Too Sensitive, Too Cold-Hearted

Today is my third and final installment of my “Three Day Quote Challenge”.  If you missed the previous two posts, click here and here.

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My choice for today is one that I found and favourited a little later than the previous two days, but I love just as much.  A lot of the reason I love quotes is because they put into words thoughts and feelings I’ve always felt or believed, in a concise, pretty fashion.  This quote in particular really resonates with me, as I feel like it describes me perfectly.  I always feel things big.  If I’m angry, I’m really angry.  If someone hurts me, it lasts for a long time.  If I like someone, I’d go to the ends of the earth for them.  The last line also hits very close to home, as I do allow myself to settle when I shouldn’t.  I’m slowly starting to learn that it’s okay to fight for what you want…in fact, it’s expected.  It’s taken my whole life to start to understand this though.  I always thought it was impolite, rude, too hard or not worth doing.  Now, I’m trying not to let people bring me down.  If they aren’t willing to help me reach my dreams, they can get out of my way.  If I’m always trying to please other people and play by their rules, I’m never going to get anywhere.  My last job is a great example of that – five years and I had barely achieved anything, career-wise.  Not because I’m not a hard worker, but because it was easier for everyone to give me excuses why a promotion couldn’t happen “right now”.  Ultimately, I’m sure it came down to cost, and the fact I wasn’t fighting hard enough meant that they assumed I’d just do the extra work for nothing.  That won’t happen again.  It can’t.

My final nominees for this challenge are:
Granny Reports
Lynz Real Cooking
Sometimes Silver Linings Are Blue
As usual, if you have time, check them out!

-JD

Draco’s Perspective

Today’s prompt, and many more, can be found here. Rewrite a book scene from a different character’s perspective.

I chose to rewrite the scene in the first Harry Potter book (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) when Harry and Draco first met in Madam Malkin’s shop in Diagon Alley before they started at Hogwarts.  I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Draco as although he is definitely a little shit, the book puts him in a horrible light all the time.  The original scene is below:

One wild cart ride later they stood blinking in the sunlight outside Gringotts. Harry didn’t know where to run first now that he had a bag full of money. He didn’t have to know how many Galleons there were to a pound to know that he was holding more money than he’d had in his whole life — more money than even Dudley had ever had.
“Might as well get yer uniform,” said Hagrid, nodding toward Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. “Listen, Harry, would yeh mind if I slipped off fer a pick-me-up in the Leaky Cauldron? I hate them Gringotts carts.” He did still look a bit sick, so Harry entered Madam Malkin’s shop alone, feeling nervous.
Madam Malkin was a squat, smiling witch dressed all in mauve.
“Hogwarts, dear?” she said, when Harry started to speak. “Got the lot here — another young man being fitted up just now, in fact.”
In the back of the shop, a boy with a pale, pointed face was standing on a footstool while a second witch pinned up his long black robes. Madam Malkin stood Harry on a stool next to him, slipped a long robe over his head, and began to pin it to the right length.
“Hello,” said the boy, “Hogwarts, too?”
“Yes,” said Harry.
“My father’s next door buying my books and mother’s up the street looking at wands,” said the boy. He had a bored, drawling voice. “Then I’m going to drag them off to look at racing brooms. I don’t see why first years can’t have their own. I think I’ll bully father into getting me one and I’ll smuggle it in somehow.”
Harry was strongly reminded of Dudley.
“Have you got your own broom?” the boy went on.
“No,” said Harry.
“Play Quidditch at all?”
“No,” Harry said again, wondering what on earth Quidditch could be.
“I do — Father says it’s a crime if I’m not picked to play for my House, and I must say, I agree. Know what House you’ll be in yet?”
“No,” said Harry, feeling more stupid by the minute.
“Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they, but I know I’ll be in Slytherin, all our family have been — imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I’d leave, wouldn’t you?”
“Mmm,” said Harry, wishing he could say something a bit more interesting.
“I say, look at that man!” said the boy suddenly, nodding toward the front window. Hagrid was standing there, grinning at Harry and pointing at two large ice creams to show he couldn’t come in.
“That’s Hagrid,” said Harry, pleased to know something the boy didn’t. “He works at Hogwarts.”
“Oh,” said the boy, “I’ve heard of him. He’s a sort of servant, isn’t he?”
“He’s the gamekeeper,” said Harry. He was liking the boy less and less every second.
“Yes, exactly. I heard he’s a sort of savage — lives in a hut on the school grounds and every now and then he gets drunk, tries to do magic, and ends up setting fire to his bed.”
“I think he’s brilliant,” said Harry coldly.
“Do you?” said the boy, with a slight sneer. “Why is he with you? Where are your parents?”
“They’re dead,” said Harry shortly. He didn’t feel much like going into the matter with this boy.
“Oh, sorry,” said the other, not sounding sorry at all. “But they were our kind, weren’t they?”
“They were a witch and wizard, if that’s what you mean.”
“I really don’t think they should let the other sort in, do you? They’re just not the same, they’ve never been brought up to know our ways. Some of them have never even heard of Hogwarts until they get the letter, imagine. I think they should keep it in the old wizarding families. What’s your surname, anyway?”
But before Harry could answer, Madam Malkin said, “That’s you done, my dear,” and Harry, not sorry for an excuse to stop talking to the boy, hopped down from the footstool.
“Well, I’ll see you at Hogwarts, I suppose,” said the drawling boy.

