Posted in Life and Family, Music I Like

Musing About Facebook and Other Things

A Message to You Rudy by The Specials:

I love this song. I challenge you to hear it and not dance, nod, tap your feet or fingers. It’s been in my head a lot over the past few days, and today I found myself dancing in the kitchen, even though it was only playing in my head and I was waiting for the kettle to boil! I felt happy and summery, which is strange at this time of year. But that’s this genre of music — I can’t think of many (if any) that make you sad.

Gosh, that new kettle’s a slow boiler. EU regulations, or just cheap?

Am fed up with cooking and in the mood to mess around a bit more. I found the old blog draft I was looking for; the one about internet reading. It was written three years ago exactly! Will publish it soon, though held back by the plaster on my index finger… clicking the mouse doesn’t work well, but the keyboard isn’t happy either.

As a Brexiteer, I thought I’d lost a cousin on Facebook… possibly a Remainer? I sighed and plodded onwards, then a couple of nights ago received a friend request and realized he had set up a new account. The old one is gone or inactive, and all his friends and family had to sign up to the new one. He ‘liked’ a couple of my posts, and I scratched my head and thought “a few days ago I was convinced I was persona non grata! And now I’m getting likes.” It’s good when we are slow to jump to conclusions, and it also feels good when friends and family put up with you even if they don’t agree with your views or understand your interests. Mind you, I haven’t told them about the dancing! 😝

I checked it wasn’t a fake page I was being invited to, and found myself talking to his sister after years of silence. She’s the nearest to me in age. Turns out life has been Heap Big Stress for her lately; you don’t get a full picture from the dribbets you read on Facebook. She sent a photo of their family Christmas so I’ll need to look out a return photo. Maybe the one of the Christmas tree… or the other one of the Christmas tree. Or one of another 500 pictures of the Christmas tree? I can’t decide!

Do you think one day they might have a giant library of all our photos? They’ll look at mine and decide they don’t need to keep hundreds of photos of the same Christmas tree when just one will do. Will they keep thousands of photos taken by every person who has lived? I don’t see it. Our pictures and words will die with our hard drives, along with our family Christmases.

Finishing up with a haunting song…

Pipe Dreams by Travis.

I’d pray to God if there was Heaven
but Heaven seems so very far from here
and it all boils down to the same thing
just a yin and a yang or a couple of pipe dreams
and it all boils down to the same old pain
whether you win or you lose isn’t gonna change a single thing

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Posted in Cooking

When is a Pie Not a Pie?

slowpie

Monday 14th

One of the nicest things in the kitchen is the slow-cooker. It’s less frightening than the soup-maker! I got the kitchen ready for some early morning cooking tomorrow — slow-cooked steak pie. A while back I saw a Facebook discussion with people stating if you cook the pastry separately from the filling, it’s not a pie. I reckon that’s hairsplitting, myself — convenience is king.

I found my recipe in the Best-Ever Slow Cooker, One-Pot & Casserole Cookbook. It’s actually Steak and Kidney Pie with Mustard Gravy, and we don’t like kidney, so we miss that particular ingredient out!

My mother bought another one today — The Slow Cook Book by Heather Whinney. There’s something ‘no nonsense’ about it — lots of good clear recipes and none of the white space and sprawling fonts you get in some. I’ve already seen a lot of recipes I want to try, and though it’s easier to run a house if you stick to what you’re used to, it’s good to push the boundaries and try new things too. It might be fun to pick a new recipe each time, and do so regularly — perhaps once a week, working my way through the book. I could end up with a quiverful of new tricks.

If I find any good vegetarian ones, I could invite my sister for supper one of these chilly nights. She brought us tasty homemade soup — it had parsnips, other vegetables, spices and cream, but no potato. Worked very well, and we were sorry when it was finished!

