a twist in the tales of life

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Vinyl 80's

I am currently reconstructing my front room at home. I promised myself that I would make this room habitable for Christmas this year.  With different people watching different T.V it can get a bit like a G20 summit when trying to decide who is watching what, as I have all the visitors here.

Dad is all about sport all year around, Mum is old black and white movies (this year on her own as this was Auntie B’s province also) and I just want to return to my childhood with the annual repeat of ‘The Great Escape’ and re runs of ‘Open all Hours,’ Tommy Cooper or Les Dawson. I can’t live without my comedy.

So construction commenced with a brand new storage cupboard for all my crafts (I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT) and a sort out of all my craft materials. Then I have to organise more storage and best of all, a new writing station.

The new writing station will be in the space currently occupied by a horrendous lump of furniture that I have always hated. It remained when Mum and Dad moved out to become rural and organic about 12 Years ago. This thing has only lasted so long as it housed the family record collection. Back in the days before the download dawned and C.D’s reigned, we had the vinyl records for our music. And did we have our vinyl.

We all love our sounds and bought a fair amount of music over the years. We started with ‘Bugs Bunny in London’ and the soundtrack from ‘Walt Disney’s Cinderella’ and went on from there. Bro and I were pirates and would confer before buying anything then, one of us bought and the other taped to the old cassette tapes. Being older, Bro was working before I was so he had a much larger collection than I had. His collection stayed here when he moved into his own house as he ‘never had time to pack them’. This changed over the weekend.

I took on the mammoth task of packing bro’s records as he has agreed to take them to his attic about 15 years after he left here. Well take about fun memories. I started on his singles collection and had some laughs I can tell you. The first was when I came across ‘What difference does it make’, by the Smiths. I remembered Bro coming in with the record shop bag and asking him what he had bought. His reply, to the point, was ‘what difference does it make.’  My mother, totally misunderstanding her teenagers went into a ‘don’t talk to your sister like that ‘rant. And of course we rolled around laughing incapable of explaining what was so hysterical until Bro revealed the disc from his bag!

Then I found ‘Zoom’, by Fat Larry’s Band. I remember my friend and I wanted a copy each of this, paid for from our pocket money. Auntie O brought us to the record shop and we asked for two copies. The guy in the shop couldn’t hear us over his blaring rock music and my aunt said, in a louder voice,’ They want two Fat Harry’s!!!’

Then the piece de resistance. I found ‘Two Tribes’ by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.  When Frankie goes to Hollywood played Dublin this was the first ever gig I was allowed to. Bro brought me and as is the case with every music fan, you never forget the first stadium gig. I was thirteen and I loved it.

Then the sleeve of the single reminded me of another incident when bro had a Jacket with Frankie goes to Hollywood on the back. The image also had Lenin on it advertising one of their records and our Nan was none too pleased at her grandson walking around wearing a communist and voiced her disapproval until we couldn’t keep straight faces a minute longer. Poor Nan.

It was a fun afternoon with the memories.  Bro has every number one single from 1983 – 1988. Some are great tracks and some are well best left to the confines of the attic in case playing them frightens children and animals. I am referring to a techno record he bought for some reason known only to himself called ‘Doot Doot,’ by some outfit called Freur. This record used to freak me out. But then we all have our little embarrassments in our record collections don’t we. Mine is Paul McCartney and the Frog Chorus. What’s yours.

Keep Smiling

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Auntie B, R.I.P

Auntie B died two weeks ago, the way she wanted. This maybe sounds a bit crazy, but she did. You see we had the ‘conversation’ a few weeks ago and discussed everything so I know she got her wish. And I got to keep my promise.

When she talked about her funeral to me we thought she would be around for a bit longer. We thought for example that she would be part of the angel child’s first Christmas. So we sat together one Thursday night and talked about everything. She didn’t want to die at home. ‘Upsets too many people’, she said. She remembered her sister’s deaths. One died at home aged 14. The other died in hospital aged 56. ‘So hospital it is,’ she said. ‘Do you want me to be there with you?’ She was afraid to answer me. ‘Ok’, I said, ‘we did all we did together, we might as well do that too.’

She wasn’t afraid she said. She didn’t want to leave us behind, all the people she loved. I told her the only difference in how we were talking then versus how we would talk after she died was that I wouldn’t be able to see her. I would feel her and sense her and hear her in my head but just not see her. She nodded.

She went downhill suddenly. She was holding court in the hospice smoking room on Sunday night. She had two pals, Robert and Gerry, and she was giving it loads.  She was telling them how the angel child had sprinted down the corridor like Usain bolt and had high fived a nurse mid stride. We left her laughing.

Monday she was tired. She had new meds and was sleeping a lot. Tuesday the hospital phoned me to say she was very sleepy and not to get a fright when we saw her. She was very sleepy and I was unsure of what was happening. When you are close to someone, you know. Deep in your heart you can never lie to yourself, it’s just how much you are prepared to admit.

Wednesday we met her team. They said how it really was. They gave her days. They said there was no need to stay nights with her yet, nearer the weekend was time enough. We called the family. Then I sat with her.

Some of her friends decided to visit her. They thought it was better than waiting until she failed further. They too listen to the inner voice. After a break I went to see her and I found a cousin sitting with her who had decided to visit a day earlier than she planned. B smiled at her when she woke up. I was glad for both of them.

The angel child came in then. He wanted to kiss her and he sat on her bed and held her hand. I said he loves his Auntie B. She replied his Auntie B loves him. His dad asked where was his Auntie B? He pointed at her and she pointed back.

More family came and had time with her not realising what little time they all had left with her. Looking back it was just as well. At least they brought the energy of believing they would see her again. This made it easier for her even if she was drifting in and out of consciousness.

I felt uneasy about leaving her. The family reminded me how the nurses said there was no need yet. As I hung around wondering where I would find the way with this her nurse came up to me and said ‘oh you’re staying with her’. I said I wasn’t sure and she said ‘no do, keep her company in her new room.’ We both knew. Thank god for her.

I went home, got warm clothes and came back with dad. She was moved to her own room then and luckily a reclining chair that she had been using was moved with her. So I lined it up beside her and lay holding her hand. She woke up at around 4 a.m and I told her all was happy and peaceful and good. She said you make it all good. She never spoke to me again. She woke up and smiled a few times but never spoke.

Dad went off on his walkabout around 8a.m and met one of her pals. He wheeled him off the premises and to a local shop to buy sweets and cigarettes. They weren’t caught. Dad came into the room, she opened one eye and looked at him and said ‘Jesus Mary and Joseph.’ We laughed. Dad is a lifelong atheist!

9.15a.m and two nurses came in to wash her. They said she would be ready in a few minutes and the doctor would be along then to talk to us. I kissed her forehead and said won’t be long darling see you in a minute. By the time I turned and left the room and passed the chapel she had gone. The poor nurses got a drop.

I came in kissed her again and said goodbye darling. She got everything she wanted. We got her last night together; peaceful and happy. Then she went when she wanted, quickly and peacefully.

I miss her. I miss her calls every night. Her voice. Her laughter. Her eccentricities. Her chats. Winding her up. Swearing at me. Her friendship. Love. All that she was. B.

But I have a new guardian angel now. And guess what she is looking after me already. She isn’t gone. I just can’t see her. I can feel her, I can sense her and I hear her in my head. I just can’t see her.

