Category Archives: Is Crazy Contagious?

Buckling Down

Thing I am struggling with at work: Focus.

After spending the vast majority of the past 2 years chasing after a tiny human with the attention span of a goldfish, I am now noticing that my ability to focus for more than about 40 minutes at a time in a work setting (or any setting, really) seriously stunted.

Example: I used to be able to get through a novel in one sitting, start to finish, if I didn’t have any interruptions. Now, I have trouble reading a book for more than about 30 minutes.

And it’s not entirely down to distractions. I have tried turning them all off. It helps to a degree, but if I get close to an hour without an interruption, my brain will shift all on its own, and go looking for one.

The ability to do rapid task-switching is definitely an asset in my particular job, when I’ve got many projects on the go, but I also need to be able to dig into bigger things and roll with them for a few hours. The balance is currently all off.

Do you have any favourite brain-stretching exercises for your think-muscle, when you’re trying to get to a place of focus and flow? My future efficiency thanks you.


Moving house can often lead you to see your possessions in a new light.

Especially when you have packed in a hurry, without making much effort to thin your piles of stuff before beginning. And are then distanced from that stuff for half a year.

Because who the hell brings tea (from the new world, at that) to England?

Us, apparently.

Amber just posted round two of her Tea Stash Challenge, which reminded me how overwhelmed and somewhat incredulous I feel every time I look at the shelf containing all our tea.

Tea Shelf

It doesn’t look too bad, until you unpack it all onto the kitchen counter:

Photo 1

There are multiples of different types of tea, thanks to my old work-desk stash making its way back home, some tea gifts, and impulse purchases of various lemon/ginger-type blends bought on a whim when I’ve felt sick. There are random bags and samples I’ve picked up along the way. There are tins from at least two tea shops that have gone out of business.

The small green tins down the right side are all leftover wedding favours (we gifted tiny tins of mint tea, to tie in with our Moroccan honeymoon) from nearly five (!) years ago, and the large tupperware on the left is Moroccan mint tea, bought on said honeymoon.

Does tea even last that long?

Honourable mentions go to two tins of drinking chocolate, a box of spiced cider sachets, and a couple orphan packs of Starbucks VIA coffee; also on the shelf, but not pictured, since they’re not tea.

Of course, the tea that actually gets used is the box of standard PG Tips, going through a pot or two a day. Runner-up is the loose or bagged Rooibos, for when I’m feeling overcaffeinated.

I would never describe myself as a “tea fiend,” but I clearly have some sort of tea hoarding issue.

It’s obviously time to start introducing some variety into my daily cuppa, or bin the lot and reclaim a shelf.

Are you a tea fiend and/or unintentional hoarder? Do share!

Show me Your Tea Stash at


Meet Battina

Mighty Ugly Doll

She’s my Mighty Ugly doll, just hangin’ out. She’s a bit of a misfit, and has just returned from a bender in Vegas, where she was found passed out under the craps table.

I’m quite fond of her.

Mighty Ugly was an excellent time. It took me right back to those days at the Children’s Festival where we’d be parked in front of a table of egg cartons, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners and other assorted crafting detrius and told to make a monster of some sort. I used to love that. Turns out I still do.

There are definitely things about Battina I find ugly and challenging. The pinwheel/dice thingie I stuck on her front. The star on her back. Added only for garishness. Which was kindof the point.

I do like her wacky hook-feet though!

Getting my hands dirty, so to speak, in crafting again has made me less afraid of working with the materials. I reacquainted myself with fabrics and fasteners and notions. I glued and cut and stuffed and sewed and tried some things and gave up on others.

One result was Battina.

The other? I’m a lot less afraid of crafting and creating than I was before Mighty Ugly.

I still might not ever make something beautiful and pretty. But you know, ugly’s really not so bad!


I am scared of crafting.

This is odd. Not least because of all the things one could be frightened of, I pick crafting? Really? But it’s more than that. I used to sew. I was in a 4H sewing club. I made something cute. I won AWARDS for sewing.

