Three Days Left!

It’s finally happened. I’ve packed up, ready to return to college for the start of another semester. I’ve been taking preliminary notes, and packing boxes of fairy lights and duvet covers up. It took nearly seven hours to sort all my clothes and bedding into vacuum bags. It took even longer to establish how many pairs of shoes I ought to take with me, and there’s no doubt in my mind that by the time comes to pack the car, there will be a conversation related to “How many bl***** pairs of shoes do you need? You’ve only got two s******* feet!”. But that is all a part of the joy of moving down.

It’s really weird, because I’ve just got used to living at home again. I got used to being told what to do again, and so now I’m going to go back and be a little bit confused, because I won’t have anyone who can tell me what to do. Freedom hits a person like a brick in the face. You know it’s there because it’s just kind of, well, scary. But I’m sure it’ll only take about ten hours to establish myself independently again. Probably even less. I managed to nearly amputate my foot earlier, by standing on a pair of nail scissors. I’m amazed people actually let me venture into the world, alone and unsupervised.

I’m actually going to have a few days completely alone in my new house. I have to be back, to help out with some student-y type things, and I have errands to run, and jobs to interview for. But this means I’m back a little early, so I’m going to end up having a few days to collect myself, and join gyms, and run, and volunteer for things. I’m doing that thing, where I plan to be a whole, rounded individual, and I really do want to stick to it this time. Because of my dalliances in the kitchen, I’m half convinced I’m kind of like an Italian mother, who’ll cook vast amounts of food for whoever feels brave enough to eat it. Our own perceptions of ourselves are quite interesting, I always think.

So, I have three days left here. There are hair appointments to attend, and last-minute washing to do. I’m going to spend some time with my family, and generally being at home. And then before I even realise it’s happened, I’m gonna be at a Pirate Party, wearing a ridiculous stripe t-shirt, and an eye-patch, with a cardboard parrot on my shoulder.

(:

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Why Nobody Wants To Be Called Middle-Aged

 

Has anyone ever sat down and wondered at their old photos? It’s my lovely little sister’s sixteenth birthday today, and so we’re sat around, looking at photos from when we were both just tiny tots. And it’s hilarious. I was a victim of the perpetual bad hair day, and my sister just looked like a thug, with the biggest baby head I have ever seen. She also had an adorable little top-knot. It made her look a little bit like a teletubby. Does anyone remember tellytubbies? I used to quite like them.

I also quite enjoy looking at what your parents used to look like, twenty years ago before your teenager strops and tantrums turned them grey, or bald, or thin, or fat. It’s even more strange to look at them in long-forgotten holiday photos, before you were born, when your Mum was still blonde, and your Dad carried a slightly more svelte figure than you’ve ever seen. It’s really, really weird when you realise your mother was the dead spit of you, and therefore you catch something of a glimpse at what you will look like in middle-age.

I always think the phrase ‘middle age’ has slightly negative connotations. The Middle Ages, in Britain at least, were dark, and smelly, on the whole. Technology hadn’t begun to advance, and people had come to something of an intellectual standstill. Illness was rife, death was more common than a bucket of sewage on the head, and to add to this predicament, religious order was still a serious issue. As in, well, there wasn’t one. I think I’ve found the reason why nobody likes to be referred to as middle-aged.

And then there’s the problem of after middle-age. Old. Elderly. An older person. Nobody would ever want to be referred to as old, and I can imagine being unbelievably irritated if somebody had referred to me as old, even if I was about ninety-six years old. Anyway, I have to go, and carry on my excursion down memory lane. I apologise for my collection of thoughts on age; I’ve never known what it’s like to be old, but I suppose one day, it’ll creep right up on me.

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Prom Pandemonium

Today is my little sister’s prom, and it’s fantastic. She’s absolutely terrified. However, we’re one step closer to being ready; our nails have been done, at two the hair will be done, and then it’ll be make up, and time to get dressed. I’ve been given the job of being a lady in waiting for the day; on hand to do things such as doing up dresses.

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It’s strange to watch because I remember my prom, and it seems like a million years ago. Really, it was three years ago. And the prom that’s taking place today is far more sophisticated, taking place in a hotel instead of the school hall, but on the downside, the food sounds an awful lot worse. I think the decor will be pretty and we’ve had to have a ‘getting out the car’ rehearsal. The music will be lovely and there will be wholesome, school disco dancing.

