Monthly Archives: April 2013

Zara Kuchi

 

Z may have been on my letters of doom list when I first signed up for the A to Z challenge. No sooner had I started to panic about it than inspiration came in the form of a Facebook post. For today I am to show thanks gratitude and appreciation for art, I know this does not start with the letter Z but an old school friend, a talented artist Zara Kuchi is my Z of choice.

When I moved from Wales I lost contact with a number of class mates, by the power of Facebook many of us have made contact again. I found (not surprisingly) that great talent had grown. For Z today I would like to share my appreciation of the art of Zara Kuchi, please look her up on Facebook where more of her work is available to peruse.

I have shared a few of my favourite pieces,

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This Zingy Cockerel makes me smile, the first time I saw him I wanted to hang him on my wall I am sure that the life and movement that is captured on the canvass spills into the room where he now sits.

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If music could be captured in brush strokes then I am sure that this handsome chap has been painted with a fine tune. I love the energy that is conveyed and the concentration that has been captured.

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This beautiful trio of miniatures, so tiny and delicate, so precise. The delicate hand that has produced these images leads me to wonder what each of the subjects might be focusing on, could be thinking of.

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The last of the painting that I shall post is this one, again the depth of spirit that is held on this canvas intrigues me, the light dancing on the skin to me the subject is emitting hope seeing something beyond the canvas that draws me to seeing her image as the subject herself.

So my Z of choice, my last post in the A to Z this year is a post to thank Zara Kuchi for producing such diverse delicate and vibrant work. If you would like to look her up please click https://www.facebook.com/ZaraKuchi

I am grateful to all of you who have followed the posts this April and hope you stick around to see what the rest of the year will bring.

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Yahoo, shall we just say yes?

Oh yes we have nearly finished! Today marks the penultimate post in the challenge from A to Z and boy am I grateful that I can see the end.

Saying yes to the daily posts has been a blessing in many ways I have learnt a lot about blogging, I have learnt so much more about me and yes I have been bitten by the bug and will be posting (not daily) frequently from now on. Can I yell “yahoo” as an expression of joy, it no longer seems appropriate to be screaming the name of a well-known search engine in celebration. But then Yahoo does not have all the answers does it?
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Today I am grateful that I said YES to this challenge but that three-letter word should be used with caution. In life it can be all to easy to say yes when it should be no, to end up in a bit of a pickle. I found this out 8 years ago a tale that I shall endeavour to tell.

Back in the year 2005 I was a mature student in a small university in west Wales, I was reading English Literature and recovering from a horrible break up. My former partner blamed my friends, we were branded the “single mums mafia” by him. This group of educated women were held responsible in his eyes for everything that had gone wrong in our relationship. To be frank, I feel that he was slightly unreasonable in this assessment of my support network, I am sure that my friends did not make him have a string of affairs, they did not hold a gun to his head and make him play the field, forgetting the relationship he was in. Still, when his bags were packed because of his indiscretions it was the single mum’s mafia that was seen by him to be solely responsible.

Finding myself single, after almost nine years was hard for me, I threw myself into my studies, my work and my family, anything outside of this was irrelevant. If a party invite was issued I would offer to babysit for my friends a guarantee that I could escape the small talk and uncomfortable chit chat that singletons are subjected to. This did not go unnoticed by my coffee drinking companions. One morning at about three months single a good chum told me that it was time I started to enjoy being me and that the next invite I got regardless of the logistics I should say “yes”. Her instance was followed with a promise to babysit for me, hell she would even run me to and pay for a taxi back. It was time to come out of hiding it was time to say yes.

Soon, too soon an invite was issued, (names have been changed here) Alex a first year student who shared a house on the edge of town chatted to me about a free party that he was hosting with his girlfriend Emily. “Pop down, bring a bottle, there is plenty of space if you want to crash…” the flirty chit chatty invite was issued and Brigitte sat opposite me mouthing “say yes” giving me the thumbs up. Before I knew any more I had agreed to go…

Saying yes was supposed to be a liberating feeling, after all what could go wrong. I was heading out with a few friends going to a party of a student in the year below. I polished my boots slipped into my little black dress and pulled my purple velvet frock coat on for good measure. Butterflies gathered in my stomach but at least I looked good!

I ordered a cab had arranged to meet my friends Pete and Sue there, I was away. The party started at nine, as always I turned up a little too early to be cool but hey Alex greeted me with a smile and showed me round the house, three floors, three lounges and kitchens I am sure that Santa’s grotto had been raided as the whole place was decorated with fairy lights. A beautiful student pad scatter cushions and tie dye throws suggested long conversations waited. We drank wine we giggled soon the place began to fill up with other party goers.

