Archive for March, 2011

Postaday2011: A blank canvas

Why I entitled this blog that I have no idea because my mind is completely blank at this present moment. I suppose if I put my mind to it and compare life to my art work it sort of does make sense. I mean, every day is just that isn’t it? A blank canvas! We my have plans and list for what we want to achieve in any one day, we might have assignments and things we need to accomplish but every one of those tasks relies totally on whatever happens throughout the day.

Just as I place the first brush strokes on the canvas, I have no idea what the end result will be. I may be trying to replicate a photograph and to one extent, I will achieve that aim but somewhere along the way that little thing called emotion will creep on in there. A memory, a sudden idea, a dream of something you wished could be and the picture has changed completely.

That is so much like life. No matter what you plan, at any one point something can drift into your field of understanding, be it vision, hearing or a sense of nostalgia, a smell, a feeling, each and every one of these things can change how you feel. It is those feelings that change how you handle your day. And each of those emotions is totally out of our sphere of understanding and control whether we accept that or not.

Is it Karma, a breath of life from the Universe, a kindred soul touching us from the past? Whatever we want to call it, something happens each and every day to influence the out come. We may be totally unaware, or we may look out for it, either way it happens. I rather like to think of such things as the ripples in the pool. When you throw a pebble in the calm pool a force is thrown up in the form of ripples. They grow and grow until finally they crash upon the bank or the shore, they can disrupt the bank or shoreline or carry something important necessary for the continuation of life at the edge.

Imagine life like that. If, when you rise in the morning you stub your toe, the toothpaste has run out, you spill your coffee and the day has started badly, you are in a bad mood. You go to work and snap at those around you and tip their mood over to respond to your attitude, the mood travels on and on and the poor guy at the end goes home to his/her family carrying all those ripples. What a heavy load to bear… Kick the cat syndrome we call it.

So, what if the opposite was to happen. You get up and be thankful for the day, you bless the fact that you have a good home, family, or maybe a friendly pet to greet you. The day is bright and you feel positive and happy. Whatever your situation, if gratitude is in your mind, you carry that with you also. So employ the pebble in the pond rule again. Each compliment, happy thought, even each smile that is passed to another person gives them the same feeling… get to the end of the day and maybe, just maybe, each person you touched with your positivity has been exhilarated by having a great day without knowing why. You have changed the world around you for the better.

So this is why I look on every day as a blank canvas. A picture waiting to see what life will paint on it. The decision is ours to make it a brilliant picture with many bright aspects that touch others as they admire it, or to make it a dull and depressing image that cheers no-one. My challenge is to everyone, take up your brush and colour your life with gratitude and positivity, no matter how hard it may be. Your picture will one of joy and colour that everyone will want to share. Treasure each blank canvas but be aware that others share in it too, a moment, a while or even a lifetime, make every second, every brush stroke every thought mean something good.

 

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Postaday2011: Regaining trust

This is another interesting topic and one I feel really strongly about. I have had a lot of experience of broken trust over the years and have spent a lot of time pondering over it. For me, giving my trust to someone is the most precious thing I can give but in return I expect that trust not to be broken. I guess other factors and emotions come into play when the word trust is bandied about.

Firstly, once a trust is broken there is a deep sadness. Something special has  been lost from that relationship, something that opens the doors to jealousy, anger and hatred. It’s like a lie, once you know someone has lied, how can you know when they are telling the truth. I am afraid once I have been lied to I no longer take anything that person says as gospel unless I know otherwise. I know it sounds very petty but I would not lie to anyone, I just cannot. It’s funny, my children can’t lie either. OK, I taught them that honesty is the best policy and when they were children I could tell if they weren’t telling the truth. I used to say to them that their eyes gave them away, so I get them to repeat what I think might be a fib while I look into their eyes. It is true, a lie will make the eyes dilate and I always watch for that in people, but in the children, they would just laugh and give in knowing they couldn’t argue it. Even today, if I look them in the eye, they will tell me straight.

It’s really nice because as they grew up it meant I could trust them and because I trusted them, they were trustworthy. The older they got the more trustworthy they have become and I am proud of each of them for that. Each one of them has good morals, cares about those around them and respects people and property. And to think, when they were young, it started with a bluff. I laugh nowadays because they still cannot lie to me, not that they do very often and when they do it is usually some joke they are playing on me. They have to catch me unawares though and they do, often.

