Posted in Lost in Thought, Quizzes and Memes

Processing Skills and Moods

22 September? Don’t tell me the month is already nearly over… feels like it only just started.

What was the most astonishing thing that happened to you within the past 352 days?

I imagine a lot of surprising things have happened over the year, but the most powerful happened in the past three days… our household was briefly joined by a pigeon. It was a very quiet little bird, but I still feel I’ve been hit by a wrecking ball.

Do you have a skill you know you couldn’t get much better at than you already are?

Skills? I feel reluctant to think about this, partly because I’d end up writing a list. I seem to write lists for everything. It would get longer and longer, and I’d add every little thing I could possibly class as a skill, even natural (breathing) or something I’m terrible at (singing). Then I’d rate them out of ten, and re-sort the list so my best skills were at the top, after which I would look outside at the darkness and wonder what had happened to my day.

Since I would have gone to such a lot of trouble to work out my best and worst skills, the list couldn’t possibly be deleted, but must be stored in multiple back-ups along with everything else I’ve ever written down. After all, I might feel the need to refer to it again… some unwary idiot might ask the same question five years from now.

No, I don’t think I will do it, having thought it through!

What was your question again…?

What time of day or night best suits your most frequent mood?

This is a really tough question!

‘Now’ is often a good time, provided I don’t have something stressful to do like going to the dentist or cleaning the bathroom. It doesn’t seem to have much to do with the time of day; it’s more the content of it. The worst time of day tends to be very very early in the morning when you wake up fretting and can’t go back to sleep. Strangely, the best time can be bedtime, because you feel (hope) you’ll be safe from the rest of the world for a while. It’s a time to celebrate your own personal bubble by pulling close all the things that make you most comfortable. Book, drink, cosy blanket, long-suffering bear. Something to write in or watch (your journal and a YouTube video). Maybe a little iPad game that doesn’t take more than 5 or 10 minutes for a couple of levels. I don’t mind the fact that I’ve played these same games over and over for years… it’s nice knowing what I’m doing, and you can’t be more than mildly addicted because you’re not paying for anything, interacting with anybody or striving to gain a new level or badge. You’re just enjoying the flow of the game, and you know you can pause it then pick it up again, or restart if you’ve made a bish of it this time round, and it doesn’t really matter.

My favourite games for this purpose are Trolls vs Vikings, Roads of Rome and Northern Tale. I also have Adelantado, but each level can take about 40 minutes, and some are pretty tricky… so I only play that if I have time and energy.

Having rambled on, I’m not sure I answered the question correctly, because you sneaked in something about mood. My most frequent mood. What’s my most frequent mood? Do I have to write one of those lists I described above?

As it happens, I don’t have to, as I’ve been keeping a mood spreadsheet for the past couple of months! It’s not very good and I keep meaning to design a better one. It’s the best I’ve got, though, so I’ll have a look once I’ve climbed the stairs and retreated into my personal bubble for the night. Perhaps while I’m doing that, the person asking all these questions should answer this one himself. Either that, or explain his thinking behind the question… was there a reason to wonder?

For what it’s worth, the ‘moods’ that seem to score highest over the past two months are:

full of plans
pretty worried

It’s annoying to feel ‘creative’ or ‘full of plans’ last thing at night, especially as both impulses have usually been wiped out completely by morning. I hate to be worried last thing at night, especially ‘pretty worried’, which is mid-range intensity.

That’s probably why I play short iPad games over and over — it’s my way of temporarily switching off. I didn’t think anger would feature so highly, as I’ve been pretty easy-going and haven’t had shouting matches with anyone other than the ex-friend. That’s not a measure, though. I’ve sometimes felt angry at individuals for reasons I won’t reveal here, and at things said or done in politics and science. It’s better not to be angry last thing at night, as pacing back and forth can sometimes take the edge off, and you can’t pace back and forward in bed. You can kick the blanket off, I guess, and I’ve done that too.

‘Strength’ was the biggest scorer, though, which was a shocker! A lot of times I felt I had to just get on with things, carry on with chores even when distracted (cleaning kitchen and taking trash out when panicking about a baby pigeon!) and not be an attention-sucking drama queen even when upset. I don’t know if you’d call strength a mood, but it’s a mood-regulator, so why not make a note of it? If I’m playing Trolls vs Vikings a bit too much, I realize there’s something I’m not wanting to get to grips with, which means strength is low. If I’m drafting difficult emails and getting on with routine chores in the middle of life dramas, strength is high.

