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Overqualified

At work today a 17-year-old dropped in her CV as she was looking for a part-time job while at college. My boss opened it up, took one look at her grades and said ‘Overqualified’.

This really gets to me, as if an intelligent person can’t decide, for whatever reason, to get a less challenging job. Surely if a person is applying for a job, it’s up to them to decide whether they are too intelligent to do it or not. All an employer needs to worry about is whether they are intelligent enough. I’m told on a weekly basis that I am too ‘smart’ for my job, but frankly it’s what I want to do at the moment and I’m happy doing it so what on earth do grades or an IQ have to do with it?

There’s plenty of wasted intelligence in the world, what I think is worse is misapplied intelligence. People who use their intelligence to get rubbish T.V shows made, or choose to write compelling articles on how you can ‘go from a size 6 to 00 in just three weeks!’ Really, was this a childhood dream for these people? Maybe it was, I’m not judging, do what you want to do as long as it’s not hurting anyone.

I just wish people would show me the same courtesy and stop using that hateful word!

Overqualified- I room 101 you.

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Daily Prompt: Birthday is the new Honour

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/daily-prompt-blank/

Click over to your favorite blog, and pick out the 4th and 14th words (that aren’t “the” or “an”). Drop them into this phrase:

“_____ is the new _____.”

There’s your post title. Now write!

I had to do this prompt because it reminded me of childhood games we used to play. The kind where everyone writes one line of a story without knowing what the person before you has put. The stories rarely made sense but they turned up some hilarious plot lines!

Birthday is the new honour. Hmmm, I’m not sure about the new bit of that, it seems to me that birthdays have always been treated as something of an honour. It’s ironic really, it’s the only thing which every person alive is guaranteed to have ‘accomplished’ and yet for each individual, and the people who love them, their birthday is a day of tribute, of privilege.

Perhaps birthdays are an honour and a privilege; a reminder that life is a gift and the day on which we were first granted that gift should be remembered and commemorated each year. I think people who panic about their age each birthday would feel a lot better if they thought of it that way!

Quote

Jed Bartlet

You see how benevolent I can be when everybody just does what I tell them to do? – President Bartlet, The West Wing

Explainations come too late

To a childhood friend,

I was thinking about you today. I was thinking about the last time we spoke and asking myself if you ever wonder what happened. Did you do something wrong? Did you say something offensive without realising it? Did you miss some hint that would’ve told you that our friendship was over?

The answer to all of these is no. You deserve an explanation as to why I never replied to your last text, why Facebook messages have gone ignored, why I’ve never been around to meet the man you’re about to marry. It’s hard though, to let you in, to admit to something which I’m only recently realising isn’t my fault. I suffer from social anxiety. Severe social anxiety.

I know that it’s hard to understand why that should mean I wouldn’t talk to you, and I can’t explain it in terms that a ‘normal’ person would understand, all I can say is that I’m sorry that I let it affect my relationship with you.

You remember how I was at school? Within our group I was verbal enough, I had a structure that I was comfortable with and I could be myself, or at least as much of myself as I was comfortable letting anybody see. But did you see me around anybody else? You should have seen me during history class; I didn’t know anybody when we started in year 10, and by then I was too far gone. I didn’t know how to talk to people who I didn’t already know. I didn’t know how to make friends. I didn’t know how to be me.

When we left school I was sure that I’d keep in touch with my real friends, you especially. But then college happened. I couldn’t handle it, the social aspect, meeting so many new people, trying to create some kind of a relationship with them based on nothing… it broke me. I walked out after three weeks and never went back.

After that I spent too much time by myself. I thought everyone was too busy with their new lives at whatever college they had gone to to care about my problems, and too embarrassed to admit that I had chickened out. I didn’t understand at the time that what I was feeling wasn’t my fault, that I could get help and learn to be better around people. So I stayed alone.

I kept texting you for a while. Texting was safe, I could plan exactly how to react to everything you said, there was no pressure to be ‘me’. And then you said we should meet up. ‘It’s been waayyy too long’ was the jist. And I couldn’t do it. One of my best friends and I couldn’t see you. I didn’t know how to explain to you the overwhelming panic which I felt at the thought of seeing you, or anyone else, in a social setting. There was no consideration finding a way to do it, how it would affect my life and happiness if I didn’t make the effort with the friends I had then. So I ignored you.