In a relationship, I think honesty has to be top of the list because if I am unable to trust that person, I don’t want to be with them. I don’t want those feelings that are associated with lack of trust and if I offer total honesty then I expect it back. I don’t mean the little things like compliments and I am not obsessive about it and go looking for it but if I am exposed to it then it is the end for me. It is that important.

If circumstances mean that I need to maintain, or choose to maintain that relationship it is on a totally different level. I have to distance myself from that emotion. I refuse to feel jealous or angry because I don’t want to so I detach myself emotionally. To everyone else, including the person, everything seems the same but I am no longer prepared to love totally anyone I cannot trust. I feel sorry for them because they have lost my deepest love and it will never come back, they have lost my respect and I have distanced myself from them to prevent me from being hurt any more.

It is quite nice really because I become more independent and self-reliant, I think it has been important to me and the way I have lived my life. Sadly, I have to say that it is mostly men that have broken that trust and usually ones that I am close to. If it were a friend the friendship remains but I no longer believe what I am told unless I know it to be true.

What about machines? Hmm that’s a difficult one, but I think it is the same. Once it has let me down it is time to trade it in for a newer model. It is no good holding your breath and praying it will be ok when  it could break down or fall apart at any moment. Much the same as people I guess.

I often used to wonder where the way I am came from but looking back over my past it is not difficult to see why I need honesty and trust in a relationship. My father lied to me when he left. That was the first instance of a lie that I ever knew. It just happened to be such an important one. ‘I will be back, I promise.’ he said. But he never came back, in fact I rarely saw him at all and when you are only nine or ten, you learn that people lie and become wary, you learn not to trust what is said to you.

I am glad really, because if he hadn’t done that I might have grown up without knowing how important it is to tell the truth. I taught my children honesty and of all the things I am proud of in them, honesty is high on my list. It has set a precedence though, and one that isn’t going to change in the near future for me, that’s for sure.

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Postaday2011: If I could master any skill instantly.

I chose to write using the prompt, mainly because it is such a lovely thing to think about. My brain is addled from lack of sleep and am not working at full capacity yet, so what better way to drift into my blog than dreaming of what I would love to have as a skill. I suppose I am blessed really and often I feel I don’t appreciate just what I can do, enough. Everything I have had a go at has gone two ways, either it really isn’t my thing and I have abandoned it,  sometimes, it has abandoned me, but other stuff has been really successful. In fact most of what I have set out to do has been successful, if I am honest. Not in a major way but enough to please me, which is all that matters really.

The skill I would so love to have instantly is playing the piano. It has always been my dream. Music has always played a huge part in my life one way or the other. As a child I played the violin, I played in the orchestra, I also learned the recorder – which was pretty compulsory back in the fifties and I learned to sing. So I can read music, or should I say, I could read music. I am hoping it is like riding a bike or swimming, once you have done it you never forget. My love of music started back in the classroom, I have blogged about this before so I won’t go over it but from that moment, although I did various things with the school choir, I always enjoyed singing.

As I got older and had my own family, I joined the church choir and became introduced to beautiful choral pieces. I went on to have voice training and sang at a wedding and a christening as well as various special occasions with different choirs. The Albert Hall was the most wonderful experience I have ever had, with much gratitude to my friend Judith. All these experiences were so fulfilling and I cherish their memories so much, particularly now that I can no longer sing. However, along that journey I decided to learn the piano. At one time the choir mistress was also a piano teacher so I went along to lessons and even had my own piano.

I bought it really cheap and had it tuned. It turned out to be the most wonderful sounding instrument I have ever heard. It was rather too big for our house and was quite battered but  internally it was sound. It had metal, twin harps and as soon as I heard it, I was in love. The sound was exquisite and I have only heard the same from grand pianos since. The resonance was so pure and beautiful and therefore the pitch was perfect. I have always had perfect pitch hearing and voice and it is hard now, having lost a lot of hearing, to not know how accurate my voice would be any more.

I practiced hard and learned to play music up to level three. How wonderful it was to hear such lovely stuff come from nothing. I had mastered Fur Elise and was working on The Moonlight Sonata, these were the last pieces I played and have regretted not keeping it up ever since.

However, and I just heard this quote on my favourite movie trailer…’ Living in the past can have no future.’ My favourite movie is Truly, Madly, Deeply. and in that film is the most amazing piece of music ever.. it is a piece by Bach for piano and cello and was arranged by Barrington Pheloung, I managed to get a copy of the original Bach music and am determined to have a go at learning it, on keyboard. Living with regrets isn’t productive and ok so there are many things I cannot do any more but I can at least try… Time to dig out my music methinks and give it a go. If nothing else it will keep the little grey cells occupied and active, keep my fingers mobile to help the arthritis and give me a little of what I love.

