To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

…that is the question. The answer from me is sure why not? I have been asked whether or not I would take the vaccine, and in my usual non-committal what will be will be way, I would say sure, why not. I’m not in a hurry to take it but once it’s available to my age group, I will. Then I received a text from my GP practice saying they were running a Pfizer vaccination clinic the very next day and would I like to register? Suddenly I wasn’t so sure. Once confronted with a real prospect of getting the vaccine, I got cold feet. I am not an anti-vaxxer at all, and I am all for the vaccine, and vaccination in general. I don’t have any strong emotions about it and you will not catch me at a demonstration arguing for or against the vaccine. It’s not that deep for me. Plus a couple of my friends work in the health sector and have been vaccinated with no issues. Still, I don’t really leave my house and I wear my mask everywhere, do I really need to take the vaccine now? Maybe in a year when all of the kinks have been worked out?

I also had doubts as to the legitimacy of the invitation. Why would my GP send a text, rather than a letter? I’m not in the right age group so it seemed dubious. I had also just received a text from “paypal” asking me to click on a link to agree to the new terms and conditions, so perhaps scammers were just busy that day. I ignored the text from the GP and went about my day.

A few days later I received another text with more dates so I went ahead and booked the appointment. What really was the worst that could happen eh? I was not asked to click on a link or enter any personal details, and it was taking place at the hospital not a dodgy location. For added measure, I sent an email to the GP to confirm the legitimacy of the texts and this was verified.

After the initial hesitation, I became strangely super excited to get the vaccine. I eagerly counted down the days, and the hours, and when it was time to head off to the clinic I did so with a skip in my step. Maybe I was just happy to leave my house. I got to the clinic and was given a pamphlet which outlined the vaccine and possible side effects. Then I went in and got the vaccine. I was asked all the necessary questions- any allergies, blood clots, fever symptoms, etc. The injection was over in a few seconds and I didn’t even feel it. The whole process took maybe 25 minutes at most, including the 15 minutes after the vaccination where I had to wait to see if I developed any issues. Of course I didn’t and that was that. All in all, it was a pleasant experience.

On advice of the vaccinator, I got some paracetamol on my way home and took two immediately I got home, and two before bed. Thankfully I did not get any major symptoms. My hands felt a bit cold (first my left, then the right) for a little while, and the spot I got vaccinated in was a bit sore for a couple of days after. Apart from this, I had no issues, and this was pleasing to me.

I’m looking forward to getting the second dose in a few months. One day this will all be over and we will speak of the pandemic in past tense. We will say “remember when we used to wear masks everywhere?” I will miss working from home and I want that to stay.

el oh vee ee

I have decided to fall in love.

In two minutes I will be back to regular programming, but for now I do think it would be nice to be loved and in love.

What has brought about this sudden change of heart? Well I have a new crush. So? I have crushes all the time and they has a lifespan of two weeks max before the crush fades away into indifference (or disgust) and I hibernate until my heart opens up again. As with all my crushes, this is of course not a real person in my life, but a famous-ish person I saw on the telly (okay instagram). My e-bae has been in a committed relationship for years and recently got married so that also has me craving love and companionship. One thing to know about me; when I have a crush, I like it when they are in loving committed relationships, preferably married. I never understand why male artists have to pretend to be single to give the illusion of availability. Whether you are single or married, we are still not going to date. So you might as well have a happy well functioning marriage that I can live vicariously through. The thing with love for me is that I AM a romantic- I love to see love in its pure non toxic non transactional form. However for me personally, I either crave it or am disgusted by it. There is no middle ground. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have someone whose company I enjoy and whose face I want to lick; other times the idea of someone else in my space breathing my air makes me sick.

For now, the idea of falling is love is pleasing to me. What will I be looking for in a partner?

He has to be tall; my current crush if 6’6 so that is the standard now, though I will accept 6’2 upwards. He has to be very attractive, although not too hot as to make me the ugly one in the relationship. My current crush has long hair so he could have luscious locks, although a nice haircut will also be accepted, especially if accompanied by a well groomed beard.

I want moments of deep affection, where the world vanishes with its troubles and it’s just the two of us inhaling each other. I also want him to immediately disappear when I’ve had enough. I want someone to share my life with; to indulge in our hobbies and watch tv together; someone to make meals with and eat together; also need this person to not touch my food because I don’t like to share.

I want someone to vent to, someone to break up my day. I need someone to travel with so they can take my pictures in front of the monuments.

I want a person with a respectable past and a promising future; a person who is the same combination of saint/sinner as me-cry to God when I’m in despair then return to my pagan ways once the storm is over (forgive me Lord).