I never responded to your messages because what could I say? I don’t want to see you? The thought of meeting up with you makes me shake with fear? No, I put off responding because I didn’t know what to say.

That was nearly six years ago. Six years is too long a time for me to reply now, so instead I’m writing this letter. You’ll never read it, never know that this is my apology. But it’s out there, and maybe one day I’ll meet you again and be strong enough to tell you the truth. Maybe you’d understand, maybe you wouldn’t. I don’t know how to understand a time in my life where I couldn’t even go to family events because of the mind crippling fear. But this is the first step. Telling you about it here, now, maybe I’ll start to understand it better myself.

I’ve missed you and I’m sorry.

With love,

from an old friend x

Happiness as a choice

Happiness, I’m sure most people would agree is the ultimate goal in life. Whatever our dreams and aspirations for the future, surely we all hope that we’ll be happy. One day. This is what has suddenly struck me about my attitude towards happiness; I am always thinking about what will make me happy in the future. I seem to view happiness as a result of having achieved or attained something rather than what it actually is, a feeling in the present.

Today I sat down to re-watch the first episode of my all time favourite TV show, The West Wing, and it made me happy. I was excited to experience the same thrill I always get during that first episode of re-meeting characters that seem like old friends. I look forward to the things I know are going to come later in the series, the way the characters are going to change and develop, and I know that for the time in which I’m watching it, I will be happy.

Could I say this to anyone who didn’t know me? That watching a TV show brings happiness to my life? No, emphatically no. I know, because I’d probably think the same thing, that they would think that anyone who gets that excited by TV must lead a very sad life. But if that makes the person happy, how can their life be sad?

I once heard someone say that happiness is a choice. You can choose to focus on the things you don’t yet have, the things which you know could make you happy if you had them; or you can focus on the things which do make you happy, however momentary they may be.

I was talking to a friend about relationships yesterday, and she wanted us both to join a dating site. No thank you. I have nothing against online dating, I know that some people meet the love of their life through the internet, but right now, I don’t need a man to make me happy. I promise this isn’t turning into a feminist rant about being an empowered modern woman, it just got me thinking. People seem to think that if you’re not coupled up, or you don’t have an exciting job, or you don’t go travelling to foreign countries all the time you can’t be happy.

For all the people out there who, like me, are perfectly happy with their lives the way they are at the moment, I have this to say; let yourself be perfectly happy. I find myself re-evaluating my own happiness based on other people’s expectations, but no more. Instead of looking for reasons why I should be unhappy, I am going to simply let myself enjoy being content with my life.

Happiness is a choice. We can allow it or we can deny it. We can wait for something to happen to make us happy, or we can choose to be happy now. I choose now. From now on whenever I start to measure my own happiness by what someone else has, I’m going to remind myself that I am not them. Happiness comes from within, so all I really need to be happy is to be content with who I am today.

I am determined…

So 6 weeks since my last post, here I am again. 6 weeks. I don’t know where the time’s gone. Looking at all the posts I’ve missed from other bloggers, and the daily challenges which I would have been interested in doing, I am determined to get into the habit of blogging, or at the very least exploring the bloggespere every couple of days.

I am determined. This brings me to my thought for this post; I am determined. Such an easy phrase to use, and as I thought it in relation to my blog I realised how little meaning it actually has. Here are some of the things I have been determined to do over the past few weeks:

1) tidy the house. Seriously how many half read books do I need lying around.

2) join the gym. You sweat an unhealthy amount when mopping the floor at work- do something about it.

3) sort out a blog page for work. The website is never going to get done, take matters into your own hands.

4) play golf once a week. You enjoyed it to start with, don’t be put off just because you’re not Tiger Woods over night.

5) book a holiday. You have two weeks left, USE THEM!

How many of these things, which I was determined to do have I actually accomplished? One. Join the gym; check. Yay me!

