The Rules

I like watching NCIS. Grumpy introduced me to this series few years ago, and we’ve been watching it since. The rerun, the new one, everything. Sometimes, I even remember the whole plot just to watch the first three minutes of the episode… but I watch it anyway. The same applies when I watch Agatha Christie’s Poirot with David Suchet as Poirot, or Miss Marple for that matter… I think they’ve done the characters really well.

Back to NCIS, without any intention to spoil anything, there is Gibbs. He’s the main hero of the show — the old guy who does his thing, and does it well. I have to say that if you think about it, Gibbs is just an average guy, he’s not on the top of the pyramid, but he’s still the boss for a lot of brilliant agents. He’s not the one with the ultimate power to make it happen, but he can still tell his people what to do without having to do everything himself. And we like this guy…

One thing about Gibbs that I like the most is his set of “Gibbs’ Rules”. Gibbs lives by the set of rules such as: never ever screw over your partner, or never get personally involved to a case. I like that a lot. I think everybody needs to learn from Gibbs about this rule-making business. I believe that everybody needs a set of rules for their lives — in fact, I have been trying to write down some rules for myself too (but that’s for much later).

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Why, though? I heard you asked, why would you need to make rules?

Like I said just now, I think people needs to have a set of rules. Of course we don’t need to make rules for every single little thing we do in life, but we definitely need some ground rule to follow. Imagine a manual book… Every proper machine comes with a manual book, shame that we don’t when we were born. But we can write one, can’t we?

True that we don’t need that manual book for everything. We don’t always refer to our smartphone manual book every time we turn it on, or make a phone call, do we? We turn to manual book when things go wrong. We turn to our manual book when things are not what they are supposed to be. We use the information in the manual book to troubleshoot, and I think that’s exactly the set of rules should be done.

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Gibbs rule “never ever leave without a knife”, for example. Is a very practical rule that he could always refer to — as a ex-marine, that makes sense. My dad has his own rule too, almost similar to Gibbs “always have cash with you”. Very practical, and have saved us several times from the embarrassment of broken card machine. I am pretty sure these two wise gentlemen have learned from life before coming to these rules.

I am still writing my rules… I believe my father is still revising his everyday too. I can tell you one of my rules, though: “never go shopping with empty stomach”. What do you think about that?

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Control

I just learned about this thing called Daily Prompt. I think this is a brilliant thing to have. I think the idea is very similar to word of the day (it is “dox”, just in case you want to know), the difference is that with Daily Prompt, the word is given as the topic of the day, for you to write something. I think it is awesome, as it is not only work as a challenge, but also giving an idea of what to write when you practically have nothing to write.

A couple of days ago, I participated when the word was “yarn”, of course on my other blog where I posted a lot about my knitting projects. I mean, it is almost an insult not to participate in that particular topic, isn’t it?

Today’s word, is apparently ” Control“.

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I’ve struggled to decide whether I like yarn or control better. I think both are in my list of my favourite things — for different reason, but funnily enough could be related to each other. How? Well… Yarn sale makes me lose control, and when I try to maintain control, I would have to let go of some of my yarns… How’s that for confusing?

However, if I have to choose, I will definitely choose to be in control. I have experienced the moment where I don’t have control with things that happened in my life, and it was horrible. However it was also then, when I learned that even when I can’t control the situation surrounding me, there’s always one thing that I can take control over.

Myself.

Maybe it was that time when I started to get a little bit over the top with self-discipline, taking notes of what I eat, keeping up with my personal budget, making plans and making sure that the plans are executed properly… It gives me the sense of safety. Maybe it was why I don’t like it when I’ve been told that the plan is “to go with the flow”, or last-minute cancellation, or someone comes to visit unannounced while I have a plan to be a hermit for the day…

Some might say that I am a control freak. I don’t think so.

