Ideas and Thoughts

Pula, Plitvice and thank God for Rijeka!

We had been waiting patiently for this. Holidays of late had been to visit family and this time we decided to throw caution to the wind and conquer another country. There were going to be a lot of firsts for us. We decided to try Norwegian Airways and got our return tickets for really cheap – GBP 58.00 return per person! No, not a typo – just amazing. They were also no delays (so not the Easyjet experience) and free wifi on board. Yes, the plane interior was not the best, old and on our return flight, what looked like porridge splattered on the side next to the window seat but hey, the journey lasted a total of about 2 hours and I wasn’t bothered. I mean, what’s a little crusty old food when you paid to get to a whole new country for the price of a train ticket? The captain was polite, informative and professional so seeing as he was taking me there, that was high on my priority list.

We hired a car. Another first. We were spending three nights in Pula at a plush apartment which we rented. Our accommodation, housed in an old historical building along with the street leading to it, was impressive. As we passed by using our GPS navigating the way, those houses spoke to me, each screaming out at me different anecdotes from their past. The friendly lady who owned the premise showed us in. She spent a lot of time explaining things about the town and how, because we had a car, we should explore further out and she gave us lots of ammunition for the days to come. We were both appreciative and excited.

First thing I wanted to do was check out the beaches. Just to have look so we could pick and choose where we would spend our second day lounging and taking some sun into our cheeks. God knows we needed it after having London to contend with for almost three years. I needed that Vitamin D! We got in our car and drove out for about 10 minutes to the beach we knew was there, close by.

Beach Hawaii was a sad sight. Now, I knew why they took the picture from that angle. Approximately 80 meters of white pebbles and although the water it led to was shimmering shades of blue, the little stretch was filled to the brim. Along the coast, there were lots of big boulders and rocks that people positioned themselves on so they could both sunbathe and plunge into the sea. There was wind and as a result, some currents and waves beating against the rocks. We did the math. New to this place + not used to the current and rocks + general disappointment = not happening. I did have a momentary relapse and decided to try convincing ‘husband’ that it was worth a try until he painted a picture for me. Of my head hitting against one of those big sharp rocks on Day 1 of our Croatian adventure.

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An ATM machine on the door which I found unique

We decided to explore the town on foot so we parked the car back at the apartment and made our way in. Although we expected to see a lot more buzz, it was a pleasant and calm walk. Once in the center, the pace became livelier. We decided on trying some local baked goods and pastries. Croatians know how to make coffee. Everywhere we went, wherever we ordered from, the coffee was fantastic. The people of Pula were a mixed breed. They seemed to not really want us around and even the waitress at the cafe seemed condescending, as if she was bothered by us in some way. There was eye rolling and what seemed like sarcasm when we tried to engage with her. It was at that point, we decided that we would keep any interaction to a minimum. I think it is important to note here that on all our travels, both my husband and I were sociable and we liked speaking to the locals. Never intrusive but just for the purpose of a cultural exchange or learning more about our surroundings. In Pula, we retreated to our space and avoided talking with any of them unless we had to. The nicest people we met there was the owner of our apartment, a young girl at the ice-cream parlour and the taxi driver that took us back to our haven.

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Gladiator Arena

The amphitheatre or arena in Pula was the attraction. I could imagine the Gladiators as I stood right next to the gates and underpasses where they would be waiting to meet their fate. My mind and φαντασία (fantasia) took a stroll and I wondered about them and their families. How many of them ever really made it out of there? Were there stooges and inexperienced young men and women? I could taste the fear and cruelty that must have occurred right there at that very spot. It made me melancholic. We didn’t stay to watch the orchestra although I am sure the acoustics would have been amazing. Knowing me, I would have heard screams and cries blended in with it.

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Risotto with scampi…yum

Over the next two nights, we would explore Croatian cuisine which is very similar to Italian. We ventured out to Rovinj, in particular, a wonderful restaurant called La Perla where we felt very welcomed. The owner was all smiles and whenever he spoke to my husband, he touched his back warmly. The service was excellent too and the food sumptuous and delicious. Some of the best risotto I have ever tasted.

We also visited Farabuto in Pula on our last night there and this left us feeling good because the proprietors of this family owned restaurant were definitely people who had exposure and a little more sophistication in their approach and handling of their guests. The fish soup…mama mia…to die for!

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Croatian Beer

Next stop…Plitvice. A three hour or so drive from Pula. We stayed at a typical Croatian cottage the first night but because it was dusty and my sinuses were doing the fandango, we left and found a hotel about 30 minutes away for our second night. From here, we visited the Plitvice Lakes which we paid GBP 40.00 to see.