[Excerpt From: J. K. Rowling. “Harry Potter 1 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” iBooks.]

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This is my version, from Draco’s view:

Draco was standing awkwardly on a small stool, a witch fussing over his measurements and getting him to try on different robes.  He’d been there a long time; he knew the witch was nervous after the talk his father had given her earlier.  It had been out of earshot, but the boy knew exactly what had been said.  “Make sure these robes fit perfectly or else,” was basically how it would have gone.  His father was very passionate about the image he and his family displayed; it went hand-in-hand with being one of the most well-known wizarding families in the country.
Draco shifted his weight from foot to foot, getting increasingly impatient.  Madam Malkin was walking around the shop, fixing up displays, occasionally saying offhanded things to the witch next to him like “remind me to order in more Hufflepuff patches” and “don’t forget to allow room for growth when you measure!”.  She seemed to be doing it out of habit and with no real conviction behind it.  It sounded like she was just trying to fill in the silence.
Suddenly, the front door opened and a boy around Draco’s age entered.  He was pale and skinny, with cheap glasses perched on his nose.  He looked nervous.  Madam Malkin looked relieved for the distraction and hurried towards him, smiling from ear to ear.
“Hogwarts, dear?” she said, when the boy opened his mouth to speak. “Got the lot here — another young man being fitted up just now, in fact.”
The boy looked around, his eyes landing on Draco.  Madam Malkin lead him to the stool to his right.  When he didn’t stand up on it, she gestured for him to do so.  He looked around nervously, then did as he was asked.  Before he had a chance to say anything, she pulled a robe over his head and grabbed her measuring tape, which began floating around him in the same way a tape was doing to Draco.
“Hello,” Draco started, glad for a way to break the monotony, “Hogwarts, too?”
“Yes,” said the boy.
“My father’s next door buying my books and mother’s up the street looking at wands,” Draco explained. “Then I’m going to drag them off to look at racing brooms. I don’t see why first years can’t have their own. I think I’ll bully father into getting me one and I’ll smuggle it in somehow.”
He was waiting to see the boy’s reaction, to gauge whether he recognised the trademark Malfoy blonde hair.  Everyone seemed to know him if they were pureblood.  It had always been that way.  The boy was too nervous to give anything away, much to Draco’s annoyance. “Have you got your own broom?” he asked.
“No,” said the boy, once again not giving anything away.
“Play Quidditch at all?”
“No,” the boy said.  Draco thought he saw a flicker of confusion across his face, but maybe it was still just nerves.  Surely anyone headed to Hogwarts would know about Quiddich.
“I do — Father says it’s a crime if I’m not picked to play for my House, and I must say, I agree. Know what House you’ll be in yet?”
“No.”
Draco was growing very tired of the boy, and began to assume he was one of those filthy mudbloods who got sent a letter out of nowhere.  How else could the boy’s nerves and confusion be explained?  Despite this, Draco kept talking, knowing the boy was his only source of entertainment until this was over.  “Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they, but I know I’ll be in Slytherin, all our family have been — imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I’d leave, wouldn’t you?”
“Mmm,” the boy murmured in agreement.
Suddenly, something caught Draco’s eye from the shop window.  He whirled around.  A giant black mass was blocking out almost all the natural light.  It took his eyes a few moments to realize the mass was actually a huge, heavy-set man in an even bigger cloak.  He was holding two ice cream cones, though they looked tiny in his colossal grasp.  “I say, look at that man!” The man began waving at the boy and pointing to the treats.
“That’s Hagrid.  He works at Hogwarts.”
“Oh,” said Draco, surprised the boy knew of anything magic at all.  “I’ve heard of him. He’s a sort of servant, isn’t he?”
“He’s the gamekeeper,” the boy frowned at Draco.
“Yes, exactly. I heard he’s a sort of savage — lives in a hut on the school grounds and every now and then he gets drunk, tries to do magic, and ends up setting fire to his bed.”
“I think he’s brilliant,” the boy’s face darkened.
“Do you?” Draco sneered.  Who was this kid?  Why did he think a servant who lived in a hut is brilliant?  He’d never heard anyone describe Hagrid as that, or anything nice at all really. “Why is he with you? Where are your parents?”
“They’re dead,” the boy muttered, trying to turn away but finding it difficult with the oversized robe over his shoulders.
“Oh, sorry,” Draco said flatly, deciding it was time to ask the question that had been dancing on his lips the whole time; the only really important question his family had to anyone they met. “But they were our kind, weren’t they?”
“They were a witch and wizard, if that’s what you mean.”
Draco was surprised, but relieved.  His father wouldn’t take it well if he’d found out he’d been talking to a mudblood.  He still didn’t really like the boy, but he felt a lot more comfortable with him now.  “I really don’t think they should let the other sort in, do you? They’re just not the same, they’ve never been brought up to know our ways. Some of them have never even heard of Hogwarts until they get the letter, imagine.  I think they should keep it in the old wizarding families.”  Draco stopped.  As the boy was moving, he thought he saw something on his forehead.  But no, surely it couldn’t be.  “What’s your surname, anyway?”
“That’s you done, my dear,” Madam Malkin interrupted, and helped the boy off the stool.  Before Draco could ask anything else, the boy hurried out of the store, leaving with Hagrid.  He went to ask Madam Malkin who the boy was, but didn’t get the chance as his father glided back into the shop, his long, flowing hair following behind.  As his father began berating the witch for taking so long, the thoughts of the strange boy faded from Draco’s mind.

