Are you on your bicycle of new beginnings?

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68a34f3e8d0e968391519f5ff3457eb6--bike-drawing-bike-poster …you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. 
- Katherine Hepburn

If you are like me you start each morning with ‘Right!  I am going to do this.’  Refreshed from a very needed good night’s sleep and the world is full of options.  Times the day sort of wears you down, people don’t always see things from your side, but do not get sidetracked!  Do not fall off the bicycle. Some of us have not been on one for awhile.

Riding a bike is easy.  Everyone can do it.  How then to get back on the proverbial when the wheels fell off the last one?  Or your bike got stolen?  That truck of life knocked you sideways? Let’s do this together:

  • Let it go.  The old bike is no longer roadworthy. Take the bell as a memory and send the rest to the scrapheap.
  • Find a bicycle that suits you best.  I like those pretty ones – places for flowers, pretty packages and pretty colours to make the ride all the more interesting.
  •  This may seem daunting but don’t take the overused highway of life, the road that is easy, you have the skills to plan an interesting route and make it financially and  aesthetically viable.
  • Don’t worry too much about the map, have a few great options and let’s see where the road takes us.  There may be ideas lying long and dusty in the ambition box, now is the time to dust them off and take them with you on the bicycle to new beginnings.
  • Surround yourself with people that think like you do, or open your mind to views you may never have considered.  Team cycling is great.
  • Use that memory bell to tell everyone you are back on the bike and they had better watch out!  Ting a ling, ting a ling.

Confidence is the only real thing you need.  Once you feel invincible on your bicycle, everything will follow.  You may fall once or twice, but getting up, scars and all, is the only option.  Do you have the confidence to get on the bicycle of the great unknown – which you deserve – are you ready (whether you like it or not, because seriously, letting the past/feeling weak/doubt is going to hold you back) to get back on the bike, with those pretty flowers and a book of great ideas – it’s fun once you try it.

Image Pintrest

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disappointment is the devil’s child, never for your own.

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 One of the most inspiring young bloggers I follow wrote a heartfelt entry that simply broke my heart.

Her blogs are usually hugely inspirational, filled with the love of life, flowers and particularly Paris – her photography is my daily high.

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We both love Paris without ending.  images-39

But unexpectadly, she decided to write from the heart – and her father’s disappointment in her choice of lifestyle and career.  For someone who makes so many happy, wish for some of her experiences, it is still not enough to bring stars to her father’s eyes.  Which got me thinking:

  • Are we as adults expecting too much from our children? We all raise them with dreams of what we want them to become one day … lay the proverbial path down, sometimes with sacrifice, but more with joy and hope, and when they choose another path, do we show our disappointment too openly?
  • I know I am guilty, one hundred percent.  Which is why this post resonated so much with me.  Though my children are all strong and doing well, I riled at a career choice and let it be known.  How on earth would they want to … throwing away your education blah blah blah and it still stings, but I have realised that I come to the edge of the lake as the helicopter mother and must let them sail … with all my support, despite my reservations.  The foundations are strong.
  • Perhaps we are the one’s out of touch with the real world.  Not every child grows to be a CEO, a Scientist or a lawyer – driven with ambition and dollars in their eyes.  The world needs dreamers, creative artists, educationalists, carers … so many other vocations that may not bring the big house, but will bring immense satisfaction.
  • God knows that we have disappointed our children on all too many occasions, even if they stay silent about it, so why do we still feel the right to comment on how they may have disappointed us?  Have we been true to their visions of the kind of parents they want us to be?
  • When it comes to a lifestyle, or career choice, are we so happy with the one we chose?  Too often we complain and berate our choices and those words stick.
  • I remember when my eldest was in Junior School, being told that nearly 60% of career choices available to her when she finished school had not even been thought of yet.  At the time I thought, mmm, and look at the world now.  Do we, the elders, stick to what we know and fail to embrace these ‘new’ options because we cannot understand them.  It’s quite exciting actually, so why do we cling to the past like we do when it comes to our children’s choice of career?

All I know is that I wish her father saw her potential and allowed herself to be.  All I know is that it is a lesson to me too, that although I have born and raised my children, hopefully to the best of it all, they should and need to be supported in their own choices from now on. We have had our turns, now just relax knowing they will be fine. 

