Friday, 30 October 2009

A splash of colour - PSF

The colour is my garden will not say die!
It is forcing itself through in leaves and plants
that haven't yet been gripped and frozen by Jack frost.
I was so awestruck by the impact
these small last life heartening blooms had on my eye,
I grabbed my phone and took some last moments to share with you.

a last flush of geranium

a winter rose?

a beautiful acer

if anyone can tell me what this wonderful bush is,
it did not flower in the summer, but the leaves have changed to this wonderful tones

leaves on fire on our roadside garden

japanese maple? changes from green to fire red to burgundy!

the last fuchsia bells hanging on...

Visit MamaGeek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Women, rise

Two poems l return to time and again...they are sustaining, their essence lives on...

Woman Work

I've got the children to tend
The clothes to mend
The floor to mop
The food to shop
Then the chicken to fry
The baby to dry
I got company to feed
The garden to weed
I've got shirts to press
The tots to dress
The can to be cut
I gotta clean up this hut
Then see about the sick
And the cotton to pick.

Shine on me, sunshine
Rain on me, rain
Fall softly, dewdrops
And cool my brow again.

Storm, blow me from here
With your fiercest wind
Let me float across the sky
'Til I can rest again.

Fall gently, snowflakes
Cover me with white
Cold icy kisses and
Let me rest tonight.

Sun, rain, curving sky
Mountain, oceans, leaf and stone
Star shine, moon glow
You're all that I can call my own

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou

....if you want more, here is Ms Angelou herself

Sunday, 25 October 2009

What is your sell by date?

...and l don't mean the dates by which we are told we must eat our food stuffs by, best before, consume before, eat by etc... I'm wondering if most things in our lives, relationships, blogs, friendships have a best before date wired into their psyche?
(Isn't there a saying something about eggs and friends go off after a time?)

Acquaintances come and go and we don't fret or fear their passing through our lives, good friends sometimes hit a stumbling block, be it a point of principle or disagreement, or a case of being separated by the miles or continents. Even parents and children, brothers and sisters, the marrieds and the partners fall by the wayside, however sad we think it is. The trials and traumas, tribulations and feuds fuel petty resentments and serious issues. Most often I'll bet that the cause is forgotten, long before the bitterness wanes. In the scheme of things, the rights and wrongs, with the precariousness of life and death, it all seems trivial. Nonsensical. It is said Blood is thicker than water! and Friends are the family one chooses for oneself.
So then naturally does everything have its own best before date?

Lately it seems to me that many blog land friends have retired or taken a sabbatical, for personal reasons of one sort or the other. Blog land holds it's breath in case another pin falls in this bowling alley of posts and lucky strikes. Do we fall foul of our own expectations? As in life there are some certainties. A few finites. We make our own choices. Day by day. Moment by moment. We choose. And then everything will end.

We cling to hope. Friendships. Family relationships. Age and experience brings us the truths. The sudden understanding of the workings of the dynamics of relating. We aspire to do things better. To do things right. Of securing relationships over time. Like our blogging beginnings we post in hate, as in love. We wait for judgement. For sustanance. For recognition. We find our own pace and settle into the flow of the lifeblood of new relationships. We post less regularly. Think more. Write less. Less is more.

We've said farewell to David, we've seen other friends take time off. To heal. To find answers. To relocate physically. To maintain the non-virtual daily postings that make up their lives. We miss them. Their posts. Their visits to our shores. And as in all our lives. Endings are a certainty. We know not when it will come. The only thing we know is that it will happen.

The question of whether our own blogs have a sell by date... well this is our choice. Are we here to live, to breathe and to feel and question? We make our own choices. We set our own sell by dates.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

What you don't know won't hurt you!

Last night I went out in my vintage gladrags, a 1940s wool jacket and blonde mink collar, a LBD, and 100 weight of costume jewellery and my new hair cut and colour and...and this is a big one for me FALSE EYELASHES.

In the 60's when I was a young child I would find these little hairy creatures,like spiders under tables and on bathroom shelves. My mother always had hair pieces, wigs, and weird sausage like contraptions to enhance her latest cottage loaf hairdo! Stockings, eyelashes suspender belts were to be found and I was entranced by their glamour and femininity. My own world of 'MADMEN'.