It’s pathetic really, all the things which we (or at least I) plan to do and then don’t end up getting round to, or put off as another days job. I find the song ‘Tomorrow’ whirring through my mind. ‘I’ll do it tomorrow.’ (Sings under breath) ‘Tomorrow, tomorrow you’re always a daaaay, aaaa-waaaay.’ Thank you, you’re all too kind, really.

Seriously though, I will try to update with other randomness as often as I can, it’s rather cathartic to ramble on anonymously. Writing about things may encourage me to actually do something as well…

Oops, That Shouldn’t Have Been Funny…

A teenage boy in a wheelchair goes to a concert. The disabled seating area is right at the front, the family have a great view and all the staff are really friendly and attentive. As the concert starts, the boy’s younger sister turns to him and says ‘We’re soooo lucky that you’re disabled!’ Inappropriate laugh.

‘The seagull problem has got so bad that a 71 year old woman will no longer leave her house without a metal colander on her head.’ Inappropriate laugh.

It happens all the time, I hear something on the radio or in conversation and can’t help finding it funny, despite the fact that the topic under discussion is actually quite serious.

Funerals are a particularly strange one. Don’t worry I don’t sit at the back sniggering during a funeral service, but it’s always amazed me how much laughter you hear at the wake afterwards. Obviously this depends on the circumstances of the persons death, but in my experience, wakes tend to be fairly jolly affairs.

I wonder what it says about us that we find humour in the sad or depressing. How a taboo subject can be the best source of material for a comedian. It’s said that laughter is the best medicine, and I have to say that I agree. Laughter is good for the mind, the body and the soul. As such, I think that people worry too much about what may be offensive in comedy. When done tastefully, making jokes about a distressing subject can help to heal the fear which goes with the distress. We’re not laughing at those who are negatively affected, but we’re allowing ourselves a release for our own feelings on the subject.

There was recently some debate as to whether a group of people should have dressed up as Jimmy Saville on a parade float. I have to say that I think this was completely tasteless and don’t think it was even remotely funny. But the sentiment, of wanting to turn this creature into an object of ridicule rather than of fear holds some merit. As a nation, we feel betrayed by a man who many people grew up with; it’s like discovering that a piece of your childhood is fake. It may seem selfish for those of us who were not personally affected by this man’s actions to feel wronged in any way but there it is. We need to heal and perhaps laughter is the only way which we can do this.

I’ll end with an inappropriate joke which I heard recently. As I was walking down the street I saw a man selling the Big Issue. He looked pretty down so when I stopped to buy one I thought I’d tell him a joke. ‘Knock knock’ I say cheerfully. The man became irate, shouting at me and calling me insensitive… Really, how was I to know he didn’t have a house…

(Anyone? Just a little chuckle maybe?)

Coincidences

Don’t you love the coincidences in life? When someone hums the song you’ve had stuck on your head, or mentions the film you’ve been thinking about. I don’t mean the songs which are currently in the top played list, or new film releases, but those that you haven’t thought about for years and suddenly several things happen which make you think of them.

I’m not in the least bit superstitious, I don’t believe in fate or destiny, which makes coincidences for me all the better. It makes me smile to learn something new and then the next day have the topic come up in conversation so that I can display my new knowledge.

A conversation today made me consider my fascination with coincidences. Within the last couple of days, while searching my way through the WordPress universe I discovered a blog which mentioned Tom Hanks. This was such a random thing for me to read, and meant very little to me except as a passing interest, that I cannot recall whose blog it was. Anyway, this blog was about an article which Tom Hanks had written for the New York Times about typewriters. Yes typewriters. Apparently Mr Hanks is something of a typewriter fanatic (and why not? Being young enough to have never had the bother of typewriters, I myself have a certain nostalgic fascination with them). So today I was surprised to be asked the trivia question ‘who has the largest collection of typewriters in the world?’ Coincidence. Marvellous. ‘Tom Hanks’ I answer confidently. Just a random bit of trivia which made me smile.

Anyone who had seen the film ‘You’ve Got Mail’ will remember Frank, the boyfriend and typewriter fanatic (sound familiar?) It seems Tom just can’t hide his enthusiasm, even if he has to trust another actor to portray his love accurately.