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Plitvice Waterfalls

Was it beautiful? Hell yeah. Could we swim in the lakes on that hot summers day? No. They were a UNESCO protected site and us humans would have just messed the balance of everything with our rubbish left everywhere, tanning oils and the like. I didn’t think that the price was fair. Only because everyone should be able to visit. What about those who cannot afford that? It was only the next day in Rijeka, that I learnt from a nice man whilst lounging by the sea, that if we had driven 20 minutes in another direction from the lakes, we would have crossed over into Bosnia and there we could see waterfalls and lakes just like those of Plitvice, for free. To top it off, swimming was permitted. He also told us that drinking a beer in Bosnia was as cheap as two Kuna! Just to give you a comparison – they were an average of 25 Kuna in Croatia.

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Plitvice Lakes

Arriving in Rijeka was a great choice! We loved the place and the people. The town was much bigger than the likes of Pula but it wasn’t that. It was the whole vibe of the place with its quaint restaurants and superb food plus service, pretty squares and architecture. I loved the doors and stone walls. This was a place I could see myself visiting again for a long laid back weekend. The hotel itself was a lovely place to stay because it gave us the sea as our own private swimming pool. We literally walked down a set of steps and there were sun chairs and umbrellas on one side and then steps leading into the ocean. This made up for all those days without having our time in the Adriatic sea.

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The full moon view from our balcony

As if the universe was rewarding us, we got to sit by a full moon on our first night there and be greeted by a huge fish in the middle of the ocean that came to the surface twice and went back under. It was so exciting because it was like it could feel us and we could feel it.

That’s why I love journeys into the unknown because you never really know what you are going to get and it really becomes an exploration. Enjoying the experience with one of my partners in crime is a bonus of course because nothing would have been the same without him. Even if we couldn’t relate to our surroundings all the time, we at least had each other. Rijeka was the icing on our cake and besides eating and drinking Malvazia wine, all we did was to take in the rays, feel immense gratitude and dive deep into the big brilliant blue.

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Our balcony into the sea

Shared Journeys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standing

signs

The same shit on a different day. The same issues,  the same frustration and the same old nonsense. It’s been said time and time again…the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again whilst expecting different results. Its crazy but yet we all do it. We have the exact same fight, we choose those self-defeating actions that we have tried before even though they didn’t work then and they most certainly aren’t going to work now. Why? Automatic behaviour? Force of habit? We can’t help it because its our subconscious taking control? More than anything else, I think the real driving force behind all of it are two things. Anger coupled with fear. We get angry because he is saying things that hurt and are one-sided. We become fearful because we think that walking away from it will make him right, will mean defeat, he wins. So much history, so much blame, so many feelings. Adrenaline kicks in and it all goes pear-shaped.

And that was just chapter one. It can go on, giving birth to many parts, all shapes and sizes and the aftermath is draining because she has walked this path so many times, she gets bored, she is also tired so they sweep it under the carpet and make up, promising that the next time they will do it differently, telling each other that it was the last episode. A week passes, fun is had, they feel close and then out of the blue, it happens again because he is grumpy or she didn’t get her way. Nine out of ten times, its something stupid and definitely not worth the strife but there they go again, on the bloody merry-go-round of stupidity. Then the thoughts come rushing in like a bad trip, challenging her and reminding her of all the things she put her word to.

“You said you wouldn’t do this…He is irritating me…Take it…He said he wouldn’t do this…Never mind…I can’t let him get away with it…Walk away…No, he is shouting and raising his voice…You are bigger than this…What about him?…What about you?…Why should I be the one?…Because you can break this…I’m angry…Turn it around…How?…Stand!

And so she stood. She spoke calmly, “I am not going to do this. Please, don’t talk to me like that” Then she walked away. Immediately, something happened. She started making different choices, one after the other and with each new choice, she became stronger and calmer. Pride replaced the shame that use to linger and cut deep. She felt wise and happy. She took control and she won over the situation. She wasn’t faking it or pretending. It was real and solid. I did it.

Just one new ingredient and the recipe changes and the outcome is different. It can taste better or worse but if it didn’t taste great in the first place, then why keep using margarine instead of the butter? It’s there in the fridge after all, maybe just on a different shelf, behind the milk.

When you make a stand, people take notice and the energy that comes with taking or making a stand can be so striking that it cuts down all the fluff and hypnotises onlookers. They follow you. They too are snapped back into reality and sometimes, a shift can occur that changes everything for the better. Once you taste that kind of empowerment, you will never be the same again. You will become addicted to the freedom that choice gives you and you will affect everyone around you in a positive way. Especially when it is required of you.

