Stray thoughts for day one


These two daisies – one white and one purple, both fully open for the first time – greeted me as I gazed out of the kitchen window this morning. Neither has any thought for yesterday, yet without the sum of all yesterdays neither would be here today. The same is true of me – and you.


Update on last year’s priorities:

I learned that the Latin root – patio, meaning I suffer – is an apt origin for the word patience. I also learned that passing through suffering with diligence and mindful meditation results in joy. I do wish I was a quicker learner of these things. Ha! You see? I am not entirely patient yet! Caring for my partner, João, is so much more difficult than it was a year ago, but happily, provides the perfect excuse for that perpetual pile of ironing tucked out of harm’s way. There is an upside to everything.

I loved the whole experience of the 2013 International Conference in Porto for translators, as did João, whom I dragged along for the ride. I loved meeting fellow translators. I guess I may have to go to another one, just as soon as I have processed all the discussion which took place there . I feel as if some conversations were never finished – and indeed, some are still ringing around in my head. I did not get a T-shirt commemorating the event, since I do not think any were available, but I did purchase a tourist coffee mug depicting Porto. This sits to the left of my laptop most days, normally half-full, as a symbolic reminder that I do indeed have ideals, and goals.

I came to the conclusion that I like working on the weekends. A little structured relaxation would not go amiss, though. Weekends on which I did no translation work at all in 2013 numbered six. Three of those occurred consecutively in October, as the inflow of work diminished to a trickle. That was not fun. I indulged instead in a mountain of self-recrimination as regards inadequate marketing skills on my part.

Other things I learned:

I am incapable of distinguishing between a hot flush and the onset of a fever. In case you’re wondering, having both at the same time feels like a really bad hot flush. If you are male, you can remain suitably mystified as to what all the fuss is about. If you are young and female; just wait. It’ll be your turn soon enough. Older women do not need any advice, so I won’t give any!

I perfected the art of achieving oblivion in sleep for a good two hours every day during summer. This experiment was vastly more successful than one conducted by João and I in 1990 which, motivated by the desire to save money, consisted in having a take-away lunch as our main meal of the day. We did this every day for a month, and kept detailed records of our expenditure. It was a disaster. At the end of the month, we were very hungry indeed for some real food, and had appallingly greasy , dull grey facial complexions. The summer siesta plan, on the other hand, was beneficial in every respect. If I do decide to work through summer in 2014, I shall be repeating this routine exactly.

I can survive and feel really healthy without any processed sugar at all for at least 37 days in a row. I ate more fruit, and got hooked on natural yoghurt instead. If I had remembered earlier that today was 1 January, I might have started another sugar-free regime. Oh well, tomorrow will come, and God is willing it. So, there! (That last remark is my balking at people who insist on saying, “See you tomorrow, God willing”.)

Outlook for 2014

If I instill some regimental order into the many miscellaneous pieces of paper scattered around me, I could possibly contemplate the idea of “outlook” better. That is not going to happen any time soon. I am too busy working.

Meeting deadlines – work-related ones, and others – remains a priority, and always will.

I have diarised registering in March to take the EU level B1 and B2 examinations in Portuguese. This is a strange thing, since my level of comprehension of the language exceeds by far this level of accomplishment. One does have to have papers, though, in order to continue on one’s journey. I am reminded of a short story entitled “Menschen ohne Papiere” (People without Papers) by Heinrich Böll set in the Second World War. I am annoyed that I cannot find a copy of it online to read it again. I am also annoyed that I cannot remember the title of the volume of short stories in which this particular one appeared.

I am an unashamed lover of cartoon drawings. I am determined to take at least a few drawing lessons this year so that I can draw my own, and construct or otherwise obtain a “light table”. Life is too serious to be taken seriously all the time. When I think of people I know, it is the sound of their voice, and how they laugh which springs to mind. Everyone sounds the same when they cry.

My blog will be overhauled at some point within the first quarter of 2014. Achieving this result will surprise me far more than it will surprise you.

All the very best wishes to all of you in all your endeavours during 2014!


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