How long has it been since we updated this blog? Let me start with cleaning up the cobwebs and wipe this surface over here so I can sit down and tell you all what has happened to us the past couple of months. Assuming any of you want to know what’s going on to us…
First of all… we just came back from this journey across the country to visit the in-laws. It was definitely a dedication which was paid off when I had that huge spoonful of traditional British Sherry Trifle — apparently from the family recipe handed down to Grumpy’s stepmum from her grandmother.
I wish Grumpy had as much fun as I did, but I know he did not. He has not been well for awhile, and we still are not sure why. I think one of the the reasons was the weather. We had one of the worst, coldest, wettest winter for the past couple of years. At least since I came to this country…
To be honest, last year was probably not the best year for us. Our highlights of the year was probably the most wonderful trip to Hungary. And, of course we are planning for another visit, but probably not in foreseeable future.
And suddenly new year came.
Most of the time I embrace new year with optimism and hope, and all the things that are encouraging. But somehow, it is so difficult to do that… I hope when the sun come out in the end of this winter, Grumpy will be on board with me with this optimism thing.
On that optimistic note… I wish you all a very happy new year. I don’t care if it’s 6 days too late, because… better late than never.
I know what you think, Sir… but in Hungary, Grumpy is an alien too. Haha! That’s a concept that has never crossed your mind, has it? But yes… We went to this little town called Tokaj. This is where the wedding happened…
Tokaj is a wine region, in the border between Hungary and Slovakia. The Wine Heritage status is given by UNESCO, as it’s been said that Tokaj has produced its very distinctive wine. Every shop, cafe, and restaurant in this town sells wine (unless it specifically says that it is selling ice cream… then it probably sells ice cream).
However, Grumpy and I are not really wine people.
Yeah… I do drink wine, but my knowledge about wine is “red” “white” or “pink”, and that it’s “drinkable” or “give me the whole bottle… please”. So, for us it is a bit of a waste if we go on a wine tour there… But if you are a serious wine connoisseur, or a wannabe (we don’t judge…) this would be the place for you.
Actually… This is the place for you even if you are not a wine connoisseur — but you like kayaking. Apparently you can do that too, especially during summer time like when we went there. I am pretty sure there were some other outdoor activity besides kayaking — unfortunately Grumpy and I are not that kind of people either.
So… you ask, did we enjoy our time in Tokaj? Ha! Of course we did! Obviously we don’t need wine or some outdoor physical activity to keep us happy being there, and there are at least a couple reasons why.
But I need to compile it first, so… until next time 😀
Yesterday my sister in law came to visit. Our nephew is having his holiday, so maybe visiting the alien auntie is in their school holiday itinerary. I am glad that she came to visit though, especially because yesterday the weather was really poo, and it made it incredibly difficult to go to the city centre to meet up. I don’t have a car… that’s why.
Like usual, when my wonderful SIL and I meet up, we would end up spending hours talking and updating news. She would tell me about the latest news about his husband and our nephew, and I would tell her about Grumpy — her brother.
It is stereotypical isn’t it? That the female members of the family have become the ambassador for the family. They would socialise, share and spread information, and keep the relationship between the families intact. My mum does that too with her SILs — my aunts.
So, in between the conversation, the story about our holiday to Hungary came up. Just in a flash, and not as in a full on holiday story with photos and everything. But, that’s enough to remind me that I haven’t even finished my holiday story here! I just told you about Budapest, but not about Tokaj.
What a horrible horrible person I am.
Now… do you still want to hear about it? I mean… not that it matters because I will tell you about it anyway — next time.
For now? Let me dig up the holiday photos before writing again…
One of my favourite song when I was young — I mean, much younger than I am now, is “Tomorrow” from Annie. Of course at that time I didn’t know that it was from a musical. I didn’t even know what musical is. I came from that kind of world where music, and theatre, and poetry, and fine arts are not as appreciated as maths and science. It wasn’t an excuse, it’s just a reason why I didn’t have any knowledge about musicals — something that I regret a lot.