Wednesday 16th

Well I made the pie the next day using our black CrockPot. It was good, but though I only made half the amount in the recipe and we ate steadily through it for two nights, there’s still some left over for a third. I started cooking with a plaster on my index finger, but by the time the food was bubbling in the pot, there was a plaster on the other as well! The first was where I broke a nail on a car door; the second was where I nicked myself with my brand new supersharp knife. I was cutting a superround, superglossy and superlarge onion, and the knife slipped right down its steep curve. Ow. A bigger knife might have been better… on the other hand, a bigger knife might have left a bigger nick!

On the whole, the broken nail was worse… that was brutal, and I had to wait till we got home before I could apply first aid. Now I have to wait till it grows out, meaning the plaster could be there a while — annoying.

We can’t let the little things put us off though, and I’ve already picked out a pumpkin and ginger soup recipe for next time, from the Heather Whinney book… looks good!

Posted in Books, Writing

Sleepless in Anórien

wwjotter

The Great Diary Project asked about New Year’s Day entries, so I looked up mine. Of course, I’d missed it this year, so couldn’t tell them! Typical. I do have an entry for January 2nd:

Watching Jane Eyre. The Christmas tree is lit, the room getting dark, Jane Eyre is full of creaking floorboards and howling winds. Jane is mystified. I’m hungry… will have something at tea-time when M gets up. Nibbles and shortbread with tea. I got my Evernote app working again. A while ago I forgot my password but sorted it before Jane Eyre came on. I can use two devices without upgrading from the free version. For some reason it had me down for three devices: iPad, iPhone/iPad and Mac! That made no sense to me, but I deactivated the ‘iPhone/iPad’ device and now it works. It annoys me how computers, more and more, do things you don’t understand.

The rest is unquotable! I went back to keeping a handwritten diary — currently using an old Woolworths spiral-bound jotter, purple with spots. My daily entries in it are shorter than typed ones because…

[7 Jan]: …”I’m struggling with my hand-writing. One reason I make so many mistakes is that I leap too far ahead in thought. The form of my words drops away like loose string, and the wrong letters appear too early. I am deliberately writing more carefully at the moment, and it’s slow and frustrating. It feels strange to be carefully spelling out each word when my whole thought is waiting to be expressed, as though jammed in a bottleneck and at risk of vanishing altogether in the next second. Perhaps there’s something wrong with my ability to focus — perhaps the internet really has changed our brains.”

A while ago I started a blog post about the impact the internet has on people’s ability to concentrate, but never finished it. (!) I should look it out.

I’ve been unable to sleep, often waking around 4. I’ll put the light on and read, eventually dropping off again around 5 or 6. Then I’m useless for anything the next day, even falling asleep on the sofa when I should be up and doing. As I said in my diary on the 7th, “if only I could switch the sleeping with the ‘not sleeping’ — that would work out a lot better!”

I started to wonder if it was ‘house noises’ again. Being profoundly deaf, I shouldn’t hear anything at all, but it’s more like ‘feel’. At times the whole room seems to buzz, and I can’t work out why. Mum is absolutely clear that there’s no ‘buzzing’ whatsoever, and I’m equally clear there is! I reckon I’m onto something, because I was very nearly asleep when something in the air suddenly changed, as though we’d switched up a gear. My bed started to rumble, and I thought, “oh NO!” and woke up completely.

Bother.

I put the light on and reached for my copy of The Lord of the Rings. The first words out of it were:

It was dark and Merry could see nothing as he lay on the ground rolled in his blanket; yet though the night was airless and windless, all about him hidden trees were sighing softly. He lifted his head. Then he heard it again: a sound like faint drums in the wooded hills and mountain-steps. The throb would cease suddenly and then be taken up again at some other point, now nearer, now further off.

~ The Return of the King, Book 5, Tolkien; p862, Chapter V: The Ride of the Rohirrim

That must have been annoying. Do orcs never sleep??