Let me know what you think 🙂

-JD

What a Wonderful Thought

So, today is day two of “Three Days, Three Quotes”.  If you missed yesterday’s, or aren’t sure what I’m referring to, click here!

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Today’s quote is also one that has been sitting towards the top of my “favourites” album in my phone for a long time.  It’s so optimistic and pretty and it’s also really true.  It doesn’t matter how perfect your life may be right at this second, things can change so quickly (as I’ve learnt first hand this year).  It’s easy to get bogged down in negativity and thinking things will never get better.  It’s hard to let go of things that were so amazing, things you thought would always be there.  It’s difficult to believe you’ll ever be that happy again.  This quote reminds me that it’s possible…in fact, more than possible, it’s definite.  There are great days ahead, days you can’t even imagine, with people you probably haven’t met, in places you never knew about it.  Change is constant and sometimes for the best, even if it seems scary.  Six months ago, I’d never in a million years think I’d be where I am today.  If someone had of told me, I’d have laughed at them and told them they’re joking.  Instead, I’m not only there, but really enjoying it.  That’s why I picked this quote for today.

Today’s three nominees are blogs I just found within the last couple of days.  I hope you like them as much as I did 🙂
Stephellaneous
Life of an El Paso Woman
What Makes Me Amber

Come back tomorrow for my final thrilling installment 😉

Time to Change – Day Fifty

Wow, fifty days since I set my mind to dropping weight.  Unfortunately it hasn’t gone as planned, and although I’ve lost a little bit, it’s nowhere near where I thought I’d be right now.  A lot of that is just me losing focus, though like I’ve talked about over the past week, I’m starting to regroup and get back on track.

Today was the start of my weekend this week, as I had to work yesterday.  I had a lot of plans, but in typical first-day-of-the-weekend fashion, I spent a majority of the day napping.  I skipped breakfast (I know, that’s not a good start, I have no excuse other than time got away from me and I couldn’t find the effort to make anything).  I headed off to my local nail salon to get my nails redone.  They usually last me between 3-4 weeks if I stretch it, but counting back, this particular refill only lasted two.  The main problem that I have is on one particular finger, whenever it gets slightly too long, the nail catches on absolutely everything.  I don’t know what it is about that finger, but it’s basically like gauge of when I need to get back to the salon, and the finger was hurting like crazy so off I went.

I have a wedding next weekend so I knew I had to pick something that would go with the dress I bought.  Plus, I’m always trying to avoid typical pink/red colours.  I figure if I’m paying for someone to do them, I don’t want them to look like I could have done them at home.  I know that even if they were pink, they’d still look professional, but it’s just a thing I have.  I can’t explain it.

Anyway, after seeing the girl get it next to me last time, I decided to go with a orange-coral colour.  When I first saw the girl getting it, I liked it but thought it wasn’t really my style.  As the time approached where I knew I’d have to get my nails redone, I started seriously thinking about the colour (I like to go in there with some kind of idea of what I want or I’m there for half an hour trying to decide).  I still wasn’t sure, but I decided I was going to try it.  I knew it would look nice with the dress I was going to wear to the wedding, plus I wanted to try to do something a bit out of my comfort zone.  I was used to having a normal colour topped with sparkles (which I still really like), but I’d done that for awhile and it was getting a little predictable.  When the girl had finished up, I was really happy with the colour.  Surprisingly happy.  I thought I’d be okay with it, but I wasn’t sure I’d love it, and I really do!  Plus, the girl sitting next to me saw the colour on my nails and changed her mind and decided she was getting the same colour instead of black which she’d originally requested.

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My favourite part about the polish is what it looks like while in the UV machine though.  I wish they made nail polish that glowed like this all the time!

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Apart from my trip to the nail salon, everything else has been fairly boring today.  I found some awesome new blogs, then fell asleep on the couch.  Tonight, I’m planning on doing some cleaning in preparation for the bi-yearly house inspection that’s happening on Thursday.  I’m having Lite n Easy Chicken Parma for dinner.  We’ll see how that goes.  My friend thinks it’s nice and the previous two meals I’ve had were really good, so hopefully this is too!  I’ve eaten pretty well today if you ignore the fact I didn’t eat breakfast.  I had saltanas and Savoy crackers with peanut butter for lunch.  My calorie count should be well and truely under today, which will make up a bit for yesterday’s cheat meal.

Oh, also worth mentioning, I jumped on the scale this morning (something I haven’t done all that frequently lately) and I’m almost back to the weight I was before I fell off the wagon.  Looks like my fortnight of not caring didn’t hinder my efforts too much, which is great.  I really think now that I’m eating portion-controlled, healthy meals for dinner (the main meal I had problems with), I will start losing weight steadily and not just in dribs and drabs.  I hope so, anyway.  It’s hard to find motivation when the scale stays the same!

