A phone call

It was my friends birthday this week and as we all do now I sent her a message on Facebook. About 10 seconds after posting it I thought to myself. That’s just not good enough. So I picked up the phone and gave her a call.

Earlier that day as I was driving to work and I was thinking about her and it being her birthday I noticed when I thought about her I literally had a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart!! Which led me to think where did that involuntary feeling come from? So I let my mind wander about what came to my mind when I thought about my friend. Someone who’s overcome many barriers to be a beautiful mum and have a successful career. Someone who is driven and yet would always make time for you. Someone literally beautiful outside and inside. Someone who sees the best in people and gives everyone a chance. Someone with passion about fairness and someone compassionate about our future. Ultimately a friend that I may see only a few times a year but who makes me feel more complete for being part of my life.

And so in a more concise way (because she was in the middle of a romantic dinner).. this is what I told her on the phone and maybe for the first time I told her I loved her too. Because I do. I love you too she said.

We (anyone pre Howard Jones/Erasure/Bronski Beat era) know we’ve lost so many different and more personal ways of communicating. There was nothing better than receiving a letter from friends at Uni or abroad (I have a huge suitcase full) and I remember a time when my house phone rang several times in the evening. Now I don’t even have a phone plugged in to my land line! Social media has a firm and great place in our future but it really is….. good to talk.

Happy Sunday xx

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Happy Christmas!! 

A short one today. Firstly whatever your religious persuasion.  Merry Christmas! I’m not religious. At all. For me Christmas means one thing… a time when people get together that little bit more often. Work colleagues gather. We all don hats and a dash of tinsel. Friends that haven’t been seen in too long visit and families give time for walks and games.  Communities gather and we keep an eye out for those that might not be so fortunate.

To finish, going forward I’m going to try  (hey don’t forget I’m not perfect I’ll slip up!!) … anyway I’m going to try and be a bit more vocal about what’s good about people around me and how they make me feel. I’ve had two or three cards this year from colleagues and friends that went that extra mile to say what I meant to them and I was so overwhelmed  at their kind words.  So I’m going to try better about being vocally kind! And I’ll start with you…. Thank you so much, particularly to those who’ve commented and messaged and to those that read in silence. It’s hard to put into words the depth of gratitude I have for you allowing and encouraging me to write. 

Lastly today will be one of sadness and an exacerbation of a void for some, I know for me my heart hurts that little bit more today as I visit Tes in a place I never thought I would. Love and hugs to all of you. Be kind to yourself. As I said to a very brave woman yesterday this getting older lark … And life itself…..certainly brings with it trials and the occasional mountain to climb, the thing is to make those bits in between the best you can. 

Lots of love to you all.
Happy Sunday, Happy Christmas Day xx 

Moments that mesmerise

If you follow me on Facebook you won’t have missed that I’ve had a WEEK off work and immersed myself in the beauty of Brighton for most of it. My first magnificent experience. I was asked to describe it in three words. Liberal, free and sexy!
Normally I drive everywhere but this time I took a train. A few trains really and I soaked in what was around me. It was fab to relax to watch a film (as an aside if you haven’t seen Spotlight then you must) ….and to watch the world literally whizz by. 

So much to see on our journey ….pigeons darting over the heads of busy commuters. A bearded man squeezing himself on to the tube with a massive cello. A smart dreadlocked guy in a beige suit looking frustrated. An obvious crowd waiting for the Brighton train, blue hair, shaved heads, piercings, skinny jeans. An annoying woman on a train who insisted on teaching her 4 and 6 year kids about conjecture adjectives ?? It’s half term I wanted to shout! A couple of guys speaking Welsh and of course drinking Grolsch. A woman who sat next to a stranger and proceeded to chat with him for the whole journey, I wondered in my day dreaming mind that they might hit off but he spoke about his wife. A lot. A young couple with two phones each on the go and a laptop, each. They didn’t talk to each other. The man caught me looking at his house plans. A woman asleep on the underground, standing up. A family of Americans elated at getting the right tube train. 
I get to Brighton and I’m literally in paradise from the moment I step off the train. In the four days I was there every single person I met was friendly! Everyone! 
What did I see? 
Two older guys walking down a narrow street with their arms wrapped around each other. An American offering a homeless man biscuits, he looked at her quizzically. Women kissing at bars, not worried. A man caught stealing a sandwich. A road bike that missed my nose by millimetres when it stupidly overtook some still traffic. A woman with pig tails skating on the prom. A bearded man sleeping in a bus stop. A bloke taking a break from his bike ride, smoking a joint looking out to sea. People smoking weed. A lot. Colourful beautiful graffiti. Everywhere. The Royal pavilion, picturesque. A church garden with gravestones but also a park where people sit. A woman wearing flowers on top of her head, shorts and mid length stockings. A red sky highlighting the fallen pier. Vegan restaurants. Lots of them. Short fringes. Children screaming on fair ground rides. Half a caravan used as a bar. A bath used as a seat in a cafe. A restaurant with wall to wall records for you to choose and play. A beautiful heavily tattooed blonde woman. Views of the sky blue fluffy sea overlooked by chalk white cliffs. An afternoon glass of Sauvignon blanc at a bar with a piano. An organic cafe with the best  victoria sponge . Much loved chats and time with my boy. Hugs from my younger ‘by 20 yrs but towering over me brother’ and his beautiful partner. Walks overlooking the marina. A ride on a Raleigh bike to an 18th century corn mill. A sausage dog in a bag. 
I could go on. 
It’s been a wonderful week, exploring new places, resting from work and resting my mind.

