This picture is of the Witch's Head Nebula (apparently a nebula refers to cloud of gas or dust in space) which is about 1000 light years from Earth and sometimes goes by the less poetic name of IC 2118.
G got me the book of the Universe for Christmas, which contains hundreds of images just like this one and is, with almost every other one of my Christmas presents, one of my new favourite things.
I'm introducing a new feature: Read of the Day.
It's something that I've read or am reading that I have a desperate need to share with you. One of my main reasons for starting this feature is that I've read less in the last six months than at any other part of my life. This has been partly due to workloads, but also just because I've gotten out of the habit and I think that I should hit myself repeatedly with hardbacks until I get back into it. Because there are few pleasures as pure as reading (or at least few pleasures that don't involve you or someone else breaking into a sweat.)
Today's Read of the Day
Sarra Manning's 'Pretty Things'
One glance at this book would tell you that Sarra's a teen writer, but please do not let that discourage you one little bit from reading this. Pretty Things tells the confusing, funny and touching story of 4 young people: Brie, Walker, Charlie and Daisy as they trip through a summer, a Shakespeare play and one another's beds. It's stylishly written, fast paced and funny. And my sister bought it for me for Christmas because she is naturally cooler than anyone else I know in the whole wide world. Straight up.
Back in the office today for a much better day than yesterday. I think we're all feeling a certain ennui over the whole Christmas phenomena. My stress levels fly up so easily, and I had a long conversation with the wise and wonderful Miss Sally about the stresses of change. The thing I like about Miss Sally is that she always calls it like she sees and feels it. I've never seen Miss Sally blag someone just because it would make her life, or anyone else's, easier. So when I'm lucky enough for Miss Sally to offer me advice, I strap myself in and listen.
"You know my first thought when I'm faced with change?" she asked, "It's: How do I make this work for me?"
Miss Sally gave me a conspiratorial grin, "And believe me, Sarah, there is always a way to make it work for you, no matter what the situation."
I love this piece of advice, mostly because, I realise, it's the dead opposite of what I normally do. What I normally do is get major league stressed out that things aren't going the way I want them to, or that things aren't fair, or that the situation is impossible. In short, I spend a lot of time looking at what I can't change, and what I can't influence and it's much later that I start thinking about the solutions or possibilities. In the meantime, a whole world of pain has usually taken shape.
So with the New Year looming up over us, I have decided that 2007 will be the year of making it work for me.
The rest of the day just kept getting better. I engaged in a little bit of conflict resolution with the Chief, who was a perfect boss at the exact moment it counted. After work we wandered into town to pick up copies of Mizz for the three of us. This isn't a usual ritual for us at the Ministry (we subscribe to more highbrow mags like Heat and occasionally Hello), but a special treat because.........drum roll please.........
Our own favourite Lisa Clark has a double page spread in this week's Mizz for her VERY SOON TO BE RELEASED BOOK
Don't worry because you can order a copy of your very own by clicking on the link above. Awesome. We cooed collectively about Lisa's article over a glass of white wine in Truffles on Castle Road, which is a sweet little place that is fast becoming one of my favourite haunts.
Back at home, I drank a little too much white wine and was asleep long before bedtime. A throughly satisfying start to my holidays.
Quotes Du Jour
There is no nonsense so gross that society will not, at some time, make a doctrine of it and defend it with every weapon of communal stupidity.
He may be mad, but there's method in his madness. There nearly always is method in madness. It's what drives men mad, being methodical.
G K Chesterton
Today's Beautiful Things
1. "The imagination in its loyalty to possibility often takes the curved path rather than the linear way." John O'Donohue
2. Live Lounge the Album - cannot get enough of it
3. The waxing gibbous moon