Christmas Spirit

I do love an old spirit pun at this time of year. I am planning to put up decorations this week so I felt in the spirit to write this poem. It took me 5 mins so it’s a bit sketchy but sometimes I just like to write something straight out without editing.
Christmas Spirit
We only have four weeks to go,
until that special day,
presents to buy and food to get,
’til ‘Merry Christmas’ we say!
It can be a little stressful,
so you need to stay ‘with it’
so get out Baileys or vodka,
and get in the Christmas spirit!
Believe me, with a glass in hand, you feel much more like getting the decorations out or writing those christmas cards!
XSXS

Old friends are gold; new friends are silver….

Naturally, I am talking about ‘old’ friends as in an old, lasting friendships – not age! Yet, the longer you are friends, the older they get and it is a lovely thought to think you are getting older together. Or in our case, with me and my friends, we have grown-up together. And even in that sense, there are two examples. The ones I have knows since I was 5 and we have literally grown-up together and the ones from secondary school and sixth form, we have grown-up together in so many ways! Making many a mistake along the way.

I am extremely rich in terms of friendship and I find myself possessing much gold and silver…….even some bronze, if you think of acquaintances too! I have a group of friends from school and we have all been friends for over ten years. In fact a few of them, I have been friends with for 22 years, since we started school. My closest friend, has always remained close and our truly golden friendship has never shifted. We have both worked hard to stay close though. And all the other school friends, we have always made the effort. The reason I am writing this post today is because I spent the night last night with these golden, sparkly friends. We were celebrating my closest friend’s birthday at a party at her house. One  of my friends, who in previous posts I have referred to as my GBF (gay best friend), started getting a little emotional about how we had all stayed so close. We all have very different jobs, new groups of friends, live in different areas, yet we always get together regularly and especially when it matters i.e. birthdays. I thought to myself last night after this was said, that no matter happens in the future with new friends or when I feel I don’t fit in certain situations, I will always have these people to turn to. Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.

Silver friends are just as important… in fact, in terms of jewellery, I prefer silver. Not that that has any particular meaning here as I don’t play favourites with friends. Silver friends are so valuable though because they are the friends we make as adults and will most likely be more similar to us, share our interests and reflect the people we have become. I have a close group of girly mates that fall into this category and they are all from my old school, where we all once (some still do) worked as TAs. So our job, similar career aspirations, attitudes towards the field all created a strong bond between us. We all had different previous experiences, are different ages (I think we worked out that at school we were all in a different year, as there is a range of 5 years – I am the youngest, may I add 😉 ), and come from different areas. If we were to all meet at the age of 14, I am not sure we would have been friends but at the time of life we did meet, it was a perfect time for a friendship to blossom. So, see how you can have very different groups of friends? I love it and feel very lucky.

I also have university friends who I see separately or sometimes we meet for reunions. They share a part of my life that, when with them, I love to revisit. I also have other groups of ex-colleagues who I see too. The important thing to do is to stay in touch with people then you won’t lose friends but just keep on gaining. Naturally, this isn’t always the case because if the other party aren’t putting effort in then things will gradually fall apart and you will drift. That is life. But if you make the effort, you know you have done all you can do to preserve friendships. Not just precious metals but they are also like plants and they need tender loving care. (I feel I am now getting too sentimental like my GBF last night!)

I notice that some people like to have ‘one’ friend at a time, whether that is someone they have just met or a ‘flavour of the week’ typed friend and I find this odd. I guess it works for them and some people feel they need that one person to be with all the time. I need groups of individuals. Meaning, groups when we socialise and I can also spend time with them as individuals when we choose. But one thing I love is meeting friends and introducing them to other friends – mixing the silver with gold if you will. I like to keep creating new circles and expanding them, whereas I know some people like to keep certain friends to themselves. I say, show them off and let them meet new people and spread the love!

So see friends as antiques, treasure the golden ones – they are so precious. They share your past, know the previous versions of yourself and you will always have things to talk about like funny stories from the ‘olden’ days. Don’t forget to keep collecting silver ones though because they are just as valuable in life and will help you grow in the current part of your life. And don’t forget about the bronze – the people you meet a couple of times, acquaintances, friends of friends. Nurture them because they could become silver, or eventually gold.

XSXS

Screening their Humanity

I came across a post on Facebook last night because one of my friends ‘liked’ it. It was an open, public post where a woman had wrote on the British Gas page. She was sharing a story of how her daughter had been choking that afternoon and a British Gas worker, who was with her neighbour, had shot round to come and help her daughter because she was too shocked to do so. She was mainly posting to thank this man and give him the public recognition he deserves. She also gave a few other details about the fact she hadn’t had time to get the man’s name but she had called her husband in panic for him to come home. The husband managed to get the gas man’s number plate, whilst the mother was comforting the daughter we assume. All a nice story right? My first thought was, ‘wow a positive story for once!’ My second thought was ‘oooh a lot of comments, that’s great!’

