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Tag Archives: New Year

‘A good beginning makes a good end.’ English Proverb.

So here’s a good beginningin Chinese Astronomy 2018 is the ‘Year of the Dog’.  (HA—Like it isn’t always ‘year-of-the-dog’ in my household every year anyway . . . )

I have never been one for making New Year resolutions but in the spirit of a brand new doggie-year I found a few listed below that really seem to work for my girls, so I think I am going to give some of them a try.  (I especially like points 1, 4 ,7 and 8 . . . )

Perhaps if you haven’t already made your own list you might like to share some of ours . . .

A very Happy New Year to you all!!

 

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Something feels funny. I must be thinking too hard.’ Winnie the Pooh.

Soas I am sure you are all excruciatingly aware—the end of this year is upon us and the start of a brand new year is fast approaching.  I am not quite sure how that happened again so soon (it feels like I have just gotten over last Christmas and New year) but nevertheless here it is and so it seems like a fitting time for a little self-reflection. (You have my permission to run screaming from the building . . . )

When I started this blog in 2015, I admit, it was on a bit of a whim.  I didn’t know anything about the mechanics of blogging, and in fact, I don’t think I even read any kind of blog on a regular basis.  I can only imagine that it ‘seemed a good idea at the time’.  I was doing a bit of writing for the college brochure (just a paragraph a term) and perhaps thought it might be fun to see if I had anything to say on more a regular basis.

(Well—that’s the party line.  In all honesty I was probably bored rigid and looking for a new ‘project’.  I think I probably fully expected that I would give it a go for a couple of months and then it would all fizzle out, like so many other of my pet projects—’Cure for an obsession: get another one’—Mason Cooley . . . )

Anyhoooo—imagine my surprise then when last week I realised that I have actually been posting my scribbles and sketches for over two years now!  Two years!  That seems incredible to me and I was immediately prompted to ask myself a couple of questions.  Onewhat did I do with my ‘spare’ time before I started blogging? . . . and Two: what on earth did I find to write about during those last two years?

I have no idea what the answer is to question number one (slept more, probably) but the answer to question number two seems to be anything and everything . . . and (often) nothing of consequence at all.  Taking some time to go back and re-read some of my much earlier posts has been a weird experience.  Some of it I remember writing and some of it not at all.  Some of the writing seems quite readable (trying to look at it objectively) but at other times I wonder what on earth I was thinking.  Very strange.

I have never considered myself a natural writer and I have never found writing easy (you know those people that say ‘the writing just flows out of me . . .’?  Well, bully for them.  Personally, I just want to poke their eyes out with a sharp stick) but I do think I assumed it would get easier the more I wrote.  It seems like I was kidding myself for, in fact, I found almost the exact opposite to be the case.  I am not even sure whether this is a good thing or a bad.  Is the writing getting more difficult because I am trying harder—or am I just running out of things to blather about?

So, here’s the thing.  Here’s what I have been asking myself.  Should I continue?  Should I continue to write my weekly missives or have I run my course?  Seriously.  I’m asking.  I don’t think I am ready to stop writing entirely (although there are certainly days . . . ) but then perhaps I have already passed my ‘use-by-date’ and you lovely people who regularly drop in to catch up with me are just all too polite to tell me.

I have been going back and forth about it in my mind for a couple of months now and I have decided I need to clear my head.   I am therefore going to give myself a couple of weeks off.  I mean really ‘off’.  The college closes next week and I will be away from the office for three whole weeks!!!  During that time I have determined I am going to do as little as humanely possible (perhaps I should say as little as ‘doggily’ possible.  My girls have it down to a very fine art and I am going to observe them closely . . . ) and that includes taking some time off from writing this blog too.  (Was that a collective sigh of relief I just heard?)

So dear readers, I am going to now take this opportunity to thank you all for following me thus far and for your much valued friendship and support.  I’ve learnt a lot, I’ve made some fabulous new friends and I’ve even reconnected with some very old friends again too.  It’s been great.

But for right now Winnie and I need to take a bit of a break from thinking so hard, so I want to wish you all a very happy and safe and carefree Christmas (eat, drink and be (really, really) merry!) and a fabulous start to the New Year and, with a bit of luck, a much clearer head (and I’m hoping a vastly renewed enthusiasm) I look forward to seeing you all again in early 2018 . . .

Sally and ‘the girls’ XXX

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.’ Brad Paisley.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

I like this idea—that every day we are all writing another page of our very own book (although we are three days into this new year already and my own book is looking pretty empty so far.  I might have to get off my bum and do something about that . . . )

What kind of book will you write for yourself this year?

A drama?  A comedy?  A romance?  An adventure?  All of the above?   . . .

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Posted by on January 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘ . . . for the times they are a-changin’.’ Bob Dylan.

‘Come gather ’round people wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown
and accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone — if your time to you is worth savin’,
then you better start swimmin’, or you’ll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin’.’

Bob Dylan recorded those lyrics in 1964—fifty two years ago.  I was five.  Noticing changes around me (or at least the sort of changes Bob was referring to) was not really at the top of my agenda.  But re-reading those words now it is almost like ‘Well—der—way to state the bloody obvious!’

changesComing as we are to the beginning of yet another new year it is probably a good time to take stock, and think about where we might be going, or what we might be doing, in the months ahead.  I am not a fan of New Year celebrations (in truth, they make me a little melancholy) and I rarely make ‘resolutions’ (and I never keep them when I do) but the approach of another new year does always make me more aware of changes that have happened, and continue to happen, in the world around me . . .