Disappointment is the devils child – ours are there for the future – let them live it their way.

Images Rebecca Plotnick – Everyday Parisian

 

 

Gritty view of the city and Grenfell’s ghost

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The Amazon morning days – have a free day and promised a friend I would visit their pop-up food truck to taste a prego, or two.  Turns out it was two, (no I may look it post prego, but not pregnant) so disturbingly delicious they were.  Growlers  is the food baby of two Cordon Bleu chefs with youth and drive in their hearts – ambitious and beautiful at the same time.  This could be my new ‘follow that truck’ situation.  

Found them today at Paddington Central, behind the main station and on the canal. The space has been restored into an inspirational combination of office blocks, old world barges and funky art.  Walk the walk here all the way to Camden for a great day out.  Having done that, I decided to path less known, the other way beside the water.

Tourist London ebbs into the more gritty side of the city on this route.  Park benches become fewer, quaint cafés tumble into seven elevens and residential ‘back views’ along the canal.  Though most are well cared for, the private voyeur style looking through windows reminds me of Athol Fugards play ‘People are living there.’  Swans and even better, cygnets for decoration on the water.

IMG_5432 One of the prettier blocks on the water.

Art takes the form of graffiti and to the left, the high rise council buildings shadow the clouds.  I can see the cladding, the cladding so deadly on most of them.  Still I walk on, it gets quieter here but am I nervous, no, I am in London in the afternoon.  Refugees sit silently on benches but do not disturb.  This is what makes London so unique – like most cities, the tourist areas, and the living areas, cultural melting pots within the boundaries.

But I am wandering too far, becoming rather a little bleak for me with the now failing Amazon attitude.  Decide to get a bus back to the brightness, and wait, and wait.  And observe. Cross rail signs on the other side.  A couple trying to create a patch of garden through the small gate I spy, the noise of the trains and traffic will never for a quiet space allow.  An old man is struggling to carry his grocery bags, stopping to pause, to change hands and walking stick with orange packets.  I wonder if he ever still looks up?  A whirr of skateboarders fly past.  When the bus finally arrives, I board to find it stops at the next stop – I am going the wrong way, end of the line.  How is it that I made the mistake  for goodness sake, I have lived here long enough by now! Cross the road and wait again.  Me and a young woman with a white painted face.  Like a face mask, totally white bar the black lined eyebrows, false eyelashes and box black hair.  Her suitcase, black, reaches her boobs. Goth in the daylight, her dress is torn, her life is a difficult one I think – she is young, she is a hundred years in sadness.

The ride back to Piccadilly flows past reams of houses, some blue, some pink, some forgotten.  And then, the blackened death trap of Grenfell Tower.  I cannot take it in, so large she looms over us.  Stark, World Tower of pain, looming, silent as life crawls below her.  And I wonder, should she stay in testimony to human frailty, or be razed in memory to lives lost on that awful night?  Don’t know – but I was no longer wanting to explore this city I love today.  The sadness of Grenfell continues to overwhelm.  I wanted to go home. Kept thinking about this gritty, pretty city – the ages of life, death, re-birth, famine, plague, money, success, happiness and how the layers of history lie below me as the wheels of the bus … 

Times one needs to walk further than the familiar. Inner city views for even here, in the dishevelled state, in areas we chose to ignore, there is a kindness as we saw with Grenfell, innovation, art and the most amazing people living there.

 

 

Why we all need pain … seriously?

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You know, maybe you don’t, but when you are in the proverbial corner, sobbing the eyes out at your miserable life, in the dark hours of the morning, you, like me, start reading ALL the inspirational stuff of ‘how to get your life back’ or ‘beginning again in your fifties’ sort of stuff.  Ted talks comes to mind.  Grabbing at anything positive until the sun rises and the Amazon returns to your camp.  Did it all the time … when I couldn’t face the reality of what was, what a sh…t storm my life had become.  It works. I was not alone.

But, and I have pondered over this one for a few days, when an article comes along, well meant it may be, that says …’Why we all need pain’ – I just could not buy into that one.

