one of the last beautiful evening cycles I had before it started getting dark early. Winter can suck a taint.

Let’s just get into this without preamble shall we?

  1. That you do not judge the fact that once again, I have dropped off the face of this blog for months. Or, if you do judge, you do not do it openly. Bastions of class that you are.
  2. That I have made it into the final quarter of 2014, slightly dented, a tad bruised but mostly fabulous.
  3. That when my tights ripped today, nobody in the office was around to witness my shame.
  4. That Papa T neither contracted Ebola nor was accosted by Boko Haram when he travelled to Nigeria the week before last.
  5. That my new kitchen over which I salivated for many months is as perfect as I envisioned. So perfect that I want to drape myself across a countertop and have someone paint me like one of their French girls.
  6. That Ray Rice’s bitch ass got fired.
  7. That the new fancy bras I purchased are proving adept in securing my boobs and aren’t, despite their appearance, the kind of flimsy charlatans that H&M sells.
  8. That I looked the bomb dot com at the wedding I attended on Saturday and managed to refrain from engaging in fisticuffs with the chief bridesmaid (even though that wench was really tapdancing on my last nerve and was completely deserving of a dressing down.)
  9. That it’s a mere 1.5 months until the wedding of one of my most favourite people in all the world. Nanna, I cannot wait.
  10. That I am leaving the country the day after tomorrow for a long awaited break.
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Riley: the simultaneous bane of my existence and one of the loves of my life.

I started writing this at the beginning of the week and was finishing it up today when I got a call from my vet to tell me that Riley, my boisterous, maddening, gorgeous little guinea pig had had an adverse reaction to the anaesthetic and had died. Worst fucking luck. I didn’t have him long but I adored that little terror and am typing this addendum in the midst of some tears. On the whole, I am still riding a wave that goes up, the good definitely outweighs the bad but isn’t this just irony in all of its douchebaggery? RIP, Riles. Rocky and I will miss you. Pouring out a little timothy hay for you, buddy.

The week before last, a troupe of hefty and very charming Polish men arrived at my house to rip up the damaged back fence and replace it with shiny new (and eye-wateringly expensive) panels. It was a lot of work; the kind of work that involved them having to do away with a few of my conifers and hack through some undergrowth which left them with bloodied arms and heaving chests. It was hot and the air was heavy with pollen; the breeze of the week before had packed up and buggered off. Everyone was sweating.

As I ferried cold drinks out to them (which they spurned, preferring hot black coffee instead) I asked them if they were alright. They had been working solidly for hours and the air was almost oppressive. Working from home afforded me the sweet relief of being able to wear my banana-print shorts and point the fan directly at my face but they were outside and their work was decidedly more physical than mine, and asshole that I am, I worried that the coffee was dehydrating them and that there was a good chance one of them would faint and I’d have to explain to my boss that I couldn’t join the conference call because I was driving one of my fence-erectors to A&E. But as I approached, I noticed that they were chilling on the grass, smoking cigarettes and chuckling.

Me: *slightly suspiciously* Everything alright?
Henry: It’s nice to take a moment.
Me: Um…yes.

Most of the time, I’m so preoccupied with stuff—with making sure my tenants are behaving, that my bills are paid, that my accountant isn’t fucking up, that this house isn’t going to come tumbling down around our ears at any moment—that I forget that I am allowed to just stop and fucking enjoy everything I’ve been working so hard to achieve.

It’s a nasty habit that I’ve acquired; one that I really need to kick.

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I remember it because we were in the middle of a fight about my glasses.

As always, she and my Dad had picked them out; a hideous pink leopard-print rimmed affair with huge circular frames that, paired with my oversize school blazer and Jheri curl, made me look like an ethnic Harry Potter. If Harry Potter’s parents were still alive and had horrific taste in optical wear. Mum used the word “psychedelic” to describe them, as if this were a positive trait and not another bullet in the arsenal of weaponry the school bullies had to use against me.

Being young and truculent, I thought that if I could simply make my parents see the harm they were inflicting upon my status within my peer group, they would ferry me back to Vision Express (apologising profusely all the way and perhaps stopping to purchase me those pair of Kickers I had been lusting after; you know, just to demonstrate their penitence) and buy me those slick, purple-rimmed glasses I really wanted.

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Work is a fucking weird and complex thing, isn’t it?

I’ve had jobs where I’ve felt at home; where I’ve known that my time and efforts have been valued, and where I have even had the honour and privilege of seeing first-hand, positive results my work has had on the lives of other people. I’ve made lifelong friends with people who started out as colleagues, navigating the horrifying and often turbulent coworker-to-“work friend”-to-real friend transition. I’ve learned lessons about compromise, about tolerance, about collaboration and about watching ideas turn into real, tangible assets and finished products.

I’ve also had jobs that made me feel like I’d rather walk through a plate-glass window and into a vat of malt vinegar than get up and go to work. Jobs where I’ve been made to feel like the only acceptable reasons for absence were a) your legs were eaten by pygmies during the night, or b) you died. I’ve had jobs that made me cry and jobs that caused me to pull off the motorway onto the hard shoulder so that I could have my panic attack without worrying about crashing my car and perishing in a ball of flames and regret. Here I learned about office politics and toeing the company line; that my time was never really my own, that the job became before all, that living to work reigned over working to live, and that sitting at my desk dreaming of pumping ricin through the conference room air vents was par for the grim and demoralising course.

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