Tell us something most people probably don’t know about you.

This was the Daily Prompt for blogging today. Tell us something most people probably don’t know about you. Mmmm…. I couldn’t resist as the thing  I was thinking about earlier, I was considering writing about anyway.

I once had an internet relationship. It seems like a lifetime ago really and it was when I was in my late teens and quite naïve. My main relationships with the internet now are this blog, my love for eBay and amazon, and my hatred for when the internet crashes.

But no, I actually met someone online and then went on to meet them offline, after talking for a year. The whole thing seems so surreal now and like I’m talking about someone else. I started talking to this lad through MSN chat. You remember that? I used to think long and hard about my username and font colour – depending on my mood (my friends and I spent many an evening having ‘groupy’ chats, which sounds so wrong now but was so cool that we could all chat at once!) Anyway, I’m not sure how this lad ended up adding me but we started chatting. Just friendly banter, after the initial A/S/L question (Age sex location for those who didn’t use the internet in the early 2ooos!)

It was great to talk to someone online, whom I didn’t know. We chatted about everything and anything. He was funny and loved to chat like me! I hadn’t really found a man who seemed to love ‘chatting’ up to now and it was exhilarating!

It became a bit of a routine to chat every night, but a good one. It was like having a relationship but just in the early evening. At this point in time, I had started University so this fitted in perfectly. Lectures in the day, online ‘boyfriend’ in the evening and then either going out or sleeping at night. It became quite intense to be honest, like a drug. I had not met this person but I felt very attached and thoroughly enjoyed the interaction. Before, you say, it wasn’t an old, creepy man – because he used to put a webcam on so I could see him. No, I am not talking about anything untoward here – it was all perfectly and innocent and he only showed me himself on webcam as a way to prove who he was, I guess. I’m not telling you this to admit something sordid and sexual. I am telling you because I think it is interesting how human nature can form relationships without physically meeting.

We spoke on the net for a year, eventually exchanging mobile numbers. We used to text and chat on the phone then too. It was very thrilling to receive the said texts and phone calls. A stranger but someone whom I felt I knew well.

We had both broken up with partners, which was I think was why we became close. We decided to meet in the flesh. Scary though. No screen of separation. No coming up with witty online and text replies; it would all be real-life and real instant chatting.

He was local so I went to meet him in a shopping centre. I was safe and took my sister and her friends with me. We had a nice day. It was ‘nice’ and not really a lot more to be honest. We got on and I was attracted to him, yes. But it was far more exciting when it was all online and after that nothing more came of it. He got a new partner and I got with my current boyfriend. No more chats and that was it.

I don’t regret it at all. It was a fascinating experience – like a whirl wind, cyber love. That of course, I now realise was no form of love whatsoever. But simply internet banter and someone at the end of a screen to read, listen and type comforting and confidence building comments back. Something we both needed at that particular point in our lives. And something that I will never forget.

 

I invite you to do the same and tell us something that not many people know about you………….. 😉

N.B I am not advising or promoting teenagers to go and meet people they have met on the internet. I was 19 and had a good head on my shoulders. I spoke to this guy for over a year and, as I said, I managed to get proof of who he really was. If you are going to take the step to meet someone like this, then do what I did and meet them in a public place and take people with you.

XSXS

Miles of Smiles

Today it has rained. My work day hasn’t exactly gone to plan. Nothing major has happened, don’t get me wrong. I am just feeling a little blah; I don’t feel at all like smiling. But I was reading some inspirational quotes on the internet (I was actually looking for something – I don’t just do that to cheer myself up…. wine has done that!) … and  saw one about smiling:

‘I smile because I have absolutely no idea what is going on!’

I have that on a fridge magnet actually and it reminds me a lot of myself. I do smile a lot – I normally manage it even when I am in a bad mood. You know why? Because it makes me feel good/or better and if I am already feeling happy then it helps it to radiate outwards! I feel good and it may help others to feel good  too! More people should do it on a daily basis.