Strength is of little practical use at bedtime, when I’m probably going to wrap myself in my cocoon anyway.

OK, final answer! When I’m feeling strong, mid-morning is the best time. That’s when I’m more likely to deal with things, especially if geed on by worry, plans and creativity.

Today’s ramble is now at an end. 😛

Questions by Paul Sunstone.

Posted in Lost in Thought, Poetry and Verse, Quizzes and Memes

Brief Thoughts on Mind and Society

About how many hours a day do you typically sleep?

Under eight hours. I never seem to manage exactly 8 hours or over.

Which food most tempts you to overeat?

Chocolate peanuts… I like Tesco’s. Even better, flapjacks! Or, if we’re not talking about sweets and cakes, I like Christmas dinner (I know that’s rather an obvious response!) I also hate waste, so have a bad habit of eating things just so they are not ‘wasted’. Perhaps I need to change the way I look at that!

If you were to retire, what would you do to keep your mind from losing its edge?

I’m not sure I would even think in that way… “I must do crossword puzzles every day to keep my mind sharp.” No no. It would probably be writing things down and reorganizing my pictures and data. I have already tried writing a haiku a day, but that becomes annoying and I just dash something random down to get it out of the way.

An example from the past:

have to get up now
am writing this the next day
morning flutters by

There’s also a casually-written one about one of Gretchen Rubin’s books:

happiness project
connect to deepen your bonds
never demanding

Can you see yourself planting all your flowerbeds with the same species and same color of flower — assuming you had a few flowerbeds?

The most I’m likely to do is have all the same bedding plants as edging, and even then they’d be in different colours.

The smell of a newborn, the smell of leather, or the smell of your best friend?


What is the single best thing about society today?

The internet. I realize things are changing because of it, but there are good things as well as bad. Not only that, but I think the good things outweigh the bad. Take this as an example… we no longer rely on a limited selection of newspapers and TV channels for our news, or on local libraries for information — the selection of books in our town library is sparse.

Thanks for the queries, Paul. 🙂

Posted in Books, Lost in Thought, Music I Like, Quizzes and Memes

Headaches, Hate, and Self-Improvement

What anniversaries do you mark on your calendar and keep?

Birthdays. Halloween. Christmas. Passing reference to Easter. That’s it.

What is your favorite genre of painting: abstract, impressionism, cubist, surrealism, etc?

I don’t think I have a favourite — I like a variety. My mother likes Klimt, and I have a huge Escher book in the house — it’s beautiful.

How do you deal with a headache?

Drink water, open windows for fresh air… lie down if it’s bad enough. Occasionally I take a paracetamol. Usually, after a little sleep, the edge of it has gone. Also don’t eat too many nuts at once, as an excess of those can bring on headaches!

Is there anyone in your personal life that you profoundly hate?

Hate seems a pretty strong emotion — I don’t have that consistent a feeling about anyone, though there are those I dislike.

About how often does a catchy song get stuck in your head?

It’s a permanent setting! There’s always something playing in Radio Me. The two songs bothering me the most tonight are Why Does It Always Rain On Me (Travis) and Every River (Runrig).

If you were going to read just one self-improvement book, what would the specific subject be? That is, in what way would you most want to improve?

I don’t know about the term ‘self-improvement’. I’m more inclined to think “perhaps my life will be better if…”, which is not the same. Or I look at a self-improvement book and feel annoyed, and think “why do you think I need to change?? I’m not changing for other people!” It depends. I feel more of a need to understand human nature, most of the time, so, anyway… rambling aside… if there was a very new, important and life-changing book about anxiety that was taking the world by storm, that would be the one. Otherwise, it would have to be one about … wait, have just looked on Amazon for a range of choices. I could read books on mindfulness, happiness, self-esteem, fitness, assertiveness, ‘not giving an eff’, kindness, freedom from various addictions, self-care, self-discipline, anger management, positive thinking, wisdom, time management, dealing with stress, success, effective communication…

You know… I think it would be Gretchen Rubin’s next book that I’d read, whatever it may be. Although her main focus is on happiness, it’s a subject that covers a lot of ground and there’s so much in there that I find interesting.

The questions were from Café Philos. I could get used to these. 🙂


Posted in Lost in Thought, Quizzes and Memes

Six Questions from Café Philos

(1) What to you is the single most boring thing in the world?

