101 things IN

and other things thrown in between

101 Things in 1001 Days: July 2006

Monday, July 31, 2006

Unconscious Mutterings: Week 182

1. Italy :: rome
2. Honk :: horn
3. Shades :: cool
4. Tool :: handy
5. Modern :: fab
6. Tension :: tight
7. Conservative :: uptight
8. Weight :: fat
9. Insurance :: fraud
10. Political :: gain



The very word itself conjures up for me a feeling of space, calmness, a clutter free existence.

As I get older I find that life becomes less and less simple. The complications of everyday life and living begin to creep in and take up residence – a mortgage to pay off, kids to raise, a living to earn.

My house is filled with all the latest mod-cons and yet, yet, my life does not reflect this – instead of them making life simpler, they seem to create even more work. Why is this, I ask myself? I do not know.

How does one marry modern day living – with it’s hectic pace and deadlines to meet – with living the simple or a simpler life? A million dollar question but here's what I do...

I. Just. Switch. Off.

I retreat to a quiet spot within myself where I can get lost. I turn off the TV, I write, I daydream, go to the park, watch the trees outside my window swaying gently in the breeze, I turn to my faith and meditate on my very essence - WHO I AM - and just be.

For: Mama Says Om

Saturday, July 29, 2006

My Two Cents

I know it's summer sweetie but thunder thighs, cellulite, a mini-skirt with your belly hanging over the top of the waist band, thongs showing out the back and mid-riff on display, sporting an obvious orange fake tan, is sooo not a good look.

Trust me on this one.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Catching my Breath again

This month I will live by a budget.
I will draw up a budget.
I will spend cash only.
I will not eat out or spend money on lunch.
I will take packed lunches to work.
I will map out fixed times to work on my handbags.
I will contact Sandie to discuss ways of taking my business forward.
I will write everyday even if it’s only a small stone.

I have just written this list in my Filofax.

So, I have been swimming around in this thick gloop that life sometimes becomes for the last few days. Directionless, bugged down, without focus, drifting along. A nagging feeling that something is amiss – or is going to happen – but I can’t quite put my finger on what.

There is a kind of anxiousness to my days. I am anxious about a lot of things –

The fact that for the last two years we have been trying to conceive our second child but don’t seem to be able to, in spite of a battery of tests which all tell me that I am okay.

I am anxious about my financial future. For the first time ever, I used my overdraft. I was completely freaked out by this. This is so unlike me and I fear that this is a reflection of the lack of focus I feel going on in my life right now.

My mums pending visit.

My sister-in-laws pending visit.

I am anxious about my handbag business and the fact that I am uncertain about which direction to drive it in. I am not being earnest about it – my motivation to create fluctuating between peaks and troughs.

For the first time since it started I missed Sunday Scribblings. I had an idea of what I wanted to write but I just couldn’t get the words to flow out of my thoughts and onto the page in a coherent fashion.

I am anxious that I don’t seem able to follow through with projects and tasks that I set myself. Am I setting too many projects for myself? Shall I just focus on one and stick to it?

I am anxious at the lack of focus and discipline in my life at the moment.

I am anxious that with each day I grow further and further away from God. Within me I know, a relationship with him is pivotal, crucial but I don’t seem able to bring myself to do anything about it. My bible, tapes, books - my will -just sit there looking at me accusingly.

I am anxious about my husbands’ fledgling new business.

The complexity of life- sometimes I wish I could just go away for a while. Escape the TV, the shops, the endless barrage of adverts, junk mail, and special offers. Things that make my head spin and overwhelm me.

There is so much I want to do, but so little time it seems. The seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years just seem to fly by. Only yesterday it was New Year’s Day and now it’s almost the end of the year again. In a few months, we’ll be singing auld lang syne again.

My time seems to be eaten up doing things I don’t want to or add no value – cooking, cleaning, picking up after the family – all stuff I’d rather not be doing. But then, when I do set out to focus on something for me I am distracted by something apparently more shiny but when picked up is nothing but a small, dull stone.

I think I need to go on a holiday – on my own – to catch my breath again.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Unconcious Mutterings: Week 181

Requirements :: tape measure (??)
Pizza :: hut
Dating :: dinner
Issue :: debate
Sharp :: knife
Distinguish :: stand out
Remote :: far away
Felony :: crime
Exercise :: jumping jacks
Choose :: pick


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Unconcious Mutterings: Week 180

1. Video :: player
2. Fantasy :: bubble
3. Homework :: school
4. Crush :: red cheeks
5. Late :: party
6. Husband :: Anthony
7. Soccer :: football
8. Wine :: glass
9. Before :: time
10. Romantic :: hopeless


So you'll like to discover how to write more freely - By Julie Jordan Scott

I found this article on Amazon.com which I think is great. It’s a little long though.

