Monday, December 31, 2012

A last look at 2012

Hope everyone had a very merry Christmas and wishing you all a healthy, happy and harmonious New Year.

I have been pretty much out of the blogging loop for a couple of months or so but wanted to wish everyone a really lovely Christmas and a very happy New Year. I hope that 2013 will usher in a new time for us all. The Golden Age. Doesn't that sound wonderful. Let's hope we can all put aside our differences and live alongside each other in peace and harmony.

I have found that this is much easier than I thought it would be and that it doesn't matter if I don't agree with someone else's views or if they don't like mine. We can still exist in the same space in love and friendship, whether it is at home or work or anywhere else. The whole point of being here is to experience different things and how boring would it be if we all liked doing the same things or thought the same way. I love meeting new people, hearing different ways of thinking, and discovering new things to do. I would hate it if we all lived the same way. Diversity is interesting. If nothing else, it shows me what I don't want, which in turn helps me to work out what I DO want. It also helps if I don't let other people's opinions influence me too much and if I can not care too much what other people think.

I am having the best fun at the moment manifesting an amazing life. It seems no sooner do I formulate what I want in my mind, then it becomes a reality, in ways I couldn't even imagine. Much better than I would have allowed myself to dream was possible. My life is not perfect by any means, but I am learning that all the bumps and potholes along the way just give me opportunities to grow and become a better person. Somehow I appreciate what I have more when I have to go through a struggle to get it, although this ease and abundance I am currently experiencing is bloody fab. So, actually, scrap that, I'm gonna stop stuggling and just have fun instead.

2012 for me was a year of receiving. It seemed that I was reaping the rewards of past hard work, physically and spiritually. I allowed myself to receive too, which is a newer experience for me, as I always thought that giving was the most important trait. I have decided I like receiving, especially expensive and beautiful jewellry from my husband. LOL

2013 is going to be a year of being more disciplined and for focusing on the things that are more important to me, rather than being distracted by the everyday stuff. I am going to start a regular writing and blogging schedule, balance work and home effectively, spend more quality time with my husband and children, but also have time for friends and family. I am going to eat more healthily and consciously and, hopefully, lose some weight (hmmm, that's new one for me). I am going to pay off my UK credit card (ha ha ha yes, I can hear you all laughing, but I am, I am, I AM going to be debt free!).
I am going to start a regular meditation schedule (yes, I know I was really good for a while there back in May and June but it has gradually been dropping off my radar). I am going to start stretching my poor aching muscles, become more supple (ha!) and maybe even start a yoga class (well, I do live in hippy California - it's practically a requirement).


And ... I am going to finish my sodding memoir and become a famous successful author and have lovely-jubbly Brad Pitt and George Clooney star in the film of my best-selling book. So there!

OK that's me. What about you? What are your New Year's Resolutions or do you not believe in them or fail miserably in the first couple of weeks. What was good for you in 2012 and what are you looking forward to in 2013?

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Miss You Blogfest

This blogfest is hosted by Alex Cavanaugh, Matt MacNish and Andrew Leon. It goes without saying that the whole blogging community would miss these guys if they stopped posting. Please take a moment to head over there and say Hi to them all. They all blog extensively and are a total inspiration.

This blogfest is about our blogger friends. Who would we really miss if they stopped blogging and those who aren't posting as often or have stopped altogether. So first up are the some of my favourite bloggers. They are funny, generous and I would bloody hate it if they didn't blog anymore.

Lily from The Incoherent Ramblings of a Moose! She is utterly hysterical, crazy as shit and blogs about really weird stuff that might, or might not, have happened to her. She is not for the faint of heart, so be warned. I love her though and would absolutely hate, hate, hate it if she stopped blogging. Like me, she has been finding it hard to blog as much recently. Is it something in the air, do you think?

Pat from It's Rhyme Time. Another one who is barking mad, or should I say meowing mad! It is written in rhyme by Pat's cat. Hmmm I think that says it all. He blogs every day, which by itself is an amazing task. I did that for one month for the A-Z Challenge and it nearly killed me! He always comments on my posts even when I don't comment on his, which is just too lovely for words. He's written a ton of books, so please go and visit his blog. You will not be disappointed. Thanks Pat. You're Top Cat.