OK I might not ever be a concert pianist, and I certainly will never master this instantly but from little acorns …. or to put it another way.. if I never try, I will never know.

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Postaday2011: A girly day

I was going to babysit 8 month old Millie this morning while my daughter went on an appointment and I was so looking forward to it when Suzi called and suggested we took the girls to the park for some fresh air. Aha, thought I a conspiracy is going on here, but I didn’t mind. I can’t get on the floor to play nor can I walk very far carrying Millie so it was nice to have Auntie Suzi and Maica come to play too and help out if I needed it. As it happened I didn’t and we had a great time. Maica decided to share an ice lolly with Millie and let her play with her little dolly. A short walk to the park later and they were playing so well again. Millie loved the swing.

I found out later after I had worried about her slipping out and we held onto her coat, that her mummy got her to hold on and just pushed her, making her laugh more the higher she went. Ah well…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maica loved the see-saw and Mummy sat on the other end with Millie.

 

The slide seemed to be Millie’s favourite and she laughed and flapped her arms and legs as Auntie Suzi held her for Grandma to take the picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon Mummy arrived to find us and we all walked back for lunch. Leek and potato soup to warm us up. Tabby and Millie went shopping and left Maica and her Mummy here. I had bought a tiny watering can and garden tools and Maica wanted to try them out. She watered the plants I put in the other day and planted some little violas for me. As I cleared the weeds, which I had left to grow to deter the cats from digging the soil, we found loads of caterpillars. I was going to destroy them when Suzi said jokingly, but Mum, they are all just asleep, you can’t hurt them. I looked at them in my hand and suddenly these tiny little creatures became personified. She laughed at me but she couldn’t destroy them either. Then she came up with a great plan and I agreed. She could take them home and they could make a butterfly cage for them… Yes yes yes! I gathered as many as I could and put them in a little pot.

Most of them were cabbage whites, I just hoped none would turn out to be leather jackets and turn into crane flies… However, I said nothing but would look them up to make sure.

Maica was fascinated by them and Suzi mentioned the Hungry Caterpillar book which has been a favourite for all the children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was just glad we were able to come to some arrangement and I blame children’s books of course. I mean, how could I possibly kill them knowing they were cute little creatures just sleeping beneath the chickweed canopy, fast asleep and waiting for their time to turn into butterflies and lay more eggs to add to the growing population of plant hungry creatures that already co-exist among my poor dog-eared, or should I saw cat – erpilar chewed plants.

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Postaday2011: Don’t you just love lazy Sundays

We lay in bed this morning with the sunlight shining through the window. What a luxury. Eight thirty and I decided to get up, we had nothing planned for today so we didn’t hurry to sort ourselves out.It wasn’t until we wondered why the time suddenly jumped to 9.30 on the downstairs clock that we realised. It hadn’t taken that long to get up, had it? Yes, we forgot the clocks were going forward so we had already lost an hour of our lazy day. I am so glad we have radio controlled clocks or we might not have known till much later.

Harry had planned to give the car a seriously needed clean, especially since it had just had the service and MOT and several little problems had been cleared up. Oh, and he wouldn’t forgive me if I forgot to mention that he bought new wheel trims for her yesterday. He vacuumed the inside and washed all the bits the car wash wouldn’t get to, like inside the door frames and the like and went off to the car wash. He was so proud of it when he came back and I was marched down to take a look at it. It’s a car, ok the thick dirt of winter was missing and she did look a few shades lighter but, well cars, aren’t really my thing. I did make the right noises though despite finding a part of the car the wash had missed.

For my lazy day I chose to potter in the garden. I had treated myself to some plants, Viola and Primula, to try and brighten the garden up. My trouble is, that as soon as I turn the soil over, the neighbouring cats decide it makes a good litter tray. It makes me cross. I sat on my chair and carefully weeded and planted one row of primula. It looked lovely. I then placed upturned pots in all the spaces and plastic bottles of water where there was still any bare soil. Apparently the cats don’t like the reflection and they stay off the garden. It does seem to work. May not look great but at least they won’t dig up my new plants.

