Too much of a good thing…

…describes my addiction to graze.com boxes! I had a free trial code, so thought I would give it a go, and I’m ashamed to say that they are rather addictive. I’m not sure whether eating nuts, dried fruit and seeds is such a great way to supplant chocolate, but at least I’m eating complex carbs and not a huge hit of refined sugar. So far, I’ve loved the asian crackers and the nut mixes; the dried cherries are also yummy. I haven’t had dried cherries before, but they’re definitely juicy and moreish. Their ethos seems to be something I can get behind too – good quality ingredients, fair prices and flexibility – you can choose when you get your box and when you don’t want one. You’re under no obligation to pay for a box every week if you can’t afford it. It’s great for me because I’ve noticed that when I’m writing, reading or working on my laptop, I tend to crave food. I’m trying to break my bad habits, but sometimes its best to supplant the less virtuous foods for something that keeps your energy even. Not that some foods are bad or good, just that some things are better in moderation (so they’re more of a treat!).

I’ve got my first BSL Stage 2 exam tomorrow and despite having faith in myself, I’m still nervous. It’s not that I don’t think I can do it, just that the lead up to it is horrible and I’m worried that I’ll be tired at that point during the day (it’s at 6pm onwards) and might miss something if I’m tired. I’m sure I’ll be fine, as will the other people in my class. At least it’s not an exam when you have to sign – its the exam when you watch a DVD and have to answer multiple choice signed questions on a piece of paper. I’m just hoping that if I get some practice in today and tomorrow afternoon, I won’t feel so panicked at the thought of doing an exam!

I’ve also been developing my website further – I managed to put all my short stories to date up on the Fiction page. So if you have some spare time and want to read something, then you’re welcome to have a read! They are in general chronological order, so the first ones I wrote are at the top and the more recent ones are at the end. I think I can see how my writing has developed and become a bit sharper as time has gone on. Some of my early efforts are quite flawed, but I like to see how my writing is developing. It takes time to polish your writing and learn from mistakes, and develop your ‘writer’s voice’ or your own style and rhythm.

I’m looking forward to Christmas, but the lead up is being fairly stressful. It shouldn’t be about money, but I can’t help but panic about presents and what to buy people, or how much to spend on them. I’m going to Edinburgh for Christmas, the first time I’ve spent Christmas with Dan’s family (usually I go there for New Year), so there is less of a panic about presents since I can buy some presents for my family after the day itself. We’ve decided to have a small present opening ceremony for my family in January. I’m also up North for New Year too, but I’ll have deadlines looming so I think I might be a bit stressed out. The next Open Uni deadline for me is early January – I have to write a script. I’ve only written one script before, but I think this one is going to be harder since I need to re-write the story I’m adapting or rework it into something different. The adapting itself might not be so difficult, but the reworking will be harder.

Recently, I’ve been missing Quentin a lot. Part of it is because Dan’s family dog, Rocky, died a few weeks ago, which is very upsetting. He had been ill for a while, with a suspected brain tumour, and Dan’s parents had to have him put down because he was obviously in a lot of pain. It will be hard to visit them without Rocky around, but at least he isn’t in any more pain. I feel that way about Quentin – it would be so much harder if we didn’t have the girls around; they have been a great comfort to all of us. Georgina is a changed cat – she used to be so jealous with Quentin and wasn’t particularly playful or silly, but she’s turned into a kitten! She likes to chase things and play much more, and isn’t a jealous little minx like she used to be. The two of them can be a bit scrappy with each other – but for the most part they’ve coped with it well.

Flossie grieved for a while and sometimes she goes outside and sits near his grave. She takes the disappearance of playmates badly – she used to have a friend next door but he got run over, and she was sad for a long time. If you have cats, you do notice the small things – the change in nature and emotions. Flossie is much more vocal now than she was when Quentin was here. Perhaps because he was the loudest cat I’ve met – he used to meow all the time! Its good that we have lots of photos, because we can remember him better, and I’m determined not to forget the little things, like his fur which used to moult everywhere and his smelly breath and lopsided grin. I’m thankful that he was with us for so long and that we had a chance to know such a lovely cat. The same goes for Rocky – I will miss them both very much.

A man came round to switch our house over to fibre optic broadband and kindly installed a wireless internet connection. It’s been great so far, but I haven’t put it to the test anywhere else apart from at my desk! The possibility of shopping in bed or surfing the net in the living room has never felt so exciting. Dan and I also feel spoilt at the moment because we’ve got a free TV and a free PS3 – because he needed a new phone contract and got a PS3 free, whilst his Dad also needed a new phone contract and he kindly and generously offered to give us the free TV that came with his contract. Its a massive TV and I feel like the PS3 has opened a world of viewing possibilities with my LoveFilm subscription (4 hours of online viewing per month and 4 DVDs per month), iPlayer, 4oD and even ITVplayer. There’s also a brilliant service for World Cinema films, which is around £2 each film. I feel like a kid on Christmas day at the moment…

Well, I better go and practice my BSL, I’ve only got today and tomorrow…

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