Like so many other times I ended up sitting in the kitchen, people watching through a smoky haze. Alex was such an attentive host, introducing me topping up my glass. Pete and Sue seemed less than happy though (their blissful bubble was bursting) and the snuck out for a row. My friends were not the only ones sneaking off groups of twos and threes were heading for quiet chats, doors closed and the gathering in the kitchen seemed to be growing in number. We spoke about our studies, most of us were between 25 and 50 in age all seemed to be educated interesting and conversant in many many subjects.

I had sat and chatted for so long, perched on the window that my bottom had become numb. Just behind me Emily a gorgeous auburn haired anthropologist, Alex’s partner rested her hand on my shoulder. Alex sat opposite us girls showering us with compliments topping up our drinks.

It must have been near to midnight when I decided it was time to leave, the suddenness of my departure did surprise a few but then I should point out that I was more surprised by my realisations than they were by my exit. I had inadvertently said yes to attending a swingers party! Phrases like “open house”, “anything goes” suddenly took on a new meaning and recalling the tour I was given on first arrival I now understood why there were bowls of condoms in each of the bedrooms.

With a numb bum and head full of excuses I made my exit, swiftly kissing the beautiful Emily on the cheek and thanking her for making me feel so welcome. I called a cab as I went down the three flights of stairs, pulled my party buddies form a bush in the garden and told them why we were leaving. To my amazement Pete yelled “I told you so” confirming all I had deduced, the three of us climbed into the cab and were back at mine before the clock struck one, it had been fun to find out how naive I had been.

So you see today in the post of Y I choose to be grateful for the little word yes, for the opportunities that it gives us, but only if we say yes in a considered manner. I am pleased I said yes to the A to Z, I am grateful that I was pushed to say yes to the party invite, and gosh was I grateful that I could yell down the phone for a cab when I needed one.

X What should it be…

During this A to Z I have pondered and perplexed when I think of the letter X. I deliberated over cheating and stating (e)xtra, or (e)xtravagant dropping the E but this seems like a cheat so I shall try to complete my post of gratitude on the letter X although this is extraordinarily hard.

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I did something I have not done for a long time, I hit the dictionaries. I have a pair of beautiful leather-bound lexicons that were gifted to me by my father when I started my degree, printed by the Funk & Wagnalls Company in 1955. The sit on my shelf idly holding words waiting for a moment such as this. There must be some phrase,some gem that I can harvest and manipulate to fit my X post. Opening the second volume of this very Old “New Practical Standard Dictionary” I smiled and wondered when the last time I thumbed the pages was, perhaps four years ago maybe more.

Under the letter X there are listed a total of eighty-two entries. A plethora of possibilities, or perhaps not. I scanned them and my eye was taken to Xebec, I could have fun with this word, twist in into a journey of letters turning it into gratitude to have walked away from bad relationships and become the Xe bec… but no not when I read that an Xebec is a small three-masted Mediterranean vessel. Even I cannot stretch word play this far.

Xmas is the next word of the eighty-two that draws my eye, but this is an abbreviation and should we abbreviate a day that is supposed to be a celebration, cutting short on the good things in life is not something I can condone. Drat my principles. I fear that I am going to fall back on the internet, that these 58 year old books are not going to be of any help. So I close them gently just to reopen them to check the printing date for the purpose of this post.

My old dictionaries were first owned by an L S Benson who lived in 20 Stoke Newington, written on the inside of volume one with the date 1956. The second volume has a different hand written message. It reads “To my daughter, don’t be lost for words love from Ken xxx” a simple message in a hand that I shall not see reproduced again. My Dad is still with us but he is not able to write in the same way. Parkinson’s has taken his handwriting from him so finding this short message after so long is something to be truly grateful for, as are the three x’s that have been penned to communicate his love for me.

So today in the post of X, that is exactly what I am grateful for. I am thankful that I did not find a word to use but turned the page to see my Dad’s hand written x’s for me.

Woops we are running late again … Well Wubble-u if for wishful thinking.

When all this started I may have been suffering from March Madness, the April challenge seemed a doddle, throw a few words together and hey there is a blog post. Not too difficult is it…. but then the W word became involved work, which I am grateful for, work which is paying the bills, work which has taken up 31 of the last 50 hours. So work is being blamed for my recent tardy posting in the April challenge, with only W, X, Y and Z to go I shall hope to be caught up by this time tomorrow and have only Z to post.  So with apologies for the delay here is my W for today.