Some comments were congratulating and lovely, but others? Well I was shocked and disgusted. I would say the comments were 50/50 and nobody was sitting on the fence with this issue. Issue? Yes, I didn’t think there was one either. I just thought people would show concern for the mother, the daughter and give praise to the gas man. It is amazing what people say when they are safely tucked away behind a screen. People were criticising the mother for not doing first aid herself, when she had claimed to have had tried but she was in shock. One comment actually read, ‘you are a tool of a mother!’  Can you imagine someone saying that in person if they were told about this in the street? People think they can say anything on these threads and they are purposely put there to give their opinion. People were also saying ‘how he is going to see that on here? You’re just doing this to get ‘likes,’ you sad person!’  Er, pot, kettle black?! So what if she does want to get ‘likes’? That isn’t really the point here. She wanted to publically give her appreciation and hopefully the message would get back to him somehow. Isn’t that one of the advantages of a social networking site? She wanted to show off the good deed he had done and share some good news for once. I did actually post a comment to say, ‘It is nice to hear good news for once. It is clear we don’t get enough good news as people are trying to draw the negative out of it and it is making them cynical and bitter.’ I was so appalled by what I was reading on there. Some people were even giving advice on what the mother should have done in their opinion, yet the advice was wrong!! Never put your fingers down someone’s throat when they are choking! This stupid man seemed to think this is what the mother should have been doing rather than runnig out panicked in the street. If he knew anything, he would know that this would have most likely pushed the object further down causing it to become even more stuck. (I’ve included the procedure at the bottom.)

Some people had actually gone onto her profile and noticed the day before she had ‘liked’ the British Gas page. This was sinister apparently and all part of this ‘set-up’. How ridiculous! Surely it was a coincidence and meant to be that she ‘liked’ them since one of their workers was going to save her daughter’s life the following day. As if she would create a scenario about her daughter choking in order to post on the page or to win a holiday as some people put. Some also thought she had relatives working for British Gas and this was a way of putting them in a forgiving light after all the increased prices. Again, absurd! I do really worry how people’s minds work! I wouldn’t dream of coming to these conclusions! Again, the big picture is being missed by so many people. It wasn’t about British Gas, who the man worked for, how she knew the man or how she got in touch with people about it. At the end of the day, an everyday, ordinary man helped save another’s life. I had some faith in humanity restored…. until I read the comments and realised there is still a lot cynical, sly, untrusting, spiteful scum out there.

Some people were actually researching the number plate to either prove the man was actually from British Gas or to be helpful and track him down… I wasn’t quite sure what the intentions were there. I assumed, after all the other negative comments, that it was for suspicious reasons. The old saying from Thumper in Bambicomes to mind; ‘If you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.’ Even though that has always bugged me that it is a double negative and actually means the opposite! I guess the opposite is what many of them followed!

I know, realistically people aren’t all going to send their best wishes. People are always going to disagree and have different theories about things but it was just so saddening to see some of the thoughts. Taking a heroic, happy incident and ripping it apart in their own free time. That was another thing I didn’t get and that was the fact that they were moaning about her putting it on Facebook, yet they were reading it and commenting on it on Facebook. People sit in their computer chairs or with their laptops balanced on their knees and think they have the right to give their twisted opinion and then complain that the thread shouldn’t be there in the first place. Well guys, if you didn’t comment then threads like that wouldn’t exist. And if just the decent people commented then threads would be a lot nicer too and represent the actual scenario much better.

Sometimes things don’t need to analysed or looked deeper at (this is coming from me who loves nothing more!) but sometimes things and stories should be taken at face value and people can get some happiness from it. And next time you type think to yourself, ‘would I say that in person?’

If I could tell this to those posters in person, then I would! Not that it would do a lot of good. Some people are pessimists through and through and will always jump to the dark side when there is normally a silver lining.

I say well done to the British Gas man and I hope he is there is many other’s hours of need! And I am glad the daughter is recovering well and her amazing parents are okay too.

https://www.facebook.com/britishgas/posts/10151356931195649 – take a look for yourself. You have been warned!

XSXS

My Final 50 Shades of Freed Opinion

Well guys, I have read the third and final book in the 50 Shades trilogy. 50 Shades Freed, I enjoyed. I am trying to work out if it was a good book, though, or if I really enjoyed it because it was the first book I read on my Nook (I’m loving how Nook rhymes with book by the way!) I think it is part novelty factor that I was excited to read it each time. I kept joking that ‘I was going to bed with my Nook!’ You can’t deny it doesn’t automatically remind you of nooky! Haha.

Anyway, to the book itself… in its fine ebook form. I enjoyed the story of this one, as predictable as it was. It had a happy ending, which i do admit, for the characters in it I wasn’t expecting but it is a generic ending overall. There was some twists and turns, which I admit did keep me page turning (with a flick of the finger on my Nook) and yearning to read on.

I hate to say this though… I got bored with the sex! For starters, they do it far too often. How often can it be physically possible?! And one point they do it again 5 minutes after… I mean I know Mr. Grey is young but he isn’t 18 anymore! And as for Ana, surely she would get sore, thrush or something with the amount of times they do it?! You never hear the words ‘sorry love, I’m not in the mood/I have a headache/let’s just cuddle.’ Ana says at times when they have had arguments that they need to have sex because ‘it is what they do.’ It is almost like sex is a barometer in their relationship and tells them that all is okay. When you think of it like that then maybe all our relationships are like that. So, yes I felt myself skimming across the sex scenes because I felt there could be no news way for them to do it and the author was certainly not going to bust out that thesaurus to write it in different ways (I discovered this after book 1).

But, as ever, I did enjoy the depths of Christian and finding out why he is the way he is. I really liked him as a character in the end and in this book it was Ana I was more frequently annoyed with. Sunbathing topless, driving a jet ski, going out drinking without calling him when her husband is so needy, clingy and paranoid. It was like she was deliberately trying to piss him off. At least we understand why he is like that. I enjoyed finding out more about his past and I also thought it was a nice touch how the book started and ended with Christian’s perspective (rather than Ana’s like the rest of the book) as it showed both sides to the two characters we had come to know.

