Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Ho Ho Ho

This morning at the Post Office, a lady was chuntering about the cold weather. It’s funny how we British are never happy. Yes, the arrival of the cold weather will play havoc with my bones, but for me there’s nothing nicer than a bright crisp day, lighting the log burner and donning my winceyette PJ’s and bed socks by 7pm.

It’s that most wonderful time of the year and I LOVE IT! Granted, my husband could do with a visit from the three ghosts. However, when he arrives home on Christmas Eve to the aroma of mulled wine and freshly baked sausage rolls I know the festive spirit will rub off. He’ll be able to switch off from worries of his company being taken over and imminent redundancies for a few days. And he won’t complain about how much I’ve spent on Christmas. Well, at least not until the 4th January.

I’ve always been Christmas’s number one fan right back from my earliest memories of pilfering satsuma’s out of the fruit bowl and eating fried leftover Christmas Pudding on Boxing day. Christmas Day was always a rather forlorn affair in our house. Like Tiny Tim, there was no succulent turkey. For Nan and I, a scrawny cockerel from the Co-op was our usual feast, along with sprouts that Nan put on to boil a week beforehand. But the table always looked magical when laid with the best dinner service, I was allowed a Babycham and Nan and I would pull each other’s crackers (although I always had to read her jokes because she couldn’t read the small writing.)

The year I first found out the truth about Santa was devastating. But I can’t blame Susan Abey for ruining it when she told me that it was really my Nan. It was my own fault. You see, as soon as I discovered the truth, I went hunting for all the presents hidden around the house. Consequently, on Christmas day, there were no surprises and I had to feign delight and even worse, lie to my Nan as I opened them. These days I much prefer surprises and ever since, I don't feel a present or shake it to try to guess what’s inside.

Since I met my hubby over twenty-one years ago, I have created my own traditions. Like listening to carols from Kings College while I make the mince pies on Christmas Eve. Another has evolved since an Italian friend brought us a Pannetone round one year and we kept it until Christmas Day. It was so delicious and light to eat on Christmas morning before the big dinner that we’ve bought one every year since. Oh yes, and there’s my greasy, well- thumbed copy of Delia Smith’s Christmas that hubby bought for our first Christmas. It still comes out every October; my bible to keep me on track with the food preparations.

If you’re anything like me at the moment, your life will currently be lists and more lists but over the years, I’ve given up the need for perfection. More often than not, I buy my Christmas pudding these days. The children always make the centrepiece and a good friend, Snailbeach Shepherdess usually makes me a delicious Christmas cake. Christmas is a precious time for us as a family, just the four of us and the dog, of course (although hopefully he won't eat the turkey carcass off the side this year so we'll be able to have cold turkey sandwiches.) We stay at home all Christmas, and the children get to play with their new toys. If they’re happy, we’re happy.

I’m well on with the nesting – another tradition in our house. Although goodness knows why I feel the need to wash the inside windows, paintwork and clean the fridge. Perhaps it’s so that when I’m lying and snoozing after dinner I won’t feel guilty ... I can simply relax and enjoy the festivities after all the build up.

May I wish you all a very special time with the love of family, the happiness of friends and the joy of Christmas.

God Bless us everyone

Until the New Year


Monday, 12 October 2009

We all have our cross to bear

Five years ago, my husband, my soul mate, the love of my life had an affair. Despite a year apart, we are still together.

It never leaves me – what he did and what we went through consequently. Every day some little reminder prods and pokes at the old scab to see whether it has healed. There were times during my troubles that I was overwhelmed by anger – not at him, but an incredulity that I’d had more than my fair share of grief and hard times over the years. ‘Him up there’ has thrown most things at me at some stage or another; being abandoned by my mother and father as a small child; numerous miscarriages; being diagnosed with Behcets disease in my twenties and losing my job as a result; my eldest child being very, very sick. I won’t go on. There is a lot more.

I used to wonder how it was that some people seem to have all that life can throw at them and some remain untouched, leading seemingly blessed lives. Over the years, I realise that is not the case. Everyone has his or her cross to bear. Adversity can strike with or without notice. It can hit a relationship, a loved one, your business, your health or your financial status. No matter where or when it hits it will leave the same emotions and feelings in its wake; anxiety, stress, frustration, disappointment, fear, sadness and almost always, a sense of hopelessness and/or despair. How cruel life can be. But we all know that life’s not fair and what is it they say – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?

