I’m melting

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “In the Summertime.”

If it’s autumn or winter where you live, what are you most looking forward to doing next summer? If it’s spring or summer where you are, what has been the highlight of the season so far for you?

It’s summertime here in the UK.  Generally this means the odd hot day surrounded by many rainy days.  This week however we are having a bit of a heat wave (by UK standards anyway).

Summer is not my favourite season – I don’t like the heat.  This is partly because I could give Casper a run for his money in the ‘pale’ stakes (I don’t tan I just burn).  The other reason is that the heat just makes me incredibly lethargic – I have no energy and I don’t want to do anything other than sit in a fridge.  Unfortunately my fridge is only little and people with walk-in fridges tend to think your nuts if you ask to camp out in it during the summer heat.  And so summer is a wasted time of year for me – a season that I hope passes quickly  (and as coolly as possible).

So what am I doing on this incredibly hot day?  I’m inside avoiding the heat whilst searching for YouTube videos on how to do a rain dance.  Who knows – it could work!

“We’d like to get a sample of your brain tissue.”

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Generation XYZ.”

Think about the generation immediately younger or older than you. What do you understand least about them — and what can you learn from them?

I’m an 80s child so I’m stuck between a couple of generations that seems to be polar opposites to mine.

So, about the generation above me – I don’t understand perms or double denim, both of which seem to have been pretty rife with this generation.  ‘Dallas’ just seems like an advert for shoulder pads and the dangers of too much hairspray (surely they are all highly flammable!), and no matter how hard I try I just don’t get how Burt Reynolds was a heartthrob (sorry Burt – the moustache has got to go).

The generations below me confuse me even more.  They talk in text speak (for the record it isn’t quicker than saying the actual words when you take in to account the time it takes to decipher what they are saying).  I don’t get how words like ‘twerking’ end up in the dictionary, or how ‘The Only Way is Essex’ (TOWIE) is considered good TV (if you don’t know what this is look up Chris Pratt talking about it – he sums it up perfectly).

Whilst I’m certainly not a luddite I think technology has, to a certain extent, lessened younger generations abilities to communicate.  Sure, they are more tech savvy but it is much harder to find a younger person who can get through a meal without checking their phone. (No offence is intended to younger people – this is based purely on the experiences of me and my friends).

And finally … my friends and I like to try and insert movie quotes in to regular conversations (partly because we’re weird, mostly because it’s funny) – try inserting “We came! We saw! We kicked its ass!” or “She’s not my girlfriend. I find her interesting because she’s a client — and because she sleeps above her covers. FOUR. FEET above her covers! She barks! She drools! She claws!” in to a conversation – it’s not easy but when it works it’s great.  My best friend and I were extolling the virtues of the legend that is Bill Murray when her teenage cousin (who was visiting) uttered words no person should ever hear – “Who is Bill Murray?”  I’m not sure I can handle a world where young people idolise Justin Bieber but don’t know who Bill Murray is – the horror!

I reckon each generation struggles to understand those around it – tastes change, as do pop culture references.  I’ve decided that I’ll embrace the bits I like from the generations immediately older (Godfather movies) and younger (Taylor Swift music), and keep hold of my Ghostbusters references.

The quotes are all from Ghostbusters – the two in the main body are Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) quotes.  The subject line quote is said by Egon Spengler (the late great Harold Ramis).

Celebrations – Low key? Love it!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Celebrate Good Times.”

You receive some wonderful, improbable, hoped-for good news. How do you celebrate?

Wonderful, improbable, hoped for good news has come my way – hurrah (and it’s about time – what took you so long?).   How to celebrate this news is easy.  I would celebrate with the people I love, so basically it would be good food and great company.  Nothing fancy is needed – the wonderful news is enough.

Whilst I could take this opportunity to share what wonderful, improbable news I hope for, I’m a little worried that this could be a similar deal to the birthday ritual of making a wish when blowing out the candles on your cake.  If I tell you then the wish may not come true.  So for now I’ll keep this one to myself.

Sorry I know this is probably a boring read but I always did prefer low-key to extravagant.  Rest assured – if the news was that I have won big on the lottery (which really would be improbable seeing as I don’t play it) I will do my best to celebrate in a more extreme manner.  Open to suggestions (you know, just in case!)…

Clean pants – no worries (and other useful titbits)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Take It From Me.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve given someone that you failed to take yourself?

I’m not a big fan of advice – either giving or receiving it.  I like to figure things out for myself, making mistakes along the way.  I’ve found this is how I learn best.  My Mum is the exact opposite – she loves to give me advice, be it from how to bake a cake to how to deal with a difficult work situation.  The advice is not sought out however I have learnt over the years to listen to it because even though Mum knows I’m independent, she is still my Mum and simply wants to help.

