Category Archives: General

General comments on life as I see it

Weddings Galore

The past two months has seen as many family weddings. Weddings are joyful occasions and when Horace married Ker-ching in May I thought it would be the pinnacle of enjoyment. It was special, but it also carried with it responsibilities, which took the edge off, not only for me and Mavis, who stood and sang this song (try to ignore  the lack of apostrophe), but also for the happy couple, who carried the burden of organisation and finance.

For me there was the additional problem of the outfit. My portly frame would appear in many a photograph, I thought, so what to wear?  I decided that if I wore a huge and brightly coloured hat, attention might be averted from my body, and so PINK became the rule of dress.

I bought a hat…

And matching glasses…

and a bag and watch in the same colour. I also invested in Spanx (not in shocking pink).

It was some time later, and not very far in advance of the big day, that I decided to check that the outfit still fitted and that I could get into the afore-mentioned underwear. To my horror, I discovered that instead of a flap with press studs, as one would expect in the crutch of such items, the Spanx appeared to have, what in men’s pants would be described as a ‘fly’, albeit in the correct strategic location for a woman. An opening with overlapping edges. I mean for goodness sake, look at this video.

The first thing I did was to test this ‘opening’ and of course I peed all down the legs. Ugh.

My brand new magic swimsuit went straight into the laundry and I decided I would need a Shewee. Of course it must match my outfit so….

 

I didn’t have the nerve to use it in the end, and a trip to the loo involved a complete strip-off and a lot of grunting to get the underwear back on afterwards.

Earlier this year my brother, A.K.A. Wonder Man, stopped wondering and decided with remarkable speed and  determination, that he had met his Wonder Woman. This, at the age of 59, was something we in his family had hardly dared to imagine. Our joy was palpable on the day of his nuptials.

The mother of the bride on this occasion, decided to  introduce some drama – she is an actress after all – by taking a tumble on the eve (appropriate word for those of us who know her identity) of the event and breaking a bone in her shoulder. The upshot of this was that the bride-and-groom-to-be spent until 6am in casualty, and arrived at the celebrations, with M.O.T.B. in a wheel chair, having managed but two hours sleep. The happy couple were undeterred and managed to keep going until late into the evening. The speeches were incredible, being also by actors.

Horace and I decided the whole event was even more enjoyable than her own, because of the lack of responsibility.

Conversation with my parents, under the Scout jamboree tent that served as a marquee, drifted to my own wedding – as it would, me having experienced three of the blighters. I have mentioned in a past post about my three husbands. here they are, bless them.

This was taken when we all attended the funeral of a dear friend. The experience elicited the parental crack about Three husbands and a Funeral, that still amuses them and their friends, on a regular, intoxicated basis.

My marriage to husband number one (on the right) was at Mum and Dad’s expense. A full blown affair in the more formal tradition expected in those days. Less traditional was my departure after only six months.

The thing I didn’t know at the time, that I have heard about on a number of occasions since, is that my parents had no money to buy us a wedding present, and so purchased a fridge-freezer on the ‘never never’. They were still paying for it 18 months later, and the worst thing was, Husband Number One got to keep it.

 

Child Quote 13

I haven’t posted one of these for a while. Mavis and Horace are lovely, but not cute any more and their witty remarks are sophisticated. There is still plenty of opportunity for cute stuff as I work in a primary school but I have to be careful.

This time of year, I imagine in most primary schools, the SATs and assessments are over and the end of the school year is imminent. Teachers and children are tired but there are matters less academic  to focus on, such as concerts, leavers assemblies and school trips.

We also have something called Transition Day. This is a marvellous innovation. There was nothing like it when I was at school. The children all move up to their next class so that they and their new teacher can get to know one another. In year 6 students head off to spend a couple of days in their new secondary school.

Transition
Thanks to University of Nebraska for this image http://newsroom.unl.edu/announce/rso/6187/34608

This is what was happening on the day when I had to swallow my hanky to stifle a guffaw. The teacher explained to the children that, like Superman, they were Super (learning) heroes. They had to think of a super learning name such as Mr Mathematic, and explain what their super power was. Maybe they were super spellers or super multipliers (if you see what I mean. We don’t teach human reproduction until Year 6).  The (learning) bit escaped some, who gave themselves names such as Captain Fantastic but who cared, they were having fun? The children also had to explain on their paper, what their weakness was. Superman had Kryptonite and theirs could be ‘Evil PE’ or whatever.

I don’t often have the chance to work in a class as I usually work one to one, supporting children with Speech and Language or Special Educational needs, so I was enjoying looking over shoulders and chatting about the choices children had made.

