Friday 29 March 2013

My A to Z 2013

Song Lyrics - So much more than moons and Junes

Last year my A to Z Challenge was all about nostalgia and included singers and pop groups from the 1950s and 60s. A lot of you added your favourite songs in the comments so I thought, I love lyrics, you love songs. What better way to spend April than immersing ourselves in song lyrics?

I've always loved song lyrics, ever since I was a kid. The best lyrics are poetry set to music. The worst are just moons and Junes. So during this A to Z Challenge I’m going to choose snippets of what I hope will be ‘deep and meaningful’ lyrics and, with a bit of luck, you'll have a chat with me about them because... 

      It might be profound.  
            It could be thought provoking.  
                  It's going to be fun!

As always, I will be taking Saturday off as my rest day rather than Sunday. I will therefore be posting from Sunday to Friday throughout the month of April, starting this Monday. I also hope to be visiting lots of other A to Z participants, as well as my usual blogger friends. 

It’s going to be a busy month. Oh well, here goes…….

Monday 25 March 2013

Reality - Passover and Blog Awards

Two of my blogger friends, Anne from The Busy Teapot and Lizy from lizy-expat-writer, have awarded me a Reality Blog Award. Thanks to both of you, but what an appropriate week to receive a Reality Award!

This evening we begin the eight days of the Jewish Passover. Reality checks don't come much larger than that. The Passover (Pesach) is a time for remembering how the Israelites suffered as slaves in Egypt. Their escape was a hasty one, without even the time to bake bread. This is why we eat unlevened bread (Matzo) and have different foods for the eight days of Passover. It's a symbol, a mind-prompt.

This evening I will also remember those families who were killed in the Holocaust, whole communities of Jewish people, over 11 million. That's a lot of killing.

I went to visit a Holocaust survivor yesterday. She's 95. She told me that her whole family were killed by the Nazis.
      "There's only me!" she said and she held out her hands and shrugged. I don't want to try and imagine such pain but I will, tonight, when we share a special Seder meal with friends because only by remembering can we hope to stop the slaughter of humans by humans.

And now to accept the Reality Award from Anne and Lizy. I have questions that must be answered:

1.  If you could change one thing what would it be?   I would change our ability to hate and hurt.

2.   If you could repeat an age what would it be?   I'd like to be a kid again, that age when I truly believed that my Mother's kiss would cure everything.

3.  What one thing really scares you?   The unknown.

4.   If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be?   This is a toughie but I wonder what kind of world we'd be living in now if I chose to be Eve and I refused to be tempted by that serpent?

Passing on the Award:

It's really, really difficult choosing people to pass awards on to. I don't like missing people out. It feels a bit like choosing your teams at school so I apologise if I've not included you, but on this occasion I'm going to indulge myself and choose the three bloggers/tweeters who keep my spirits up when I'm low, keep me grounded when I'm in a flap and who have become my genuine friends even though we've never yet met in real life. They are:

Anne Mackle at Is Anyone There? and @cassam101

Carol Hedges at Carol Hedges and @carolJhedges

Jo Carroll at gapyearsthebook and @jomcarroll

Thursday 21 March 2013

Nooo!! Not more Snooow!

It is now officially Spring. Snow feels so wrong and yet they've forecast more snow for Leicester UK.

BUT Did you know that:
  • It often snows in March [So why are we all so surprised when it happens?]
  • The heaviest recorded snowfall in London was in 1695. It snowed every day for 5 weeks and didn't clear until mid-April. [No repeats this year, please!]
  • Eskimos do NOT have 100 different words for snow. [Why would anyone need that many words?]
  • Chionophobia is a fear of snow. [Oh no! I think I'm suffering from that!]
Do you draw the curtains and curl up in front of the fire when it snows?
Or are you out in the garden building a monster snowman?

Monday 18 March 2013

Blogging, A to Z, Blog Blitz - Bring It On!

Why my blog is so much more than a CV

A few days ago a non-writer friend asked me why I have a blog. He was genuinely bemused. He couldn't understand why I would want to spend time putting words onto a computer screen. I gave him the stock responses.
  • I'm a writer and need to keep working on my skills.
  • I'm a writer and it is helpful to network with other writers.
  • I'm a writer and must sell myself to prospective publishers [Which reminds me, I've just updated my 'About Me' page. The tab is above this post - just saying.]
I didn't tell my friend about the main reason for blogging because I didn't think he would understand. I blog because I enjoy being part of an active, supportive, friendly community.

That's why I'm typing my fingers  to the knuckles getting the A to Z ready. [If you've not yet signed up then do pop along to the A to Z Sign Up Page. It's not too late to get involved and you'll meet some amazing bloggers and be rewarded with lots of friendship and support throughout the month.]