My energy has gone. Life is full of interruptions, and it can take ages to return to whatever I was doing, especially if motivation has vanished in the meantime. I don’t know why it should, but suspect there’s little or no value attached to my personal projects. There’s no real purpose. The most important thing I do right now is ‘keep house’, and my hobbies are as hollow baubles… they don’t hold my interest for long. When younger, I was convinced these things (writing, art and photography) would have their own intrinsic value and not just for me, but I no longer believe that! Life shows you that you are nothing out of the ordinary, and very little survives the passing ages. I still wish I had enough drive to make the most of my spare time. How much more we could achieve if we didn’t tire out, lose focus or lose heart — but perhaps that’s unrealistic. 🙂

I’ll look for that blog draft on internet reading, and see if I still agree with any of it…

P.S. About those orcs I blamed for keeping Merry awake, I’ve been corrected by Marshal Elfhelm in the book:

“Nay, nay'”, said Elfhelm, “the enemy is on the road not in the hills. You hear the Woses, the Wild Men of the Woods: thus they talk together from afar. They still haunt Druadan Forest, it is said…. they are troubled by the darkness and the coming of the orcs: they fear lest the Dark Years be returning, as seems likely enough.”

~ The Return of the King, Book 5, Tolkien; p863, Chapter V: The Ride of the Rohirrim

Ah, we are doomed…

Posted in Books, Christmas and New Year, Health Issues, Lost in Thought, Technology and Software, Weekend Coffee Share

If We Were Having Coffee in the New Year

jaathome

I wrote the following on a good old fashioned notepad a few days ago. As I type, one of my CDs is playing… It Keeps Rainin’ (Tears from My Eyes) by Bitty McLean. It’s a cheerful song which I used to play a lot in my little house. The video is funny too! Do I know the feeling? Maybe. 🙂

Anyway, back a few days, you find me in a pensive mood.

The battery-operated lights are fading and I’ve been too mean to replace their batteries. Apart from that, the house has remained tidy and clean over the festivities — you would not be shocked by anything, though we are not so perfect that we would cause Jane Austen to feel ‘sick and wicked’. I wish her sister hadn’t destroyed so many letters in an effort to make her seem more so, but never mind. As Lucy Worsley points out in the book Jane Austen at Home, letters may have been edited or destroyed in an effort to spare feelings, as Jane’s commentary on family and neighbours could be quite cutting.

Over coffee I would show you this book and gush about how glad I am that my mother gave me it for Christmas. It saved my sanity, because I fell ill on Christmas Day with a bug of some sort. Well, what sort? Mum opened her eyes wide and declared it wasn’t the flu, though I’m convinced it was. She said you would wish you didn’t have the flu if you had it, but that’s exactly how I felt. In the middle of Kung Fu Panda 3 I was sick with horror because they were throwing around steamed buns or shovelling them into their gaping mouths. if I’d eaten anything that day I might have regretted it. As it was, I was convinced I’d die if I felt any worse! It was as though my entire system was creaking with the strain. Right or wrong, to insist I just had a cold is to make it sound like I was only snuffling and sneezing, when it really wasn’t like that.

Jane Austen believed in being stoic, so I don’t think she would sympathize with any of this!

For several days over Christmas I slept on the sofa under a furry pink blanket, but when I was awake, I read the book by Lucy Worsley. I was stunned at the sheer amount of detail it contained, and found myself wondering about earlier biographies which missed out a lot of this kind of thing. I discovered that I’d had the wrong idea about events which were seemingly glossed over or over-simplified, at least in my memory. Best of all, though, one big mystery about Jane Austen’s life was cleared up… ah! It’s shocking, but good to know at last.