Keep Smiling,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Healthy Observations

I spent a few hours this weekend at a Health Show in Dublin. Any of you who have read this blog before will know of my interest in all things natural so it is no surprise that I would be hanging out at a show like this on a Saturday.  At the moment my interest runs a bit deeper what with looking after Auntie B which is also the reason why I have been missing for as long as I have.  But my interest is also for myself as I could do with a bit of an overhaul on the health and fitness front.

Rude Health is great show (www.rudehealth.ie). It has been running for a few years now and is a great way to find new products which are coming into our health shops and good retail food outlets. I love nosing around at it.

 As an observer of human behaviour, my favourite hobby, I had a really interesting experience this year. It didn’t change how much fun I had at the show and I am not feeling over sensitive or having a rant. I am sitting writing this with a grin on my face and I have some cool stuff for my writing notebook. So here’s the thing which gave me some amusement.

Mum is a wheelchair user. We are used to people seeing the chair and asking the driver what she wants instead of addressing her. We get a great kick when she answers for herself in a loud clear voice and then the addresser doesn’t know where to put their face.   What fascinated us yesterday was the number of people that seemed not to see us trundling up and down the aisles at the show.  There is limited walking space so did these eegits think we could magic ourselves straight through the crowd and miraculously appear out the other side of them.  Have these people been watching too much Harry Potter? Or are they just so rude and full of self-entitlement that we should struggle out of THEIR way?

Don’t worry; I am a Scorpio after all. I have a voice like a fog horn so I can call out excuse me with a volume that everyone in the vicinity can hear and notice these people not moving and this gives their egos a bit of a dent. Also according to a guy I once worked with, I can adopt a very unique facial expression. It was described as a mixture of boredom and disdain.  When the aisle blockers look to see where the voice is coming from they are met with this face and it has the desired effect.

The second funny observation was in relation my own experiences with the exhibitors. This really was hilarious.  I’ll be honest I am not the smallest person on the planet.  Like all lovers of good chocolate it shows.  So I got a great kick out of the exhibitors who didn’t really know what to do with me.  It seemed as though I had a bad flu that they were afraid of catching. When I appeared on their stands they didn’t really want to deal with me. One guy in particular stopped mid-sentence to discuss his stuff with another woman. Even when I opted to buy his ware and was standing with a tenner in my hand he kept on to the other woman. I was thrilled when she walked off without buying his stuff and he was stuck with ol’ big ass for a sale.  I didn’t have to say anything but my cool calm grin had the desired effect on him.

You see there is no need to make a scene or be indignantly offended. Karma usually takes care of all that for me.

It seems to me that they have their marketing all wrong. I mean the people who are obviously beacons of health are going to buy these products to maintain their health and fitness levels. But if someone of the ‘needing to change’ variety has gone to the trouble of coming to  a show on health then surely they are going to want to buy the same stuff to improve their health and fitness too. A no brainer surely.

The best reaction I got all day was from a lovely lady called Lily from www.lilysteashop.com.  Not only does she have a lovely range of good quality loose teas ( her white tea with vanilla is fab) she was really cool to talk to. And far from ignoring the obvious she suggested I try her slimming teas. I mean there goes a sensible retailer. It’s a health show.  Here’s someone who obviously has a change to make. And she was as I said really cool about it. Hats off to you Lily.

So now I have some really fun ideas for my writing based on the discomfort of the health retailer in dealing with the unhealthy.  But the last laugh is on them. When I go to the show next year, all sorted out and healthy we’ll see who wants me to buy their gear and who doesn’t. By then I should have the strength of Shire horse and can carry mum up and over the heads of the planks who refuse to use their brains and make way for a wheelchair.

Keep smiling.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Diary Experiment

I am conducting a writing experiment on myself.  On Thursday I began to keep a diary which I will constantly update throughout the day. The length of the experiment is one week. Every thought deep or shallow, every event big or small will be documented in full. This is a departure for me as I keep notes in tattered copybooks and ideas on scraps of card but never a diary.

It may seem a bit unusual for someone who writes (a bit) not to keep one, but I haven’t kept a diary since I was 16 and then after a few months I had to burn it one day when no one was home. I was rather worried  because as someone who has always been a bit on the scatty side it was likely I would leave in where it could be found and read. Then I would be in more trouble than I could ever imagine!

Looking back now the diary was harmless enough, pages packed with teenage angst and tales of being misunderstood. I have always been a free spirit even if at that age most of the free spiritedness had to stay in my own head. There were a few incidents of experimenting with alcohol which were actually quite funny now and a few tales of mine and my friend’s experiments with boys. Not forgetting one about criminal damage.

Well it wasn’t exactly criminal damage. It was one Sunday when a gang of us got together and my friend Jim and I decided that it would be a laugh to dress Jim up as Prince. So as he was already wearing a black coat, I got two tassel scarves and tied one around his head and the other around his neck and played whatever Prince track was in the charts then on my portable stereo. I thought to complete the look he needed a mock guitar so I pulled up a no dumping sign from the road side and he used that to perfect his look and moves. I wish camera phones were around then.

Anyway the diary experience put me off writing one again. I thought that the safest place to keep any thoughts or memories or ramblings was in my own head. But I thought as I wasn’t getting the time I would like to write as much as I was before aunty B took ill and when I did write it was coming from somewhere rather rushed and stressed. I thought if I record every thought and deed for a week and see what is actually spinning in my head it might actually be a very useful exercise in more ways than one. It could relieve the little bit of stress I can feel from time to time so it would be a therapeutic exercise, it could help me look at stuff differently, and also perhaps bring a new angle to my writing.

As it stands I have my project which is fiction, I have this friendly blog and the frequent use of the communicator messaging in work where we send instant smart and cheeky messages directly to each other trying to outwit each other’s wit. A complete diary is hitting a completely different spot.

I am going with the free association theory, whatever comes up goes down. I have even managed to argue out a few things with myself so it is certainly bringing something new to the table as they say. Next Thursday I will read it back and see do I recognise myself.

I am not doing any read back at all. No checking the page I just turned for continuation I just go. I am not, as far as I can, holding anything in short term memory so I can get a real view of the inside of my head in four days time. This is helping resist the temptation as I know I will get a kick out of the full picture on Thursday.

I am quite interested as to what I might say about work when I am totally unbridled inside this turquoise notebook. Especially with some of what has been going on lately. It been a great time to observe certain human behaviours shall I say. I will have to be careful I don’t leave the thing on my desk at lunchtime or go home without it.

 I could even end up having to burn this one too. If anything interesting comes up I will let you know but I may end up editing just in case I come across as a serious nutter and you never visit me here again. Or indeed my friends, if I haven’t scared them off send for the white coats to drag me away from this keyboard. All shall be revealed! (Maybe)

I don’t feel I can end this one as I usually do what with the sad events in Norway this weekend so I will send  a thought of sympathy and compassion to all who are grieving and a prayer for their loss.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Bees are back in Town

I have bees in my hive again! I am so excited. Dad brought the dog for his morning walk and noticed some activity around the hive. He decided to open it to see what was happening and a swarm had arrived and taken up residence sometime between my leaving for work at 7.30 and the dog walk at 10.

I was thrilled because I lost my bees over the winter. I don’t know what happened. My parents are bee keepers and they reckoned it could have been the really severe frost and snow we got last winter because we don’t normally get such sub zero temperatures in this country. They couldn’t rule out sickness, but because one hive is on a shed roof and the other was in a protected corner they didn’t think it was a spray or anything along those lines. But I lost both hives and it hurt.