Bridget Straub is someone who I have met through blogging and she is so great. She has a fab blog, which I only manage to comment on occassionally, as I can't seem to find time to do anything these days. She writes more than anyone I know - three books in one year! She is kind, funny, generous and brave. Check out her blog and all her books. She will be guesting on my blog very soon, so please come back and see her then.

Now here are some bloggers who don't blog as often or who have stopped altogether:

Rachael Harrie of Rach Writes was the reason why I started blogging in the first place. Her Third Platform-Building Campaign back in August 2011 started me off. She seems to have stopped the Campaigns which, although I can totally understand why as they must have been an unearthly amount of work, is a sad thing as they were such good fun and I met so many new people. She still blogs and is definitely worth visiting. She always has a lot of great information on her blog.

Gillian Hefer from A Daft Scots Lass has just stopped blogging in September. She was always off the wall and swore more than any drunken Glaswegian stumbling out of the pub on a Friday night. I will miss her tell-it-like-it-is humour and ruder-than-hell remarks. Hopefully she will just take a well-earned rest and be back with more in the New Year.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Politeness is a British Culture

My sister said this to me the other day when we were chatting. It really struck a chord with me. I started thinking about how politeness is so much a part of everyday life in England and how different it is in America. Not that I’m saying Americans aren’t polite. They are, just in a different way.

The word politeness derives from the Latin word “politus”, which means polished. My sister put forward a theory that we may have got our politeness from the mixing of the classes, when the Upstairs and Downstairs had to start polishing up their communication skills in order to socialize together and no-one knew how the hell to do it.

The English, in particular, admire politeness, reserve and restraint, although some might say we are merely stuck up, unfriendly and cold! Not so much of the Rule Britannia, but more of the Rude Britannia? Apparently, according to some research ...

If you want to read the rest of this blog, please go to The Kindness Project, as I'm blogging there today.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Definition of Success?

I had lunch with my 17 year old daughter last week and as I walked away I smiled to myself and thought was a successful time it had been. And then I laughed out loud as I realized how my views on what constitute "successful" have changed beyond all recognition since having kids. Here is a brief summary of our lunch:

We met at a restaurant near to where we both work that serves lovely pasta. While I was waiting for her to appear (of course, she was late) I looked at their menu and and decided to choose something off their very reasonable 'Lunch Specials' menu. When Emma arrived, she was starving and took a very brief glance at the Specials menu before declaring there was nothing there she liked. No problem, I said, choose what you want from the normal menu. After perusing for a few minutes she decided on a Gorgonzola pasta dish. I knew she wouldn't be able to eat a normal-sized portion so offered to share it with her and just order a salad. I wanted the Mixta salad, which I'd fancied from the Specials menu, she wanted the Caesar salad, as usual (what is it with all teenagers - why do they always order bloody Caesar salad?). We ordered the Gorgonzola pasta and the Caesar salad. I ate most of the salad as she disliked their homemade dressing.

She then spent most of our lunch texting on her phone, which is supposed to be forbidden, but apparently it was "Just one more text, it's very quick, just making important social arrangements". We did, however, manage to squeeze in a few conversational sentences without getting into an argument, in between her texting and shovelling food in her mouth, before we got the bill. As we were leaving she somehow managed to extract $7 cash out of me to go back to her work (a fashionable clothing store) as she absolutely had to have this bracelet which was the last one there and she'd left her wallet at home.

As we left she smiled happily, told me she loved me (hmmm, wallet-love?) and actually allowed me to put an arm around her and graciously leaned her head towards me so I could kiss her forehead. This was thrilling as I am not normally allowed to touch her. I walked away thinking what a nice lunch it was before giving myself a mental head slap and reality check.

How has your thinking changed over the years? What do you accept now that would have been completely unacceptable a few years ago? (Like farting when you cough, no longer being able to do star-jumps - did I ever want to? - or longing for bed at 9pm, to sleep not for any hanky-panky.)

Please remember to check out the Write On, Mamas! Indigogo Campaign - see the button on the right. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sex, money and rock 'n' roll!