Hope your day was just as relaxing as mine!
PS a big welcome to all the new followers from the past 48 hours 🙂

-JD

Courage

So, I’ve been nominated for the “Three Quote, Three Day” Challenge.  I’m not sure if that’s the actual name or whether it’s just gotten lost like Chinese whispers but anyway, you get the idea.  One quote a day for the next three days.  This has probably been my favourite nomination so far, mostly because my phone is stuffed full of quotes that I’ve screenshotted or saved.  Now I have to narrow it down to my top three!  It’s made harder because it depends what mood I’m in.  My favourites change constantly.

Before I get too lost trying to pick one, I want to thank the very talented The V-Pub for the nomination.  If you’ve got a spare couple of minutes, check out his blog.  It’s great!

Anyway, today’s quote I’m posting is this.

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There is a couple of reasons I chose to post this.  Firstly, I love that it’s so simple yet so true.  When we’re little, we’re told stories of superheroes battling baddies and saving the world, all without fear.  While that too is courage, it isn’t real.  Plus, if you had magic powers like that, you probably wouldn’t be too terrified.  So I guess it actually isn’t all that courageous at all.  No, the best kind of courage is when you’re stuck in a terrible situation/event/drama and all you really want to do is run away, or build a pillow fort and hide in it with a scribbled note in pink crayon stuck to the doorway “leave me alone!”.  Instead of doing that though, you get up out of bed, pull on your shoes and face the issue with a brave face and a strong mind.  You get through it.  You survive it.  It doesn’t matter if it wasn’t fun, or if it hurt, or if you wished it had never happened.  The fact that you got up and got through it is courage.  It’s admirable.  It’s brave.  To anyone who has done that today, or yesterday, or anytime – you rock!  And to anyone having to face it in the future – you can do it, I know you can.
The second reason I chose this was because it seems appropriate.  It’s the first quote I put on my Instagram account and the first quote I set as a “favourite” in my iPhone.  And now, it is the first quote posted in this challenge.

The second part of this challenge is to nominate 3 bloggers.  As I’ve seen one blogger just do three and leave it at that, and another do three per day, I’m not sure which is correct (again, Chinese whispers happening).  To make it seem more matchy-matchy, I’m gonna run with three per day.  I love giving shout outs to different blogs, so this works okay for me.

Today’s nominations are:
Solo Mama Life
I Am Just Audrey
Kaboodle Mum

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s quote!  (It’ll probably take me that long to chose the next one ;))

-JD

Time to Change – Day Forty-Nine

I’m writing this in my car, pulled into a random side street a few kilometres from my house, waiting for my dad go come and save me.  My car is playing up big time and stalled on me while I was crossing a 4-lane Freeway.  Luckily I had a green light, luckily it was rolling just quick enough for me to get into the street before the lights changed, luckily there wasn’t anyone behind me.  Still, despite all that, I’m not feeling really lucky.  It’s times like this I wish I knew more about cars.  It’ll never happen though because to know about them you have to have at least a basic interest or passion in them and honestly, I don’t.  I can’t even pretend to.  When guys talk about cars my eyes glaze over and my mind starts to do this:

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This is why I either over react about things that don’t matter (like when my car was leaking oil and I dragged my dad 40 mins away to my house for him to say they probably just over filled it during the service it had just had) or I completely under react and assume if I just keep driving, the problem will fix itself (which is basically what happened in this instance…only it did not fix itself).  This is also why I asked my dad to come and look at the car today and not use roadside assist.  It’s one thing for dad to roll his eyes and tell me it’s nothing, it’s different if a professional comes out and has to point out you’ve overlooked something dumb (it’s happened before).

Even aside from the fact I’m stuck annoyingly-close-but-not-close-enough to my house right now, today hasn’t been the best day.  I woke up feeling pretty good, after falling asleep at 8pm on the couch when my time-of-the-month cramps let up for a little bit, then dragged myself to bed at 9.30.  I slept pretty solidly right  through til about 6.30, then remembered there’s no traffic on Saturdays and fell back asleep.  Woke up with just enough time to get dressed and organised but not to eat breakfast (gahhh) and rushed off to work – the first Saturday I’ve had to work in months.  I was dreading it because I know how crazy my old work was on Saturdays, and my new work was always at least double that on a normal day.

I was greeted by the manager who I hadn’t seen for over a week, and he made me feel a little better about the day, though whole heartedly agreed it was going to be chaos.  Despite that, he was so cheerful that it made me feel good.  We need more people like that, I think.  They’re who you want around on hard-to-get-out-of-bed mornings.