I like to smile inanely at whoever I pass in the street or the corridor at work. My reasoning for this: I would much rather someone think I am insane than think I am grumpy! So I smile away and take that risk 😉

A smile can mean so many things: a greeting, an acknowledgment, an agreement  – all are positive. Another one of my favourite smile quotes is:

‘Everyone smiles in the same language.’

How lovely and oh so true. Language can be a barrier but a smile can say so much and everyone knows it is a positive expression. Smiling can bring people together and by god our world needs more of it. So turn your frowns upside down (even on a rainy evening like this!) and just SMILE. Remember… as grannies often say; ‘frowns can give you wrinkles!’ And they’ve lived long enough to know how important a simple smile can be 🙂

‘One lonely person.

One other lonely person.

One shy smile,

one friendly grin.

Two happy people.’

So spread some happiness today… even if you don’t feel it inside yourself. Once you smile and someone reciprocates…

… you will be smiling on the inside too 🙂

XSXS

Cardiff: Clucking Great!

This bank holiday weekend, I have been a hen. It was my first hen do and I was very pleased to say that it was fantastic and I loved the fact that it was to celebrate the upcoming marriage of a close friend. (see previous post Two hearts, Two rings to see how the engagement started 😉 https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/two-hearts-two-rings/) We went to Cardiff for 3 days and it was fantastic, varied and mainly just filled with girly fun!

I’ve always thought the term ‘hen’ is odd. And men get ‘stag’ – I won’t go on my feminist rant and say that we get the timid, feathered, two-legged bird that people eat on regular basis and men get a four-legged, strong beast of animal. I do wonder about the origin though. And if women are called ‘hens’ then why aren’t men called cockerels?! That is way more fitting for me 😉 ………just googled it quick and the term ‘hen’ has been used since the 1800s to talk about a female gathering of ‘chit-chat’. It doesn’t say why a hen; I am getting an idea from the cluck clucking of chatter perhaps? ‘Stag’ comes from the 1930s apparently when short pornographic films called ‘stag movies’ were shown to men when one of them was about to be married. Odd. There is also a term ‘hag’ parties,’ where both ‘hens’ and ‘stags’ attend. Messy. We got into enough mischief just us hens.

We spent the weekend in personalised black and pink T-shirts with the details on the hen do and our own nickname. Mine was ‘Samubuca!’ Pink sashes completed the look and I must say now I’m home, my clothes feel boring 😉 We had Grease dances lessons where we learnt a dance routine to Grease mega mix. That was fun and I was the hen getting picked on for my lack of coordination and rhythm 😉  We then had cocktails making lessons (cocktails is another work I’ve always pondered about but I’ll leave that for another day!) and to our delight the ‘Dream boys’ were practising for a routine at the same time. Dancing, alcohol and er ‘hunky’ men – what more could we have asked for?

A spa day perhaps, which was secretly my favourite bit. I had never been to one before and I thought it was great! You walk round in a robe and slippers and dip in and out of the pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and then lie in a relaxation room! I also got my nails done, whilst the other hens mainly had massages. The place was so relaxing and it was the calm before the storm of our night out – but it did remind me a little of an insane asylum (not that I am familiar with them or anything)  but think about it. The place is full of this calm air, people walk round in white robes and everyone in smiling insanely and whispering! And I don’t think I have ever eaten a posh two course meal with pink champagne in a dressing-gown before and still managed to feel glamorous and like royalty! Crazy place and I can’t wait to go to another one!

