2018 Book Challenge

I enjoyed last year’s book challenge so much, and it really re-invigorated my love of reading, so I have decided to do it all again this year!

Last year I managed a total of 45 books (including some non-challenge entries) and I’m not sure whether or not I’ll achieve the same this year, but who knows?

The official list my dad and I are using is here, and I’ll be adding to this list as I go along. Continue reading

Random acts of kindness

As tempers get ever-more heated at my office, people are hunkering down in their respective corners getting increasingly defensive and spiteful. The sad thing about feeling under attack is that it makes people lash out and blame others and attack each other even harder.

The vibe in the office has been one of ever-growing hostility, sadness and despair over the last few weeks. Restructures are never easy, and I’ve been through several, but this one in particular feels somehow far worse than any we’ve gone through before. There is a bitterness and resentment that is slowly seeping into everyone’s consciousness, as if an evil villain has released some kind of toxic conflict vapour into the air.

I have been through my own rollercoaster of emotions, ultimately touching on all of the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) when thinking about my job, and the prospect of losing it.

I have days when I accept that it is all out of my hands, and days when I feel angry and want to fight back. But I also realised that our senior management are bearing the brunt of everyone’s visceral anger and hatred and frustration. And I suddenly saw how tired and exhausted and worn down they all are. And then I remembered that despite being “management” and being the ones having to propose cuts to this team and that team, they are also just people, and I remembered that they are people I happen to like.

I have spent so much of the last few weeks joining in with all the panic and anger and sadness and bewilderment and confusion and defensiveness that I forgot that some of the colleagues I admire the most are also suffering the most.

So I decided to try a new tactic. Continue reading

Restructure Hell: Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…

Ok, well things at work are either looking up or looking down, which is terribly confusing really.

Last week, after realising my job didn’t appear to be in the new proposed structure, (we tried to counter-propose to put it back in and failed), I started talking to my team, to the union rep, to friends and colleagues. And the response I got was:

  • Of course you’re in there!
  • Of course you’re in there!
  • But your team is actually getting bigger! What are you worried about?
  • Counter-propose and tell them why they need to keep your job!
  • But you’re already in there!
  • What are you worried about? You job is there!

And so on.

Literally everyone thinks I do a different job (an “advisor” role), – which is in the new proposed structure, when in fact I do not. The problem with this is that  Continue reading

Waterboarding, and other childhood memories…

So, as part of my Stage 2 / Homestudy, I have been taken on a long trip down memory lane, and asked to delve deep into the childhood of Maya. My social worker asks very specific questions such as “How was discipline administered in our family” and “what were the most traumatic moments of my childhood”, “what were your relationships like with key family and non-family members growing up”, and so on…

What is fascinating is that I have dredged up quite a few memories which I had totally forgotten about, and looking at them with fresh eyes, I see things now that I didn’t as a child.  Continue reading

Mugs galore

Well there’s more news on the job front, but before I get to all that misery, I’ve been busy making MUGs, mugs, glorious mugs!

Practising handles and also learning slowly how to get the dimensions right – I can’t easily gauge how much something will shrink by (I know it’s about 15-20% shrinkage in the kiln but almost impossible to see what that will look like!).

One of my first mugs – very pleased, and it looks a little small but almost mug-sized – but then it shrank…

Continue reading

Rollercoaster

Well this has been quite a week. I should point out before we start that I’m an emotional being, and tend to wear my heart on my sleeve so my emotions are often BIG, whatever they are.

Monday was filled with immense joy, because I ADORE my pottery classes and all my mugs came out perfectly for once and it was so wonderful and fun that I came home bouncing around the house trying to sprinkle my flatmate with all my excess pottery joy. (A separate mug post will probably be imminent because I’ve very proud and I love my mugs…)

Tuesday I woke up feeling queasy, then threw up, and then continued to throw up for about 6 hours or so. But by afternoon I was feeling much better, so whatever it was, it arrived fast and left just as quickly. It was a strange and unexpected but thankfully brief interlude of unwellness.

Wednesday I felt fine again. Perfectly normal day all round.

Thursday started off ok, then a sense of impending doom overwhelmed me and I spent the afternoon weeping sporadically while descending into a pretty epic panic spiral, which only I can truly pull off with flair. But my friends and colleagues cheered me up and by the end of the day there was wine and skittles so it was all ok in the end.

Friday has so far been extremely average and now I’m quite tired after an exhausting week of emotional drama, but looking forward to some fun and hanging out with some fab people this weekend and basically not thinking about any of it!

I’ve done a handy chart for your reference:

Continue reading

The weird and wonderful mind of Maya

Here’s a little insight into how my incredibly odd brain works:

Earlier today I was looking around schools, and suddenly noticed my finger was bleeding. I’d obviously caught it on something without noticing, grazing my knuckle, and hadn’t noticed, and now I was bleeding lightly while chatting to the school administrator. It was all very minor so I continued on, going about my day, without giving it much thought. I frequently bash myself, walk into things, catch my fingers, and often have random small cuts and bruises that appear here and there on my body.

But then later in the afternoon, I got back from the shops, unloaded all my shopping, popped to the neighbours to collect a parcel, and suddenly noticed a sharp pain in my foot.

It was a stinging sort of pain, like a nettle, and I was shocked to discover a large blueish lump appearing on the top of my foot, about the size of my thumb. I couldn’t remember bashing it on anything, and it had clearly just happened, as the lump was very sore and getting noticeably larger.

Rather than assume that I’d just bashed it and not noticed, as I frequently do, and in spite of the fact I had literally done the same thing earlier in the day with my finger, I immediately assumed that a tropical spider had crawled out of my shopping and bitten me.

That’s how insane my mind is.

There was no other logical explanation – I’d done nothing except unload some shopping bags, and suddenly there was a very painful, stinging lump on my foot, with no other possible explanation. I’ve read about it happening every once in a while, where some dangerous spider crawls out of your fruit and bites you.

I was literally thinking through my plan (in case you’re interested, the plan was to find my phone, get ready to dial 999 if my foot turned blue or my throat closed up or something).

Then after poking my weird swollen lump for a bit, I decided it must be a bruise, I’d clearly knocked it hard against something and somehow not noticed, and so I ignored it and carried on with my day. The swelling went down and left me with a faint purpley bruise and a mildly sore foot for the rest of the day, which remains an intriguing mystery.

Thought you’d all like to know that these are the things that go on inside my head on a fairly regular basis. Massive paranoia and jumping to extreme conclusions about unexplained minor occurrences.

Here is the weird swollen blue lump when I first noticed it, and assumed it was a radioactive spider bite:

And here is the bruise that appeared a bit later in the day:

I’m still waiting for my superpowers to kick in….

Feminist Economics

Notwithstanding the fact that I’ve become increasing firm in my feminist views of late, this excellent article from the Economist highlights how women have been traditionally subjugated in the way we think about economics – even down to the ways we calculate GDP…

What would the world look like if women’s contributions to things such as unpaid care work were counted equally against paid labour? Which countries would have the highest GDP then I wonder?

The radicalisation of Maya continues – First I became a total convert to my local Green party, then I became a massive and vocal supporter of my worker’s union (UNITE THE UNION!), then I went to Cuba and became a pseudo-socialist, and now I think we may need a radical feminist overhaul of our economic processes….

Where does it all end?

 

May 30th – Additional!

Just also found this linked but equally interesting little article about how advancing women’s equality could add $12 trilliion to global growth!