For starters – NO ONE needs pain. Pain is horrible, insidious, breaking of body and spirit, just bloody awful. NO ONE needs pain. Not ever.  And I say this because:

  • We spend our lives avoiding it.  Make decisions NOT to inflict it on others and try not to ever be the recipient of it.  
  • It happens, but it is never a good thing.  So you get through it, grow, change direction, not from a positive place, but from a ‘have no bloody option’ place.  
  • Spend your life guarding your children from it.  From the bullying at school, the humiliation of coming last, being chided and mocked – you build castles, fortresses, to protect your children from it.
  • When life happens and pain comes, your children are part of it.  Do you want to tell them, darling you need pain to grow?  I don’t agree – you need optimism and praise to grow, pain distorts, lessens, breeds suspicion. Your children become hardened from pain inflicted upon them.  You do too.
  • Some parts of life involve pain.  Losing your parents, a natural phenomenon to deal with. Your child no longer wants your hugs and prefers being dropped off at school away from friends in the growing up phase.  Natural pain. Getting older, natural pain. Family pets dying, natural pain.  Losing your job – sort of natural pain.
  • Inflicting pain on others. Not natural.  I have done this and regret it dearly, but do I turn to those I hurt and say ‘ Pain is good for you, I have done this for you to grow’ , of course not – I have to live with it and make it better to avoid further pain.
  • I quote: ‘By shifting the focus from yourself to something else, you’ll learn how to gradually let go of your pain and move on.’ Should we not be doing this anyway?  Believe me, when pain comes to stay, there is nothing or no-one in the wallowing but yourself.  Not capable of focussing on anyone else, even puppies, it is all about moi and how you are going to get through the day. Look at literature etc, those in pain, wrote only for the angst – were they going to do charitable acts, visit the elderly etc.  When pain and depression strikes, it is all about you, and only you, and how to put your feet into the shoes in the morning.  Pretty much useless to anyone else.
  • Some forms of pain, like a terminal illness is the worst kind. There is no growth, only despair – don’t sugar coat it with platitudes of growth and insight. It’s scary and awful and no-one should go through it.
  • Physical pain like childbirth and triathlons are a means to a better end. Opted for pain.  Any other form of pain, unexpected or deliberate in giving is rubbish pain.

So, pain may make you re-evalutate, grow, change direction but it is never without scars.  

Scars are never pretty, never.  Even if you cannot see them.

Scars fade. We do move on, and we are optimistic and enthusiastic about life when the time comes. We are never the same when pain takes hold of our lives – and I for one, do not welcome it. Life is too precious to inflict or receive pain.  Let us rather not patronise pain – let us seek to avoid it.

I love reading uplifting articles, need them at times, but let us be realistic and tell it like it is. Pain is bad for everyone.

Image: Arianna Huffington

 

The size ten looking back at me – Jenni Button’s and my glory story

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Jenni-Button-store-copy Back in the prime years (did I just say prime? is it not the prime years now she wonders?).  Back in the prime years, living in South Africa, Jenni Button was my idol.  An icon in the fashion industry, sleek, elegant and classical designs much admired and barely affordable by moi.  But I loved her look.  Loved her philosophy.

The joy of the day that I found myself able to afford a few pieces by  Jenni Button, and better still, fitting into the size ten clothes – oh, happy day I remembered fondly. Still hanging onto that one.

Fast forward to the story of a women who built up a formidable business, went into a partnership deal and lost everything, including the use of her name in the fashion industry. Pointless legal battles and like my waist, went sideways. Jenni, like my body, had been sabotaged.  

Unlike my body, menopause does scoff at the size 10, Jenni did not succumb to the muffin top of life, and despite huge loss on both the financial and spiritual scales, turned her talents to Philosophy, her new clothing line.  Quick to thwart any more surprise attacks from those ugly powers of high, she also registered her name internationally, for one day, clever woman.  

kko0Qn85 The real Jenni Button

I do believe, nasty, scheming, unkind people never win, and so it was a delicious taste of Karma when the new bossy company went into liquidation a few years ago.  Sadly Jenni Button, Hilton Weiner and Aca Joe, all favourites, went with the sinking ship.  Lesson learnt I hope.

