Monday, August 31, 2015

Day Three - Oh, This Should Be Good...

What are your top three pet peeves?

On my transition to the end goal of being a curmudgeonly old dear, which I realise it isn't too far a stretch from my current frame of mind, now I have to whittle it down to three pet peeves.  Only three!

Again, in no particular order of getting on my frazzled nerves we have:

Manners - and lack thereof.  Seriously, it doesn't have to be all "please" and "thank you" but a smile when someone opens the door, a sorry when you bump into someone, giving someone a hand where needed, costs nothing.  Despite this society becoming even more "I'm alright Jack" (see the attitude of No voters in the Scottish referendum last year for a prime example) there really is no need.  This idea of it being all to do with the young is utter rot as there are plenty of mean-spirits amongst the baby boomer age.  It's not about deference but makes for a kinder life to show some respect to each other.

Snobbery - not to be mistaken with lack of manners but there is a definite link.  You are not better by the amount in your bank, by the house you live in or by the car you drive and yet so many believe it to be so.  Living in a town with a large middle-class population I see it quite often, I see it in the adults and I see it in how they raise their children.  Strangely those with very little and those with an awful lot seem not to be affected by this smugness - it's just the middle, terrified of being seen as being anything less than what they want to think they are and completely missing the point.  Take the person on their actions, not the fa├žade they present.

Exclusion - and here I'm going to get a little more specific.  If all the kids in a class are invited to a party except for one, if friends go out on a night out but don't bother contacting one of the group, if family members have a get together and purposefully exclude just one - it's just not nice.  Of course that person being excluded might be a horror or utter pain in the neck, in which case there are ways to deal with it but it often isn't the case.  I've seen it happen, it does annoy me when it is none of my business and drives me crazy when it does.  

So, those are my three peeves that will have me chewing my gums in annoyance when I see them happen. I could have gone for things like tail-gating motorists, littering and "expats" but I shall leave them for another day.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Day 2 - Where I Realise I'm In Danger Of Forming A Habit

Yes, on day two, not to get over excited but still...

My sons were off at school music camp this weekend so I spent most of last night organising my Pinterest boards.  You heard that right.  And I loved every single minute of it.  All those lovely images, ideas, inspiration.

Write something someone once told you about yourself that you never forgot.

Now this is something I think on often even though, in the twenty plus years since, I've done nothing about it as such.  Without wishing to procrastinate brooding moodily over past events let's just say that ambition was not encouraged in my family, on my mum's side at least.  It is one of the things that when I start talking about it my sons roll their eyes as they hear it all the time - don't let anyone throw crap on your dreams.

Anywhatisshewafflingonabout: this ties in with a quote from my 4th Year English teacher my mother did tell me.  At a parents evening, she had told my mother and dad I had a talent for writing stories.  Now most parents, especially now, would perhaps spur their child on but it had already been decided on advice from the careers office that I would do nursing or become a secretary and that was that.  Despite being an avid reader my mother did not consider writing as a job for the likes of us.

This was not said to me directly though so doesn't count.

What does is what my dad's eldest sister said.  Now my dad's side of the family was very much "get on with it" and I wish I had taken that attitude on board more!  Yet during one of the many gatherings at her house my late aunt spoke as though it was already set that I would one day write books and it was a generally accepted idea amongst the others there that this would happen.

This was a few years after the teacher's comment, when I was languishing in jobs I hated and it took me aback.

But I remembered it.  Remembered so clearly I could tell you where she was standing in her living room when she said it and what she was wearing.

I never have written a book but, in that moment, someone whose opinion I valued, indicated that I might be worth something more.

Strangely enough, soon after that I quit nursing and went off to the US for a year - my first ever act of rebellion against what was expected of me!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

And So It Begins - Day One

List 10 Things That Make You Really Happy

Now for a regular Eeyore type like myself this is not as easy as it probably should be but let's persevere, especially as this is the first challenge and all:

In no particular order:

These two boys - it may sound infuriating to others to admit this but if all I accomplish in my life is raising my sons then I will be satisfied.  In a two-finger salute to the Establishment this "single parent on a low income" has, so far, plenty to be proud of and there is no sign of that stopping.

Oh yes, parenting alone can be the epitome of frustration but whenever they get an award at school or are happy with what they've done then my heart sings.  For all my failings I am at least doing this a little bit right and that has to be good.

Art - see previous post as to why this is increasingly important to me. Whether it is via painting, pastel, drawing or some other medium - no matter the outcome I feel an enormous sense of contentment and a sense of self.  I have still, annoyingly, to find a style I am happy with.  I'm working on being freer with what I do, trying new genres whether I like them or not and it is liberating.  It's probably twenty plus years too late but I'm finally doing what makes me happy.