I don’t see anything wrong with being organised. I think it is completely logical not to put ourselves in a situation where things could just go entirely wrong. And, really, wouldn’t it give you this sense of victory when you can take an ultimate control of your body and mind

Well… for me it does. AND, if it makes me a control freak, I don’t mind at all.

The Scapegoat

From the place where I came from, I was never considered skinny. It might sound alien to you, but where I came from we have a completely different standard of skinniness than here in the UK. To be fair, this standard of beauty always varies so it is impossible to follow every single one of them. I prefer a standard that can be quantified, something that you can put in number — something that is more universal and objective, not just “in the eye of beholder” kind of standard. In this case, I prefer using BMI as a standard.

I am not going to make arguments about the relevance of BMI, or how this archaic standard should not be used in today’s society. Yada. Yada. I don’t think BMI is perfect, but as a general measurement tool, it is pretty much do what it says on the tin. So, move on…

In the beginning of last year, I found out that my BMI was pushing the end of the green limit, and I didn’t like what I saw on the scale. I can’t say that I was shocked either, because to be honest, one should be able to see the signs when one can no longer fit to the jeans one used to love so much. But as much as it didn’t shock me, it still left me with questions: how the hell I got myself to this bloody point? And I kind of blame it on my contraception pills.

See, at that time I thought contraception pill was the logical explanation of the weight gain. It is logical because I have read a lot of articles, and have met a lot of people who gained weight after taking pills. And it was very easy to explain too. Pills affected the hormones, the hormones affected the metabolism system, and metabolism system affected how your body processed food that you ate. It was reasonable to think that the pill caused the weight gain.

So last year I stopped taking the pills and opt for a non hormonal contraception method. (I don’t want to argue about contraception either, I am not here to preach or to be bloody preached about that sort of stuff… so jog bloody on. ) And voila… with the help of calorie counting, I ditched that extra flabs, and go back to my old fabs.

But few weeks ago, I found out that I might be wrong to blame the pills. I have a written evidence that I was already THAT heavy a year before I started taking the pills. I realised I blamed the pills, because it was conveniently explain how I balooned. It is easier to blame something when you get fat… like blaming the situation: the fat genes (yeah, nothing you can do about it..), the big bones (maybe she’s born with it… ), the change of weather or lifestyle when I first move to the UK (food here are different and fattier…). Or blaming someone else: the government because they don’t give cheap and healthy food, the fast food companies for making food so tasty and cheap and fattening, the media for whatever (people do love blaming the media, so why not?).

The real reason…

Yes, it is very convenient if we always have scapegoat for everything, isn’t it? Failed to finish NaNoWriMo? Well, it is easier to blame it on the hard break up that made you cry day and night for 30 days so you cannot focus on writing than to admit that you actually spending so much time on NCIS marathon… no, tv series marathon, not actual marathon which is probably more productive and beneficial for your health. Can’t get a bloody job? Well, it is easier to blame it on the government and the immigrants for stealing the jobs by willing to do harder work for less money obviously, than to admit that you are actually underqualified for the job, but overestimate yourself, and extremely demanding worker… I mean if you are an employer, you make it very easy for them to make a choice, don’t you?

Losing an election? Blame it on the population, calling them stupid, or ignorant, or gullible. It is easier to do that than to admit how you have ignored their genuine worry about illegal immigration, the rise of the radicals, and instead of taking it in and think about how to resolve the problem you go back to them and call them unreasonable and paranoid. You think they’re going to vote for you when you do that? And you’re surprised you end up with Brexit? Or Trump? Or maybe next week… even Le Pen? It is easier to blame on these so called populists than to realise that you are actually losing touch with your own people, isn’t it?

Yeah… that doesn’t surprise me at all. Blaming others, and scapegoating is pretty much what people do. What surprised me is that I fell on the same pit too. I thought I was one of these special people who “get it”. Knowing how stupid and irresponsible it is to just blame others for something that happened because of our own doing doesn’t mean I couldn’t make the same mistake. Apparently, I am not immune to that, and realising that makes me think what else that I have done?