 I hope you had a fab week and don’t mind me sharing mine with you. I felt so fortunate I had to share.

 
Lots of love, happy Sunday X 

What are friends for?

What are friends for?  I find myself saying as I hold her hand while she tries to stop tears rolling down her cheeks.

Friends are those people we choose to be in our life.

I was told this week I’m very ‘good’ at making an effort with friends.   I don’t see it as good, I see it as necessary.  Without question.

Like a tiny seed that grows into a beautiful rose, friendships need love, attention, feeding and patience and like the rose friendships should be beautiful.  It’ll have a few thorns and there are times paths will go in different directions but for me, friends are a staple fixture in life, a fundamental ingredient.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my friends this week for all the lovely things you did, during a rather difficult week.

Thanks to you for taking me out for veggi sausage and mash.  Thanks to you for organising a get together when we haven’t seen each other for months.  Thanks for picking up the phone on Thursday night, even though you probably didn’t want to after your bad day and having a long overdue chat with me.  Thanks to you, my brother, who I class as one of my best friends for a good giggle and a serious natter.  Thanks to you for sorting out afternoon tea yesterday – there’s never enough time for us all to speak! Thanks to you for the text suggesting a walk and of course a wine to finish it off, sorry I missed the walk but the wine was lush.  Thanks to my oldest friend for ringing me up at 11pm where we attempted to solve the world’s problems (or just our own!).  Thanks to mum (bestest friend ever!) for helping me out and sharing an avocado sandwich with me in the sunshine. Thanks to you for asking how my boy got on at school.  Thanks for your messages despite your tough week and your advice.  Thanks for the surprise chocolates ending up on my desk.  Thanks for asking how I got on this week and making plans to meet up.   Thanks for posting encouraging messages.  Thanks for the hug.  Thanks for taking me out for dinner.  (I’ve just realised there’s no wonder I’ve put on a few pounds this Summer – so much food!!).

Thanks for being YOU!

Some friends I’ve known all my life, some much shorter.  We can’t all be there for each other all the time, it can be weeks or even months sometimes where we catch up , sometimes it’s just a text or phone call now and again.

Search the definition of friendship and it will tell you that it’s an attachment to a person or between persons, affection arising from mutual esteem and good will.  For me the last two words sum up friendship. In fact it sums up how to be the best person you can.

Good will.

If you have good will towards the people in your life then you’re all the way there in trying to make today the best one you can for you and everyone else.

Happy Sunday everyone xxx

 

friends

Are you OK? 

5 minutes from my week.

We know each other but not that well.  We can never meet for just five minutes. There’s always too much to say. I’ve had a niggle about you for a while although our contact has only been through email and one meeting,  something was missing.  No light in your eyes.  A smile that wasn’t true. I’d ask if everything was alright and you quickly reply yes, referring to how work is busy and with that deflection put an end to my concern. 

We met again this week by chance. As usual you were scurrying from one place to another.  We chat with your smile firmly in place. You laugh at the right time and nod in the required places. But you’re not here.

I know by now without doubt that something wasn’t ok. That you were drowning in worry. That you were only just hanging on to your act. 

I gently put my hand on your arm. I look straight into your troubled, tired eyes. 

Are you OK?

You’re about to lie. 

Are you really ok?

I ask again.

Tears balance on the tips of your lids. You shake your head ever so softly. You walk away.

I follow feeling a little guilty.  I hadn’t wanted to upset you. You stop and we hug. You tell me briefly what’s actually going on behind your forced smiles. With that we arrange a social meet up and you text later to thank me for seeing through your performance.  For asking if you were ok. Really.

It can be difficult to be direct.  It’s a risk. What is there to lose? To be told another lie or to mind your own business. To gain you can be an outlet to someone in need, to give a voice to pain, to listen. To give time. To provide hope.  

They’re only 3 words but they could change someone’s day.

Happy Sunday everyone x x x

PS  apologies for lateness of blog I’ve just moved and am currently hanging around a house with WiFi trying to send it!! 

Justifying yourself?

Hi it’s just me. I’m just writing my blog.

I’m on a mission.