I literally feel pain when I hear people report their resistance to daily writing practice.
I know - it sounds extreme - and it is also true. I feel pain because I know how much better off I have been since I have started a writing practice – which for me is based on Julia Cameron's suggestion in 'Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity','The Sound of Paper' and more, of writing 3 pages of free flow, stream of consciousness writing every day as early in the morning as I can muster.

For you, free flow writing may be 3 minutes a day. It doesn't matter how much you do - if you do so daily, it will make a difference in your life – pure and simple.

I have learned that people generally stop their writing practice because instead of using this time to spiral up their energy with their words, they use it to spiral down their energy with their words. I know I wouldn't write for very long if I felt worse after writing than I did than before I started writing.

This is one of the reasons I came up with these simple strategies you may follow in order to always have a writing practice which aims towards your increase - making life better – rather than taking you into a tank of despair.

None of us do despair well. If you intentionally aim upwards with your writing, when times of despair DO set in, you notice it more quickly and may shift from it with relative ease. In other words, you manage your doldrums, they don't run you.

Does this make sense so far? If it does, great – keep reading. If it sounds like some form of strange, unknown language, please take a deep breath and re-read it.

It really is easy.

Simply breathe and continue.

1. Write from Your Gratitude List. or from someone else's if you are stuck.
Oprah Winfrey proclaims Gratitude lists changed her life. I believe in them so much I created a website where I post them (almost) every day: http://www.imsograteful.com.
One of my favorite books on this subject is 'Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Everyday of Your Life'.

2. Write from Affirmations: There are oodles of examples in 'Inner Wisdom (Hay House Lifestyles)' and 'Dynamic Laws of Prosperity'. Even simple affirmations ike "Everyday in everyway things keep getting better and better and better.... like this..." will help frame your writing in the positive.

3. Write using inspirational quotes as your prompt. Need sources? Got some. 'The Change-Your-Life Quote Book';'1001 Motivational Quotes for Success: Great Quotes from Great Minds';'Little Giant Encyclopedia of Inspirational Quotes (Little Giant Encylopedias S.)'

4. Describe in detail the objects around you according to the different senses: how does that object look, feel, smell, taste, sound? I learned so much from reading 'A Natural History of the Senses (Vintage)'

5. Write a letter to your friend, telling him (or her) the many things you enjoy or like about her. If you find your thoughts slowing, choose a different friend. Bonus: send the letter to your friend, hand-written with an envelope and stamp.. wow!

6. If you recognize you are going down a negative path, insert this simple phrase" "This is what I have been making up - the truth is.."

Writing freely will open you up like you have never been opened before. You will discover yourself in ways you have only dreamed.

Does it sometimes hurt? Heck yeah.

Will you feel better after you write, taking the Chitter chatter out of your head and onto the page? Heck, yeah...

Is it worth it? Heck, yeah!

Today - just try it and tomorrow and the next day, try it again.

And curious about what the reward will be for all of this creativity - for me, one reward has simply been having amazing children in my life.

Here is what I mean.

Emma sat back in her chair and crossed her legs, as she took a quintessentially womanly pose.
Brentney and I exchanged glances. We were witnessing the pride of accomplishment echo across the face of my little girl. Emma had just shared her news: she was given an award by her principal that day.

Her award? The Best Writer in Her Class. Yesterday she proclaimed to me, "Mom – I want to take my writing someplace! I need to get published!"

Eight-year-old Emma has written two plays, countless stories and many journal entries in which she passionate laments her opinions, thoughts and dreams. She loves to write.

She frequently carries a notebook and jots random thoughts there. She listens carefully to conversation and thrills when someone makes a particularly enthralling word choice or turns a phrase with grace.

I have been joking with her because I never received a writing award like she did! I never had the principal single me out as best writer… and here I am, a writer!
What I realized instead is that Emma's award is the best reflection of my work I could ever hope to receive.

What inspires Emma to write plays?

She has seen a play I have written produced. She knows of Hal's play, which was taken to Los Angeles after its run here in Bakersfield. She knows she is capable of writing words which people will bring to life before an audience.

She knows she can because she has seen it done.

What inspires Emma to write essays?

Emma came along with me to Katherine's classroom when I spoke to the class, reading the newly released "Chicken Soup for the Soul of America" with my essay included. She heard me talk about my longtime love of writing and how my continued commitment towriting brought my words into a best seller.

She knows her words are important and valued because she has seen others value words.
I remember in the fifth grade, Joe Carr won a writing award. I wanted it so badly, but he received it. Joe was always a nice guy. I have no idea what happened to him, but I can still see his slim, gangly fifth-grade boy-self walking towards the stage at Glen Ridge Middle School while I sat in my seat smiling and applauding with not much enthusiasm.