Pretty heavy eh?

That’s Monday for you…

Weekends…

Weekends are usually one of these two things. Either it would be the most productive days of the week — when you do everything that you’ve planned the whole weekdays, such as getting the allotment plot cleared, weeding the flower border, baking three different bread in the kitchen (just because you can), writing seven chapter of what soon will become the next bestseller… or even have a lot of walking and grocery shopping for the week ahead.

Or, you turn into the most useless creature of the planet. Glued to the sofa, watching the daytime weekend TV program (which is essentially the dumbed down version of the daytime weekdays TV program), and munching the content of the sharing pack of crisps yourself. Sometimes, if you can be bothered, you might make some effort to brush the crumbs from your clothes…

But whichever it is…

Weekends are the best because you can be alone.

I don’t know about most of you, but socialising is not really my favourite thing to do.

While some people get energised by being among the crowd, I found it makes me very uncomfortable and tiring. I could spend the whole day cleaning the gunk and grease from the oven, and feel very cheerful by dinner time, but I will be completely wasted after two hours of having a constant conversation. That’s probably why I am not a good host for any visiting guests.

Anyway… It is going to be a long weekend — they call it bank holiday weekend here.

I kind of hope it is going to be a fun and productive weekend, but nobody knows. Who knows I will wake up tomorrow morning with a nasty spring flu (a.k.a terrible terrible hayfever reaction), and couldn’t even be bothered to even step out my front door. Hey! That’s not a bad idea. I could stay at home and write some more, or finish another knitting project…

Right… see you again soon.

x

P.S do

The Obscurity of The Seconds

You know what? It is ironic that this is actually my first time writing about my second entry.

I woke up thinking and reviewing in my head about my first post, and wonder how many people in the world is actually thinking that writing the second blog entry is actually a bigger achievement than writing the first one. I mean, yes it is definitely hard enough to start a blog, and make an introduction post to random strangers in the world wide web….

But following that up?

I learned from my experience that being consistent is more difficult than starting something. It takes mental and sometimes physical discipline, and willpower. Pick anything else than blogging for examples.

Dieting? It is easy to sign up for a slimming program, and lose your first kilos in the first weeks. But when it gets harder to shed the pounds… Some people gained back whatever they lost, with some extra on the backside. Going to the gym? Yeah… of course. Sign up for the annual gym membership after new year, and see how many is still coming back during the summer for the sixpack. Some people get their sixpacks somewhere else… most probably from the beer chiller.

Writing a novel? Oh… tell me about it. First chapters are always the most wonderful start. I don’t have to look further than my own folders to see the unfinished businesses these princes and princesses have to settle.

So, I think The Seconds are way underrated.

People celebrate their first jobs, their first cars, their first time doing the hanky panky on their first car with their first serious lovers. People remember the first US president, the first guy landed on the moon, the first black woman won Oscar… Even all you care about the aliens are all about the first bloody contact. I mean… really?

But as much as it is so cool to be remembered as the first… that is never the point, isn’t it? After a breakthrough, there should be a continuation of that, shouldn’t it? It’s kind of pointless to start something that has a potential to be awesome, if it has never reached to that potential isn’t it? Like having a real awesome knitting pattern for a cheerful Christmas jumper, and then casting on 174 stitches, and then never go past the ribbing (hands up if you hate ribbings!).

Have I told you I am a knitter too? No? See? Introduction doesn’t take you anywhere… You need the second post to know that I am a knitter. Maybe the next post to know more about me and my grumpy husband too. Who knows we will get more interesting by the day? Who knows after few entries you would think, “hang on a minute… they’re actually a bunch of arseholes…!”

First impression is not always right. It is totally overrated.