Ennui itself. Complete lack of motivation, when every day is just like the last day and you can’t imagine doing anything at all… it’s the worst feeling. Beyond that, what do I look at that I find completely boring? The Labour Party! It’s not a conscious reaction; I just switch off and start drifting whenever it comes into the conversation. Other things: cleaning the bathroom, or being expected to read through a long list of terms and conditions or other legalese, particularly when I’m in a hurry to get things done.

(2) Your favorite time of night?

It’s that time just before bed, after checking all the doors are locked and the cats are fed and the plants are inside and safe from Giant Snails and the dishes are in the dishwasher (or have been put away) and there’s no food on the counter that could be in the fridge. It’s the moment you can finally pull the drawbridge up and do what you want. Suddenly the night is alive with possibilities.

(3) When was the last time you felt admiration for someone? What was it for?

I’ve felt admiration for a lot of different people over the past few days — I’m not sure I can single anyone out. My mother for her strength, balance and resilience. My sister for her hard-working and mostly good-humoured reliability. A friend for his kindness, intelligence and his curiosity about the world around him. People all over the globe for being honest and saying what they think despite all of the unmerited scorn and discouragement that comes their way.

(4) Can a couple argue and still respect each other?

Of course they can. 🙂 So long as they listen (even if it’s only eventually), are honest, and are not too hard on the other.

(5) What, if anything, is the difference between compassion and kindness?

I suspect the way I see both of these isn’t how they are defined, but perhaps that’s has something to do with the contexts they are normally used in. It seems to me that while one can have compassion in general, kindness is specific. You might choose to be kind to someone in particular or in a particular situation, while compassion is an attitude of mind. Or so I think? It’s certainly a chillier, more distant quality, whereas kindness is warm.

(6) When was the last time you learned a key life lesson from someone? What was it?

I have a feeling I’m still learning things from people and situations. I’m unwilling to talk about how they are making a difference till I’ve got far enough away to judge if the changes are good or not. 😛 Actually I can come up with a recent and not-too personal example… Jordan Peterson. Two things he said are famous the world over: ‘clean your room’ and ‘always tell the truth’.

Questions by Paul at Café Philos… many thanks for the prompts. 🙂

Posted in Blogging, Books, Quizzes and Memes, Writing

Random Selection of Stolen Tags

“I’ve been working on this for hours now… It’s too much to find questions and people (that would be like 100 people if I did these correctly) to tag in it. So maybe I’ll go with a cop-out and say “Hey, if you want to answer any of these questions, then go ahead! I nominate you!”

– Life of Chaz

Wow! Reading Chaz’s award catch-up post, I realize just how many of these are buzzing around out there. I confess I was tagged once and didn’t respond in any shape or form, even to say ‘thank you’. I still feel guilty. It happened just as I was screaming around the house getting ready for a rare family vacation, and at the same time was retreating mentally, which meant I probably wouldn’t respond to anybody online for a long while. I’m not sure what that was about, and it’s years ago now. Perhaps I can make up for it a bit?

From Chaz’s post I picked out 15 questions I could answer, along with a couple of short lists at the bottom.

1. What qualities do you like most in others and why?

A gentle sense of humour, genuine interest in others, patience and tolerance (though not loud and confrontational… I mean a quiet understanding of people with a willingness to listen and think).

2. What qualities do you like most in leaders and why?

Direct and discreet honesty. Supportiveness; tolerant sense of humour. Strength and determination (obviously!) but no blind arrogance.

3. Describe one moment in your past that you would say changed your entire life.

Becoming more aware of people outside my little bubble… I won’t say how that happened. 😛

4. What qualities do you look for in a friend?

Kind sense of humour, predominantly positive outlook, friendly patience, chattiness and responsiveness (though I don’t require that they write every day — life can be too disruptive!) A good conversation is balanced between two people… if it’s too one-sided, you feel frustrated and unheard, and the friendship is likely to founder.

5. What’s your favorite book?

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien — I read it four to six times AND it was first to mind, so I really have to nominate that. There are other frequently read and loved books too, but I’ve only been asked for one…

6. What advice would you give a new blogger?

I’m not much of a blogging personage, but I believe in caution. We don’t have the protections professional journalists do, so I’d say everyone on social media should read Blogging and Tweeting Without Getting Sued (Mark Pearson).

