You Bet Your Life

While I have spent the last month without the company of my male friend, the last week has seen me enjoy some very good times courtesy of other male friends. Now before you get all excited, both were on a strictly platonic basis. But both gave me the opportunity to enjoy life outside my usual haunts without any expectations.

On Thursday, I headed into Central London with one of my male colleagues to another colleague’s leaving do. As we debated the closest tube stop to our destination in the West End, he suggested that we stop by The Savoy hotel for a cheeky cocktail. One of London’s five-star hotels, it is not the type of place I frequent, but I was excited by the prospect of a spontaneous visit. So we headed in, and found a table in their American Bar (the American Studies student in me loved that). I have to admit I was in awe of my surroundings. We stayed for two cocktails each, and made two requests to the piano man, the first being Billy Joel’s Just the Way You Are, and the second being, erm, Billy Joel’s Piano Man. In my defence I had used up all my originality in just being in my new location. I considered asking for something by heavy metal rockers, Megadeath, but I managed to show at least some restraint for the high-society venue I found myself in.

My housemate often tells me I want to switch off from my problems, and I have to say that hour in The Savoy sure did allow me to disappear into another world for a while. But I loved every minute and would do it again given the chance.

Now onto my second jaunt. Yesterday I met another male friend in Central London. After we stopped by Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte, we discussed what our plan for the rest of the evening would be. He suggested a casino. I countered with the cinema, hoping that we could see Gone Girl before it disappears from the big screen. I had my concerns about a casino, and my purse screamed no. But he said there was no entry fee, and that he would gamble with his money, so I figured why not.

I haven’t been into a casino since an overnight trip to Las Vegas in 2011 with some friends and not spent any real time in one since a four-day trip with my ex-husband in 2008, but the one in Leicester Square immediately took me back there. We found an electronic roulette table (although I don’t remember seeing those six years ago) and he placed his bet. I chipped in with the odd number, usually my birthday or a random pick. While none of my numbers came up, we left the casino £60 up, so I guess he must have done something right.


“What I win, I keep. What you win, I keep. Got that?”

We left the casino to be faced with the huge billboard of Gone Girl on the front of the big Odeon in Leicester Square, the one where they screen all the big premiers. The expensive one. With a screening of Gone Girl starting in twenty minutes, our perfectly-timed winnings paid for our tickets, two portions of sweet and salty popcorn, a bag of chocolate sweets and two bottles of water.

After the movie, our winnings also paid for most of two portions of ribs at Garfunkel’s, which we devoured before getting our respective night buses home.

My unhappiness in my home life has led me to home-avoid a lot lately. But the silver lining in that has allowed me to discover a new social life. As well, I am finally feeling financially free to socialise regularly, a far cry from my days as a temp after I first moved to London, when I had to walk 40 minutes to work because I just didn’t have the tube fare. I have a lot of work to do on my home life, and feeling comfortable in my own home, which at the moment is causing me great problems, but like my other problems in life, I may be the root cause of all those issues.

Spontaneity was key in both of my fun trips out this week. Letting go of inhibitions and enjoying the moment. Not concerning myself with the cost, which in both cases turned out to be minimal anyway.

A lot is said about the work/life balance, but what I really need right now is a home/social life balance. That desire to go out and socialise without the need to feel like I am escaping from my own home. I’m not a betting person but if I was, I’d say I need to strike a balance between the two if I want to hit the jackpot.

It would be rude of me to go and leave you without any Billy Joel, so enjoy this song. So many I could choose, but I’m sticking with Just the Way You Are. For once, the lyrics aren’t directed at anybody other than myself.

Just the Way You Are – Billy Joel (1977)


Mirena and the Hymen

Three weeks ago, I had the Mirena coil fitted, in a bid to stop unwanted pregnancy (chance would be a fine thing) and to try and sort out my mood swings.  My doctor had been trying to get me to pick a form of contraception for the last year and finally, I made an appointment and had the damn thing put in.

Last weekend I went to visit Whitby with some friends.  A few days earlier, I had felt that black cloud overhead, familiar not just with the Northern weather, but with the arrival of PMT.  I checked my diary, but my Time of the Month was not due for another week yet.  Hmmm.  I should have know that PMT would still be the culprit anyway, and that the coil had given it permission to come and harass me at a time other than that agreed with my period.

On Friday morning, my period arrived, which was somewhat of a relief that I wasn’t just feeling ultra-mardy for no apparent reason, but still disappointing that the coil had scuppered my otherwise clockwork-like rag weeks.  So the coil had given me irregular periods, as had been explained to me as a possible side-effect, but did it solve my mood swings?