I remember the first suspender belt I was given, black with orange daisies and a pair of stockings for best. I was 12 and they hung over my headboard and I kept touching them through the night. SO excited I could barely sleep. After a few days trying to come to terms with the trials of a young woman's under clothing, I surrendered and admitted my failure to cope. Mum bought me some pop socks and some American tan coloured tights from Charlie Chesters' newsagent. The pop socks went over the tights, as it was not considered good form to wear just tights to school. I went to a Catholic (all girls) Convent school.

So yesterday aged 51, I wore my first pair and I managed to attach them without glasses, but with a large magnifying mirror as l glued them in place. To the wrong eyes. So I had to swap them. They were very comfortable actually and I didn't need to slather muckloads of mascara on my eyes. Better for my sensitive eyelids.

I met some friends at a Vintage tea party, bought myself a faux coin 1950's bracelet and then we all swanned off to the local pub. (something I don't often do either!)

I got home before the curfew my son and daughter gave me (10.30pm - wtf?) and after a shared bag of fish and chips and a cuppa, went up to take off my face.

Like the dark hairs on my chin, and the skirt that's tucked up into my knickers when l leave the loo, answer me why don't even your friends tell you!! I had lost one eyelash. I was left with one bald eye! How long was l like that? All evening? Before l left the house tonight or ......?

thanks guys, at least I should be grateful
it wasn't half way down my cheek!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Mine all mine...

I have just arrived home from work and whilst waiting for the kettle to boil I log on to blogger....I check my blog, then check out our Mad Manic Mama's blog and read Expat's Mum's post and then my mind starts a commentary and I have to type it out or lose please go read her post first then you'll get the gist of mine....

Ahhh, secretly l think they are still ours... that is my big girl and my tall boy. My man child, was (is still) sitting in my brand new (mine) armchair with his feet up on the brand new (mine) pooffe, sorry not very pc, my new er foot chair....and he's not budging....he smiled though, as I walked in the house, and that smile is so wide, so light up the room bright and just pure gold. I get the kettle on and walk over to him, 'Hello, how was your day?' I ask, he grunts... and l lean over him... I do not detect any deep sighing or tutting, I guess he is breathing gently in resignation. He is mine, on my chair, my captive... I lean in. I Breathe so deeply and smell him. Drink him in, my baby boy, l could weep. The essence of the baby l carried, is still there, I shoved a big fat red lipsticked smackarooo on the back of his neck and rubbed the lippy right off... that smell,that touch can sustain me for a week... though I admit not much more, but by then l can sneak another or a hug. And Boy can he hug.

Upstairs, my big girl,18 at Christmas, is lying in bed, feeling sooo tired and a bit head cold-y. And perhaps just a tad sad I reckon, as she failed her test two days ago. I leaned in, I don't care If I catch anything. l'm sure the bloody swine is still alive and well, in this boot fair of a room, a floor full of worn clothing, dirty crockery, unfinished coursework and odd shoes... I ignore the overwhelming urge to moan, fret and complain about it AGAIN. Instead I take advantage of her prostrate state and again I Breathe deeply and my mood and mindset is totally erased... It's no matter we've hardly passed two civil words to each other in a baby girl is feeling unwell...and I love her. She can cuddle for England, swear for France and a few days ago when I told her I loved her and she responded in kind, I was surprised and said, 'Yeah but REALLY? Do you? I would never guess.' she laughed out loud and said 'Of course' It's mandatory I HAVE to, it's my job!' How the tables turn, I said it when she was six and right back at me!

Such are the innate feelings of love between mother and her child! Life without it once you've experienced it. I couldn't imagine otherwise. How do some women, men cope without them in their lives. I know we moan about our teens, hence the MMM blog. But. When we say we would walk through fire for them, it isn't a throw away remark. I wonder how old they'll be before they realise it...

Monday, 12 October 2009

To be honest...

...over the summer I felt the heaviness from the shadows that hover behind, they tell the me within, that my old foe is furtively watching. I should know better, here is the signal whereby I should let myself relax out of hours and allow Larry and others to help me out. But admitting to my frailties only feeds the angst and guilt that I am not wonderwife and instead wimpywife. Yes! I know this is silly, an untruth, but this is what the menopausal head screams.

I fill myself up with errands, small projects and I tend never to say No! to anything. This only becomes a problem when it mounts up and then I find it more difficult than usual to juggle it all.