The real Jenni Button, as she likes to call herself, is going strong and a story for all of us.  Especially me. Still remains a fond memory of buying her clothes, feeling special being able to do so and the clothes may lie fallow in my cupboard, but will never be tossed for the size ten, like Jenni’s story, may well find restoration – post menopause.  I look at them every now and then, not with sadness, but fondness and expectation.  They are my possibles.

Interviewed by the ‘Entrepreneur’ magazine in 2009, Jenni told her heartfelt tale.  She also spoke of hindsight, learning from a bad experience (like Jo Malone) and moving on.  Some of her insights to success and inspiration are valid even today, and advice we should all follow, and I quote:

Jenni Button’s secrets to success & inspiration

  • If you don’t have absolute passion and pure conviction about your business venture, don’t bother doing it.
  • Being naive has its virtues in business but make sure you get all your admin perfectly in place. Many an otherwise savvy business person has been brought down because they didn’t dot the i’s and cross the t’s when it came to issues of partnership agreements, tax or legal documents.
  • If you choose to delegate (something I don’t do easily) make sure you check and double-check that it’s been done, and done properly. Your business relies on it.
  • Make sure you have a business plan and that it covers all potential areas of risk.
  • Do not procrastinate! “Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.” – Don Marquis
  • Change your thoughts and you can change your position in life. “It’s not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent, it’s the one that’s most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin
  • “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill.
  • Refuse to be a victim! “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” – Steven Biko
  • Be flexible. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
  • “If moment by moment you can keep your mind clear then nothing will confuse you.” – Sheng Yen
I think of Jenni every time I peek in the cupboard and defy all who say, throw out the old clothes, for these are now even more valuable.  An inspirational, beautiful woman and one I hope to meet one day, preferably in the size 10 clothes she made for me.  Felt like a princess, thanks Jenni!
Images: twitter and destiny

Domestic central D-day

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a5a1ef700126da1d86d24b022fa3608b need an espresso to wake up properly.  Needed three before I put on the gym clothes (yup, them gym clothes) to tackle the lego house this morning. Times a quick tidy will do and times when you can spot the muck out of the corner of your eye at night on the glass of wine and know … it’s time.

D-day for domestic crap. Heavy duty cleaning required. For a woman who likes a plan:

  • Armageddon oven.  Ovens are places where food likes to be cremated and lie there.  Cremation station. The odd wipe and dab will do but every now and then, its time to wrestle with the metal and God knows, this is a job for Bear Grylis.  Ever prepared, did the toxic spray last night.  Nearly f …king killed me, the fumes, lordy, the fumes. Near death by oven cleaner.
  • Broom cupboard and bin.  If left non-sterile, the future home of little mice. Must avoid mice.  Attacked by ironing board, found an ocean of plastic bags (I will use one day) and compartmentalised – one for rubbish, one for re-cycling and one for those pretty used Nespresso caps.

More Nespresso.

  • Descaling kettle and Nespresso machine.  Tea tastes like descaling medicine and Nespresso now confused as to descaling or coffee.  Small nespresso cup overflowing on the wrong cycle. Quadruple espresso.
  • Stove and surrounds.  Hate trying to clean around the fiddly bits.  Can think of a hundred ways would rather fiddle than break nails on gas outlets.  The shine as promised from granite shine, does not shine, but streaks, like my highlights. Over it.
  • Fridge.  I have a Bridget Jones fridge.  Dead cheese, withered celery and six bottles of wine.  Rather easy to clean.  Amazing how the fridge door looks like a murder scene, so many fingerprints, all the time.

More Nespresso.

  • Washing machine and dishwasher.  There is gunk there that would make a slimy pond look lovely enough to dip in.  Soap build-up.  Wish my confidence had so much build up. Pity no-one will see the shiny insides of my machine, but I know.
  • Top of cupboards.  Well, who knew dust would congeal to state of cement? 
  • Floors.  I have a fixations with fluff and dust.  London specials both.  Brush, mop and on the knees to wipe clean and get into those little crevices – I hate my life.

Too early for wine.

54c131321d66f_-_hbx-cleaning-habits-de-s2 My kitchen and living room – NOT.

Serious workout happening here.  Luckily I have my gym clothes on.  Need to tone the coffee, add some froth.