When I do stand in my life, in all the different ways that are possible, I try not to close my eyes from all those feelings and emotions that come rushing through, I open them wide and take it all in. I watch on and am always humbled at everyone else who is standing with me.

Never again will I point my finger or wait for someone else to stand first.

“If its to be, its up to me” 

Nosepickers Galore

I started a new job and had to commute into London Bridge or Cannon Street Station every work day. At first, my attention was on the scenery and the landmarks outside the train but after a while, if you have seen one platform then you have seen them all. I soon settled into reading or messing about with my phone.

There was one major distraction. The Nosepickers . There were everywhere. Many times, I felt like shouting out and saying, “For God’s sake, wait till you get to a bathroom so you can wash your hands after or use a bloody tissue!” Instead, I just looked away in disgust trying to control the feeling of wanting to throw up a little. My mind would go a wandering. Do they then go to work or their business meeting and then shake someone’s hand? What about that bit that they just rolled up and tried to throw away discreetly? Will it then get stuck on somebody else by accident? Worse still was when I caught them rubbing it off on the edge of the seat!

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I am talking about what appear to be sophisticated working professionals, all groomed and looking refined. There was this “gentleman” the other day who wore a well-tailored suit, he was reading his newspaper when suddenly, out came his finger and there he was mining away for gold. On occasion, the culprits actually fool themselves into thinking that if they turn their body slightly towards the window and cover their hand over their nose, they’ve actually activated an invisible shield or privacy force field and the digging is not being witnessed by the rest of us who are in such close proximity with them. It’s mostly men that I see who are part of the nose picking crew, however, not exclusively. I was lucky enough to meet an honorary lady member. She too was well dressed and wearing exquisite rings on her finger which I was admiring until the interruption jolted me out of my reverie and I turned my attention quickly to the grey brown platform out of the window on the left of me.

I don’t get it. It never ceases to amaze me. I think it’s such a contradiction and it’s the epitome of bad manners and poor hygiene. It’s almost as if they got up in the morning, put on their costume but the show hasn’t started yet. Besides, all the people who commute with them on a daily basis haven’t paid for tickets to see it so who cares about them? The moment they walk into the office or place of work, the transformation begins and it will be lights, camera and action!

I grew up here in England and honestly, I don’t remember there ever being so much of this kind of behaviour and the weird thing is, I don’t see it on my commute locally. What’s this about then? Is it because things have changed and people have become more cut off from their surroundings? Or is it the early morning hours and people are still waking up? Perhaps it’s the comfort of routine that have put them in a trance induced state and they ‘know not what they do’. Call me old-fashioned when it’s comes to this and I’ll be happy you did. I think that the way you behave in these sorts of daily circumstances speaks volumes about the person you are. When you put your bag or feet on the seat next to you, when you push people out-of-the-way or cut in front of them, when you don’t get up for someone who needs it more than you and hell yes, when you pick that nose of yours – it is an unthinking selfish way to carry yourself and all of it tells me a lot about who you are and where you come from.

And It Burns

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Blogging 101, Day Sixteen: Make a Prompt Personal

Needless to say, the prompt from April 30th invited Johnny Cash into my head and the tune is on a loop. As I write this post, I can hear him, with his signature voice, doing his thang so I’m just going with the flow and using that as a spot of inspiration too.

ID-100129642Call me the Queen of Spice. Not just spice but hot spice. I love it and I cannot do without it for long. I add chili powder to my eggs in the morning, to my pasta whenever I can and of course when I am making a curry, besides the cumin, coriander and cinnamon, chili is a must for that extra kick. My mother makes this saltsa made of pureed fresh red chilies and tomato. Prawns and cluster beans are added to the dish and you eat it with  plain or coconut rice. We spread that chili mix on some bread and make sandwiches with the leftovers. I have an Irish cousin who didn’t do too well with chili when we were kids. My mother would always make sure that if we were having Asian food, then he’d have a special non spicy dish prepared for him. He’d be happily eating his food and enjoying it but if he saw so much as a red tomato in it, he’d start fanning his mouth and downing glasses of water. So one day just to call his bluff, I made one of those sandwiches for him and told him that it was jam. He took one bite and his face lit up like a red light bulb and he was running all around the kitchen like he was being chased by a swarm of bees. So I was wrong but I had to know. Plus, I thought it was really funny, at that time.