I forget how many times I have heard the sigh of despair that is followed by the words “it’s wishful thinking” denoting the failure of hopes or the disappointment at the outcome of a situation. So things didn’t work out, plans flopped outcomes were not as hoped. When I hear that sigh I want to stand up and shout a bit… “So keep wishing”, keep looking for the best and become the change that you want. For it is up to the individual to put wishful thinking into place. Working with challenging behaviours, be it with children, adults or perhaps even the odd work college (in the past) operating on optimum positivity can be hard, but when my grin factor fades and the challenge becomes a chore I know I am on  a hiding to nothing. It is then more than ever that I need to sit and think – it is time for wishful thinking.

Some time ago, I worked with a person who had a personality that tended to clash with mine; lets call him Mr Difficult. I was consumed by the negative aura that he omitted as soon as  he entered the building, it affected everyone. The service users behaviours would change and it was a chain reaction that led to many difficulties that I cannot disclose. There was not option, I was either going to have to change jobs or change my daytime routine, the latter was easier.

Mornings were the worst, so instead of turning up with the minimum amount of time to spare getting in and out as quickly as possible I got in early. I made Mr Difficult a cup of tea, checked the task list for the day and prepared as much as I could. Mr Difficult also came in early (but I beat him in), I greeted him with a smile and a cheerful hello, confused he responded in a curt but polite manner we did not converse but worked in silence. That day was better.

When I got home that night, I wondered if the change was “wishful thinking” I sat and listed all the things that had perturbed me in the previous weeks and wondered how I could change them, IF I could change them. I chose three things that could be altered to benefit us all and sent a polite email. Mr Difficult did not reply before I left for work the next day, but while I waited for his response I continued to smile and be cheerful. Over the next week if I was on days I would make us both a cup of tea, write lists to do and work quietly waiting for something to be said slowly changing displays and work areas.

Two weeks after I had emailed Mr Difficult, I walked into to work on a Monday morning to find a cup of tea waiting for me, “Morning” was called out from the store cupboard Mr Difficult had it seemed succumbed to the wishful thinking. Things were never easy between us, as colleges we both knew that we were perhaps too similar, to stubborn  but while we never became friends once we had both embraced wishful thinking we were able to make a difference to the team.

Todays wishful thinking is that I will complete this A to Z … so from a little Miss (not quite so) Difficult, Today I am grateful for wishful thinking, for hopes and dreams for time to ponder on how we can improve things and for becoming the difference we want to see.

V is for The Vicar and the Circus Performer.

What do you get if you cross a Vicar and a Circus Performer? No, this is not a bad joke, unless I am.

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My father was born almost 71 years ago in an area that he describes as the “Slums” of Birmingham. He was the youngest of 13 children, money was sparse. Dad tells of being sent to school in Aunty Jean’s boots because that was all he had, he made his parents proud and was accepted to Grammar School passing his eleven plus with flying colours. His place was passed up because the uniform was too expensive. My father soon began his working life, he was a glazier, he was a bit of a lad, he wanted adventure and he joined Billy Smarts Circus. A fire-eater, a sword swallower, I love to think of my Dad as a legend of the big top.

Mum was the oldest of three, daughter of a woodwork master, some might suggest that my mother’s family were middle class, they bought their house they owned a car Mum sang a song about “peep-toed shoes” in the garden. Growing up in Kent, the garden of England, Mum studied hard, she graduated university with a classics degree. My mother became a social worker. When I was 19 my mum took the brave step to change her path, she studied once again, my Mum followed her calling and was ordained.

We all know the saying two sides to every story. While typing this tale I realised that what I know of my parents meeting, the early romance and marriage has been told to me by my Dad. They met through work. Dad decided not to go with the big top on an Australian tour, he somehow started working in childcare. He met this a raven haired social worker wearing an ankle sweeping skirt as she bought a referral to the home in which he worked. He fell head over heels for my mother, eventually she agreed to marry him. A happy ever after…. it is for me.

I know I do not say this often enough, but I am so fortunate to be the daughter of this unusual mix. My Mum and Dad might have come from opposite ends of England, different backgrounds and contrasting experiences but their union has created a family I am blessed to be part of. Last year as Mr & Mrs they celebrated 40 years of marriage. As a family we dined together in celebration, three generations, six grandchildren at the centre of the day Grandma and Granddad who despite the challenges they faced remained together supported each other and still do.

In posting alphabetically on themes of gratitude over the last month I have considered a great deal. Thought of what makes me smile and laugh, reflected on what has kept me going during times of difficulty. I sit in awe of what my parents share, they have a lifetime together, their lifetime created mine and through all the chaos I created my Mum and Dad have been a constant support.

A terrible teenager I put strain on the patience of my parents, a strain that most would have buckled under, but they never turned away. When I left, moved out at only 17 I wanted to prove my parents wrong, it didn’t work out that way but not once did I hear the words “I told you so”. Now as I face the trials of a teenager’s parent I cringe to think what I subjected them too, but I thank them with an open heart for their example has been an inspiration to me.