Anyway, the day went okay I guess.  Crazy busy by lunchtime but thankfully the floor manager (aka the conceirge) was on the ball and putting everyone on the list and advising of the long wait time.  I can’t stress enough how wonderful floor managers are.  We had a good one at my old work too, but prior to telco introducing them, it was bedlam on busy days.  Everyone just had to cue up and wait, and they never knew how long they’d be in line for.  They also weren’t acknowledged or greeted or thanked for waiting.  As a staff member at that time you were so focused on getting your customer in and out it just never occurred to you to do any of that as people waited.  Then you’d finally get to the people in line and they were already in filthy moods before the interaction even happened.  Now, with the floor manager greeting everyone who walks in, filtering the customers between one-minute jobs (bill payments, recharges, simple tech issues) and longer issues (contracts, bill disputes, more complex tech problems), it means everyone is spoken to, advised of the appropriate wait time, and allowed to leave and come back.  It makes the customers happy they’re acknowledged, and they love that we aren’t taking up huge chunks of their day making them wait, especially bill payers who would otherwise be stuck behind all sorts of longer issues (personally I don’t understand why anyone under about 60 needs to come into a store to pay a bill these days anyway but that’s beside the point).

Having everyone on a list meant that the franticness and pressure of a weekend shift is lifted a little, as there aren’t dozens of people greedily eyeing you off as you wrap up with your current customer.  It also means everyone can take a lunch break without feeling guilty or people huffing and puffing as you walk out of the store.

So that part of the day went okay.  The store got so hot though.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it previously but oh god, does this store heat up.  My other store did too, but not like this.  Everyone sweats even on cool days, and it’s made worse when it’s busy as there are more bodies (staff and customers) in the space.  It’s horrible.

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So, I got interrupted because my dad arrived.  And just like I’d fully expected, he drove it to the petrol station then the rest of the way to my place without so much as a hint of stalling or issues with getting into gear.  Trust.  My dad knows a bit about cars (he used to race them when he was younger – which explains where I get my lead foot from 😉 – and his brother is a mechanic) but he didn’t really have much to say except maybe I’d just bought cheap dirty fuel and it was causing issues.  As I was on a bit of a budget until now, this is potentially true.  Honestly, I can’t remember what I filled up with last time.  I know I used a gift card so I’d have assumed I’d have put the high quality stuff in, but I may not have in an effort to stretch the voucher.  I know right back when the car was brand new, bad fuel caused issues as well, so I’m not ruling it out.  Dad filled it with premium (which I generally do) and said the whole way home it ran fine.  Honestly, I don’t care what was causing the issue, as long as it doesn’t keep coming back.  Or if it must come back, not temporarily so everyone thinks I’m crazy!

Oh wait.  I just remembered I didn’t fill up at my usual place last time.  I filled up near work.  And I don’t remember what I put in but it very well could have been cheap stuff.  God, I’m so stupid.  I never really trusted that place (though I never had any issues for the years I’ve been going there) so maybe dad is right.  I hope so.  Easy fix if it is, as I won’t be driving past that petrol station much longer anyway!

Anyway, where was I before the interruption?  Right, work.  So, overall the day went about as well as I expected.  Busy, but under control, and really hot and uncomfortable.  I really hope my new store is wonderfully temperature-controlled.  I figure it probably will be since it’s not part of a shopping complex.  Looking forward to that!

I was naughty on the way home.  I’ve said previously I have very little self-control with food.  I ate well for lunch (after skipping breakfast), but I couldn’t resist Maccas on the way home.  I know, I’m supposed to be dieting.  I am going to eat well all weekend (having very little junk at home, that isn’t going to be too difficult) so I saw it as a cheat meal.  I know my trigger is being in the car, after a long day (and a long week), driving past my regular Maccas.  I know that very soon I won’t have this trigger any more, so this could be one of the last times I let it get the better of me.  As much as I love Maccas, I’m relieved that I won’t have to constantly fight my temptations on the way home every day.  But you’ll be passing Maccas on your way home from your new store!  I hear you cry.  You aren’t wrong.  The difference is, firstly, that’s not part of a bad routine I’ve let myself get into, so the temptation isn’t anywhere near as strong, and secondly, I don’t want to be one of those people eating on the train.  I also don’t want to be the sadcase sitting in a fast food restaurant by myself.  I know there will be times where my workmates want to eat out – and on those occasions I probably will too – but I feel like this isn’t going to be a super regular thing so I’m not too concerned.

I think the first point is the strongest though.  If it isn’t part of a routine or habit, I generally don’t have any issue with it.  A Maccas opened up about 3kms from my house, and you’d think I’d eat there all the time, but I’ve never eaten there.  Although I see it on the way home, I have to go out of my way to get it, which I just wouldn’t do.  I also made a conscious effort to make sure I didn’t eat there so that it didn’t form a habit.  I’m going to try to do that where possible with the places near my work too.  I’m going to bring my lunch each day, and as much as possible, go straight home after work.  The less food I buy there, the better.  I know this is all just talk at the moment, and it’s easier said than done, but I think I can do it.  It’s a chance to have a fresh start.  I built up a lot of bad habits in my five-and-a-half years in this shopping centre and surrounding area, whereas I’ve never worked in the city.

What else is new today?  Well, I woke up with a sore ear (again).  This one I think is self-inflicted.  I have a bad habit (there’s that word again!) of cleaning my ears frequently with cotton buds.  I know, I know, that’s really bad.  That’s why I think it’s self-inflicted.  It happens every now and again, and gets really sore, then clears up within a few days.  You’d think I’d learn but because I’m so used to cleaning them, I find it very hard to stop.  Plus, they get really itchy if I let wax build up.  I need to kick this habit too, but it’s just part of my routine.  Still, if I can shake the fast food addition, I can easily do the same with this!