So if you have read the first two books, then this is worth a read to complete your sexy trilogy. If you enjoy the sex parts then definitely read this one as it has a lot of raunchy bits – much more then the second book. It isn’t amazing writing; it isn’t portrayed to be. But a holiday read, a sunday afternoon read or a new Nook read.. Yes.

Now which book to read on my Nook…. I must remember that you do actually buy the books. It is easy to forget when a book is on your screen ready to read within seconds of a few touches and clicks.

XSXS

Goldilocks and the Three Pigs

Sunday afternoon should be story time…. I hope to read a little more of some books on my new Nook later. In the meanwhile, I thought I would share with you a story I have started to write. My boyfriend’s sister is always talking about fan fiction on the internet and how it mixes two well known stories or characters together. She likes reading about Harry Potter mixed with the world of Percy Jackson. I decided to mix two well known children’s stories together. I became fascinted by this at Uni actually when we studied Angela Carter and she created more adult versions of certain fairy tales. I haven’t decided how sinister mine is going to get yet. See what you think… any suggestions welcome:

Goldilocks and the Three Pigs

With her blonde, curly hair blowing in the breeze, Goldilocks strolled down the lane leading from the bottom of her garden. She was finally allowed out again. She had been grounded since the bear incident. She was a curious, inquisitive girl and it always got her into trouble. She had only wanted to see the three bears’ house and exploring their various chairs and beds had been fun! The porridge had been disgusting though!  Yes, her parents hadn’t been happy with her and she hadn’t been allowed to leave the house on her own, until that moment.

She had permission to walk into town and buy some sweets from the local, traditional sweet shop. All children saved their pocket money in order to buy a small bag of sweets from there at the weekend. They tasted great and were brilliant value for money. Goldilocks had been warned, though, to steer clear of the local wolf. The wolf was a nasty creature, who came after animals and humans. Under no circumstances should Goldilocks talk to the wolf, her parents ordered. The wolf tended to focus on certain groups or families at a time and make their lives a misery. A while ago it had been a local family who had a daughter with a red cape. That hadn’t ended well. Goldilocks wasn’t scared though and the town was busy so surely nothing could happen?

As she came close to the main high street, she realised she had forgotten her pocket money! How could she buy sweets without any money? She felt very upset and froze on the spot and started to cry a little. She also felt annoyed at herself and very sad that she couldn’t get her sweets. Then, she saw a flash of dark, grey fur out of the corner of her left eye. It was the wolf! He had crept around the corner and was now stood next to her on the pavement. Goldilocks quickly hit her running tears away  with the back of her hand and obediently turned away as not to speak to the wolf.

            ‘Little girl, stay and listen to me,’ the wolf purred.

            ‘I have to go. I have no money and my Mum and Dad said I can’t talk to you’, Goldilocks babbled.

            ‘Well, I don’t know your parents and I don’t think they know me, so it seems a little unfair for them to say that, don’t you think?’ he said in a sickly, sweet voice.

            ‘That is true’, Goldilocks agreed ‘but I don’t know you either and I shouldn’t speak to people I don’t know.’

This girl was cleverer than the wolf has anticipated. He would have to be extra sneaky to gain her trust and win her over.

            ‘Shame about your money,’ he said, changing the subject. ‘The sweets are amazing from that shop at the end of the road.’

            ‘Yes, that’s what I was meant to be getting,’ Goldilocks said glumly.

            ‘Well, what would you say if I bought you all the sweets you could eat? If you do a little job for me?’ the wolf was almost whispering by this point.

The little girl’s face had lit up when he said this but by the end of his suggestion, her expression was just full of confusion.

            ‘Let me explain,’ he spoke calmly, ‘there are three pigs, who have been spreading rumours about me. They are three brothers and the rumours are probably the reason your parents warned you against me. The Hamsons, they are called. I want to teach them a lesson but they always keep a good look out for me. They would never suspect you. The youngest brother, Porky, has just made himself a house of straw. I want to destroy it.’

The curly haired girl trembled and fear came into her eyes. ‘I can’t do anything bad, I’ll get into trouble.’ She mumbled.

            ‘Your parents would never know and neither would anyone else.’ The wolf soothed.

            ‘Then why don’t you do it if no one will know? You just said, they won’t recognise me so you must be thinking they will see me!’ Exclaimed the fearful girl, who wished she had ran home for her money the moment she had realised. At the exact same moment, the wolf was feeling rather irritated at the girl’s intelligence and wished that he had approached someone a little more naive like the Jones’ girl who lives near the woods. Another girl in a red hood, like the one he had captured last month, would have been ideal too.

‘Well they would know it was you about the house, but they wouldn’t know you had done anything wrong. I can’t even go near their houses without them calling the town police.’ He said as calmly as ever.

‘Oh right,’ she said, still seeming a little unsure. ‘What would I have to do?’ She looked very nervous that the wolf would have felt sympathy, if he was capable of that feeling that is. ‘Would I have to set the house on fire?’ She asked. The wolf’s eyes lit up as the fire would. He hadn’t even thought of that!

‘Well yes, I think that would be the best way. I would try and blow it over but I’m getting old now and don’t have a lot of puff.’

 

….. that is as far as I have got. It is written in child-like form really. I may make it more adult like and think of a sinister ending. Any thoughts?

