in one place to be taken to the landfill site. There are huge containers for just about every material imaginable and really helpful staff. Plus there are also containers for hazardous materials, so that the Council can then dispose of them in the most environmentally friendly way possible. We certainly didn't have anywhere this good where we used to live.

Actually, the whole area seems to be very community oriented. We've already joined a couple of groups that work to preserve local buildings and also provide input on the future of the city, and there's a million other things that we're looking forward to getting involved with. That is, of course, if we ever get unpacked. So I'd better get back to trying to improve upon the 10% completion rate...

I still haven't found our camera, but did manage to get hold of a slightly Warholized photo of the front of our house (and a few other houses in the Square) which I think is quite fun...

Not too bad...

12.5 %

My weblog owns 12.5 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?

As seen at Julie's and Profgrrrrl's...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Mothers' Day

I understand those who complain that Mothers' Day has become way too commercial. I certainly get frustrated (as I do on Valentine's Day) that the price of flowers is hiked to way more than usual. BUT I still think that Mothers' Day has a place in our modern day society. Of course, we should all do nice things for our Mums throughout the year, but I don't think that there's anything wrong with having a special day to celebrate them and their relationships with their children. When I went for a walk a little earlier, I was heartened to see many mothers and their children making their way out for lunch, with Mums clutching bouquets of flowers, or gifts, or handmade cards. They were smiling as they went about their day, clearly feeling proud of and appreciated by their families. It was lovely to look through restaurant windows to see families sharing a meal and laughing and joking together, something which sadly seems to happen less and less frequently in the hurried world in which we live. So, yeah, the flowers may be more expensive today, but the joy of seeing families (often three or four generations) together is beyond value.

I won't be seeing my Mum today, but we did spend an Early Mothers' Day together yesterday (because, in their infinite wisdom, the local train company decided to screw up all the trains by planning engineering works on Mothers' Day!). It was fun just to hang out, drink coffee, shop and share a long lunch together.

So, Happy Mothers' Day Mum of Pink Cupcake! (Not that she reads this.)

Is it just me...

...or has anyone else noticed that if you get a word verification wrong, the next one you get is soooo much longer and soooo much more complicated??! Is it Blogger's idea of a sick joke? The letters are all so distorted and jumbled that it's often hard to read and re-type them (well, for me anyway!), and then, when you get it wrong, they just up the stakes. Gah! :)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Bleurgh blogging...

I'm feeling decidely bleurgh today. Completely out of sorts. Just want to hide under the covers and cry, and then cry some more.

This stems from yesterday's appointment with my doctor, at which I got the results of the MRI scan of my back. The scan showed that I have some problems with bulging discs and damaged ligaments which are pressing on my spinal cord. These are what is causing the pain in my back (and also my front rib area and sometimes legs). I didn't expect this at all. I don't think my doctor did either. He was certainly moving in the direction of some type of connective tissue disorder before this, and hadn't even mentioned this possibility. It's not so much that I'm massively bothered by the diagnosis (although I am a bit, and it certainly doesn't answer why I have some of my other symptoms), it's the treatment options that worry me more.

To start with I have to take eight painkillers a day, then, if that's no help, I'll start anti-inflammatory tablets too, then perhaps a series of epidural steroid injections, and possibly surgery on my spinal area (which sounded pretty complicated). My specialist wants to avoid surgery if possible (as do I!), but I'm not wild about stuffing a ton of medication into my body on a long term basis either, especially as it's not actually going to solve the problem, but just alleviate pain. Apparently, the problem may right itself, get worse (less likely), or just stay about the same forever. I certainly don't want to be taking pain medication for years on end, but I have to find some way of living a normal life. At the moment, I can't do a lot of everyday stuff, I can't get comfortable in bed and the pain makes it very difficult for me to sit down and concentrate on my research (read: I haven't done so in ages). I can't go on like this.

Oh, I don't know, I'm just waffling. I just feel strung out and overwhelmed by it all. I know it's not the end of the world and that there are so many people far worse off than me, but I just feel down in the dumps right now.

I am going out tonight though and thankfully we've got seats at the concert (normally we stand, seats are for wimps not 'real' fans according to my husband!), so that should make it easier on my back. Even though I don't feel much like going, I guess I could definitely use a fix of upbeat rock music right now!

Hopefully I'll be back to jollier blogging tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Random Bullets of Crap*: Brain Addled By Cleaning Products Edition