I planted some oregano that I had from last year which was just coming up in a pot, and a sage plant that I had also bought. At least once that grows it will make a reasonable size bush and protect the garden too. I sprayed weed killer on all the paths and patio area, swept up all the dead leaves and bagged up all the debris. I was so proud of myself. It is always hard though, I know what ever I do takes three times as long as it used to, I have to everything sitting down and I shall have trouble walking tomorrow but it was worth every second. I am just glad I have raised beds. At least by doing this we won’t have to get someone in to do it for me.

We had a fantastic lunch of some gorgeous Irish steak, sirloin it was, a huge thank you to Harry’s niece. We have been thoroughly spoiled, and then decided to just chill with a DVD in the afternoon. The film was rubbish but was an 80’s film and I did finish a sewing project I have been working on. It was a challenge on Facebook to make something for  people who replied to a craft challenge. I have the rest of the year to make these things and send them. Great fun. I still have 2 more to do, got to get my thinking cap on. I can’t say what it is until the person has received it otherwise it won’t be such a surprise. But I will post about it after then.

And that was our lazy Sunday. Pretty boring really but I did enjoy getting out into the garden for the first time properly and tomorrow I am babysitting Millie for a little while, so I shan’t get too much done then. I have also replenished my stock of water-colour paper – I was really shocked to see how much it has gone up in price! Unbelievable! Still with the new brushes I also bought, and white spirit, I am ready for my oil painting now.

I did one more thing today that I shall have to finish off tomorrow, and I will definitely post about in a day or so when I have finished it. A year or two ago my youngest son was travelling to India and Switzerland and was spending a lot of time on trains and the like so I lent him our book on origami. He took it along with lots of paper and spent the boring times making all kinds of creatures. He came back with a dragon, an octopus, a crab, a plane, a frog and a ball etc. I had preciously hung them up as a mobile in the corner of the dining room. The other day I looked at the dust on them and took them down to clean them off. That was when I had this wonderful idea to spray them gold. Which is what I did, and they look brilliant! So as soon as I get time I am going to rehang them again and give them pride of place in the window. I am sure it will definitely be worth showing them off. A great talking point from some paper and a boring train journey.

Sunday nearly over, all the clocks telling the right time and now for some well earned sleep. Coughing and spluttering permitting of course.

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Postaday2011: Pizza making with Maica

I had a phone call early-ish, this morning. My daughter Suzi said, ‘Mum can you have Maica while I go out my friend, Sarah.’  Suzi and Sarah have been friends from school, through college and Uni for Sarah and Spain for Suzi and they are still such good friends. I couldn’t say no, after all, we had planned nothing, having had another bad night with the aforementioned virus we were useless at planning anything. So Maica arrived complete with Sylvanian animals which I thought she might want to play with as the toys I have were limited for a whole day.

I needn’t have worried, Maica followed me upstairs to accompany me as I dried my hair. ‘Is it in this room?’ she asked. ‘No that is my painting room.’ I said. She went into the next room. ‘You have books in here?’ ‘Yes, I have lots of books in here.’ I answered her. ‘Peter is in here, I want to read Peter.’  I couldn’t think for a minute, then I remembered, almost a year ago we had sat in there when it was our study and Auntie Tabby was still at home, and read the Tales of Beatrix Potter. What a memory that little girl has!

Anyway, Maica loves to cook and so Grampy Harry went out to buy some chorizo and rolls because we decided to make pizzas. Maica chose the recipe and decided on the ones she would make for Mummy and Papa.

Maica chose to make a clock Pizza. I sliced the ingredients and Maica placed them into the little bowls ready to be used. Silly Grandma, Maica has Spanish blood in her and loves Chorizo, peppers, olives and cheese. I think she ate more than we put on the pizzas.

 

 

 

 

 

However, we started off spreading the tomato paste onto the rolls. Maica was pleased to help and, with a little support from Grandma, we managed to coat the rolls with tomato puree.

Next we filled the rolls with our clock patterns. Maica managed three before she got a little bored and left Grandma to do the rest. Here is her result.. I thought it was pretty good considering she is only three years old. Ok so the clocks might not have 12 digits but , it looks like a clock!

 

 

 

 

 

I carried on and made mouse faces and sweetcorn pizzas. When it came to eating them, Maica was so full of sausage, cheese , olives and peppers that she ate only a few mouthfuls of her Pizza. But, made sure she had one each for Mummy. Papa and herself for her supper.