Writing - I don't do enough of it.  Again, this ties in with the last point.  I need to write for me more; I have ideas that have done nothing but swirl around, changing shape and forming into stories for the past few years.

This place (Millport) - the fact it hasn't changed much in all the time I've been coming here is part of the charm.  I've often thought about moving there permanently after the boys leave school and it's just me but that would probably spoil it.

And this place too (Lanzarote) - I don't know what it is. Until a few years ago I hadn't even thought of going there on holiday.  Again with the holiday places but when I go there I feel calm, maybe not to live there but I'd always had an itch to live in Spain.  Not in a "Brit abroad" way (especially as I don't have and never will consider myself "British") but actually enjoy the Spanish culture, speak the language until I forget the word in English.  Now Scotland isn't going to be independent any time soon I feel further and further away from wanting to remain here, it feels strange and unwelcoming so who knows what the future will bring.

In fact let's continue the theme as what makes me really happy is the possibilities of where to go next.  The only thing holding us back is the fact we have no money!  I have a Pinterest board full of wish list destinations that may just come true.

My other boy.  There's one of those internet memes that says "I want to be the person my dog thinks I am". If only we all were then the world would be a much better place.  I should also give an honorary mention to the cats who don't get on the list as I feel they only tolerate me!

Days out.  Again another thing we're not doing enough of lately.  The boys are busy with their lives so our Sunday train ride into Edinburgh for a wander around the museums and galleries don't happen as much.  Whether it's by train or by car just heading out somewhere, (add castles and parks or beaches to the list of things that make a good day out) is the best of fun.

Time.  Just time to do the things I want; time to sit and enjoy a sunny afternoon or finish reading that book or painting or sewing. Having some spare time makes me ridiculously happy.

Books. Not a hand held machine but real, honest, books.  It might make my bag heavy but it's a welcome weight.  Just to get lost for a few hours in the pages of a story, that feeling of reaching the end of a book and wishing there were more, that the tale could continue.  I have bookshelves full and I know I should pare them down but I can't.  Whenever there is a book sale, forget the clothes shopping, that is true happiness and bliss.  A good rummage and bonus if there are a few gems amongst them.

Oh look, there's ten things. It wasn't that hard after all or is the fact that three of my choices are to do with travel a cheat?  Ach, who cares, it's my list and I'll do as I like!  See, changing from a people-pleaser already - braw!

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Learning Process

This I need to do...

And why would this be difficult? Because, according to the same motivational speaker I am an "Obliger".

I don't usually have time for such people, they tend to talk in the air; grand ideas that don't really make sense or have much substance.  Then I came across this idea of knowing yourself from the artist Anna Mason  and suddenly it clicked.  I am a people-pleaser and I resent it so much it is harming all parts of my life.

It needs to stop.

For future reference, as the artist's blog I mentioned is about to change, here is a longer talk discussing all types and the test to take which is scarily accurate:

I subscribed to Rubin's YouTube channel as she talks about organising and decluttering and I really need to pay attention to that.  I may be 43 years old but it's time to find out if you really can teach an old dog new tricks - case in point the previous post about the challenge.  Finger out, girlie!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

30 Day Challenge...erm...Challenge

The muscle not used becomes flabby and wasted.

With that in mind, for my own entertainment I'll be doing this soon -

30 Day Writing Challenge. Can do this for the first 30 days for journaling. And if the students do all 30 then it can be extra credit!
Bet you can't wait.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Hiroshima Nagasaki - 70 Years On

I'm beginning to realise that most of my politics and beliefs stem from time spent in my Modern Studies class during high school.  One of the textbooks I distinctly remember, to the point where I could probably quite accurately reproduce some of the graphics, was about the nuclear holocaust and described what happened on those fateful days at the end of WWII.

Growing up the Cold War was an ever present threat; nuclear arsenals reaching ridiculously catastrophic proportions with weapons so powerful they made Little Boy just that.  Yet twenty years since the supposed end of the posturing and Scotland still has obscene amounts of these monsters buried deep into the Clydeside hills.

We need them as a deterrent the Establishment and their supporters cry.  The thing is with a deterrent, it only works if you have the capacity to actually use it if needed.  There's a thought to chew on for a while for those who think there is still a place in civilisation for nuclear weapons.

That textbook, the stories and images within, chilled me to the bone.  It still has that power thinking back on it now.  I had hoped that my own children would never know the horror of how depraved humanity can be against the world and all within.

Seventy years on and those in charge still think this an acceptable, we will all be reduced to shadows on the pavement.
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