Day whatever…



I had a bit of a revelation. Improving my life is not a 1 year project. I’ve been chalking up days like a convict serving time. How completely wrong could I have gotten it? Well, keeping track of the days did serve a purpose in the beginning, it gave me focus and drive. However, as time went by this became less important. The goals were so ingrained tracking every day’s progress became counter productive, the big achievements became little every day things. In short, it became boring. If I was starting to bore myself amongst all the drama of losing loved ones and becoming self employed it must definitely have been getting dull for readers.

The day by day format also made it harder to find specific posts. If I wanted to link something to a page I had to do a lot of searching and that sort of goes against the whole streamlining ethos I was trying to build.

I want to write about more and I was feeling restricted so I wrote bugger all.

It is not a one year project. It’s bigger than that. I am hoping for some changes around here. I don’t want to throw out the whole concept. I like the idea, just not the restrictions and rules. Lets hope my opening things up a bit doesn’t result in this little corner of the interwebs getting neglected again.

So, what day is it?

It’s Today!


Day 252 – 258

Day 252 – 258

First thing’s first, the Sunday of this week was the Man-shape’s birthday! I know it is late on the blog (it was on the 9th) but I can assure you, I definitely said it to him directly on the day:

“Happy birthday honey! I wish you a coming year that is everything you hope for and more. You deserve the good times now. I love you very much. x”

Week three into my new working life, new career and I can safely say working for myself has its pros & cons. The pro’s are mostly what I expected. I am working less hours. I am doing something I enjoy, I worked hard a long time to get here. I have a little bit of control about what I do (just now that includes doing almost every job offered to me when I am not already booked).

The cons I was expecting were, delays in payment, interpreting subjects I didn’t enjoy and potential boredom during practical work when I am basically put into “standby” mode. The delay in payment has been a problem. As I write this, nearly 3 weeks later, I still haven’t received payment for a single job I have done since my first meeting on 09Aug… It is rapidly becoming a massive problem. My job seekers allowance benefit has stopped. I have had to ask for help from other sources. It sucks. It is a strange feeling, I’m working away but I still feel like I can’t really do anything or let my hair down even a little because the money hasn’t come yet. More on this in a later post.

pay packet

Interpreting subjects I don’t enjoy hasn’t really been a problem. I have quite a high boredom threshold too which is lucky. In some of the practical subjects I can read on my phone or just watch what is going on around me and let my mind drift. They haven’t been cons at all.

There have been two cons I just didn’t see coming. The first is the nose dive my confidence has taken initially. One of my students decided to push me, test me a little, start correcting my signing. I was already struggling a little working with this student. He does the sign language equivalent of a mumble and often jumps topics with no warning (he has other issues in addition to his deafness). The first couple of weeks I was getting the general idea of what he was saying most of the time but if I had to actually do a translation back I’d have been lucky to get 30%. A few weeks on, getting to know him better I’d estimate I’m up to about 70% comprehension of him. That isn’t good enough, I am VERY sure of that. But I can say, hand on heart, we were never taught how to deal with this kind of signing either at university or any other course I have done. My mission by the end of his first year is to get to >95% of what he says. That is going to take trust on both sides, work from me and a big injection of confidence.

The confidence knock that not getting what that student was saying spilled over into other jobs, other students. I have been second guessing myself, not engaging in conversations with the Deaf students unless I had to. Slowly I am pushing myself out of that mindset, but it has been harder than I expected. If I don’t, it’ll never get better.

Sometimes interpreting is exciting, Sometimes it’s like watching paint dry!

The second of the cons I didn’t predict was how lonely this job can get sometimes. I am seeing more human beings and interacting with them most days now than in the weeks I was unemployed. In the college I spend most of my time (2.5 days per week) I am viewed as part of the Learner Services team. They greet my when I arrive, and we have chit chat when we can. They are a lovely bunch. The other colleges I work in I am not part of a team at all. I go in, do my job and leave. As great as that first learner services team are, my breaks happen when the student has his break, their breaks are when the students are in classes (because they need to be available for the students). Most days my break times and lunch times I am on my own, having something to eat, messaging someone, writing or exploring my surroundings.

I’m an only child. I am used to and enjoy my own company. It took me a few days (over 3 weeks) to figure out what was missing, why I didn’t feel right.