My advice - don't wake me before noon!

My advice – don’t wake me before noon!

My family have put up with me insisting that I want to do things without any help all my life and I know they are proud that I can take care of herself.  But despite this the advice still comes.  Some of it is not particularly useful (I don’t want to use the word ‘bad’ but…) – like the time when I was about 12 and was going to a friends party in a brand new dress.  I wanted to wear pretty shoes but despite my better judgement Mum convinced me that sneakers were the way to go and that all my friends would be wearing them – they weren’t!  I spent the entire evening feeling as though I stood out like a sore thumb.

Some of the advice however is actually pretty good.  Probably the two best pieces of advice I’ve received that I have actually passed on (generally under duress because like I said I don’t like giving advice) are:

  1. Always wear nice underwear as you never know if you might get hit by a bus (or be involved in some other less-specific accident).  Now on the face of it this seems like pretty grim advice, what with the threat of potential vehicular injury and all, but I actually really like this one.  I’m a fan of this titbit because a) you wouldn’t wear grotty underwear in front of someone who you actually wanted to see you in it so why would you potentially run the risk of a stranger seeing it?, and b) because if you get hit by a bus you have plenty of other things to worry about other than whether your bra and pants match.  For the record I follow this piece of advice religiously.
  2. People aren’t thinking about you, they’re thinking about themselves. (Despite it being more of a statement I am counting this as advice).  As a born worrier who is prone to over-thinking things I spent most of my teenage years in a perpetual state of paranoia worrying that people were critiquing me and generally thinking bad things about me (I was bullied a bit at school which laid the foundations for these worries).  Someone could glance in my direction and I would think they were secretly laughing at the way I looked etc.  It took quite some time (longer than I’m proud of) to realise that people have plenty of their own problems to worry about – I was simply projecting my own criticisms about myself on to them.

Whilst I would love to say that I follow the second piece of advice all the time the truth is that I don’t.  I still get a little self-conscious if someone gives me a funny look, wondering if I have spinach in my teeth or have grown an extra eye, but then I ask myself the question “does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?”  More often than not the answer to that question is “no”.

Morning glory

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Golden Hour.”

This is a nice easy one.  I am a total morning person.  That’s not to say that I particularly like getting up early, it’s just that I function better in the morning.  I have more energy, my thought processes seem clearer – all in all everything is just easier.

By evening time I’m less than useless – simple things seem difficult and I often struggle to string a sentence together.   I’m not a fan of clubbing so it’s rare these days that I’m coming home late (or should that be early?).

Now this might have something to do with the fact that I don’t really sleep much.  I get by quite happily on about 4 broken hours a night – any more than that and I generally feel awful the next day.  Weird I know but I have always been this way.  My brain is always ticking over so I find it difficult to ‘switch off’ at the end of the day.  Tsuki

If I mention my sleeping habits to anyone then they often morph in to a sleep expert telling me what I need to do to get a solid 8 hours (drink a glass of milk, don’t drink milk, don’t watch TV, count sheep, heat the room up, cool the room down…).  Over the years I’ve tried all kinds of things, none of which have worked.  But you know what, I don’t mind not sleeping much.  I have a rule that if I wake up in the middle of the night and I’m wide awake then I get up.  It turns out that whilst I’m useless in the evening, I am insanely productive in the middle of the night – I can do a mountain of housework, ironing etc. without the distractions that crop up during the day.  That in turn could be why I like mornings – I’ve done all the boring jobs already so I can enjoy the rest of my day.

Mixtape struggles

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Mix Tape Masterpiece.”

You make a new friend. Make them a mix tape (or playlist, for the younger folks) that tells them who you are through song.

I’ve got to admit I’m a bit concerned about this one.  A mix tape designed to tell someone who I’ve effectively just met, about the kind of person I am doesn’t seem like a great idea to me.  My musical tastes are a little eclectic (read ‘random’) and I’ve always been of the opinion that mix tapes should have some sort of cohesion. Contradictory would be a good word to describe my personality – I come across as confident but I am actually incredibly shy.  I’m laid-back, except when I’m not – I think you get the picture.  So all in all I think this mix tape is going to be a bit messy.Oh well, here goes…