Adversity has an incredible power over our emotions, feelings and responses. Yet it always amazes me how strong the human spirit can be to endure such pain and hard times and still battle and come through the other end. From what I’ve gleaned so far, it is how we deal with adversity that separates those who come out at the other end better and wiser from those who are broken by the experience or end up bitter and ruined. Indeed, how we see life determines our interpretation of whether it is an adversity or not. When adversity rocks a comfortable secure life, fear takes over. We all wonder, ‘how will I survive alone?’ ‘Can I ever get over this?’ ‘Will I ever get a new job or career?’ However, if ten people faced the same adverse event, I guarantee that some will see it as negative, some positive and some devastated by it.
We have a choice as to which way we see it. One of the best illustrations I can give is for you to think about Neville and Doreen, the parents of Steven Lawrence or, Sarah Payne, mother of little Sarah who was abducted and murdered by a paedophile. There can be no event more terrible to endure than the death of a child. For some people, a tragedy gives their life purpose.

I should be a resilience coach. Over the years, I’ve perfected it to a fine art. Every knock back is a learning experience. How many times have I told myself that, ‘It must have happened for a reason’ or ‘some good has to come from it.’ Perhaps I’m kidding myself and wrapping it up to make it easier to accept. But hey, if that’s my coping mechanism at least I can say that the challenges in life have made me better, not bitter. It depends how strong your survival instinct is. For me it has always been the need to keep going and never give in. If we’re trying to climb a mountain, it isn’t the mountain that we conquer, it is ourselves. Edmund Hillary said that after he climbed Mount Everest.

I’m not for one moment suggesting that I’m always strong and positive, focussed and proactive in the face of disorder. I can fall apart like the next person and how we cope at the time of the event is a completely different matter and a separate blog. I am talking about resilience, because after I’ve wallowed and hit the bottom, something kicks in and I always, ALWAYS manage to bounce back up and fight. Here’s what I’ve learnt from adversity:-
1 To fight not flight – It’s far better to face the reality of the situation rather than run or shirk it.
2 Accept support from family and friends - The saying, ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’ is so true. It’s also true that the tough times are when you find who your friends are. People who care deeply for you will be there when adversity strikes. When my world crashed around my ears five years ago, my friends carried me through. But even total strangers reached out to me to give their support and encouraged me to keep trying hard to get my life back. Women in particular - ‘sisters’ - there is nothing like the support of another woman. Men rarely have the same support network.
3 Focus on what you have, and what you can do – This doesn’t mean money and material things. People, especially you, are far more important to treasure than possessions.
4 Learn from it and re-build – Adversity can be a tool, just like any other emotional tool for positive change. You have to be self aware to see the opportunity. You have to be patient with yourself – not beat yourself up thinking things like, “I’m such an idiot.” Adversity often brings with it knocks to confidence, loss of security, crippling lack of self-esteem. If you can dig deep into your resolves and strive to where or who we want to be rather than who we are or who we used to be, you will have to have learned to love yourself enough.

Learning to love yourself is the most crucial key to coming through adversity and being stronger and better as a result.

Walt Disney once said:- “You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” A resilient person is able to withstand life’s battles, survive them, and come out triumphant. If you are currently smack in the middle of a rotten situation, take a step back and think of another occasion when you (or someone you know) went through a trauma, tragedy or horrible experience. You see, you survived (or they) survived. We are here to tell the tale. Surviving such experiences should give us confidence and belief in our ability to get on with it when the unthinkable happens. Life isn’t fair and you may be battled scarred and weary but at least you will be able to look at the scars and know the hurt is over and the wound is closed because you have that gift of an amazing and indomitable human spirit.

Until another day

Bye for now

Monday, 21 September 2009

Favourite Film Characters

The lovely and very talented Dulwich Mum has tagged me for my favourite film characters.