 

 

 

 

 

We had a wonderful time, baking and playing imaginary games and reading stories. It really is so good to have a day off now and again, and to get in touch with my inner child. Thank you Maica for a lovely day. I am so glad that Mummy had a wonderful break without the  stress of shopping and meeting a friend with a three-year old who is capable of the biggest strop in the world. We never did  play with the Sylvanians but Grandma certainly had a great time cooking with Maica. Hope you enjoyed your pizzas Mummy.

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Postaday2011: Bleep conspiracy!

Have you ever wondered exactly when they took over our lives? They snuck in fairly unobtrusively with cute little electronic beeps about the time that transistor radios became obsolete and newer, smaller battery operated stuff came in. I still have my little transistor from the sixties. It was one of the few birthday presents I remember getting when I was around 12 or so. I reckon it was so that my parents didn’t have to listen to ‘Pick of the Pops’ . It is a radio alarm in a leather case. The clock is wound by hand and the transistor has a tinny little sound but I loved it. Freedom to listen to Radio Caroline under my bedclothes at night.

Those days are long gone but fondly remembered. I am certain I will not be saying the same about the constant battering of beep from our modern technology equipment. Radios, alarm clocks, microwaves, cookers, road crossings, mobile phones, photocopiers, computers… oh the list is endless! Day after day they intrude into our lives and take control. Time to get up, warning ! you burnt the toast, someone is at the door, answer the phone. Their instruction is non verbal but so absolute! No nice gentle reminders any more. I remember the days when I could smell when the cakes were cooked and I sure knew when the toast was burned. When someone came to the door it was a knuckle on wood or maybe if you were lucky a gentle ding-dong, so much more personal, don’t you think?

BEEP! get up, beeep! your breakfast is cooked, beeep, answer the door. It’s not so much the beep, I guess, but the harsh tonality of the beast as it bursts into your consciousness with its demanding piercing, leaving you with no doubt an instant, ‘quick! get up and sort me out’ panic. But worst of all, bad enough having been made neurotic by controlling beeps, are the little ones that intrude at obscure moments in your life, yes, you know the ones.

Beeeeeep, feed me, I’m hungry. That life saver mobile phone, so useful in many ways. You can turn it to silent and only you know by a gentle vibrate in your pocket that it would like to be answered. I like that gesture.Don’t be fooled! It gets you back when the battery is low. No argument, no gentle rumbling. A double beep no less! BEEP BEEP! FEED ME, FEED ME, NOW!

The ultimate is also a wonderful invention and a life saver, the smoke detector! It is as though there is a payback to the joys this magic equipment affords us. So who on earth, no doubt some little boffin who thought he would have some fun, decided that only hours between 11pm and 6am would be the best time to let us know that they needed a new battery!

Harry was gently snoring, getting up at 4.30 needs an early night. I was just writing my late night blog and the world was happy. BIP!! Just a tiny little ‘bip!’ not a long one but one that pierces the silence of the darkness like a needle stabbing into a balloon. The effect is the same in those silent hours. I panic, no! you are not going to wake Harry! I stand at the main one waiting for the confirmatory beep. It is a ten-year battery? it can’t be that one. Bottom of the stairs, yes thats it. I can reach that one and unscrew it, remove the battery and replace it with a new one. BIP! Damn! it isn’t that one. Having a hearing problem does not help. I can’t tell which direction the noise is coming from. By this time H has wandered sleepily from the bedroom. ‘What’s up? says he. ‘ BIP! ‘

Not only do the batteries in things like mobile phones decide to run out during sleeping hours, mind you in their defence, mobiles are easy to turn off, of course if you remembered to take the phone upstairs with you,  but the biggest conspiracy comes in when smoke detectors not only go off when you are asleep, they leave each ‘bip’ long enough for you to drop off before going off again, a kind of dripping tap torture kind of thing. But even worse than that, you can guarantee it is the only one in the house that needs a ladder to reach it.

Poor Harry, I did my best, I cannot climb ladders any more, arthritic knees just don’t allow it, so he has to come all the way downstairs, go out the back to retrieve the step-ladder and remove it for me! That one did not get a new battery, it can wait till later when H gets back from work. It isn’t an important one, that’s covered by the big one but I have a plan to out-smart the rest of them. I reckon we probably bought them at the same time so logic tells me the battery life will be running out around the same time. Later we will change the batteries in all of them, during the day! We’ll teach them. Well I hope we will but you can bet your sweet life that won’t make a difference and that next time they need changing it will be night-time hours again!

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