Saturday, 30 March 2013

Jive Night: Dollar Bill

Once a month my dance teacher, the legendary Phil, invites a band over and puts on a Jive Night. Last night, we got to see Dollar Bill and his One Man Band.

All of us girls got dressed up in our swooshy frocks and had a bit of a dance around before Dollar Bill came on for a soundcheck. He started playing and most of us stopped and listened - though some of the lads were having a good bop around. He's got a kind of scrunched up dirty blues kind of sound, so lots of harmonica, drums and a slidey guitar. After the second track, we all clapped and cheered and he said, 'Thank you' very  graciously and then the crowd carried on clapping and cheering, one of the girls gave a howl, and someone else wolf whistled and eventually he had to tell us all to simmer down, 'That's enough now.... I don't think I've ever said that to an audience before.'  He proceeded to play an hour long set which was pretty wonderful. Such a talented man!

After his set, the DJ came back on with some Rockabilly numbers and we all hit the dancefloor. I even managed a couple of dances with Phil, which got increasingly more haphazard the more he'd been drinking - lots of, 'Sorry!' and 'Oh, no wrong signal!' but it was all good fun. He told me at the end of our second dance that I'd nailed it - given that I've only been dancing for a couple of months I felt understandably proud. I also got a chance to dance with a couple of the ladies who lead, which was lovely since they understand the ways that following works as well as the way that leading works. One of the ladies has been teaching us how to stroll and at the end of one of the strolls she exclaimed, 'You've really got it!'. Another lady taught me some swing moves which was nice, and later on her and Miss Mac started to teach me a bit of the Charleston which was very exciting, I felt like I was in The Artist!

It was all such good fun, and the crowd were so lovely. I can't jive and be unhappy - it just doesn't work! I'm really looking forward to the next event.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

To Whoever Finds This Letter

Someone posted this article to me about how kindness improves mental health and I thought it was really wonderful. It starts with a story about Hannah Brencher, who found herself gradually unravelling. She started writing love letters to strangers and leaving them in public places - she left the first one on a train, addressed 'If you find this letter, then it's for you'. She noticed that her loneliness and sadness took a backseat and she could take the focus off herself. She has since started a wonderful campaign to write more love letters. I found this really moving and beautiful - how inspiring!

To whoever finds this letter

You and I don't know one another. We may never sit and laugh over cups of coffee. We may never dance in the same circles or yawn together by the midnight hour. None of that really matters to me. It is so small and meaningless to the things I wish you would know on a daily basis: that you are lovely. That you are worthy. That those hands of yours were made for mighty, mighty things.
You probably think I am crazy. You are probably sitting here with this letter in your hands thinking, you cannot know that... you don't know me... you don't know a stitch of me. Yes, you're right. But I know all the things I thought I never deserved. I know how very hard it once was to love myself and value myself and even find myself worth the reflection in the mirror. And so I know I am not alone in needing a boost some days, in needing to know that I matter to someone somewhere.

You matter to me. In a way I cannot explain, you matter to me. And you, you are a marvel... you and all the parts of you.
A girl just trying to find her way

Friday, 22 March 2013

It's Like There is a Conspiracy to Make Me Happy or Something

I was on Skype to the beautiful Jules the other day and it kept cutting out. This is not that surprising, except  that it cut out at really specific points, namely every time either of us wanted to talk about things that were bothering us. She is looking for a new job and every time she started to tell me about a specific training thing she is doing Skype would interrupt us. Every time I tried to talk about anything that was perplexing me Skype hung up the call. When we started talking about all the good things that were happening it let us carry on for ages, but the minute I started to whinge about anything, that was that.

Then when I went on Facebook a few days ago in a foul mood I tried to post a slightly negative status - not even really negative, just a bit grumpy actually. I tried three times and it simply would not post! As soon as I posted a different status that had nothing to do with that, it posted first time.

It's like all the technology in my life is acting as my conscience by channeling my primary school teacher: 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.' Maybe I needed to focus on the lovely things again... thanks for the reminder!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Dirty Conversations in the Library

Friend 1: 'You have to look after your sexual health. Pelvic floor exercises are the way to go.'
Friend 2: 'I have regular sex, I don't need them.'
Friend 1: 'In that case you need them even more! I do them all the time, they're so good for you.'
Friend 2: 'Really?! Oh nooooo.'
Friend 1: 'Seriously, my vagina is so strong now, I've been known to take a condom off by accident. I could probably hold a pencil with it. It could start writing a diary, 'Thoughts from my Muff'.....'
Friend 2: 'Yeah, but it would only have two entries....'