Hellooooooo! I'm back ... again! What a weird and wonderful couple of months it's been. Lots of fun, lots of de-cluttering and a little bit of drama. I can't believe how completely crap I've been when it's come to blogging though. Every day has been packed to the gunnels with exciting, boring, fun, tedious and exotic things I had to do, which somehow made it impossible to write. So much so, that I started not to think of myself as a writer ... which was a bit sad. So, I made a new resolution to properly schedule time to write. Not a New Year's Resolution, as I never bloody keep those, but maybe a Nearly Halloween Resolution. Hmmm, we'll see. But I digress. I am scheduling writing time and top of my list is blogging.


The Write On, Mamas! at Lit Crawl 2012
The slight problem, well, not exactly a problem, but one of the reasons why I haven't been writing is that my AMAZING writing group, the Write On, Mamas! has just launched its brand spanky new, incredibly wonderful website, and I am in charge of editing it and general maintenance. The only incy-wincy teensy-weensy issue there is our new site is Wordpress and I knew sod-all about how to work in effing Wordpress. All I knew was that Blogger and Wordpress don't play nice together. In fact, they're a little like my hormonal teenagers - sometimes sweetness and light and at others nasty, horrid vermin. So, another bloody steep learning curve ... and now that I'm the big five-oh, I really thought I wouldn't have to do that learning thing anymore. Drat and double drat.

Then we launched an Indigogo campaign to raise money for our fabby Anthology project and I somehow got roped into helping with the video as my son did the filming and editing. If any of you have any spare cash fluttering around your undies, and you fancy giving it to a bunch of VERY talented writers, please click here. You can even have some of us Mamas invade your home and perform at your request. Although no requests for pole-dancing in g-strings please. Strictly reading. However, we just successfully performed our "Your Mom had sex" theme at San Francisco's Lit Crawl to a packed house, so we are happy to be a bit risquĂ©.

We even passed out these condoms, which went down well with passers-by. Oh, maybe I should re-phrase that! My piece started: "I opened my underwear drawer and recoiled in shock." I may upload the full script and video soon.

And if that isn't enough, my fellow bloggers in The Kindness Project decided that, instead of posting every 2nd Wednesday, we would have our very own site and blog about kindness all the time. Please go and take a look. I will let you know when I am posting, but all the contributors are inspirational. We shall be doing lots of exciting things in the future so watch this space.

I've also been to see a ton of bands, including America, The Tubes, Ed Sheeran (at last) who was playing free in San Francisco with Philip Phillips and Alanis Morrisette. I'm seeing Bob Dylan this week with Mark Knopfler, Muse in January and Ed Sheeran again in February.

Ok, so that's some of what I've been up to recently. What about you? What have I missed?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Busy, busy, busy


Sorry, sorry, sorry. I am slammed again, with work and also with editing my writing group's new website which just went live (more on this soon). So I haven't had time to write anything. Instead, I am re-publishing some of my most popular posts until I can find a spare brain cell to write something new. This was my top post from the A-Z Challenge in April.



U is for Useful and Useless



Useful: Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty
Being a rather Unorganised, but Ultroneous (that's spontaneous to the Uneducated) person, I obviously have not properly thought through this A-Z Challenge. Apart from the first 3 or 4 posts, I have not written posts ahead of time. I have not even listed ideas of what I might write. It has been an interesting exercise in thinking on my feet, to say the least. So, as we arrive at the bottom end of the alphabet and the letters become a bit more difficult, I find myself somewhat panicking. What do to with 'U'? Ultimately, what Utter nonsense will I come up this time? Not one to disappoint, I have decided to Unearth and Unlease and, wait for it, Unbosom some Useful tips and some Useless sayings for your general amusement and jollification.
I thought this was a ridiculous saying when my husband first said it and mocked him cruelly. Now I know the error of my ways as it is the ONLY way I can tell how to turn something on or off. I find myself saying it to others. Does this mean I am now officially "An Old Fart"?


Monday, September 10, 2012

Back from the blogging wilderness

Hellooooo! I'm back. Yes, I know it's been bloody ages since I last blogged. Bad Claire. I have just been having waaaay too much fun. Let me give you a very brief insight into just how much fun I have been having these last few weeks.