The funny thing is I never meant to be a bee keeper. It was on my mind when I saw all the devastation the bee populations worldwide are suffering and a T.V programme showed how bees were doing really well in suburban areas. The opinion offered on this show was that farmers are using so many sprays now and that they are using such huge tractor machines to spray the bees are caught up in a mist of chemicals they cannot escape from. A huge big sprayer coming along at speed leaves no place for a bee to escape to protect itself. So the idea was suburban bee keepers would help the population.

As it happened Dad decided to repair one of his hives while staying with me as mum was in hospital. He did cleaning and repairs and decided that as he had time he would set the hive up and then he would be ready to just bring home and place on its stand. He then thought that it needed to dry out a bit and as I had my beloved late dog Shankly at the time who was starting to go a bit blind he would put it on top of my shed in case Shankly walked into it or did what dogs do when something new appears in their garden.

It wasn’t too long later, maybe a week two, and we were in the kitchen one morning. I thought it was going to rain as suddenly the kitchen got very dark. I then noticed a weird shadow on the floor that seemed to be moving. Looking out we saw a full swarm of bees in the back at the shed. It was Hitchcock-esque. The whole roof and garden was blacked out with thousands of bees. It was spectacular to watch. Here was this arrangement of black dots swirling and spinning as though in a kaleidoscope dancing into pattern changes and arrangements of their own making.

After watching them for what felt like an age each movement thinned out and they all made their entrance into the hive on the shed. I had bees. They chose me. I was delighted.

They settled in well. They were happy enough and had a lovely nature. I could go in and out of the shed and they never got upset with me. The neighbours were never bothered either because native bees don’t as a rule want to interfere with people. However, the weekend of the famous ash cloud over Europe last summer the bees got very upset and did come out in larger numbers and seemed a bit confused. Something wasn’t right in the atmosphere and they let us know that!

I have to be honest though I don’t handle them. While I love having them Dad looks after them. I am not really the bee suit and smoke gun type and while I have dad I leave it to him to open the hive and check on the goings on. I know down the line I will have to get the finger out but I am hiding behind daddy for now. I did make their syrup for the winter feed though so at least I did something.

Last year I had two hives. When a new queen is born the old queen is kicked out of the hive and a few hundred bees go with her. They take residence on a wall or a tree nearby until someone hopefully a bee keeper comes and takes them. In my case a hive was set up for this possibility so when they landed on Katie, my elder tree, Dad was able to move them from tree to hive.

I got the loveliest honey last year. It was a pale yellow flowing soft honey. It was a gentle tasting honey too which I loved. I had to hide it as it got very popular and would have been eaten in a week if I wasn’t careful. At least by saying this was the last jar it got used sparingly and then I could miraculously produce another last jar and everyone got more enjoyment from it.

But then we opened the hives this year and nothing. Both colonies were wiped out. I was gutted.

I missed them. Apart from being part of the garden and part of my mornings they helped with the laundry. Bees are a great indicator of rain. When I had washing on a cloudy day I watched the bees. If they are happily coming and going then it isn’t due to rain. If it clouds over and you notice bees go in hurriedly but not come back out then it will rain within the next five minutes or so. I never got my washing rained on while I had my pals there.

Dad had set it up again new sections and new paper and left it in place. The idea being that a worker bee goes ahead of the full swarm to check out new accommodation. The often find somewhere like my hive and will go in and see what is in there and is it what the colony need. That is why bee keepers often have an empty hive so a swarm will find a place to go.

This may seem like robbery but unlike a lost dog or cat which you return to the owner when you read the collar how do you give bees back. It is acceptable in bee keeper circles that swarms go and who finds them minds them. All beekeepers accept that as it is part of bee keeping.

I hope these new friends are happy here. They seem happy so far. I’ve been in and out to the garden and they don’t mind, I don’t interrupt them with my presence. Since this morning they have cleaned out the hive and deposited the rubbish on the shed roof so the birds can pick it up. Nature is doing its stuff. I feel the gap in the garden life has been sorted and we are all one again. I will keep you all posted on their progress as the year goes on.

Keep smiling.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Auntie B's Birthday

Saturday was auntie B’s birthday. I won’t embarrass her by telling you she is 71. It was one of ‘those’ occasions because she has been in hospital for 8 weeks and a care home for the last two. She has cancer.

Auntie B and I were always close, as was the case with Auntie O. Auntie O was my godmother and Auntie B was my brother’s godmother but it didn’t matter because the both treated us as if they were godmothers to us both. Auntie O passed 11 years ago. I miss her still even though I know she visits. I feel her presence at times and to be honest I don’t really know what to do. So I just smile at her.

Auntie O worked office hours and Auntie B worked mornings and evenings so they could look after my grandmother between them. Auntie O came home for her lunch when she worked nearby so it seemed as though theirs was a house filled with activity. Someone was always coming or going. My mother is from a big family so there were different cousins, aunts, uncles and friends all passing by and dropping in. The front door was never locked.

Auntie B taught me to knit. She was an Aran specialist and made it look so simple. Her catchphrase was its only plain and purl twisted around. This meant that I never panicked over a pattern I knew it was only plain and purl twisted around. I have a strange way of holding needles and sometimes it looked like I could lose the lot. Auntie B knew it didn’t matter. Once she was happy with the tension, I could hold the work as daft as I pleased.

Auntie B‘s evening job was in a local corner shop.  She was a wiz at adding up bills in her head. She had the register perfect to the penny every night at closing. The owner trusted her so much she was allowed to bring me with her when I spent summer holidays with the aunties.  There would be an outcry over child labour now but then as an eight year old I was perched up on a stool behind the counter serving customers their cigarettes and chocolate, milk and bread. The only job I wasn’t allowed to do was cut the cooked meat. I longed for the day I would be old enough to use the meat slicer.  Then, I thought, I would be grown up.

If I had no plans on a Friday night or if I was staying of a weekend to save money for something I spent them with the aunties. We would order pizza and sides, hire a movie (on video tape then) and have a great laugh. By then my Gran had died and they had moved to another part of their town. There were fewer callers, my cousins grew up and forgot about their aunties who were as good to them as they were to me and my bro. Eaten bread is soon forgotten. But selfishly I had them all to myself.

Auntie O had retired and bought a good car so they came to ours on a Monday and Thursday. I made sure I got home from work and by then I knew how to wind them up and Auntie O especially used to get tormented with jokes. One Christmas she fell asleep in the chair so me and bro covered her in Christmas decorations, took photos and took the decorations off her again. Then I sent a photocopy of each photo to her in the post every day for a week.

Auntie B had a bad heart. She had rheumatic fever as a child followed by chorea. Neither of these are heard of now.  This damaged her valves and made her weak for years. She had endless hospital appointments and Doctor’s visits. Auntie O was in good health. Or so we thought.

She took ill and cancer was discovered. She lasted 6 weeks. Auntie B was on her own. So every Sunday she came to me for the day. Mum and Dad had turned native and gone to live in the country growing organic fruit and veg so me and B got on with city living. She would come in to me in work and we would go for lunch. Then the heart got worse and she needed surgery. Two valves were replaced and the third was repaired somewhat. But she was fine. She stayed with me for two weeks and refused to eat anything but spring rolls and chips from the local take away. I still have issues with spring rolls!