  1. Jar of Hearts – Christina Perri: I love this song.  What really resonates with me is the conflict between head and heart.  Mine are always disagreeing.  I wish I could be the kind of person who can follow their heart, and make [sometimes reckless] decisions based not on common sense but love.  Instead I was raised to be practical, sensible – don’t get me wrong this is probably a good thing in the long run, but every once in a while it would be great to do something crazy without worrying about the consequences.
  2. I don’t want to be – Gavin DeGraw:  Whilst this song probably says more about the artist than about me, the idea of a song about identity really appeals to me (and fits with the daily prompt).  The message of being happy with the person you are is one I struggled with when I was younger – probably a lot of kids did.  As I get older I grow more comfortable in my own skin.
  3. Superstition – Stevie Wonder:  Despite being a truly awful dancer (two left feet) I love music that I can dance to, and that I can sing (badly) to.  This is the song I love to play when I’m driving – just me on the open road singing at the top of my lungs.  As to whether I’m superstitious; I don’t walk under ladders (that just seems dumb), I do knock on wood (something I picked up from my mum) and I don’t think that black cats are any luckier than any other coloured felines.
  4. Shake it out – Florence and the Machine: Most people have regrets, things they wish they had done differently.  Rather than let them weigh me down I try (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) to own the decisions I’ve made and let go of what might have been.
  5. Feeling good – Muse: A real “two birds, one stone” kinda song.  I was raised on the Rat Pack, Nina Simone, Aretha et al so this is a song that I’ve been listening to for years.  I chose Muse’s version because whilst I adore the original, I think the mix of classic and modern sums me up pretty well.  It speaks to my childhood and the influence of my family on my taste in music, but it brings in a touch of the rock music that my brother was always playing (and has subsequently become a favourite).
  6. Love Shack – B52s:  This was a must – a real cheese-fest.  I loved this song as a teenager and I guess it perfectly reflects just how uncool I am.

I decided it should be a mini mix tape as after all I have just made this new friend and I don’t want to weird them out too early on in the friendship.

P.S. This post was a bit of a struggle.  Whilst I love music it isn’t something that I turn to for help through hard times.  I don’t have a soundtrack to my life -I don’t know if that is a bad thing or not.

Cat that got the cream

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Snapshot Stories.”

On flicking through my online photos the first one I came across with me in it dates back to my early twenties – I think it is probably from 2004.  It’s a photo from my first Christmas ‘do’ at a new job.  I am in a club with four of my work friends – it’s late on in the evening and drinks have been flowing since about lunchtime.  As a result most of us look extremely ‘merry’; one of us looks practically comatose (not me thank goodness).  Everyone has their arms around each other and we are all pulling ridiculous faces for the camera (I blame the drink!).

What strikes me about this picture is that to someone who doesn’t know me you would think I was having a great time – I am in the thick of it and grinning like my life depends on it.  In reality that night, like many others I had in my twenties, was not as enjoyable as pictures would have you believe.

I’ll say it – I am not a big fan of nightclubs – I don’t like the loud music that you have to yell to be heard over, or the sub-conscious pressure to be ‘cool’ (as an aside anyone who has ever met me knows that the one word that should never be used to describe me is ‘cool’ – it just doesn’t fit).  I like places where you can actually have a conversation with someone – where you don’t have to strain to hear someone over a thumping beat.

I am not a massive fan of drinking either – mainly because I’m a lightweight but also because I am not big on losing control.  As a result an evening involving alcohol and nightclubs is not exactly my idea of fun.

This was something I always knew about myself but as an awkward and self-conscious twenty-something I forced myself to do things I didn’t enjoy to fit in.  All my friends at that time lived for the weekend – for getting wasted and doing stupid things, and I felt that not wanting to go out clubbing etc. meant I wasn’t normal.  It’s ridiculous looking back on it now of course.  I don’t think there is any such thing as ‘normal’ – how can there be with so many people in the world?

Looking at this photo frustrates me – I am annoyed at how desperately I tried to be one of the crowd, by how much I wanted to belong.  I spent a long time as a square peg trying to fit in to a round hole, and making myself miserable because no matter how hard I tried I just didn’t fit.  It’s only now, in my thirties, that I feel more at ease with myself.  Rather than change myself to fit in with others I have discovered people out there who are of a similar mind set to me, enjoy the same things and who don’t want or expect me to be anything other than what I am.

Nowadays when I see a photo of me grinning like a Cheshire cat I know that the picture isn’t hiding the truth.  I’m grinning like that because I’m the cat that got the cream – I’m having a great time and am accepted for who I am by a crowd.  It just turns out that it’s a different crowd to the one I thought I should fit with.

Sorry but I won’t post the photo because it doesn’t seem fair on the drunk friends in it with me (as you can probably tell from the description above it is not a flattering photo).  So to make up for that here’s one of my cat who looks practically comatose too! DSCF0984

My best friend George.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Toy Story.”

