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?

Schools out forever

hiding hol

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fifteen Credits.”

I left school what feels like a long time ago (in reality it is a little over a decade).  I wasn’t sad to go as to say that I didn’t enjoy school would be an understatement.  Things were bearable until I had a growth spurt – I went from being one of the smallest girls in my class to being one of the tallest kids in my year.  My weight took forever to catch up so for a good couple of years I was known as ‘stick insect’ – being somewhat of a drama queen I thought my life was over!  I didn’t enjoy the rigidity of lessons or the fact that class sizes were quite large – it meant learning at the pace of others rather than what worked best for me.  And don’t even get me started on double maths first thing on a Monday morning – it used to make me want to stay in bed and hide!  Please don’t get me wrong – I really enjoy learning; I loved studying for my degree.  The issue I have is with being told what to learn – a set curriculum doesn’t do anything for me.

Having said all of that I do miss finishing at 3:30pm and the long school holidays – basically the bits where I didn’t have to be in school.  Weirdly I also miss the uniform – as much as I hated the tie and blazer at the time it definitely took the effort out of deciding what to wear.  Oh, and I wouldn’t say no to school dinners… jacket potato and beans followed by jelly and ice cream…heaven!

Breaking point – office politics

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Choose Your Adventure.”

Kate slumped against the bathroom door – she was getting tired of all the office politics and power plays for her job.  It had been like this for months and it was finally starting to get to her.  Her boss Lorna kept piling more work on her, continuing to take all the credit.  Robert and Liz were nipping at her toes, desperate for a more senior position.  Work had become all-encompassing and it was taking its toll.  Kate stared at her drawn face in the mirror, it’s tired and listless expression betraying the stress she was under.  “Enough is enough” she muttered to herself but her words had no conviction.  Everyone would be wondering where she was.  Taking a deep breath she left the safety of the bathroom and made her way back to the office.

“Where the hell have you been?” barked Lorna, “the Board needs my report – haven’t you finished it yet?”.  Robert sniggered in his corner of the office whilst Liz, always quick off the mark, was offering up her services in Kate’s place – “I can do it much more quickly than Kate”.  Her sarcastic tone raised Kate’s hackles and the months of biting her tongue were quickly undone.

Enough is Enough!  Kate was surprised by the vehement tone to her words and by just how loud they sounded as they echoed round the room.  You could hear the sound of a pin drop as the whole office slowly turned to look at her.  Lorna rose to her feet and slowly eyed Kate from head to toe.  There was an agonisingly slow pause, that felt like eternity to Kate, before Lorna uttered the words…

You are awesome AKA words often unspoken

On opening my blog today I was surprised to be met with some ‘likes’ and a lovely comment on my previous post.  What surprised me even more was the way it made me feel – there is a kind of buoyancy that comes with positive comments from others (be they your nearest and dearest or friends you haven’t met yet).  This got me thinking about the impact of words – how they can affect the way our day goes, how we feel about ourselves and how we interact with others.

“The pen is mightier than the sword” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton

No truer words seem to have been spoken.  Cruel words, schoolyard jibes and nasty gossip can cut us to the quick, leaving behind a tidal wave of self-doubt and negativity.  I don’t want to dwell on the way words can be used to incite fear and hatred – I doubt that there is a person in the world who hasn’t experienced the cut of a viciously chosen word, and I like many others bare a few scars.  Instead I want to “spread the love” (sorry – that came out sounding a little too much like a Durex advert!).  A little bit of positivity from people I have never met in a far away climes made my day so much better and it has made me want to say the words that often go unspoken; be it out of embarrassment, lack of time or because I think the recipient should already know.

I realised that I hardly ever say ‘I love you’ – so I called, text and emailed the people that I love to let them know.  A few of my friends now think I bunked off work and spent the day at the pub, but the majority got it.  They understood the need to connect with others, the need to reinforce that connection and the happy ‘tipsy’ feeling you get when you hear those words, and in turn these three little words brightened their days too.  It’s not just about the person saying the words – it’s about the message too.

So to all who stumble across this little post there are six words that sum you up … you are awesome, you are loved! Ok, so there are technically only 4 (non-duplicated) words but you catch my drift.

Keep being awesome!

“Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off” Taylor Swift – Shake it Off