To remove the word just from my vocabulary.  Read that first sentence again. I sound apologetic and a bit pathetic.  This time I’ll write the sentence again, without the offending word…..Hi it’s me, I’m writing my blog!

So different!!

Along with eliminating the word sorry  (unless it’s actually warranted of course), this has been quite a feat. 

I stopped saying sorry, for purely existing, about 10 years ago.  You’ll notice now how many times you say sorry.  For absolutely no reason, for example,  I used to say it when people knocked into me in the street! Sorry (that you weren’t looking where you were going!).

I was always saying sorry.  I’d walk in a room … Sorry, do you have a pen? Sorry, can I use the phone? Sorry, can you pass me the pepper? Sorry, have you finished with that?

Sound familiar?

I’ve almost stopped doing it. Now I  notice how often so many others are apologising. All the time.

Just has been a bit more of a challenge.  During my spell checking of work emails I also now have to go back and remove the words just. 

Generally and surprisingly  there are about four apologetic ‘just’ words in every email!! Shocking.  I was writing a very serious email the other day and when I reviewed it before sending I found…. Hello, I just wanted to…. I just feel…..I just thought …..argh!! Take the word just out and I’m appearing stronger and more confident.

I’m not sure where this apologetic nonsense began. I notice it far far more in women which is probably no surprise.  Most of us have been apologising since we (just) left the womb.

So. In an aim to take small steps in feeling more confident, assured and more importantly less apologetic for simply breathing, maybe try it.  It honestly make you feel more positive and less… well…. just sorry!

Stop apologising for being the brilliant person you are!

Happy Sunday everyone xx

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Ps. Upon reviewing this blog I had to delete the word just two times!!

Invisible obstacles

I’m writing this a bit earlier than normal because as you read it I’m probably on my way to Liverpool to a colour obstacle run that one of my friends persuaded me to take part in.  Photos to follow I’m sure!!

These obstacles are there to create a bit of fun and are taken up voluntarily but what about the obstacles we can’t avoid?

It’s been a good week in an odd week. Life continues with its own obstacles and mountains to climb.  friends that I wish I could protect , more hospital visits, a horrid sick bug, conducting appraisals, helping to wipe up tears, saying goodbye, awkward moments, busy work, angst, time constraints… all the usual stuff we all deal with.  Life isn’t it!

So why in this week which seemingly was quite grey in parts am I feeling good?

Well…  the sun shone – a lot! That alone raises your mood doesn’t it?  I walked and talked and sat and took photos.  I  was enlightened about new ideas from friends and I revelled in blogs about bluebells and floral photos on instagram.  I sat on the sofa leaning on my partner and started reading a book (something I’ve not done in a while!) and despite the appearance of monsters with tentacles (thanks *you* for that recommendation!) it felt relaxed, normal, nice, here, now, lovely and most importantly not stressy… just to be able to do that and not worry.

I took my dog to the river and learnt that she can swim fantastically well, she barks and I throw sticks, her fur melts away and she looks more rat like than dog like but her wagging tail tells me she is having the most fun she’s had in ages.  I love that dog so much!

I’ve been cooking, trying out new recipes – simple stuff like pasta in hoummous with green and black olives on a bed of rocket with toasted pine nuts, topped with garlic mushrooms. It was LOVELY!  I also have found the most amazing soup receipe with red lentils, garlic, tomatoes and sweet potato – I brought some into work and it went down very well even though it was meat free! 

I’ve started drinking (the occasional) coffee again! I haven’t had one for 18 months and sat at a cafe in the sun at the weekend with a frothy cappuccino and a warm chocolate fudge cake just watching the world tick by.   I’ve started eating almonds and juicy raisins in the morning with my cereal and instead of eating it rushing about the house I take ten minutes and I … well eat it, properly! 

I laughed with friends over a glass or two and I watch from the sidelines as my son continues to take life in his stride and makes me proud every second.  My mum called to see me just to give me a kiss on the cheek and my step dad dropped over the most amazing red vibrant plant that now adorns my kitchen window. 

I people watched and saw a balding man carrying his dog in a rucksack and a grown woman with pink ankle socks and sandals.  I passed a cafe and a man with a beard held his partners hands and love just sprung out everywhere as he looked at her. Beautiful.  

So yes there are obstacles visible and non visible  but there are masses of small moments that sometimes we can forget about or sometimes we don’t see them because we’re so busy.   Slowing down,  focussing  on them can sometimes make you feel that bit happier about life.

One more thing I did this week is something I’ve never done before!!  I wanted to share it with you and I hope maybe you will do it too and savour the feeling.  As I drove back home one day, roof down, sunglasses on, new CD blaring out (some trance music that I’m clearly far too old for) – I punched the air and let out an almight whooooop.  Not just once but three times.  You know like Americans do on films.  And it felt good!  There was nothing remarkable about my week, it was like yours with it’s bad and good points but for those small moments of joy let out a whooop and bask in the silliness! 

Happy Sunday all x x

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