Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts


Tristan (Stuart Skelton) and Isolde (Heidi Melton) at ENO

  1. Gadgette is a site aimed at techy women–like The Pool for geeks. I barely qualify, but I’ve been really enjoying their stuff, especially this article on 6 lessons to forget before you start learning to code.
  2. My parents and brother are in the country. We saw them last weekend, at my gran’s 80th birthday tea, and will see them again soon;  my brother is coming to London for a graduation-present dinner on Friday, and my parents are visiting on Saturday.
  3. It was great to see them and I’m looking forward to seeing them again, but trying to make plans to do so around the rest of my life is so.damn.stressful. I work full-time, so my only weekday options are in the evening. Plus, unfortunately, June is the month when everyone else wanted to plan stuff. Between last Wednesday and next Sunday I’ve had a grand total of three days with nothing penciled in, and those days don’t really coincide with my parents’ availability.  So there’s guilt on my side, frustration on theirs, and dissatisfaction everywhere.
  4. Relatedly, I’m really, really tired. I’ve already canceled one book event last week out of pure exhaustion, and I’m probably going to need to bow out of a dinner party this week as well. Mental health has also been suffering: I’ve developed a new strategy for when I want to self-harm which involves imagining it in great detail without actually doing it, or writing on my arm instead of cutting or scratching. It’s okay, but it’s not exactly a permanent fix. Mother-out-law has been in hospital this week, too, precise nature of ailment unknown. So now that I think about it, there’s been a reasonable amount of stress circulating.
  5. Women With Tattoos is another one of my new favourite sites–beautiful portraits of tattooed ladies, plus interviews. Through it, I’ve also found the woman who I want to do my first tattoo, if and when I get brave enough to follow through.
  6. I went to my first live Wagner performance last weekend: English National Opera is doing Tristan and Isolde (yes, in English; oh well.) It was five hours long and it was excellent; the band made some ravishingly beautiful sounds and Heidi Melton, who sings Isolde, is a new vocal inspiration. The costumes were weird (design aesthetic ranged from “Belle Epoque crazy hair” to “Japanese samurai face masks” to “Beckettian void”), but the singing made none of that matter.

9 thoughts on “Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts

  1. It sounds like you need a rest. My panic disorder flares whenever the calendar starts filling up more than usual (even with nice, happy events). Hopefully, July will be more peaceful. 🙂
    What tattoo would you get?

    • I’m beginning to wonder whether I need to take myself more seriously – I love seeing people but have realized recently that certain kinds of interactions (mostly ones that have been planned in relative haste, or will be relatively unstructured) make me really anxious, and that I spend lots of energy worrying about them beforehand and while they’re happening. Not brilliant. Am placing a temporary moratorium on events after 1 July!

      I’d get a tattoo of the design on a bracelet my brother bought me for Christmas – it’s a pewter wing on a gold wire, and it makes me think of my family, and how even though I live far away from them, they’ve always been encouraging and supportive and present for me. It’s one of the few designs I think I wouldn’t regret later!

      • Your anxiety sounds familiar. I have had many years more practice with mine, though, and have learned how to read myself and what my triggers are. I have been known to bow out of many occasions in the past, and it’s okay. Your health first. 🙂

        The tattoo sounds nice!

      • What a comforting thing to hear! Up til recently I’ve been hard on myself for it (mental monologue: “don’t be so lazy, don’t be so selfish, socializing is good for you”, etc. etc.), but it’s just exhausting sometimes.

      • Yes, that sounds familiar, too. And not wanting other people to think that you don’t want to see them (because you do, but…). I totally get it!

  2. Take it easy on yourself.

    I get stressed when the diary is full and quickly find myself just trying to get through stuff rather than enjoying things. Years ago I fell upon a strategy, out of laziness actually, that has been increasingly effective as the years progress – quite simply, I keep a paper diary (calendar) as opposed to using an electronic one/my phone. When I’m out and people say “Let’s get together on xx” I always reply that I’ll have to check my diary. While others are locking it into their calendar immediately, I get a day or so to decide if I really want/ can do whatever has been suggested. Sometimes seeing your week laid out, as it is in a paper diary, is enough to make you say “No more!”.

    I know this sounds like a small thing but if you find it difficult to say no, it’s a really good strategy – a calends cooling-off period!

    • Oh, I really like that idea. I will have to start implementing it – I do have a paper diary for work things, but perhaps it would be good to have one for socializing as well.

      • The system has proved so effective for fending off things politely that my husband ditched his electronic diary and has also gone back to paper.

      • That sounds so glorious. Fortunately this week is a tad quieter and next weekend should be entirely free – and I spent pretty much all of yesterday in bed!

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