I spent too much of 2018 clinging to my old iPad, which was never far away, but while I was unwell, it was dumped unceremoniously to one side and ignored. I suspect it was still on for a couple of days, during which time it had a mini-seizure, but I couldn’t deal with it! On the run-up to Christmas I was bored with it, as what I could do on it was curtailed by lack of space. I couldn’t write my diary; I couldn’t write blog posts, and I definitely couldn’t use any of the art apps. I had to avoid taking photos otherwise it would get very glitchy, and sometimes refused to save what I had written. Even the Mail app convulsed a couple of times — crashed so completely that it had to restart and then download a bunch of emails I’d already read and deleted. All my Safari bookmarks disappeared. I would try to entertain myself by scrolling through Facebook, but this would become extremely repetitive with the same old posts appearing again and again. The more I visited Facebook, the worse it got.

Abandoning the iPad felt good. It was as though I was having a proper Christmas break, and I was able to relax and get through books surprisingly quickly.

I don’t use the iPad for my diary any more, and as that’s the main reason I bought it, it looks as though I’m slowly returning to more ‘analogue’ pursuits and ways of doing things. Recently I was thinking about what computers used to mean to me compared to how I feel about them now. I asked myself if I’d still love and depend on computers if they were what I expected them to be, and the answer is yes’. Computers could give us simplicity, convenience and stability to a degree that they are not permitted to. They change too much and too quickly, and it becomes too expensive to maintain everything so that all your interlinked technology continues to work seamlessly. The victim of these pressing changes is our data. If we feel we can no longer trust computers to store, protect and maintain it, and we frequently get the sinking feeling that we are wasting time and money on software that quickly changes or disappears, we will eventually withdraw and find surer, safer and less expensive methods. I feel this recoil increasingly, and I’m getting to the point I just want to give up. Am I alone?

But I see you nodding sleepily over your empty mug — perhaps I ran on too long. Thank you for dropping by and listening with such patience. I hope things work out well for you in 2019!

Posted in Life and Family, Lost in Thought, Rants, Weekend Coffee Share

Sticker Trouble

If you were having coffee with me, I would probably talk your ear off. It’s nice strong coffee, though, and we’re having it black (unless you insist on milk).

It’s bin day tomorrow so I took the trash out. Washed things sitting around, emptied and filled dishwasher, took care of houseplants. They have greenfly again, so I took them out and gave them a good blasting with the hose. I will blast them a few more times during the day, but not too often. I asked Mum why *her* plants never got greenfly, and she wrinkled her nose and pointed at her begonias. I noticed the little lavender spriglet was drying out again, so I shot it outside after a dousing, and told Mum I’d try leaving it outside because it keeps drying out too much in the house. It will certainly die inside. Outside is its best chance.

The coriander was completely dead, so I emptied it outside and stored the pig-shaped pot in the shed. The soil was all pretty wet… it was probably over-watered.

One of the things Mum bought when she was out with a friend this morning was over-packaged pears. There were four, and I immediately pulled them out of the packaging to place them in the fruit bowl, and realized two weren’t just bruised, they had cuts in the flesh and the juice was running. You couldn’t see the damage because of all the stuff they were cocooned in. I showed them to Mum, and she frowned.

“It says ‘from Italy’,” I said, reading the front of the covering film.

I was thinking about it while emptying the coriander skeleton onto the flowerbed, and remembered how sometimes you’d buy a pumpkin or a squash, and remove a big supermarket sticker only to find a considerable dent or other blemish under the sticker. When pumpkins are intended to be the decorative centre of somebody’s festive display, it’s an mean-spirited thing to do (oowoowoowoo), but I don’t know who puts the stickers on in the first place. The supermarket or the producers?

Probably it’s not something we should formally complain about… pick your battles, as they say. Presumably most squashes and pumpkins have flaws and blemishes, and it would be like moving to the country and complaining about farmyard noises at crack of dawn. The fact that somebody has deliberately hidden flaws with carefully-placed stickers does leave a bad taste in the mouth, though. The daft thing is, if they put a blemished pumpkin in the wonky veg section and discounted it by 10p, we would rush to buy it. At least we would know about it beforehand and be pleased with our bargain!

Stickers must cost money, and ultimately the customer and the environment both pay; the real issue is probably why they put stickers on loose produce anyway.