I think I might be more excited than she is though, because at the moment she’s just paralysed with fear. She can’t button up her shirt because her hands are shaking so much, and she keeps saying she’s not hungry. Her poor date is going to have a meltdown on his hands in the car on the way in. It’s just because she wants it to be perfect, and everything has to go off without a hitch. It’s all in the detail.

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She wants her hair tied up in a loose bun, with curled strands around her head. Her nails are so long that they’re scaring me a little bit. She’s going to look like a little princess, who has just finished school. She’s all grown up, and she’s going to the after party with her friends, and it’s just so exciting. The icing on top of the cake is that the sun has come out, and since she’s going in a convertible Mercedes, that’s something of a benefit.

Listening to all the prom related conversations is something of a bizarre experience, because I’ve spent all day talking about chiffon, acrylic nails, hair styles, cleanser, Clinique foundation, eye shadow, the make up she’d like to wear… and so on. I am girly and I like doing all this girly pampering stuff, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a long conversation about the benefits of a kitten heel. (Personally I’m not a fan; an all or nothing kind of girl, you might say).

Anyway, I have to go and sort out an exfoliation on my little sister’s back now, so that her skin will be shiny and fresh for tonight… I’ll let you know how it goes!

(:

(1) http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/hamsterman/hamsterman1105/hamsterman110500142/9567877-composition-with-makeup-brushes-and-broken-multicolor-eye-shadows.jpg

(2) http://www.carreviews2012.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/mercedes-clk-coupe-300×225.jpg

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The Importance of Teddy Bears

Who wouldn’t love that face? (1)

Teddy bears are one of those items that everyone loves and owns, but nobody really wants to admit it after a certain age. I find this a little offensive, because I feel as though they provide comfort when we are small, and it seems cruel to just abandon them when we get older, because they’re one of those items that one “grows out of”. I never really grew out of a love of teddy bears, firstly because they’re adorable, and secondly because I still have a very overactive imagination.

I used to read quite a lot of Enid Blyton when I was young, and The Faraway Tree Stories were my favourite bedtime stories. I love the idea of having a magical tree, full of elves and fairies, ready to take you on adventures. I did say I had something of an overactive imagination. It’s something I was born with. Teddy bear stories comfort little people because they take them to different worlds, where things simply aren’t as scary. There are never monsters under the bed in teddy bear stories. Adults I think have their own versions of teddy bear stories; we watch TV, some drink, and we draw, and paint. People spend lots of time not thinking about what’s really happening in the world.

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And this is I think one of the reasons that teddy bears, or at least the principles behind them, are so important. They provide a childish world in which to escape. Some of you reading this will be scoffing, however I think everyone has to be at least a little childish, and have a place where they can play with train sets and Lego. I personally enjoy Lego immensely; it’s one of the best children’s pursuits out there. I also used to love (and still do, a little bit), building massive Barbie mansions. At one point I think I owned about thirty Barbies, and not the new, strange ones, but the real-life 90s ones, which looked triangular. On a related note, I think those who blame 90s Barbie for causing terrible perceptions of body image is just preposterous, because she was so extreme. The newer Barbies are so perfect that surely they seem more human, and therefore more realistic shapes to aspire to? But there we go, something of a side note.

So anyway, I think everyone should own a teddy bear. They’re so lovely and so welcoming, and surely the world is a horrible enough place, without people abandoning teddy bears left, right, and centre too?

(:

(1) http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51aIwCvfdhL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

(2) http://www.picshag.com/pics/012011/barbie-in-the-1990s-vs-barbie-in-the-2000s.jpg

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Cooking May Never Be My Forte

Food is one of the key ingredients to life, however most of us in the Western world spend a fairly large portion of our lives wondering about food. It’s nutritional value, whether we eat too much, or too little, or whether we ought to follow a diet. Food impacts our lives in such a massive way, and it contributes to whether we are larger or smaller, slim, or curved. In the image crazed world in which we live, food underpins the way we all feed about ourselves, whether we’d like it to or not.

