Thursday, 14 November 2013

Gladitude Week Two!!!

Woooo hooooo It’s week Two!!
It’s odd how you find what you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for reasons to be miserable or disappointed, you’ll find them.
If you’re looking for reasons to be grateful and find joy, you’ll find them.
Lots of them.

Day Eight
Today I’m grateful for TEDtalks!  (‎)
If you haven’t been introduced to the awesome world of TEDtalks, you’re in for a great treat. TED is a non profit organisation originally began with the aim to join communities of Technology, Entertainment & Design (see what they did there?). Since its inception, the scope has broadened to include so much more.
Since developing MS, I am regularly forced to sit down & shut up, to rest, to take it easy. Sometimes it’s really hard to read, and I’m not a fan of daytime TV. TEDtalks are fabulous, informative, entertaining, and VARIED. The speakers are leaders and innovators in science, education, music, art, architecture, personal communications, business…you name it, TED’s got it.

They have a website. They’re on YouTube. On Netflix. Go find them. Go fill your head with wonder.

Day Nine
Today I’m excited that I’m not a Victorian Woman.
This is a weird one, eh? I was thinking today about how they had to dress. All those layers & layers of clothes. Corsets. Tightness. Restrictions. AGONY.  As I write this I am sat in a pair of sweat pants and one of my husband’s old fleece sweatshirts. I could not possibly be in more comfy clothes.

My wedding dress was made in 1901, at the very end of the Victorian Era. I fell in love with it the first time I saw it & bought it on layaway at a vintage clothing shop for $50 a month. It has a waist the size of six year olds thigh. Yes, when I got married at 28, I was that small. I can barely get my wrist in it now…All I can say is it was a beautiful blessing on the day, and I’d never change my choice of dress, but how great is it that the next day I was in a t-shirt and jeans…how great that I had a choice and didn’t have to dress like that every day!

Day Ten
Today I am grateful for dishwashers & washing machines & tumble dryers.
Modern life is filled with many stressful things. I feel really blessed for the appliances that take away most of the stress involved with housework. Seriously. I know I moan a lot about it & in a perfect world I wouldn’t have to do any at all, but it’s not as back breaking and time consuming as it was in my grandmother’s youth. I have free time to write while machines do the bulk of the work for me, and I feel so blessed for that.

Now….If I could find a machine that would pick up the dog poop, my domestic blessings would be complete!

Day 11
Wow. Veterans’ Day.
So many of my family and friends have served in the military, a few are still serving in very dangerous places. I hate the fact that we NEED the Armed Forces to protect us. Hate it that the world is the kind of place where we only feel safe because we are bigger and badder than our perceived enemies. BUT I respect and admire and appreciate so much the men and women all over the world that are willing to undertake such a harrowing job, willing to do a job that scares me silly.
Yes, it is a job. Yes many of them choose that job. But it doesn’t make them any less brave. Doesn’t negate the fact that they put themselves in harm’s way so that WE don’t have to, and for the most part they are paid crap to do it.

Appreciate them, people. Support them. Show them your gratitude.

Day 12
My boys.
When we got to the end of two years of marriage & still had no kids, we went to the doctor. The news was bad. I took every test offered, gave vials and vials of blood, took drugs, had operations. The doctors weren’t hopeful, told me to concentrate on my career.

I used to come home from afternoons in town in hysterics because I’d counted pregnant women, and undeserving women who were screaming at  their kids in the grocery store.

Then a miracle happened. One of the operations worked. 5 years and 3 months after we got married our Jed was born. Three years later we were shocked to find Morgan on his way with no medical intervention.

I am not a natural mother. I am not nurturing and soft hearted. I’m rough & tumble. Screechy. Defensive. Disorganised. Sometimes I get put out about the work involved, I can be a bit selfish. There is absolutely nothing like parenthood to show you just how immature, inept and unprepared you are. It’s the best place to humble you, to knock the spikey edges of pride off your ego. (Try being big headed and prideful when you’re exhausted, five dress sizes bigger than you ever vowed to get,  covered head to toe in vomit, and knee deep in dirty laundry.)

These two boys have taught me more about tolerance, patience, endurance, selflessness…and a million more things I very obviously needed to learn. Things I am still learning on a daily basis. They are funny, witty, creative, generous and amazing. It’s astounding that they’ve turned out so well with me as their mother.

It’s kind of a miracle that they’ve made it so far in one piece. Seriously.

And yep, when they were little, I was occasionally that woman who shouted at my kids in the grocery store. We live and learn…

Day 13
Today I am thankful for Autumn.
It’s been a long time coming to the UK this year. The leaves are setting the roadside ablaze, today the weirdly warm temperatures nosedived. Autumn is a mixed bag for me. I love the colours. Hate the death of summer. Hate the slow inevitable slide into winter. Love Thanksgiving, love stodgy warm comfort foods, nights curled up with a book. Hate waking up to the dark, having it dark again before supper.

But we are all curled up watching a funny film together, we have a warm home, food on the table. And though we are sliding on that soon to be icy slope towards Winter, Winter always limps wetly into Spring and then SUMMER.  Life is good.

Day 14
WRITERS GROUP!!! Yess yessssss yes, I am so grateful for my Writers Group.
Three years ago this month, I got brave and jumped on a train on a nasty cold night after work and went into the heart of Manchester, by myself, to meet a bunch of complete strangers in a pub at Picadilly. They were the riff raff that made up that years NaNoWriMo group from Manchester. Everyone who knew me was shocked. The Husband called me about 20x to make sure I hadn’t encountered any axe murderers along the way. I quickly stopped shaking in my boots & had a grand time. AND best of all, I met a local friend who agreed with me that we ought to start a local writers group after we finished beating ourselves up over our NaNoNovels…

We did it. It was scary. We fell lucky on so many levels. And I’ve made some uplifting, inspiring, lifelong friends along the way. We’ve all written our fingers off, participated in local council arts programmes, run workshops, laughed our heads off and had a blast.

And I am so blessed to know each and every one of them.


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  2. Wow, Jo! These are wonderful ramblings. Inspiring and funny! Did you know that you are funny?