I had to think long and hard about this tag - to separate film characters from book characters. For example some of my favourite all time ‘characters’ are Tess (of the D’Urbervilles,) Atticus Finch (To kill a Mockingbird) and Chiyo Sakamoto (Memoirs of a Geisha.) These, are favourite book as well as film characters. However, had it not been for the book, I would not have watched the film. So I’ve tried to consider my favourite film characters as stand alone, not adapted from books or not from books that I had previously read.

Number 5 on my list is Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, not my usual type of film at all if I didn’t have the two boys. However, it has become a firm favourite not only because the divine Johnny Depp plays Captain Jack, but also because Depp has created a real classic in this role. Known for his ridiculously silly walks and slurred speech, Captain Jack is completely bonkers and gloriously over the top. And we could be kindred spirits – we both love rum!
And if, like me you're glad of any excuse to oggle Johnny...

Number 4- Bridget Jones. Of course,Helen Fielding started Bridget Jones’s Diary in the Independent, chronicling the life of the thirtysomething single woman in London and the inevitable publishing deal soon followed. However, it is the film, and Renee Zellweger’s portrayal in the film adaptation that I love. Bridget is such an endearing and funny character – I laughed throughout the film (and still do) at her attempts to make sense of life and find love with the help of her fabulous friends. I laugh at her bad habits and her obsession with self-help books. Most of all I laugh at the honesty and vulnerability of the character – the diary is the device to say what the rest of us often think.
Best quote:
“Resolution number one: obviously, will lose twenty pounds. Number two: will find nice sensible boyfriend and not continue to form romantic attachments to alcoholics, workaholics, peeping-toms, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits or perverts.”

Number 3 - Forrest Gump. "Stupid is as stupid does," says Forrest Gump as he discusses his relative level of intelligence with a stranger while waiting for a bus. Despite his sub-normal IQ, Forrest leads a truly charmed life, and relates the parade of memorable events that befall him such as becoming a football star, meeting JFK, serving in Vietnam, defeating the Chinese national team in table tennis, opening a profitable shrimping business and becoming an original investor in Apple Computers. I love Tom Hanks as an actor and his portrayal of Forrest is truly enchanting. Forrest is one of the most moving and beautifully wholesome of characters, with an ability to touch everyone he meets – I adore this film and so does my son.
Best quote:
“My Momma always said; life is like a box of chocolates... You never know what you're gonna get."”

Number 2 - Sandy from Grease. I was eleven when I first went to the cinema to see Grease. The whole film blew my mind – the music, the script, the characters. After seeing it, posters of John Travolta and Olivia Newton John adorned my bedroom walls. I still remember listening to the radio chart show in our kitchen every Sunday night for eleven weeks when ‘You’re the one that I want’ was number one. I used to sing the songs with my friends in the playground and in my bedroom at night, until my Nan shouted up the stairs, “Will you shut that ruddy noise up!” I wanted to be Sandy and only have one unfulfilled dream - to go on Stars in Their Eyes and sing ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You!’

Number 1
MY FAVOURITE film character is from the film Gladiator.
Maximus Decidimus Meridius is favourite commander to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius but the Emperors unhinged son, Commodus betrays and murders his father and attempts to kill Maximus. Maximus escapes and heads home to find his wife and son murdered. Captured and enslaved along the outer fringes of the Roman Empire, Maximus rises through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena to avenge the murder of his family and his Emperor.

Not since Spartacus, has there been such an epic film with such a leading Alpha Male.
Favourite quote:
“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

It gets me every time.

Ok, I'd love to know who the following blog friends favourite film characters are:-
Being Miss
Reasons to be cheerful 1,2 3
Debs-daydreams in the shed.

Consider yourselves TAGGED!
Until another day

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

2009 - The summer that maketh a man of Idle Jack.

My eldest son, 'Idle Jack' turned sixteen in July.

When you’re sixteen you think you’re a grown up. You can get married, have sex and smoke. Sixteen, for some teenagers is the new ‘key to the door.’ For Idle Jack it was time to get a job. He would have happily spent the summer, post exams, exercising his thumbs on the PlayStation and lifting his legs as I hoovered around him. His dad had other ideas.
“We’re going to stop your pocket money, so you’ll need to get a job. At your age I’d had a paper round for two years and was walking whippets.”