I have taken on 3 book reviews for a readers' magazine. I am also on the panel reading 6 books on the long list for a National Book Award. I have just started a computer course for work at college, 3 hours a week for 32 weeks, which all seem to fall on my days off, resulting in more juggling and stressing. I recently decided to not stop my online business, but to relaunch it with all new stock. My choice I know, but I do enjoy it so. Then I was approached last month by a feature editor to be the contributor for fashion feature for the Christmas edition. How can l say No? Hours of pressing and sewing and getting the clothing accessorized. I am enjoying it. But it doesn't all fit in my cup. It doesn't just overflow its a bloody Tsunami and it's all in my head. Hence a minor series of panic attacks. Brain freeze. Coping with the daily routine is getting on my wick. At work I am distracted by focusing on the one job. But at home, I begin to show the cracks. To cook, to clean. Chores indeed. The shine has worn off the new home. The kids seem to avoid me at all costs. They must know instinctively Mum's having a mental! I've taken to going to bed early. I waken, thinking, Can I stay here please?

I know what to do. So I make a list of all the things I am currently doing. I cull the list. Leaving what will give me most pleasure. And which will be the easiest and less stressful to manage. I divide them up into bite size chunks. The Do-able. And the not do-able. Put aside for later. Or never. My mind is less cluttered. A path is clear.

I have this space where I can go now. Here. I can write my thoughts and publish. Or not! I can return and read my mess. To share or not to share. Is this depression or just menopausal madness?

Two days later... I have an appointment with my doctor fixed. Just to check up. Today was photo-shoot day. It began with NeRvEs. But I knew everything was ready. Then all hell broke loose, one hour early they phoned, they are on their way. They arrived. One journo, one photographer, two teen models, two hairdressers, one make-up artist and one stylist. Thankfully my pal Carlotta arrived with milk and a smile. She shored me up, 'It's okay you CAN do this,' she said. 'Feeling crappy or not. This is something positive, for you.' We were both dressed in our vintage finery, and fixed, fitted and flattered. No one took our picture. We made tea, made smiles and made happy. The sofa was in the garden for time, a model in 50's green satin stood pretty amongst four toning green conifers. They primped, preened and posed in a cocktail bar, a Chinese garden and a motorway flyover! wtf?? One model in a bronze metallic creation, wore her Uggs while her hair was teased up high, out came the Dyson and this image the photographer thought was edgy, so this may end up on the editing floor or in the magazine. (Will post images as soon as I get them end of November-ish).
They arrived at 10am and left and 6.45pm.

I feel quite tired, chilled and unfazed. Or is this the one glass of ice cold rose wine I just sunk?
All will be well. I know this to be true.
As the man said. Hold on.*

*James Frey, A Million Little Pieces

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Weekly Posts & Roasts!

Please put your hands together now as I have some great news for you all! How fabulous is this!!
Hilary & Eddie have generously taken up the popular and favoured Post spots recently vacated (temporarily one always hopes) by David Authorblog McMahon.

Hilary will host a weekly
spot on her blog

and Eddie will host the 'SUNDAY ROAST' interview
every Sunday over on his wizard blog
(he also tells me that on Monday there will be a BIG announcement over on his blog -
could Sir David be returning to this Land of Oz?)

and that's isn't all
the Goddess Award is a weekly award to great bloggers
from The Goddess herself at the blog

Normal service has resumed...
so set your pens and camera at the ready....

Get busy you bloggers go blog yer socks off!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Reopening soon!

Since 2002 I have run my own small business, an online vintage clothing website.
It has grown from strength to strength, mostly in footfall and in profile. It has received favourable reviews from The Sunday Times Culture, Country Living, RED, Daily Mail, webUser and the Independent's magazine voted it the best UK website and 3rd best vintage shop in 2005. I was thrilled.
A business will only give back £'s relative to the amount of time one can contribute to it.
So as I am stretched very thinly around my family,
my employed work and other commitments, this has in recent months taken a back seat.

Therefore early last summer, I took down all the stock,
recycled the majority in true vintage fashion and
kept the best LBD's (little black dresses) and gems.
During the self induced hiatus I mulled, cogitated and mumbled
about the pro's and con's, the why's and wherefores and on my best list making stationary,
I planned and plotted the future worth of my tiny, mini empire.

I reasoned that with 5 million hits in my best years' trading -which averages out to approx 75,000 unique visitors per year, I could make a better go of it.
Plus I had the stock, the experience to add to the visitors
(a decade of fashion buying and retail management)
so as to not let this drift off and flounder altogether.

So! I decided to specialise in Party wear and frocks,
handbags and a few select accessories.
I also decided to relocate the 'Attic' to the Etsy platform.
I respect and admire their ethos of recycling and eco friendly products,
crafts, handmade and vintage. A perfect new home for the Attic.

