Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The junkie in the family

As an effect of the viral infection that he caught, Lucas has developed a nervous tic—he widens his eyes and rolls them every few minutes, and he just looks plain weird, if not slightly creepy, doing so. Simon and I have been trying our best to get him to break this habit—we've tried to ignore it, let him know every time he does it, tease him about it, go through the possible consequences if he keeps doing it ('it will be dangerous if you do that while you're cycling across the road, ' 'your friends might tease you about it', etc.). All to no avail.

The other night Simon was saying that Lucas is so much like him in terms of character, and I said, 'Yes, and he gets your tendency to be addicted to things as well.' He argued that it's human nature to be addicted to things, and said, 'You're just the same as me.' I said no way, I don't get addicted to anything; not on the same level that you and Lucas get addicted to computer games or films.

Which, looking back now, is a complete and utter lie. Because you know what I've got in my hands right now? A book that I bought off Amazon a few days ago. This, after I told myself no more new books for myself as we have books spilling out of the study and into every other room in the house. The culprit? I've turned into a Hunger Games junkie. Yes, that book trilogy. For young adults. I know.

I had been quite intrigued by these books for some time now. A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to decide which books to get for Simon's nephew for his birthday and I wondered if I could get the Hunger Games for him. However, I had no idea what the books would be like. From what I had heard, they had a similar premise to that of Stephen King's Running Man. (Remember the film version with Arnold Schwarzenegger? You don't? Lucky you.) So I decided to borrow them from the library first. Books one and two—The Hunger Games  and Catching Fire—were available but the last book, Mockingjay, is still on order. I read the first two books last week in two days. (Lucas found this very impressive by the way. It took him over four weeks to read a 400-page book by Anthony Horowitz, hence seeing his mother finishing two thick books in two days was incredible. This will probably lead him to believe that I am cool. Until he realises that I'm actually a geek and therefore not cool at all.)

Needless to say, I found the first two books really good. Katniss Everdeen is a wonderful heroine. She's a tough soul who has survived starvation and many losses. She's strong and smart albeit a bit rough and insensitive sometimes. In other words, she's not Bella of Twilight. Suzanne Collins did a great job of creating a cast of characters who are memorable in their strength and vulnerability. And the action is just gripping, hence, two books in two days.

The end of last week saw me getting really restless, thinking about the final installment of the story. How does it end? When will I know? I checked the library holds list, and there I was, number 28 on the waiting list for Mockingjay. What to do? Can I wait that long? What if numbers 1 and 27 on the list are extremely slow readers? Can I really wait for as long as 81 weeks? Will the film version be out by then?

So today I have my own copy of Mockingjay to enjoy. I feel quite guilty about buying it, but only to the same degree that I feel guilty about buying loads of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups whenever I see them. Which is what I did this morning by the way when I saw a few of them at our local Waitrose, which means that now there are none left at our local Waitrose. So, yeah, the argument about being a junkie by nature? I guess I lost that one.

Monday, 17 January 2011

No day but today*

I have but one resolution for the new year: To do what I'd like to do today.

I've had a long list of things I've been telling myself I'll try and do someday, but I thought long and hard about this list over the holidays and realised that most of those things I could start doing now.

I had been planning to sell prints of my artwork for a long time, but kept telling myself I didn't have enough capital, nobody would be interested, the market was already saturated, I wouldn't have the time to find a good printer, get the pictures ready for printing and then market them. Last week, while nursing Lucas who was down with a viral infection, I sneaked in some time to just sit down and digitize some of my favourite pictures. Now, my kokeshi pictures are ready to be printed off, and I'm just finishing work on the postcard girls. I have also started a new series of pictures which I'm aiming to finish just in time for the Chinese New Year. I've signed up to open an Etsy shop, and if all goes well, the shop will be open in two weeks.

One other thing that I kept putting off was doing volunteer work for a charity. I always thought I would have to wait until the kids are old enough so I could spend a few hours a week working at a charity shop or organising bake sales for a cause. Well, a couple of weeks ago, I was doing a bit of web browsing when I found a project based at the University of Cambridge that was in dire need of volunteers to provide admin support and web development work, both of which can be done remotely. I contacted the project director and now, I am doing research and social media marketing for the project.

Events of late have proven to me that if you want to do something, it's best to do it today. Seize the moment when it comes. Don't wait for the right time or the right opportunity to come. If you want your dreams to come true, act on them today. Little by little (or maybe even in leaps and bounds), they will come true.

This is why, despite the latter part of 2010 having been quite dismal for me, today I am happy and looking forward to whatever blessings and challenges 2011 might bring.

I can't wait to see the magical things these two will come up with this year!

*Once again, I've turned to the Rent soundtrack for inspiration. This has got to be one of my favourite musicals of all time, mainly because of 'Seasons of Love' and 'Another Day' (where the title of this post came from).