An online application and ten days later and he had an interview at McDonalds. It’s always been a favourite of his. He was nervous it being his first interview. Then there were two more interviews, one of which was an ‘on the job’ evaluation. Finally, they handed him his uniform and advised the shifts. Idle Jack had his first job.

Six weeks on and he’s “LOVING IT!” He’s repaid what he owes us and has money in his pocket (when it’s not dropped through the hole that it burned.) But as Bridget Jones said, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.” And it did when we got back from holiday last week and found his GCSE results on the doormat.

“I don’t understand, I thought I’d done enough. I’ve blown it.” His colour dripped into his Fat Face trainers along with his dreams of going on an Animal Management course.
“Too right, you’ve blown it!” declared his dad after he’d come down off the ceiling followed by World War 3 between his dad and him, his dad and me. I could have walked out. I didn’t. I’m a mother. Idle Jack needed me to shield him from his dad’s wrath. He needed me to help find him another college; to give him some words of encouragement when his plans and dreams were unravelling.

“I’m a failure. I can’t get anything right,” he cried.
This was my son crying – my son who normally wears a mask, an invisible shield with his feigned self-confidence and bravado. Aside from the fact that he left it too late to work hard, one of his failings was that he never told anyone when he was struggling. Teenage boys don’t like to open up and show any weakness or vulnerability. Perish the thought that he should ask for help. It’s difficult to know the state of mind behind the mask; what’s really going on in his head. You try to talk. Sometimes he doesn’t want to. Sometimes he can’t. Sometimes he hates the world. You try not to nag or push too much. You can’t win with a teenager.

He’s never been an academic. That’s probably because he’s never liked school much. His first day at school set the tone for the last eleven years. As I met him at the gate, flung my arms around him and asked eagerly how his first day had gone, he wiped my slobber from his cheek before he nonchalantly replied, “Oh, it was fine, but I don’t think I’ll go again.”

Personally, I think kids have so much more pressure on them these days. I hated being a teenager. Without doubt it was the darkest period of my life. I truly felt that no-one understood me. They probably didn’t. For teenagers, there is so much peer pressure - having to be ‘cool’; if you’re attractive; your weight if you eat too many Mackie D’s, or being too skinny if you don’t eat enough Mackie D’s; whether the Clearasil is working on your acne; the size of your manhood or breasts; You want to become independent. Then, on top of all that, you have to worry about grades. Even worse, for ‘Jack’ when the grades didn’t reflect the hard work he put in, even if it was too little, too late. There are demands from parents, demands from school. Is it any wonders so many teenagers face depression?

He tried his best. Or even if he didn’t try his best all of the time, he now realises that he should have worked a lot harder. It turns out that he was having second thoughts about the Animal Management course anyway. I’ve always said that things happen for a reason. He’s not a failure. He got the part-time job at McDonalds when there are so many that are unemployed. So Business Studies it is. It’s a good, general course that is very marketable and he can re-take the GCSE’s alongside. And there are worse places than Ludlow he could be travelling to. It won’t be too onerous for me to pick him up once in a while and educate him to the towns gastro-delights and delightful independent shops!

He’s not blown it. It’s not the end of the world. It’s how he copes from now on that is important. And how we support him. Who knows, it might end up being the making of him.

It’s been a tough lesson. But then as I'm always saying to him, life is tough.

So until another day

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Sleep tight...or not.

Okay, so the decaf tea before bed-time doesn’t work either. Neither does the hot camomile, catnip, anise or fennel tea, hot milk, drinking alcohol, not drinking alcohol. Nothing helps – exercising during the day, not exercising, milky drinks, earplugs, a fan, a mask, reading, listening to music. We invested in a Tempra mattress, (the memory foam mattress developed originally for NASA.) It cost a fortune and is very comfortable in a sinking in, sliding, body moulding kind of way. But it doesn’t help the sleep problem.

