September is for holidays

River Tyne

Well, it’s finally September which means we’ll be going to Florida this month. I can be home for my birthday and our anniversary and I can see my parents. I can go to Wal-Mart and drink Frappuccino’s while I stroll through Target. I can walk through Disney and eat all the food in Epcot. I can go on a cruise ship and swim along the beach in The Bahamas. I can sit by the pool in Cocoa Beach like I did when we lived there in 1989.

This is the best time of the year.

We have our new house so this will be the first post from the new office / spare room. {waves from the new office window}

The above photo is from the river which is across from our neighborhood. Obviously, we don’t live in the posh side of town, but it’s fun to hang out over there. Yesterday we went to the Food Market and had breakfast at the café along the river walk. We’re glad we moved and we really didn’t know how nice it was on this side of town, so here we are. All settled and enjoying life.

I’d given up on bullet journals. I really wanted to find lots of design ideas online but most of it is about sketching and doodling and I am not arty at all. I don’t want an art book, I want a planner. Oh well.

Having said that, I’ve lost my bullet journal. I put it in a big plastic zip folder and I left it out of my book bag for ages because I wasn’t even bothering to try and decorate it like arty people online are. (Follow bullet journals on Instagram — you’ll see what I mean.) But now we’ve moved and that folder has gone walkabout. I wanted to have a go again, but it’s in some not-so-obvious place.

When I’m in Florida, I totally plan on getting another Happy Planner and I’ll look for a new bullet journal to keep with it. It should help with my book reviews, blog posts, school work (I’ve re-enrolled for my computer science course) and anything creative that I try to write in the meantime.

Aside from the bullet journal, the house move, and the re-enrolment of school, we’ve just been carrying on. Work has been super busy and I get to the end of the week, ready to cry because I’ve been running to and from libraries, answering questions, trying to fix things and help customers and staff for days. Yes, it’s rewarding and yes it’s better than being bored stiff, it just gets exhausting. I didn’t have more than Sunday off during a 11 day stretch of being at work, so I think it just finally got to me.

Oh well, the holiday is coming and I’ll be doing fun in the sun type activities.

I still feel bad that I haven’t started or worked on a writing project during my time in Florida for years. The intent is always there, but my mind is so focused on other things that the writing just isn’t in the forefront of important tasks to complete.

Anyway, next week will be getting ready for the holiday time. I’ll work every day but Wednesday and Sunday so I have a hair appointment, my Weight Watchers meeting (I don’t even want to imagine how much I may have gained in the last three weeks), and we’re going to see Garbage at Northumbria University. I can finally see Shirley Manson and Butch Vig with my eyes. I was supposed to see them in Tampa when I saw Smashing Pumpkins, but I got to the show too late.

Fun fact: when I first came to the U.K., Mister Pick took me to Edinburgh and there we saw a genealogy exhibit about Shirley Manson.

Edinburgh fascinates me every time I go. The next time we’re supposed to be there will in October so we can see JACK WHITE. Finally! I’ve only waited, what, 18 years to finally see him live?

With that said, it’s time to watch Robocop with Mister Pick who did a poll on Twitter, asking everyone what old action movie I should see. (My parents were adamant that it was too violent for me in the 80s.) (Also, I voted to see Predator because of all the Aliens connections.)

Last book I read was My Best Friend’s Exorcism, which I can’t recommend enough. I read it in about three days. I’ve not been that into a book for a long, long time. I’ll be sure to write a review on bookblogarama soon. My holiday book of choice is already on my desk, ready to go: Crazy Rich Asians.

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Countdown to moving day

Cragside House and bridge

This will probably be the last post I’ll write in our flat. It’s now Sunday and we’re scheduled to move to our new house on Wednesday. Our movers are booked for 8AM, I was able to swap my Wednesdays off, and we have a hotel room to keep Jake (the cat) out of the way and relaxed (somewhat) while the moving chaos ensues.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – moving is a complete pain. I mean, I’m super excited, don’t get me wrong, but when you have no control over the aspects of if the solicitors will get the paperwork from everyone in time, and if you can or can’t get the day off just to sign your contracts, it’s sort of a quiet anxiety. You want to get upset and panic, but there really is nothing you can do but wait on things to fall into place.

But, it’s done for the most part. The last bit of paperwork the solicitor needed from us was the house’s building insurance that we transferred from the flat. The insurance company finally emailed that to us yesterday, so that’s been forwarded on to the solicitor’s office. Now, on Monday, Mister Pick has to give them the deposit on the house and we’re good to go.

We haven’t ordered any new furniture yet because I want to be there and get an idea of what color couch I really want and how high of a dining room table I’ll need. I do know that I need a washer, a dryer, and a refrigerator when we first get there, so we’re going to look at PC World for those today.