Auntie B wasn’t feeling so good. Her consultant wanted to run tests. I told her to agree. She wouldn’t.  I talked to her again but no. Then she caught a virus and was hospitalised anyway. This is when the cancer was discovered.
She had a 7 inch tumour removed from her bowel. Then she got an infection which put her back a lot. Then her blood pressure dropped. This was set back number two. She was very weak and lost a load of weight along with her strength. Then to her consultant’s surprise she bounced back. She bounced back so much she began to give out to the nurses if they didn’t meet her exacting standards. They didn’t know B is a fireball so they sent a psychiatrist to access her for Alzheimer’s as she was telling them to effing be careful with her if they were rough and effing answer the bell when she rang. She realised from the questions what was happening and asked did they think she was effing losing it. She told them at 70 years she had earned the right to be forgetful but she wasn’t crackers yet!

She is in the care home to build her strength up for her chemotherapy. She sees her oncologist on Tuesday. I wish him luck. Mum as her older sister is going with her. She doesn’t swear so much with mum. My money is still on Auntie B.

On her birthday every year we order too much Chinese food and I get a cake and we spend it together.  This year, we came to the care home. It is such a great place. They have a coffee shop on site as there is a walk into the mountains by the home so it is full of residents and their visitors along with hill walkers and strollers. We arranged a cake and surprised her. My brother, his wife and the angel child were there as well as my cousin and his family and my Uncle F. Dad was master of ceremonies. We had a great time.

Auntie B kept some cake for the nursing staff and told them to leave some for the night shift. She got teased about a night carer she gets on with and she said yes she needed her eye candy! She is irrepressible.

She told me she has to beat this because she wants to enjoy the angel child growing up. She won a championship medal for camogie and taught each of us how to hurl. She really believes she will make a good fist of beating it as she knows how to win at a tough team sport. I can’t argue with that.

She is also planning a new kitchen as she says she needs a split level cooker on account of the fact she can no longer bend or stoop. And she says she is bored with her cupboard doors. She has started to swear at us when we torment her and she has got into trouble for walking around on her own. I have a feeling she may be around to teach the angel child a bit about hurling yet. I think she may have a few other plans too.
 Wishing you many more birthdays Auntie B.
Keep Smiling

Monday, May 30, 2011

My Mate wants an E Reader

Quite by accident I read Wuthering Heights on my iPhone on Friday. I didn’t plan to. I was looking at apps and updates and I managed to find myself looking at a particular app I installed a while ago. I don’t actually know what I did but I navigated myself on to the first page. It’s a long time since I read Wuthering Heights. 

This made me think about the e reader phenomenon. I have looked at it and as a computer illiterate I left it at that. My friend wants one. He is a computer genius and loves gadgets so much that when he finds a new one he buys one for himself and one for his girlfriend, regardless of if she wants one or not.  He is waiting to buy an e reader, as he reckons the price will go down.  He also reckons that as well as a price drop a few other things will get tweaked and then they will be an amazing piece of kit.

It’s a funny one, the e book thing. It seems that some people are embracing it with literally both hands. Some of us know the technology is there but it’s for computer lovers and not us just yet. And then there are those who will never go for an e book no matter what the deal is.

E reading has its plus side. First there is the price difference. E books are less expensive. Then as was the case with my Wuthering Heights I didn’t have to pay anything. The app is free and because the book is out of copyright I can download and read for nothing. There is a second app I have installed which was also a free app so I have plenty of free reading

The environmental issue comes next. There is no paper used or glue or ink so it is clearly greener. The only energy requirement is electricity to charge the reader. The charge isn’t that much so that’s all good.

There is a convenience factor. An e book can be bought and downloaded pretty quickly. From my limited knowledge which was gleaned from a talk at the Writers Centre Dublin,
http://www.writerscentre.ie/, a lot of e book readers buy their e books for the speed of access to their purchase and one woman, described as mature, apparently buys a couple of e books a week.

Next has to be the ease of travel. The difference in weight in your bag between War and Peace in paperback or on an e reader is quite significant. It would be the difference between having a sore shoulder or not. A school in the West of Ireland are bringing in a scheme where iPads will be used with the School books loaded on to them from the next academic year. The local credit union are offering loans to parents for the scheme as it will cost €700.00 for the package. The kids interviewed were thrilled. Especially as the current schoolbag weighs the equivalent of a two year old child and this weight is carried by 13 year old children.

Having said all of this the paper book is still a thing of beauty. There is something so cool about walking into a proper bookseller and browsing around. What do I mean by a proper bookseller? It is a proper book store, owned by a book lover and staffed by book lovers. Instead of these big outlets with top sellers pushed at you with offers and discounts and staff who are only there to move units and as fast as possible, you get a piece of tranquillity in a small corner of book heaven.
 You feel the calm energy as you walk in. Other customers are in their own place seeking the pleasure of their own favourite genre and there is no rush or hurry, no music or narrow aisles forcing you to grab and get out. These booksellers know their people and often know what you are about just by looking at you.

Very often a beautiful pearl is to be found in these places. You are wandering around and there is a book you never knew existed. A  single little gem waiting for you. I never fail to go into one of these wondrous places without finding such a book.

There is a lovely feeling to walking in and finding a lovely new book, paying for it with inked paper and opening it in your reading place. There is the smell of new paper and fresh ink the feeling of this new piece of art in your hand.  It’s the curling up on the sofa comfortably with the book of the day, your new best friend. It feels like a unique human experience, sharing Authors thoughts and being part of that journey from the author’s imagination to the physical presence of their work in reality.

Even a second hand or used book has energy of its own. As well as the authors energy there is the previous reader’s energy coming from the pages. I even like marks notes in margins and underlines. It brings to me how this book was part of someone else’s life for a while.
Am I anti e book? No.

Am I unimpressed by the e book phenomenon? No.

Has it a place in the joy of reading? A resounding yes.

However the written word gets to people so they can love it, hate it, discuss it, debate it, recommend it, is all that matters. I will probably be reading more on the iPhone.  I will still be hanging out in my favourite booksellers promising myself I will only buy the one book this time and never quite managing it. I will always find the little booksellers gem that is place on the shelf just for me. I could still find that gem in the e book store on line without a doubt. As long as writers write and readers read there is room for all formats. 
Keep smiling

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Meditating and me

I’ve been feeling a bit wired today. There’s nothing terribly unusual in that what with Auntie B still in hospital and going down with an infection after her surgery. Then I’ve been settling the dog into his new routine, aging hippie style. Veggie food is growing on him. (A bit) Mum is not having a great week pain wise and now her brother is in hospital in the U.S so she is worrying about him. Dad is a bit tired which is understandable and one of my friends is going through a strange phase and I don’t know should I slap him or hug him. (Slapping him is in the lead right now by a mile)

What I have been doing lately when I have been a bit under the weather is go to my blog list and read a few of the blogs there and lo and behold I always manage to find something there to help me feel better.

Tonight I found on Superior health awaits you, (superiorhealthawaitsyou.blogspot.com) three lovely relaxing video clips. Then I found my answer.

Scorpiomoonrose, you are not meditating enough!!!

I’ve been quick fixing you see. I have been getting by on short meditations or meditating at times that are really worse than useless.

I must be practising meditation for over twenty years now. For about the last eight I have taken it a lot more seriously. I have learned some Qi Gong and have found the mediation in standing poses have brought me on leaps and bounds. I was always a tiny bit mercurial I suppose and I found that working with Qi Gong has calmed me down considerably. It hasn’t taken the edge off my tongue though; I still can be quite direct.