I never used to have any difficulty sleeping and it’s not actually getting off to sleep that’s a struggle. I’ve developed a habit over the last couple of years - that’s what it is - it’s simply a habit, but I can’t get out of it. I stir in the night. My brain clicks into action ahead of my eyes that are desperately willing themselves to stay shut. But the brain whirrs and whirrs until I have a ‘virtual list’ of worries, two sides of A4 paper, and there’s not a chance of getting back to sleep. By this time, my eyes won’t stay shut, and will continue to roll open like a Tom and Jerry cartoon until I get up.

Top of the list at 2.30 am today:-
- Amending my internet shopping before the 1pm deadline the day before delivery.
- GCSE Science (my eldest is in the throes of exams.)
- My Take That tickets (when will Ticketmaster send them out.)
- Editorial on the Village Newsletter.
- The opening sentence of my novel.
- The plot of a short story I’m working on.
- Chase the electrician.

This isn’t an exhaustive list but enough to get me out of bed, turn the PC on, make a cup of tea (herbal, of course,) and scribble down yet another ‘To do’ list. If not, I would only lay in bed with my Victor Meldrew head on, becoming more agitated and peeved at not being able to sleep, tossing and turning watching the illuminated clock on the barn ceiling flash at me, and waiting for ‘Puffer Billy’ by the side of me to snore so I can brain him.

Try counting sheep, I hear you say. Counting bouncy, little hyperactive sheep leaping over a fence is never going to work for me. I could hear the little buggers bleating on the field in the middle of the night when I got up. Take it from me, counting sleeping sheep is likely to be much more effective, only not for me.

Everyone I speak to about my problem has a suggestion. Here are some you probably won’t have heard of before:-

Sleep with your head facing north - And unless you have a particularly unusual body, your feet facing south. This aligns your body with the magnetic field of the planet, bringing your own energies into harmony with those of the Earth. Bizarre but apparently true.
Don't Watch TV or Read Before Going to Bed - opposite advice to watching TV or reading before going to bed.
Toe Wiggling – aids relaxation. Hmmm.
Stomach Rubbing – Evidently soothes down the digestive system and helps to bring about a deeper relaxation. An extra benefit is that it will help you to lose weight by improving the functioning of the digestive system. As if.
Progressive relaxation - Feel your feet. Feel the weight of your feet. Feel your feet relax and sink into the bed. Feel your lower legs. Feel the weight of your lower legs. Feel your lower legs relax and sink into the bed. Feel your knees. Feel the weight of your knees. Feel your knees relax and sink into the bed... you get the idea. Mentally scan your body. If you find any place that's still tense, relax it and let it sink into the bed. By the time you feel your hands, you’ll be bored out of your head and glad to get to sleep.
Deep Breathing – in through your nose and out through your mouth. Or is it the other way around?
Visualize Something Peaceful
Visualize Something Boring
Quiet Ears - an ancient Eastern meditation as well as a method of falling asleep. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, fingers interlocked, and your palms cupping the back of your head. Get as relaxed as possible (it may take a little while to get used to.) Place your thumbs in your ears so that you are pressing the outer flap of your ear and blocking the entrance to the ear canal. Lie quietly and listen for a high-pitched sound that you will gradually hear inside your head. Lay for ten – fifteen minutes, concentrating on that sound. Then put your arms to your sides and go to sleep. (Don't worry about the ringing in your ears – its natural.)
Sex - Alone or with others.
Imagine Coloured animals - Sounds silly but it is supposed to work (just not for me.) Visualize animals in the wrong colours. For example, purple cow, green sheep, red pig, and so on. After coming up with a colour and animal combination, actually visualize it and then I move on to the next one. Coming up with the combinations and then trying to picture the animal is supposed to keep the mind occupied and distracted from whatever stressful thoughts were keeping you awake. Or it will bore you to sleep quickly.
Imagine It's Time to Get Up – works every time.

You see, when I told you I’d tried everything I wasn’t lying. Unfortunately, for me, there are only two options left to try. The first is to buy myself a bottle of ‘Night Nurse’ and have twenty mls every evening before bedtime for the next week in the hope that I can knock myself out and break the habit. It’s as good as sleeping tablets and saves a trip to the doctors.

Alternatively, I could give in to it. When I wake up I don’t lie there and toss and turn. Only use my bed for sleep and sex. The trouble is, there’s not much of the latter either, because I’m too knackered.

