Thursday 31 March 2011

Unexpected Appreciation

I am not sure if I will get this finished, as I messed up my wrist today while copying and pasting stuff from one form into another. Hence I am typing like a two year old who got hold of an old typewriter: let your hand fall with fingers stretched and hoping for a good random hit. Probably that should be the way to write anyway. I have a hunch, though, that after a while my neck will follow my wrist... oh well, others had greater hardship to bear for their art.

Talking of art: a lot of my thinking still evolves around photo shoots. Together with a new photo shoot proposal I got notice today that the DVD with the pictures of the last one is in the mail, and then another email dropped into my inbox asking for a shoot, too. This lady is in demand and this lady is flabbergasted due to the fact, that in parts she is in demand for reasons which are a bit beyond my understanding. OK, most of the guys like the red hair, the more that it poses a photography challenge - too much light on it and everything in its proximity looks red, too little and it looks dull - I can understand that. And I can understand that my cleavage has advantage points. Although the bosom part of it is rather limited, the muscles seem to make up for it in a good way.

One of the things I cannot comprehend, though, is that quite some attention is paid to the rear end. Oh, don't smirk... the interesting thing is, that it is not any old rear end, but mine, the very one that caused a myriad of tantrums and hysteric breakdowns which poor hubby had to endure, and it is the one which even got its very own article ... and not because it is so gorgeously pretty...

The other thing is the pale skin. I thought people were just kind when they used the term 'fair', my dad used to call it 'cheesecake'. In front of the camera this all of sudden becomes a desirable feature, and from the pictures I can tell: It works.


This is a photo therapy of a completely different kind. It is therapeutic to watch myself through the eyes of a photographer, and all of a sudden I do not see paleness but  reflecting light and contrast. It is an approach to amending the body image which I can only recommend. I find it a wee bit difficult,though, to apply this method to the rear.

Friday 25 March 2011

Getting Shot again!

I need more clothes! If I keep doing those photo shoots I definitely need more clothes. The very first shoot with Babul saw me in clothes which I am not that keen on anymore. When I started 'Project Rika' I was so disappointed to find out that my colour scheme basically was 'dirty', or 'earthy' how it is called, to give the fact that bright colours are not suitable a positive note. See, that is another confidence thing: These days I don't care a ...!
Of course I would not go into a business meeting of undertakers wearing an outfit that would make their eyes water, although that might even be the right thing to do for various reasons... However, I know all too well that in certain circumstances one has to play with the rules. Want money from a banker? Play their game and wear sophisticated!

All those years back I really learned my lessons. I know my shapes and I know the colours that go for which occasions. And like in any other subject: Once you've learned your basics you are allowed to push the envelope and start breaking the rules. OK, it really does help that I don't have to win a reputation ... or a good reputation, that is... anymore, hence I actually have places to which to wear all those colourful things I buy; not just for photo shoots.

And now I need more!

It is starting to become a task to determine which outfits to give to which photographer. Well, Babul is a glamour guy, that is fairly easy as usually not a lot of clothing is involved. The type of clothing to use in order to not end up in the page 3 department is difficult to find, though. Then there is Chris; well, again not a problem. I need to buy a decent posing bikini anyway, which should suit him well for bodybuilding photography. Matt who did the lovely burlesque/theatre style photos which I used as templates for Columnbina already booked the purple corset, asking for everything purple in my book... and Barry is in a 'moody/dramatic' phase which either asks for black or ... well... again... not a lot.

Hmmmm!? Is there a theme developing which goes into a direction of less clothing rather than more...? That could save me a lot of money.

However, at least I have black stuff now. At the beginnings of my journey, black was a forbidden fruit! Black is the colour of the undecided, the thing that always goes together, and which is not questioned in any situation, not even a summer ball. For quite some years I didn't have a single black item in my wardrobe and only a couple of years back it got introduced again, together with vibrant colours. And this will be today's theme: Everything colourful! I hope Rob will be happy with my choice.

Well, spring has arrived after all, Easter is approaching. It should fit the bill.

... and tomorrow I am off to Camden Market - I really need to do a travel blog about it, it is fabulous - and cross fingers I will burn another hole into hubby's back pocket by making the credit card smoke!

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Give March some Relief

It is such a wonderful feeling to be needed and cherrished, isn't it? I however never guessed that the company I work for could not survive without me. If all of a sudden the responsibility for thousands of people is pressing on ones shoulders it becomes a wee bit unbearable... Funnily enough, everybody else is feeling the same; so where is all that work coming from that needs to be done so urgently, as otherwise the company will get into utter disarray?

It is the most hated month of the year: March! End of Financial Year!
Everybody is exhausted from a long winter and everybody is in need of a bit of sunshine and cheerfulness, and then all the nitty-gritty bits about which nobody had cared all year round, need to be done by the 31st. Come 1st April, nobody will care a pound of sugar about it.

And now I am wondering if the people from Comic Relief thought: 'Awwww.... look at all those sad workforces, exhausted from a long winter and overworked, let's cheer them up! We should have a Red Nose Day!' It is half a year after Children in Need, and three month after Christmas. They might even be ready to give us their hard earned pennies for the fun we are providing.

Yeah, right!