I do a Qi Gong routine first thing every morning called the eight pieces of brocade followed by my mediation poses. At first the standing meditations were difficult. I found my mind wandering off but then I read somewhere that in order to calm and empty the mind when it wanders off, bring it back by simply counting to ten. Surprisingly enough it works. It does centre you. Also there is six poses in the series so having to change your stance helps to keep in the right zone.
Where I have been falling back is on the longer meditations I use a few times a week in the evenings. I have some apps on my iPhone and I have some great C.D’s that I use.
Most of the meditations are around half an hour long but they must be the shortest half hours in the week.

What I have found with meditation practice is how in tune you become with the world around you. I found I noticed birds singing all the time. I would see maybe a leaf dancing in the breeze and I felt in that moment that I am part of everything in this world.  The most noticeable was how much happier I am.  Off the back of this I found the good relationships improved and the unhealthy ones were re evaluated. Some came to their natural end and others reached an understanding and shifted to a better place. The most important thing for me was a feeling that I am a free spirit, free to be myself and also free to change whenever I need to. I don’t need to accept anything as my lot. I can acknowledge that I have learned something new; I can take this new lesson on board and do what feels right with it.

I started writing again as part of this process and I think it has helped so much with how I write and how I see as a writer. I also find that I can go to a deeper place to find what I need emotionally to build the character or the scene I am working on. In some ways I meditate on what I am trying to create and I have a more effective creative process than I had before.  Sometimes I thought I didn’t know what I was going to write and by just centring I had a head full of words in no time at all.

In this crazy world of ours and in times when the card game of life has dealt you a hand that could be better at least by meditating and having this time to yourself you can embrace the reassurance that when the cards are dealt again as they are throughout the days and weeks and seasons of this life the next hand is going to be a royal flush!

And I may not have to slap my friend after all.

Keep smiling.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Cool Cream Hero

I know I don’t usually appear so soon again especially after being missing for so long but this is the beauty of owning a web book (I’m showing off now). That and the fact I work in Dublin City Centre and the Queens visit has led to a lock down, I am spending my lunchtime blogging instead of gadding around the shops.

I promised I would relate my experiences making skin cream.  I was a bit nervous until I had the run of things but in honesty the lovely people at www.aromantics.co.uk  make the kit so easy to use.

I originally found Aromatics by accident. I saw an article in the newspaper saying they sold Aloe Vera powder and I thought it woI promised I would relate my experiences making skin cream.  I was a bit nervous until I had the run of uld be useful. My Mother was having allergic reactions to different lotions so I thought the powder would be worth a try. So I checked the website and saw all they have on offer.

I decided on the skin cream starter kit and sent away for it. My initial reaction was to buy everything on the website but I controlled myself and went with the skin cream kit.

When it arrived I really had not expected everything to be so organized. The pack has each ingredient already weighed and bagged which is a huge help. All the necessary oils are included along with a proper thermometer. Also included is a bag of plastic jars to put your newly made cream into. All I really had to buy was two stainless steel bowls, and I just used my usual cooking pots as a double boiler. I almost forgot but I bought a cheap as chips spatula as well.

I bought glass jars off the website too as I am not a big fan of plastic but I used some glass jars that were destined for my local bottle bank which worked out fine.

The instruction leaflet is very straight forward and easy to follow. I’m not usually good with written instructions but these were really good and clear.

The easiest thing to do is lay out the ingredients for each stage. There is a water stage and a fat stage with ingredients for both in the pack.  For the water stage you need to use spring water, which isn’t in the pack. All the ingredients for the fat stage are there. There is a third stage to add ingredients and then the last stage is optional, you can decide to add scented oils if you wish.
So I took up my position at the cooker. I used the ancient chocolate melting method, with the two bowls over a pot each of hot water. For the fat stage the ingredients are added in the stated order on the recipe leaflet and you just watch them melt. For the water stage the ingredients are added to the freshly boiled spring water and mixed. Then it’s just a matter of temperature testing to make sure both are at the right levels at the same time to add to each other. I had to move the mixes on and off the heat to get this right but it’s not a hassle.

When both mixes are ready they are added together. At this stage you have to be a bit careful. The fat mix is carefully added to the water mix in a steady stream and mixed well as you go. I had an old hand mixer for this and because the ingredients are so safe washing the mixer in the dishwasher and using it again on food would be fine.
 The only reason I bought special bowls was that I read somewhere that certain cakes don’t mix properly if there is anything in the bowl you are using. I am fussy with my cakes but that is just me. I would say that it is perfectly fine to use your own bowls if you are cool with that.  Then the waiting begins again for the mixture to cool to the right temperature for the next ingredients

These ingredients are mixed in as soon as the cream reaches the right temperature as per the recipe leaflet. At this stage the cream is cooling and is the right consistency. It actually looks and feels like moisturiser.

  Finally, when the mix has reached a lower temperature again, you can add any essential oil you want. I divided the mixture and made one half patchouli scented in keeping with the aging hippie thing and the other half I made rose scented because Rose is my favourite scent.

I found the easiest way to fill the jars was with to load an old icing bag with the cream and pipe it into the jar. I’m sure a sandwich bag with the corner cut out of it would work fine too. After that my batch was ready.

The longest part the process is the cooling. You spend a good bit of time watching to get everything to the right temperature and that does mean a bit of hanging around. I found it an evening job really because I just think while it is such an easy process I wouldn’t want to stop and leave it while I had to do something else.

The finished result is a lovely soft cream. It is very light but unlike other light creams I have used in the past it doesn’t soak into the skin to nothing. I use it as a face and a body cream and it is lovely to use.

I have a bit of a skin problem, nothing major I am just prone to dry skin in some areas and spots at other times. Also I get some mad itching if I eat certain foods and the cream has been perfect for all of these as they have flared up. Best of all for me is that I know exactly what is in the cream. There are so many weird chemicals in some of our cosmetics such as hormone unbalances and strange metals so I know exactly what I am putting on my skin.

It’s the old saying, taking care of me inside and out!

I haven’t simplified the process, it really is as easy as I say. The time consuming part is just the temperature watching but the process itself is very straight forward. If you can cook a meal, you can make skin cream from this pack.  I would say to anyone considering giving it a go, go for it. The aromantics website is a great site with loads of helpful stuff so there is nothing to fear.

Go on, give it a go!

Keep smiling.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Life and other Sagas

It is nearly a month since the aging hippie last put in an appearance in blogspace. It wasn’t supposed to be that way but life has an annoying habit of taking up my time.

A small series of sagas have taken place and seem to have grabbed my pal, father time, and whisked him past me at breakneck speed while I stood there with my gob open thinking it can’t be Sunday yet!!

Saga one.  Not cool.

My aunt was rushed in hospital on Easter Saturday. She wasn’t in the best of fettle for a fortnight but seemed to be getting better in herself. Then, she took a bit of turn and as a result has had surgery. She is doing fine considering. Apart from thinking there was a bomb scare at the hospital and she had to stay in her bed, thinking the man beside her is a homeless man who gets into any bed for a rest and mistaking her bed control for her pain killer pump and sending herself up to great heights she is ok

I am close to auntie b and as she has been in shaky health for a few years (2 valves replaced in her heart and a few minor issues) I keep an eye on her. She taught me how to bake as a kid among other stuff and you don’t forget the good people in your life. She has been a great support to me since mum had to move in with me due to her being wheelchair bound from side effects of a certain drug. Mum and Dad live in a rural area so the local hospital wouldn’t be great which is why I insisted they take temporary lodging with me.  It’s been interesting!

Saga two. Kinda cool.