  • Drawers and shelves.  Treasure finds.  Magazines dating back to the Millenium (not quite), expired invitations and that every handy roll of string and elastic bands.  I have never needed the string or elastic bands, but just in case.  Like the instruction manuals from equipment long dead.  Like the pretty blue ceramic pots which once housed my favourite yogurt and I cannot throw away.  Like just about everything we keep, for one day, which never comes. 
  • Bathroom.  Now this I clean all the time.  All the time, except that shitty hard water that mocks me after every shower – wipe as you will, I will return.  Hate hard water.
  • Shampooing of hair brushes, wiping the necks of toothpaste, scrubbing the loo. Sorting make-up worn past sell by date, arranged earbuds, make up brushes, tossed empty conditioner vessels and added to the death of the planet with enough disinfectant down the drains.  In fact, there is now enough cleaning liquids in my home to give me a total high.  Candles to kill the smell.

Under the beds, re-packing of cupboards, tossing clothes (for one day you know) and sorted out the washing.  Is there anything else, if so, the weak, massively palpitating heart will not, I fear, survive more today.

Note:  Apart from the obvious workout, clean, shiny home and frequent rage, cleaning on this level is great for thinking.  You can vent all your frustrations, plan, swishy to the music and clear the head at the same time.  I now have a vacant brain, right arm muscle improvement and painful knees, but I am done.

Wine O’ Clock!

images-73 Damn, I knew I had forgotten something …

Images pintrest, housebeautiful

 

The nestling and being a mommy

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4908cc2969a91e7f66a2d2f61d13c321--bird-paintings-watercolor-paintings  curious thing happened this afternoon.  Perched in my ‘office’ balcony, I noticed those walking along the sidewalk stop, look, one even took a photograph, and walk on past a ‘blob’ before them.  My eyes are not as sharp as they used be, but I could swear it was alive.  

A nestling, all small body and tendril feet, all yellow beak and few feathers sat, fat, squat and squeaking on the sidewalk, fallen from the nest too soon.

What do we do? What do I do? Go sigh, this is a problem I know not how to deal with.  Baby has fallen from home.  Cannot even see home high up high.  What to do with the nestling who will surely not survive but cannot walk away.  Me and animals.  Most of us and animals (except for those who leered and left) and memories of my childhood attempts at being a vet with all those baby birds.  Pushing pulp of bread and milk on match sticks down their throats – I think they did all die.  We had a bird cemetery in our garden.

My childhood heart did not cope well with dying baby birds.  Oh my God, how I cried. Prayed so hard. 

Picking up baby,  lice crawled over my hands – are these birds really infested so much?  The chirping did not stop, but more so, I could hear an echo to its cries. Mother was close.  In a box I popped it, as we do on a bit of paper towel and placed it back on the lawn to observe from my ‘hideout’ up high.  And called the vet.  Bring the baby in.

The thing is, when I went back outside, mother was right there, feeding her nestling and flitting about in panic.  She did not care for my presence, her mind on her young one.   A neighbour found another, we put them side by side, all the while mother close, on the grass, up and over, diving and darting with bits of food.  Together we made the decision to place the babies (at least they are together now) on the top of the hedge and pray for the best.  Let nature take it’s course sort of thing.  And I hear little now, hoping they are asleep and plans are being formulated (the vet told me this) for the mother to get them back to the nest.  How, but how I wonder.

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More than that. I keep thinking about the mother.  God will decide on the young.  The mother, I saw such panic, and such bravery in her angst. Protective instincts in overdrive, loss and panic. As small as she was in this big world, nothing mattered but her young.  

am an overprotective mother.  I have hovered, or helicoptered, around my children for they are my purpose.  This is part of my dilemma.  When and how to let go. For too long I have been the centre of their Universe, and they mine, and what happens now when they are grown and gone.  And how fortunate that I had them close, not scared and far from the nest when they were young.  The horror some mothers have had to endure, like bird mother, I cannot imagine. 

We speak of animals and letting nature take it’s course.  The world will take my children elsewhere.  So difficult for moms, and dads.

sit here now, praying that they will be safe, those little nestlings, and mom will make a plan. The neighbours have been to check, I listen for sounds but it is quiet. Going to pray hard tonight.

Images pintrest, crookedhouse

And then there is that. Those that sort of turn the day into a struggle again.