Having mused over this during the funeral of my poor coriander, I stored the pot and headed back into the warm.

Posted in Political and Social Issues, Rants, Technology and Software

Lost in Gmail

Me in Gmail:

“Where’s the ‘reply’ button? Not this. Not that one either. Daren’t press the other one ‘cos I’m worried it will open the garbage chute or share everything far and wide.” (Looks helplessly around). “What are these promising dots in the corner? Oh, got it.”

(Starts replying to long-lost buddy in the U.S).

The next Gmail-related quandary was, “How do I save this as a draft?” On an iPad you can’t hover over things to check them out before committing, as there’s no mouse.

“What’s that symbol?… Nope, no drafts in there. That? Don’t touch it… it looks suspiciously like SEND, and I’m not ready. So what’s that arrow in the other corner? What if that’s SEND as well?”

(Considers doubtfully for a minute).

“On the other hand, the arrow could be the back button. I might as well risk it, but I’ll copy the entire post first in case I need to paste it back in.”

Fortunately, hitting the back button does save it as a draft, but once upon a time you would never have had to make such a leap of faith. Is it just that I’ve come from an environment where you had to save every document manually before you left it, and now we’re supposed to trust in our devices to do it automatically? I used to save every five minutes or less. It wasn’t an annoyance; it was reflex self-assurance, like touching worry beads round my neck and finding safety.

I was watching something a day ago in which a guy was complaining how Google turned Gmail into something unpleasant and confusing to use. His main subject was Google’s leaked briefing ‘The Good Censor‘. By voting for Trump, Brexit and the AfD, it seems we proved to Big Tech that we can’t be trusted to roam the internet on our own. Google said the briefing was internal research only, not company policy, but it’s suspicious they should see it as a ‘problem’ that’s theirs to solve.

That long-lost buddy is a fellow Facebook-hater, and mentioned something called MeWe. I hadn’t heard of it till then, but as I don’t like Facebook-type sites anyway, I’m not sure it’s for me. I was reading about it, and it looks as though you can keep groups of people separate from each other and not have all your friends, family and colleagues jostling elbows in one big viewable list.

That’s what Facebook should have been from the start. I wonder, will we be hearing more about MeWe from now on?

Posted in Life and Family

Blaming the Ghost

After her lunchtime siesta, Mum stumped into the room with a bit of a frown.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Somebody threw my bottle down the stairs.”

I felt slightly guilty as I remembered an empty plastic water bottle falling off the bottom few steps where it was sitting. It was accidental, but I didn’t pick it up, feeling rushed, sleepy and out of energy. I figured I’d get it later and throw it out.

I didn’t admit to anything but said, “Maybe it was the ghost!” I can’t remember her response, but then I asked why the bottle was on the stairs, and M said she was intending it to go upstairs to water her plants.

Later my sister emailed. “Should you find a fridge magnet through the door — it is a present for me.”

“If it disappears, it will be because of the ghost.”

“I’m sure the ghost would love a fridge magnet.”

Owoo woo woo.

Posted in Lost in Thought, Quizzes and Memes

Processing Skills and Moods

22 September? Don’t tell me the month is already nearly over… feels like it only just started.

What was the most astonishing thing that happened to you within the past 352 days?

I imagine a lot of surprising things have happened over the year, but the most powerful happened in the past three days… our household was briefly joined by a pigeon. It was a very quiet little bird, but I still feel I’ve been hit by a wrecking ball.

Do you have a skill you know you couldn’t get much better at than you already are?

Skills? I feel reluctant to think about this, partly because I’d end up writing a list. I seem to write lists for everything. It would get longer and longer, and I’d add every little thing I could possibly class as a skill, even natural (breathing) or something I’m terrible at (singing). Then I’d rate them out of ten, and re-sort the list so my best skills were at the top, after which I would look outside at the darkness and wonder what had happened to my day.