When mum and dad moved here Auntie B took their dog. My dog, Shankly, was alive at the time and was too old and ill to cope with a younger fitter dog tearing around his garden. No one thought mum would be ill for so long but her dog was happy with B. As it happens two of her neighbours would borrow him for walks as one, a lady, felt safer walking with a dog and the other, a gent, likes to walk in the park but fears being mistaken for a pervert walking alone. (So much for our society)
When my darling dog passed, B kept mums dog as he had his friends. But in the light of saga one I now have Spud the dog. He is good mostly but when he gets bored he resorts to kleptomania. His favourites are socks from the washing machine and dad’s cigarette lighters.

Saga three. So cool I could explode with happiness!

My brother came home three days after Easter with the latest edition to our family. He and my sister in law adopted a little boy, aged one. Not only am I auntie at last I am a god mother too. It doesn’t get much cooler than that. He is an angel child. And the best thing to happen to us since ……!!!!

Saga four. Birds

This is a little off chronologically but I have been minding my brother’s budgie since he and my sis in law had to go and get the angel child. I have my own albino budgie, paisley, who is hilarious and now I have Suarez on a temporary basis. These two feathered lunatics are priceless and will deservedly get a blog of their own.

With me so far?

I have my semi invalid mum with me, along with my dad who divides his time between here and his home, an aunt in hospital who is scatty after surgery, a kleptomaniac dog, two deranged budgies, an angel child for a nephew who was christened last week and oh I nearly forgot I went down with a dose of norovirus for a few days in the middle of all this.  Do I get forgiven for lack of blogging?

I promise (especially to mammydoolittle) that the next blog is the skin cream making update. And I won’t be missing so long ever again. Why? Because I just bought one of those little baby notebook laptops. It isn’t great memory wise but at least I can grab it and blog on like a martini any time any place any where. Provided I can get the thing set up!

Did I mention I pulled a muscle in my ankle trying to walk in heels at the Christening.

Keep smiling.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tasting Indian (again)

This time of year I get a bit hyper and full of ideas. I think it’s what my grandmother used to say about the rise of the leaf invigorating us all. I must come out of hibernation then drive myself and everyone else around the twist with the next scheme I come up with.

Take yesterday for example. I had my car booked in for the N.C.T. The purple princess passed her test with flying colours after much nerve racking observation from the gallery. The reason it was nerve racking was because the tester seemed to develop a bit of a thing for her, in that he tested her brakes twice and spent a lot of time checking her undercarriage. In the time it took him to test my P.P, three other cars were done in each of the lanes. But he declared her passed and said she was a cracking little car.  Bit of motor maternal pride was experienced!

On the way back I spotted a new Asian supermarket, and I had to go and check it out. I was really impressed with it. In fact I am so impressed I took a registration form so I can get details of all their offers. This is because as I browsed the aisles to the sound of beautiful Indian music, I took it into my head to re ignite my interest in Indian cookery and make friends with my Madhur Jaffrey cook book again.  I am even planning a paneer making session over Easter and will be having a go at the beloved Dal soup recipe that has been overlooked for a while followed by my all time favourite Biryani.

This is one of the aging hippie’s weaknesses. I adore a good Biryani. Each time I go for Indian food I promise myself I will try another dish but I always get drawn back to Biryani. I stand up to myself at places I’ve eaten in before and change, but if it’s a new place I head straight for the love of Biryani.
So I will be back with my shopping list to pick up my split peas and spices, ready to cook popadoms and whatever else takes my fancy. If we don’t get hot summer in Ireland this year at least my kitchen will have an Indian one. I read somewhere that in Indian there is 2000 different varieties of rice. This is because, as part of the food culture different rice were used for different seasons or different health reasons. In order to protect these ( no,i am not getting on my soap box today about G.M) the inspirational Vandana Shiva has established 34 seed banks in 13 states in order to protect these and increase awareness of protecting our planet. Why do I know this? Because I have a rice obsession. I love the stuff.

In the meantime I shall be planning the new menus and keeping you all posted on what works or who gets their head blown off with too much chilli. I am now off to cook up another one of my ideas. I have decided to make some skin cream from a kit I bought from www.aromantics.co.uk. I will let you know in the next post how I got on with that. Hopefully I will be scented of Rose or patchouli for the next few months.

Until the next brainwave!

Keep smiling

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Look What I Got!

I got a lovely surprise this week. My blog received a nomination for the Liebster Blog award!          This came to me from http:// Mammydolittle.blogspot.com.
To receive a nod like this from ‘one of me own’, another Lady blogger was so beautiful as I am not around the blogsphere very long and someone found me and liked my ramblings enough to do this. On the way I found some other great blogs via mammy dolittle such as http://muminmeltdown.blogspot.com and http://polythenepram.blogspot.com. Nice to meet you girls!

The Liebster awards are for little blogs with less than 300 subscribers in order to share the blog love and spread the word.  

So here are the Liebster rules for nominations.

1. Post Blog displaying the award and then link to who awarded you.

2. Choose your own blogs to nominate and let them know they have been awarded.

3.  Hope this gets new favourites for everyone to follow.

4. Spread the blog love.

Here are my nominees:

Carol has published her first book, Shades of Atlantis but first and foremost is mum to her boy Eric and she has blogged beautifully about both Eric and writing.

I love this blog! She has a wonderful blog writing style.

This is a great blog. Its fun and also a really cool family blog as well as being about the retreat. Also it’s their fault I blog, right John.

This lady has some great recipes in her archives to check out as well as being one true inspiration in the last few months.

Well the weather this week has been lovely and all my little seedlings are reaching up and having a look at the world. My little herbs are doing well so that will be fun using them from their little box. I have the mint in a pot of its own as it is what gardeners describe as aggressive. This, in aging hippie speak, means mint likes the idea of owning the entire garden, and will spread like wildfire if left to express itself. So if mint lives in its own pot it is better for all concerned. I am still looking forward to the day when I infuse my own mint tea. When that time comes I will let you know how that went as it will take a few attempts to get it right. I will either smell like a toothpaste factory from drinking it too strong or end up with warm water a ‘hint of mint’.  Ne’er mind.

Keep smiling,

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hug me I'm Organic

My dad was on to me yesterday. He had sowed 13 drills of organic potatoes. Not bad for a 72 year old! His spuds are always amazing; along with any other stuff he grows.

My parents always grew vegetables. Even before they moved to the countryside, they had a veg patch. We also had a dog that ate all the chives they had grown one year and then went on to the raspberry canes. We never grew either again.

I don’t grow veg myself but for about 10 years now I only buy organic. I know the veg are slightly more expensive but to go fully organic, ditching all chemicals such as household cleaners the bill balances out.

I started with a bag being delivered to my house by Rose and hiding her money under my bushes because I was at work when she delivered. Now, after a few take over’s, I am with the lovely people at www.absolutelyorganic.ie. I can honestly say I have always got the best of stuff from them week after week, and there is nothing to match the smell of a fresh organic tomato when you open the paper bag.

With cleaners the change from chemical sprays and potions to a stock of white vinegar, lemon juice, borax powder, and bicarbonate of soda and soda crystals is as much cheaper as it is safer. The best way I found to clean a manky microwave (when I used to use one) was slice up half a lemon and place in a bowl of water. Micro on high for three minutes and leave the door closed for the steam to do its work. Then open the door and wipe all the grime off with a cloth. It’s that easy. If it won’t come off easily micro the same bowl again for another 3 and them off it wipes. Smells so much better too.

Now I am not saying we need to do www.hotcrossmum.blogspot.com on her trip to the 1930’s housewife. I am asking do I need to be laced with chemicals I don’t understand.