XSXS

A Happy Soul

….. We must find a happy and calm mind in a world of suffering. That is what Buddhists believe. I think there is a lot to be said for that. I went to a Buddhist centre yesterday and I always find it a very interesting religion.  In fact, if I was to properly commit to a region, that would be the one I would choose. I don’t consider myself religious and when I have said that in the past, I have taken it to mean that I don’t believe in god. But in Buddhism there is no god; so it is an interesting thought that there doesn’t need to be a god for a religion.

I am not one of these members of a younger generation who has dismissed christianity and/or god and said I am a non-believer because it is ‘cool’. I have thought and researched it a lot. Religion, I am  fascinated by as a whole.

At Uni, I went to a few different Christian services. I was influenced by some friends at the time, who were devout Christians. In one church, I felt very uncomfortable and like people were in ‘cliques’ and they wanted to ensnare to me to join. In another service at a more modern church, I was a bit freaked out by the upbeat-ness of it all. All this ‘praise the lord’ stuff, which reminded me of American TV and then people started talking in tongues. This was the strangest thing I think I ever seen and I knew at that point that I would never go back. I was glad I experienced them though and I admire people who have that faith and go to church every week. From then on, I decided I believed in something but I wasn’t sure what it was. Agnostic was the label that I attached to myself.

The problem I have with God is all the suffering in the world. I know that Christians will argue to their deaths at this point and I have had lengthy debates with friends and colleagues about it. If there is a god then why do innocent people die, natural disasters happen etc. I am all for the ‘things happen for a reason’ theory and even for the whole idea that people have to die to keep the world’s population at bay, but some things I just can’t get my head round. Some really terrible things happen to good people and vice versa. And as for people praying on their way down from a plane crash?  I know I wouldn’t be. What good is that going to do? I would text loved ones if I could, talk to the loved one I was with or just spend it thinking about my life. I understand it is probably about control and that they need to feel they are doing something in an awful situation.

This is, again, why I like this idea of Buddhism. It all revolves around the idea of yourself And that is the only person we have any control over. If  we are postive, nice to peeople then we will feel calm and happy. I am all for postive thinking and I think it does work wonders. I am also interested in the law of karma that they talked about yesterday. If you do good things, you get good things. If you do something wrong, it will come round to teach you a lesson. I also believe in reincarnation. We come back as someone else depednning on how we acted in a previous life. Even though, I also like the idea of heaven so I am not sure how I feel about that. But I know that I definitly want to bellieve that something does happen after we die and it isn’t just it.

But that’s it for this post. I am happy to hear any views of different religions, as I say I am interested in all and am not completely sure what I believe in myself.

I am now going to eat my dinner, it will give me a calm, happy mind!

XSXS

Distance helps the mind stay saner….

Do you live with your parents? If yes, then I imagine you are too young to live alone, too poor or too lazy. Right? But the future objective is to move out right?! I should hope so unless you are a carer, need some sort of physical help yourself or a 40 year old mummy’s boy who hasn’t cut the apron strings yet. My point is, that we need some distance from people yeh?

The reason I have thought of this is because, today, my Mum text me saying that a close friend and neighbour of theirs was moving to a flat. Her first thought was to be sad about this, her second thought was to see which family member she could get to buy the house! She text my sister and her boyfriend (who are looking to buy their first house) if they were interested… me and my boyfriend… and also my Gran and Grandad as they need more help these days. My sister’s reaction was ‘oh don’t think I’m being funny but I wouldn’t want to live on the same road…’ I was not so polite and said ‘Bit close too you in’t it?!’ Haha. I wouldn’t want to live that close… we live in walking distance already (and to my boyfriend’s parents) and that is just right. Throwing distance is not. ‘Need a loaf Mum? Ok, just stand outside and I’ll throw one up!’  Nah, not for me. The other reason is that it would be odd to live in a house like the one I grew up in. I liked it and everything but the layout is the same and it would just be a bit weird. Like going back to my childhood but not in a good way. Plus I like having a dining room so that’s that house out…..besides we aren’t even looking for a new house, just my crazy Mum pulling her family closer!

If you think about neighbours for a second…. when they move away, they aren’t neighbours anymore are they? My mum’s neighbour, luckily, has also become a friend so I imagine they will stay in touch but otherwise they would become someone you saw on the street sometimes to talk about the ‘street’ you both once lived on. My neighbour, the old man who I used to help quite a lot, died last week. It was very sudden. He had deteriorated quickly and now he is no longer my neighbour.  But, again, he had become my friend too. He was just the right distance when he was alive. A few doors up so I could help him when he needed it. If he hadn’t been a neighbour, I probably would never had known him. I happened to bump into him one day after we moved in. The distance now though, is too vast, naturally.

In terms of distance, I’ve said, I live walking distance from our families so in the grand scheme of things I do like to be close. People move to different towns and cities and I get that in a way. They want a certain job, house or to live in a city. I just can’t imagine seeing family every few months or so many times a year or something. But we all need different things I guess.  So in that case, we all need a certain amount of distance to keep us sane.