During the time I was unemployed and before, when I interacted with people it was for every day random chit chat. We talked about what was going on in our lives, things we’d seen in the news or on tv, random and varied stuff. Now I am either being the middle man in someone else’s conversation (ie. doing my job of being an interpreter) or I am talking to someone about the people or topic I have just been doing interpreting for. I was busier and still not receiving money so I wasn’t seeing friends or family as often. I was starved of everyday conversations. I felt lonely. I feel sorry for my mum and the Man-shape, they got the full force of me, desperately wanting to talk, regardless of if the timing was right for chit chat or not. I was a bit clingy and needy and, at first, I didn’t even realise I was doing it.

Once I identified that feeling for what it was I have started to calm down a bit (well, as much as I ever will, I’m not exactly shy and retiring normally). I am trying my best to get in touch with friends and make plans even if they aren’t happening right away. I need pennies to be able to do more. So friends and family, get ready for random phone calls, texts emails and more visits to be arranged. I do much better when I can play with other people a little more.

KT :-)

ps. I’m still an only child so alone time is important to me too. Balance is key. (but I reserve the right to retreat into my cave for a few hours here and there!)

Day 245 – 251

Day 245 – 251

This Saturday I went out for drinks for a good friend’s birthday. As is kinda normal for me, I chose not to drink alcohol.

I enjoy a glass of wine (in fact I have one sitting beside me right now). I enjoy a beer, or a bacardi, or baileys, or even a whisky on occasion. But when it comes to going out with friends, I usually chose not to drink. At family functions it is usually the same. I know why this is my choice but I have had the “but don’t you want to have a drink?” conversation so many times now I got to thinking that maybe my “logical” reasons aren’t so logical to other people. (The difference in logic from person to person is another post for another day)









Here are my main reasons.

  1. The times in my life when I have been a heavier drinker than I am now I put on weight very quickly.
  2. I like to go home after a good night and sleep in my own bed.
  3. I like to drive on nights out because it gives me freedom to leave at whatever time I want, even if that time is later than the last train home. I won’t need to travel home on the night bus that takes an age to get home and is usually filled with drunk unpredictable people that on occasion can frighten me. I feel safer in my car and I can listen to whatever music I like as loud as I like without offending anyone to top off my fun night.
  4. The main reason is I don’t like the sensation of feeling drunk. I like being tipsy but that one sip too many and I move into the “drunk” phase and I don’t like it. I don’t like feeling out of control of my body. I don’t like that as an emotional person to start with I become over-sensitive and over-emotional in either a good way or a bad way. I cry (again because I am too happy or any one of a number of negative emotions). I say things filter-free…

I used to joke that whenever I drank the alcohol came straight back out via the tear ducts. I have a theory that it I have a faulty over-flow valve…

So, in my head, this all makes perfect sense. To my friends and family at times I am a control freak and need to let my hair down more, but personally, I think I am a lot more fun sober.

The night out I am talking about this time was a shorter night out but it was so much fun! It involved the wearing of a top hat and a fez. There were times when both these hats were worn at the same time! That is a story that only makes sense if you were there (and not even then if we’re all honest). There is now talk of a random hat party in the future. I am going to attempt to crochet a top hat for whenever that happens. Thank you for inviting me, see you again soon!

Ok, so, the rest of this week, it wasn’t all about the nights out and funny hats. This was week two of self employment. I added a new college to the mix (as previously mentioned). This college is Edinburgh based and I accidentally stepped back in time. Ok, that was a weird way of putting it but I really had a moment where it was 2005, I was living in Edinburgh and working for Shanks during my uni work placement year.

To explain, the college building I am working in part of the time is two doors down from where I worked at Shanks. I worked there as an analyst in a solvent recovery plant. That meant climbing up road tankers to take samples, it meant hard hat, safety boots, lab coat and fluorescent vest. The student is studying bricklaying which means hard hat, safety boots and fluorescent vest. So many memories of that time came back.

The 6 months of 2004 I spent there were horrible, my boss was mean to the extent that my hair was falling out in clumps. The 6 months of 2005 I spent there a shift happened, I could see the end, it was temporary and I started to feel stronger. That 6 months really shaped me. So many good things happened (I met who I describe as the love of my life for example). When the proximity and clothing came together to send me back in time it was 2005 I went to.