Yesterday, March 26th, at 20 different locations around the U.S there was a ‘Rally for the right to know’. These rally’s were to ask the U.S to clearly label food especially food with G.M, so a proper labelling would be in place to inform consumers of exactly what is in their food.

Food labelling is a mine field. As a consumer I feel as though I need a degree in food science. I went so far as to down load an iPhone app to explain some additives and what their safety level is. I know the aging hippie is a boring old fusspot, but I worry.

Pesticides are linked to so much and what G.M will do to future generations, I don’t know! Don’t start me on pictures I have seen of engineered animals and fish. It’s scary to me.

I have had it said to me ‘I don’t want to know what’s in my food, if I know I wouldn’t eat anything!’That‘s fine. I believe in choice, having the right to be exactly who you are. I am not here to preach or be anyone’s nag. I want a choice too. I am with the want to knows. When I have eaten non organic I have been able to tell the difference, I can tell exactly what each vegetable is in an organic stew no problem.

The thing is I want to live in full possession of my marbles until at least the age of 115, tearing up the roads in my electric wheelchair. If investing in a good chemical free existence now means I get to fulfil that, then it’s been a worthwhile investment. 
If you want to be my wingman, in the words of someone brighter than me, think on these things.

keep Smiling

Sunday, March 20, 2011

spring has sprung

It’s the last day of Paddy’s weekend, and didn’t he bless us with lovely spring weather! It’s been great to get out and about in the sunshine and get into our gardens for the year ahead.

The aging hippie had a brainwave this year. When I got the use of my arm back I thought why not try to be a bit more ambitious and instead of buying bedding plants this year I would grow them from seed. So I immersed myself in the seed catalogues and websites, took to watching a few gardening programmes and made a few choices for this year’s garden.

The first one I picked out was based on my one first crushes. I bought a packet of dianthus Bagpuss. My other early crush was on Dougal from the original magic roundabout but he wasn’t mentioned in a seed catalogue that I could see. Anyway Dianthus Bagpuss is a pink striped flower in the colours of the cat himself. I can’t wait to see them!

You see, I love flowers, I always have. My favourite being pink roses of which I have a selection in my rose bed which is under the window I am writing in. I have a soft spot for the blue moon (on the right as you read this) she can be a bit delicate but worth the extra TLC.  I have a special deep red rose in one of the other beds which has been there since I was a child. It’s one of those special gifts you take on with the family home and he has never let me down with his massive blooms every year. Even when I landscaped the front garden he almost got buried under a load of builder’s chippings but like a real man he saw off adversity to shine again. I have a standard rose in the centre and she is taller that I am so caring for her can be like playing with a toddler who loves pulling at my long hair! I end up trying to free myself from her little thorns no matter how good a job i do tying my mane up. I end up looking like Medusa!

This year I have to finish my water feature in the back garden.  It looks beautiful but I need to get the stream of water running.  The lawn needs a feed shortly and my clematis’ are on the rise again, curling their way up their frames and away into blossom.

Anyway I have my dianthus, begonia, viola, pansy, busy lizzie, sweet pea and dahlias in the propagators. They are winding their way through the soil and showing themselves already. I put a few herbs in as well. I have basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme and mint. I plan on making my own mint tea from the leaves. According to my friend it gives quite the kick. Is that a good or bad thing for me, I ask myself?

As the frosts are nearly over it will be pruning time and my roses and lavender bushes will be undergoing a good haircut. This annoys the wild birds because while the pruners are out they can’t get to the feeders and as they hate their routine getting knocked about they sit on neighbouring trees and give out. They are funny.

So it’s back to collecting my eggshells and drying them again. I tend to shy away from slug pellets as apart from the obvious (hippie) the slug that has eaten a pellet and is then eaten by a bird can kill the bird as well. I have a few slug tricks that will appear in later blogs but dried eggshells are to a slug what walking on broken glass barefoot is to us humans so they avoid an egged up area. Clever them slugs!
So for now it’s caring for the propagators and watching the imminent arrival of my seedlings. It’s all looking good so far so I will keep you posted on progress.
keep smiling,
ing my mane up. I end up looking like Medusa!

This year I have to finish my water feature in the back garden.  It looks beautiful but I need to get the stream of water running.  The lawn needs a feed shortly and my clematis’ are on the rise again, curling their way up their frames and away into blossom.

Anyway I have my dianthus, begonia, viola, pansy, busy lizzie, sweet pea and dahlias in the propagators. They are winding their way through the soil and showing themselves already. I put a few herbs in as well. I have basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme and mint. I plan on making my own mint tea from the leaves. According to my friend it gives quite the kick. Is that a good or bad thing for me, I ask myself?

As the frosts are nearly over it will be pruning time and my roses and lavender bushes will be undergoing a good haircut. This annoys the wild birds because while the pruners are out they can’t get to the feeders and as they hate their routine getting knocked about they sit on neighbouring trees and give out. They are funny.

So it’s back to collecting my eggshells and drying them again. I tend to shy away from slug pellets as apart from the obvious (hippie) the slug that has eaten a pellet and is then eaten by a bird can kill the bird as well. I have a few slug tricks that will appear in later blogs but dried eggshells are to a slug what walking on broken glass barefoot is to us humans so they avoid an egged up area. Clever them slugs!

So for now it’s caring for the propagators and watching the imminent arrival of my seedlings. It’s all looking good so far so I will keep you posted on progress.

keep smiling,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lost for Words

Hello blogsphere, I’m back. It’s been a few weeks I know but as my twitter friends know, I managed to wreck my right shoulder and arm and ended up out of circulation.  However, thanks to intense acupuncture and a session of bio energy healing I am back and so happy.
Due to the nature of this injury, I was laid up in a way that surprised me. There was so little I could do. I spent most of the time applying Chinese medical balms and the rest of the time taking twice as long as usual to do anything.

What I found hardest to handle was having my words taken from me. I couldn’t read anything. The injury meant I couldn’t hold a book up or bend my neck down to read. Even a newspaper was impossible. And if that wasn’t bad enough I couldn’t either type or hold a pen. My fingers went numb and I even had to eat with my left hand which meant by the time I negotiated each fork full to my mouth the meal was cold by the half way point! I was trapped in a wordless world. And there is no greater agony.

I missed books. I missed the joy that flows from the second you open a book. The smell of the ink, paper, glue combination followed by the anticipation of what this author is about to offer you in terms of their voice, their language and their beautiful story telling. I missed the debate, did I like the ending which character drew me, and drew me enough to stay with me long after I smiled at the last scene and the last page.

I missed writing even more. I could feel a Ferris wheel of words in my head but I had no way of getting them out.  A dam had been built when the energy blocked in my arm. I thought of the thrill of seeing the scene in my head, feeling the flow down into my hands and then this joy of seeing the same scene in my words looking back up at me, my creation.  This was taken from me.

Then I knew why. And there is always a why. I was doing so much in a way that was soulless.  I have to practice my calligraphy, I have a neck piece to make, I need to get the blog up by such a time so I can get on with this, I must finish this book and get on to another. In the midst of this speed I was losing something, I could feel it. I chose this point in my life’s journey carefully so I could write how I always wanted to.  But I erred. I started to befriend rushing around and in doing that I was losing my way.  So, I believe, I was stopped in my tracks and got the time to think, learn, see and love words again.

Well, lesson learned.  I have learned to love again. Words must be free to bring me to the place where maximum joy waits. The place where I appreciate how blessed I am to want to express what I see in my mind’s eye and hopefully someday soon share it and give back what I have enjoyed in reading what has danced from the creativity of a fellow lover of words.