And it's why I've joined DL Hammons' Blog Blitz.

DL Hammons is a wise blogger. He knows that all bloggers love comments. It's what we get out of bed for in the morning. It's what keeps us struggling on when photos won't line up with writing or fonts change style and size in an entirely random way. Blog Blitz will be directing participants to a specified blog and asking everyone to comment on said blog all at the same time, to start up a conversation, to make that blogger's day!

Sounds fun, doesn't it? If you want to join in then pop over to his blog at Cruising Altitude 2.0 and put your name on the linky list. I have done :-)

Why do you blog?
And if you don't blog, what do you enjoy about reading blogs?

Wednesday 13 March 2013

How last minute are you?

Were you the type of person who did your homework at the last minute? A friend tells of how she used to get her parents to wake her up at 6 am so she could scribble out a few lines that would pass as homework... and it gets worse. Another friend admits that she left it for the bus ride to school! I was never quite so ‘last minute’ but I invariably used to leave it until the evening before it had to be handed in. On reflection I suspect that’s how I’ve conducted the rest of my life. Some examples...
  • Ironing an outfit right before I need to put it on [who needs hangers?!]
  • Typing up minutes of a meeting just before attending the next meeting [Who remembers what they said last time anyway?!]
  • Packing to go on holiday half an hour before I’m about to leave [well, I’m going to need all that make up and stuff in the morning and I’ll only have to rummage through to check there are enough pants etc., so why start packing the day before?]
  • The A to Z Challenge! 

I promised myself that this year I would have the A to Z Challenge wrapped up, done and dusted way before April 1st. Then I’d be able to visit all the other A to Z contributors and really enjoy the experience but here I am, half way through March, and I’ve only done A. If I’m honest A is not truly 'done' because half of the post has come out in a different font. Is it just Blogger or do all blogs do that? 

I accept that it’s too late to change my ways now but it would make me feel just a little better if you didn’t yell out so loudly that you’ve prepared all your A to Z posts and you’re now sitting down having a cup of tea and visiting other bloggers on the sign up list [which has, at the time of typing this, reached an amazing 1029 participants!]

I am now going to return to the battle of the different fonts. There may be strong language...

How last minute are you?

And if you STILL haven't signed up for the A to Z then click on the badge top right and you can be number 1030!

Friday 8 March 2013

The Dentist: me and the cats

My friends on Twitter know that I have recently had a number of dental appointments and [advanced warning Twitter mates] there’s another one looming in a few weeks’ time. As a child I wasn’t scared of the dentist… I was PETRIFIED! This fear still lives deep in my psyche even though the dentist no longer wields a pneumatic drill and I rarely experience pain, even for major treatment. She’s an excellent dentist [added in case she ever reads this!] so why am I still terrified?

I also experience fear by proxy, especially when it’s my pets and during the last few weeks both cats have had to go to the vets for dental work. Animals are so dependent on us. They can’t be reasoned with. We can’t explain. Taking them for treatment makes me feel that I’m betraying their trust in me, even though I know it’s for their long term health.

Their treatment was spaced over two weeks. First it was Charlie’s turn. Nil by mouth for both cats from 10 pm and the cat flap locked overnight. Charlie had four teeth out, scale and polish. She came home later that day high on pain killers, pupils dilated and legs crossing slightly as she walked staggered around. By the following day she was subdued but on the mend and eating a little soft food.

This week it was Mabel’s turn. Nil by mouth and locked cat flap sent Charlie into a panic. This caused me double guilt when it came to forcing an unsuspecting Mabel into the cat carrier. She had one tooth out and returned home angry and starving. She demolished two bowls of food and moved swiftly on to the dried stuff. [Yes, she is the larger of the two cats!]

All that’s left from their experiences now are matching shaved squares on their necks from the blood test and the same on their legs from the anaesthetic. They’ve moved on. I’m the one with the trauma and guilt. What does it take for me to forget those childhood experiences.

This is a photo of Charlie showing off her bald patch. Mabel refused to pose. She's indignant and is hiding under Daughter's bed!

[To prove that they’ve 'moved on', we came home last night to the two of them taunting a poor little mouse in the house, but that’s another blog story. Suffice to say that we rescued and released the mouse into the garden to be caught another day.]

Monday 4 March 2013

Spontaneous Photography

It's that time of year again when I keep bursting into spontaneous attacks of photography.

I'm sure you recognise these flowers from last year but you do realise that...

...they're not the exact same flowers as last year, don't you?

I mean, these flowers have appeared from the bare earth in our garden 
and even though it happens every year... makes me wonder why people don't believe in magic... 

...because it doesn't get more magical than this, now does it!