Monday, 18 January 2010

Daily Writing Prompt

Pretty flowers.  I think we need some after all that miserable weather...

I am organising, or trying to organise, a daily writing prompt email list.  The idea is that you sign up, and every day I send you a prompt to do a short (or long if you like) writing exercise from.  We have six members so far, and I am feeling quite excited about it.  Embryonic, yes, but committing to sending out a prompt every day in 2010 is a BIG commitment, especially for me, Mrs Unreliable.  It is an act of faith my new year motto - Putting Myself First - in this case, putting my writing first.  I am very excited about it, and thats a great motivator.  Cross your fingers for me, people!

In other news, the ice on the pond is finally melting, and the world has resumed its normal muddy-green tones.  The bathroom is no longer more suitable habitat for penguins.  I am praying, literally praying, every day, that we don't get snow like that again, because it was touch and go there for a while as to whether I was going out of my mind.  (I mean, more than usual!)

Friday, 8 January 2010

New Year, New Motto

Footprints in the snow

Lots of bloggers are writing about the words they have chosen to work with this new year, words to live their lives by.  I have a slogan.  Mine is:

'Putting myself first'

Now, when you read this, the word selfish probably comes into your head.  It did mine.  But thats not what its about.  Selfish is a word that has dogged me all my life.  It was the worst, absolutely the WORST thing you could be in our house when I was growing up.  No one could say anything worse to you than to call you selfish.  But then my guru, R, made me put selfish on a plinth and walk round it, examine it as a word, as an idea, find out why it was so negative for me, and whether I could salvage anything from it.

If I think about it differently, I can.  Put a hyphen in.  SELF-ish.  If you think about the SELF as being everything you are contained inside a big perspex bubble, then being SELF-ish is a way of seeing oneself holistically, emotions, body, mind, spirit.  So to be SELF-ish means to look after yourself, and consider and care for everything that is in that bubble.  Its not about excluding other people from your thinking.  Its about  getting what you need to nurture yourself and thrive.

I have a lot of 'shoulds' and 'oughts' and 'musts' in my life, probably because of this whole selfish paranoia.  So this year's journey is to break out of 'Shouldland'.  Do what I need to thrive.  Practise saying no to things that damage me.  Make a few dreams come true.  Ask for what I need.  Support myself, and in doing so, support those I love.  Because you can't do that if you are in a threadbare state yourself.  That is why I am setting out on this new journey of 'putting myself first'.  Lets see what happens....

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Snow Days

The farm track that leads to our house, taken by Pat this morning.

Britain is in the midst of the big freeze, and everyone is complaining - why can't the British cope when it snows?  Other countries manage with hardly any disruption at all, so why can't we?

The man on the weather said the other day its because of our maritime climate.  The snow here is wetter and more inclined to freeze as a result.  I think its just because we don't have a culture of being prepared - the Germans swap to deep-treaded winter tyres automatically, so why don't we?  Most British people don't even remember to put antifreeze in their wiper bottles!   We are idiots when it comes to the weather.  Frankly we deserve all we get.

Pat and I have decided our only solution is to stay put and listen to the cricket on the radio.  At least it sounds sunny!  Not that we have a choice.  Even our neighbour in her Landrover is having trouble getting up the track today.  Our little Punto is firmly beached out front and thats the way it is staying.  Lets just hope the food doesn't run out before we can get out again to shop!

Happy snow days, everyone!

Monday, 4 January 2010

Christmas Post Mortem

(I promise this is presents for seven people, although it looks like enough for about three hundred.  Obscene, isn't it?
  Why do we do it? Oh, and those are cousin Nigel's feet there, in case you were wondering...)

We are home again after our annual Christmas Odyssey.  The annual present mountain has been ploughed through.  The Biggest Gut Competition has been won.  I took down the Christmas tree today, and wrapped the baubles in tissue, carefully clipped the lights back into their tidy for another year.  And while I did it, I thought of my grandfather, who used to sit back in his carver chair after he had eaten his Christmas lunch and say the same thing every year:

"It's as far away now as it'll ever be."

We were away for nearly a fortnight, and I feel rather disconnected now.  I've come back with my usual 'post-visiting other people's houses' tidying bug.   I am full of ideas for throwing STUFF* away, irritated by the fact that in this house there is not a horizontal surface that isn't covered with STUFF*.  I have lots of plans of how I am going to get organised which, like most resolutions, stand as much chance as a cat in hell. 

Oh well.  Its all over.  All that mad rush.  Now to decide what to do with the next eleven months, before it all starts again....

*STUFF. you know, stuff.   Those odds and ends that never get put away or cleaned up, you know the things.  Bits of post.  Necklaces.  Dead batteries.  Bits of ribbon.  Odd photographs separated from their folders.  Nail scissors.  Pegs.  Books.  Gloves.  Scraps of paper.  Useful cardboard tubes that are being saved for something that will never be made. Hand cream.  Newspaper crosswords.  Dust bunnies.  And lots and lots of pens, for some reason...