Does time matter? Yes as long as I fill my time with what makes me smile, inside and out. Happiness is everywhere.  I have never been a sprinter. Now more than ever, I never want to be. If today brings me 50 words or 500 words or 5 words I will love them all. And I will stroll along with my words appreciating our path together. This is my journey and I am going to love every wonderful minute of it. I am back, but back as I should always have been, a smiling and happy aging hippie.

Keep smiling,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sing when you're hoovering

I am not the tidiest mortal on the planet. I seem to have a subconscious thing going on where I spend one day cleaning and tidying the house and the other six days wrecking it!

I’m sitting here by my little corner table which has a dozen balls of knitting wool, needles, pattern, three books (the one I’m reading and the nest two I have lined up) writers magazine, another 3 different magazines, my laptop, pens, notebooks, several bookmarks, 75 cents and a Ferris wheel toy belonging to Paisley my budgie. It’s a small table.

It’s not that I don’t like housework. I actually don’t mind it. Especially as I like to do it to music. Day tripper by the Beatles is a great track for dusting to. I just don’t seem predisposed to living in a tidy home.
I keep making excuses like creative minds are never tidy, a tidy home is the sign  of a wasted life but the truth is I need a 48 hour day to do everything I intend to. If the aging hippie feels like watching a flock of starlings feeding on my shed roof where I have just left their food I do. If I go to dust the sideboard and Paisley starts playing I end up talking to him. If a track comes on when I am hoovering and I want to sing along with it off goes the vacuum cleaner. This happened a lot. So I switched to headphones.

That is when I turned into my granddad. I started dancing with the vacuum cleaner. Granddad used to do it every time and it would torment the life out of my Nan. They were ballroom dancers and he had some great moves.  Maybe vacuum dancing is genetic?

Even the simple everyday jobs are the same. Dish washing should take about 5 minutes, right. I end up with about 20.  You see I have the radio on and then I end up having a row with it. Some host or contributor says something and I argue back calling them a ****** who couldn’t possibly think like that. When my beloved dog Shankly was alive he would come out look at me with his head tilted to one side and give me his ‘she’s on one’ look and walk off wagging his tail. I miss him in more ways than one.
Tomorrow I have time managed some housework into the daily planner. It’s all the distractions though. I can see them already. I could have left the book I’m reading at a really place and I want o pick it up, just for a few more pages. A few that’s all. Paisley could start acting the maggot when I’m cleaning his cage. He has taken quite a liking to climbing up on my iPhone when I’m texting or tweeting.
Not to worry. Nothing lifts the soul like the vacuum boogie. It’s a great workout. The all singing all dancing scorpiomoonrose variety show.  I’m no Louie Spence but I can do a mean Peggy Lee.

Keep smiling


Saturday, February 5, 2011

De Election

The time has come to exercise our franchise once again. The election has arrived. I’m sorry to admit to a secret little pleasure but I love elections.

It has nothing to do with politics, although I do follow it. It’s the ‘goings on’ that interest me.
I know the aging hippie is easily amused!

I am not trying to make light of the current difficulties some of us are in. It’s just the people watcher in me. I get great entertainment from watching the posturing.

Crowd scenes are great fun. When a politician is being interviewed on the election trail, watch the surrounding heads. They are all bursting their boilers to get as close as possible to the interviewee while getting their face on the T.V news looking suitably intelligent.

It gets even more interesting when a group of politicians cluster around their leader. Play ‘guess the pecking order’. Can you spot the favoured one with the best spot for T.V coverage? Also if a particular politician has managed to make an unmerciful mess of something, either in an interview or released a skeleton from their closet, see if they are placed in a prominent position for the camera with their leader as if to demonstrate support or their rehabilitation.

Then there is colour. All politicians get fiercely fond of strong colours. The men go all dominant with their ties and the women embrace ornate scarves, brightly coloured camisoles and statement jewellery.

My favourite election pastime is quip watching. It’s all in the digs and how they are barked. They pass between each other like a game of high speed tennis. A massive forehand is returned with a skilful backhand followed with a huge volley replied to with a smash. You can’t buy entertainment like this!

This time around we have the debate and all the hoo ha about who, where, when and by which. This could make great viewing. Yes viewing because I recommend doing just that, viewing.
What I do is turn the volume down. Ok so you miss the rehearsed pre packed and specially prepared for your delight answers to predictable questions. But what you do get is more fun than listening to the thunder. Watch the body language. See them squirm under the directions their communications coach gave them on how to stand and look cool calm and collected. Watch them try to cover up fury as one of them hits a raw nerve. Watch the ones who are off centre at a particular point in the debate, trying to look as though they have a clue what the other guy is on about. It could be just the laugh you need.

So to survive the election season, with a few good laughs, watch and see the antics, the faces, the gait and the P.R in practice. Enjoy the farce. You never know you could find yourself voting for someone you never thought you would!

keep smiling

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Every Crown has a silver lining

I’ve noticed something in recent weeks. I’ve grey hair creeping in. The Silver is appearing across my fringe at regular intervals. I noticed a few little highlights arriving on the right side too. It reminds me of little Halloween sparklers I had when I was a kid. These little shiny sparks are like a firework exploding from the side of my fringe and back through the rest of my hair. You know what?                 I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!

I don’t think I’m supposed to love it but I do. A reaction of panic followed by reckless scrambling for a bottle of dye is the norm so they say. I have had the conversations. People in general, friends and family show me greys with a mix of fear and rueful regret. Youth is behind me. Its elastic stockings and sensible shoes (and that’s just the men) from now on. Fair isle, beige and boring handbags. Sorry I don’t buy it. (Especially the boring handbags).

When it comes to hair, I’ve run the gauntlet. I’ve had highlights when it was a form of medieval torture. A crochet hook pulled strands through a rubber cap or a plastic bag. It was Pain incarnate. Then came the 80’s perms. I even brought a picture of Nicole Kidman with a head of curls to my hairdresser and said I want that!

At 16 I bought a supermarket hair bleaching kit and ended up looking like a marmalade cat. My cousin had to fix it the following weekend so I spent the week in school hiding the disaster in a ponytail.

My first passport photo I have black hair and a curly perm(the nicole). I look I am recovering from major surgery. After that I went through the red period. I was hostelling with a gang at that stage and one of the girls reckoned each time she saw me I had a different colour hair. There was auburn, henna red, red, mahogany red, red, chestnut red, and red.

Then I took to the bleach. It began on the slippery slope of a few highlights and became the whole head. That lasted nearly 10 years. I did have to have it cut as it was breaking and thinning but I held on in there.

To be honest the aging hippie was behind the decision to revert to my own colour. Besides I couldn’t remember what my natural colour was as I hadn’t seen it since I was 12. I had embraced the organic lifestyle and had chucked out all the chemicals I had. Food is organic and I had gone into chemical free cleaning. I always watched what went into my cosmetics. So the dye had to go.

The decision was helped when a wrecked knee laid me up for a spell and the colour grew out. When I was remobilised I got the rest covered up and now it’s ’all me own’.

So I intend celebrating the silver. My great grandmother died at 96 still with her long white hair. And I will be doing exactly the same. I’m having fun watching the silver spread across and giving me an interest as I brush. Mark Twain said age is a state of mind. If you don’t mind it doesn’t matter. I will be seeing my grey in exactly the same light. A silver one.
Keep Smiling