As you can see, I’ve been eating hot spicy food since I was a child so my stomach doesn’t react in a bad way to it. My brother-in-law however, who loves spice and my cooking, always feels the need to tell me about the morning after and how his bum was on fire. He thoroughly enjoys shocking people with the things he says. He loves winding people up and always succeeds with his mother. She reacts which only encourages him. I have this deadpan look whenever he tries with me and so he gets bored and moves on to the next victim.

I called him the other day.

“Hey. was wondering if you’d like to come over for dinner on Friday?”

“Yes, of course. I’ll be there!” [Enter my mother-in-law in the background and he addresses her] “What? What did you say? It’s Juliana…What? Don’t talk about her like that Mama. What? No, don’t worry, she won’t be coming over…”

I was laughing on the other side of the telephone because I knew what he was trying to do. My mother-in-law however was getting really worked up and telling him off, saying things like…“Don’t say rubbish like that, she’ll think its true…” I wasn’t falling for it, not for a minute. I think deep down inside, she knew better but I find that sometimes, the idea of pausing for a moment after stimuli and choosing the best response is difficult and easier said than done. He knows all her buttons and he pushes them regularly.

He does this dance for me. There’s even some kind of twerking in it. He sends us all into stitches when he does grace us with his repertoire. He has threatened to do it in a g-string. A leopard patterned one. It was all talk of course because he would never go to those lengths but again, just as I did with the sandwich and Aedan, I thought I’d test him out too. For one of his Christmas presents, I bought him that g-string as a laugh and when he opened up his present, the whole clan was there and he was incredibly embarrassed. For once, we didn’t hear a word out of him and everyone thanked me profusely!

 

ogging 101, Day Sixteen: Make a Prompt Personal

Write on My Balls

Blogging 101, Day Twelve: Be Inspired By the Community

I have been inspired by so many of you. ID-10043163

Thank you.

When I signed up for the course with the Blogging University, I thought to myself, “Hmm, that looks interesting. I think I’ll do that!” I am so glad that I did. 

The assignments before this one asked us to visit blogs and make a number of comments and spread the love. I had already been doing that so the likes, follows or comments were out there. It was great to see that I was on track with the action that was expected of me. Feedback.

A couple of nights ago, I received a number of follows and so very early this morning when I had some down time, I sat with my filtered coffee in hand; an Espresso roast, black no sugar and spent some time visiting and reading. Something on Joe Seeber’s website caught my eye and I lingered on one of his posts in particular, even extending my stay by watching the video of him discussing the topic and elaborating further. He talked about not putting so much emphasis on what people think about you. He put it in his own way and if you have the time, you should go visit his blog.

I completely get the point he was making about not giving a shit. I think that people can be very fickle and if I were to base my actions and ideas based on what people might think of me, then I’m headed for ‘Doomsville’. I’d be Jekyll to you and Hyde to her because let’s face it, not everybody shares the same values or sees things the same way. I welcome different ideas and opinions, it’s the flavour of life. What I don’t welcome is someone trying to force their point of view down my throat and have me accept it in order to do right by them. Stuff that!

“But Morpheus, everyone doesn’t believe you”

“My belief does not require them to”                                        

I think that building a relationship with myself is more important than any other because if I don’t have that to begin with, I won’t have the others either. I now have a strong sense of myself and because of that, I have real relationships with many people. When we have conversations with each other, there is no need for anyone to be right or wrong. It is a meeting of souls that have had a variety of experiences and we are seldom attached to any one of them. Sharing and connecting is really our primary reason for reaching out to each other. A coffee, a dinner or even a phone call. We exit the scene feeling fantastic.

“Always leave a situation better off than how you found it”

In Greece, there is a saying, perhaps more so in the modern community but having said that, everyone there gets it. Saying it to your grandmother however, would not be appropriate.

“Γραψεις στα αρχιδια μου” (Grapsis sta arxidia mou) This literally translates to “write on my balls”.

When I first learnt that saying, I had a good laugh and I thought it was perfect. It encapsulated exactly how I felt about expressing myself when it came to this type of thing. A person doesn’t agree with whom I want to marry. They can write on my balls. A store attendant thinks she is all that and a bag of chips and is treating me like she owns me. She can write on my balls. An acquaintance thinks I’m an idiot for giving up my job and moving half way across the world because I’ve got such a good thing going. He can write on my balls too. You use this phrase when people are imposing or self importantly judging. Not because a friend may like chocolate and you hate it.