The older I get, the more I bemoan the fact that I never had a childhood sweetheart. It would have been nice to have loved someone for a long time, watching them grow from cute teen to strapping hot adult ( *ahem* as I have), and when he becomes a billionaire I would be able to fend off gold-digging allegations by pointing out that we have been together for years, since primary school actually. Unfortunately I can’t use that line of defence anymore, and I’ll just have to make more money than him.

It would have been nice to have someone to reminisce with about way back, to say “do you remember when that teacher did blah?” and “I remember when you…” Of course I do this with my siblings and friends, but it’s not the same. It would have been nice to be able to look back on pictures of when we first started dating, young and naive-started from the bottom now we are here-and trade funny stories from our youth. When we did get around to getting married our friends and family would have gushed about our romantic love story, and talk about how we taught them the meaning of love.

In reality, we would have tired of each other. I look back on all the crushes I had back then and I do not have a minuscule of attraction for anyone of them anymore. Now as an adult, my crushes last for a month at most so yay for consistency.

Love! I don’t get enough of it, and I would like more (but not too much).

A new enemy.

It’s been about a year since I started taking my skin seriously in terms of identifying and eliminating the causes of my constant breakouts. I reached the conclusion that the main culprits were sugar and dreaded dairy, so I made efforts to limit my consumption of these items (with lots of backsliding as I can resist everything except for temptation). I’ve been relatively good, but a week ago my face was attacked by a rash of pimples and I could not understand why. I racked my brain but could not remember eating any excess sugar or dairy in the past week. I thought perhaps it was due to my forthcoming period, and I did what I always do when my skin acts up when I’ve been good-ish- say what the hell I might as well binge on sugar and cheese, and got my favourite chocolates, gummy bears, and even asked for cheese in my burrito.

It has since occurred to me that I might have to add one more item to my eat in moderation list. For the week leading up to my breakouts, I had spaghetti every single day for dinner (so yummy!). Could this be the reason for my skin woes? A quick google search concluded that it was in fact the reason for my skin problems. Refined grains such as white pasta, and white rice have a high glycemic index which means they increase blood sugar which then increases insulin levels which then increases oil production which causes acne. What is even the point of life? Rice and pasta are pretty much the two food staples in my life (along with white bread to complete the unholy trinity)- at a point in my life I was eating either rice or pasta everyday. The bright side to this is that maybe pasta was the culprit all along and I can go back to having cheese? Hmmn.

I have also learned that vitamin A is important to having clear skin. The post I read claimed that it was not dairy that caused acne, but dairy consumption without adequate vitamin A to counterbalance it. So now I’m drinking a glass of multivitamin effervescent tablet every day and hoping for the best. Probiotics are also supposedly good for the skin but this is dairy so I’m not sure what to do. Soy is my go to dairy alternative but word on the street is that it is not good for the body either. Oi! Thankfully there’s oat, almond, cashew, coconut to choose from.

In summary; avoid all refined sugars, consume more probiotics, omega 3, and vitamin A.

One day I will have clear skin, but that day is not today.

Netflix and Chill: Serial Killer edition

Like every normal person, I am fascinated by serial killers. Repulsed by their crimes, angered by their audacity, and yes, fascinated by the psychology of these outwardly normal beings who set off on random violent streaks with no care, reason or remorse. I have always enjoyed watching the crime network on cable, it was one of the first adult things I started to watch just as I weaned myself off cartoons and childish telly. My first real introduction to serial killers was through a book in my father’s library- I don’t remember the title but it was about the most famous serial killers in the world, from Jack the Ripper to the acid bath murderer to Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer. I remember discovering the book on a Sunday, and taking it to church with me, reading it all through Sunday school. My fascination was born.

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I first came across Pasta Evangelists on social media some years back and thought it was cool, but as usual I couldn’t bring myself to actually buy anything. The options were enticing enough, but there is always the chance that I won’t like it and that’s my money wasted. My friend tried and liked it, and I told her I would try it too but didn’t. For my birthday this year, my friend took matters into her own hands and surprised me with a delivery!

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Feast on your life.

by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Wild wild country

I wasn’t going to watch this. I fell foul of the aged saying; do not judge a series by its thumbnail. For some reason I assumed it was one of those hippie fake deep-actually to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect but I thought I wasn’t going to like it. As I was getting ready to skip past it I caught a glimpse of the synopsis and it included something about Rolls Royces; “… the world’s biggest collection of Rolls-Royce automobiles“. The first 3 seconds of the preview also looked interesting, so ever the curious cat I decided to see what it looked like.

Wild Wild Country is a documentary about the controversial Rajeeneshpuram community in Oregon, led by an Indian spiritual guru- Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (later to be known as Osho) and his firebrand personal secretary Ma Anand Sheela who had been with the Bhagwan since she was a teen. The movement starts in India, with the Bhagwan preaching about capitalism and meditation and previously being asleep and now being awake (he was woke before woke was a thing). He gains a lot of followers and it is not long before well off Westerners in search of “the truth” start moving to India to join his cult group. Eventually the community becomes so large and they face political resistance in India so off to the USA they go. The move is spearheaded by Ma Anand Sheela who the Bhagwan has given absolute power of attorney and is in charge of the community’s millions.