My greatest fear in posting this on my blog is that I fail to convey the patience, love and kindness my mum and dad have bestowed on my life. It is so easy to take things for granted, I love my parents very much, for the examples they have set and the inspiration they continue to be. I am the luckiest daughter of a Vicar and a Circus Performer and will always be grateful that they are parents to me.

U……..Umbilical cord.

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It may be almost seventeen years since the cord that linked my son and I was cut, but today as my U post I can think of nothing more appropriate to be grateful for. When I was expecting my baby, there were nine and a half months of worry, vomiting and aches, nine and a half months of pregnancy planning and hopes. I was a young Mum, only nineteen when my son was laid into my arms, that moment was the single moment of my life where everything changed. Pregnant for nine and a half months (yes he was late) I was unprepared for seeing my baby, as I looked at the mop of dark hair and the crumpled nose of my son I was consumed with awe, amazement, responsibility and fear a unique mix of emotions that blend to make Mothers’ love.

My little man and I had been connected, he had grown within me I had felt him hiccup, turn and kick the whole time I knew that what joined us kept him safe, fed him gave him the equivalent of air to breath. A lifeline from mother to son that brought him to my arms, the umbilical cord was cut at quarter to one in the morning on the first day of May in the year 1996. This is my U of choice for the A to Z challenge I am grateful for the gift of motherhood, I am thankful for the joy of seeing my son grow into a man. Ultimately my unlimited gratitude on the day of U is for the umbilical chord for it nurtured my son from within until I could hold him, until he was ready, strong enough to breath on his own ready for us to watch him grow.

Now as I prepare for his seventeenth birthday I have to look at cutting the apron strings, For I know he is so nearly an independent man, a young man I am very, very  proud of.

Time to post my T early. Thank you!

Time to reflect seems to have been an ongoing theme in my posts on appreciation, thanks and gratitude as part of my April A to Z. Today I am posting a day early trying to get ahead of the game while time allows. This week will be chaotic as I have a number of twelve-hour shifts to face.

Today I aim to reflect on what a month of blogging has bought me, and yes it is a month since I started Tales from tedium. I shall also try to look at what will come next, for my first post I should perhaps have called myself an accidental blogger. Most posts were not pre-planned or prepared for just typed in the moment and edited once before putting them out there.

So first to my readers – A massive thank you for being here and sharing my words I hope you enjoy them and I also hope you will continue with me to see what comes next. For the comments I am grateful, you have all been so kind, I appreciate the time you take to read and post all in such a positive manner.
To the plans for the future, well as I have found on my journeys through other blogs, the world is my lobster and lobsters have claws, I can grab on to what I choose and grow in the way that fits me most. I have wondered about posting some of my short fiction, and possibly a poem or two. I hope to indulge my imagination more freely. I am pleased I have time to plan time to prepare and through the blog I will be able to set my own pace, possibly introducing a part of my blog for recipes and frugal tips, (please don’t hope for house-keeping advice I operate on the fire fighting strategy with that). The A to Z has taught me lot about blogging, the most important lesson is that there is so much more to learn.

Tales from tedium, was so named not because I think of my life as boring, but that I feel I am nothing extra ordinary, just another single mum trying to make ends meet. Even in the most mundane of moments there is a tale to tell, if it is interesting or not is down to the teller. I hope that my tales are not tedious and with time the telling will become more polished and more pleasurable. Time will be needed in the months that come and time is a commodity that cannot be recycled.

Today is a post on gratitude as part of my A to Z, I would like to mention a few bloggers that have brightened my reading time, given inspiration and taught me a great deal just by being on the web …there are many more out there (because of time pressures I have limited myself to three)

Mancakes, Oh Mancakes, http://mancakestheblog.wordpress.com/ you do make me smile the pace of your writing the tone that is set when I log on and see a new post in my feed from you I pause and grab a cuppa so I can chuckle and read…. this might not be a recommended reading method unless you can prevent the tea shooting from your nose.

Chilli Sage and lemon, savoury, sensible but with a smile and a shopping list, not a blog for the hungry reader, thank you for I am back to budgeting and planning my weekly meals. Many interesting recipes have been salivated over … http://chillisageandlemon.wordpress.com/

Hey Beergut, essays from the cougars den. Again I can only issue praise, the posts are thought-provoking led me to a long discussion with my son on how women were perceived. A recommended read. http://thecougarden.wordpress.com/
These three are but a few of the blogs I enjoy there are so many more… and so many more to discover!
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Today I am posting early in the A to Z I might get my U post up tomorrow but it is time dependant. I am grateful today for many things and the time to enjoy to reflect and to plan.
Have a great day, Becs xxx