We were sitting at the beach and basking in the beautiful Mediterranean sun. A woman emerged out of the water and she was wearing a bikini that had watermelons on it. In fact, the bottom part of her suit looked like a serving of a big piece of watermelon. She was on the larger side and the swimming suit didn’t flatter her body. I actually didn’t even notice her. I was sprawled over the chair and had my shades on. I only looked up because Sakis, a friend of mine said, “I am never eating watermelon again!” with such utter disgust. The woman glanced over and it looked like she had caught his comment. She looked directly at him and slapped her inner right thigh with her palm facing outward and simultaneously said loudly, “Nah!” which is the sign for…yes, you guessed it…altogether now…write on my big hairy balls! It was classic. I burst out laughing and immediately jumped out of my chair, going towards her with my hand in the air signalling for a high-five. She gave it to me. God bless her. That was the only exchange we needed. She got me and I got her. And Sakis got it nice and proper.

Source: The Matrix Reloaded 

Being Still

Blogging 101, Day Nine: Inspire Yourself

I’m still at it, working hard at being a student with the blogging university and having a blast! I am so overwhelmed by all the support and love people have in our community. It’s really all about sharing and connecting and I am standing, screaming, “Yes I get you!” or “Wow, just wow” or “Really? That’s amazing” or “Thank you for taking me there with that post”. I think if there was a webcam or some video device that showed us how we react when reading each other’s posts and blogs, some of it would blow our minds. Already the comments and interaction are a wonderful thing to have.

The exercise is about inspiring myself and using my About Me page as a tool towards creating that experience. When I read my page again, the mind is what shot out at me. After all, I have a header with a neuron firing and that only occurs when it responds to stimuli. All of this is very stimulating indeed. I believe that everything, good and bad is given birth in the mind. We are the creators of our own reality. I think to be the best human being I can possibly be, I need to have the highest relationship with myself which for me means a collaboration between my heart and my mind.

There was a time in my life where I was desperate to find that relationship but the more I craved it, the more difficult it seemed. Then one day in my search, I became so frustrated that I abandoned everything that I was doing and visited a Buddhist Temple. Just like that. The wonders of what spontaneity can do. This was a place that I use to pass on my journey in and out of a neighbourhood in my father’s hometown. I had often looked at it and wondered what it was like inside. The monks there were very open and friendly. I sat with one and we started talking. He asked me what I wanted for myself and why I seemed so perturbed? I told him that I was looking for enlightenment. He chuckled and smiled answering, “Why are you running so fast? Enlightenment is like your shadow. The faster you run, the further away it will be from you. Be calm, stand still and it will be right there with you”. I know it sounds so simple and maybe even a little cliché but the moment he said that, perhaps it was the way he did it too, something fell into place and this peace and serenity replaced the anxiety and frustration. I wanted to jump up and hug the life out of him but I knew better and just grinned from ear to ear, looking at him but saying nothing. He looked back at me with that perpetual smile and with cheekiness he told me that I was welcome which sent us both into a series of laughter. I will never forget that moment. I still remember the trees around us, some of them had signs with mantras written on them and others with phrases like “eat to live”, the lazy dogs basking in the sun, the smell of sandalwood from the incense burning and the both of us sitting there and laughing together. I had learned how to just BE. Just…like…that! My heart opened to his wisdom and my mind made it so.

The Laughing Buddha

The Laughing Buddha

That is what I am doing here with this blog. I am being me, sharing my thoughts and ideas in the form of posts with a group of people who do exactly the same thing but in their own beautiful unique way. There are no real rules, just guidance. There is no judgement, just opinion and sharing. It is an open space for us all to just be.

 

 

Ich Liebster Dich

Liebster

I received a second nomination for a Liebster Award but I waited to respond simply because I got both of them on the same day and had to tackle them one at a time in order to give them the required amount of attention.

Nikki Halliday is the wonderful woman who nominated me. She is incredibly witty and writes with such ease and what I would call a confident spontaneity. She’s funny without having to try.  She is also emotionally honest. It’s a great recipe isn’t it? In the space of a week, from the moment that I started following her, I have fallen in love and am now one of her biggest fans so getting this nomination from her is like my mother’s cooking. Sublime. Thank you Nikki. If you don’t go and check her blog out, then you will miss out!

The rules of the award are as follows.

1) First, you include a link back to the post or blog of the person who nominated you and you thank them because manners are everything!
2) Include 11 facts about yourself.
3) Answer the 11 questions that the blogger who nominated posted.
4) Post 11 more questions for your nominees to answer.
5) Nominate 11 bloggers that have less than 200 followers.

The purpose of this award is to spread some love to the nominees and increase awareness of their blog. You won’t be getting any gold statues to place over your mantelpiece or fancy ribbons to pin. What you do get is acknowledgement and appreciation. It’s great feedback and its a chance to get to know more of the community which is very important.

11 Facts About Moi

1) I suffer from hay-fever.