Good luck! Pleasant dreams.

Until another day
Bye for now

Saturday, 6 June 2009

We're not worthy

Before you read this, I want you to think of ten positive things about yourself. You will see why by the end of my blog.
A friend gave me a beautiful silk notebook as a gift, about five years ago. The cover is rich, reddish-brown, almost the colour of polished copper with a ‘framed’ panel of sinuous, vertical meandering flowers and acanthus leaves embossed in the middle of the front outer cover. For five years, it has lived on top of my piano alongside my metronome. It stays there, gathering dust, each parchment page as virginal and empty as when it was hand bound. It wasn’t until a conversation with a friend, that I realised why.

Apparently, her sister has a gift for writing poetry and in an attempt to encourage and inspire, F bought her a luxurious notebook for her ideas and notes. After a few weeks, she discovered her sister hadn't used it - the reason, her sister told her, was because it was “too lovely to write in...”

Following lengthy discussions with her sibling and others, F concluded that her sister didn't feel that she was ‘worthy’ of the notebook. It was as if somehow, it was 'too good' and too beautiful for her to write in - that her writing did not measure up to the paper.

I smiled as F recounted the tale and told her about my own notepad - how I hadn't defaced it for fear that my writing would spoil it. It was too beautiful to waste it on my scribbling.

As if to further illustrate the point, I remembered this tale whilst clearing my Nan’s house after she died. Nan always liked to keep a pair of slippers, dressing gown and nightdress ‘for best,’ just in case she had to go into hospital. Why then had she squirreled seven dressing gowns, ten nightdresses, four pairs of slippers and three bottles of Oil of Ulay? In her wardrobe, I found rail after rail of lovely clothes, hardly worn and at least ten garments still with the labels on. On the top of her dressing table sat a whole collection of Helena Rubenstein Apple Blossom – four un-opened spray perfumes, matching soaps, talc, and shower gel - all hardly used. Mind you, I can't talk - I still have a hardly used bottle of Coco Chanel eau de parfum that cost my husband a small fortune when he bought it nearly seven years ago. Well, I only wear it on special occasions-maybe his work Christmas party and my birthday.

So why don’t we indulge and use or spoil ourselves if we have nice things or are given lovely gifts? I feel sure that F’s theory is correct-it is about our feeling of ‘self worth.’

Self worth is different to self-esteem. Self-esteem can go up and down. When I was a Bank Manager, for example, if my Branch and staff achieved our monthly sales targets and received praise, recognition and maybe even financial reward, I would feel good about myself. When we did not, I felt terrible. Self-worth is something you are born with and not changeable. You are worthwhile and have a value – it can’t be taken away from you. You can’t lose it. But you can lose sight of it and forget your own value.

Our feeling of self worth comes from the skills we possess; our achievements and successes, and status including our financial position and even our physical attributes. When we find ourselves not measuring up to society’s criteria for 'worthiness’, we can suffer serious consequences, and our self-worth depreciates dramatically. Of course, nothing eats at self-worth faster than regret, anger or fear. Some of us encounter more than others. For example if we are in an unsatisfactory relationship or have a domineering parent.

From my own experience, the pursuit of perfection and approval steadily drove me further from peace and self-confidence. As a child, I had it drummed in to ‘love my neighbour as myself,’ and not to brag or be selfish. As a teenager, there was a tendency to minimise accomplishments to avoid appearing conceited. By the time, I was an adult I always put the ‘neighbour’ first and had developed a kind of false humility to avoid looking prideful. One of Workaholic Hubby’s biggest criticisms of me is that I ‘put myself down.’ He says I am always doing it, but I can’t help it. I don’t even realise I’m doing it sometimes. Maybe somewhere along the road in my sub-conscious – that perhaps I stopped liking myself, and started to believe I did not deserve anything good - Self-esteem suffered while self-worth was forgotten.
Now back to the question posed in the opening line of my blog. Well, how easily did you reach your target of ten positives about yourself? Would the task have been easier if I had set you ten negatives? I know mine would.

The reality is that loving your neighbour as you would yourself begins with you. You must love and value yourself if you are to love others. You have to respect yourself and acknowledge your own self-worth. You must take care of YOU so that you can love and help your neighbour. Be kind to yourself for it does not make you selfish.