I knew what musical is when I grew up, but still hadn’t a clue what Annie is. It didn’t matter though… I still loved the song. I even had (still do) it in my mp3 playlist, just for those days when I want to sing my heart out… “Tomorrow… tomorrow… I love ya tomorrow…”
But who doesn’t?
Really, who doesn’t love tomorrow? It’s only a day away…
Of course we love tomorrow. Not only it gives us the hope of the better future — where the sun’ll come out, and clear away the cobwebs and the sorrow until there’s none, Tomorrow also gives us a reason not to do it today. Isn’t that great? We can always do it tomorrow.
What’s it? Well I think it depends on who you are asking, but it is usually something you can, but you don’t want to do today. Washing up the dishes, hoovering the carpet, changing the bedding, filling the tax report, calling your mum, doing the laundry, researching your dissertation, reaching out to an old friend, writing an entry for your blog… the list goes on and on.
I love tomorrow, we all do. Most of the time, of course… Sometimes tomorrow is the deadline so we have to do it today. Sometimes tomorrow never comes, and we never knew that the call would never happen, and the card would never reach the intended person because they’ve gone forever. But there’s always the next day… the tomorrow after tomorrow, and we love them too…
Just out of curiosity, have you ever try to translate the song in Spanish? I did…
I think a lot of people don’t want to admit that they want things to get Better. Saying that we want things to be better means admitting that what we’ve got today is not good enough. It’s good… but not enough.
Some people who think that making things better is just a means to feed our vanity — they might think of something trivial like: the fridge in your kitchen is not big enough, even the kitchen where the fridge is is not spacious enough. The waistline is not slim enough, the thigh gap is not far enough. The muscle is not tough enough, and you can’t run fast enough. The hair is not fluffy enough, the skin is not smooth enough.
But I think making things better is more than getting better things. It is a sense of improvement. You might not need a bigger kitchen, but you could eat better food — tastier, more wholesome, something that actually makes you feel good about yourself better than frozen pizza. You might not need to slim down, but you live better life — getting rid of pot belly, reducing the risk of getting an early hip or knee cap replacement, or having the chance to breathe normally because your lungs are not squeezed by the visceral fats.
You don’t need to have get more money on your bank account (as good as it sounds), but you can still have a better financial security — paying off debts, everything’s insured, retirement plan’s sorted. You don’t need to be an athlete, but you can get fit– walk to the city or bike to work, or simply keep away the pints until the fun weekend with your buddies. I mean, there are plenty of ways to get better… but not many people likes it.
As one of the sanest people I have known in life, a lot of people don’t like you to get better, because it reminds them of how their life is — not good enough. It scares people because if you get better, you will raise the standard what is considered okay. It is like one student in your class that others hated so much because she (or he, but usually a she) would always over-achieve and tip the balance of mediocrity in your classroom — the one who would always hold up the recess time, and get you and your friends extra homework because your teacher used her as the class benchmark. The one that others secretly envy…
When I lost a lot of weight after changing my habit, a lot of people where I came from started to make comment about me over doing it. Of course some of them have a genuine concern because eating disorder is a legit thing to be concern about. But some just don’t like it because it means theis acceptable size would have to change too. Like a lot of ladies thinking that having a woman with healthy BMI as a bikini model is bad because it makes other women feels pressurised to be… in that healthy BMI.
What’s wrong with it?
What’s wrong with wanting to be better?
Ah… I think I need to apologise for not being able to understand. Maybe it’s just because I am an alien. Sometimes it takes longer to understand one thing than the other. Maybe I just need to go back observing food than human’s Lifestyle…
When I found out that today’s prompt word is ” Panicked“, somehow I thought of my dad. It is definitely unusual, because my dad is probably the most cool-headed person I have ever known in my life. I don’t want to sound smug or something, but I think there are only few people that can make my cool-headed dad into panicky mode. I am one of them… and the other one is the tax-man (who doesn’t get panicky when the tax-man comes?).
I suspect, it was the latest incident that makes me think of my father when I tried to think of who “panicked” lately. I have a suspicion that if it is not because of that, I might think of my mum instead — I think she fits the profile better.