I couldn’t be so close and not do a little visit. Wow, I was suddenly quite emotional (what else is new?!). It was like we’d never been there. Carrie and I had never danced around the lab to crap on the radio. Steven and I hadn’t laughed about all the ways we hated our boss. Rosalia hadn’t been driven around on top of a tanker because the driver hadn’t seen her go up. I knew that shortly after I left the plant was closed and the land sold off supposedly to build flats. I had no idea that after all the storage tanks and the building were torn down it would be left to rot. Words can’t explain as well as a picture.

I was sad for a moment. Then I remembered how many times I couldn’t wait to leave there! Me of then longed to see the place gone. It is sad, but I had good times there too and those memories stay. It is nice to look back, smile and realise how I’ve grown in those 7 years.

Work with the other student is getting better too. We had a few hiccups in the first week but he’s starting to trust me a bit more now, slowly but surely.

This post was longer than I intended so thank you if you’ve stayed with me this long.

KT :-)

p.s. One thing I noticed while going through my pictures looking for appropriate pictures for this post is for a nearly non-drinker (one who for an experiment didn’t drink for nearly a full year by the way) I have a LOT of pictures of drinks, or of me drinking drinks while pulling a variety of weird and wonderful faces. Shots in particular appear in my photo album rather a lot, so I will leave you with one last alcoholic image… TEQUILA!!

Day 243 – 244

Day 243 – 244

The Man-shape has moved to a different flat. Thanks to weekday moving, we were on our own for most of this. I met him on Thursday when I finished work and we started filling up my wee car and working our way through boxes and bags of stuff moving everything from one place to the other. It was fun but also a little stressful. There was so much stuff! Neither of us really had any idea how much stuff he had gathered in his 31years I don’t think.

I made a decision during this process: I STILL want to own less stuff than I do. My dream of all my belongings fitting into my car (minus furniture) has been completely solidified.

In fact, my ‘minimalist’ dream has moved on thanks to the experience. I still want to move to America in the not too distant future (within the next 5 years at the outside). I have started going through my belongings again after the moving fun (no sarcasm here, it really was quite fun at times, we laughed a lot, especially in the beginning). So, I want my belongings to continue to be streamlined throughout the rest of this year, more on this later, part of me is now aiming more for everything I own to fit in a big rucksack. (never going to happen…)

As you know if you have been with me from the start, but a catch up for new readers, at the start of the year I had a big clear out of my walk in cupboard. I was getting rid of obvious rubbish, and things I knew easily I didn’t want. I’ve taken part in some swaps on Ravelry to swap things I don’t want for things that I can use. Ok, that one doesn’t always reduce what I have… and I have sold some things on ebay.

So, how am I streamlining now? I am looking at digitising first of all. Looking at things like my uni notes from my interpreting course first. My notes from my chemistry course all went at the start of the year when I made the decision to leave science, it was like the full stop on that chapter and even if I did change my mind again or started to miss chemistry, my uni notes from 2001-2006 would be so out of date as to be useless, I would have to do re-learning and fresh research into current techniques. I know that I need and want my interpreting notes just now but they are in rather a mess. I want to organise them, and digitise them to make them much easier to search through.

I will keep all paper copies just now but later on, when I decide to move I can ditch the paper copies and not lose any information. This is going to be a longish term project but I have started by going through my notes, binning any duplicates and organising by topic. Just doing that I got rid of a whole folder. I know I will have other things that I can digitise but I want to see how this project goes before making any grand plans.

One thing I am also sure I know I don’t want is to end up with a lifetimes worth of digital clutter where nothing is organised and nothing ever gets deleted. Digital clutter might be a focus for next years big project…

So, to get my number of belongings down and reduce potential stresses of any future moves things now have to pass a quick test before they can stay:

  1. Is it in working order?
  2. Do I really like it/love it?
  3. Is it useful?
  4. Would I want to take it to America with me?

If an item ticks at least 3 of those boxes then it is safe. Otherwise? I’m making no promises. I don’t really need so much, Right?!