Until another day
Bye for now


Preseli Mags said...
Yes, it was really difficult to think of ten positives. Negatives would be much easier, which is very sad really. That's a very thought-provoking blog, Angel. I know exactly what you mean about the beautiful notebook - I have a very lovely silver photograph album that I have never put any pictures in for the same reason. I think I'll take that as homework!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Faith said...
Excellent blog Angel, and I dived straight in without thinking of 10 positives as I knew it would take me ages! It is similar to another good blog I read recently by, I think, Fire Byrd. I am just starting to realise that at over 50 years of age, I might as well use my stuff as there is no better 'best' than now! Your nan's collection of nighties, olays etc reminded me of exhub2's mother - when she died we cleared out loads of unused goodies. I think she was a hoarder because she had come from such a poor Irish family - no shoes to go to school in - that she couldnt believe that she could now have things. It's very sad. Let's all who read this blog use something 'good' or 'special' that we have been 'saving' this week!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Elizabethd said...
Well written Angel.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

LittleBrownDog said...
Very thoughtful blog, Angel, and so true. I think I got up to about five positives before I got stuck, and I know just what you mean about the beautiful notebooks and barely used bottles of perfume - I'm just the same.

Friday, September 19, 2008

snailbeachshepherdess said...
Ouch - cringeing well here - three gorgeous water colour sketch pads kept flat under the matress for goodness sake....now what do I do?
Very thought provoking blog Angel.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Working mum said...
Thought provoking! I came up with four, not good, eh?

But, I think I score Brownie points for this one - I have some beautiful Royal Doulton Crystal wine glasses that we received as a wedding present; I do not save them for best, we use them all the time as I think that is the way to appreciate them. Will that redeem me?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Arcadian Advocate said...
Yours is an interesting blog that I first found today.

Saying 'No' is a vital tool easier to do as we get older, and I am sorry about your Gran, we too have lost someone this year and it is still sharp and raw.
However, the list of 10 things will need to be thought about . First attempt:
kind, empathetic, reliable, knowledgable, funny [I guess this depends on your sense of humour], writes a lot, faithful, loyal, honest and well completely myself. Will that do?

Do please come visit my blog, I am rather new to all this: http;//arcadianadvocate.wordpress.com

Hope to see you soon and enjoyed your blog.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Marianne said...
Hi Angel,
Thanks for visiting my blog.

When my life collasped, we lost our home, car and finally the marriage itself disappeared. It taught me to live every day in the present and not to assume that you will have tomorrow what you have today.
Enjoy it while you can.

Monday, October 06, 2008

CAMILLA said...
A wonderful written post Angel.

I have two notebooks that friend has given me as gifts, and they still remained untouched, so I have learned a lesson there.

I have to agree.... I could easily write negatives rather than positives. Totally agree about love thy neighbour.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Tattie Weasle said...
I confess I have a beautiful notebook that I have not written in as well - hating to despoil it.
Very thought provoking...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

angel said...
Lovely post,i also have a notebook that i "may spoil" if i use it, your post has really made me think.
Thank you.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fennie said...
Only just caught up. You would not believe how much of this I recognise.
The trick is perhaps to live life at right angles to events and not in parallel with them. If you live in parallel, it's like being on a wave - you are up and down, up and down, with every bit of praise of criticism that comes your way. But if you live your life at right angles you can become detached and realise that how you feel about yourself is how you decide to feel and not how events make you feel. Very Buddhist and Very Difficult

Sunday, October 12, 2008

toady said...
Only just caught up with this and wow did it ring bells. Being the youngest of 4 and a girl I think praise was a bit thin on the ground in order 'not to spoil me'. Now find it very hard to accept it if any comes my way and can't take criticism either.
Funny lot aren't we.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sally's Chateau said...
Lovely blog, I too have a pristine notebook which I hate to 'spoil' and wise words indeed about valueing yourself.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Exmoorjane said...
I tend to dive in and use my notebooks and then feel I have 'let them down' by not writing good stuff in them. So maybe I'm one step on but still not really there!
I loved this - chimed a chord for sure.