The evening consisted of a limo ride – this time we had all clothes on – more champagne, games and dares! The limo then dropped us at a lovely Italian restaurant and our dares were to be completed within the first hour of being in the first bar. I didn’t ‘chicken’ out of mine 😉 and I proudly and drunkenly stood on a chair in the crowded bar and did the ‘robot’ dance’ haha! The two ‘pain killer’ cocktails I had helped with this! My friend also did a dare and successfully got a man’s underwear and put them on herself! But that’s all you’re getting….. anything else is wrapped up in the term ‘What happened in Cardiff, stays in Cardiff!’ 😉

I fully recommend Cardiff for a stag or hen do – or hag do! We stayed at a travel lodge on Mary Street. It was on the busiest street and it was like we had a club in our room – which didn’t really work when we wanted some sleep the first eve before our big night out the 2nd night! But the double-glazed windows did us proud and I was out like a light and had a clucking good sleep 😉 Don’t stay at this hotel if you want a nice, quiet weekend of sight-seeing though 😉 Because the only sights you will see and hear are gangs of hens and stags out in full force with pink sashes or dressed as Tony the Tiger – you decide which is which!

Here is a poem I wrote for the occasion too:

Cardiff Chaos

Lou’s hen do is upon us,

We’re meeting at half 8,

A weekend of surprises,

But where the hell is Kate?

Sarah’s got her T-shirt,

Sian’s got her willy straw,

Tore and Karen all aboard,

For laughs and drinks galore!

We’re ready for the first bit,

Lou’s got her dancing shoes,

Grease lightening time ahead,

But all Sam wants is booze!

Loz is in there getting pics,

as Sadie and Chris dance away,

The shots then keep on coming,

‘Down it’ …we all obey!

Feeling rough the next morning,

Camilla slurps her tea,

But we’re all out early again,

For Princess Lou’s next activity.

Then Monday is now here,

Fantastic hen weekend done,

Nic’s done a brilliant job,

Hope the wedding is as fun!

Writing this ahead of time was a bit of a jinx. But it did all happen and go to plan. Brilliant weekend!

XSXS

We’re all Judges…

 

The religious among us may say that God is their judge. I’m not religious (I know, I always say this!) but for some reason, that was the first example that came to mind. God is an all-seeing, all-knowing being (if you do believe) who looks down on us all. Surely, that isn’t judging though? Do we not mainly judge other people or things when we don’t know about them/it? Ignorance causes judgement.

I am going to surprise you, though, and tell you that I am all for judgement. I think that everyone judges. It is human nature to make snap-judgements and I think we make them unconsciously. Judgemental people are thosewho aren’t willing to change their original prejudices when they know the full story.

Definition: Judge (verb):

‘Form an opinion or conclusion about.’

It doesn’t seem so bad when you read the definition, does it? We do it all the time, we form opinions and conclusions about things; therefore making judgements. Like I said above, if you are willing to change your original judgements when you know more, what’s the problem? For instance, you see a girl walking down the street. You can only see her from theback. She has long, blonde hair and wearing a pink dress with heels. Do you make a snap judgement of what that girl is like? Of course you do! I am not saying that the stereotypes are correct or that we should think these things – but we do. It is human nature. Think, then, if the girl  turns around and she has a tattooed face, piercings and dons a scowl. Does your opinion/conclusion change? You have judged again. But then, you may get talking to this girl and realise she speaks three langauges; is friendly to strangers; has a degree in finance; loves the Spice Girls. Your opinion changes again but you know the person a little more then. I think judgement is healthy as it makes us think about people and human behiour – and let’s face it, it can be a lot of fun 😉

Last week, I was waiting for the shops to open and saw some shop workers walking in two minutes before the shop opened. Shock horror, I judged. I thought, ‘How irresponisble to be so late for work!’ Am I a bitch? No. Am I unreasonable? Yes a little- because, let’s face it, a whole mulititude of things could have happebed for thatworker to be late. I didn’t know anything about them. My point is: it doesn’tmatter. I am thinking about how peolple behave and I am secretly judging but noboday got hurt and if I actually spoke to that person later that day and found out the reason they were so late – I would have admitted to myself that I was wrong (not that the worker would give a damn what I thought!). It’s like when I go walking in the early afternoon and see people’s curtains closed (or this weekend, I actually saw a woman getting the post in her dressing-gown) and I instantly judge that they are lazy, sleeping in kind of people. I’m out walking – why aren’t they?! But they could have been on a night shift, had an emergency in the night or be ill. I thought about all that after  and realised that we do make these snap, instant judgements automatically. Go on, I know you do 😉