My title, is obviously, a play on words from the original saying ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder.’ Do you agree with this? I agree we need to be close to people and also away from them to stay sane, as I have said. Does being apart from loved ones though, make you want to be with them more? Maybe. I have friends and family from different countries. But they always live there so I don’t yearn for them regularly but when I do see them it is more intense. And of course we have months or years worth of things to talk about! In terms of romantic relationships, I think can distance can make it harder. I didn’t love my boyfriend any extra when I was away from him at Uni. I missed him more, yes. But we had a lot of trouble trying to keep us both happy – mainly because I am fond of more contact than he is and he is a man of very few words! I was more excited to see him at weekends, I guess. But you can say that about anything. How excited would you be to go on  holiday  if you hadn’t been on one in three years? How eager would you be to eat a chocolate bar if you hadn’t had one in months? How impatient would you be to go shopping if you had been poor all year? We all miss things that have been distanced from us.

Anyway, something to think about! I am going to keep my distance now and go. Night!

XSXS

Feeling the Presents…

Well my first post as a 27 year old!! I had a lovely birthday and the meal and drinks outing with friends last night was great. Lots of food (too much – I stupidly had a starter, which I should learn is a no no at an Indian!) The bottle of wine to myself though was a very good idea! Haha, not actually suffering today either, maybe I am finally immune to alcohol now that I am 27! Not that I wasn’t feeling a little tipsy last night….

I know I said that presents weren’t the main reason I get excited for my birthday, but thought i would briefly share with you how lucky I was. My boyfriend bought me a Nook…. like a Kindle but a different brand… ( I keep getting told off for calling it a kindle!) I have been in two minds as to whether these are a good thing or not. I mean, they can’t replace books surely? It is sad if people won’t read proper books anymore with the pretty covers, old or new smell and put then onto lovely book shelves. Sometimes I just go and look at my books. They are in alphabetical order by the author’s surname. I love to see which books I have enjoyed and which ones I need to read still. I had to say to my boyfriend that even though I was excited by the Nook that I wouldn’t be getting rid of my books! He looked a little disappointed as I think he is fearful that one day we will have a room where the walls are lined with books (it is not far off this now to be honest!) So, I have never been sure about these e-book readers just because I couldn’t work out how one, plus my normal books, would fit into my life. But I have figured that it will be great to download the old classics for free and use it for magazines and newspapers…. and of course it will be great for the train and when on holiday etc. I have also realised it is quite handy for reading those books you don’t want others to see you reading (like 50 Shades of Grey and a book I currently want called Why is the Penis Shaped Like That?) They are books you just wouldn’t want on the shelf aren’t they?! So, I am quite excited about it and currently waiting for it to charge so I can play with it! One thing, I found ironic though, is that in order to use it you need to read the instruction book! I guess books will never completely go………….

In terms of other presents, I have had lovely real books, bags, jewellery and some quote plaques! With my love of words I want to start a quote wall with lots of quote plaques!! I also had some photo albums… another passion of mine as you will know! So people know me very well and I am very lucky! A very good birthday…. not sure it quite matches up to my 25th though!

Of course the real gift is feeling the presence of people around you. I have had so many texts, cards and facebook messages and to be around my closest friends last night was great!

See my previous related posts: https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/50-shades-of-opinion-by-miss-gray/    https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/fifty-darker-shades-of-opinion-by-miss-gray/

https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/photographic-memories/

https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/a-day-of-birth/

Formal rowing dinner tonight with my boyfriend and our parents.. and lots of other rowing people! I’ll also call it birthday part 2!

XSXS

 

The Stan dog I mentioned inthe comments of my Day of Birth post – take a look!

Stan the dog

This is a very special day – so special that this post will be brief as I can’t spend too long here…..

Today it is exactly one year since Stan joined our home and family.  So much has happened since then, so many high lights and a few low lights as well, to make us appreciate the highs –

  • The first low was when Stan tried to attack Steven when he came home from school and we realised very soon after this that he was in fact going to attack everyone who came within one mile of him
  • Then there was a high when he managed to walk past someone without lunging at them – they were on the other side of the road
  • One of the best highs was the day he met Rachel from Border Collie Trust and he did rush towards her but not to attack, he…

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A Day of Birth

….no I am not talking about Obama since it isn’t a birth of a new president, he has done the job for 4 years and I hope he continues to do it well! On from that, I want to talk about birthdays in general. Mine is on Friday (the big 27 but hush hush 😉 ) I thought I would write this now since I have plans on Friday… off out for a meal and drinks with lots of friends yippee!

Isn’t it strange how we celebrate birthdays? I mean it was the day we were born. A day of birth. We didn’t really do anything; our mothers did! We can’t even remember it unless we have a super power heightened memory like I talked about in my post: https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/remember-that/. Our mum’s should get a celebration like ‘I gave birth day’ – yes I know there is mother’s day but we could re-jig and have a day for others elsewhere like a ‘child’s’ day. But I guess the appeal of birthdays is that it is your own, your day. Unless you happen to have a mate with the same birthday or, like my partner, you are a twin and have to share your birthday (they also had a friend with the same birthday when they were growing up – how unfair is that? A three way shared birthday!) It is your day, though, to feel special and to celebrate another year alive…. which I also find a little odd because it is almost like people are saying ‘well done for surviving another year!’ or ‘well done for coming one year closer to death!’ Haha. It also gets me for special birthdays especially, people congratulate you – like a card saying ‘congratulations on your 40th’. I mean congrats for what? They haven’t done anything, just managed to avoid getting run over by a bus, have a terminal disease or get a fatal case of food poisoning for 40 years. Well well done you! It’s not like they have got a new job or graduated from university – just simply survived and stubbornly stayed on the earth for 4 decades!

