On grief, and longing and no sleep and irrational tears

I’ll admit, I’m not a particularly great read as a blogger right now. I don’t have any advice to offer, or witty lists to share or amazingly insightful ponderings on the nature of life, the universe and everything. Neither have I got anything to flog 🙂

As I write this I am in a bit of a sleep-deprived daze so forgive me if it makes no sense.

I like to think of myself as a generally rational human being – someone who can (at least at this point in my life) make good decisions, receive all the necessary information in any given situation and do the ‘right’ thing.

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Nothing ever happens…

plate spinning

Isn’t it funny how you can feel like you are on a treadmill week in week out and at the very same time be experiencing a whirlwind of macrocosmic transition? Over the last few days so many things have happened and occurred to me and yet here I am, Sunday evening, getting ready for tomorrow’s school run – tomorrow’s commute, another Monday morning in the office…

Friday morning we found out Britain is no longer a member of the European Union (or are we? All a bit confusing right now). Many of you out there have written reams on the subject, Facebook was awash with doom and disappointment and putting a brave face on for at least 24 hours. The petition for a second referendum is currently standing at about 3 and a half million (be interesting to know what the record is for most signed petition to parliament – this is surely up there?). So much speculation, I’m just trying not to think too hard about it because I don’t want to spend another sleepless night worrying over projected futures that may never happen.

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Positivity: to share or not to share?

different reactions

Up to now I’ve had no problem writing and sharing both my positive achievements and my thoughts on positive thinking and how it can help, not just me but, in theory, anyone, to achieve a range of things from a greater sense of well-being to reduced stress, better focus on your goals, acceptance of who you are and what your limitations are, working to your strengths rather than fretting over your weaknesses, etc. etc.

However, two things have made me stop in my tracks and re-consider the wisdom, not of thinking and believing these thoughts, but of sharing them with the world – particularly posts or status updates like memes or inspirational quotes which, rather than being personal reflection, could be taken as some kind of self-help guidance to others.

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Finding time to get some perspective

positivityMy aim in life is always to be as zen as I possibly can, take things calmly in my stride and be the voice of reason. Just lately, however, I have had a really hard time maintaining that feeling of inner peace and reason. Certain parts of my life have been really hard to handle, hard to get my head around, but in the back of my mind, like the buzzing of a dying wasp, is this really strong sense that I need to count my blessings.

The trouble with counting blessings is that you kind of need to have the headspace to step back from the damaging central core of what’s going on right now in order to be able to make that list. I feel like I’ve been getting into a negative downwards spiral which is exacerbated by feeling over-whelmed by the exhausting nature of full on parental responsibility.

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Search for the hero

batman do the right thing

Sometimes in life s**t happens. Maybe it was your fault, wholly or partly, maybe it was out of your hands and beyond your control. Maybe you are left feeling bitter and want to lash out and blame someone else, or maybe you genuinely are the victim of circumstance. You might find yourself going through the stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining and depression before finally reaching acceptance. During the early stages of this process you might try to put a fence around yourself – focus on the blame, attempt to punish the perceived culprit, seize back control of how your life will be.

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A random list

Once again I find myself scrambling for something to write, unable to determine a coherent subject with which to bombard the world so here is some random stuff I have been doing/thinking lately:

  1. Easter holidays have been a welcome break from our recent 30 mile commute to school in the mornings.
  2. Meeting up with Elfa (Californian Mum in London) and both sets of children for a picnic in Bushy Park recently was lovely and we whiled away several hours playing, eating, scrambling up, down, in and through fallen trees, and most significantly, wielding sticks of every size and shape – lots of imaginative play with a stick standing in for everything from a gun to a wand to a conductor’s baton.
  3. Our local park does the most divine home made ice cream which is bad for both my pocket and my waistline.
  4. If you take your kids to a children’s farm (in our case we thought we’d try out Hounslow Urban Farm near Heathrow – fab if you’re either a lover of mental alpacas, demonic goats or plane-spotting) don’t bother buying the animal feed unless you have a particular urge to get your hand comprehensively licked clean by a range of farmyard animals whilst your children disappear into the distance on miniature John Deere tractors.
  5. I’m not sure whether to sob or cheer at Donald Trump’s recent statement on punishing women who choose to get an abortion – on the one hand it is incredibly scary that this man is even on the campaign trail, on the other hand it seems that he has shot himself in the foot by showing his true colours here and not being enough of a ‘politician’ to veil the truth.
  6. I have been glued to this year’s edition of The Voice UK as it seems to be the first time ever that nearly everyone who got through to live finals could actually sing. Having said that, is it just me that thinks Lydia has only got through because they waited until the semi-final to mention her tragic family loss? Hearing Boy George and his team sing the Culture Club ballad ‘Victims’ was a blast from the past – a song I loved in the 80s but probably haven’t heard since. Shame the man himself seems to have had some kind of voice transplant.
  7. I thought I’d got off pretty lightly on the threenager front with EJ until he had the mother of all tantrums because I wouldn’t let him take a small tractor into the ladies loos down at the HUF (see above).
  8. Somebody please remind me to send Lovefilm back the DVD I have had sitting unopened on a shelf for the last 9 months – if August Osage County has that little appeal to me as a way to pass my time then it’s not worth keeping! (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this – Lovefilm must be kept in business through people like me!).
  9. Kingston upon Thames has really got a lot going for it these days. Recently I have sampled real Asian street food and enjoyed the buzzing vibe which comes with that kind of market – something which you just don’t get with other provincial towns further out of the capital.
  10. The two things I took away from The Ideal Home Show were a) the realisation that it is possible to buff your nails to a glassy shine and b) Vitamix blenders rule!

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Treats, trials and tribulations

EJ Penguin

I haven’t been able to write too much lately – life has been completely knackering and if I’m going to write then my optimum time seems to be mid-morning which is really unfortunate due to the fact that I am rarely unoccupied mid-morning. However I have managed to find a few things to love lately.

My favourite programmes recently have been: the BBC3 comedy Cuckoo with Greg Davies who is brilliant (and also used to teach drama at my old secondary school! [way after my time I should add]). I just love the silliness of it all – all the characters are written so well; Happy Valley – so sad it’s over already, another tour de force performance from Sarah Lancashire; The Voice UK – I know, I know, so predictable of me but I enjoy this so much more than something like X Factor, although now it’s going to the live shows it remains to be seen if the natural talent will survive duff song choices. I think Boy George has turned out to be a pretty good judge as far as I’m concerned, I have agreed with most of his choices although Ricky has the best team in my opinion – Kevin Sim’s performance of Chandelier is definitely going to be one of the series highs; and Thirteen – another BBC drama series, this time the story of a girl who was snatched from the streets by a man who kept her hostage in his cellar for 13 years before she manages to escape. It’s not quite as straightforward as it sounds though as the details of what actually happened behind those four walls gradually emerges.

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When things go wrong

90 per cent attitude

I’ll admit right at the outset, I’ve never had a serious illness to contend with and neither have any of my nearest and dearest (although last year my dad was treated for a type of cancer relatively common to older men but it was caught early, completely eliminated and never caused him any real suffering.) However we all go through hard times in our lives for one reason or another and these times test us – they test us to the very core of our being. The question is: how do we react and respond to the challenges we face?

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Some thoughts on being an introvert

introvert problems

The other day I spotted one of those Huff Post links that sometimes pop up on my Facebook timeline. This one was called “22 Things only introverts understand”. Intrigued, I clicked through and found myself nodding along in agreement to many of the points on the list, particularly “we turn into a silent observer when more than three people join in our small group conversation” and “the increasing creep of anxiety when we want to leave a party but our ride wants to stay”.

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Back to basics

yin yangIsn’t it true that we all have the innate tendency to over-complicate things? I had to nod along in agreement when I read Sara’s recent posts about simplifying her life in 2016 – I think it’s something we could all benefit from.

I look at something like a machine, a computer, a page of code, and it is frighteningly mystifying in what seems a very complex string of gobblydegook – but gobblydegook that a few properly clever people understand. Then I think back to a course I took as part of a degree in Information Studies and I remember what I learned about binary – that every single piece of information in cyberspace is nothing more than a series of ones and zeroes. There is either something or there is nothing; a presence or an absence; light, darkness.

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