I’m gonna wrap this up here by saying I’m so glad it’s finally the weekend.  It seems like it was Monday an eternity ago.  I’m getting my nails redone tomorrow, then I have to clean the house as I’ve got an inspection on Thursday.  I hate inspections so much, but at least I started cleaning last weekend so it’s not such a huge job.  It’s still big as I avoid cleaning at all costs normally, just not as big as it often is.  At least the backyard looks nice.  That’s usually the main issue they have, but the grass got mowed on Tuesday so it’s not out of control!

Happy weekend, y’all!

-JD

Excruciatingly Embarrassing

My most embarrassing moment was a few months after I turned 18, halfway through my last year of school.  I did a lot of dumb things back then – as we all did.  One of the more stupid things I decided to do was try to take units 3 & 4 in Music, after only starting to learn guitar a couple of years before and not being very good…mostly because I hated practicing.  I didn’t take any music units at school prior to deciding to do it in my final year (well, not since the mandatory lessons back in Year 8, which was a long time before).  I’d been taking guitar lessons for a couple of years, and that had given me an unhealthy confidence that I could take on the challenge.  The music teachers didn’t think it was a good idea either, warning me it’d be very difficult, but like the naive teenager I was, I did it anyway.  How hard could it be, right?

It it hard.
Really, really hard.

First off, because I’d been taught guitar in tabs, not sheet music.  Music class was all about sheet music and the theory behind it.  Add to that, musical theory and maths go hand in hand, and I’ve always been terrible at maths, to the point I wasn’t even doing it in my final year.  Still, I scraped through class by class, barely passing but not failing either.

Now, you’d think this would force me to take things more seriously and focus on it more.  You’d think I’d get my gameface on and try.  After all, I’d been the one to defy what the teachers had told me to do it anyway.  Instead, I didn’t take it seriously at all.  I guess in my defence, I’d already done two final-year classes the year before, so I knew if I really bombed in Music, then I had those results to fall back on (at the time, only the top five results counted towards your overall mark so the worst two classes for me would drop off and not count).  Also, about halfway through my final year I was accepted into film school, which in turn led me to be even more relaxed about school and my final marks.

Anyway, aside from theory, there were also practical exams for music.  Like I said, I’d only been playing guitar for a couple of years and I wasn’t great.  I wasn’t awful either, but I certainly wasn’t anywhere near the standard I should have been to be taking the class (I know that now!).  As part of the lead up to our exams, the teacher decided it’d be good practice to have a performance night in the school hall, where parents and friends could come and watch how everyone was going.

Again, you’d think that’d make me knuckle down a little.  I mean, it’s a freaking performance in front of people other than peers.  Instead, the date kept creeping closer and closer, and I’d practice in class and at my music lessons.  Even though I wasn’t nailing it, I thought “it’ll be fine”.  Having never had to play an instrument in front of anyone, I didn’t really get it.  I just assumed it’d somehow – magically – come together.

So, the night came.  I went out on stage with the other people I was performing with.  The hall was maybe half-full, so it wasn’t a huge crowd, but it seemed pretty big from where I was standing.  The music started, and I froze up.  I missed where I was supposed to come in.  Then I tried to overcome that by joining in, and missing the timing, then having to stop and start again.  Then, stressing more, I started to forget the notes.  The longer it went on, the worse my performance was, until by the end I’d basically stopped playing so I wasn’t ruining it for the others on stage.

I’d never been so humiliated in my life, and I knew I had nobody to blame but myself.  I hadn’t put any serious practice in and this was what I deserved.  I’d been lazy, overconfident, naive, dumb.  My face was burning as I left the stage.  I collected my stuff as quickly as possible (which isn’t that quick when you’re lugging a guitar around), expecting people to pay me out.  Nobody said anything, which I guess was the best I could of hoped for.  I got out of there quick smart, and was thoroughly embarrassed for about a week.

At least one good thing came out of it.  By the time my real practical exam rolled around, I’d practiced so much I could almost play it with my eyes closed.  I wasn’t going to so stupid again.  I knew it wasn’t just going to come together, it took real work.  I still didn’t get great marks in the class overall, but at least I didn’t totally stuff up the practical exam.  Phew!

This was inspired by the prompt ‘your most excruciatingly embarrassing moment. We’ve all got one.’ which can be found here.

Time to Change – Day Forty-Eight

Today is being written of as another good one.  It’s funny that the days slated to be the most boring of the week have become some of the best.  Don’t get me wrong, even the best training sessions in the world are still classroom-based and at least moderately sleep-enducing, but this course (can three days be considered a course?  Hmmm) was definitely one of the better I’ve done.  So far I’m very impressed with the quality of the trainers my new job employs.  World’s apart from a large portion of the trainers at my old job.  I suppose it also comes down to the content as well, and I have found both three-day “courses” I’ve attended so far at this job have content worth learning.