Anyway, you’re going to get the feeling that I don’t like birthdays and that is so not true. I just find the whole concept a bit odd that’s all. I do, though, get quite excited about birthdays. I love when friends and family have birthdays and I’ve bought them that special surprise present that they will love or even better if we are going out to celebrate. I get very excited when my birthday is looming. I am not that materialistic and it is not the presents (well it is a bit, I am human after all and we all like to receive things!) but normally I have such great plans (that tend to extend for two weekends) and it is a time when I get to see all of my closest friends and family. This week is a very busy birthday week for my family actually – me, my uncle and granddad are all in the space of five days! Quite nice really.

This year, me and my boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend are having a joint birthday do – makes sense because our birthdays are four days apart and we have all the same friends. So it should be good! Then the weekend after, I am going out with my other group of close girly mates for a meal and it is also my Aunty’s 50th birthday party (she has survived half a century, get out the champagne!) so there is a reason that I call November ‘birthday season’.

My favourite birthday was my 25th. I know I should probably say by 7th when I had a huge party or my 18th because it was a ‘special’ one but my 25th was just so great for so many reasons. I had to go to work but I was asked to go on a school trip with some special needs kids. It was hard work but a great day (except from when I left the camera in a mosque and didn’t realise until I was the other side of town and had to race back for it – putting on my head scarf as I went! That is part of it now – a funny memory.) So yes, the working day was different, a break from routine (good for me but not the SEN kids!). I was a bit gutted though because the kids back at school had been doing solids, liquids and gasses in science and I had suggested to the teacher the best way they would understand was by using chocolate (well of course!) as it is a solid and melts to a liquid. I convinced the teacher to do this and he said he would for my birthday – then I ended up going on the trip! When I returned though, he had saved me some melted chocolate! I had badges, cards and presents off colleagues and got home to flowers waiting in the doorway. I also called to see my family and then my boyfriend took me for a meal later that evening. I had also been for a meal with friends the weekend before and my boyfriend’s family came to visit the evening after. So I saw everyone I wanted to and just felt very loved and special. Other birthdays have been great too and I am lucky that none of them have been bad (fingers crossed Fri will be good too!) but that one just sticks in my mind as everything going right (apart from the camera incident!)

So here is to birthdays, raise a glass. When you are apparently celebrating becoming a year older, but it is in fact a day older than the day before! But why miss a chance to celebrate being ‘you’ and made to feel special?

Oh and remember, birthdays are nature’s way of telling us to eat more cake!

XSXS

 

To my 47-year-old self…..

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The other writing prompt from yesterday’s daily post was to write to yourself in twenty years time. Since I am 27 next week, I chose to write to my 47 year old self. See what you think:

To my 47 year old self,

Well done fort] making it to this age! Yesterday, I spoke to our 14-year-old self. She’s doing okay; she will get there. Not as clued up about life as we are! I said to her yesterday that my scary age is 30 at my current age of (very nearly) 27! I guess you are dreading the half-a-century one now…. sorry to put it like that! I guess turning 30 wasn’t so bad for you and I hope you had the big, drunken party to celebrate it that I am currently mentally planning for 3 years’ time!

So… do I have children at the age of 47? I imagine I do, I hope so. I know I said that by 27, I nowhere near felt emotionally ready for them but I hope by 47 I have grown-up a bit in order to do this! So a boy? Girl? One of each? I don’t think I could handle more than two, but I guess you’re the expert of what we are actually capable of! One of the things I look forward to the most about having children is passing on parts of you to them. When you realise they have the same annoying habits that you have or when you realise that they, too, cry at silly things or if they love the same book as you. Has any of that happened yet? I also look forward to sharing old photos, diaries, books, films and getting them to like them too! Having children, to me, is about creating another version of yourself and passing part of you onto them. I bet you are now thinking that when it happens, you barely have time to go to the toilet, yet alone think about any of that! Maybe also, you had to adopt? That happens a lot and I don’t want to make you feel sad if that is what has happened. I will handle it if they aren’t genetically mine. I am always saying the world’s overpopulated after all! I just hope you happy with however that all worked out.

Are you married? I could understand either way. Part of me can’t see me not getting married, but part of me is in no rush either. I also don’t see how it would change much either. Except, I guess it is nice to have one family name and be joined in that way. Fill me in on all the gossip anyway and if it did happen, what was the day like? I can never see myself having a fancy do but in a lot of ways I want it to be big, just because I would want everybody that I care about there. It may be the only time in my life where everyone I love is under one roof. So please tell me that happened… or maybe at that crazy 30th birthday party?!

It is more difficult to talk to you than it is the 14-year-old self because you know everything about me. I can’t tell you anything! Do you remember what it feels like to be 27? I hope so…. if not I can remind you I guess! I feel very happy and like my life is getting sorted in most areas now. I feel silly and fun a lot, but mature and responsible when I need to be. Tell me, I have never lost that.

I hope at 47 you are still having a good career…. did I ever do the teaching qualification? That is something I always toy with now. Maybe you can give me advice of how that could turn out! I hope you are happy in terms of marriage (or not) and kids (or not) and generally with decisions you have made! I also hope you have kept a lot of the same friends, since I did such a good job at 27 of keeping in contact with school friends and work mates as I moved from job to job. And I also hope you still have good relations with your family and see them often. The family may have grown in terms of children but I’m guessing that certain older members aren’t around anymore. Did that make the family closer? I hope everyone handled that okay.

