Archive | January 2013

Liebster Award!

Thank you Trophydaughter for nominating me for the Liebster Award! I can’t deny I am flattered, and I am grateful for the extra publicity for my blog.

Before passing the award on I must tell you 11 random things about myself and answer 11 questions Trophydaughter thought up:

Random facts about me:

1. I am not really a nightingale. I don’t sing particularly well either.

2. I love chocolate. Good, Belgian chocolate. I import it because I can’t live without. Well, I could, but I’d rather not.

3. I also import Belgian beer, preferably a Tripel. Just for my own private consumption, don’t hassle me. Although I could start up a business if you wanted.

4. I like my own company. That is not to say I don’t like others’, but I have no problem being by myself.

5. I meditate. Have done for about 8 months. I always thought mediation was for weird people, let’s call them the mildly untethered. Surprisingly I have found it anchors me more firmly so I actually feel more alive.

6. I once qualified as a diver, and I’d love to revive those skills. I want to be in the thick of the sardine run action at the Cape, when all the dolphins, whales, seagulls and sharks are going for the poor little sardines. Let’s not tell them that if they manage to escape the predators they are likely to end up in a trawler net and on my plate.

7. It saddens me that I don’t fully belong in Belgium anymore, and yet don’t quite belong here in the UK either. On the plus side, that frees me up to move anywhere I fancy once the children grow up.

8. I want to come back as my dog: sleep all day, only interrupted for foodies and walkies. That’s the life.

9. My favourite smell is freshly baked bread, in all its many varieties – the smell of croissants wafting out onto the pavements of Paris in the morning or my very own cardamom-laced currant buns fresh from the oven on a winter’s day… I love them all.

10. My favourite sound is the lazy bubbling sound a full wine bottle produces when you pour the first wine. It never sounds like that again, it must be linked to the bottle neck. It holds so much promise.

11. I am determined to travel more in the coming years. I’ll start with a trip to Budapest to visit the friend who got me into blogging.

My answers to Trophydaughter’s questions:

1) Why did you start writing a blog? A friend of mine convinced me to publish what I was writing for myself anyway. He was right, it did make me polish my craft more. And it is great to know someone reads what you’ve written.

2) What are you currently reading? A work related book. Fascinating if you are into that kind of thing. I’m not sure what novel I’ll pick from my recently downloaded mini-library yet.

3) How would you describe your singing voice? Alto. Not trained at all; who knows what potential it holds?

4) What gives you the giggles? Catching my husband’s eye when I am about to burst into laughter, then lose it together so badly we don’t remember what set us off in the first place.

5) What’s your favorite movie one-liner? I still find the scene in the Raiders of the Lost Ark where Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones pulls a gun on the sword-wielding baddies hilarious. Ok it is non-verbal but allow me to stretch the assignment a little.

6) If you could have one do-over, what would it be? Can you make me funnier?

7) What’s your fav Chinese dish? The stuffed lotus root I had in a fabulous Beijing restaurant. I dreaded touching it because it looked like brain, but it was lovely! And once they had told me what it was the aftertaste was even better. Phew, lotus root.

8) How are you going to change the world? I am going to save a species from extinction by moving it to a new, friendlier environment. I am bound to, with all the moving around I do on this planet and the elephant in a porcelain shop I am to these tiny creatures.

9) When is the last time you sobbed, truly sobbed? About 4 months ago. That is all I will tell you.

10) What do you want to be remembered for? Having raised sensible and responsible children.

11) Who’s a tough act to follow? There are so many people who truly have changed our world, but I’ll pick Nelson Mandela. I can’t think of anyone else as brave, determined, graceful and influential.

Now I would like to pass the award on to the following blogs:

Life Out of the Box

Fish & Bicycles

Crows Dream

Eternal Domnation – who has only just been given the Liebster Award so I’ll just endorse that award without demanding anything in return

Happiness Stan Lives Here

Something Cookin’

Unread Life

Apprentice, Never Master

The Fiction of BP Barwick

ChebandBecky

My questions to you are:

1. What is your favourite smell?
2. Which place you’ve never been to would you like to visit?
3. Which of your qualities are you most proud of?
4. What would you the least like to live without?
5. If you didn’t have to worry about mundane things like access to jobs, where would you live?
6. What is or was the best time of your life?
7. How do you relax?
8. What story is waiting in your head to be written?
9. If you were famous, what would it be for?
10. What was the strongest emotion you can remember feeling?
11. Whose eyes would you like to see the world through for a week?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 If you decide to accept my nomination please keep in mind the Liebster rules – nothing for free!
1. Thank the person who nominated you – that’s me 🙂
2. Post 11 random facts about yourself
3. Answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
4. Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (and notify the bloggers that you nominated them!)
5. Write 11 NEW questions directed toward YOUR nominees.
6. You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your own blog.
7. Paste the award picture into your blog.