So… for the first time in my life… I dedicated a whole blog entry for the seconds in the world. The second wives or husbands (you don’t want to discriminate), the step parents, the silver medalers, the second children (or worse… middle children), the mistresses and concubines, the second in commands… I raise my cup of coffee to salute, and celebrate you…

To finish up this entry, let me remind you what AVIS rent a car said (and what a damn good slogan it has made) some odd fifty years ago: “we’re only number two… so we try harder…

x

 Smoking…

This is more of a personal rant. A very personal rant.

Hands up how many readers think I’m going to complain about smokers

Nope.

It’s my (dramatic cliché —> ) constant battle to damn well  Stop. 

Seriously, it’s starting to really piss me off.

a bit of background… it all started when I was about 14 or 15 years old. I was a fat bastard in those days – 15 stone. 40+ inch waist. I literally couldn’t see my feet (yup, I was the precursor for childhood obesity before it became trendy in the UK). I used to be very moral about smoking. It was “against the rules” and a very silly thing to do. I did hang around the smokers at school at break time, simply because it made me feel vaguely popular. More so since I was usually the lookout for roaming teachers who always tried to catch the smokers. I never succumbed to peer pressure then, nor did I have any inclination to smoke.

But then, later….. My neighbour, an 18 year old guy, thought that it would be fun to help me lose weight by running so he suggested that we go jogging around some local woodland (ha! Sounds creepy doesn’t it? Different times!).

Predictably I was pretty screwed after 5 mins of jogging. As I sat on a tree stump, doubled over and wheezing like a set of rotten bellows, my neighbour offered me a cigarette.

“it will help you breath better”, he said.

I’m pretty sure that I was so screwed by the jogging attempt that I didn’t know if it was the “exercise” or the cigarette that made me feel sick. Either way I think that my condition freaked him out enough for him to call it a day.

Later the next day I was round said neighbours – he had his mates round and inevitably the fags were passed around. I remember that I was lying on the floor watching TV when my neighbour said “give one to him, he smokes now”.

Oh god.

I really didn’t want one. It was the first ever time I totally caved into peer pressure. The first puff made me feel sick and light headed. I desperately tried to smoke without inhaling, to hold the cigarette point-down so it would burn faster, and to take as little puffs as possible before I could politely stub it out.

In retrospect I think that my neighbour was a cruel bastard and he thought that it was funny to watch a kid get sick from smoking.

Anyway…. that was the start. From then on I went from occasionally blagging a fag from my school mates, to buying my first pack. For years I was a kind of “part time” smoker. I would make a pack last for ages and I would only lightly inhale.

Fast forward 30 odd years and I had turned into an addict and a very heavy smoker.

What really annoys me is that not only am I trying to deal with the physical addiction, I also seem to have trouble breaking the routine. “ill just have a quick smoke” seems to be so ingrained in my lifestyle that its really really hard to cut out. It annoys me more that I know this and yet I cannot say “bugger this, I don’t need it” and stop totally.

One positive thing though….

for some reason that I’m yet to fathom, I decided to try to quit (again!) at the start of this year. This time I admitted that “I have a problem” (almost 50g of baccy per week!) and enrolled in the NHS stop smoking thing. Had a chat with the advisor and we decided to roll out the big guns and put me on “champix” – the pill that apparently dulls the brain form screaming for nicotine.

It did work rather well and although my mind was in a weird place while I was on the pills (cold turkey plus the inherent effects of the pills), I managed to stick with the programme and fight the addiction. After a month and a bit I has myself a sneaky puff and… yeuck! Tasted horrible!

Eventually the pills ran out.

…the addiction and/or routine has started to creep back.

Now, this is not an excuse, more of a reason: recently I have been through some very stressful life-events (more * drama * ) and I went from the very occasional couple of puffs to full-on smoking like there is no tomorrow. All but two “stress events” have passed and been dealt with and now I’m finding myself in difficulties trying to say no to my urges.

Gonna have to try to pull out the stops this coming week and put a brake on the smoky thing.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I woke this morning and had a sneaky cigarette. I hated it and it pissed me off., made me grumpy at myself…. then I remembered this blog and thought that id have a rant.

Bah!