I am sitting in front of my computer for the first time since Friday evening. Now, that may not seem like a long time for you but it is ages for me. If I am home, I am never far from my computer. It’s not that I get that many e mails or have that much to research, but there always seems to be something I can do. Let’s face it, it’s a habit. So on Friday evening, when a computer whiz suggested that I needed to reload my operating system, I blithely said yes without really thinking through the consequences. Well, what followed was about 36 hours of being without a computer, more accurately, the internet while hubby figured out where the wireless modem was which is supposed to be there at start up.
On Friday evening, I was seriously stressed out about it, thinking about all the things that I had forgotten to back up before he blew up my computer. Then, I thought, it’s a brand new start. Do I really need the 5 years worth of data and other programmes that I no longer run on my computer? So I just decided to approach this as having gotten a brand new machine and instantly felt better.
I have an online back up system which I have yet to access so I’m not sure that my data is all recoverable. But I have already learned that what I thought was absolutely essential for my computing life turns out not to be. Just old patterns that were familiar and therefore felt essential.
I’m sure there are many aspects of my life to which I can apply the same principle. Hmm, I wonder what I should blow up next?
We have lived in 6 properties in 8 years since moving to London. So for the first couple of years, it seemed like I was always looking for a place to live. I’ve looked at both rentals and sales in a lot of different neighbourhoods. Everyone has different definitions of a desirable place to live. I tend to value hubs where many different tubes and buses converge, very convenient for getting around but not necessarily the prettiest neighbourhood. The amenities that many people look for, like a park and quiet streets, are not as important to me as the ability to get places quickly. My list of requirements has been honed over the many searches we have done. But there comes a time in every search when you have to decide what you are willing to compromise on. That too changes depending on your circumstances and time of life.
When we first moved here, the priority was finding a place where I could walk both children to school even though I had picked schools in different neighbourhoods. That was a “location above all” house and it worked very well for that which was the most I could say for it. The only thing I remember about that house was darkness and it was so small, half our stuff was in storage. We rectified that with the next house where we had lots of light and lots of space. The trade off? 20 minutes further from things. 20 minutes may not seem like a lot, but in London that 20 minutes could easily be an hour depending on traffic or tube reliability. That’s when I realized that I could not be at the mercy of a capricious tube line and a single congested road to get from the centre of town to home.
So after we were done with that house, we decided to buy so we could stop moving. That involved being in temporary accommodation while we looked for something to buy. Well, what started off as a three month let in a tiny, dark but incredibly convenient flat turned into 8 months. Since it was meant to be a short let, most of our things were in storage including clothes. It was a boring winter from a clothing standpoint, you can’t replace your entire wardrobe when you know it’s sitting in storage. I think it was a reaction to living in such cramped quarters that we ended up buying our first place in London. It was a bit oversized but I loved it. It still wasn’t great from a light perspective, it had one sunny room where I spent a lot of time. It had a lot going for it, location, space and services. When it was time to move on from there, once again we ended up in a rental, this time big enough that we didn’t need to rent extra storage. Instead, we lived for 14 months with random stacks of boxes in the flat, hardly relaxing. We should have learned from the last time but once again, what we thought would be a short rental turned into 14 months while we looked for, then renovated our current place.
I love the place we are in now, it combines my must haves, light, space and convenience. I feel like we’ve hit the jackpot, the compromises I have made have been very minor. Having laid out the space ourselves, it works with the way we live. I understand now why people build their own houses, it is very pleasant to live in a space designed for your life. But I can understand when we go and sell it, that the next people will find it not as convenient and they won’t love it as much as we do until they’ve moved some things around. I hope I don’t take it personally when that happens.
During our many years of looking, I have developed a fascination for property, the way people live in them and how much of their emotions are tied up in it. I remember a place we almost bought that was just lovely until the survey came back. When we brought it up with the owners, they were incredulous since they had lived there for 23 years and never noticed any of the things that were red flagged. The longest I’ve ever lived in a house I’ve owned is 4 years and still I could no longer see all the things that needed doing that was obvious to an outsider, so I can imagine what it would have been like after 20 years.
I subscribe to many property websites that e mail me with updates when new properties come on the market fitting my parameters. Even now, more than a year after we bought our place, I can’t bring myself to unsubscribe. I live vicariously through the listings, looking at floorplans, thinking about how I would redo the space to suit me. I saw a listing the other day where a house had been overdeveloped with a price tag to match. I remember looking at it thinking it was probably done by first timers who got carried away and overspent and now they have to ask this outrageous price so they could at least break even. Have they never watched Property Ladder? I would love to have the opportunity to try it myself, I’m not sure I would be any better but it would be fun to try. But since I didn’t win the roll over jackpot on Saturday, I’ll have to content myself with doing over floorplans virtually for now.
It’s a sad day when you realize that the person whom you thought was a good friend turns out to be secretly harbouring resentment towards you. You may think you’re getting along great but if you listen closely to that little voice in your head, you know there’s a quality to the relationship, a tension that doesn’t exist in your other friendships. It’s that feeling that even though it seems like she is being agreeable, somehow you need to tiptoe around her feelings. Sometimes the friendship just explodes when the resentment comes pouring out of the other person and you are left absolutely stunned. At other times, it just fades quietly away, as if both parties acknowledge that neither one of you can keep up the charade any more. Either way, it is puzzling, hurtful and not a nice experience. You think to yourself, “How could I have been such a bad judge of character? Were there signs I missed?”.