This is what made me giggle. In the box entitled ‘Super Power’ a child had written ‘Wondering’ and beside that, in the box entitled ‘Weakness’, she had put ‘Thinking’.

I’m with her there.

Funny thing

We let out our rooms on AirBNB. It has given us a good income and we have met lots of interesting people from all over the world: France, Spain, Germany, China, India, USA, and other places. Sometimes there are language difficulties but in the main they put us to shame with their amazing knowledge of English.

This week we had a lady from Spain. I speak a bit of Spanish but as usual, didn’t need to use it. A couple of nights ago she came down stairs to the kitchen, where Whizz, Mavis and I were eating dinner.

‘What is the name of the Indian?’ she asked, gesturing in the direction of the Indian restaurant a few yards away.

The Haldi.’ I replied, upon which, the girl went upstairs and knocked on the door of the family room. ‘Excuse me, The Haldi,’ she said to the guy from Calcutta, who had rented the room for a few days, ‘Would you mind moving your car?’

 

The Universe sends Worms

I am in the habit of chanting, morning and evening.

In the morning I think about the day ahead and how I will behave – my attitude to people and my job, or the tasks I must undertake. In the evening I review my day and determine to do better and acknowledge anything good.

This morning, while chanting, I was thinking about my husband, whom I love dearly but who sometimes receives the wrong  end of my tongue. I’m not snappy but I am critical, and he doesn’t deserve it. It’s a bad habit and I regularly determine during my chanting, to be more tolerant and kind. Sadly, being judgemental is in my karma so overcoming it is quite a challenge.

In the course of my chanting, this morning, apart from dwelling on my shortcomings and forgiving myself, and determining to do better, I drifted into thinking about my novel (this happens. It’s hard to keep focused when you are a natural dreamer). The latest product of my imaginings is the sequel to Be Careful What You Wish For and I have been pondering its title. I have an idea to call it Opening the Can – as in can of worms.

I recently painted the illustration on the cover of Be Careful What You Wish For, but with this title, I was concerned about my worm-painting skills. Was I up the the challenge of painting a spilt can of worms?

With this in mind, as soon as I had uttered my final Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, I went straight to my laptop in search of images of worms. Oh what a lot there were, but I skimmed over them, dozens of them, until one photo caught my eye. The worms were nice and big and juicy with lots of glistening highlights. I clicked on the image.

Image result for opening can of worms
Nice and juicy

The picture linked to blog entitled The Years of Living Non-Judgmentally by Ann Koplow

How apt. It was a message from the universe and I began to read. Ann appeared to be on a similar journey to me and I was curious about her reasons, so I trailed down to her first entry and read this:

‘Judgment is that oh-so-human way of thinking, where we focus on what should be, rather than what is.’

It lit a light bulb. Such a simple sentence, easy to carry with me and act on when I find myself frustrated by the oh so many, insignificant things that clutter my day. The untidy school library (why don’t the children have more consideration and the teachers educate them better?) The toilet roll tube left on the window ledge in our bathroom, not thrown in the bin (such a simple habit to get into,  Do my family expect me to do it every time?) The dishes beside the empty dishwasher (blooming teenagers!) The interruptions while trying to write (enough said).

The above are what we now refer to as ‘First World Problems’. To a homeless person living on city streets, or a Syrian refugee  fighting for his life on a leaky , overcrowded boat, they are but nothing. A luxury.

I have heard it mooted that Nichirin Buddhism is a Middle Class faith, but I happen to know that this is untrue. In Japan,  after Hiroshima, and more recently, the tsunami, people were left with nothing. Nichirin Buddhism held its followers together and drove them to continue their fight to build a new future.

You could call my worm experience a coincidence or the intervention of the Universe known as The Mystic Law. Whatever you choose to think, this was a heck of an enlightening moment.

This star-forming region, captured by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, is dominated by the bright, young star IRAS 13481-6124 (upper left), which is about twenty times the mass of our sun and five times its radius, and is surrounded by its pre-natal cocoon. It is the first massive baby star for which astronomers could obtain a detailed look at the dusty disk closely encircling it. The research provides direct evidence that massive stars do form in the same way as their smaller brethren.
From this archival Spitzer image, as well as from observations done with the APEX 12-metre sub-millimetre telescope, astronomers discovered the presence of a jet, hinting at the presence of a disk. This was then confirmed by observations made with the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope Interferometer.
This picture was taken with Spitzer’s infrared array camera. It is a four-color composite, in which light with a wavelength of 3.6 microns is blue; 4.5-micron light is green; 5.8-micron light is orange; and 8-micron light is red. Dust appears red-orange and most stars are blue, though ones deeply embedded within dust (like IRAS 13481-6124) take on greenish-yellow tints.

 

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo