Thursday, May 24, 2012

Miracles, miracles and yet more miracles!


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:


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?


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 ...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Random Kindness and Open Mic

This Kindness thing is contagious. No sooner have I joined The Kindness Project than I see The Bookshelf Muse is hosting a Random Acts of Kindness Blitz to celebrate the writing community.

They are giving away tons of really great stuff and celebrating kindess to other writers. How cool is that? You can win Scrivener software (pick me, please, please) and membership to Query Tracker, The Critique Circle, and more. Head over and take a look here.

One of the suggestions is to pass on gratitude to someone who has helped you or you'd like to honour or recognise. I want to give a massive shout-out to my writing group. We recently re-formed from The Writing Mamas to the Write On, Mamas! and they are the best group of people ever! So supportive and proactive and intelligent and funny and helpful. We are in the middle of sorting out a blog/website so I'll let you know when that's up. Then we are going to write and publish an Anthology, which has to be published by the end of September as we have a slot at San Francisco's Litcrawl. Yikes! No pressure then. 

This ties in nicely to my Open Mic reading last night. I wrote a 5 minute piece that will probably form the start of my Anthology submission. I had to keep changing it as a few people didn't understand my British references, such as "lashings of ginger beer". I keep forgetting that, although we all speak English, we are actually speaking a different language at times. If you would like to read it, I have uploaded it onto Scribd here. It was great fun - the whole evening was organised by the Tuesday Night Writers and it was their 2 year anniversary of these author readings and open mic evenings at Peri's Bar in Fairfax, CA. It was a blast. Fabulous, clever and very funny pieces and I felt honoured to get up there with them. There were 28 people signed up for the open mic bit, but they ran out of time and only the first 4 got to read - phew, I was number 3. It really makes you focus on your writing knowing you have to stand up in front of people and read it out loud. I even managed not to speak too quickly - yay!

So tell me - who else has done Open Mic readings? How did you get on? Which is the best place you've read?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Kindness Project

The Kindness Project
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, starting with a series of inspirational posts.

Wow. What a great thing to do. The above group of bloggers have started this amazing Kindness Project. I read their posts last week and wanted to participate. We can't have enough kindness in the world, in my opinion. Every second Wednesday they are going to post a blog on kindness. I am going to join them -
are you?

To that end, I thought I would share a couple of thoughts on kindness. I am currently trying to practice 'radical kindness'. I keep failing. And then beating myself up for not being kind to others. So what I am trying to do now is practice being just a tiny bit kind to myself, then perhaps I might be able to be kind to other people.

But one of my friends told me some success she had the other day. She had been having lots of problems with a colleague at work and no matter what she did, the situation just wouldn't improve. She tried to be kind, but found she was being impatient and critical in her head, even if not directly to the person. Then she suddenly had a brainwave. She realised that all her negative thoughts about work, and how annoying this person was, would be affecting the planet. She believes that negative thoughts harm the earth. And so, even though she was finding it difficult to be kind to this person, she wanted to be kind to the planet. From then on, every time she had a negative thought, she would stop herself and think of something else, something positive. And do you know what happened? Without her doing anything else, the situtation with her work colleague improved dramatically, to the point where she is almost starting to like her and feel compassion for her. This situation had been going on for well over a year and yet was solved in a few weeks. Her life is now so much better, and not just her relationship with this person, but in every area of her life.

I loved seeing how happy she was now after months of stress and thought it was a great example of how we don't always have to solve the problem in front of us. If we can only take our eyes off it for a moment and think of something else more positive, the Universe has a chance to rearrange itself to create a better situation.

On a slightly different note - my meditating has been going very well. I have done a minimum of 10 minutes every day, sometimes even 25 minutes, except for last weekend. I simply got too busy and forgot, so that highlighted to me the need to make it more of a habit. Someone suggested that I schedule my meditating for the same time each day and then it is more likely I will remember. Sounds like good advice. Wonder if I will take it?

I have definitely been feeling the strain after the A-Z Challenge and it has been quite nice having a week's break from blogging. I am ready to start back up and come and visit everyone - you have been warned!

Tomorrow night I am hoping to do an Open Mic reading of something I am writing as part of an Anthology my writing group (the Write On, Mamas!) is going to self-publish by the end of the year. I have to keep changing it as the humourous references only work on a British audience. Arrgh! I will let you know if I am a complete flop.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A-Z Reflections

A-Z Challenge - Reflections

Initially, when I heard about the A-Z Challenge, I thought "No way, that sounds like so much hard work". I really should have left it at that. But no, not me. I kept seeing the badge everywhere and after a while it felt like I was the only one not invited to the party. Also, my new job was going through a very quiet period and I was able to spend all day blogging, so I thought: "Why not? How hard can it be?" Ha! Famous last bloody words!

Because I literally only signed up less than week before the start, I only had time to write about 5 posts ahead of time, but I was thrilled. FIVE posts ahead of time. How cool and organised is that? Little did I know how completely inept and unprepared I was for the challenge. I soon learnt the error of my ways. The whole point of the A-Z is to meet other bloggers and build your platform.

So, the goal: short, easy to read posts, pre-scheduled, and then off to visit as many other blogs as possible each day.

What actually happened: long, convoluted and VERBOSE posts, written the day (or night) before, whilst desperately trying to read as many blogs as I could fit in around that. Most nights, instead of rampant sex, I would be panicking and saying to the Bug: "Quick, what words begin with --?" and then somehow come up with a post for the next day when something he said sparked an idea. Most of it was utter nonsense.

Before the A-Z, I only blogged sporadically. Sometimes once a week, sometimes twice. But blogging every day meant I got to really make friends with other bloggers. The same people would stop by nearly every day and it was great returning the favour. I would look forward to reading their posts every day. Somehow that didn't happen when I only blogged when I felt like it, so I can really see the benefit of having a regular schedule of blogging (as I was told by the very astute Laura B Writer a while ago when she critiqued my blog), if not every day. I increased my followers by about 35 or 36 so that was really great too.

However, the best, best, best thing about the A-Z was all the wonderful, fabby new blogs and bloggers I got to meet. I would never have found half of them without that excellent linky list (what a great invention). I thought I would list the stand-outs for me:

Fart-makingly funny:
Lily from The Incoherent Ramblings of a Moose! Questions and Rabbits
The whole A-Z Challenge would have been worthwhile just to find Lily's blog. She is utterly hilarious. Her posts have me literally laughing uncontrollably. The conversations she has with her son are just too funny, in a warped way. If you don't follow Lily yet, you really ought to - you're missing a gem.

Chiz Chat - P is for Professor
He had so many excellent and hilarious posts, including kidnapping himself, his alter ego holding himself for ransom, freeing himself and continuing with challenge. So clever, original and yet so funny. This particular post is his critique of a Shakespeare sonnet.

Miranda Hardy
Miranda did her entire A-Z Challenge on dreams. Interpretations on dreaming about a subject with a different letter of the alphabet every day. A was for Alligator. It was so interesting, especially the Naked one.

Sue had an amazing idea for the A-Z. She wrote a single story, Approaching Zero, in 26 parts, each 100 words long, and each day starting with that day's letter and ending with the next day's letter. Very imaginative and clever, and obviously she was also one of the organised ones that had hers written and scheduled before it even started.


Sally's Scribbles
Sally from
I am not really one for poetry (unless it's silly and funny and a bit Monty Python'ish) but I was hooked by Sally's lovely poems every day. I may even be a poetry convert now. They were so easy to read, even when she tackled some really difficult subjects. I'm amazed she doesn't have more followers. Go give her some support please.

Ok - so that is my summary of the A-Z Challenge. In the end, I really enjoyed it and learnt tons. I will definitely do it again next year, but this time I shall be better prepared. And not quite so random. And maybe not post such utter nonsense. What do you think? Did you enjoy reading mine and others?What was your favourite post/blog?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Meditation in May & Farting!

Day 3 - well I managed to meditate for a full 22 minutes with NO INTERRUPTIONS! At long bloody last! Maybe those pesky callers have got the message ... DON'T call me between 6.00 - 6.30am. I felt really good afterwards - actually finished the guided meditation. Which may have been the problem yesterday, and why I was so tired. I got rudus-interruptus at 17 mins and the softly-spoken lady had not grounded me properly or brought me back to the present. I was obviously off in some other parallel universe, floating in a lovely bubble of spiritually-enhancing other-worldness. Today, she brought me back gently to the real world of my desk and computer and phones. Nice :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Meditation May - Day 2

Well, I had slightly more success than the day before. Firstly, I remembered to take a lighter for my candle. Secondly, I didn't itch as much. And thirdly, my mind didn't wander quite as much because I decided to listen to a guided Mark Romero meditation this time and it helped me to concentrate better.

However, about 10 minutes in, the stupid phone rang again!  Arrrrghhh! Nothing for hours, except when I'm trying to sodding well meditate. Gggrrrr anyone would think I was working or something ... oh, I am meant to be working. Oh well.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Meditation - Day 1

Meditation: Day 1 - How did I do?

So, how did my first day of meditation go yesterday? I got up at 5am and was at work by 6am. Yes, I know, it sounds horrific doesn't it? But I am normally the only person there for about the first hour, so it's nice and quiet and I get to wake up slowly. Yesterday morning I thought I would play some nice meditation music by Mark Romero, light a candle to create a cosy atmosphere, sit comfortably in my chair and meditate.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Meditation May

A Month of Meditation in May

The perfect follow up to the A-Z Challenge. A month of meditation. I have just signed up. Why don't you join me? All I have committed to is to meditate for a few moments each day and report back my progress on Soul Speak's blog. It doesn't matter whether it's a minute inbetween washing up and scrubbing the floor (ha ha) or a walking meditation when you take the dog out (probably best to keep your eyes open though, to avoid smashing into trees or stepping in dog poo) or a proper sit down with a lovely smelly candle and legs contorted into the lotus position. Whatever works for you. The full details are on Soul Speaks website here.

I will also report on here every day what amount of time I have meditated, just to keep me accountable, plus any earth-shattering insights I may have. Obviously, if I reach full enlightenment in the month, you will be the first to know.

Who's gonna join me?