From speaking with friends for whom this has happened and my personal experience, I’ve concluded that very often it is envy that is at the root of this evil. The very thing about you that attracted the other person to you and wanted them to make you a friend, superficial things like the way you look, the people you know, a fun life, turns out to be the thing that they think they are missing. So they live vicariously through you for awhile and then the frustrations mount because you are living the life they want. Of course, you don’t realize any of this, you only notice that as time goes on, you find yourself watching what you say around them and steering clear of some topics because it tends to upset them. As you don’t actually think your life is so charmed that someone else would covet it anyway it doesn’t occur to you that, that may be the case until too late. Another scenario is they meet you when you are at a particular down period in your life. They come in, comforting, offering a shoulder to cry on and are so supportive, but as you slowly rebuild your life and become who you used to be, or you evolve into someone much stronger and self sufficient, they can’t handle the shift in the relationship.
Is this something that only happens to women? Do men have friendships like this? Of course not all friendships end due to some unnamed resentment. Some are meant to just be temporary, to share some common experiences and then move on. The key is to distinguish between the intense but short friendships and the low key rest of your life ones. Easier said than done I think, much like most of life.
No wheat, no dairy, no sugar. That’s my mantra these days. The dairy is lactose intolerance so I pretty much have no choice there. The wheat and the sugar is more voluntary. Unpleasant things happen when I eat them but it is not tragic like it is with dairy. So I try and stay away. Now for someone whose favourite activity was afternoon tea, the new diet is a tragedy. But I am willing to forgo the teas because I feel so much better. I had a couple of friends over for lunch today to try out a new recipe. They were very complimentary but what really got raves was the banana bread I made from some too ripe bananas I had sitting around. The lunch is long consumed but here is a photo of the banana bread which doesn’t look that sexy on its own.
D and V, here is the recipe:
Banana Bread – makes 1 8″ cake round or the equivalent loaf pan
180 degree oven
50 minutes to bake
3/4 cup melted soya spread
3/4 cup agave syrup
2 eggs (room temperature)
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups Dove’s Farm gluten and wheat free Plain white flour blend.
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup well mashed ripe bananas soaked in 1 cup orange/mango juice
1. Beat wet ingredients in large bowl beginning with agave and soya spread, add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and beat until light in colour.
2. Take dry ingredients and sift together twice.
3. Add dry ingredients and banana mush alternately to the wet ingredients beginning and ending with dry. After each addition, mix gently to combine but do not beat or otherwise overmix – this toughens and dries a cake.
4. Generously soya spread an 8″ cake round or equivalent loaf pan and pour batter in and bake.
5. Cool 10 minutes in the pan and then remove to finish cooling.
adapted from the Moosewood Cook book by Molly Katzen
sorry about the mixed fractions and decimals in the ingredients list. I can’t find the symbols list on blogger.
A slice of this with a cup of Rooibos Chocolate Chai and I can have my own afternoon tea. Try it, you’ll never mistake it for regular banana bread, but it’s good on its own merits.
Just got back from a whirlwind weekend in New York. It has been at least 3 years since I was last there. It still feels like home even though we haven’t lived there in almost 20 years. I went to college there where I met my husband, worked there and had two kids while living in Brooklyn. After we moved out to the burbs, I didn’t go in nearly as often as I would have liked and so stopped identifying myself with New York. But then we moved overseas and New York became our base while the kids were little. But as they grew older, there was less and less reason to spend time there and that is how we ended up in this current situation of not having been in several years.
We have good friends from college, some of whom we’ve stayed in close touch with and many we remember fondly but haven’t seen in awhile. So a 30th college reunion seemed like a great excuse to catch up with some people we hadn’t seen in a long time. Our friend B is a great organiser, calling out to classmates who had been such close friends at one point, to come together and reunite. A group of us made it to New York for the weekend and it was a wonderful occasion. There were a couple of friends I hadn’t seen in I’m not sure how long and it was great to reconnect. We went to college in the late 70′s, early 80′s and it was a great time to be young. 30 years later, we had all taken different paths but the strength of friendships formed so long ago made it seem like we had just seen each other. Not everyone that B contacted could come, but the ripple effect was there just the same. Thanks to e mail and social media, we are reconnected. We left vowing to stay in touch and promising to come together again in 5 years time.
Honestly, I must have a big S on my virtual forehead for “:sucker:”. Last year, we stayed in a gorgeous condo with my parents but never got our deposit back. It was a big chunk of change as it was a full month’s rent. The man who owned the company that the agent worked for turned out to be an A1 crook and it has now turned into a criminal case involving extradition, hundreds of victims, very messy. I doubt we’ll ever see a penny of that money. All of this has been unfolding slowly since about the end of last year. So you’d think we’d learned our lesson about dodgy real estate on the web. Well I’ve done it again. I gave some money to a non existent person for a non existent apartment in New York for our weekend. This time we are only out the 3 nights worth of rental, but I feel incredibly stupid and annoyed. So for my friends to whom I recommended Craigslist as a great place to fine deals on vacation rentals, please be careful. I have rented successfully from them in the past so they are not all crooks but it is a tremendous leap of faith I realize now to send someone you’ve never met money in the hopes that they will do what they say they will. So no more deals for me, I will just spend the extra and potentially save myself hundreds in money lost not to mention the aggravation and inconvenience. I feel badly for all the honest people out there trying to rent their places out. All I can say is Jane Synovec, if you really exist, I hope you use our money for something stupid and it brings you no joy.