I have some lovelies to showcase in the new shop very soon,
in fact as soon as the planned photo shoot -all day Monday- is done and dusted.
The shoot is for a Christmas Vintage Party wear
for the new glossy Carlisle Living magazine.

Etsy formats and creates the pages for each item and so gives me more time,
no longer having to resize crop and edit images in several sizes.

Bringing my customers to my new location,
will benefit Etsy and potentially all the other shops on Etsy.

Drop by soon and see what you think of the new Attic and Etsy itself.
Be very careful, you can indecently while away the hours on Etsy,
at every click you will be in the den of beauty and wonders!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

'Let's talk about...' #1


Okay! Okay! I got it all wrong and didn't post this last night as I had stated...
hope I didn't frustrate you all
I'm here now...

Happiness. Contentment. Joy. Pleasure. These are words we throw around, but I wonder if rarely do we really think about them and mean them? Understand them? Feel them. Is it a matter of subjectivity or perspective. In part I think yes, but I also believe in general terms the measure is the same yardstick of feeling. Of emotion.

Moannie and I were recently talking about the value of these words. Of how we of course aspire and hope. To feel them. The real deal.

We dribble out these words about how happiness is all we want to feel. For ourselves. For our children. For mankind. Humanity. But it is I feel an elusive state . A state of mind that is transitory at best. Not available by request. It does not keep us alive. Though these states do nurture and nourish us. Keep us on track. A carrot to keep us on the road of hope.

I do not believe that happiness is a state of mind. I believe that happiness is a momentary state. More slippery than many its contemporaries. Mithering about the lack of happiness in our lives, like feeling regretful is not purposeful nor is it aspirational. It cannot be brought about by desire. It just happens. It is the purist of emotions. An undiluted mix of pleasure & joy.

Contentment is a state of mind, for me. Attainable. Brick by brick we can build ourselves a warm blanket of contentment, safety and security. It is personal. A matter of perspective.

Joy is an emotion we can experience by recall. Of memory. Sparked by music, a song, a letter, a moment past. We can relive. By choice. At our own request.

Pleasure is immediate. Pleasure is Food. Art. Books. Physical. Family. Breathing life. Different pleasures for us all. Pleasure can be cultivated. Seeded. Ploughed and harvested. Replanted. Bought or home grown. Borrowed. Bought. Given away.

A droplet of contentment, a rash of happiness, a storm of joy, a blanket of good fortune or a flush of pleasure.

I wonder which state do you yearn for?
moment by moment.

Okay here goes!
Participate whenever you fancy. Or never! This link will remain on my blog all week for anyone to join in from the Tuesday. Each week I will give notice of the following week's topic for you to deal with it as you see fit. Thanks for participating. Enjoy!

Next week's theme is 'Blogging...'

Add your details to Mr Linky after you have posted your musings & images to your blog.
  1. Add the 'Let's talk about...' image/logo to your post/blog.
  2. Add the Link back to the Mr Linky post.
  3. Please do check out others' posts and leave a comment as this helps create a tight atmosphere!
  4. No word minimum or maximum, just whatever floats your boat!
  5. Enjoy yourselves and don't put yourself under any pressure. Join as & when you can!

For the home of 'Let's talk about...' go to Fat, frumpy & Fifty

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Sisters under the skin...

I have had further thoughts on the state of happiness, perspective and sisterhood. In that we are what we are and we have to look inward if we are to be useful to anyone else I feel. Introspection is a good thing, self analysis though for me can border on the dangerous, because it lacks perspective. Unless led by a professional, but even then, they can bring their own context to bear.

I am at fault too, as I always strive to be nicer, to be smile-ier, to be everything to everyone and it just cannot be. Why are we not happy enough we to just BE!? Gosh are we bloody complicated. I think we are because we've been set up, mostly by the propoganda machine that echo's the media, and of the legacy of 60's liberation, pah!- to be mother earth and yet super sexy wife-hoare and also clever witty work slave...

All the posts are so similar recently and many have commented on the fact, (hence 'Let's talk about...' )

Is it the air pressure? Or that which school teachers blame the playground behaviour on the air pressure.. l've heard them... something to do with the inner ear?

Or when women work together, or girls at school together, or best frieds, mthers and dughters... they all after a few months have the same cycle... teenage hormones and menaopausal hormones do not mix well. I can tell you....

It's all the moon, the moon. So does it follow this is the cause of similar themed posts? I wonder. It's the only thing safe to do these days. Wonder to myself, and so to you!