2) I love horses and horse riding.

3) I do not have a gall bladder. It misbehaved after a reaction to some medication I was taking and I got rid of it.

4) I can be a “stubborn headed goat”. As my mother would put it.

5) I have a fetish about watching how things are made. If I could visit factories just to observe, that would be perfect.

6) I use to play with my grandmother’s veins. I’d push them in and watch them turn pale and then fill with blood again.

7) Cooking and feeding people brings me a lot of joy.

8) I have Irish, Scottish, English and Asian blood.

9) Robbie Williams flashed me his bum.

10) I have met a Quokka and I fed it.

11) Sometimes when I’m cooking, I pretend that I am on a cooking show and I always speak like Dame Maggie Smith when I do it. Ok, sometimes I do Dame Edna.

The 11 Questions Nikki asked Me

1) Who is your favourite literary character? Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest. (One of my favourites because there are so, so many)

2) Who is your weird crush? David Letterman.

3) In which period in history would you have most liked to have lived? The Renaissance but I most likely would have been a slave. 

4) What could you not live without? Fruit. I love fruit!

5) What is your porn star name? It would definitely have to be Tallulah and I’d sing that song from Bugsy Malone…”Lonely…you don’t have to be lonely. When they talk about Tallulah, you know what they say…no one in the heaven’s gonna treat you finer, Tallulah had her training from North Carolina”

6) What is your best feature? My eyes.

7) What would you have for your last supper? My mother’s coconut rice and condiments. Definitely some chocolate fudge cake too – warmed in the oven and served with vanilla ice cream.

8) Who was your first love? Benjamin. He was tall, dark and handsome with great integrity. 

9) Which song is your getting ready to go out song? I don’t have a particular song for this, just upbeat and one that I can sing and move to. 

10) What is your favourite smell? The way babies smell. 

11) What would your Archvillain name be? Medea. She is part of Greek mythology and was one ruthless ‘beatch’. 

The 11 Questions for my Nominees 

1) If there was one thing a person could count on when it comes to you, what would it be?

2) Let’s say there was a gadget you would like to see invented, what would it be?

3) What colour most represents your character?

4) If you could be a fly on the wall for a day, watching and listening, which wall would it be?

5) Your favourite ice cream flavour is…

6) If there were three things that you could change about the world, what would it be?

7) Finish this sentence. The smell of coffee is…

8) Imagine that you were an architect, which famous building would you have designed?

9) What’s the one word or phrase that you use a lot?

10) What is your earliest childhood memory?

11) If you were someone else sitting in a cafe and the actual you walked in, what about you would catch the eye of this someone else?

My 11 Nominees for the Liebster Award

1) A Garmont Confession

2) Diary of a Ragamuffin

3) Coach Monkey

4) Emily Miscellaneous Me

5) One Sparrow Sings

6) Pretending Reality

7) Misc Marsha

8) Meybynicolas

9) Gay Gringo Guide

10) Tea and Paper

11) Letters from Stonewell

I chose the above bloggers for different reasons. Some because of the work they have put into their blogs which inspired me to work on mine, others because I want to see more and hope this acknowledgement will encourage them to write, a few because I was learning new things and many because I liked what I was reading or looking at. That’s the great thing about the Liebster, it’s a tool and it paves the way for discovery with a little structure added to it. I look forward to finding out more about you.

 

Blogging 101, Day Six: Write to Your Dream Reader

I have the day off which is a good thing because I spent my night blogging, burning the midnight oil and passing out from the fumes. I promised myself that I would get to these assignments after signing up for the Blogging 101 Challenge. First thing I did was to backtrack and look up Day One in the list of assignments. I used it as a checklist and I’ve gotten right through to Day Six which is why I am here, writing this post.

Dear Dream Reader,

I am so glad that I found you and that through my writing, we have connected. I am happy that you get me and my thoughts enough to drop me a line and share your comments and ideas. You are why I started blogging. I wanted to find a platform to experience the connection I know we already have. We belong to the same species and you have so much to teach me about the world around me. I know that in this lifetime, I will not be able to see or do all the things that interest or inspire me and I am hoping that through you, I will get to live some of it. After all,  I have experienced entire eras and new worlds through the words of some great authors so why not you? In truth, it’s a whole new experience because I get to give you instant feedback about how your words moved me or what triggered which emotions.

I know that you are genuine. I thrive on the notion that my thoughts and words conjured up different feelings in you and that created a reaction…a comment, a laugh, a follow, a like, a nod or the act of wanting to read more. I am grateful and respectful of you and the time that you have spent with me. I know that I am feeding you but you know that you too, are feeding me. Open channels and enchanted energy laced with the real deal.