Joe's parents were both teachers at Glen Ridge High School. I wonder if they wrote in the quiet hours of the night once the papers were graded and Joe's homework was done? I wonder if he watched them making careful word choices and crossing out phrases that just didn't click.

I wonder, what ever became of Joe's parents?

I wonder, does Joe still write?

I hope he does.

Gloria Steinhem said, "Writing is the only thing that passes the three tests of metier: (1) when I'm doing it, I don't feel that I should be doing something else instead; (2) it produces a sense of accomplishment and, once in a while, pride; and (3) it's frightening."

There is something joyful about being frightened to do something and doing it. There is something exhilarating about accomplishing whatever we set out to do. There is something incredibly fulfilling about being caught so completely in the moment that we know, without a doubt, that we are exactly where we are supposed to be in that moment.

Writing. That is it – the award and the reward is simply in the act itself. Writing.

Friday, July 14, 2006

With Baggage

On a dark night in 1990 a stranger held a knife to my neck and sexually assaulted me. The only reason I was not raped was because I was on my period. He asked for proof. I showed him.

Afterwards, he robbed me of all my money and jewellery, and I was told, as he walked out the door, not to scream or he would kill me. He left. I screamed. I am still alive.

The next few months after the assault are too complex for me to write about here. I dropped out of university for a while. I withdrew into my shell. I felt dirty. I saw a shrink. But I never really discussed it with my family. I couldn’t bring myself to and I think they were faintly relieved that I didn’t – I don’t think they could have borne the weight of hearing the details so I spared them.

My assailant was found but never prosecuted – in the part of the world in which I grew up, things like this are ‘settled’ between the families. An apology suffices. It didn’t for me – but I had no other choice.

This is the baggage I have carried around with me for 16 years now. Sometimes its light and I carry it with ease – this means that many months go by and I don’t think about that night and what happened to me. But sometimes the baggage gets incredibly heavy and the weight of the memory threatens to crush me and it’s all I think about for weeks – just as I have this past one week. I lie in bed and relive every second of that night in my mind, just as if it happened yesterday. The memory is as clear as a running brook which never stops only not as pretty.

That night has left its little marks behind – little deposits of quirky behaviour which serve as a reminder. For example -

I don’t like anyone walking behind me. If I notice that someone has been walking behind me for longer than I am comfortable with, I stop and let them walk past. I am constantly on the alert when I am out and about, constantly. I have perfected the art of using the reflections in the corners of the lenses of my glasses to watch what’s going on behind me. I still brush my teeth for far too long – sometimes till my gums are raw and bleeding. Little deposits.

None of my friends know this. I never discuss it. And my husband and family never mention it or ask me questions about it. Sometimes I wish they would though so I can release this dam which builds up inside. But they don’t and I move on.

I am glad I can share this with you – the strangers in my life who know me so well and yet don’t. It’s made the baggage much lighter tonight. Thank you.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Unconcious Mutterings: Week 179

1. Face it :: reality
2. Healthy :: options
3. Cartoon :: Mickey mouse
4. Device :: gadget
5. Raider :: of the lost tombs
6. Closer :: magazine
7. Admission :: fee
8. Culture :: roots
9. Stakes :: gamble
10. Heartbroken :: tears


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Hotel Stories

It was the summer of 1980 and my parents had booked a holiday of a life time for the whole family - both of them, my two older sisters and I. We were all so excited. We were going to Amsterdam, Nice and Monte Carlo (all firsts for me) and then to Germany, our final destination and usual holiday stop to visit Omi and Opi.

I vaguely remember Nice and Monte Carlo. Nice for a visit to a perfume factory to see how all the lovely scents that we spray on ourselves are made (my mum got loads of sample bottles to take home with her!) and Monte Carlo for all its Casinos which I wasn't allowed into anyway because I was ions away from being the appropriate age to be allowed in.

However, the one place I remember is Amsterdam. Not for its canals, wooden clogs or Anne Franks house - which we visited - but for the hotel in which we stayed.

It was the hotel Krasnapolsky. The memory of it has remained crystal clear in my mind because it was just so GRAND!. All chandeliers, mirrors and glitzt -EVERYWHERE. To my 10-year old mind it was like being transported into a fairy tale palace and I felt like the princess. It was just so beautiful, quite unlike any other place I had ever seen, let alone been to, let alone actually stayed in. And the food was just devine.

Up until when I saw the prompt for this weeks Sunday Scribblings, I had never looked up this hotel on the internet and I did so for the first time this morning - 26 years after our stay there.

I haven't been back to Amsterdam since that summer of 1980 but when I decide to do so again, I will certainly be passing a few nights at the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky where I can pretend to be a fairy tale princess for a short while!