August was basically "Holiday Month" for me. I went south for a lovely, girlie weekend with my 17 year old daughter to Santa Cruz, Monterey and Carmel. I've still got to write Part Three - sorry, will get to that soon. Then I went north to Fort Bragg with my hubby, my 15 year old son and his friend. That was fun too, but in a different, more manly way. Then I barely had time to unpack and do laundry before I was off again. This time to San Diego. Oh my god! A whole week just with my gorgeous husband and no children. Heaven.

It was my 50th birthday and instead of having a huge party at home, which I was thinking of doing but then just seemed like a whole lot of sodding work and expense for us, my hubby took me away for a week. We spent 3 days in San Diego (I am officially in love with SD) and then 3 days staying with amazing friends who live about 40 mins outside SD.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wild Weekend in Vegas!


Well, I know that pic does not look terribly wild but it was the only pic I had of me in Vegas on short notice. This was actually the last time I went to Vegas, but I am just about to go with my company - in about an hour in fact - and in the past these types of events have been rather wild! My work colleagues have been saying things like "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" which was bad enough, but then they started saying "What happens in Vegas, never happened!" OMG. Now I'm scared!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Kindness Project


Brightening the world one smile, one kind word,
one blog post at a time

Please see the end of this post for a description of TKP and who else is participating.

A painting by my son, Tom

I have been thinking about what to write for this month's kindness blog and decided to write about the far-reaching effects of being kind, even small and seemingly insignificant acts, and how that can affect our entire planet. So being kind to someone is actually kinder than we think. We may hope that the person to whom we are being kind benefits (which they may do even if they don't even realise we are being kind to them), but I believe there is much more to it than that.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Girlie Weekend (Part Two)

Ok, so where was I at the end of Part One? Oh yes, in the dark, driving, not being able to see the spectacular view of the Pacific coast from Santa Cruz on the way to Monterey. A little disappointed, we finally pulled up to our motel about 10pm and as we squeezed into the tiny parking lot outside and peered up anxiously at the dilapidated-looking exterior of the ugly motel, I tried to put a good spin on it.

"Oh, well, at least we won't have far to walk from our car."

The nose of our car was practically touching the room in front. I jumped out before she could see my grimace. As the grumpy, old man in a dirty frayed shirt and grubby cardigan shuffled out of some back room into the claustrophobic lobby, my heart sank even further. After a brief verbal scuffle I discovered that we were in the wrong motel. Thank goodness! Never have I been so happy to have messed up. Emma's face showed her massive relief as we pulled in next door to a much more respectable-looking motel.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Lovely Girlie Weekend (Part One)

I thought I would write about my lovely girlie weekend with my daughter last weekend. I have to admit that I wasn't totally looking forward to it as she has been a mite stroppy recently, biting my head off if I so much as look at her with the wrong sort of facial expression. As we loaded up the car on Friday lunchtime for our 2 night trip, my husband muttered that we might as well go for a month with the amount of stuff we were taking. He was right. I am not a good role model for Travelling Light - I once took 14 pairs of shoes on a 10 day holiday in Spain! Emma is definitely a chip off the old block, taking enough changes of clothes for Paris fashion week.


Eventually we were off, only about 30 minutes late, which is something of a record for me. She persuaded me that she wanted to drive as it would be good experience for her (she only passed her test a few months ago). I wasn't sure that would be calming for my stress levels but was very pleasantly surprised as she drove positively and with confidence. I had to occasionally tell her to watch her speed and steer with more than one dainty little finger, but we started speaking again after only a few minutes of huffy silence.


We were heading off to Santa Cruz, Monterey and Carmel. What fun. The sun was shining, we were playing great music and beat most of the Friday rush hour traffic. Arriving in Santa Cruz we found the Downtown shopping area first as Emma was born with an onboard retail radar. She fell in love instantly. It was shopping heaven for her after the fashion hell of sleepy, backwater Novato. There were actually people on the streets, young people at that, and shops that she wanted to buy from. And buy she did. She was unstoppable, looking at me with doe eyes as she tried on cheap sandals, summer sale dresses, and endless pairs of jeans. Eventually, after I showed her the empty inside of my wallet, she decided that buying from Goodwill and thrift stores was just as good, although why she needed to buy THREE pairs of jeans to add to her mountain at home was beyond me.