In the USA they settle in the sleepy town of Antelope Oregon, home to about 40 elderly retirees, and almost immediately the tension starts. Unsurprisingly, the residents of Antelope are not pleased to have these weird, raucous, free loving, sex-in-public having members of this strange religion led by an odd man with long beard and multiple rolls royces. The group moved to Oregon in 1981, and within four years the tension boiled over and exploded into chaos. There is arson, explosions, biological warfare, assassination attempts, and a whole host of mayhem.

Only a few minutes into episode one, I realised I was familiar with the subject. I had watched an episode of Forensic Files which covered the Rajneeshes and their poisoning of hundreds of people in the community. The documentary was more detailed and offered more about the background of the cult so I continued to watch it, all the time assuming that the poisoning was the crux of the show. After the second episode, I thought the show was dragging on too long; get to the salmonella poisoning already! It turns out the salmonella poisoning was barely the tip of the iceberg and it was only referred to in bits because other crazy shit was going on.

I thoroughly enjoyed the series and I’m pleased I watched it. The build up was great and by the end of the third episode I was fully hooked, hanging on every word. Wild Wild Country takes us back to the heat of the action in the 80s, and the footage of the cult, interviews as well as interviews with the key players of the cult as they are now made it feel as though we were there in real time. I can only imagine the tensions as they happened, and how insane it would have been if there was social media then. I went through a gamut of emotions; the usual irritation and condescension for people who join cults, anger at their bizarre behaviour, sympathy with the non-Rajneesh community, fascination at how the Rajneeshes were able to build a community and amass all the wealth- they had airplanes, tens of rolls royces, 80,000 acres of land which they fully developed- and even sadness towards the end. It was a trip.

I was quite confused with all the geography of the area and all the names- The Dalles, Antelope, Wasco County; all I know is that this story happened in Oregon. The cult leaders also deserved more punishment for their crimes, they poisoned 751 people for goodness sake! But that’s all in the past now.

The documentary mainly focuses on the tensions between the Rajneeshes and the rest of the community, but I would have liked more depth into the Rajneesh community itself-their day to day, what really happened, was it all an elaborate scam from the beginning, why did the Bhagwan need 80 or so rolls royces? I want to know more. I also want to understand the psychology of these seemingly intelligent well to do people who left everything to join this cult. I understand that we are always in search of the truth, and being an adult is exhausting, but it is still a stretch to travel across the world to live in a commune. There were times in the documentary where I thought the Rajneeshes looked really happy with their lives and hmmn maybe they should have just been left alone. But a few minutes later they would do some fucked up shit and I’m back to disliking them.

Some of the Rajneeshes interviewed for the documentary still speak really fondly of the Bhagwan and their time in the community, even Ma Anand Sheela who fell out with the Bhagwan still seemed enthralled by him. It bordered on ridiculousness. Not everyone feels this way. One high ranking member of the community turned state witness against the community and had to go into witness protection. Another high ranking member wrote a book about how she slowly freed herself from the clutches of the cult. In the book she alludes to her children having suffered sexual abuse, and her regret over the trauma she caused. This was something I wondered while watching the documentary; while these adults were out swapping partners and having sex in the open, who was watching the children?

All in all, it’s a good show and I’m glad I watched it. I do enjoy a good documentary. There is a new Netflix show called Searching for Sheela, which follows Ma Anand Sheela as she returns to India for the first time in 35 years. It is barely an hour long and adds absolutely nothing to our knowledge of the commune.

So how are you all doing?

My toxic trait is dressing for yesterday’s weather. One thing about me, I will sashay outside with the confidence of a thousand armies, without first checking the weather because well, I went outside the other day and the weather was alright so that should of course also apply to the present. Then I find myself outside, freezing to death from all the air blowing up my dress because I have no tights on, feeling my fingers slowly going numb because I have no pockets to warm my hands in, and almost asphyxiating from all the wind blowing in my face. Never again! I yell to myself, and even as I do this I know that I will repeat this nonsense. It’s just who I am.

Another thing about me is my procrastination. I started this post ages ago but never managed to write anything. After a long day at work staring at a screen, I cannot bear to stare at another screen so after a half hearted attempt at writing, I close my personal computer, and pick up my phone to stare at it for six hours straight. It’s just who I am.