But that was over 20 years ago.

Today? Terrified.

When I think of crafting, I think of spinsters wearing sweatshirts with cats on them, and making toilet-paper holder dolls, not at all ironically.

I am also a perfectionist. I am excellent at following directions. You need someone to put together your IKEA furniture? I’m your gal. But put a pile of materials in front of me and say “go! create! craft!” and I freeze up, start stuttering and quickly find an excuse to go be somewhere, anywhere else.

Except, I got the teeniest bit of hubris from putting together an official “craft” yesterday. Kimli was passing out pinwheel kits in the swag bags at her talk, which came with directions and all the materials I’d need, down to a needle and thread. I dusted off my old sewing skills, and gosh darn it, I made a thing!

Perhaps I can do this after all….

So it is with great trepidation (and a tiny bit of hope) that I am taking a leap and have signed up for the Mighty Ugly workshop tonight.

I am to make a thing. An ugly thing. An ugly on purpose thing. Without directions.

This is so far outside my comfort zone, my head may explode.

Perhaps that will count as the ugly.

Wish me luck!

Holding Out

Was having a conversation with a friend the other day about street food (specifically kebab/donair/shwarma), which eventually lead to discussing how to pronounce “gyro” – is it hero or jai-row?

Of course it’s hero, but most North Americans start out calling it a jai-row until corrected.

By that time of course the word gyro is stuck in my head, and I’m doing this thing where I roll a word around in my mouth until it sounds ridiculous (gyro…. gyroooooo…. gyyyyyyrooooowwwwww…. gyRO!). And the inevitable happens. I start singing the song Holding Out for a Hero in my head.

Except, it’s “Holding Out for a Gyro” – and now it’s Weird Al (because OF COURSE it is), and while I’m not actually composing alternate lyrics to the song, I am directing the music video on my head:

Drunken Weird Al is careening about a busy New York City street on a drunken Saturday night, upsetting food carts of all sorts, looking for the perfect thing to soak up alcohol – nothing else will do, he’s Holding out For a Gyro.

Does anyone else do this?

And by “this” I mean direct music videos in your head, although I’d also be interested if you have drunken Gyro-hunting stories…


photo by geekgirly

photo from geekgirly

My procrastination (like that of many of my brethren task-putter-offers) stems from a serious fear of failure.

If I don’t actually start this thing, I can’t fail at doing it, right? Flawless logic.

Except there’s this thing* that I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time. I made the mistake about six weeks ago of looking into it enough to see if it’s even a possibility (it is) and took the first tentative steps to see if I could make it happen. I probably could.

And that “probably” is killing me.

I have had exactly two tasks to do, to start along the road of trying not to fail. I have been putting them off for at least three weeks.

I need to get over the fear and stop procrastinating and buck up and put my nose to the grindstone and stop using terrible cliches and just do it (oops) already.

And here, internets, is where I ask for your gentle assistance.

Comment, and tell me to do it. Comment again on Monday to see if I did. Shame me into getting over myself and just getting to it. Because I am not having much luck convincing myself that without a little risk there is no opportunity for great reward.

Thank you.

*You may ask what the thing is, and I might tell you. Then again I might not. But I certainly won’t blog about it.

Hungarian Horntail

A break from the all-wedding all the time programming (though still a good illustration of how completely detached from reality I am).

Preamble: now that we’re on the top floor (instead of wedged in the middle) we get a great deal more birds wheeling by outside our apartment than I am used to. I am still regularly surprised by them.

Anyhow, the other day, Neil and I were watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

As with the rest of the Harry Potter movies, this one was no less able to sweep me into its crazy world of ghosts and mer-people and wizards and flying brooms.

So it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise that I was, once again, caught off-guard by a winged creature soaring past my window at dusk. And then surprised again that it wasn’t a dragon outside my window, but instead just a seagull.

The nutty thing is, once I realized that yes, I am still tied to this mortal coil and living in reality, I was COMPLETELY and utterly disappointed.

I really wanted a dragon.

In fact, I still do.