First impressions are important, as they say. I agree. I am always conscious how I come across to someone on the first meeting. If someone says something highly sarcastic or rude to me on a first mneeting, I know I will take a dislike and form certain judgements. That doesn’t mean, I won’t talk to them again and give them the benefit of the doubt. And I would happily change my opinion a few weeks later and think, ‘I was wrong about them, they are actually really nice.’ And I am sure that people do the same with me. Though, I like to think people rarely think I am rude – as I normally plaster a grin on my face…. so they may judge me as being clinically insanse or annoyingly positive! That’s ok, I can get then to change that conclusion 😉

There was a Sex and the City episode that relates to this. Carrie once wrote:

‘I think it’s pretty much agreed that it goes open-minded good, judgemental bad.
But are we being too quick to judge judgement? Perhaps judgement is not so much
a snap decision as an early warning and detection device. If it is instantly
clear that a person, a place, or even a profession is not for you, is it better
to ignore your better judgement and read between the lines? Or, should you judge a book by it’s
cover?’

You all know I like to think of myself as a ‘Carrie’ at times! I believe this and sometimes our first judgements can be spot on.  We have to figure out if we sitck with it or not. Being a huge book lover, though, I always think you should give the text a chance even if the cover is terrible 😉 But do think about this………. and don’t judge people who judge 🙂

XSXS

Numbers 3: Inifinity

Thought I should share my views on the third and final book in Rachel Ward’s trilogy Numbers. Numbers 3: Infinity did the trilogy justice and did a great job in tying up the stories. It was action packed and I must admit, I read it in the space of 4-5 hours in just 2 sittings (would have been one if sleep and eating easter eggs hadn’t got in the way!)

This book, like book 2, has Adam and Sarah as the protagonists. Adam is now famous, like his mother Jem was in book 1, for seeing the death-date numbers in people’s eyes and saving them from the ‘chaos’ in book 2. He is living with Sarah, her daughter Mia (the result of incest from book 1) and Sarah’s two brothers sort of on the run. Or definitely, in the rough as the ‘chaos’ destroyed most homes. The government want Adam’s help in order to look at people’s numbers so they know when people are going to die i.e. where not to waste the country’s precious resources. Nice.

We have Saul in this book; a baddie. Something we haven’t really experienced in the books yet. The drama has originally come from circumstance and results  of the predicted numbers. This book still has all that, but it has this extra villain to add to the mix. Saul is working for the government and after impatiently realising Adam won’t come nicely, he forces him (and Mia and Sarah) to go with him. To a prison like place in the hillside. But it isn’t just Adam that Saul is interested in…… and it isn’t just Adam that has an interesting gift. We discover that Saul can ‘steal’ people’s numbers in order to live forever. We also know that Mia, whether intentionally or not, can do this. She took Nan’s number in the ‘chaos’ and survived instead. Mia didn’t just inherit Nan’s number though, she can also see people’s auras and colours, just like Nan did. So there is some special gifts floating about – but will they be used for good or evil?

Without giving anymore away, we learn in this book that the numbers aren’t as factual as numbers should be. It isn’t as clear-cut. Adam thought he know how it all worked but now people’s lives are at risk. Can he keep his little, dysfunctional family alive? And can they escape the number-sucking grip of Saul?

I truly recommend these books: to adults and teenagaers alike. They are a fantastic and dramatic read. It has as many twists and turns as there are numbers on this world. I don’t think I have ever been fascinated by something that was dominated by numbers  – as we all know, I am more of a words kind of girl 😉

So, One, two and three: read them all!

Happy reading this weekend!

