Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jeepers Creepers! I've got a case of *blog rash*!

I've got a case of blog rash and it's makin' me itch something insane!

What? You haven't heard of blog rash? Well, aren't you the lucky one. Or the unlucky one, depending on your perspective of course.

Let me come clear. I mean clean. Blog rash is the condition where your desire to create blogs is so intolerably great that it breaks out like a rash and you just can't stop itching, I mean creating new blogs.

I've only just had this rush, I mean, rash, come over me. My blogs, the eponymous (oooooh, don't you like using big words) Thought Bubble Ten and Rooms for the Soul were only created in the last couple of weeks.  And I'm already itching to start my third. And I've got ideas for a fourth and fifth.  It's a serious rash, I'm tellin' ya!

I wonder if they will make me rich? Like Darren Rowse, maybe?  Oh, never mind the fame, I just want the money, thank you very much.

And in the meantime, do you think I need to see a blog doctor? If so, could you recommend one?

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Bummer, blast and bloody blue murder!

I am fuming so furiously right now I should wrap a wet towel around my head to stop the steam from singeing me. 

If you've been here before, you may notice the new house I'm in or the new 'skin' I'm in in tech-talk.  I opted for the new look not because I particularly wanted a new look.  I was perfectly happy with the old look.  But, there was something strange going on.

The links in the header and the top end of the side bar didn't seem to work. Well, that in itself lacks strangeness but they were doing an 'on and off' thing.  You know?  Sometimes they'd work (I love watching the colors change when the pointer goes over them - I know, 'Get a life' you're thinking) and other times they wouldn't.

Actually, to be absolutely accurate, seeing as I'm taking the trouble to write about it, they would work for a few seconds and then they'd turn off.  Spooky or what?  (Did Google cast a spell on my blog when they confiscated it???)

Well, I hadn't the foggiest what the matter was and it was just driving me to distraction.  My tech-pal, G, was not available so I thought I'd take matters into my own hands.  Perhaps it was the template/skin that was faulty?  Ah, it's all coming to light now, isn't it?

Yep, so I searched through several hundreds of templates and decided I liked this one the most.  Downloaded it and then uploaded it to Blogger and waited nervously to see if everything was hunky dory.

Yesssssssssss!!!!!!!!! It was.  Until I noticed that all my precious, hard-earned, much appreciated comments had



Someone please save me from myself!

Monday, March 29, 2010

I plan to remain ageless

 "When I dream, I am ageless"  Elizabeth Coatsworth
My friend, L, whom I visited yesterday is one cool lady.  I don't have the time nor the mood to go into her coolness in this post but I'm sure I'll get you better acquainted with her in future posts.

Anyways, L is nearly eighty but you'd never know it to see her or hear her or be in her company.

Now, that's one of the silliest things I've said because,. unfortunately, it's reflective of a mind with a preconceived idea of what an eighty year-old (or thereabouts) is like. It's something that I'm consciously trying to change and my bringing it to your attention here is one way of doing it.

I mean, whatever age a person is and however he or she looks at that age is exactly how that age looks on him or her. Know what I mean?

When people tell me that I look a lot younger than I am, I tell them, "No, I look exactly my age and this is exactly how my age looks on me".

Anyways, I really wanted to tell you about what had happened to my friend, L, a weekend ago when she was out with her grandson, P, and his family.  They'd all gone to a theme park as a birthday treat for P who turned twelve. But no sooner had they got there, when L, excited as she was about spending the day with the family, fell over an old tree root that had cracked through the footpath.

L admitted that she literally had't looked where she was going, not that that tree root had much business being there.  Oh, I suppose you could argue that the footpath shouldn't have been built near a grand old tree, but let's save that discussion for another time, shall we?

Well, L took a bad fall, which, miraculously, resulted in only minor physical injury (a swollen wrist that is still painful) and some bruises over her arm.

So, how was the fall bad?

It was the shock of it, the actual physical trauma resulting from the body falling suddenly and uncontrollably.  As L related her story, I could see that she was not completely over it.  And soon, she confirmed it:

"I'm still feeling a bit scared.  I don't feel so confident now.  And I was so upset because it was P's birthday and we couldn't enjoy it because we spent the first part at the doctor's surgery and for the rest of it, I had to hold on to A's arm all the time. They (the theme park management) offered me a wheel chair but I didn't want it. I ruined his birthday".

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"Oh, L", I thought but didn't say,  "No, you didn't.  It could've happened to anyone".  Instead, I just let her continue talking.  It felt right to.

I remember going to a theme park with my boyfriend at the time and his mates when I was about twenty.  We went on as many rides as we could but at one point, I felt quite ill which I'm sure had to do with all that swinging on the 'Pirate ship' not long after we'd had some lunch - bad idea.  Well, before I knew it, I'd thrown up right in the middle of the area next to the ship.

