Tuesday, 30 March 2010

My Ten Year Self-Improvement Challenges - End of Week 4

So, where are we now?

TYSIC highlights this week (Thursday 25th - Wednesday 31st March) include:
At the risk of being repetitive, the biggest highlight for me over the last week has been within my 'going to more live entertainment' challenge. Last Thursday I went to the Barbican to see 2 films as part of the Australian film festival. I got to meet a number of other very lovely Tim Minchin fans, saw 2 interesting (and very different) films, both of which I enjoyed, got to listen to Tim's interesting and funny introductions to both films AND also got to chat with Tim himself during the interval between the two films. I am a very happy (albeit lightly 'sad', middle-aged) fan-girl!

While at the Barbican I also had time to have a look at the current installation in the Curve - the amusing and quirky free-flying birds one, which I'd seen featured on the TV recently. The space (shared by humans and birda alike) has a flock of pretty little finches flitting around and hoppiong here and there, twanging electric guitars as they perch on them and peck at them. I really loved this exhibit - it made me laugh out loud several times as the birds squabbled or snuggled, gathered nesting material or took a bath in the cymbal. (I hasten to add that the birds seemed to be very well looked after and not in the least mistreated - they seemed, rather, to be having a very happy time).

As a result of the above, I hereby decree that going to art exhibitions shall henceforth be deemed part of my 'going to live entertainment TYSIC', although I may need to rename the challenge slightly - maybe just 'Go out more' Or I could perhaps expand it to read 'Go out more - see more stuff, especially live theatre/stand-up, plus art exhibitions. Oh, and meeting people, going out for meals, seeing old friends more often, etc' Concise eh?

Another highlight this week was sorting out aspects of my forthcoming visit to Belfast to see my parents PLUS sorting out a further visit in June for my father's 80th birthday. I had a lovely long phonecall with my mum one evening this week, plus a number of other short calls to and from her, sorting out this and that about the trips. All in all a nice big 'tick' for my TYSIC about enjoying time with my parents. Oh, and included in the plan for the forthcoming trip to see my parents is a theatre outing I've planned for all 6 of us (more live entertainment - hooray!). I rang and booked the tickets today.

Moving on to my challenge about productivity, combatting laziness and getting on with things rather than putting them off, I'm afraid I procrastinated on something important last week, and lived to rue it. I knew last Wednesday that I couldn't find my passport and that my driving licence was (and remains) mislaid somewhere in the house as well. I realised I would need photographic id for the flight to Belfast (despite it just being a domestic flight) and had decided I would need to ring and get an appointment at the passport office for a fast track passport replacement, but I didn't ring right away. In fact I didn't ring until Saturday and the earliest appointment I could then get was this coming Thursday. I can't help thinking that if I'd rung earlier I would have got an appointment earlier this week. It is now nip and tuck whether I will get the new passport in time for the trip to Belfast, and I'm really not sure WHAT I will do if I don't have any photo id by the date of the flight. But, without being ostrich-like, I am trying to be optimistic. I have explored various back-up plans, and I also rang the passport advice-line again today to see if I could go back next week to collect the passport in person rather than them posting it to me (which, if posted, would reach me just one day too late!) Seems this may well be an option - which would solve the problem. Fingers crossed!

In the meantime, I will continue exploring the nooks and crannies of my house in the vain hope that one or other of the missing documents will miraculously emerge from their hiding places. I have decided to use this as a way of motivating a thorough bout of spring-cleaning, to really set the house to rights and purge the many tucked away piles of paperwork and unsorted dross of various kinds. I aim to start as soon as term finishes this Thursday and spent good chunks of time on it evey day for a whole week.

My challenge to enhance my relationship with my husband hasn't been a great success this week. I spent far too long on Saturday planning a children's activity session I was due to run on Sunday, which meant we didn't go out together or even spend any quality time together, as I had originally intended. Sunday and the rest of the week have been no better, although we have now made a definite plan to enjoy some kind of special outing together this coming Saturday. Oh, and if I do make good progress with my spring-cleaning plans next week, I know that this will make my fastidiously tidy husband very much happier (I don't know how he copes with being married to as untidy and chaotic a person as me!)

My challenge concerning my relationship with my two sons hasn't gone too well this week. A particular low point was on Friday evening when I got very very cross, having been woken up in the wee small hours by my 17 year old's noisy friends. I vented my anger by shouting at him (within earshot of his friends - the big taboo) - when I should have dealt with the situation calmly. My older son also had a big (verbal) conflict with his dad on Saturday about several things, and I was caught in the middle since they were both being rather unreasonable and stubborn.

I feel that I ought to clarify that this challenge is not supposed to be about how my sons behave or act either in general, or towards me or my husband (I don't want to seem to be criticising them - they are both lovely young men in the making) Instead, the focus is supposed to be on me doing more to find practical and communication-orientated ways to improve my parenting towards them, always keeping in mind the long-range perspective of their future well-being and happiness. My God, it's a tricky one!

Well, barring anything major happening over the course of this afternoon or this evening, that's my progress report for TYSIC week 4. Signing off.


  1. I'm fairly certain you can get a passport in four hours.

  2. Yes, but originally they'd told me I wasn't eligible for this one-day service becauase I was replacing a LOST passport. But fortunately, when I went for the appointment today, everything was in order so they upgraded me - and hence (4 hours later) I became the much relieved poassessor of a valid passport - yippee!!!