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Yeah, So Anyway....

We had a Half Day Meditation Workshop yesterday that I was helping out with. It started at 10am and finished at 1pm. We had two sessions of meditation and Buddhist philosphy with a half an hour break in between. The subject this time was Relaxation. I've helped out with these events loads of times and even taught a couple of them myself. I've run many of them myself with no help, and yesterday I had a about five people helping. So in theory this should have gone pretty smoothly.

In the actual event what happened was: there was a person at the back who fell asleep and properly snored right the way through the first meditation (getting into the spirit of the whole relaxation thing...). Then someone turned up 45 minutes late and rang the bell and rustled around well into the teaching. Then one of my lovely housemates (who hasn't been there that long and doesn't understand the acoustics of the house) put the tumble dryer on, so we had to go and turn that off. Then our lovely post man rang the doorbell in the middle of the second meditation and gave me a very cheery hello and had a quick chat in the doorway while I signed for a package (we only ever get Saturday deliveries when we have meditation on). Then I turned round to find that I'd locked myself out so then I had to ring the bell for someone to let me back in (which one of the participants of the course duly did). I'd just about caught my breath and then just as I was getting back into the meditation, the phone rang (because I'd forgotten to unplug it before the course). As I was coming back in, meditation ended and it was time for tea. Goodness! At least the second session was a bit more, erm, relaxing.

Sigh. I guess some days are kind of like that.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Points of View

I was having a chat with one of girls at work and she said she was popping into town. I said that I would be too, but I get into a little bit of a daze sometimes so if you see me and I don't notice you, don't take it personally, just come over and wave in my face and say hello and then I'll most likely be very happy to see you. (I'm a bit of a space cadet, what can I say). Then she said, 'I can just imagine you in a little daydreamy haze skipping about town with a basket of knitting in one hand and a bunch of flowers in the other.' All the other people in the room at the time cracked up and then conceded that this is actually pretty true.

Then yesterday I was conversing with The Doctor round the kitchen table and he said, 'If we all lived in a Zen Monastery I'd be the serious studious one and you would be the dotty oracle. Like the Oracle in the Matrix, where she dispenses wisdom and gives you homemade cookies. And she puts wisdom in her cookies, too. The dotty oracle is a really good person to be.'

It's funny the way people see you... my friends are so poetic.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Cooking Club do Pancake Day (a little bit late)

Today at Cooking Club we decided to make pancakes - slightly belated, but fabulous all the same!

4oz / 200g flour
1/2 pint of milk
2 eggs
a pinch of salt

- mix all of the above together and whisk until it is gloopy but smooth
- heat up a bit of oil in a frying pan, spoon out about 2 tablespoons of batter, spread evenly through the pan and cook until slightly brown. Then turn over and do the other side
- top with various yummy things

I rocked up around 11am on the basis that we would have pancakes for lunch and then all get on with some work in the afternoon, but you know how these things are... we finally started cooking at about 12.30! Having a girly gossip is a good thing, right?

As our toppings we had: cheese and mushroom (yum!), nutella and banana, nutella and coconut, nutella coconut, walnut, marshmellows and jazzies, nutella and...  (you get the picture....!). Super duper scrummy yummy.

Moral of the story: I should clearly have pancakes more often!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Here comes the Sun

It is finally sunny and the blossoms are coming out - I walked up to work today past all the flowers opening and I actually had to take my coat off. Everyone is wondering around looking more smiley and a bit dazed in the sunshine, loads of the students are studying outside and lolling about on the grass. It feels like the fresh breezes of spring are finally heading my way - time to splash on more colour and venture out into the world.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

In which We Attend the Inaugural Meeting of our Newly-Formed Book Club

I love reading, I always have a book in my hand bag, some of my most life changing moments have been inspired by various books. On this basis you can understand then that I have longed to join a book club for years. Sadly, they have always met at inconvenient times or I have lived too far away or some other obstacle. No longer - we decided to set up our own.

We met up on Thursday night and hung out and drank wine and ate pizza and looked at holiday snaps and finally got round to flicking through 1001 Books to get some inspiration. Eventually we each picked a book title, and then finally we pulled one of those out of a hat. Drum role please: our book for March is Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. We'll meet up again in a months time to discuss the book, watch the film and then choose our next. 

If you have any fabulous suggestions, pass them on. You have no idea how very exciting this all is! Hooray!