7. Are you a book person, digital person, audio person, or combo person and why?

Combo without the audio. I’m too deaf to listen to audio books. Amazon probably can’t understand why I never respond to its emails about the audio books I could download! eReaders are amazing because you can have access to a huge library without cluttering up your house with paperbacks or visiting the library. The town library doesn’t even have a smattering of what I could read on Kindle. Yet I have a big collection of books in print… cookery books, textbooks, some poetry, art and photography books, comic books and some old sentimental paperbacks.

8. Do you have a particular reading spot?

A solid and comfortable Parker Knoll sofa protected by a bright throw, with my feet up on a huge padded footstool. It’s also my favourite blogging spot.

9. Who is your all time favorite author?

Tove Jansson. Does that contradict The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien) as ‘favourite book’? Well, I’ve thought about it, and both my answers are still the same.

10. What’s one insecurity you have about yourself?

My speech is very, very quiet and I pronounce a lot of things wrong (born severely deaf). I hate speaking, so clam up if I’m not comfortable with someone or in a particular situation. I’ve been amazed, on the other hand, how I can prattle away at a total stranger, one I’ve taken to for no reason that I know of… other than that I like them and they seem kind.

11. What’s one exotic animal you wish you could have as a pet?

Albino hedgehog. I don’t know if that counts as ‘exotic’, but it should.

12. What is one thing you can’t live without?

I’m torn between iPad and wheelie shopping trolley…………

13. What’s the best thing you’ve learned or experienced from blogging?

What my own writing strengths and weaknesses are. Also that the vast majority of people are kinder than you fear. 🙂

14. If you’re not blogging what are you doing?

Cooking, laundry, housework, shopping for groceries, feeding the cats, taking the rubbish out and putting out bins for the bin men, walking outside with camera, reading other people’s blogs, having coffee in town, chatting with friends, listening to music, watching TV or DVDs, reading the news, watching YouTube videos (mostly about Brexit), writing in my private diary, composing the odd weak haiku, editing photos and (when I have time, which I haven’t lately) digital art.

15. What’s the last record/album/mp3 you bought?

I bought two together — Rumours by Fleetwood Mac and 1989 by Taylor Swift.

‘One Lovely Blog’ tag: Share 7 facts about yourself.

1. Aargh! The Mini-Beast is here. (Snow whirling past window).

2. I hate excessive swearing and sudden bodily references (e.g. ‘he has balls’ or ‘all that shit’) because they genuinely distract me from the point that’s being made. 😛 I’m not a prude… it’s partly because it points to strong negative emotions, so when you feel that someone is angry or aggressive, your brain promptly clouds up and you want to retreat. Message lost.

3. I have brown eyes.

4. My best friend at university said she can never ‘read’ people with brown eyes, whereas it’s always clear what people with blue or grey eyes (like herself) are thinking. I’m not so sure about that, because people have a horrible habit of knowing exactly what I’m thinking without me saying a SINGLE WORD! Phweee.

5. A recent discovery in the local supermarket: stonebaked wholemeal pitta breads. They aren’t big tough ones… they’re soft and full of flavour.

6. In my blog’s side bar are the posts I’ve recently liked… more about that further down.

7. We’re having chicken, carrot and courgette bake for supper tonight (homemade, of course!)

‘Listicale Tag’; prompt given: Top Five Favorite Villains (in no particular order):

1. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman’s character in The Fifth Element)
2. Bill (Oliver Twist)
3. Any villain played by Alan Rickman, like in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves
4. Count Olaf (as played by Jim Carrey in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events)
5. Gru (Despicable Me)

Blog posts I recently ‘liked’ in WordPress:

This isn’t a tag, though you can run with it if you like. 😛 I mentioned it above as one of my ‘facts’. I read and ‘like’ so many posts that they must disappear quite quickly. By tonight, the five at the foot of ‘Posts I Like’ in my sidebar will almost certainly be gone:

1. Other People’s Lives (Strange Codex)

2. Being Preachy Doesn’t Sell (James Harrington’s Blog of Geek and Writing)

3. A Short Analysis of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s ‘The Rainy Day’ (Interesting Literature)

4. The Part of Me (MW the Mermaid)

5. Dealing With Anger (Discovering Your Happiness)

Posted in Blogging, Music I Like, Quizzes and Memes

In Our Lighter Moments

Just like Ms Jolly Blogger (my jolly tagger!) I used to enjoy these games — they gave me something to write about! This one was a lot of fun, and I kept two of her questions for others to answer. I decided not to tag anyone, but people can answer if they would like to.