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f731f3b04e88d2c6e3817d0b54ce1c64 It happens.  Always seems to happen.  Human it is.

One wakes up, new morning and all that, plans made, new beginnings like:

  • Today is the day I am going to get active. No more sweeties, less wine.
  • Today earnestly doing to get the plan into action.
  • Absolutely going to get to all those emails and outstanding accounts and admin stuff.
  • Throwing out the old, focussing on the new.
  • Postive thoughts, optimism for sure and drive, plenty of drive.

And it is good, for awhile.  Shower, make-up, a little plank on the floor for added kudos, and up to this point, you have neither had a conversation, looked at the mobile or the computer.  Opened the mail, that sort of thing.

Boom! It only takes one simple … and the person that you hoped for, expected more from, tried to negotiate with or dreamed would really care, dashes the day into armageddon like woe.  Hate that!  Hate that someone has become the single focus of every thought and emotion to the point where one can think of nothing else.  Literally, nothing else.  

Remember when you were infatuated and the day shone with the glow of it?  Everything seemed magical and fairy like – well, this is the opposite. The day becomes cloudy, smudged with fog.  Of course you will never admit to it, how can someone get you so unglued, it’s stupid, it’s not who you are.

Advice to self.

  • Put the music on, right now!  
  • Tell yourself they did not realise the impact of their words, actions etc had on you and there is no point in being upset, letting it ruin your day.
  • Breathe and make a plan to get one thing in the diary done – even if you have to force yourself.
  • Get the diary and plan a good event, even if it ain’t going to happen, imagine yourself in Paris, or on skydiving in the Andes – just remove your mind to another ‘good’ place.
  • Tell no-one, it will perpetuate the mood.
  • Don’t dwell and go back to that place.  It’s difficult.
  • Remind yourself that you are better than being put down.

The positive day may have turned into a struggle – like yesterday and the day before, but remember the feeling when waking?  Hold onto that. And tell yourself:

Rising above is better than sinking below. You are your own pair of water wings.

Learning something new today. Don’t settle with the ‘I’m too old for that.’

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bicycle-girl-basket-full-flowers-milk-bread-paris-architecture-background-39462916 Learn anything new today? 

It’s a sobering thought, one I consider daily of late.  Am I learning anything new?  At this stage of our lives, our little brains are pretty saturated with information, habits and experience.  Choc a block full.  Some of it may have disappeared – you know the ‘forgetful’ and ‘must be my age’ stories, how we try to recall things or simply shrug our shoulders and go ‘no, it’s gone.’

Not so true.  I believe it is all still there, only we have forgotten to exercise our brains on a daily basis.  Remember homework?  Everyday your brain was trained to take in new information. Plenty of it.  When we educate our children, we too are exercising our brains in reading stories, assisting with assignments and doing some of the research to boot.  

Work channels our brains into a specific goal orientated place – what pertains to what we do.  We have hobbies and learn from this, and then we get to a point, at least I do, when I wonder if I am learning anything new lately?  Has my daily routine only taxed that part of my brain that falls into that routine, in fact, I think my brain has become lazy.

So I am on a mission to re-educate myself.  All too easy to throw my hands up at new technology for starters.  Some of it I got the handle of, others are more challenging.  Times I ask my adult children for advice (and do you get this?)  to receive the automatic rolling of the eyes.  So I tend to believe it, but it’s not good enough.

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Stay with me here.  Let’s take streaming.  Seriously, streaming.  I had not a clue, and now I seem to be the last person who is doing it.  Or really understands what it is.  I am aiming to be streaming 101 student.  Barely got to the grips with Social media, like Instagramming, and now everyone is posting ‘my story’ or adding little lines and messages on their photographs and I am ‘how do you do that’?  

Terms like picmonkey, Alexa,  cloud, 5G, virtual and smart this and smart that … oh boy, it is like a new language, which it is, and I have to get on board.

Then there are the subjects I used to love, or want to learn more about, like French and graphic design and never got around to.  On board and committed.

So what am I saying today?  Apart from regular work, the normal routine of life I follow, I am determined to prove to myself that I can learn something new, perhaps an hour a day, or a project for the month, but I need to do two things with my brain.  Get up to speed on current issues, such as finance and technology, and return to the subjects that I love and re-discover, be it Art, fashion, design, gardening or activities such as camping (did’nt see that coming), getting the camera out again and so much more.