With Love and Light,

Jules

 

The Liebster Award

liebster_award

Leaping Liebsters…I’ve been nominated by Ivan. That’s a whole new way of getting to know someone. A nomination and then a chance to read their thoughts from their written word. I’ve always loved reading but this is like a live performance. If I had to describe Ivan’s blog, I would use the words innocence and sensitivity.

Thank you Ivan for choosing me. Please check Ivan and his navigating skills out by clicking on this link! 

The rules of the game are simple enough and they come in elevens. I’m not sure what the significance of 11 is to the award but it looks good when written down so who am I to complain? Here I go. Look Ma…no hands!

11 Facts about Me

1) I can wiggle my ears (not enough to take off but it still counts).

2) I speak three languages fluently.

3) I have fractured my skull.

4) I have lived on different continents of the world.

5) I once read Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” in its entirety, aloud to my younger sister during a half term school break. Different voices and all!

6) Big Mountain (the guys who sang “Oh Baby…I Love Your Way”) once helped me push my broken down car to the side of the road.

7) There are only two things I absolutely hate in this world. Pedophiles and cockroaches. Scum of the earth.

8) I have double jointed toes.

9) I love Ellen DeGeneres.

10) I have very long eye lashes which one of my best friends use to threaten to cut off whilst I was asleep.

11) I am blessed and ever so grateful for my friends and family.

11 Questions from Ivan

1) What did you feel when you were informed you got nominated for the award? I felt humbled and happy that I had connected with someone through my writing.

2) What is the best achievement you can have in your life? Enlightenment.

3) Do you play any musical instrument? If yes, what instrument? The piano. 

4) How do you value life? By being present and grateful. 

5) What country do you want to spend your life? In as many as it is humanly possible.

6) Do you believe in reincarnation? Ask me again in my next life. 

7) What is the best blog (not post) you saw? This is a tough one because I am still wandering and am so new to this terrain. I haven’t had enough time with WordPress. However, one of my favourite blogs or websites ever is The Pioneer Woman Cooks. 

8) Do you like history? Yes very much so. I love learning from the stories and imagining the life that once was. 

9) When was the last time you went to church? Last Easter.

10) Do you believe that aliens really exist? Yes. In fact, my father was an alien according to the stories he use to tell us growing up.

11) Why do you blog? I have a voice and so do you. I would like to be heard and also to listen. We are all connected so let’s connect. 

And the 11 Nominees are…

1) A Boy Named Sue 

2) Bob and Emily

3) This is Life

4) She Writes

5) Mostly True Stories of K. Renae P.

6) Living, Learning and Letting Go

7) Pretend to Be Nice

8) The Cosmic Carousel

9) Traces of Spaces

10) Getting those Creative Juices Flowing

11) Distinctly Denise

The 11 Questions for My Nominees

1) What is one of the best books that you have ever read?

2) If you could go back in time and have a meaningful conversation with someone, who would it be?

3) If you were a car, what kind of car would you be?

4) Do you believe in soul mates?

5) What is one of your most favourite places in the world?

6) Is music important to you and if so, why?

7) If you could only take one pair of shoes with you on a holiday, which pair would it be?

8) Your favourite ingredient in food would be…?

9) What do you think attracts you to an individual?

10) What is the first word that comes to your mind when you read, “beautiful?”

11) What makes you happy?

It is way past my bed time. My eyes are watery and my head feels heavy. Time to get some shut eye. All I know is that I got carried away with reading, searching and visiting all of you fellow bloggers out there. I feel good.

Goodnight. Peace and Good Vibes.

Jules

Little Miss Scarcity

Do you know her? She’s not part of the Mister Men or Little Miss clan I’m afraid. I loved them when I was growing up. I thought they were so cute and interesting with all their different personalities and characteristics. I never questioned their dissimilarities, They were exciting and unique. I was innocent and very accepting of the world around me. Everything was about discovery and nothing was impossible. I remember that when I was ten, I had the idea that I could be a doctor in the morning and a lawyer by night. Nobody ever told me that I couldn’t so I only ever knew that I could. Then I met reality and her very sharp teeth.