We eventually headed off to the Boardwalk, where she ambushed me with more doe eyes as she looked with abject longing at the bulging bags of disgustingly fake, bright pink candy floss (or cotton candy). This revolting fluffy sugar substance was strictly forbidden when she was younger as she would become the anti-christ after eating it, spitting venom as her head revolved with scary evil eyes. Munching away together we decided it really was repulsive stuff and would remember never to buy it again. We also decided to forgo riding on any of the roller coasters as she has inherited my delightful trait of vomiting on boyfriends after being spun like a rag-doll, and instead made our way to the beach, just as Modern English took to the stage for their free Friday night performance. I have really missed walking by the sea since moving to California but had forgotten, in my rose-tinted memories, just how bloody hard it is on the leg muscles to plough through the deep soft sand. And there I was thinking I was getting fit climbing up all the sodding hills in Marin Co.


Exhausted, we finally clamboured back onto the Boardwalk with all the other, more sensible, grockles and agreed that, lovely as it was to hear a British accent tunelessly screeching out old 80's numbers, a delicious hearty supper was in order. Driving back to the Downtown area like fashion homing pigeons we found all the restaurants heaving with people tired and irritable after too long in the sun. I managed to use my English accent and Emma's wraithlike looks to talk our way into a decent Italian and we soon found ourselves sharing a pizza and salad. It was very nice to also down a large glass of wine as I realised there was a distinct advantage to having a daughter old enough to drive.

I had been told to drive down Pacific Coast Highway as the view was spectacular and the sunset would be beautiful. Well, being the obedient people-pleaser that I am, that is exactly what we did. But by the time we finished supper, squeezing in a couple more stores on the way to the car, the drive down to our motel in Monterey was in the pitch dark.


Part Two coming very soon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Guest Post: Free Zebra on Amazon

Today I am handing over my blog to an excellent author friend of mine, who I met over on Scribd.com. He is giving away his fabulous book, The Sun Zebra, FREE for the next 2 days. I loved it! Here is my Amazon review:

"Initially, I was unsure whether this collection of short stories would be my type of book and started with the attitude of reading it as fast as possible. Well, I did read it quickly but only because I couldn't stop reading. It is a beautiful and inspirational book, exceptionally well-written. Rolando takes us by the hand and gently leads us into a magical world seen through the innocent eyes of his daughter, Nell. Unsullied by the cynical view of others with supposedly more experience and wisdom, Nell is not only a delight, but shows she has an innate knowledge and purity which allow magic to happen. This book is touchingly poignant. I could feel my heart opening as I read it. It reminded me of simple, yet powerful truths. Rolando skillfully describes the joy, innocence and simplicity of being a child, while charmingly showing us what a truly marvelous father and husband he is at the same time. I cannot wait to read this again and would highly recommend this to anyone, child and adult alike."

Over to you Rolando or, as he is sometimes known, Phantomimic!

 
What is a dad to do if his daughter claims she has encountered a zebra in the middle of rural Pennsylvania? That is what the dad in my book had to figure out. Fortunately he went to “look for the zebra,” and that made all the difference because what he found was an animal that turned out to be part flesh and part metaphor.

There is more. In my book an insect boldly goes where no insect has gone before, Poe’s poem “The Raven” gets a new twist, a Christmas tree reveals its secrets, and a forgotten superhero makes a triumphant return. These stories may sound like stories for little kids, but my book is not a children’s book. My book is what I call a “children’s book for grownups.”

But what is a “children’s book for grownups” and more importantly: why write one? I wrote it because I feel that the point of view of children is undervalued in our society. This is probably because children require adult supervision to survive and thrive in our world. They may be "cute" and "funny" and a "joy to the heart," but children are seldom taken seriously. And why should they be? In their tender years what can a child possibly teach us about the complexity of the adult world with all its danger and opportunities? As it turns out, I think they can teach us a lot.

Many of us have by and large forgotten what it was to be a child even though much of what we are as adults is a result of the child we used to be. Children can help us get in touch with that inner child hidden in the deep recesses of our minds. We just have to listen to them, take their hands, and go explore the world together.