The game of Blog Tag works like this: Once you are tagged, you must follow these simple rules:

1. You must post the rules. (These are THE RULES.)
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post.
3. Create eight new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
4. Tag eight people with a link to your post.
5. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

**Here are the questions by my tagger:**

1. If you could be any character from a movie, who would it be and why?

Scary things happen to characters, even in happy movies, so I don’t know who I would opt to be. It’s also hard to imagine being someone other than myself… I would bring something completely different to the movie and would probably ruin the plot. 😀

I found myself thinking I would quite like to be the mother in Mamma Mia!… living in bright sunshine with happy, cheerful friends. I have old flames that my movie daughter could invite, including a song-writing guitar player with long hair. And I like Abba!

2. What do you miss most about being a kid?

That one’s easy… all of my family being there. 🙂 Proper Christmases with six people at the table.

3. What’s the best present you’ve ever received? Given?

Received? A pink mouse. 🙂

Given? For the sake of conversation (though I doubt if it’s true), a Mozart bear who plays Eine kleine Nachtmusik.

4. Name your favourite book.

Ah, that would depend on my mood! Light option: the Moomin books by Tove Jansson. Heavier option: Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian.

5. It’s your last meal ever.  What are you eating?

Rich pea and ham soup, followed by hot BBQ chicken with soft white crusty bread, followed by a good quality chocolate sundae with whipped cream. A nice sweet white wine along with the main meal. And then coffee, with a square of good Scottish tablet. Make that the whole packet of tablet, if it has to be my last…

6. What song(s) would you include in the Soundtrack of Your Life?

Eleven songs, placed in approximate chronological order of my life events. 🙂

Wimoweh (The Lion Sleeps Tonight / Mbube) I still love this video!
Isn’t it Amazing (Hothouse Flowers)
Dreaming (OMD)
Same Old Scene (Roxy Music)
Heart on My Sleeve (Gallagher and Lyle)
The Sound of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel)
This Land is Mine (Dido)
Dream a Lie (UB40)
New World in the Morning (Roger Whittaker)
Going Home (Runrig)
She’s Leaving (OMD).

Notes on my choices:

(a) My sister and I were brought up on Wimoweh!

(b) People interpret The Sound of Silence in different ways. I believe Paul Simon himself suggested that it was just a bit of teenage angst about the young being ignored by society. That’s what I read into it myself, though I feel it can speak for many others who aren’t teenagers.

7. What last experience did you have that made you a stronger person?

Books are nothing new, but the Kindle itself might count as a recent experience, or discovery? It helps me tap into the world of books without filling our rooms from floor to ceiling. Books of all kinds have gone a long way to making me what I am, good or bad. 🙂

8.  Favourite season of the year and why?

Summer… I’m a hot weather chick. 🙂 I was born in a hot weather country… I don’t like being cold, and I don’t like it when it’s dark and wet. Though sometimes I’m in the mood for the first signs of spring, violent storms, golden leaves and Halloween, Christmas, pine trees, snow… and Moomin dreams.

**Now here are my questions for the Tagees:**

1. If you could be any character from a movie, who would it be and why?
2. What do you like best about your hobbies?
3. Do you feel that reading other blogs changes or shapes your attitude to life?
4. What is your favourite cake?
5. If you ever had to leave your current continent and live in another, where would you go?
6. What was your first ever favourite song?
7. Do you have any bad habits that you don’t regret?
8.  What song(s) would you include in the Soundtrack of Your Life?

Posted in Quizzes and Memes, Technology and Software

Ten Questions Meme

Found this meme on Geo’s blog, and couldn’t resist!

1.If you blog anonymously, are you happy doing this? if you aren’t anonymous, do you wish you started out anonymously so that you could be anonymous now?

I guess so, though my blog isn’t hidden from close friends and family. They are told where it is, which gives me extra incentive to behave! I don’t pester them to read it; I will send them a copy of any post that might interest them (about once in a blue moon), but apart from that it’s just as though I’m chatting over the hedge to neighbours. Family and friends can listen in or not, as they please.

2. Describe an incident that shows your inner stubborn side.

Only one?? Hum. OK… like when my laptop’s hard drive corrupted, with data I hadn’t backed up!