From a universal perspective at least, change is the only constant—it is happening all around us, every day, and, seemingly with total disregard for our hopes, needs or desires.

lightningSo what are the rules?  How should we deal with unexpected, and often unwanted, changes to our everyday lives?  I guess it depends on the kind of change you experience doesn’t it?  If you are the one trying to initiate the change—like expanding your social life, or travelling more, or trying to get fit—it’s great.  If, however, the changes all seem to be beyond your contol—your relationship is failing, you are losing your job, are experiencing health serious issues or the government has moved the goalposts again just when you thought you were getting out from under—not so much!

ventMost of us are, quite naturally, concerned with our own everyday existence—and so we should be.  I am no different.   I have embraced some unexpected changes in my own personal world over the years—but I have also raged (really raged) against some too.  I can’t tell you how much time I wasted eating lots of chocolate frogs, drinking lots of wine and grumbling very loudly to anyone who would listen about the unfairness of a certain situation or a door that had just been slammed in my face ( . . . not that eating chocolate frogs and drinking lots of wine is a complete waste of time of course, but you get my drift . . . )

hiding_7_tnbThankfully I am a tad brighter than I sometimes appear and eventually it did dawn on me that once I had eaten all the chocolate, drunk all the wine and my friends and colleagues had started hiding behind the furniture when they saw me coming, that nothing much had been achieved except me making myself extremely unhappy, extremely fat, and, no doubt, extremely unpopular, and I decided to ‘suck it up’ and started looking for a way to move forward.

(Most self-help gurus would no doubt rephrase that into something more shiny-happy, like ‘release the past’, ‘think positive thoughts’ or ‘embrace changes as opportunities for growth’.   Whatever . . . )

All I know is, for me at least, the moment I actually stopped staring at that firmly closed door (or at least stopped physically trying to break it down) was also the moment I finally started noticing the tiny cracks open in the windows around me.  Perhaps change, even unlooked for, isn’t always bad.  Maybe that door was closed for good reason.

open-doorSo anyway—before I start sounding any more like Jedi Master Yoda (‘May the Force be with you’)—here’s hoping that any changes that come into your life in 2017 are ultimately all for the good . . . and if you feel they aren’t, start looking around for ways to deal with them.  Look for those open doors and windows—and for the people who will help you get through them.    Because, bless them, they are out there . . .

Happy New Year.  See you all in 2017.   🙂

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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‘I feel a very unusual sensation—if it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude.’ Benjamin Disraeli.

Over the last couple of days I have been struggling with what I should write next.  With the New Year now upon us it would seem the obvious thing to write about, but I have been hard pressed to come up with any ideas.

janus1‘I could write about the history of New Year,’ I thought.  Something like—the origins of celebrating the New Year can be traced back over 2,000 years to Mesopotamia, although the Romans really made it their own much later on.  Ancient Romans worshipped Janus for whom many believe the month of January was named.  He was the god of beginnings and endings, and for all the gates, doors and passageways in between.  Janus is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past.

Are you riveted yet?  No, me either.

resolutionsOr, perhaps I could write  something about New Year’s Resolutions?  Really?  Like that hasn’t been done to death.  Besides, I don’t make ‘resolutions’.  I learned a long time ago that I am lousy at keeping promises to myself.

So—what about writing something about the local celebrations?  Nah.  That wouldn’t work either.  I have no plans to be going to any of them.  Sigh.

If you hadn’t already guessed, New Year’s Eve always leaves me a little cold.  I find it all a bit difficult to get enthusiastic about.  All this happy, happy, rah, rah just doesn’t really ring true for me. For whatever reason ‘New Year’ usually makes me melancholic, and this year is no exception.

So, after sitting and staring at the blank computer screen for much longer than I intended I finally made the decision that I wouldn’t write anything this week.  I was not ‘inspired’.  (Besides, no-one would notice anyway as they would all be out partying.)

cutting_lawnInstead I would go and do the other thing I was feeling totally uninspired about—mow the lawn.  That alone should tell you how discouraged I was.  I hate mowing the lawn (or at least the patch of scrub and weeds that likes to pretend it’s a lawn).  At least I was managing to making myself feel slightly better about the task by having a good old bitch to myself as I mowed.  ‘Bloody thankless task . . . back and forth, back and forth . . . stop, pick up sticks . . .  back and forth again . . . stop, pull up weeds . . .  wouldn’t mind so much if it looked any different once I had finished . . .  bloody hell it’s hot . . . ‘

And then, as I marched ‘back and forth, back and forth’ and muttered to myself, a random thought‘At least I have a lawn to mow’ completely stopped me in my tracks.  (I swear it literally stopped me between a ‘back’ and a ‘forth’.)  

Whoa.  Where did that come from?  Well, actually, I know exactly where it came from.  I watched the TV news early this morning and it was all about the bushfire devastation in South Australia; and the flood, snow and tornado damage across the United States; and scenes of most of northern England underwater. Add to this earlier stories of the European refugee crisis and escalating terrorism around the world and 2015 was a truly horrifying year for a lot of people.

gratefulAnd here I was grumping about having to mow the lawn.  I should be ashamed. Unlike all those people on the newcasts, nothing horrible or traumatic has happened to me this past year.  I still have a roof over my head.  I have a job I like and consider the people I work with as friends as well as colleagues. My family and friends are all safe and well, and my girls and I are healthy and happy.  And I am grateful for that.  For all of it.  And I am also certain I take it all far too much for granted.  I apologise.  I am going to try and stop doing that.  (Damn—that sounded suspiciously like a ‘resolution’.)

smiling-dog-hurry-take-the-pictureSo where do I go from here?

I want to wish everyone well for  2016 but how do you say ‘Happy’ New Year to people who have lost their homes, their possessions, their loved ones?  It seems trite and insensitve.  So I won’t.

What I will do is wish everyone, from me and my girls, a ‘Safe’ New Year, along with the fervent hope that  2016 is a better year for everyone . . .

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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