In my book the world of adults with its skepticism and its hard realities collides with the carefree magical world of children, and sparks of wisdom fly everywhere. My hope is that these sparks will help those who read my stories to learn the things children can teach us and remember what it was to be a child.

Now for the best thing: My book will be free on Amazon from July 18 to 19. You can download your copy during those two days at no cost. I hope you can read my book and let me know what you think of it. I also want to thank Claire for the chance to write about it on her blog.

My book’s Amazon link is:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Sun-Zebra-ebook/dp/B006AC5FCU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1342572267&sr=1-1&keywords=the+sun+zebra

Thank you very much for reading my post.I am Rolando Garcia, the peculiar eclectic writer.

Visit my website:
http://phantomimic.weebly.com/
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/phantomimic
Or like my Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rolando-Garcia-Phantomimic/203347659698101

So, what more can you ask? An inspirationally lovely book, written by an accomplished writer, FREE! Go get it now and tell your friends.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Kindness Project - A Tribute to my Mum

Brightening the world one smile, one kind word,
one blog post at a time

Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good.  But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren’t feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, posting the second Wednesday of every month. 

Want to join us? Grab our button and spread a little kindness.

For this month's Kindness Project I wanted to give a shout out to my Mum, Rosemary (or Ro as everyone knows her). Writing my last post about our awful day out at Wimbledon, and how she saw the funny side, made me think about her even more and I wanted to share her wonderful, kind side. She is such an amazing role model for me and always has been. She is the epitome of kindness. She has always been there for me and my two sisters throughout our entire lives, like a rock. She doesn't try and control us, or force her opinion on us, but allows us to make our own (many and varied) mistakes and learn and grow from our experiences.
She even made my horrendously difficult decision to move her only two grandchildren halfway round the world as easy as she possibly could, while still letting me know how much she didn't want us to go and how much she loved us and would miss us. She has been not just a mother, but a sister, a friend, a bank, an ironing lady, a cleaner, a babysitter, and someone to have a bloody good laugh with down the pub. I could go on and on, but I already have tears in my eyes and the screen's a bit blurry.

(Sniff. Blow nose. Wipe eyes. Deep breath.)

She is also brave and courageous and adventurous. She went skiing for the first time in her 40's when she was terrified and returned triumphant but black and blue - literally - I have never seen bruises like it. She learned how to windsurf and waterski, even though she hated every moment. She drives like a bat out of hell (and yes, Mum, I know you're an Advanced Driver) in a sporty car that is totally impractical for driving narrow, windy country roads and parking in tiny spaces, but she doesn't want to swap it in for something more sensible as that would make her feel 'old' (she's 76!).

She decided to learn to fly and got her private pilot's license at the age of 50 (I know, how incredible is that? She used to have to lock herself in the loo to get some peace to study indecipherable diagrams for the extremely complicated navigation test).

But aside from all the fun stuff, she has also spent so much of her life helping others, with kindness and extreme generosity. In particular, she is a very active member of various charities that help disabled people learn how to fly. I can't remember all their correct names but I'm sure Flying for the Disabled is one. Anyway, their names are unimportant. What is important is how she looks after all the incredibly courageous disabled people who put their sometimes life-threatening ailments to one side in order to follow their passion to fly. She follows them as they take their massively difficult written tests; is there when they are helped into the small aeroplane to take their first flight with an instructor; celebrates with them if they actually pass their private pilot's license and is there to witness and cheer them on their first solo flight.
She doesn't stop there, either. She writes to them, thanks them, phones them, makes them laugh as they endure another horrific series of operations, organises nicer Bed & Breakfast places to stay or even offers them her spare bed, meets them for lunch, gets them better jobs, emails them and generally is like a second Mum. She does all this for free. She doesn't get one penny, just the undying adoration of all her 'pupils'.

I try to practice kindness every day. And fail. Often. I don't know how she does it all the time, often with complete strangers, but she is my hero and a tough act to follow.




I miss her like crazy.
Every. Single. Day.