It’s 4pm on Sunday and I’m finally doing the writing I was planning on doing all weekend. My last post was about worry, and boy was I stressed out when I wrote that. My manager was inducing my anxiety to the fullest, and I was not sure if she was coming on too strong or if I was simply insecure about my work. The good thing is that I have rolled off that client and have not had to report to this manager since, so I feel a lot better. Also the manager seems to be aware that she’s coming on too strong and she has been a bit better (she probably took the hint from my involuntary sighs and general depressed demeanor). It’s all about communication and understanding.

I’ve had a bit of a rollercoaster two weeks (nothing too hectic, more like the teacup ride at an amusement park). During a “quick call” with this manager to run over some notes for a team meeting (which was in 10 minutes), she asked if I wanted to lead the call and I said sure why not, not because I was eager to do so but because I am dead on the inside and have no strength for a rebuttal. The meeting went well enough even though I picked it up last minute-at one point I actually said out loud “I don’t know what I’m saying.” Thankfully the partner laughed, otherwise it would have been a mess. After the meeting, the manager sent me an appreciation award-which is a note and some money which can be turned into gift cards etc. Of course this lifted my mood considerably and all sins were forgiven. Ha.

Later on in the week the partner informed me that he would like for me to say something at the upcoming client meeting. Now I talk to the client regularly, but this particular meeting was with the top dogs so I was understandably nervous. Usually at these meetings, I would introduce myself and then lay back, sit pretty and let the partner and manager do all the talking. Understandably I was a little stressed, but the partner did a practice session with me and I felt a little better. Thankfully everyone kept their cameras off so that also took a little pressure off. It ended up being not bad at all. I said my piece for less than five minutes and that was it. Even the manager sounded a bit nervous when talking which made me feel a bit better. Practice makes perfect and I’m glad I did it. The feeling of relief after an event one has been anxious about is unmatched. Just bliss.

I am not going to bore you with more tales about how tired I am of work, and how much I want to win the lottery so I can just relax and do fun little projects that make me happy. Moving on.

On Monday I accompanied a manager (not the same one) on a charity walk. She was to pick me and another colleague from our houses and take us to the meeting point for the walk. This manager is famously disorganised- I mean she comes into work at 9am already frazzled, but that’s what being a working mother will do to you. She called me to say that she had some trouble locating my house and I agreed to meet her in a central location. Imagine my shock when I finally got into her car only to realise that she was not using a sat-nav/google maps, but had printed out the maps. She literally had sheets of paper serving as her direction, she must have mapped out the journey on her computer, then printed out the map pages. It’s no wonder she could not locate anywhere. Once we were in the car she was ready to go round in circles until I suggested we use the google maps app on my phone. I entered the destination in the app and the nice voice started leading us to the the location. Of course I must have accidentally pressed something because it re-routed our journey to exactly where we started from so we enjoyed a nice pointless round trip. Eventually we made it to the location just in time for the end of the walk. On the plus side, outside was so beautiful, the air was crisp, the trees were gorgeous, there were dogs running around having fun, a family of ducks swimming along enjoying each other’s company. It was all so beautiful that the gang of rats there did not send me running for the hills. Ah such a lovely day of volunteering.

Another notable event in my crazy fast paced life is that I finally decided to take the limescale/hard water situation in my house seriously. I spent two weeks in my friend’s place during which I ate so much nonsense- Cadbury’s hazelnut chocolate was a daily staple, all sorts of carbs, even dairy. Surprisingly enough, my skin did not break out as much as I expected. This got me thinking; maybe my skin problems were not (solely) caused by my raggedy diet, but by the raggedy water in my house. The water in my house is so hard and has so much limescale that the kettle is permanently ruined and the shower doors have to be descaled constantly. For a while, my biggest worry was using the kettle and removing the limescale from the shower, but I began to wonder whether the hard water was actually a factor in my skin woes. At the suggestion of my friend, I bought a new shower head with a filter, which was surprisingly inexpensive. I also finally got a water filter jug and the water tastes different. My stint in my friend’s place caused me to seriously backslide on my diet (which is weird because she is usually super healthy) so I’m just now slowly trying to get back on track. In the end time will tell, but for now it feels nice to have a new fancy shower head. In the meantime I have to go back to my reduced sugar-no junk-no bread life otherwise all my efforts will be for nought.

I cannot end this post without a shout out to the pack of oranges I’ve been munching on. I usually get clementines/tangerines but decided on a whim to get some actual oranges. Let me tell you something; these oranges have that W.A.P. They are so goddam juicy that as the knife slides in, the juices start gushing out before it even gets to my mouth. I have to eat these oranges with a bib on to reduce the mess. I got another batch and put them in the fridge this time and now they are cold and juicy. I am in heaven.

And there you have it; a long winded roundup of my wild crazy life.

I started writing this at 4pm on Sunday and didn’t finish it until 4pm Monday. With this work rate I’m never going to become a bestselling author am I?