Anyway, since I can’t tell you about my life, I await to hear the answers to my questions in twenty years time. I hope that those two decades go slowly!

Love from your (almost) 27 year old self. x

P.S I am writing this in a laptop – do you still have them? I imagine technology has moved on a lot!

I will look forward to reading that when I am 47 as it will be like my 27 year old self is writing to me! Really enjoyed writing that but it was a bit trickier than the 14 year old on yesterday because the future is so much more uncertain! I mainly have to ask questions! And part of me doesn’t want to jinx it because what if I am not meant to live til 47? Fingers crossed….

Enjoy…

XSXS

To my 14-year-old self….

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Today I was inspired by the Daily Post: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/ and I chose to write a letter to my 14 year old self… see below:

To my 14-year-old self,

I know you now prefer to be called Sam and not ‘Samantha’ because the full name seems too formal – this doesn’t change and you will be called Sam well into your adult life. Maybe ‘Samantha’ when you are naughty! It was funny when your five-year-old self got very annoyed at people shortening your name ‘My name is Samantha, not Sam!’ We all learn don’t we?

I know all you can think about at the minute is getting a boyfriend and hanging out with friends.  You realise into your twenties that there is always something that you will be striving for and working towards. That is life. By the age of 27, the good news is that, you have most things sorted – a relationship, a great circle (or many circles!) of friends, a family you see frequently, and have good relationships with (well most of them!) and a job you are happy with. You also own a house with your boyfriend. But you will be striving to get your writing career off the ground, writing books, stories, poems, blogs etc. You were never ambitious at school and just wanted to get the grades you needed for the next step. Never really knew what you wanted to do! You manage this and go onto sixth form – where funnily enough you will end up working at that school when you are 23! Your lack of driven ambition doesn’t really change either…. as long as you are happy doing what you are doing you just swim along nicely – not a bad way to live your life I suppose. This is probably why you haven’t done more to get your writing out there yet. You realise too, though, that work/life balance is something that is very important to you and something you will always ensures happens.

My advice to you as the 14 year old me is to not worry so much. You seem to be going through a teenage depression phase at the minute. This won’t last too long and you will soon realise that you can be happy and confident and get hold of this life thing! Do not be concerned with what people think of you – you will never be short of friends. The ones who do think badly of you don’t matter anyway. You will probably buy CDs because your mates have; fancy singers because other people do and you will probably go drinking on a Friday night with the ‘cool’ people because you want to fit in. You need to do this. You will then realise years later that you are one of the ‘cool’ people after all. You are liked by a lot of people and making the effort to stay in touch with people from your past will pay off. The Granville ten year school reunion will be amazing and you will never feel so happy and confident. You will realise how far you have come and how happy with your life you are. Oh and don’t worry about the whole boyfriend thing yet – you won’t get one until you are 17 anyway! So just enjoy flirting with boys and chatting to your friends about them!

You have always been a home gal and that won’t change really either. You love nothing more than a day or night in at your own house. Buying things for it and attempting to decorate! But your love of home could be a problem earlier on: the university years. You will spend most of your first year yearning for home and not enjoying the experience! So from my experience try not to. Try not to go home every weekend – you will probably settle in easier and save money too. Make the most of it because otherwise you will find you are finally enjoying the lifestyle and then you have to come home for four months anyway! Oh and in your summer job, don’t fall asleep on the job and get fired! Just a tip…

Keep working hard at school – put your heart and soul into English. This is the subject you will focus on, be the best at, and will end up making a career out of. Also try and start writing some poetry now because you will make life for the 26-year-old me much easier! On another note though, try hard with Maths and Science still. I know, I know, you only want a C and you hate the subjects. But they are still important and you will realise this when you are trying to add up bills etc and help kids at school in these subjects!

You won’t realise what line of work you want to do until you are 23. This is okay and you will have fun working in different environments and with different people. If a job comes up at a certain pet shop, though, don’t take it! Or, I guess, we can’t control the path of life so you probably will take it. But try and stand up for yourself more and quit on the night of the staff meeting where you are publically demoted and humiliated. (Don’t wait a month after this like I did). This may help you get over it more quickly because as you near 27 you are only just starting to get over the horrible experience now!

You will pass your driving test when you are 23. This is a painful experience for all concerned. Two years worth of lessons, four instructors and five tests later you will pass!! My advice would be to chill out a bit and go out practising more…. oh and start your lessons a little earlier! We never have been very practically and logically minded have we? But as I say, you do it eventually! Don’t give up!

I wish you had kept a diary when you were 14. You do from the age of 16 to 21 and they are fascinating reads now! I remember how you feel at 14 though. As I said earlier, this isn’t your happiest time and you are just coming into yourself. Remember when you were 11 and that boy fancied you? You thought to yourself, ‘oh I am too young… why can’t this have happened when I was 14?’ you thought you would be so much more grown-up at 14. I bet now you are thinking how mature you will feel at 27… Well I don’t! I still feel too selfish and immature to have children myself…. so we will see when the 35 year old self writes to you! My scary age is 30 at the minute. And I bet for you it is 18! Adult age…. but I promise you, you will still feel like a kid for many more years yet. Your 20s are great because you get to the grown-up thing whilst acting like a kid too. That’s why I am dreading my 30s; you can’t get away with as much!