Who's your kindness hero?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

An unforgettable day out at Wimbledon

I just love Wimbledon tennis tournament. It's my favourite sporting event in the year. I have been a few times, especially when I was younger, but the most memorable was the time I took my Mum about 5 years ago. She had been helping me a lot with the kids (well, she always did that) and I wanted to give her a special treat. A lovely day out that the two of could remember. Well, it was certainly unforgettable.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blogger's Block turns to Farting

I just read a great post from the hilarious Chiz at Chiz Chat about writer's block and the problem of distractions. I seem to be having Blogger's Block. I can't seem to think of anything interesting to blog about.

I am having no problem with my writing projects: I am in the middle of editing a piece for the Anthology my writing group is self-publishing; I cannot wait to get back to my memoir and am constantly re-writing scenes in my head as I walk the dog and drive in my car. Sadly, all my genius prose is lost as I seem to have the memory of a gnat. One day I will learn to use the voice notetaking thingy on my phone.



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Introducing Bridget Straub - Writer Extraordinaire

Today I have great pleasure in turning my blog over to my excellent writer friend, Bridget Straub. Bridget is amazing. To say she writes profusively is the understatement of the year. She actually wrote four novels, half a sequel and a musical in one year! Jeez, I am into my third year on my first book. How does she do it? Two of her books have now been published: Searching for my Wand and On a Hot August Afternoon. Please take a moment to visit Bridget's blog and say Hi. I highly recommend buying her books, links below.

Monday, June 11, 2012

11 Questions and Secret Squirrel blurts all

I am feeling very frustrated. Blogging has fallen off my radar. I have become so busy and work is also manic, that I don't get time to blog anymore. I hate it. I miss reading all your blogs. I miss blogging regularly and reading all your comments. I am desperately trying to schedule my time better. I am, however, forever grateful that April was so quiet at work otherwise I would never had been able to complete the A-Z Challenge. How do the rest of you manage your time? Any tips?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The 11 Questions Tag Game Part 2

This is the second part of my Tag. Part one being here. Righto, here are the 11 questions posed by Magical Mystical Mimi.

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Bug is on the left
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1. - First date - Who, where, when?
Most of you know this as it's what my memoir is all about. So, obviously, it was Bug, and our date was in secret in the bushes at boarding school in England, when I was 13 years old in 1976 (oooh that dates me!).


2. - First kiss - Who, where, when?
Ditto above - not a very successful first kiss for me either, but you'll have to wait for my book to discover why.

3. - First car - What make, model, year?
It was a second hand Fiat 600D, can't remember what year but it was old. Her name was Howdy as the number plate was HOW 805D. I still have the licence number plate somewhere buried at the back of my brother in law's storage container. I loved her even though she only had a top speed of 50mph and leaked like a bucket when it rained ... which it does ALL THE TIME in England! 

Friday, June 1, 2012

The 11 Questions Tag Game

I have been tagged again. This time it's the lovely Mimi at Magical Mystical Mimi    I have to thank. I love this one because it is all about my lucky number 11. Here are the rules:

  • Each per­son must post 11 things about them­selves on their blog.
  • Answer the 11 ques­tions the tag­ger set for you in their post.
  • Cre­ate 11 new ques­tions for the peo­ple you tag to answer.
  • Choose 11 peo­ple to tag and link them on the post.
  • Go to their page and tell them you have linked him or her.
  • No tag backs and you legit­i­mately have to tag 11 people.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Miracles, miracles and yet more miracles!

Source

Oh my goodness. What an exciting and busy life I am leading at the moment, which has meant I have not been able to get posts on my blog. One day I will be more organised and write blog posts in advance (oooh what's that flying overhead?).

So, I wanted to update on my meditating month and a few 'miracles' that have been happening recently. Some are small and some much bigger, some I can tell you and some have to be a secret for a while! Oooh I am bursting to tell something really exciting but I don't want to jinx it, so I'm going to keep quiet until it is all confirmed.