I cannot begin to tell you how embarrassed I was and later, how surprised and touched I was that neither my boyfriend nor his mates were repulsed.  On the contrary, they came right over to comfort and console me, offering me water and tissues to clean up and then taking me over to the toilet.

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Throwing up, falling over, spraying saliva are things we do no matter what age we are.  I can't help thinking that poor L, like so many older people, are likely to blame age for their 'accidents' even if they don't say so openly.

I think we've been conditioned to expect things like this to happen to us as we get older and so, surprise,surprise, they do!  There are enough people and advertisements to caution us about aging and help us 'prepare' for it.  I mean, if you prepare yourself for a disaster you're not exactly going to be showing yourself a good time, are you? 

Now,  I had no idea I was going to be writing about being conditioned to 'age' but there you have it.  I've just followed a thought and it's brought me here. Which is one of the reasons I write - I love surprises :)

So, anyways, what are your thoughts about any of this?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Two blobs of consciousness riding on a bus

Exchanging a smile with a stranger is a warm, toasty kinda thing, at least that's how it felt this afternoon on the bus to L's.

An elderly lady had decided to move seats when the bus made one of its stops. As she settled into her new seat, she happened to look in my direction.  Actually, I think she'd deliberately looked in my direction. That's when our eyes met and we smiled at each other.

It was lovely to see her face crinkle from her smile. Those brief seconds that we held each others' gaze were warm and joyous and left their effect long after I'd resumed watching the quickly-disappearing dashes of street as the bus continued on its route.

I couldn't help wondering how just a few shared microseconds with a stranger could have such a pleasant residual effect.  I think it's because we were able to acknowledge each other's presence without the weight of a shared history.

For a few moments, we were just two blobs of consciousness enjoying our blob-ness.

Nothing more. Or should I say, nothing less.

View from the bus stop not far from L's

The bus stop

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ten things to do when you want to write but just can't decide what

It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous. - Robert Benchley
I've got a few posts in draft form waiting to be released when it's their turn.  In the meantime, I've been pacing my mind, you know, just trying to decide which of its thoughts I should pick up and lob over the net (no pun was intended but now that it's there, I'll take all the credit) between you and me.

I mean, I don't want to deal with death flippantly.  Nor do I want to have to rush through the joys of a single life (and its less joyous moments).  And of course, when it comes to that pesky three-letter word that has been humanity's ultimate bone of contention (and some would passionately avow, it's redemption), well, you don't want to be casual about that either. Yes, I'm talking about 'god'.

So, after much pacing and turning over the mental items on display (rather like sifting through the 'trash and treasure' in a flea market stall), I'm afraid the best I can come up with is a list of things to do when you've not quite decided what you want your next post to be.

Here we go:
  1. Step away from your machine and go breathe the air outside.  It's a lot less stuffy.
  2. Think of soft moments in your life like the times you kissed your mum or hugged your kids or let your cat nuzzle up to you.
  3. Go chat with you dog and discuss some of the day's events with her like the call you got in the morning from a car rental company saying you'd received a speeding fine.
  4. Have a shower and especially, wash your hair.  I could swear it turns the temperature in your head down a tad.
  5. Go visit some other blogs. Again.  It's amazing how the weather (and even the local community) might have changed in that neck of the woods since your last visit.
  6. Have a nice cup of coffee or a warm cup of soy milk and honey with some crushed ginger in it. It's a wonderful pick-me -upper, the soy milk one.
  7. Exercise, gently, like you're meeting your body for the first time, you know?  Take your time, move slowly, listen to it, watch it, smile lots.
  8. Pray.  For me that means just letting all my thoughts go and replacing it with just one - My mind is the center of divine operation (that's from Thomas Troward).
  9. Cook.  Look into your fridge and ask the squatters there who'd like to party.  They'll almost always tell you.  If they don't, just ask your stomach who it'd like to host for the next four hours or so.  Then cook, slowly. It's the best kind of cooking, I've discovered.  Note, I said 'cook' not 'eat'.  You can leave that for later - a sweet reward :)
  10. Write about the very thing you're having difficulty with, like I just did :)
Hope this helps.  Let me know what other cool tricks you have for this kind of writer's block.

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Related but unnecessary note from Thought Bubble Ten: This was the post I was writing when my blog got deleted.

    I didn't miss it as much as I feared I would

    I've moved house quite a few times though probably not as many as my friend, A, who's moved thirty times in about thirty-five years.  She's now happily settled in her own house somewhere outside London. What a relief.

    My last move was from a large, four bedroom house to a studio apartment. You can imagine what a lot of stuff I had to say goodbye to.  I had to be ruthless in downsizing but not in the act of giving away a lot of my stuff to people and places that would find good use for it.