Another stage was born in my life and I only learnt about how difficult and tough things were. How I had to work really hard for whatever money that I would make. How life could be painful and full of disappointment and that’s when I learnt how strong I really was because I fought. I refused to give in and accept that kind of pessimism. My friends would tease me and call me ‘The Optimist” but they did it in jest because I think secretly they wanted some of what I was having. They didn’t want to feel as defeated and low as they sometimes did. They would occasionally ask me, “Are you high?” And I’d reply, “Yes. I’m high on life!” I became the agony aunt for many of them. I soon realised that the majority just wanted to hear themselves talk. They weren’t really looking for a solution. They just wanted to be dramatic and be the center of some attention. They continued to do the same things in their lives and feigned helplessness. I didn’t understand it and it became frustrating and energy draining. I started to become what I was surrounded with. I guess that’s why they the say, “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are”.

Then something magical happen. I was made aware of two tools that would change my life forever. I learnt about perception and choice and all the power they would bring into my existence. It was liberating. I no longer had to feel angry at the traffic. I didn’t have to say yes to doing something that I didn’t want to do just because someone thought I ought to do it. I learnt how to say no and be okay about it. I didn’t have to do anything. I had a choice. I could choose and I became a phoenix, rising up from the ashes. It was as if I was given wings.

This was the part in my life where I came full circle and I realised that reality didn’t have to bite. That I had the power to create my own world and that it could be anything that I wanted it to be. I became a little of that child again and the possibility was limitless. Sure I am not the doctor by day and lawyer by night but I truly believe that it is that way because that is the way I want it to be and not because I can’t achieve that. If I wanted it, it would be. Sometimes I still get teased and I’m told, “Well, I want a Ferrari!” My answer to that kind of statement is usually, “Well obviously, you don’t want it badly enough” And then we laugh.

Perception is everything. Not to make Choice jealous but really it is. I wouldn’t have created a new relationship with choice if it weren’t for perception. To further illustrate, I want to introduce the star of this show. Little Miss Scarcity. She is a lovely girl and she has a warmth about her that no one can deny. However, she is also very afraid and insecure and because of these elements, she can be infuriating. I coined the phrase for her because I understand that her reactions are based on one main thing and that is that she feels there is just not enough. And so when someone feels that way, they become greedy or stingy and she is almost manic about it at times and over such petty things.

One evening, after a dinner she had cooked for us, her mother and I had decided to clear up and dish out desert. When I opened the freezer to get out the ice-cream, there were several tubs in there and her mother caught a glimpse of one particular flavour which took her fancy. “Oh I’ll have that one” she said excitedly. Sadly, her daughter quickly answered, “No, you can’t have that one!” Her mother looked disappointed and a little taken aback, “Why?” Her daughter replied, “Because that’s the good one” and her mother looked at me and shook her head with disbelief. I ignored the whole thing because something like that coming from her was not surprising. Fancy telling your mother that though? That saddened me. Especially because her mother is one of the most giving women I know.

Another incident was when I was cooking dinner for them. She called me up and left a message about an hour before they were meant to arrive, saying that she wouldn’t be coming because she had to finish some work that was overdue but that she would send a container for me to prepare a “doggy bag” for her. It was more like a bucket. And yes, I filled it to the brim and when my sister asked me why I had done that, why I didn’t just put in her portion and leave it at that? I smiled and calmly said that it wasn’t a big deal and that it was only food. She then told me that I shouldn’t have because she wouldn’t have done the same for me and that she was just being greedy. After all she even wanted some of the dessert they had brought along for the meal and sent specific instructions to bring some back. Her boyfriend told me that if he didn’t bring some back that he would ‘be in trouble’. I ended up giving whatever we hadn’t eaten back. I understood the frustration that my sister had felt and how ashamed she felt for Little Miss Scarcity but I told her that it didn’t matter what she would or would not do for me and that I do not do or give in accordance to what others will do for me or give back to me. The important part in all of this was that this is who I am. Never mind about her. My legacy is much more important to me. And my sister gave me a hug and was silent. I knew she understood and that she got it immediately.

I do wish that Little Miss Scarcity would get that there is enough. That you don’t have to take so quickly from your neighbour. That taking in that way will ultimately perpetuate her feeling of emptiness because I can see that she is unhappy but pushes it aside and pretends that all is well. There is obvious imbalance in her life and a lot of fear. If only she would change her perception and free herself from the prison of desperateness she has created. She is essentially a good person. Would it be naive of me to say that I actually think that essentially we all are? Flawed definitely but also good. I know that eventually life will teach her that people do not gravitate towards takers. That sharing and giving is so much more rewarding. In the mean time, I will continue to love her and if she ever asks me for my opinion, I will tell her outright what I think but until then I will send her joy and peace and be the example. One day she may be inspired and reinvent herself with a shift in her perception too. After all, it starts with just a little twist in thinking and then everything starts to unravel and life can change dramatically for the better or worse. That is part of our power and ultimately, we choose.