Since I would have gone to such a lot of trouble to work out my best and worst skills, the list couldn’t possibly be deleted, but must be stored in multiple back-ups along with everything else I’ve ever written down. After all, I might feel the need to refer to it again… some unwary idiot might ask the same question five years from now.

No, I don’t think I will do it, having thought it through!

What was your question again…?

What time of day or night best suits your most frequent mood?

This is a really tough question!

‘Now’ is often a good time, provided I don’t have something stressful to do like going to the dentist or cleaning the bathroom. It doesn’t seem to have much to do with the time of day; it’s more the content of it. The worst time of day tends to be very very early in the morning when you wake up fretting and can’t go back to sleep. Strangely, the best time can be bedtime, because you feel (hope) you’ll be safe from the rest of the world for a while. It’s a time to celebrate your own personal bubble by pulling close all the things that make you most comfortable. Book, drink, cosy blanket, long-suffering bear. Something to write in or watch (your journal and a YouTube video). Maybe a little iPad game that doesn’t take more than 5 or 10 minutes for a couple of levels. I don’t mind the fact that I’ve played these same games over and over for years… it’s nice knowing what I’m doing, and you can’t be more than mildly addicted because you’re not paying for anything, interacting with anybody or striving to gain a new level or badge. You’re just enjoying the flow of the game, and you know you can pause it then pick it up again, or restart if you’ve made a bish of it this time round, and it doesn’t really matter.

My favourite games for this purpose are Trolls vs Vikings, Roads of Rome and Northern Tale. I also have Adelantado, but each level can take about 40 minutes, and some are pretty tricky… so I only play that if I have time and energy.

Having rambled on, I’m not sure I answered the question correctly, because you sneaked in something about mood. My most frequent mood. What’s my most frequent mood? Do I have to write one of those lists I described above?

As it happens, I don’t have to, as I’ve been keeping a mood spreadsheet for the past couple of months! It’s not very good and I keep meaning to design a better one. It’s the best I’ve got, though, so I’ll have a look once I’ve climbed the stairs and retreated into my personal bubble for the night. Perhaps while I’m doing that, the person asking all these questions should answer this one himself. Either that, or explain his thinking behind the question… was there a reason to wonder?

For what it’s worth, the ‘moods’ that seem to score highest over the past two months are:

strength
full of plans
creative
pretty worried
angry

It’s annoying to feel ‘creative’ or ‘full of plans’ last thing at night, especially as both impulses have usually been wiped out completely by morning. I hate to be worried last thing at night, especially ‘pretty worried’, which is mid-range intensity.

That’s probably why I play short iPad games over and over — it’s my way of temporarily switching off. I didn’t think anger would feature so highly, as I’ve been pretty easy-going and haven’t had shouting matches with anyone other than the ex-friend. That’s not a measure, though. I’ve sometimes felt angry at individuals for reasons I won’t reveal here, and at things said or done in politics and science. It’s better not to be angry last thing at night, as pacing back and forth can sometimes take the edge off, and you can’t pace back and forward in bed. You can kick the blanket off, I guess, and I’ve done that too.

‘Strength’ was the biggest scorer, though, which was a shocker! A lot of times I felt I had to just get on with things, carry on with chores even when distracted (cleaning kitchen and taking trash out when panicking about a baby pigeon!) and not be an attention-sucking drama queen even when upset. I don’t know if you’d call strength a mood, but it’s a mood-regulator, so why not make a note of it? If I’m playing Trolls vs Vikings a bit too much, I realize there’s something I’m not wanting to get to grips with, which means strength is low. If I’m drafting difficult emails and getting on with routine chores in the middle of life dramas, strength is high.

Strength is of little practical use at bedtime, when I’m probably going to wrap myself in my cocoon anyway.

OK, final answer! When I’m feeling strong, mid-morning is the best time. That’s when I’m more likely to deal with things, especially if geed on by worry, plans and creativity.

Today’s ramble is now at an end. 😛

Questions by Paul Sunstone.