XSXS

One plus one equals two….

The One…….

The one who….. makes you laugh.
The one who… hugs you.
The one who… kisses you.

The one who… understands you.
The one who… is patient with you.
The one who… thinks you are funny.

The one who…. debates with you.
The one who… has the same interest or passion.
The one who…flirts with you.
The one who….needs you.

Why must one person complete us? Does it take one person to complete another? The whole concept of just one person providing all social and emotional needs for the rest of our lives is not only highly unachievable, yet also very unrealistic. People go on about searching for ‘the one’ and may end up being married three times. Does that mean the first two weren’t important? We connect with people at certain times of our life and each one can be  ‘the one’ for you at that given time. I’m not saying that the above phrases mean that we should all be romantically involved with many people who can give us all of these qualities – but I just mean it is OK if other people meet these needs in addition to a romantic partner.

 I like to think of myself as romantic but maybe I am a short-term romantic. An in the moment romantic. I like to do nice things for my boyfriend, celebrate certain dates, spoil him sometimes etc. But all this  ‘we are destined to be together forever and ever…’ well I am not sure. Some people need to believe that in order to feel secure in the relationship. I hope that we will be together forever but I only want us to be if we are happy. Nobody can see into the future, so no point in worrying about our romantic, future destinies. We don’t need to have met ‘the one for life’ in order to be happy in the present.

‘I don’t want to be your other half,
I believe that one and one make two…’

Alanis Morrisette seems to have  hit the nail on the head, saying that as an individual we are complete and once we find a partner; there are two of us! It is quite simple mathematics really! I think we need many ‘ones’ in our lives…..made up of romantic partners (only one at a time though – I’m not saying bigamy is OK 😉 ), family and friends.

Don’t put pressure on yourself or your relationships… enjoy them all and live life to the full 😉

XSXS

Praise Song for Your Mother

Since it is Mother’s Day weekend, we all need to think of our mothers, mums, mother-in-laws and other mother figures – past and present. What they do for us all year, how they help us, how they make us laugh, support us and most of all that they enrich our lives.

There is a praise song poem by Grace Nicholls called Praise Song for My Mother which celebrates all the reasons, very personal reasons – why her mother was special to her. ‘Was’ because her  mother has passed but she still lives on in this poem all day everyday. The use of ‘mantling’, ‘fathoming’ and ‘streaming’ shows that the love goes on and on after death. A beautiful poem really:

Praise Song for My Mother

You were
water to me
deep and bold and fathoming

You were
moon’s eyes to me
pull and grained and mantling

You were
sunrise to me
rise and warm and streaming

You were
the fish’s red gill to me
the flame tree’s spread to me
the crab’s leg/the fried plantain smell
replenishing replenishing

Go to your wide futures, you said.

Grace Nicholls

I love this poem and it inspired me to write my own version for my mother. I tried it with the past tense – and like Nicholls’s I think it is more powerful like that. But I just can’t tempt fate as I am lucky enough to still have my Mum here with us today  – so for this purpose it is in the present tense. My Mum is still all these things today, as always. See what you think:

Praise Song for My Mother

You are
music to me
clear and soft and singing

You are
perfume to me
fresh and sweet and clinging

You are
tea to me
warm and strong and comforting

You are
the wendy house to me
the joy of scrabble to me
the fish in sauce/baked beans
satisfying satisfying

Always drive carefully, you say.

Samantha Gray

I think I will print a copy of this poem off for my Mum – or even the blog as a whole, since she is a techno-phone and there is no way she will see this 😉 My boyfriend’s Mum (who I suppose can be called ‘mother-in-law’ but I always joke there is nothing ‘in-law’ about it as of yet lol), will read this though, I hope, and know that she is very appreciated by my boyfriend and I 🙂

Appreciate mothers everywhere…they gave us life. So we can not only thank them, but share our lives with them and just generally celebrate life with them this weekend.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL!

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