I wanted to retrieve my data and was sure there had to be a way, but when I asked around, people either didn’t know, or were too cautious to interfere. I kept searching online, and it actually took quite a lot of searching before I even heard about Linux emergency disks.

I don’t know anything at all about Linux, and my old Mac doesn’t burn DVDs, but I dug out a rarely-used CD writer and burned one of these Linux thingies to CD. It’s all a while ago now, so I can’t even remember the terminology.

There weren’t exactly step-by-step instructions on how to boot up a malfunctioning Windows laptop to retrieve your data, and it must have taken a few days and nights of cramming, trial and error, during which I was fully aware that if you boot up your corrupt hard drive too much, the data could get worse and worse… if your data is important to you, it isn’t really recommended unless you know what you are doing. Which I didn’t.

Somehow, however, I got my files off onto an external drive (very slow process as sometimes it dropped out… pretty corrupted, I guess. I was saving files and folders one by one, and each one took a long time). After which I sent off the laptop for repair.

It well illustrates my stubborn side, as I felt the entire time as though I was pushing a boulder uphill. Nobody would help me do what I wanted to do; I couldn’t find clear instructions… just hints and tips in discussion forums, some more useful than others. Worse, I found that friends disagreed with my efforts, which made me feel silly and a nuisance. One suggested I put out a call on the internet for Linux-related help, and meet whoever might come forward… advice I didn’t consider sound!
“It doesn’t matter!! You don’t have anything important on that laptop, just send it off and get it fixed!”

That made me angry, I admit; it’s one thing for me to say “well, it won’t be the end of the world if I lose all this stuff, or if someone else sees it,” but it’s quite another thing for someone else to call MY data rubbish. 😉

There were pictures I would have missed… but I was stubborn, and I got them back.

3. What do you really see when you look at yourself in the mirror?

I see someone who questions herself a lot, and worries she doesn’t have all the answers. Who wonders why even the experts don’t seem to have all the answers. And then wonders why she expects any, and what she would do with the answers if she had them!

4. What is your favourite summer cold drink?

Sweetheart Stout with ice (as a treat).
On an everyday basis it used to be Coca-Cola, but recently I have been going more for iced orange juice or water.

5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do?

Disappear into Photoshop, Bryce or Vue.
Or organize possessions and files (databases, spreadsheets, lists, Smart Folders, various external back-up drives!)

6. Is there something you still want to accomplish in your life?

Lots of things… but it feels like bad karma to talk too loudly about what. 🙂

7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the shy person, or always ditching?

Probably all of them. I would sheer away from situations if I could. Very shy and rather lost, as I never knew what was going on. Useless at P.E. but a fast runner; top of my university-rated class in English; very poor in Latin and had to drop it… then I went back a year or two later and got a Higher A in it. I either do very well or very badly… my life is a patchwork of drab awfulness and flying colours.

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment in your life, what would you see?

Long silence while I tried this…

Eventually what came swimming out of the blackness was a very small thing. My parents and sister went to Africa when I was six, leaving me at home with my grandparents. One day my grandmother showed me our globe. She pointed at a squiggly splotch, and said “that is where they are.” Quite often I would look at the globe, and study the place where my family was, then would look at where I was (a much smaller splotch), and the route as the crow flies between… it was comforting. Globes are much nicer than maps.

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog, or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?

I’m not all that comfortable talking about others, or about outside events… I might get something wrong, or the ‘others’ might take issue, or I might betray some of my awful drab ignorance. 🙂 At least when I talk about myself, I know my subject, though I consider more and more of what’s fair to me as well. It’s all too easy to be unfair to oneself.

10. If you had the choice to sit down and read a book or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?

Definitely read a book. 🙂 I wouldn’t hear whoever was on the other end of the phone, so that would be time wasted…

Posted in Quizzes and Memes

Quick Coffee Break

Cat MugI have coffee any time of the day or night. 🙂
Meme lifted from Geo!

What are your current obsessions?
Spring cleaning, pens (long story), digital photography, journal-writing.

Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
A colourful woven wool jacket bought from a market stall… I get chilly in the evenings!

What’s for Dinner? Had it already… chicken casserole and dumplings with boiled potatoes.

Last thing you bought? Beautiful metallic blue Zebra pen, with refills.

If you were a God/Goddess who would you be? Goddess of the Moon, probably! One of my sister’s lecturers used to call me Moon Girl, and a Malaysian friend gave me a small souvenir with a moon goddess on it.