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Two Peas in a Pod

The Sunshine Years

We met in kindergarten
You and I
And became firm and fast friends
We were five years old
Two peas in a pod
You and I

We laughed and played and loved
We brought two families together
We were inseparable
Even when I was away
You came over just so
You could spend the night
Sleeping in my bed

The turbulent years

Together we discovered

Your dad went into politics
Then into prison
And you had to leave
With your family
If not they might have come
For you

I didn’t understand
I missed you
Where did you go?
I wrote
Many, many letters
I thought
Many, many thoughts
I cried
Many, many tears

The return

Your dad is let out
Years later
Accusations false
Jungle justice
He never recovered
A couple of years later
He was dead

I heard the news
Of your return
For a few days
For the funeral only

I was there
I saw you
We smiled
We hugged
But it was gone
The magic
The past
Erased by the present
The now
The connect was gone
Too many years
Too long a separation
We were 20

The in-between

The years rush past
Years in which
I have had letters from you
In a staccato fashion
But news nevertheless
I have dreamt of you
Not often true
But dreams nevertheless

I am fed up
Have had enough
I long for a change of scene
I move to England
To your mums house
Isn’t life strange?

We meet again
We are women now
With very separate lives
But this time
It is easier
Less confusing
I understand the past
We hug
We remember the past
But don’t speak of it
Too painful

The present years

We are on different sides of the world now
You with your man
Fifteen years younger but keeping you happy
Me not understanding your lifestyle
A mix of hippy/indo/Buddhist
But accepting you
The way you are

I don’t understand much of you anymore
But perhaps you don’t understand me either

I very nearly didn’t write this and the memories are still fresh, painful almost making me cry. But now I am glad that I did. Besides, I felt guilty missing out on this weeks Sunday Scribblings.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

In a Meal Ideas Rut

I seem to be stuck in a rut when it comes to meal ideas for my little girl. I mean, there is so much a toddler can take of pasta, potatoes and rice. I need IDEA’S!!! I am so totally stuck. Help me you moms out there. Pllllleeeeeeaaaaassssssseeeeee.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Unconcious Mutterings: Week 178

1. That :: This
2. Fishbowl :: vulnerable
3. Church :: congregation
4. All about :: me
5. Fist :: anger
6. Tagline :: blogging
7. Agree :: yes
8. Leak :: tap
9. Jessica :: girl
10. Superman :: Christopher Reeves


Lifes Curious Rituals

It just struck me today how many (strange) little life rituals I have. Below are some of mine:

When shopping, I never purchase an item that has been placed right in front and this goes for everything that I buy. I pick clothing items which are placed somewhere in the middle pile/rack/shelf, magazines from the middle or back of the stack, bottles of cooking oil from the back of the shelf or the third or fourth bottle in. I don’t know but I just feel that every shopper who passed by has touched the items which have been placed right in the front of the displays.

When my subscription magazines come through the post (Oprah and Easy Living) I rip off the plastic jacket and put the magazine down in front of me. Then I read all the headlines on the cover page – ‘How to lose 10lbs doing nothing.’ ‘Sex life in a rut? Dig yourself out with our top ten tips.’

Then I flick through its pages but I don’t read anything at this point. I then put the magazine on my bedside table and there it will lie for the next few days until I cannot bare the suspense any longer and I pounce on it.  I finally settle down  (mostly at bed time or on the rare occasion, in the afternoons when my daughter is having her nap and I have a few spare minutes on my hands) and read EVERY SINGLE PAGE word for word. This can be a long drawn out process which can last anything between 1 week and 4 weeks, when the next magazine arrives through my door.

I MUST have a spotless kitchen before I can begin to cook – and I wash up along the way as well so that by the time I have finished, you’d never know any cooking had gone on.

I colour co-ordinate my t-shirt piles.

The first thing I do when I boot up my PC is check my blogs. Okay, okay, I check the comments section on my blogs.

All documents in ‘My Documents’ folder are placed neatly into files. Every document MUST be placed in a file. It annoys my eyes to see a stray document floating around. If there isn’t a file I can readily fit it into, I create a new one.

I talk to myself when I shop. I’ll rephrase that: I hold a running commentary with myself when I shop and it may go a little something like this:

I have just spotted a pair of shoes that I like –

‘Hmm, I like those. How much I wonder?’ I flip them over and check. If they are out of my budget range, I put them back and walk away. If they are within budget, the commentary continues…

‘Not bad! Lucky day’
‘Now…what can I wear them with?’ (At this point I spend a minute or two mentally going through my wardrobe.)
‘Hmm, I have that dress which they’d match’
‘Hubby will kill me if I buy yet another pair of shoes’
‘I could always hide them’
‘Coming to think if it the shoes I bought last week are very similar’
‘Yeah, but they are a different colour’

And on it goes until I finally take a decision. Oh, and before you ask, yes I do get some funny looks from time to time.

What are your little rituals? I’m curious and want to be reassured that I am not alone!