George went everywhere with me

George went everywhere with me

George was my best friend as a child.  He was loyal and reliable and was always by my side – climbing trees, ballet classes, tea parties – you name it he was there.  He had big brown eyes and a warm smile.  Oh, and did I mention that George is a bear?  Now before you get all concerned that my parents let me hang out with wild animals, please let me reassure you that George was a very friendly bear and he only ever ate people who were mean to me.

Now even though George was a huge part of my childhood, his connection with my life now is less obvious, although equally as important.  I am not overly sentimental so I don’t need him around as a security blanket.  My job is in no way bear related – it doesn’t involve honey, picnic baskets or marmalade sandwiches so he hasn’t had an impact there.  However George taught me one of the most important lessons of all (my parents may have had a hand in it also) – that lesson was about friendship and what makes a great friend.  A friend is someone to rely on, who is always there come rain or shine.  Someone to share a laugh or go on an epic adventure with.  George is sub-consciously what I look for in friendships, and the kind of friend I aim to be (although a chattier version – George was more the strong silent type).

And what of George?  He has taken up residence at my parent’s house.  He is a little worn around the edges but is always up for an adventure when I visit.

P.S.  Apologies for the poor quality photo – these were the days before digital!

It’s a puzzle to me

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “All About Me.”

Three peas in a pod

Three peas in a pod – a purrfect fit

So what’s the reasoning behind jigsaw1983?

I’ll start with the easy bit – 1983 is the year I was born.  Okay so I am somewhat lacking in originality but it’s when this particular (blogging) puzzle was made.  It was the year of The Smiths first single, the first American woman in space, Ewoks, Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat it’ and the introduction of the world to both the A Team and Fraggle Rock.  All in all a pretty good year!

Why jigsaw?  Because I think that all of us are jigsaws (not literally obvs.).  We are all made up of innumerable pieces that when connected make us ‘us’.  Traits, memories, ideals, skills, family, genetics and so on combine to form who we are.  Whilst a lot of us share similar ‘pieces’ they all slot together to form a different picture – we are all unique.

In turn I think each of us is part of a bigger picture.  We all combine to make the world what it is today – not all pieces fit together, like not all people get along, but in the end we all slot in somewhere.  We all have a place, be it small or large, and we all have a part to play.  We don’t always know what that part is, what our role is in life (I for one am still trying to figure that out) but perhaps that’s the point; maybe we aren’t supposed to know what the bigger picture is, maybe it’s just about finding where we belong.

As for what the bigger picture is supposed to look like I have no idea – maybe it’s like one of those magic eye pictures that you have to squint at to see the hidden meaning?

“The world’s a puzzle; no need to make sense out of it.” – Socrates

Last chance to party (before I take over the Universe)…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Festivus for the Rest of Us.”

Surrender puny humans...I'm the boss now!

Surrender puny humans…I’m the boss now – see I have sharp teeth and everything!

Supreme Ruler of the Universe? Me?  Ah shucks you guys you shouldn’t have!

Let me premise this post by saying if I was given the illustrious post of SRotU I am pretty sure it wouldn’t be long before I was tempted to the dark side.  Like Anakin Skywalker before me I think power could very well turn me in to an evil overlord albeit without the headgear.  That being said I would have a lovely party for all before being ‘turned’ as it were.

Date:  May the 4th would be appropriate what with the Star Wars reference, however I think I would probably go late September/early October (okay okay if I really have to pick a specific date then I’ll go for October 2nd).  The weather should still be nice without crazy summer heat, and as the night cools we could have a giant bonfire.

Decorations: Bunting, flowers, streamers, Chinese lanterns, balloons etc. – the more colourful the better.  Everywhere should be packed to the rafters with decorations – although not too close to the bonfire as pretty much all of the above are a fire hazard.

Events:  A giant festival for the entire universe is going to have to cater to a lot of different tastes (no pressure there then).  That thought in mind there would be a massive bouncy castle, a giant ball pool, a bar (obviously), a roller rink and a petting zoo (flying unicorns are a must – I figure there has to be somewhere in the universe that rents these out).  Also needed is a ‘bah humbug’ area for those who don’t feel like celebrating a day of me (might need to make it a big area especially after I go all evil and stuff).

Foods:  All foodstuffs are welcome with the exception of:

  • black/white pudding
  • tripe
  • offal
  • oysters
  • custard
  • salmon

These evil foods have no place in my Universe and would be banished for all eternity (I doubt there would be a black market for tripe – if there was I would have no choice but to resign as SRotU because of the shame).

Oh, and there would need to be a cake…a big one…full of chocolate …mmm chocolate [wipes drool from mouth].  Sorry what was I talking about again?