KT :-)

Day 238 – 242

Day 238 – 242

First lesson I have learned that I can share with you all today: When trying to keep a blog of a year long self-development project, don’t decide that you really need to take a break and not write for a few weeks. What will happen is you will catch up to a point and then give yourself another break as a reward (well, you will if you are me…)

So, this break away and falling behind means that I am not sure of all the wee details and lessons I have learned on a daily basis. I know myself that those lessons would be much more solidified had I taken the time to write them down. I would have had the chance to share all the ways I have found to do something a hard way and hopefully anyone reading would feel comfortable enough to share their little life hints & tips.

Second lesson I have learned that I can share with you all today. Don’t dwell on what you haven’t done, or the ways in which you think you might have slipped but instead pick yourself up and carry on.

A great analogy I’ve heard on this topic is the “car tyre analogy”. I originally heard this via Jillian Michaels but on googling it I think it might have come from this blog either way, this blog is worth a quick read.

In short, when you discover a flat tyre, do you: A. realise that 1 tyre is damaged and find a way to change that or B: Slash the other 3 tyres…

I think this applies to me here. I fell behind, I could decide the blog is ruined and never write again or I could pick my self up and find ways to make it even better from now.

Anyway! In spirit with doing that here is the update as far as I can recall, and how what I have been doing is in the spirit of “Creating Me”.

This week saw the beginning of my new career. I have really achieved one of the big goals set out at the beginning of the year. I have gone from job I hated to one I mostly love. It isn’t exactly what I set out to do. I set out to be a “Sign Language Interpreter”. Well, I am and I’m not. I am a registered trainee interpreter but the job I am doing most people would describe as Communication Support Work. The difference between these two terms (real and perceived) is a much longer post for a different day.

In my first week my first regular student had picked his subjects which included basic cookery, jewellery craft (metal working) and painting and decorating. He also has this term, sport and leisure and a more general portfolio class (life skills and self-knowledge). Week 1 of sport and leisure the class went bowling. I had a few moments that day where I stopped, drank in the moment and just thought “I love my job!”. One of those moments was when I looked around at the students and other members of staff, they were all laughing because my student had just gotten his third strike in a row and had just taken the lead. We were having fun, and in essence, I was being paid to go bowling!

This week I also received an email from another college, they wanted me 3 days per week but two of those days were days I am with the student mentioned above. I could do 1 of the days though so I now have another regular student studying brickwork (bricklaying) in a college in Edinburgh. I knew going in that those days would be earlier starts and a longer commute but I was up for it.

KT :-)


Day 231 – 237

Day 231 to 237

Quiet week. And how glad I am of that! This is the last week before I will find myself working for myself a few days out of each week.

I spent some of the week going back and forth with Disclosure Scotland (the people who do police checks in Scotland). I was given some bad advice from them and that bad advice has cost me an extra £65. I am not impressed. Basically the problem is, their new fancy system that is supposed to cover all people is really not fit for purpose for people who are self-employed. You need an employer to countersign. What the…?? I am planning on making a formal complaint about it. I work for me, I am my boss, I shouldn’t need to have my main client countersign as my employer. Anyway…

My Friday morning was taken up with work. (yay for working!) It was a last minute thing, booked only a day or two before.

All in all, a nice quiet week, with the comfort of knowing that I will be working again from the following week even if it will be a few weeks yet before I start to see money coming in again.

KT :-)

Day 224 – 230


Day 224 – 230

This week was so fast. The weekend flew past in a flurry of trying to finish my crochet blanket squares. As of 12th August I was all set to finish and then I ran out of wool with 3 squares to go… Typical! I haven’t got more wool yet and I haven’t started attaching them all yet either but I am still happy with my progress. Laying the squares all out it looks good. The squares that look kind of blue are more purple than they look here and the pinky ones are darker. What do you think?

Tuesday was sign on day as usual but in a nice surprise I had a new person to deal with. For the first time I entered and left that building without feeling I had been totally patronised or humiliated. Very refreshing. Later on Tuesday I went on a run for the first time in months. It was tough but I did it. Thanks to the Nike+ running app I know that I went 3.55km of which I ran 1.5km. I want to try to do this more and get my stamina back up. I know that I always feel better when I am fitter and I feel like can cope with more when I am fitter.

On Wednesday I met the student that I will be working with at the college I was contacted by last week. This is not going to be easy. The student seems to be really nice but he has language issues and seems to struggle to understand a lot of what of people say to him, especially questions. I’m up to the challenge though. Hopefully being in a more independent environment will help him find his own voice a bit.