Make the time. What I do, is think about a conversation I have with my children or anyone else.  The ‘how was your day’ sort of conversation.  Do I say the same thing all the time, or can I add to the conversation and my lifestyle by training my brain to recall or learn something new – would like to think so.

Image:  Computer hope, all career

 

It’s not about the tips, but the Masterchef you meet in an apron x

dcc718178f908c47baa96e437af87e9a

 dcc718178f908c47baa96e437af87e9a There are two vivid memories of meeting a celebrity.  Both times, I appeared much in need of ‘ I don’t always look like this, promise’, but of course one cannot say that.  It happened today, the second time.

First time I was entering the sauna at the local gym. The activity required a seriously non-sexy full costume, the black throwback ones to school galas in the Convent. avec slipslops and the obligatory blue cap.  I looked like a blue headed something to be exact. Not glamourous.  Once the steam had lifted, I was the but one in the wooden box, the other, a Wimbledon tennis champion.  He left within seconds. C’est la vie.

Today. Today was the waitron morning. Am loving this stint, although practicality demands a sturdy pair of shoes (and I have only one pair for I am not practical) which are the Converse takkies my daughter received as part of an ad campaign. Comfort is all so imagine me, beginning at the feet, with black and white Converse, ankle socks (not the trendy ones but the fold over school types) and a summer dress.  I was Maria, the novice nun. Julie Andrews without the guitar, or the voice, or the Austrian alps.

7bcb6f0d3b4e943b726a3129a0ac7c05 Hair hastily pulled back in a bun, and the most unglamorous denim apron to boot. Prancing around I was, undeterred by the vision presented as anyone doing a straight up six hour shift tends to be, when I … you know when that feeling descends, stop in your tracks and slowly turn your head towards the table from which an all too familiar voice emanates. 

Is it? Could it be, am I dreaming.? It was. Mr. Masterchef from Down under. You would be proud of how cool I was, despite being literally the only on on the staff who knew this person. Legend in my eyes, relaxed, with family and simply chilling in the London burbs.

Same gorgeous person actually, yes actually came over to the counter to chat to moi.  The accent you see, recognised the accent and an amiable chat of familiar things. The ordinary of it was lovely.  And I was just thrilled to have met him.  Not thrilled that he spied me in my garb (would have been so much better in designer heels and looking less like I lurched from bed this morning), but as they say, C’est la vie. Perhaps he wondered at this Silver Streeter in her apron serving lattes? Perhaps one day, we will meet again and laugh about the lady in the apron.

The day became lovelier. Waiting on a elegant French lady, who spoke no English, I, perhaps for the first time, forgot the nerves and tried to parlez in French. My utterly broken, Duolingo, maybe one day french.

Sel ou poivre?’  I asked.  Oh my word, I got it right!  She smiled and rattling gun replied. 

Whoa!’ I thought, but smiled instead, nodded and showed the thumbs up, grinning profusely and hoping the game would not be up with a shudder of disappointment. But Non! the gracious lady embraced my feeble attempts and soon we were talking of the Luberon, Cote d’ Azur, Avignon and my love of France in general.  Bolstered I asked:

L’addition?’ (pardon my french) I asked.

The elegant French lady threw her hands in the air and uttered, in a few words I captured, that the way I said it, was charming, simply charming.

Cheshire cat happy.  Before she left, at her insistence, she proceeded to pencil on a till ripped piece of paper, all the special, unknown spots she loved in the french area she lived in.  In French she explained each place, each little restaurant, favoured hotel and church I should visit in the future.  Got a few words, but what was more important, is that she said I made her feel special, trying to speak in her language, made her feel welcome. I pray to visit these places, paper tucked firmly in the apron pocket.

images-62 Okay, were we NOT at the Cafe de Flore.  Would love to have been, but it felt like it.

For those six hours, working hard, the hard work paid off.  In a little café in Parsons Green, that I love so much, at St. Clements, I met the most amazing people today.

La vie est belle today. Coffee shops bring the most wonderful people together. The feet are still sore, the back still aching, but the heart is full.

As a dear friend would say, goodnight and good luck.

Images Peintres, trippy drawings