Favorite holiday spots? York! Where else? Just wish it wasn’t so busy.

Reading right now?
(Jaw dropping after reading Geo’s book)… erm. Have finished Just Another Mzungu Passing Through by Jim Bowen… it’s a novel set in Kenya which has an authentic flavour. The characters feel very real, and (despite the subject matter) there is no sensationalism. After that I grabbed the nearest paperback off a shelf in my room: Molly Moon Stops the World by Georgia Byng. Have now finished that (very good, though the ending had a rather ‘tying up loose ends’ feel… I miss the characters, though!) and started Doctor Syn on the High Seas (cover as shown in the Amazon link). It was a paperback that sat around for years, moving with us from house to house. I asked Mum why I hadn’t seen any other Doctor Syn books around, and she said she didn’t like the first one. I can see why already, but will finish the book as it’s very short.

Who or what makes you laugh until you are weak? The cast of the Red Dwarf. I didn’t like the new one (the first show? — apart from the squid bit); but the old ones…!

Who’s your Hero/Heroine? Maybe Anne (of Green Gables)… I’m tired of the modern woman being portrayed in recent novels as being strong, sensible and confident to the point of blank rudeness and lack of imagination. I like my heroines to have a thoughtful side — without being set on a pedestal, as that’s just depressing.

First Spring Thing? Waking from hibernation. And it takes a looooooong time.

What’s the funniest thing you ever saw in your life? Ever ever? Possibly Red Dwarf!
Stargazer TV-gazingOh, this is not that funny, but the other day Mum was watching a semi-final of Britain’s Got Talent, and everybody had to phone their votes in. Jokingly, I handed a mobile phone to Stargazer the Dragon (that chubby cherub with the yellow spots on his tummy). He grasped it quite convincingly, holding it in his yellow talons. I said to Mum “who do you think he will vote for?” and she said “the Greek dancers“.

Shaking my head, I went to the kitchen to make tea, and when I came back, tears of laughter were streaming down Mum’s face. “Guess who got through?” she said! We turned to look accusingly at Stargazer, still hanging onto his phone. “Maybe we should get him to vote on the Eurovision next year,” I said.

Favourite Film? The Ice Age / Ice Age II. I can’t help it. I’m in love with Scrat.

Care to share some wisdom? Oh I had a thought in my head earlier, but it’s flitted away with the dust bunny.  So how about a cleaning tip? Nail polish remover cleans scissors when their blades are gummy with sticky tape.

If you were a tree, which one would you be, and why? The willow. I’d trail mournfully in the wind, soughing ‘there’s a river flowing by a willow tree… when you find you’re there, remember me…’ [Roxy Music]. Once I fainted after a minor but nasty injury. Dreamed (while passed out) that I was waiting by the side of a river for friends and family to join me. I told the dream to a friend later on, and he said “you’ve had a preview of where you’ll go when you die”! I never even thought of that, but it’s a comforting idea to hold onto… so long as I don’t have to wait there on my own forever. Now that I’ve told you where I’ll be, you know where to come. 😀

Name fictitious characters who made a lasting impression on you. Moley in The Wind in the Willows; Anne of Green Gables; Ripley in Alien; Moomintroll and the Groke; Terry Pratchett’s Rincewind; Scarlett O’Hara.

Four words to describe yourself: rebellious; sleepy; anxious; dreamer.

Posted in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Quizzes and Memes

The Letter F

Following in the footsteps of Elizabeth (from 1sojournal) and others, I have been given the letter F to do with what I will!

Beforehand I was curious to know what letter I would receive… certain letters would be easier than others; such as ‘C’ (cats, chocolate, coffee, cake).

F has some less obvious words, so it’s more of a challenge. I didn’t want to rush into it and miss some crackers, so took my time writing it up. I was typing an electronic copy of an old journal from 2005, so I kept my sore eyes open and gleaned a few ‘F’ ideas from there.

One of the most obvious but also the most important. Good friends are a boon. I found quite a lot written in my 2005 journal on the subject. It’s oddly reassuring to look back and find I’ve been wrestling with the same concerns… though you would think I would wish I had it all sorted out by now! It’s just as though I’m reading someone’s blog and thought “oh yes, thank goodness; someone else knows what I’m thinking.” Even if it’s only me. Perhaps we can be our own best friends, just as we’re told we are our own worst enemies.