Thursday was fantastic! The man-shape and I went on a photo walk. He took his camera and I took some shots on my phone. We walked and talked about some of the future project plan ideas we had, about the things we were seeing around us and random topics such as my feelings about the direction my favourite soap (only one I watch) is currently taking. We took photographs of the nature around us and a few of each other.

It threatened to rain a couple of times but we made it to our furthest point along the canal before walking back without incident. And then I said “The rain that threatened before doesn’t seem to have come to anything.”

Famous last words anyone?? Well, you couldn’t have even counted to 10 before the rain started. Not too heavy at first. We were at our furthest point from the car, we stopped to take a seat for a moment knowing that it would be about an hour to walk back even briskly. Then the rain really tipped down!

We got up to start the walk back. Then we saw the lightening and I counted down to the thunder. I counted down to about 8 or 9 and the thunder was pretty loud. A couple of minutes later we had another lightning strike followed by thunder, this time a count of about 5ish, it was getting closer and louder. We picked up pace now completely soaked to the skin, walking so fast to get back. Then another lightning strike and before I could count came the thunder. Right over our heads and the loudest I’ve ever heard. We ran. I’m not sure why we ran, we couldn’t out-run a thunderstorm but I was scared so hand in hand we bolted then went back to a brisk walk back to the car soaking wet. We’d have been drier had we swam the canal to get back to the car!

In spite of the soaking we got It was a fantastic day, it was really fun and different for us to spent our time together doing something more active and outdoorsy. Long may it continue!

Friday wasn’t so adventurous, I did get to spend a bit more time with the man-shape but he wasn’t feeling well so went back to his flat. Things are really busy for him just now, he’s getting ready to move flats again and between that and other projects and things that he has been working on, things are very stressful for him just now. The way time has been working out, although we are still seeing each other we’re not getting to do very many over-nights just now. This was meant to be one but he didn’t want to keep me up all night because he wasn’t well (although I wouldn’t have minded and would have liked the chance to look after him for once – he’s not one for letting people take care of him and would only have accused me of fussing). We’ll get plenty of time for that when this period of stress starts to calm slightly, and we can see where the end point is thankfully. I’ve started to see things working out for the best, I really hope that it’s his turn soon.

KT :-)

Day 217 – 223

Day 217 – 223

This week I turned the career corner.

Saturday evening when I finally checked my post something had arrived. I am a registered trainee sign language interpreter! My badge had arrived! Considering the day before I was so low – on hands and knees trying to fix my freezer low as well as emotionally low – this was just the boost I needed.

Monday and Tuesday were taken up with the last polish of the CV, writing of a cover letter and getting the addresses of all the colleges and universities within travelling distance to offer my services as a freelance sign language interpreter/communication support worker.

BSL for thank you

Wednesday I had my first (so far only) phone call and a meeting was arranged for Thursday. All so fast! I also filled out my application for the other job that I mentioned in a previous post – the so-called dream job.

Thursday I had a meeting at a nearby college with a woman who was about as excited as me for me to be there. The college has a Deaf BSL using student starting at the end of August and I have been offered his sole interpreting as a freelancer. I named my price which she thinks is a major bargain, but that is because she has come directly to me rather than going through an agency. Agency fees are insane, I disagree with them quite strongly. What I am being paid by the college is the same or slightly more than the communication support workers they send out would be paid. But it would cost the college double or more. It’s bonkers. So, in short, she thinks she has a bargain, I know it’s perfectly fair.

At this point we agreed, dependant on the student agreeing, that I would work 16 hours a week (it actually works out slightly less in actual hours) plus travel for the college and if she hears of any other colleges requiring an interpreter she would recommend me. We talked about quite the partnership and quite the future between myself and the college. We both have ideas of where this partnership could lead. I’m starting to get excited.


Day 210-216

Day 210 – 216

The week after my grandpa died was tough. Not because of grief as such, I wish I could say it was that, that would make it easier to write about.