I have been pretty good at my meditating. Sometimes at weekends I have simply got too busy and forgotten, but am working on that. But I can already see the little miracles happening in my life. I know that if I can appreciate all the good things that I will create more things to appreciate and a lovely upward cycle will continue. So here are some of the fab stuff that's been happening:

Work 

I am currently temping (full time) for this amazing events management company. The work itself is quite boring but I just love working here. Mostly because the people I work with are so lovely. But also because every 5 minutes we get a treat of some kind. Here are a few that I can remember offhand:

  • When it is quiet (which, thank God, it was all through April) they are quite happy for us to do other things, like write or blog.
  • Free bagels every Monday (4 kinds of bagel, 3 types of cream cheese).
  • Taco Truck - every so often they hire one to drive into the carpark below and everyone is allowed to eat as much as they like during the 3-4 hours. It was delicious and I discovered I was saying "Taco" all wrong. I was being very English and pronounding it "Tacco" but really it was "Tarco". Well, how was I supposed to know and explains why I have so much trouble ordering at those bloody awful drive throughs at Taco Bell.
  • Lunch - they are always providing scrummy lunches if we have training. Last time it was 3 different delicious pasta dishes, 2 different salads and 2 types of bread. Yum. But not good for my gluten-free, dairy-free diet! 
  • Easter - they hid eggs with chocolates inside all over the office and then dressed someone up as the Easter Bunny and we were all given an easter egg with a $2 note inside, with random eggs containing $50 notes!
  • $100 gift cards - given out when you have worked hard (obviously I have not had one of these). 
  • $10 gift cards - given out when a colleague says you have done something really good (I forced my friends to say nice stuff about me and I got a 10 bucks Starbucks card).
  • But I have saved the best til last ... in August they are taking ALL the staff (there are 80-85 of us, including temps) to Las Vegas for the weekend, just for fun. And we are all going to be staying at The Venetian Hotel, which is bloody gorgeous (and was on my wish list of places to stay). AND they recently decided that instead of sharing, we can all have our own rooms.
How fab is that?

Writing

My writing group reformed at the beginning of the year as the Write On, Mamas! We decided to make it more of a cooperative group with everyone helping out and contributing, rather than driven by one person. It has simply been amazing. All these talents that had been hidden previously have come to the surface. We have gone from a core group of about 5 in January to 38 members and growing, and are going to self-publish an Anthology this year. Here are some of our recent achievements:
  • We already have an agent interested in our Anthology, who will also help if we self-publish
  • We have a sponsor for the launch party
  • We have a spot in the increasingly popular Litcrawl (this is like a literary pub crawl, which happens as part of Litquake - the largest literary festival on the West Coast - in San Francisco). The Litcrawl is really sought after and getting a spot in a real coup. It means that 5 of us will read something we've written aloud to a rowdy, possibly drunk crowd in a bar, or art gallery or even a laundromat! A bit like an Open Mic, I suppose, but not 'open', so just a mic. I will let you know if I get chosen to read. The subject: Mommy Sex!
Also, my very exciting secret news is under this heading, but sshhhhh Secret Squirrel!

Silly stuff

  • Kindle. I have a brand new Kindle Fire at home I hadn't yet had time to work out how to use (it's really my husband's which he needs for work, but I am obviously going to nab it). I keep thinking that I really must take it out of the box and then just can't be bothered to work out how to use it. Then, at work yesterday, for an incentive program I am working on, everyone is getting a Kindle Fire and I was shown how to turn it on, charge it, connect it to wireless internet, load up a pdf document, and add and remove favourites. So now I know how to use the damn thing I might actually open the box at home. Any suggestions for my first upload?
  • Mountain Play. They do these amazing plays on the Mount Tamalpais in Marin Co which are supposed to be fabulous. I have wanted to go since I got here, but my husband wasn't keen to go again and I hadn't got around to organising it. Last week, one of my lovely American friends emailed me to say she had FREE tickets and would I like to be her guest. Yes please. But my son Tom wanted to go too, and no sooner had I mentioned this but she somehow managed to have another free ticket drop in her lap. Normally you have to hike up the mountain (apparently all part of the experience, but in the hot Californian sunshine with my dodgy knees?) and wouldn't you know it but my friend also has a FREE parking pass which means we can just drive up and park at the top.
There has been other wonderful stuff happening too, little things, but I am in danger of being verbose again!

I love this meditating lark. My manifesting ability is getting really good. Now, just gonna go and work on that red Ferrari ...