  • Yesterday, I told myself I couldn't blog until I'd finished cleaning at least half of our kitchen cupboards (which I didn't manage). That might not sound like a lot, and in an ordinary kitchen it wouldn't be...but this is the Kitchen of Horrors. I cannot comprehend what the previous residents did in there, but it must have been a kind of game where they just spent hours rubbing grease, fat, any brown coloured food etc. into cupboard shelves, doors (extra points for getting it into small crevices where it's hard to clean!). As for the walls, I think they must have used been used as target practice for whatever food happened to be lying around. Totally gross. I have now cleaned some of the cupboards at least five times and am only just beginning to see the difference. So, expect me to actually unpack my pans and cook a meal sometime in 2009.
  • Even our poor washer/dryer machine has had a bad reaction to being in the Kitchen of Horrors. It now takes 3 hours to wash a single load of laundry (where it used to take one) and at the end the machine is massively overheated. Clearly, it's hoping to be sent to the great Washing Machine Heaven rather than spend much longer in this place...
  • Not that it's all bad on the domestic front. We do finally have a shower from which water actually flows. For two weeks we could get no more than drip from it - which led to me taking more baths than I've had in the last 10 years (I hate bathing!) - but the plumber did what plumbers do, and we now have a stream of water. Not powerful, but at least I can condition my hair properly. By the end of last week my hair was getting so static that everything I touched gave me electric shocks! Not good.
  • Of course, even all the domestic horrors (and I've only given a flavour here...) do not detract from how awesome it is to live here. I haven't been out yet this morning, but have already watched people stroll around the gardens and looked at the sea from our window. Perfect.
  • The reason I haven't been out yet is because I'm waiting for a delivery of concert tickets. Yet another reason why I love living in Trendy Seaside City is that there is a fantastic concert venue about ten minutes walk away which attracts top bands. And, because some poor souls always end up not being able to attend at fairly late notice, it's fairly inexpensive to get heavily discounted tickets on e-bay. I'm really excited as I've seen this band in support in the past, and it'll be fun to hear much more of their stuff.
  • I hope the tickets arrive soon, as I'm looking forward to escaping the cleaning and walking to town to run some errands. I have to get Mothers' Day cards and gifts, lots of birthday cards (why are so many of my friends born in March?), and will probably poke around a couple of book shops and stationery shops to fuel my addiction just a little.
  • I also want to start looking at coffee makers. I want a drip/filter sort, but I want to make sure that I buy a good one (not necessarily expensive). In the past I've had cafetiere (apologies for missing accents!) / french-press style ones, Italian stove-top espresso makers, and also a big espresso/cappuccino machine. Thing is, I've never really liked the coffee that the cafetieres make, and I only tend to drink espresso when I go out for a meal, so my espresso makers were primarily used as a basis for lattes, which I really prefer to buy from a coffee shop. What I'm really looking for is a machine that will just make good coffee. It's going to be my present to myself for finally getting the kitchen clean (if I ever do). Do any of you have any suggestions as to makes or models or any particular features I should be looking out for? I'd be hugely grateful for any advice, especially as I know there are plenty of caffeine aficionados in this part of the blogosphere. :)

* Originally devised by Ianqui, but now adopted by almost everyone else.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Back at last...

Wow! It's been far too long, but I'm pleased to report that we finally moved to our Dream Flat in Trendy Seaside City exactly two weeks ago, and after some drama with an incredibly long and ancient telephone line, we at last have a fast internet connection again. *sigh of relief*. Although I've taken breaks from blogging in the past, I've never been without an internet connection, so I've been able to catch up with all of you, even when my own posting's been light. So, I'm thrilled to be back and desperate to catch up on my blog reading, although I can see that's going to be a mammoth task, and one which is infinitely more appealing than scrubbing the filthy kitchen that we inherited in our flat. However, we WILL have to stop eating take-out every night fairly soon (we're getting a little too regular in the local chinese restaurant!), so do bear with me...

The last few weeks have been a complete whirlwind. Moving out of the first home that we owned, via my Mother's house for three weeks, then onto Dream Flat (which is almost two hundred years old, and requiring the attention that a property of that age demands, especially as it has been pretty unloved for several years). All of this was simultaneously exhilarating and emotionally draining. It also requires a pretty good sense of humour...you certainly can't take yourself too seriously when it takes over two hours to remove the most disgusting toilet seat that you've ever seen because it's totally crusted up with God only knows what! Ewwww. But, the massive amounts of work that we have to do really are a labour of love. We adore the flat - even in its current state - and still walk around staring up at the high ceilings and not quite believing that we actually live here. I'm actually amazed that it's so easy to feel excited and enchanted about something that in some ways is a total wreck. (I'll definitely blog photos of the flat, just as soon as I locate the digital camera, which could be in any one of 70 or so boxes that remain unpacked...)

My excitement only heightens when I go outside the building. I get a tingle in my spine every time I walk into the square and look up at the magnificent architecture, across at the gardens and down to the sea. It really does take my breath away and I feel truly privileged to live here. I also feel a sense of responsibility for my environment (and a sense of pride, I guess) that I have never before felt in quite the same way.

And, of course, it's also amazing to actually live in a city, especially one that is so rich culturally and intellectually. I'm totally overwhelmed by the amount that is going on and all the amazing things that there are to do and to become involved with. It's so wonderful to once again be living within short walking distance of amazing coffee shops, restaurants, independent bookshops, galleries, museums, and to be part of a community where so many different people are passionate about so many diverse things. I feel like a child in a candy shop whirling round to look at all the different things on display.

I have so much I want to write about, but I'd better stop now. I think I'll keep a list of things that I want to blog about soon, just so I don't forget...I couldn't possibly deprive you of the tale of the old lady who takes her Teddy Bear to the cafe and lets it talk to the customers, could I?! In the meantime, here's an aerial photograph of our square. (The sea is at the bottom, the gardens in the middle and the houses round the outside.)