Anyway, where was I?  Today’s training was focused on tying up lose ends for the previous two days, as well as introducing us to a few more sales tools we’ll have at our disposal.  I love sales tools.  The more they can throw at me, the better.  I’m lazy in every sense of the word (hence the weight issue), and sales tools save me time and energy.  I’m seriously excited my new store is going to be bursting at the seams with them.  I can’t wait to get in there and mess around with them and put them through their paces.

We also learnt about an existing product that I hadn’t really learnt much about yet.  It was really good to have to broken down and the differences thoroughly explained, as I really feel like I can now see the benefits for customers and I can properly sell it.  It’s not a product that was offered at my old job, and one that is very underused and not spoken about at the store I’m working at now.  I don’t blame them for not teaching me, as the product isn’t something you’d sell (or even mention) to some customers, but I really want to start talking about it more now I know about it.

We wrapped up the training with a pep talk and group activity led by my new store manager.  As I wasn’t interviewed by her and I haven’t worked in store with her yet, I only really know her by face and name.  She knows who I am well enough to say hi in passing (she may or may not remember my name).  It doesn’t bother me, given she’s now a store leader of 90 odd staff (at least 20 of them newbies), but it was really nice to hear her story and how she wants the new store to run.  She’s really big on store culture and making it a focus, which I think is fantastic as it would be really easy for a store that big to fall into a mess of cliques, chaos and gossip.  None of that leads to a workplace anyone wants to come in to each day.

She seems really friendly and down-to-earth.  I’m looking forward to getting to know her a bit better.  I’m also hoping to let her (or someone else who can address it) know that I’m looking to be trained up in other areas.  The new store is full of people who specialise in things.  I’m not really picky about what to be trained in (the more, the merrier!), I just don’t like being seen as “just another full timer”.  I know I just started so for the moment I’m trying not to let it bother me, but I know pretty soon I’m going to start getting restless.  Coming from management in my old job, it’s tough to feel like you’ve taken a step backward.  I’m trying my best not to look at it that way, as this new store is going to be world’s apart in every way from what I’m used to, but ultimately I have been demoted.  I’m not expecting to be given management for quite awhile so being trained in different areas will have to do.  Anything to keep the job interesting.

The best part of today was being let out at 3pm. So good!  We were rostered until 5 so an early home time is fantastic.  I’m currently sitting (not standing!) on a train which is full of empty seats.  I was expecting to battle peak hour madness so this is the best feeling.

The weather is still pretty miserable but no storms or tornadoes today (touch wood).  If it doesn’t look like it’s going to rain when I get home, I might take the dog for a walk.  I walked to the bus stop today so my step count will be pretty good either way but I feel bad for the dog being cooped up all day.  No promises though, the sky is pretty grey and I really don’t want to get caught in a downpour with my new phone.

Today I ate about as well as yesterday.  Chocolate snacks to keep away the headache (more successfully today than the previous two days!).  The same breakfast and lunch, with the exception I swapped an apple at lunch for a banana.  Tonight I’ve got Lite N Easy Butter Chicken.  I’m a little nervous because I’m not a huge fan of Indian food a lot of the time, but it looked good in the picture so I’m going to try to be open minded.

I best wrap it up here.  My stop is fast approaching!  Hope you had a great day too 😊

-JD

I Want a PlayStation!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Out of Your Reach.”
Was there a toy or thing you always wanted as a child, during the holidays or on your birthday, but never received? Tell us about it.

While I’m sure there were a lot of toys I wanted when I was really little, I don’t remember them.  I had a lot of toys growing up, so I’m sure the ones I really wanted, I got.

What I do remember desperately wanting and constantly being told “absolutely not!” was a PlayStation.  All my friends had them and I wasn’t allowed.  My mum believed they were a waste of time and if I got one, I’d never get off it.  She was probably right, but it didn’t mean I didn’t feel hard done by.  Why could all my friends have one and not me?

I tried pleading with her, sucking up to her, doing extra chores.  Nothing worked.  I even decided to do a school project on the history of the PlayStation…I don’t even know why I thought this might sway her stone-cold resolve.  This went on for years.  It wasn’t that mum was totally opposed to video games, as we had several for the computer, all of which she’d bought for us at one point or another.  I guess she just thought we spent enough time on the computer as it was playing them, that we didn’t need another gadget to kill time on.

We didn’t get a PlayStation until I was working, and I had to pay for it myself.  After years of wanting it, I scrimped and saved as much as I could, and finally got one.  By that stage, though, all my friends who’d had them for years had started outgrowing them, and the machine didn’t get as much usage as you’d expect.

I guess I’m just more of a PC gamer.  I don’t know whether that’s because that’s what I grew up with, or because I find they are easier to use, but even now, after buying another console a couple of years ago, don’t get very much use out of them.  The only real time they get turned on is when friends are over, and even then it doesn’t happen much.

I guess it’s like the old saying goes – “you only want what you can’t have”.  I only wanted it because I didn’t have it, and once I finally had it, it lost it’s appeal.  Lesson learnt!

Time to Change – Day Forty-Seven

Well, today was definitely better than yesterday!  I’m feeling pretty good right now about everything.  I’m even feeling wide awake, unusual for this hour.