In the meantime, we’re packing. Massively packing. We’re only going 3.3 miles down the road, so it’s not like I have to worry about anything getting lost in the mix or anything. I’ve labelled things so far (basically, all of my clothes).

We were going to go to the Brontë Parsonage this coming bank holiday weekend, but with the move, we’ve cancelled that. This is still a big one on my list, so maybe Mister Pick, Daisy and I can travel down there on a regular weekend, just to nose about and spend the night. That would be nice.

Other than that, I’ve seen the BBC iPlayer documentary on Sylvia Plath, I’m still watching OITNB S6, and I picked up Fear Street: You May Now Kill the Bride last night.

So, yeah. Next time I post here I’ll be at our new house (or some random public place, let’s be honest).

Until then, enjoy your last days of summer before school starts (for those in the UK). I’m scheduled to go back to my MSc in Computing and Information Science in September too (plus going to Florida!) so I’ll be right there with you.

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A rainy Sunday for packing and doggie sitting

Photo

So, it’s Sunday and a lot has been going on lately.

First off, we having an official moving date scheduled so hopefully everything will be sorted by the time and we can get out of the flat and into our new house – the future Pick Manor!

For those of you from the United Kingdom, you’ll know what an absolute pain it is to move. You’re never sure if anyone will really, really buy your property, so even if they say they’re buying the place, they could potentially pull of of the sale at any time. We’ve looked at a handful of houses where the owners have said, “Well, it was sold and we spent two months packing and finding a new place, then the buyer changed their mind or didn’t get the funding.” That’s why I didn’t let myself get too excited about any of this until they had an actual date set. I’m still going to wonder if things will fall through because we have an appointment next week to sign contracts. (Pray for us, ya’ll.)

Aside from the two weeks to get our act together, our goldendoodle girl, Daisy, has become an official teenager. She’s now 11 months old and gone into season. Now we spend most of our days keeping her in the computer room (where I sit now, typing this up for you) while we keep her company. She’s peed on the bedroom carpet and the mattress, which I’m still trying to get clean. (Try baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and dishwashing liquid if anyone is reading this.) If we don’t sit with her, she barks and barks and barks. Apparently, according to the internets, she’s feeling vulnerable and needs us to be around to reassure her. Also, she’ll pee more often (no kidding) and she’s marking her places that are hers which is our bedroom, mainly.

I guess we’re her humans and she’s protecting us? Who knows what’s going on in her doggy brain, but I’ve told her that she’s not getting a boyfriend, so she can forget going to the park or doggie daycare for a while. I just hope this is over by moving day time. (Again, send the prayers and good vibes!)

Today we’ve been packing and my job is to tackle the closet where all of my precious clothes are kept. (This is all while I’m trying to scrub out pee smells here and there in the bedroom.) It’s been raining a lot and with the heat, it’s still humid, so our plan is to hit the gym and try to keep up the training. How I’ll ever get marathon ready, I don’t know. Heck, I’ll walk if I need to. Screw it.

Also, I’m now loving Will Smith’s Vlog (I’m totally motivated to create a vlog now. Don’t care how cliché it is!) and OITNB Season Six. My current books are Stephen King’s The Green Mile, Holly Bourne’s Are We all Lemming and Snowflakes, and R.L. Stine’s You May Now Kill the Bride (Return to Fear Street #1) because holy crap did I love love love these books in high school!

Speaking of which, on kind of a melancholy note, it really makes me sad to enter into autumnal new school season and not be able to feel the excitement of wearing a new tartan skirt and tights, and have the feel of Fall being new and full of opportunities. I was looking at clothes in the MetroCentre yesterday and feeling down about how there’s never going to be a reason for me to want or need to dress up like I used to. I know at any age you can wear what you want and feel as good as you allow yourself, but, honestly, does anyone care if you look cute after age 40?

Anyway, I’m sure that once I get this weight off and I’m feeling healthier, I’ll be way more inclined to attempt at looking nice. And with that said, I’m off to the gym in the pouring rain.

Have a great week, everyone!

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Rainy weekend with Netflix and my bullet journal

High Bridge Street

Guys, I did absolutely nothing all weekend and it was glorious.

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned oodles of times, I work every other weekend. This weekend, I didn’t have to work. It’s been insanely hot up here (but not as bad as down south, so I hear) and we were expecting thunderstorms at the end of the week. Luckily, we had awesome rain since Friday and the temperature went down to 52F last night. (I still don’t do Celsius temperatures.)

So while it poured down rain and the fresh, cool breeze made the flat much more bearable to live in, I had zero motivation to go anywhere. I was happy watching Netflix, writing in my bullet journal, and playing The Sims. No, I did not write. No, I did not read. These activities seem to be more weekday things when I’m out and need calming distractions from the daily grind. (Then I can complain when I don’t have time to spend lots of time on them.)

