Friday, August 31, 2007

The poetry of leaving

I just sent out an email to everyone in the company where I work. It said:
Subj: Ruth __'s Leaving Poetry Appeal

After 13 years I am leaving [this company] on 14 September. Instead of collecting money for a gift, I have been inspired by the Amnesty International book Dear To Me (which has 100 famous New Zealanders' favourite poems and the reasons they like them) to gather together your favourite poems, which I will turn into a single edition book. This will be a reminder not just of my time at [this company] but the people who make [this company] special.

To take part, please email me your favourite poem or a link to it, and a short note explaining why you like it or why it's significant to you. All donations will be gratefully accepted, even from those of you I don't know and have never had the pleasure of working with.

I enjoy good poetry and I am looking forward to the results but here I will confess that one of the reasons I did it is that I enjoy playing with engineers' minds.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ultimately very green

On Saturday I left my comfort zone outside the Northland Community Centre and went to Ultimate Frisbee practice. Really - me - a team sport, for fun. Let me know of any other signs of the apocalypse.

The people were lovely and I was much better at it than I expected. (My expectations were very, very, very low.) I plan to go to practice for the next few weeks and see how it goes.

There is scope for bringing H & K and letting them run wild with their cousins.

One of the things that I realised after Ultimate, is that if I'm learning a new skill I think I am capable of, I direct the person teaching me towards what I think will help me most. I'll tell them when to skip ahead and when to repeat. When I have no confidence that I can learn the skill I don't help the person teach me - I assume that not only do they know what they are teaching but also the best way to get it into my brain. This assumption makes it more likely that I find it hard to learn.

On Saturday was one of the first times I have had enough confidence in my ability to learn a physical skill. I told the person helping me:

"Brain full. Do not give me any more instructions, just repeat the instructions you've already given me."

It really helped.

Finally for those who have asked - my hair colour is Affinage, Colour Dynamics, Green Envy (and check out the Dutch goth site I have a completely logical reason to link to).

Sunday, August 26, 2007

They run for fun in the hot hot sun

Our school reports graded us on effort and achievement. I have been thinking that we should have been graded on enjoyment too. My idea began with PE.

In my view one of the things that school PE should focus on is creating a love of active play. As an adult being good at sport makes very little difference to most people's lives. Enjoying it does. Enjoying it almost certainly makes people fitter and fitter people are healthier.

Focussing on enjoyment would help people in other areas too. Imagine if kids left school with 10% less achievement English and 10% more enjoyment of reading, or 10% less skill at maths but 10% more enjoyment of using the skills they have. Do you think they'd be worse off?

[The blitle is a Dr Seuss quote.]

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Something burnt and something blue

On Saturday we went to a wedding. Beforehand I was in our bedroom getting dressed and D was in the kitchen ironing his favourite shirt. I came out of the bedroom with green hair, I's magical green, purple and blue dress and a purple cape. D said "You look good. You look really good." And just stood there gazing at me admiringly. Until he realised he'd burnt his shirt.

I think I will tell this story for a long time as one of our most romantic moments.

At the wedding I was dancing to some unfamiliar song with a friend who is maybe 10 years younger than me when he said "I suppose you remember this from when it came out?" I didn't but that was fine. Then he said "My dad was hippy, were you a hippy?" Suddenly I felt a hundred.

When I told this story to another friend who is maybe 10 years younger than me, he said "Well if you are 100 then you look really good for your age."

Sorry for the lack of posts lately - my laptop is sick and I'm suffering from work angst.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Playing with my colleagues' minds

I just posted this on the bulletin board on the intranet at work:

Topic: Survey - Breastfeeding in Public

The latest survey on the Intranet home page is:

Should breastfeeding be allowed in public?

And the answers at the time of writing are:

Yes, always 42.6%
Yes if done discretely 49.5%
Not in eating establishments 4.5%
No, never 3%
Unsure 0.5%

202 votes cast.

As a fairly recent breast feeder I would like to say - how do 100 good [company] people think it is possible to attach a wailing infant to one's bosom in public discreetly?

For those of you who have never breastfed I would like you to imagine the following scenario:

You are on call and so have to carry a cellphone with you everywhere you go. Unfortunately the cellphone has been glued to a large siamese cat. Fortunately the cat sleeps a lot. Unfortunately if the cellphone rings the only way to stop it is to press it (with cat attached) against a part of your anatomy usually covered by underwear for 10-30 minutes. In the unlikely event you can achieve this in a position in which the cat is sufficiently comfortable the cat will go back to sleep.

Hopefully this mental exercise will give you sympathy for indiscreet breast feeders and admiration for those who manage it discreetly.

Finally I had twins so those of you who are very brave can imagine that you are on call for two jobs with two cellphones stuck to two cats.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Greener than I'm cabbage looking

Today I got my hair dyed green. A vibrant kelly green. I'm very pleased with it.

Why green?
  1. It is an strange personal joke about 'natural' hair colours.
  2. It will stop me applying for other jobs before I know what is happening at my work.
  3. It's one of my favourite colours and purple is too trad.
  4. I'm feeling rebellious.
  5. It will help me do some other things that are outside my comfort zone.
  6. I've been meaning to do it for years.
  7. My sister's hair hasn't been green.
  8. Our corporate colour wasn't radical enough.
  9. I thought it would make my complexion look less florid.
  10. It is a transition stage from white back to brown.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Feeling quizical

I am Ireland.

Mystical and rain-soaked, you remain mysterious to many people, and this makes you intriguing. You also like a good night at the pub, though many are just as worried that you will blow up the pub as drink your beverage of choice. You're good with words, remarkably lucky, and know and enjoy at least fifteen ways of eating a potato. You really don't like snakes.

Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid

And in case you doubt the wisdom of the internet: baked, mashed, roast, hot chips, chippies,
stuffed, croquettes, scalloped, in salad, hash browns, home fries, french fries, leek and potato soup, boiled, gnocchi.

I am Watership Down!
by Richard Adams

Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

I am going to die at 87.  When are you? Click here to find out!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

After Pinter

The sound of a cellphone with an annoyingly persistent ring is heard from the other side of the office. It rings for a long time.
Me: Someone who doesn't answer their phone has stolen my ring tone.
Workmate: Are you sure it's not your phone and you've left it in the kitchen.
I look at my desk. I look for my folio which has my phone in it. I look sheepish. I get up and come back carrying my phone.
We both laugh a lot.