But I am going to tell you what made my dad panicked last afternoon.
Our little alien family has a Whatsapp chatgroup, and although it is not one hundred percent active all the time, but when it is active the conversation would move pretty quickly from one topic to the other. My dad is new in this technology thing — I am not saying he is a technophobe, but I think he needs more time to keep up with this compared to my mother. As a result, it is still quite difficult for him to follow the movement of conversation in the family chatgroup.
Few days ago, I left an ambiguous message in the group. Yes, I left it deliberately because it was supposed to be an opening gambit for an incredibly lame alien joke. It wasn’t even funny in my world, it would be even worse if I try to translate it to English, as the joke would be completely lost in translation. However, at that time the chatgroup was quiet, and nobody responded to that particular message, so I just left it like that without any further explanation.
I wasn’t thinking, of course, that the message could be easily misinterpreted by anyone who reads it. My siblings have gotten used to my lame, slightly dark and alienly jokes, but not my parents. Especially with my dad, since the joke was half done, and was sent through a technology he is not used to, I think he genuinely though that there’s something seriously wrong happened to me.
So yesterday he made a phone call.
He was never a talker — not on the phone. It is usually mum who’s got the job to keep tab on the kids, and making individual phone calls to make sure we are okay. So yes, I can feel slightly special, that my dad actually made that effort to make the phone call himself. He didn’t sound panicked, but I know he was — thus the phone call. If he wasn’t panicked, he would just tell mum to check.
Actually… I think normally he would just ask mum anyway, if it is about my siblings. But, you see… I am my dad’s little princess. I am a bit older now, but I think unless you’ve done something really-really-really stupid, and you have broken your dad’s heart really-really-really bad, you would never stop being your dad little princess — doesn’t matter how old you are.
Just in case you want to know, the phone call only lasted few minutes. Here’s roughly the break-down of the conversation:
Dad: “Hey, how’ve you been?”
Me: “I am alright… What’s up?”
Dad: “No, I just wondered why did you say that thing on the chatgroup…”
Me: “Oh! *laughs and then explains the joke*
Dad: “I see… Okay then… Did you want to talk to your mum?”
Me: “Not really…”
Dad: *sounds like he’s taking the phone away from him, and he’s calling my mum*
Yes. Did I tell you that he’s not really a talker on the phone?
But I feel so happy he called. I know that it doesn’t sound that special in this country, but in my alien culture… it is special. Dads are meant to be the tough, stoic ones, and mums are those who made those panicky phone calls. But my dad broke all that conventions for me, and I know exactly why.
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?
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.
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.
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…
“ everybody has a novel inside them” and “a writer writes, an editor edits”. Two phrases that I have heard. I seem to have two novels stuck inside me, and I forget that he I ever finish them an editor will correct the awful grammar and spelling… assuming that they ever get finished and are good enough to get an editors attention.
Yes. I have attempted to write.
When I had the germ of my “main” novel I was very excited. It’s a kind of “in the future/science fiction/social commentary” kinda thing. I got less and less excited when over time I realised that a lot of my “original” ideas had been done before. The longer I sat on my story the more often I saw other ideas crop up in the science and technology periodicals.
The second idea is a pretty well used format. A kinda dystopian “mad max” style world where the two main protagonists start off as your average Joe who have been transported to that alternate universe via a catastrophic accident instigated by an experiment with the LHC at cern.
They progress through the story by going on a journey to find answers (to why they are there and how to get back). They start of as relatively decent people but have to toughen up in order to survive.
I am hoping that it will be a (darkly) amusing tale filled with action (guns, explosions) and weird stuff
Incidentally, I was planning on using that same LHC accident as background for my main novel – our earth gets flipped into a parallel universe for a micro second. It’s screws up the orbit when it returns so there has to be a planned exodus of the surviving population before the our planet wobbles off and becomes uninhabitable.
……Yeah, something like that anyway.
One day…. One day I’ll knuckle down and flesh out a bit more.
I suppose, too, that I should actually learn how to plan and structure stories too. Right now I have ideas and, as Indiana Jones once said “I’m making it up as I go along”
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…”