Posted in Lost in Thought, Poetry and Verse, Quizzes and Memes

Brief Thoughts on Mind and Society

About how many hours a day do you typically sleep?

Under eight hours. I never seem to manage exactly 8 hours or over.

Which food most tempts you to overeat?

Chocolate peanuts… I like Tesco’s. Even better, flapjacks! Or, if we’re not talking about sweets and cakes, I like Christmas dinner (I know that’s rather an obvious response!) I also hate waste, so have a bad habit of eating things just so they are not ‘wasted’. Perhaps I need to change the way I look at that!

If you were to retire, what would you do to keep your mind from losing its edge?

I’m not sure I would even think in that way… “I must do crossword puzzles every day to keep my mind sharp.” No no. It would probably be writing things down and reorganizing my pictures and data. I have already tried writing a haiku a day, but that becomes annoying and I just dash something random down to get it out of the way.

An example from the past:

have to get up now
am writing this the next day
morning flutters by

There’s also a casually-written one about one of Gretchen Rubin’s books:

happiness project
connect to deepen your bonds
never demanding

Can you see yourself planting all your flowerbeds with the same species and same color of flower — assuming you had a few flowerbeds?

The most I’m likely to do is have all the same bedding plants as edging, and even then they’d be in different colours.

The smell of a newborn, the smell of leather, or the smell of your best friend?

Leather…

What is the single best thing about society today?

The internet. I realize things are changing because of it, but there are good things as well as bad. Not only that, but I think the good things outweigh the bad. Take this as an example… we no longer rely on a limited selection of newspapers and TV channels for our news, or on local libraries for information — the selection of books in our town library is sparse.

Thanks for the queries, Paul. 🙂

Posted in Books, Lost in Thought, Music I Like, Quizzes and Memes

Headaches, Hate, and Self-Improvement

What anniversaries do you mark on your calendar and keep?

Birthdays. Halloween. Christmas. Passing reference to Easter. That’s it.

What is your favorite genre of painting: abstract, impressionism, cubist, surrealism, etc?

I don’t think I have a favourite — I like a variety. My mother likes Klimt, and I have a huge Escher book in the house — it’s beautiful.

How do you deal with a headache?

Drink water, open windows for fresh air… lie down if it’s bad enough. Occasionally I take a paracetamol. Usually, after a little sleep, the edge of it has gone. Also don’t eat too many nuts at once, as an excess of those can bring on headaches!

Is there anyone in your personal life that you profoundly hate?

Hate seems a pretty strong emotion — I don’t have that consistent a feeling about anyone, though there are those I dislike.

About how often does a catchy song get stuck in your head?

It’s a permanent setting! There’s always something playing in Radio Me. The two songs bothering me the most tonight are Why Does It Always Rain On Me (Travis) and Every River (Runrig).

If you were going to read just one self-improvement book, what would the specific subject be? That is, in what way would you most want to improve?

I don’t know about the term ‘self-improvement’. I’m more inclined to think “perhaps my life will be better if…”, which is not the same. Or I look at a self-improvement book and feel annoyed, and think “why do you think I need to change?? I’m not changing for other people!” It depends. I feel more of a need to understand human nature, most of the time, so, anyway… rambling aside… if there was a very new, important and life-changing book about anxiety that was taking the world by storm, that would be the one. Otherwise, it would have to be one about … wait, have just looked on Amazon for a range of choices. I could read books on mindfulness, happiness, self-esteem, fitness, assertiveness, ‘not giving an eff’, kindness, freedom from various addictions, self-care, self-discipline, anger management, positive thinking, wisdom, time management, dealing with stress, success, effective communication…

You know… I think it would be Gretchen Rubin’s next book that I’d read, whatever it may be. Although her main focus is on happiness, it’s a subject that covers a lot of ground and there’s so much in there that I find interesting.

The questions were from Café Philos. I could get used to these. 🙂