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I am admittedly, a dreadful cook. Examples of my culinary expertise have been discussed in previous posts, purely because they provide the basis for so many amusing stories. I’m a legend in my house, because of my ability to burn everything, including peas, of all things. I’d like to note that I’ve been compelled to improve though, because I didn’t want to starve at university. I have got much better, although my use of the hob unsupervised is still prohibited, because, and I quote “We don’t want to be burnt to death…”.

Food is one of my favourite things, and it’s one of the reason’s I’d love to live in a big city one day; there’s always a huge range of choice, and many varieties of cuisine to be tested. I love to be adventurous with food, and I love spicy things, especially. I also thoroughly enjoy fish, in particular, sushi. I’m not a fan of the one with the omelette on though; I’m not quite sure why, really.

Eating in posh restaurants however is a minefield of its own; the more hyped up the restaurant, the more pretentious the food, and inevitably, something called “jus” winds up on the place, usually next to a teaspoon full of mashed potato. Cep jus is by far the worst of the “jus'”, because it looks like spittle. And it’s thoroughly unappetizing, in my opinion at least.

However, I’m not a food snob, at all. I’m perfectly happy with sausage and chips. I just like eating fancy things sometimes too, possibly because my parents are excellent at cooking. By far the best thing about coming home is eating my Mum’s cooking again. She says I could cook the same things, however the problem is I couldn’t; I couldn’t make it taste as she does, and I think it’s something to do with having your dinner cooked for you, by your Mum.

(:

(1) http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/rma/lowres/rman8657l.jpg

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The Road Less Travelled

Last night, I sat down, and decided to read my novel for next week; the novel in question being Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. The novel focuses on a destroyed America; a world in which commercial values and commodities have been completely destroyed, and the only living people left are either ‘the good guys’ or ‘the bad guys’. The two groups are defined; society has been reduced, in the wake of this destruction, to being composed of binary opposites; good and bad, dead or alive, starving or not.

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The world of binary opposites is something proposed in Saussure’s Course in General Linguistics. Binary opposites exist to define the world in relation to what it is not; something that is essential in McCarthy’s The Road. The child is a haunting reminder of the innocence of childhood, and the ways in which it can be affected by the nature vs. nurture environment, and is a striking example of how environment is paramount to the development of a person.

The way in which America, or the developed world is portrayed here takes us back to an almost prehistoric sense of existence. The scavenging and hiding that occurs is almost animalistic, and the country seems to reduce its inhabitants to little more than dogs, in the ways in which they try to survive. Hiding, and seeking refuge, is a part of human nature, or of the fight or flight response. This is not however limited to humans alone; animals often confront their attackers in the same way as the man in the novel, who shoots the person holding his little boy hostage.

The division between being a human and being an animal is made by way of the fact that the man remembers his wife, and the birth of his child; his ultimate role in the novel is to keep the boy safe, to protect him from harm. The harm that befalls him is primarily psychological, and represents how parents, with all the love in the world, cannot always protect their children from the world outside; this idea is not just limited to burned out pieces of America, or a world in which law has been removed; it is present throughout real life too, and the novel highlights rather acutely, how experiences befall people and how they cannot always be protected from these experiences.

The issue of paternal love then, is very prevalent throughout the novel; there is nothing the father won’t do for the child, and rather disturbingly, he has had to teach the child how to use the pistol, a symbol that runs through the novel, to commit suicide in an emergency. Self destruction is constantly debated through the novel, and the man himself often meditates on the benefits of suicide; his goal is to reach the coast, however the reasoning behind it isn’t made particularly clear; what lies ahead of them seems to be endless foraging, scavenging, seeking survival; however in such a desolate landscape, the reader simply wants to ask, “but why?”.

This term as far as novels go, has been far more rewarding than the last. I’m a huge fan of postmodern literature, and the development of modern literature often grabs my attention to a much greater extent than classical literature. The novel itself is terrifying and extremely sad; it makes a person question how they would survive under such a hostile environment. I recommend reading it, if you have an evening devoid of entertainment, especially because it’s thought-provoking, and asks questions that focus very much around the environmental crisis, and the nature of human survival in the wake of an apocalypse.

(:

(1) http://thewordofward.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/theroad.jpg

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