See, my company decided to become a sponsor this year and set itself a target. Now, our managers seem to only know one way to reach targets - they set up score cards, meaning targets are broken down into smaller targets and dumped on the units below, and so on and so on. A standard mum would call that: Delegation! And if done right, none of the initial target will stay with the top level where it started, and all the rest is to be done by the bottom feeders of the system... that is me!

Well, to be fair I understand that substantial contributions have been made on the top level, accounting for the 'Relief' bit of 'Comic Relief'. People like me are responsible to provide the 'Comic' part of it, which given that we are in the month of March - see above - is the most difficult of all tasks. 

Additionally our managers don't seem to be really good in maths, which worries me a bit. See, if one would have a target of let's say 1000 pounds but one has only 500 people in the company, and given that a standard donation might be £1, and even if the managers - which traditionally in a company are fewer people than the work forces, although it sometimes doesn't seem to look like it - even if they would add those 'substancial contributions', and given that there are people who would not donate at all... I think you are catching my drift, and even your 5 year old could do the math and see that one has to stretch to make ends meet.

What can I say: As usual, I got called into the game quite late to do a bit of fire fighting for a few untied ends, meaning units who didn't show their face yet. I count that as either good for my reputation - 'She is able to pull those things off' - or as bad for my reputation - 'She always has a bit of time around her hands'. Hmmm?!

However, the important point is that I am late! People already have been donating several times and I am supposed to get into their pockets...

So for next year I have a couple of suggestions: 
  • Comic Relief people: Reconsider the date and do it in April. Ever heard of April fools? It even fits the scheme.
  • Companies: Let the work forces donate just the amounts they wish without making them harass each other, and for a change let your managers make fools out of themselves,...oh...?!

Friday 11 March 2011

Still holding my ground!

My day job is really trying hard to make me not pursue my personal matters, but I am not giving up just yet. So I am sitting in my car right now, scribbling in my little notebook that is supposed to take my brain snippets from the sewing course.

I have to say: Should this happen more often I really have to practice my handwriting. However, today I have to use every minute I can get hold of. So, what is it what I want to tell you...?

Nobody has bought my book during the past two days, but the days are getting longer. Not that length of the days would have anything to do with my book sales... just mentioned it as an observation of approaching spring, and in order to be positive. Eventually I am getting to the sewing  course, taking place in the middle of nowhere, fairly quickly due to the better sight, to then sit in the parking lot scribbling in notebooks, writing material which later may be used in publications... I am going circles here...

... like the rather mushy matter in my head. I started off  this morning at 5AM to make it in time for dance class at 8. Viennese Waltz... that must have given my brain the first unfortunate spin and then the day moved on to organising an event for Comic Relief which, if done under time pressure and when a thousand other task are awaiting attendance, is not a comical affair at all. In a short while I will be thrown into the world of fashion, threatened by the task of amending a cut pattern... meaning  a lot of measuring... that's gonna be interesting. Well, the outcome of it will be, given the messed up interior of my head.

Gotta go dears, the master of scissors and needles is calling!

Ta ta

Thursday 10 March 2011

Still a Confidence Thing

I thought publishing a book would be hard!  Now I have to realise that taking the criticism for it is even harder. I realise that I am becoming utterly defensive... defensive is not good, defensive the way I feel it is the opposite of confident, defensive is counter productive.

So, let's look at the facts!

The book is completely self published,
  • it never saw a native speaker editing it, and hence it probably has as many mistakes as it has words. 
  • it never saw a native speaker editing it, and hence it completely reflects the way I think, act and talk.

In mathematical terms this would mean that my thinking, acting, and talking is rather awkward. Hmm?! True!

Language wise this reflects in a persistent misuse of prepositions, mixing up tenses, and mixing up the phrase structure. I am sure that somewhere somebody has a collection of phrases in which I turned a serious matter into something utterly ridiculous by messing with the English language.

Does it matter? I don't think it does! At least not in this case.

I do admire people like Victoria Coren or Stephen Fry. Oh, the wit that comes from the precision with which words and grammar are used. I have to admit: I never will get to that quality. At least not in my lifetime. I only could achieve their standards by using an editor. But would this be the right choice, I wonder?

If I were to write a novel, in which the story line has to be crisp, the characters solid, their language precise according to the role they play... or if it were a documentary, aiming to be as depictive and focused as possible, then yes, surely.

My book is neither of those. I needed about two years to be able to classify it. I eventually came across a writer/lecturer who, in one of his articles, elaborated on what makes a good memoir. And then I knew, that's what it is. Every story is a momento, a recollection I wanted to keep safe, or a thought that I have been shifting through my little grey cells over and over again. Some of the stories, although it may not seem so, were born out of hard labour. I would have had to pay a shrink a lot of money for the same outcome. So I am asking: How would I ever be able to let an editor touch those stories? This person who would not  know anything about my life, might rightly so ask me what I thought, and what I wanted to express, in order to find me a better phrase... to be honest... I wouldn't know the answer!

Once I had written about it, the problem was gone, I eventually could move on, I had gained another bit of freedom. I guess, that I am just am not willing to look back. Now that I have learned, through those very stories, how to keep my outlook forward, nothing will make me go back just for that little bit of compliance towards the English language.

So the question for me is not how to create the perfectly phrased book, but whether or not people understand what I am saying. An English colleague read the teaser and his instant response was: Oh, that's sweet! I can hear you talk when I read this. And when I explained my dilemma he responded: 'I do understand it perfectly fine!'

What else would I want to wish for?