Anyway, it is great that I can speak to you like this. When you are in your early twenties, you will discover a book and film called The Time Traveller’s Wife and it is great. The man in that gets to time travel and talk to his younger or older self. The thing is he can never change the course of history. And I guess I can’t either. You won’t pass your driving test until you are 23, you will take that pet shop job just as you will get fired from the summer job in a factory. You will be homesick at the start of uni. It is all meant to happen but the good news is, it happened, you survived it and learnt from it. And you are happy and secure in the present day.

Love your (almost) 27-year-old self.

P.s – you will still love Spice Girl’s songs when you are 27!

Hope you enjoyed that and I guess you know me better after reading that! It is like writing to another person, I really enjoyed doing it. I recommend you try it too!

XSXS

This is interesting and ties in nicely with my post on another horror of Jekyll and Hyde in https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/good-vs-evil/ 🙂

the.soft.anonymous

When it comes to horror stories, Frankenstein is probably the most famous of them all. Mary Shelley’s gothic masterpiece has sent shivers of fear through generations of readers, inspired countless adaptations, and become the gold standard for tales of terror and suspense. It’s a story that becomes even more unsettling, though, when you realise it was inspired by twitching corpses, violent volcanoes and disturbing nightmares…

Mary Shelley’s famous novel barely needs an introduction. Its protagonist, Dr Victor Frankenstein, is fiction’s original ‘mad’ scientist, dedicating himself to chemistry at university so that he can learn how to create life out of inanimate matter. The being he cooks up, however, is repulsive:

“His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, ……

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Time Never Stops

Afternoon guys, thought I would share a poem that I wrote last weekend. It was when the clocks turned back and I wrote my post Time to Write https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/10/27/time-to-write/. I was inspired by Carol Ann Duffy’s poem Mean Time, which I discuss in the post. I thought I would write my own poem about how time doesn’t stop, it may change back and forth but it never stops – just like life. See what you think!

Time Never Stops

…the hands go into reverse,

for sixty whole ticks,

tick, tick, tick…

they stop.

 A whole hour gained

But light is lost.

Dark, dark nights

as dark as my heart

life is short and coming to an end

like the days

life ticks like minutes

every second is precious

and then the hands go up a gear,

we lose time,

but gain some light.

A fair deal; time for light,

we can see into the night,

clear and enlightening,

but time doesn’t stop.

It ticks like minutes,

Every second is valuable,

The clocks never slow down

and then….

Just a short one tonight, I have my hands full babysitting the Autistic Down’s lad and we are watching Postman Pat! Talk about time never stopping… we could watch the same episode over and over again and he would never notice!

XSXS

Like Pulling Teeth

 

 

Yesterday, I went to the dentist. You find this when you have half term holidays, not being free in the week the rest of the year, that you make appointment after appointment. This week I have had my flu jab, dentist check-up, hair done and tomorrow I am having my nails done! Fun, fun, fun! Anyway, the dentist was OK, just a check-up and everything was fine. I don’t like going though – who does?! I always feel  little resentful because I know my teeth are fine, yet I must have them checked and fork out £17 to be told that they are fine! In the past, I have also been told to brush them better and one dentist even got a model out and demonstrated… I was thinking, ‘I am not five!’ Maybe I am a little lazy doing it sometimes when I want to go to bed but I know what to do!

The dentist scraped round all my teeth yesterday. I am in two minds about how I feel about this. Part of me wants him to do it because it shows he is checking them properly and I feel I am getting something for my £17! On the other hand, I hate it and I have some sensitive areas near my front teeth and I get quite wound up waiting for the big, evil, metal scraper coming near them. I start to squirm and fidget. The dentist actually said to me yesterday, ‘You need to sit still and let me do it or there is no point in you coming.’ I thought, ‘Oh I am sorry! I pay you and choose to come, therefore you can hurt me as you wish and I just have to sit and take it!’

The worst I have had done is have a tooth out. This was only a year and a half ago and up til then I had never had any work done on my teeth… not bad for a, at the time, 25 year old. The only reason I had a tooth out, too, was because it was a wisdom tooth that was growing into my gum. I was very scared actually but it was over in seconds. I felt a bit poorly and tired the rest of the day though. But all in all lit was OK.

Once when I was at the dentist, a woman was waiting to have some work done in the waiting room and sat next to me. She started to watch the TV and suddenly put her head backwards…  I thought she was not impressed with the programme, but no, she was having some sort of fit. She started to twitch. People put it down to the hot weather and her getting wound up about her treatment.

Teeth are a funny thing aren’t they? We need them to chew, yet it is odd, I think, how we have one set and then have to grow another set as they fall out! At my old school, there was a boy who had grown his new teeth but his baby teeth had never fallen out! No tooth fairy visits for him! He hd two sets of teeth! This obviously could cause problems so he will have them out but how odd! Wonder if he can chew twice as quickly or twice as much? Teeth make our smile, show that we take care of ourselves. My sister has always had pretty strong teeth. When she was little, she tried a sip of my Mum’s wine and bit straight through the wine glass! She also had a lovely ring bought her by our grandparents and but through that until it bent. My Mum had fun explaining that one! Luckily I was never  a victim to these teeth…..

I like using the phrase ‘like pulling teeth’ and I use it a lot at school! If I have been working with frustrating or very weak kids, I say ‘god, it was like pulling teeth!’ Fnny really, because having a teeth pulled out, you can’t feel. Of course you would without anesthestic. But I suppose it links to the pain of it. Doing certain things can be painful, frustrating and annoying like having your teeth out!

I hope you don’t experience anything like that today and show your teeth in a nice, pearly white smile 😀

XSXS