Hanging out with Steve, Daisy, and Jake all weekend has been wonderful. I just felt like I needed to be shut away from the world to recuperate from the constant running around that I usually do in the week. I go to six libraries in 5 days. My job requires me to be around people all of the time. I’m chatty all of the time. I’m efficient, helpful, prompt, courteous, and everything in between all week. I think I deserve some max chill out days, especially when the weather isn’t very welcoming.

What’s been keeping me nice and relaxed lately has been my bullet journal. Now, I’ve said before on Twitter that I refuse to post any photos of my pages because I’m just not an artist and the pages look like a janky mess. Steve, who is an artist, has suggested that it’s because I rush my designs. I rush everything because I always feel that urgency – things must be done now! Quick! Go! But, doing design and art means practice and patience, so the #bujo (yeah, I did it) is really helpful for me to focus on something tactile that, I wouldn’t say, de-stresses me because it isn’t a stress I feel, it’s just a nice, calming activity.

I remember working at the school and giving hyperactive kids coloring books and puzzles. They would be fixated on the task for a good while and I can see now that it was probably something they really needed instead of being fidgety and trying to find an outlet for their overactive brains. Personally, it’s just really entertaining and I love watching the videos on how other people use their bullet journals. That in itself is really addictive.

So … I have a new hobby? Cool.

For Netflix, I watched the first episode of Season Six of OITNB, but I didn’t watch more because I’m still on The Staircase, which is really addictive.

Seriously, guys. I think I should have been a detective, or a lawyer, or at least a police officer. There’s still time to get a new career, isn’t there?

Anyway, so that’s how the weekend has gone. I have the rest of the evening to talk a walk with Daisy, take a bath, write something that resembles fiction, talk to my parents on the phone, and hang out with Steve until bedtime. I’d love to have a holiday where I just stayed home for about a week, but right now I think that won’t be until after Christmas. Oh well, I’ll just have to keep my self in check and make sure that I give myself plenty of recovery time.

Actually, I should block that out in my daily bullet journal entries.

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Seahman and the Great Exhibition of the North 2018

Seaham Marina

Getting back to things we’ve done lately and failing to keep up — we travelled to Seaham, Durham about a month ago. Actually, Daisy had been here before we ever were because she attends doggy day care and they sometimes take her on little adventures when it’s warm out.

That dog has an awesome life.

At Seaham, there is a nice little town to walk around, plus big named shops like Asda and a Costa. We went to the marina (picture above) and went on a rocky section of beach before finding a nice, soft sand beach. Daisy was overjoyed because there were lots of little kids for her to try and play with, so we had to try and entertain her otherwise. Plenty of places to get an ice cream and plenty of places to relax on a warm, sunny day.

Aside from the beach trip, we went to the Hancock museum a couple of times for the Great Exhibition of the North event that they have on all through summer. We didn’t see the fireworks at the Quayside or anything on the first opening day, but what we did see was quite cool.

First the museum has all sorts of new exhibits, one of which was the first edition of a book that I read as a student at University of Central Florida way before I ever imagined being a British citizen. The Blazing World is one of the first sci-fi books and it was written by a woman so, take that old, dead white guys!

The other night, we went to a talk that Steve’s old company did about their work on the Marvel movies. I was a proud gal that night when I saw so many kids and students asking the guys their advice on how to get into concept art.

Then in town we came across an art project where people could rename streets on the map of Gateshead and Newcastle. Of course, I named on street after my parents, and Steve named one of the streets after the allotment that we finally got.

Now, as of today, I have not been as active in the allotment as I was when we first got it. It’s an absolute mess, which I’ve been told by a few people, is totally normal. We’ve spent a good month or so, pulling up weeds. Some of it is mare’s tail which our allotment manager told us is a right pain to get rid of. Still, we have some vegetable plants from the library (they do all sorts at my work!) so we’ll have some summer vegetation around the weeds. Yuck.

Also, we saw Elvis Costello at Newcastle City Hall on the 25th of June. That was very cool and since Steve loves his music so much, I was glad to give him the tickets as a late birthday present. Elvis had to cut his tour short due to health reasons and we wish him the very best of health. The librarians I work with are eager to go along next time to see him again in Newcastle.

Right now, Steve and Daisy are on a stroll while I have the flat to myself for a bit. Our house purchase is going at a slow pace, but as far as we know now, things are just carrying on as normal. I figure they’ll give us a date to move, and we’ll panic because we’ve been laying low for a while and just waiting for the official green light on everything.

Other than that, I’m trying to use my bullet journal for keeping up with my blog posts and my writing progress, so both of those things are scheduled for today. I have one post down, now I need some work on my book to keep me up to date.

Until next time!

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