On the Monday I had an interview with a local call centre for a bank (I think I mentioned the telephone interview part before). The interview went very well but I felt uneasy about it. I am sure I would have been good at the job but every bit of me was screaming at me “You’re going the wrong way!”. The next day I got a phone call while I was out with a message to call them back. Before I called back I was pretty sure I had made my decision. I just needed to talk to some people first, the parental units and the man-shape. I got through to mum, she was with me on my decision straight away. Spoke to dad, surprisingly so was he (I was sure he’d be the tough nut to crack). And lastly the man-shape. I called back the next day after having had time to sleep on it. As I am sure you have figured out, I turned the job down. The hours were long, the pay low and it was taking me far from anything that I have been working towards. It didn’t even start until September.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch….

So, in the organising of my grandpa’s funeral that side of my family imploded. I can’t think of any other way of putting it. All family feuds came to the fore and a wonderful game of us and them and them and them and them started (where is the sarcasm font when I need it?). One wasn’t going because of the location. This one won’t talk to that one. The person organising didn’t tell certain people certain things and the only thing of my grandpa’s that my dad wanted ended up in the coffin… I know all families have their moments but this was mental. With all of this, me, the emotional girl, didn’t cry.

Wednesday, 1st of August, is my dad’s birthday. Happy Birthday dad! Sorry this week and your birthday had to be at the same time.

On Thursday, knowing I hadn’t cried and thinking that it was just not normal for me to hold everything in and worrying that I would explode with it all at the funeral I knew I needed to do something. I wasn’t happy, I drove around and I found myself, somehow, at the cemetery where my gran is buried and where my grandpa would by laid to rest.

When I found my gran’s grave (I haven’t been in a long time. I don’t believe that is where she is so it has seemed a bit strange to go there) I had forgotten a couple of things. I had forgotten that my gran’s gravestone had the salvation army crest on it. I had forgotten that her and my grandpa were in a shared plot and that meant that when I arrived her grave was open. I cried. After a hug from a complete random stranger, I wish I had gotten her name, I wondered slowly back to my car looking at gravestones and crying at how many of the older stones were for children and babies.

The Funeral

Can I please put in a a disclaimer here, although many members of my family are Salvation Army Officers or Salvationists, I am not and never was. I chose not to become a junior soldier but was still brought up in this environment/life so when I say “we say” I really mean, people who are in the Salvation Army say.

My grandpa was a Salvationist. He was a musician in Salvation Army bands most of his life and right to the end of his life when he went into hospital and wasn’t able to play any more. I have exactly one regret in my life. It is true what they say, you only ever regret the things you didn’t do… My grandpa played trombone (amongst other brass instruments), as did my dad, as did I. I played bass trombone if we’re splitting hairs. Dad once joked, when I was about 12 or 13 that it would be kinda cool and funny to have the 3 generations play a trio some time. We never did.

If you’ve never been to a Salvation Army funeral before there are a few things that might strike you as strange and definitely caught the man-shape off guard (he was there to support me and was brilliant). There are some terms you might not have heard before. In the celebration of a Salvationist’s life (the funeral) we don’t have a date of death on the order of service. Instead we say they are:

Promoted to Glory

Beside these words (or underneath in this case) is the date of death. I do like those words and the image they give me. The band played, the Songsters sang, we sang. And then came the last song “Yellow Star and Red and Blue”. This is an upbeat song really, it is bright. The first chorus got people clapping, I think that caught the man-shape off guard. The second chorus someone had brought out their timbrel. The man-shape gave me a look, while holding me up, that sort of said “A tambourine?? but it’s a funeral…”. For those who don’t know, a timbrel is a kind of tambourine used in Salvation Army music and it usually has ribbons attached and is sometimes used in displays. It is acceptable, if a little unorthodox, to bring your timbrel out in celebration at a funeral.

Next we went to the cemetery. Somehow, and I’m not sure how, the man-shape and I arrived first. Dad was in the family car that was behind the coffin and behind the flag-bearer. That is another part of SA funerals, the flag bearer.

The graveside part of things didn’t feel real to me. I felt like I was a movie extra. The flag and people. Oh, all the people who knew my name but hadn’t seen me for at least 15 years. I knew the faces.

Altogether it was a strange day, with my dad and I mostly separate from the rest of the family and not through our own choosing. I don’t think our family will ever really heal, it’s too broken, and we’re just too different from the rest of them. It’s sad, but I can’t change it.

Later that day…

Later that day I got home to discover that most of the contents of my freezer were defrosted. That Friday was my best day ever… (!)


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