So if you get asked about typewriters in the next few days, not only do you have a coincidence to smile at, but a new bit of knowledge to show off.

Fish Chowder

This is a dish which I always shied away from making because every recipe that I’d come across included a host of seafood which I had never cooked before. However, I recently had a very nice chowder at a family do, and was inspired to give some thought to how to simplify the recipes I’ve seen to make it feasible for an unexperienced fish cook such as myself. This is the recipe which I came up with.

Ingredients (serves 4-6 depending on appetite!)

1x red pepper

1x leek

2x medium celery sticks

100g cauliflower

100g sweetcorn

2x white fish fillets

1x salmon fillet

100g prawns, cooked

300ml vegetable stock

10ml vegetable or other cooking oil

1 teaspoon butter

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Finely chop the red pepper, leek and celery and put in a large saucepan with the oil and butter. Cook over a gentle heat until the vegetables are well softened. Mix in the cayenne pepper, coriander and a small amount of seasoning. This can be adjusted later on.

2. In separate pans boil the cauliflower and half the sweetcorn until soft. Blend these together until they form a smooth puree. This will be added to the chowder to thicken it.

3. Gently poach the fish until cooked, then remove the fish from the pan but retain the water. This can be added to the chowder to provide a more intense flavour.

5. Remove any skin from the fish and then flake the fillets into small pieces.

6. Add the poaching water to the saucepan with the veg. Bring the water to a simmer.

7. Add the cauliflower puree, prawns and remaining sweet corn along with the stock. You might not need all the stock, add less to start with- you can always add some more later.

8. Add the flaked fish and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, until the prawns are heated through and the sweet corn is cooked. Season to taste and add more stock if required.

9. Serve up into bowls and serve with crusty bread and butter.

Et voila! Fish chowder made easy. If you’re more comfortable with seafood then I am, scallops and mussels can be added to this recipe.

Tip: try replacing the salmon with smoked mackerel for a slightly different flavour.

Perfect Pancakes

1093714_651148914903556_369066849_oSometimes you wake up in the morning and you know it’s a pancake day. These are always good days, as I only have time for pancakes on my days off work. This is my recipe for pancakes. Perhaps the title of this post is misleading; to me these are perfect pancakes not just because of the taste or texture but because of the experience. Knowing I can take as long as I like to prepare and eat breakfast is one of life’s joys.

fsa

Ingredients

200g plain flour

1tbsp caster sugar

450ml semi-skimmed milk (whole milk is good too)

2 large or 3 medium eggs

1. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the caster sugar.

2. Break the eggs into the milk and beat until well mixed. The milk should take on a slightly golden colour from the eggs.1091835_651147014903746_1730058578_o

3. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add a small amount of the milk mixture. Use a manual hand whisk to begin mixing the flour into the liquid. Whenever the milk starts to thicken add some more of the liquid. You should whisk the flour in very gradually to avoid lumps. Take your time with this step; the more you whisk the more air you will get into the mixture and the fluffier the pancakes!

4. When you have a nice smooth pancake batter melt a small knob of butter in a non-stick frying-pan. Tilt the pan from side to side so that the butter coats the entire base. Turn the pan to a medium heat and add a generous ladle of batter to the pan. Pour the mix in gradually, working from the centre outwards so that you get an even coverage.

5. When the surface of th1093735_651147774903670_215355542_oe pancake has solidified, use a spatula to check the underside which should have started to brown. Now, we flip! Even if your really bad at tossing pancakes I dare you to try, just for this first one. For those of you who succeeded, well done! For those of you who have pancake currently stuck to the ceiling/floor please clean up and then refer back to step 4 and use a spatula to flip in future.

6. Give the pancake another minute or two for the underside to turn golden and then slide onto a plate.

7. Add your favourite topping/ filling (today was a banana and maple syrup day for me but I usually go for bacon and maple syrup. Definitely something America has got right!)  Now eat and enjoy!

1184590_651147568237024_333097674_oAn electric blender may be used in this recipe rather that a manual handwhisk if you prefer. I always like to do things manually when cooking- food appreciates the attention and always seems to taste better the more effort you put into it!