I had my second day of training in the city.  Unlike yesterday, the trip in was wonderfully uneventful, aside from the fact it was raining so I had to drive to the bus stop.  Not a huge deal, though it did eat into my usual step count a little.  I arrived in the classroom right on time, and only one other person was there, so technically the 15 or so others were late.  After the dramas of yesterday, that made me feel awesome!

The training itself was okay.  It wasn’t as interesting as yesterday overall, but it wasn’t totally boring either.  It was more revolving around sales and customer service techniques that I’d learnt at induction, but it was a good kind of refresher.  On top of that, there was a lot of group work so I got to know my future workmates a bit better, so that was cool.

For the most part, I ate really well today.  I started the morning with yoghurt and strawberries, blueberries and Chia seeds (I made sure I allowed myself time for it today!).  For lunch I had sultanas, an apple and light n crispy shapes – the same as yesterday, as that seemed to work well.  As an afternoon snack I was a bit naughty again and ate chocolate, but as I previously spoke about, it helps me get through all-day training sessions without getting a migraine.

The weather had been miserable all day, and we got a great view of it out the 14th story window. During the afternoon – towards the end of the session – news broke that there’d been damaging storms in some areas and a tornado warning IN MY SURBURB.  I know I have a lot of readers from outside Australia so to you, that might not seem that crazy.  Tornadoes very rarely happen down under.  When they do, they most often happen in warmer climates such as Cairns or Queensland, and mostly happen in winter.  I’ve never heard of one happening in Melbourne, in Spring, in a very non-coastal area.  Especially when there’d been absolutely no lead up or prewarning.  I wasn’t even aware it was set to storm today, much less THAT.

I knew the media had a very good track record of blowing things out of proportion (no pun intended) so I wasn’t too worried.  I’d seen some blurry cam pics on social media of the tornado and while there was no denying it was one (or at least, looked like it), the pictures didn’t show it being near any populated areas.  It’s not to say it wasn’t, I just didn’t want to stress over it, as the media hadn’t reported any damage to property or injuries to people, and they love to report that kind of stuff.

We got let out early from training after we struck up a deal with the trainer, so I was already on my way home by 5.  By then, the rain had completely cleared and it was blue skies and sunny.  I’m sure people think it’s an exaggeration when they hear “Melbourne can have 4 seasons in one day”.  It’s not.  If you had of flown in at 4.30pm today and someone told you there had been massive storms and tornadoes just hours before, you would have looked up at the pretty sky and warm sunshine and laughed at them.  I walked onto my morning train damp and sticky from rain, I got off my afternoon train sweating.  I’ve grown up with this crazy weather nonsense my whole life and I still can’t believe it.

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These were taken within a couple of hours of each other!

Anyway, I digress.  As I got off the train, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’ve only ever seen tornado damage on huge scales on TV.  Hell, even big storms can leave trees upended and cars damaged.  Instead (as I half-suspected earlier), aside from some puddles, there was absolutely no evidence anything had happened at all.  The station looked exactly as it had 10 hours prior, everyone at the station looked calm and unhurt.  Maybe it didn’t affect this particular area, I thought, just in case I got home to half my house gone.

I looked intently out the window the whole bus trip, expecting at some point to see some damage.  Nothing.  No trees – or even branches – out of place, no construction sites upended, no roads flooded.  Nothing.  It looked like maybe there had been a sunshower awhile ago and that was it.  Very anti-climactic, although I’m not complaining.  I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the prospect of a random tornado blowing through my front door when I wasn’t home.

I was also relieved to see my big Lite N Easy order sitting neatly on my front door mat.  I was firstly worried it might have gotten damaged (or blown away completely) in the weather.  I was also concerned someone might steal it.  I guess the first problem kept the second one from being much of an issue.

I was so excited to open up the box and put it all away, and to pick my first meal.  I was starving and spoilt for choice.  I still couldn’t believe all these options were so healthy.  After filling up my freezer, I decided it was gonna be good old mac and cheese tonight.  7 mins in the microwave and it was done!

I was extremely surprised by it.  Firstly, the portion size was great.  It made about as much as your typical box of M&C, but with about half the calories.  Very filling.  Secondly, the taste.  While I don’t think I’ve ever really had proper home made M&C to compare it with (it’s just not treated with the same appreciation as I hear it is in the States), I can tell you it tastes a lot better than any pre-packaged stuff I’ve had.  “Of course it does”, I hear you cry.  Keep in mind, not only is this low-cal, but comes frozen.  In my mind the risk was pretty high it’d be on par with packet stuff, or potentially worse.  Instead, it was some of the best I’ve had!  If all my Lite n Easy meals are this good, they’ll have a customer for a long time to come.  I don’t want to get too carried away just yet though.  I’ll give my final verdict after I’ve had at least a few more meals!

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So overall, a good day.  Due to driving to the bus stop my step count was under 6000, but I think that can be forgiven since apparently it’s tornado season in my area.  I punched in all my food into MyFitnessPal and basically broke even, so I’m not complaining.  If it wasn’t for the chocolate I’d be well under!  Still, I’m not complaining.  This is the healthiest day I’ve had in about a fortnight and I feel like I’m slowly getting back on track!

-JD