It took me a worryingly long time to figure out that I could still have cats in my list!

Oh… fantasy is vital. We just finished watching our DVD of The Hogfather. We are told in it that although the sun would continue to come up, things wouldn’t be the same if human beings weren’t allowed to have their little fantasies, whether about Santa Claus or the Oh God of Hangovers. Just so long as fantasies don’t become real. They need to remain fantasies, and we still need to believe in them. Like … no, I won’t say it. They’re real for me, wheels and all. 🙂

A part of fantasy, flowers, midnight at the bottom of the garden. I grew up with a copy of The Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker. I used to look carefully at each one and decide which one was me. Often it was the Rose, sometimes the Sweet Pea, occasionally the Pansy. I feel turned off, though, once we get onto the subject of little girls’ sepia photographs, evil vampiric goblins, or changed definitions of the word. Perhaps I have the artist’s interest in fairies… in the colours, lights, magic, delicacy, mystery and beauty of Tinkerbell. I don’t want that to change.

Forgetting (as opposed to forgetfulness)
I’m not talking about those times we forget our watches or glasses; to turn off the iron; to attend appointments; relevant information about someone else’s plans. Those episodes are frustrating. I’m referring to the boon of forgetting our injuries and upsets. In that sense, forgetting is healing. Some days my agoraphobia seems to get worse (like a sore that’s being rubbed raw). A few days spent at home is just the ticket. The next time I go out after that, the edge has worn off it all, and I feel a lot stronger, thinking only about the good things. The more I forget, the more relaxed I am. It would be terrible if we remembered everything that happened or was said to us with unfading clarity. Oblivion is the blessing of the River Lethe (but not of drink! I drink mocha and guava juice, me).

There are two types of ‘flow’ that I love… the easy, graceful flow of a good pen (one that isn’t all bobbly and inky), and ‘getting in the flow’ of something. There’s nothing like putting your head down and losing yourself in your work or project. It’s an amazing feeling, and sometimes I completely forget where I am or what time it is. It’s not so pleasant when someone comes into the room and speaks to you, and you have to bring yourself back to earth, often with great confusion.

Like the ones in Photoshop or Paintshop Pro. They can be great fun to play with… just open a photo, save as a new copy with a different title, then try all the effects! Crayon, brush, blur, distort… and add different layers in different modes and opacity. Don’t take it so seriously… just have fun.

The best pictures are soft in the right places and sharp in the right places. Like life. It’s nice to be surrounded by a blur when we don’t want to see everything in heartbreaking clarity, but we need some things to be in focus, or we would never get anywhere or appreciate anything.

Feel / Feeling
I’m always talking about what I feel or am feeling about something. Wouldn’t it be difficult if there was no such word in the English language? Sometimes it’s an emotion, sometimes it’s gut instinct: a suspicion.

OK… I don’t like floods! But I’m always dreaming about them. I don’t know if it should therefore make it into my list of favourite things, but it’s significant to me one way or another. Maybe if I wrote a novel, there would be a flood in it. I read once that if you dream a lot about floods and the sea, you’re being smothered by your mother. (Laughs).

If you would like a letter, drop me a comment and let me know… on your own blog you can write up your list of ten favourite things beginning with that letter.

Posted in Quizzes and Memes

Diddums’ Half Dozen

Tagged by Daffy. 🙂

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs
5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
6. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

1. I won a Christmas card contest at school and can’t think why. The other entries must have been abysmal.
2. I had a wart on the back of my thumb for years, and it only went away when I finally stomped across to the nurse and had it removed. (It was supposed to go away by itself but nobody explained that to the wart).
3. I used to wear contact lenses… but didn’t like them.
4. Once in Edinburgh, wearing hard contact lenses, a speck of dust flew into my eyes and made me cry helplessly (and not for the first time). I took refuge in St Giles Cathedral, which just happened to be nearby.
5. Another time I got the ‘speck of dust’ thing and tears started pouring down my face when I was talking to an American girl. I told her it was just my wretched contacts, but she never believed me, and was convinced for ever after that I’d been homesick or upset about something.
6. You would think I would get homesick easily, but that’s never been the case. Not wanting to be where I am doesn’t always translate into missing home. I’m more likely to miss the past… perhaps that’s an alternative form of homesickness.

Consider yourself tagged if you have nothing else to write about on your blog just now, and leave a link in my comments. 🙂