Well, if you call crying every day an improvement, then, yep, sure.  Friday I cried because the man from Gibraltar said no.  Saturday I cried because I just felt out of control.  Sunday I actually didn’t cry.  Monday morning I cried at The Secret Millionaire.  Tuesday ditto, and I also cried at a video a friend posted on Facebook of a young high school kid with learning difficulties who got a chance to shoot a basket with help from his high school’s basketball team, his coach and a player on the opposing basketball team.  Today it was The Secret Millionaire again, my Kleenex still damp from having cried at Frasier, the one where Daphne has visions of a man who she should be with, but ends up getting engaged to Donny, with Niles left holding the dragon, the one from Daphne’s vision (if you’ve never seen Frasier, what have you been doing your whole life?  Check it out!  Channel 4 in the UK, 8:30am daily; I’m sure it’s on every day in the US somewhere).  I guess I should stop watching telly because that seems to be key to the waterworks lately.

I have only recently got back into watching telly again.  Several years ago, I was a bit of a telly addict; I watched Frasier, CSI, CSI: Miami, 24, Greek, Veronica Mars, Gossip Girl and a load of other American shows.  Shortly before I started at university in 2009, we had moved to the city, and in a bid to save money, got rid of our Sky Plus.  This is really where I started watching less TV, due to the fact that I no longer had the ability to record the shows and thus had to watch them when they were actually on, which usually didn’t happen.  In the Spring, when I separated from my husband, my television viewing was limited to watching whatever was on at family or friends’ houses, and the occasional DVD.  This continued until recently, when the last guy I almost dated convinced me to watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory, to which I’m now hooked on.  Add in the fact that my favourite season of Frasier is being repeated every morning, followed by The Secret Millionaire, followed by The Secret Agent, featuring property guru Phil Spencer, of Phil and Kirsty fame, and I’m getting to be a slight telly addict again.  I have to switch off after Phil finishes, or I’d probably be glued to the box all day.

It’s been almost a week now, and I’m wondering how long my tearfulness will continue.  Tonight I’ve had a nervous feeling within, my heart feels fluttery and not in a good way, as though something bad will happen.  And I feel glum.  That big ol’ cloud is directly overhead, threatening to pour.

I think I’ll go finish the White Zinfandel from last night, and go to bed, after finishing this blog and the obligatory Day 19 of The Twelve-Week Challenge blog.  Maybe this is why I’ve felt uneasy today; I’ve been checking my emails all day in the hope of receiving an interviewing invitation, and the same with the doormat.  Nada.

As well as my sudden attachment to television, I seem to have Billy Joel’s Just The Way You Are on replay in my mind.  I had this sudden urge to listen to it on Tuesday afternoon, and managed to get it onto the ‘Music From the Movies’ themed playlist on The American Dream Team on Tuesday night, the radio show I co-host with my bud, Jack Harrison (the song was featured in the film Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist in 2008, and The Blues Brothers from 1980, in case you were wondering how I pulled that one off).  I can’t say the song has had any importance to me in the past, although I do have this belief that songs do try to tell you things.  Hence why they usually end up on replay until either I get bored or another song takes its place.  Anyway, the only conclusion I can come up with is that I must not change.  Which is a bit of a bollocks, because I’m pinning all my hopes on changing my life.

Speaking of which, I’ve just had a Tweet from my Life Coach, Jon Richelieu-Booth, who I’ve blogged about before (read from October 2012 to get up to speed on what the hell a Life Coach does.  I’ll explain Tweeting another time).  He was asking where the next instalment of The Twelve Week Blog is.  I’m going to smile smugly because it will be started right after I finish this one, and it’s been a while since I got two blogs out in a day.  But mainly I’m smiling because I’m being held accountable by the person that taught me about accountability.  The Twelve-Week Challenge blog was started so that he didn’t have to do so alone, and it’s working.  Other people are now taking up the mantle of accountability, and asking where the blog is, which is nice, as well as factoring in the guilt-factor to ensure I don’t miss one of the daily entries.

Anyway, I’m feeling better now after writing this, so thanks for listening.  With regards to the coil, yesterday I wanted to rip it out.  But don’t worry, I won’t go performing any emergency surgery on myself.  I’ll give it another month or so, and see what happens.  Whether the tears are worth putting up with or not.  Experience tells me that anything that causes tears is not worth my time.  We shall see.

Tomorrow I shall do my best to keep my tears to a minimum, mainly because it is my nephew Jamie’s 1st birthday, and I shall be going round for cuddles.  Although I’m expecting that may not be so easy, for as you will remember if you read, Jamie was born two months’ prematurely, on February 29th of all days.  Spending most of those two months in hospital, I worried that he may not see his first Christmas, let alone his first birthday.  But Jamie is a fighter, and I’m pretty sure I never had a thing to worry about anyway.  I could stand to learn a lot from him. ❤