Achievement? Me?

When was the last time I worked hard to learn something new? That is what The Daily Post is asking me to remember.  I can only hang my head in shame and admit that I tend to give up quickly when I try something out that I am not good at. I am prepared to refine a skill that seems to have been lying dormant deep within me, waiting to be nurtured and grown. Languages, for example – easy peasy. Give me another one any time. But unless I feel from the outset that there is the potential for me to do reasonably well I lose interest very quickly. I am not sure why that is.  It goes against the mantra I was raised with by the Nuns: that you had to work on something, anything, always. They taught that you couldn’t expect things to be good all by themselves, there had to be effort involved. Which has kept me in an unhappy marriage for longer than was really necessary. In fact I might never have taken the decision to get married then had I had the insights I do now: I now know there are key things you not only can, but should expect feel natural and good without any effort, and relationships with a partner firmly belong in that category. Of course there will be little niggles but if the relationship itself feels like it is work rather than enrichment, ditch it. It drains rather than adds to your life. Nuns, what do they know!

I suspect that laziness and competitiveness both play a role in my tendency to give up quickly. There just isn’t much spare time in my life, and even less energy. It serves me well to direct the energy I do have effectively: it helps get through the challenges of every day life. However effectiveness  is not conducive to trying out new things just for the heck of it. Testing potential requires a certain abundance of energy I can’t always muster. Which is a shame really: I must be missing out on tons of experiences.

In my defense I took a leap of faith just last week and attended a yoga class for the first time in my life. I had always believed yoga was not for me, but I enjoyed it and I am going back next week. You guessed it, I did allright. I managed to stretch and contort myself as instructed, and nobody knows every muscle in my body ached the next day. Did you know you can overstretch your foot soles?

ok, I am not that good yet, but I will get there!

The yoga class was not competitive. It is simply impossible to stare at other people while you’re straining to keep your balance and holding your gaze at the ceiling or over your shoulder or some other uncomfortable place. That may have helped. I don’t like being really bad at something other people clearly find easy to do. It makes me feel inadequate. It makes sense to leave the stars to it and find something I can be good at, doesn’t it? Why torture yourself? Find your niche!

I find I feel less guilty admitting this to you all than I had expected. A feeling of loss actually pervades instead: I realize I miss out on the sense of achievement that comes with accomplishment. I mostly pursue interests and activities that seem achievable, and when I get good at them it merely feels as if I’ve completed a set track. I don’t excel or beat the odds. Catch-22 really: I would love a sense of real accomplishment, but I can only get it by getting good at something I have lost interest in, and what is the point of that? I’ll have to work on feeling more proud of the things I can do, regardless of the effort that was involved. Stuff the Nuns’ teachings.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/daily-prompt-apply-yourself/

Let’s move to the movies

That’s it: I want to move to the movies. People are emigrating to Australia and other laid-back, sunny destinations for a better life, but I want to move to the movies. No matter what ugly turns life throws at me there, I’ll always come out a winner. I might not win the way I had expected – in fact the best stories hold a surprising finale – but I’ll end up happier in the end. And the sun always shines. Except when I’m threatening someone, then the thunder and rain gods will oblige and act out my wrath much more effectively than I ever could.

The most extraordinary things happen in the movies: one-in-a-million chance encounters, fluke strokes of luck, unexpected inheritances, and the like. And when they don’t, I’ll just skip the dull bits and fast-forward to the next exciting event. I can always rely on the writers engineering drama, and I know they love me so I’ll be fine. They also give me someone to blame when things go wrong.

When something terrible upends my whole life, I’ll sit tight and ride out the course. I will be taken through some unexpected turns that turn out to be golden opportunities: might I finally discover what I really want with my life? I might still die in the end, but I’ll die happy thanks to the amazing experiences my life story has given me. And through it all I know I’m entertaining millions of people. I’d better not take myself too seriously.

I am moving today. My life is going to be “My Life – The Movie”. I’ll go with the flow because I know something interesting is bound to come my way, and I’ll be prepared when it does. I’ll zip through the boring and nasty bits ’till I come across the good part, and enjoy the sun. Ooh, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me!

Hacked

Help, I’ve been hacked! I received a notification that the password on my Yahoo email account has just been reset. Not by me it wasn’t. 10 minutes of online form-filling later Yahoo responded by sending me these nonsensical instructions:

On 12 January 2013, at 18:19, your account activity shows that you tried to recover your account password for Yahoo! ID [ha! I’m not telling you]. You may reset your password on 13 January 2013, after 18:19 by answering the secret questions you chose for your account.

If you believe your account has been compromised, please change your password now.Choose a strong password.

More than 2 hours have lapsed since, without any further contact from Yahoo. Thanks guys!