    The latter I was happy to do although I would be lying if I said there weren't other feelings involved, feelings of sadness, nostalgia, a sense of loss for that last phase of my life and the uncertainty of how things would turn out.

    How would I manage without my large fridge or my desktop or the garden hose or my piano or those beautiful new Moroccan style glasses I'd bought and so much more.

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    It's funny how at times like this, the most mundane and inexpensive things line up alongside the more elaborate and costly items in my mind.  It feels as if it's not just the things themselves that I'm letting go of but also some part of myself. 

    Anyhow, not only did I manage without my many possessions of the past, I pretty much forgot about all of them very quickly.  I don't miss them and I've learned to do very well without them.  Occasionally, a little memory of them comes along, usually in the form of some event that it involved, like that big party I threw for some friends on their wedding anniversary.

    The piano got a lot of use then as I'd asked each guest to perform something for the couple but mainly for our entertainment of course.  Every one of them rose to the occasion and prepared something original and often, hilarious.

    Not all of them played the piano or requested its accompaniment which meant that other instruments and devices were used.  I think of all the wonderful performances, the mime was a big hit especially because it was performed to some rather raunchy music by a rather, shall we say, well-endowed female.

    I'm not sure where I was going with all this.  I think it was to weave in the subject of my recent loss of this blog, and as you can see, its return.  Hurrah!

    I did wonder how I'd cope without it, whether I'd feel like I'd lost some part of me?

    I remember reading somewhere that when we lose someone, whether from death or the end of a relationship, it's not the person that we really miss but that part of us which was most closely associated with that person.

    I kinda think there's truth in that.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    "Understanding life? " Seriously, do I give a toss??

     "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans" John Lennon

    So you know I'm given to the proverbial gazing. Some people who are also thus inclined might call it analyzing or reflecting or philosophizing but I shall stick with 'naval gazing'.

    Here's why.  I've had this radical thought.  At least, it's radical to me.  Now, please pay very close attention 'cos if you don't, you'll miss it completely as it comes in a very short sentence. Ready?

    When you think of something, 
    you think of it as other than you.

    If you didn't get that, I suggest you stick with it until you do or the rest of what I'm about to say will probably not make sense.  (I know, I know, some of you are wondering if anything I've said so far does, but stick with me and you might be enlightened a tad.  No, I take that back.  You're enlightened or you're not.  No degrees of enlightenment, I'm afraid).

    (Think: Thinker, Thought, Object of thought.).

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    So, why is this thought that my brain stew has bubbled so radical?

    Not only do I promise to underwhelm you with the answer, I'll bore you even further by telling you how I came upon it.  (This must be your lucky day).

    Anyhow, here's how it works.  You have a thought, say, you think about your hand.  And clearly, you're thinking of it as something other than the 'you' that's thinking it, the thinker, if you like.  In other words, the thought  has separated you, the thinker, from the object of your thought i.e. your hand.

    Or take a thought you have about yourself ten years ago.  You're thinking of someone other than the you that's currently thinking the thought.

    Even when you're thinking the thought 'I' or 'me', as for example in, "I'm typing", the person who's typing and the person who's thinking of the person who's typing are not the same.  At least, not in your mind.

    You see, thought is a separating device.  It separates the thinker from that which is thought about (the object of the thought).  If it didn't, it wouldn't be a thought.

    Right, you say, and what's all this got to do with the price of underwear?

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    Here's where I tell you how I came to be thinking this radical thought.  (BTW It may be radical to me but it's not new by any stretch of the imagination.  Many spiritual sages and philosophers came upon it long before killing was turned into a spectator sport or philosophy was given its name).

    You see, someone had raised this question in a discussion: Is contrast needed to understand life?

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    Now, please don't get phased or distracted by this thing called 'contrast'.  I assure you it's irrelevant to my insight.  What is relevant, however, is this thing called 'life'.  I mean, what is it for goodness sake?  Or more importantly, what do people mean when they talk about 'life'?

    If you're still with me, you'll see that I'm about to tie up all the loose ends with one gloriously astounding observation that's making a rare, once-in-a-light-year appearance.  Yes, here it comes (drum roll):

    As soon as we think the thought 'life', 
    we've separated ourselves from it.

    And that, of course, would be absurd, wouldn't it?

    Now, it's a separation in a manner of speaking of course because life is all there is and it's not possible to separate yourself from 'all there is', unless you think that you're not part of 'all there is', in which case, what would you be? Part of 'all there is not'?  That'd be an absurdity to the nth degree which is impossible because, like enlightenment, the switch is either on or of.  You know?

    Which therefore brings me to a rather dreary yet sobering conclusion:

    Why bother trying to understand 'life'?  That really would be naval gazing, wouldn't it? I mean, our time would be far better spent just life-ing, wouldn't you say?

    Or, if I might borrow some of Lennon's words

    "Life is what happens when you're busy naval gazing"



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