What’s going on?

To those of you who check in regularly to see what news, you’ll know there’s not been much blogging going on. Not just recently, but, it seems, over the past year or so. I’m in two minds whether to continue or whether to delete this. Over recent months the blog has simply become a place to rant, a place to let off steam and to talk about stuff that really shouldn’t matter.

It has lost it’s way. I shall look for it. If I don’t succeed then I promise to make it disappear.

Temptation is…

…wanting to blog and tell all, but realising that it might not be the best timing, or the best idea right now.

Years ago I sent my Mum a card which simply said ‘Must have courage, faith and chocolate fudge cake’. That’s my ‘mood message’ at the moment, though I’d rather have vodka than cake.

I can’t really sum up what’s going on either. It’s all a big temptation and an even bigger risk.

A culture of fear

That’s what we’ve got where I work. People are always trying to cover their backs and keep their heads down, to stay out of the line of sight. It’s not pleasant at the best of times. For me, I report directly into the ‘c-team’ so there’s no hiding for me. It makes me a little bit cautious when discussing things in a ‘public’ forum. This week I had the less than pleasant task of running a meeting at the request of my c-level boss. It was always going to contain frustrations, strong views and some frayed tempers, but I didn’t quite expect it to get personal the way it did.

With a number of people coming from far away, there was much discussion about improving communications, and getting things done in a more collaborative manner. That’s no issue at all. I think we would all welcome improvements across all of the team, no-one’s denying it. The difficulties arrived when during a heated discussion fingers were pointed at specific people, comments such as ‘you’re to blame’, ‘it’s your fault’ and ‘you should have done more’ were mentioned. It became very personal. Very. Trying to steer things in a neutral way didn’t help either – it seemed to escalate the level of frustration among the attendees.

There’s no denying the facts. Business isn’t what it once was. But it is just that – business. Don’t make it personal. Don’t point fingers. Yes, we have a culture of fear, but don’t try to score points on a personal level. You never know when it might backfire in your direction.

I believe in karma, do you?

Traffic jam?

every day I drive for two hours, commuting to work and back. some days it ends up being between three and five hours, if the traffic is bad. this week leaving home at 07.25 on Wednesday should have given me an office arrival time of 08.30, but I got a traffic alert and it was more like 09.30. at the time I hit the traffic (between two junctions) I was on hands-free to my Mum. sitting at home in the Glen she waS excited to detail the traffic jam in front of her house.

Now, let’s set the scene here…this is a remote Scottish glen, with a road that is three meters wide. the house is about half a mile away from the road, up on a hill, so the views are perfect.

On this particular morning there was chaos on the road due to a traffic jam. I was stuck in a nine mile tailback – there were five cars in the glen, stuck because there was a tractor on the roll, pulling a wide low-loader that no-one could pass.

For my mother the hold up was a piece of news, a rare occurance. for me, it was, I should say is, a way of life.

Sometimes I forget just how vast the differences between my glen and here are. sometimes they make me laugh, like today with the five car jam.

Other times, I worry that we focus too much on the negative things that matter too much in our day to day lives.

Back to reality

My last entry was July – an awful long time ago… The trip to New Orleans went well. A week of hard work, lots of drinking, live music, but very little sleep.

Back to the office for a week or two and then some vacation time. North Yorkshire with the boys. Fantastic cliffs, caves, rock pools and beaches. Take one funny ‘Vicar of Dibley’ moment (think puddle) mix with two little boys and the North sea and let the giggles begin.

I managed to run along the cliff tops without too much in the way of asthma and we all caught up on some much needed sleep.

We also had an averted emergency after I got dive-bombed and stung by a wasp while walking at the end of Filey Brigg. Thankfully, quick-thinking, inhalers and antihistamines prevented a trip in a coast guard helicopter to the nearest A &E…though I think the boys were disappointed.

Back to work and reality with a bump. After my promotion in July I am busy re cruiting another member for my team. I have redone the corporate budget for FY10. We are planning for last quarter of this year and I have remained diplomatic despite trying people, time, and situations.

Reality. Bump. Ouch.

Reality TV – where should it end?

One of the most talked about characters from the early days of ‘Big Brother’ is the subject of Lisa Lynch’s latest blog. It’s an interesting take on reality tv and how we view the people we are exposed to. Reality Bites¬†is definitely worth a read – especially if anyone out there has had any kind of encounter with cancer.

New TV

I bought a new TV this week – not a large TV for the lounge, but a small one for the bedroom. I looked at reviews, I read user comments and in the end it came down to three models – a Sharp, an LG and a Samsung.

I went for the Samsung Le19R86. Here’s the lowdown…

http://www.richersounds.com/showproduct.php?cda=showproduct&pid=SAMS-LE19R86

It’s fabby. The picture quality is amazing. It’s hooked up to my Samsung DVD player and the two together are just fantastic. The TV is idiot-proof – which is a good thing, and my BF only mentioned his favourite phrase ‘girls & technology’ once, so that wasn’t too bad! ūüôā

Both remotes operate both items, so there’s no dispute over who gets the remote, although I’m sure there will be plenty of times I turn the BBC news off and BF turns it back on again….

Recession?

All the talk, all the news, every media outlet is talking recession. It’s affecting many of us already. The BBC has headlines of repossessions going up by 71% – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7694819.stm¬†and it’s scary. Yes, it’s very scary. But, how much of what we hear is scare-mongering talk? How much of the downturn is being influenced by the media and our response to¬†its doom and gloom?? You have to wonder.

I’ve had three valuations done on my house in recent weeks (remortgaging as my¬†deal is just about to expire) and none of them¬†have been¬†satisfactory!

According to the first one, my house is worth a few ¬£k less than I paid for it two years ago. According to the second, it’s worth nearly ¬£30k less than I paid. And according to the third? Well, I don’t know, because he wouldn’t tell me anything – he has to provide his figure to the bank. So,here I sit, waiting patiently for the news.

I wouldn’t accept the second valuation, as the surveyor didn’t actually come to the house, he just looked on the internet for “similar” properties as reference points. All of those properties he used as example prices, were smaller than mine, did not have the outdoor space I have, nor did they have the double glazing (that I installed) and both are next to the railway line – mine is not.

Today’s valuation was OK. He was here for much longer than the first and wanted to know a lot more about the space. Is that a positive sign…pah? Who knows.

Another Wee Bit of Good News?

The interest rate has been dropped by the Bank of England. As someone in the middle of a re-mortgage I’m hoping that this rate change will be adopted by my mortgage lender as soon as possible… I’m sure there are many other people in similar situations, so lots of you will understand.

But, that’s where it stops really. My sis and her boyfriend are still waiting. There are another few days before the end of the ’10-working days’, but it’s agonising for them. Every day wasted is costing them money. It’s a bit of a nightmare for them both.

And, Mum’s just had a bit of a blow from the so-called ‘buyers’ of their house. We’ll see what happens from here on in, but Mum needs to be strong. Very strong in the face of the rubbish being thrown her way today. And Dad, wee Doody (as my sis would say), he’s very quiet. He just wants the next phase of their life to start and it’s still on hold.

I’m looking forward to them being able to do holidays when they want (make the most of this nightmare timeshare I have), play golf, do tango lessons (my dad…hmmm…maybe not), do pottery classes or whatever!!