Tuesday 26 August 2008

Tea time.....

It seems appropriate to go from cake to tea, a loose association - but one, never the less, that works.

We had a family tea party on Sunday in honour of an aunt that had fled the UK many years back to install herself in Chicago.

Aunt Barbara (not Babs before you ask) came armed with a steely accent and pearly white teeth.

I noticed this, as I am sure this is a definite legacy from the Americas - no Brits have such whitey whites.

Tea, much cake and Jewish hubris was served.

How do you make small talk in a big loud family where nothing is ever small.

In fact, everything, including perceived grievances and injustices, are always rather large.

I digress.

We all made small talk, consoled the old, the sick, the ones in pain, greeted the young, and pretended family rifts weren't real and discussed career options for the next generation.

Should the arty ones do science? Should the scientists become doctors (Oy?!)

Should we have all become doctors?

It is amazing whom one is related to.

Somehow, tenuously, sometimes by a cousin, a thread or a marriage.

Do we all really share some invisible genetic map?

As well as tea and small talk, the important things were of course shared too.

"So and so xxxed the other day" cited my grandma over a loud car noise.

My mother - "What - she called?"

"Yes - she xxxxd."

"She died?"

"Yes - she called."

"Did she call or die?" (In an exasperated tone of voice.)

At this point, we have no idea if this old lady called or died.

I look out the window and feel an urge to giggle.

"She DIED."


And who was she, asked another relative.

The reply.

"An old lesbian."


Monday 25 August 2008


Birthdays are a bit like New Year. If you're Jewish, you get another New Year thrown in aside from December 31 so you have at least 3 times in a year where you can assess your current status/achievements and mental health.

It's a like a thrice yearly litmus test.

Am I blue? Perhaps I'm in the pink at the mo or even a bit green around the gills. Perhaps I am in the red, or even really grey today.

Anyway - voila - another birthday has been celebrated.

Why in fact do we celebrate birthdays? To say - yup - you've survived another year .

Or- aren't we all glad you were born? Hooray!

Don't ask me. According to my parents this hedonistic and yearly celebratory ritual is a generational thing.

"What - you think that people that should remember and turn up at a place of your choosing?..we didn't make all this fuss."

Or..."Well - we didn't celebrate all these milestones like you lot do...the 30th, the 40th, the 60th blah blah. We did our 21st and that was that. "


So maybe things have changed. In my world it is a chance to spoil your friends, make them feel good and yes, make an extra effort.

However, there is always next year.

Unlike most things in life, you know you get another chance to celebrate it or even spoil a friend another time.

That's the good stuff about birthdays. There may be a finite amount of them in a lifetime - but unlike a tribe I visited in Niger once who get one birthday when they are 7 days old - - perhaps we are luckier than most.

At least we get to remember our birthdays even if we drink too much to have clarity of recall.

Bring out the cards and pressies.

Tuesday 19 August 2008

Kissing the Blarney Stone

I've just come back from four lovely, but sodden days in the Emerald Isle.

I don't have much to report to the wider world but I thought you might enjoy my photo of kissing the Blarney Stone.

Now - no one tells you that you have to get on your ass, lie back and no - not think of England - but wiggle back and do a half back bend, crane your head back and peck the stone.

What a palaver for a very quick kiss that is supposed to endow magical powers of eloquence.

Also being on the petite side, I did find it rather hard to reach.

So whilst laughing hysterically, and people craning their necks and asking if I was scared or ok, the kindly old man holding me so I didn't slip over the edge - kept saying "Go wid ya, kiss it, kiss it, will ya...."

Perhaps I am just out of practice.

Wednesday 13 August 2008

Meaning of Life Stuff.........

I thought I'd been through this phrase when I was a teenager or a student.

Hours contemplating why we are here, what it's all about and religion.

I must have shelved it all for a decade by being busy. Damn busy.

But now it's all come back to haunt me and I feel like there is a hamster in a wheel going around my head 24/7. Torture.

I wake up ...why am I here? What will I do today of any great consequence?

Why does anyone do anything? Why have children? Why not have children? Will the planet survive? Does my life mean anything at all?

On and on and on.

So I bought a book. Why not? It's called...The Language of God - A scientist presents evidence for belief.

I need evidence.

So far,it's a head spin.

Here's a few factoids to keep you going :

1. In the early moments of the universe following the Big Bang, matter and antimatter were created in almost equivalent amounts. The symmetry was not quite precise - if it had been the universe would have dissolved into pure radiation.

2. If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in 100 thousand million, the universe would have collapsed before it reached its present size.

3. If the rate had been greater by even one part in a million, stars and planets could not form.

4. The nuclear force appears to be tuned just sufficiently for carbon to form - critical for life forms on earth. Had the force been more attractive, the carbon would have been converted to oxygen.

I am only on chapter 4 but somehow I am finding comfort in science and rationality rather than pure faith at the moment.

Thursday 7 August 2008

To bare or not to bare?

Now I've embarked upon this thing ie. this blog, I realise I need to keep writing.

To be frank, I have a few friends that blog too, and I feel a tad disappointed when there is nothing new to read. (I just realised that the word blog is both a verb and a noun - I am such a nerd.)

Which is silly. Of course. It's not a soap opera where we all tune in and there it is - new drama 3 times a week.

Except -sometimes, my life is in fact just like that - but I digress - again.

Anyway - I really don't have that much to say except I met a friend to work-out and then, far more importantly, to gossip and catch up in the steam room and pool.

I know this is crude, but when I got back to the changing rooms, I realised --ahem --that apparently Brazilians are still very much a la mode. I had no idea. Clearly I am not fashionable enough.

I don't think I should dwell on this but I do find it weirdly fascinating - don't you think that looking like a pre-pubescent girl is a little odd?

Anyway, we then went for a cute Italian dinner - and it reminded me of Rome.

I felt sad and happy. I miss it.

What do the Romans feel about Brazilians?

Monday 4 August 2008

You get out what you put in...

So people say.

Now is that really true?

Cos right at the moment, I'm not feeling the universal love.

Yes - I am sure eventually things will work out but jeez- don't you ever think "I'm a good person, I try to treat people well and with respect, I work hard and do my best.. - when are things coming good?"

I know this totally contradicts my last post.

But it's hard to stay strong and resolute when you keep feeling let down and that every-time something looks good, it gets pulled away.

Do we get brownie points for endurance? Maybe that's the secret of life.

Friday 1 August 2008

The law of attraction

My natural tendency is to mask sadness and disappointment with humour.

Clearly, that's better than dissolving in a sobbing heap on the floor - but today, I have decided to take charge of my thoughts.

A darling friend of mind reminded me the other day that the mind becomes what it touches.

So, we need to fill it with inspirational good thoughts and beauty, rather than let it fall to the lower depths of cynicism, despair, negativity and hopelessness.

Yes - I had another disappointing evening last night - more job rejections, stating how fab my CV was but "still not quite suitable" etc. What can a gal do?

And yes, I went on another date and discovered yet again, that all chivalry in the world seems to have disappeared. Have I ever bought my own plate of 4.95 melted cheese and guacamole Nachos so begrudgingly?

But all that aside, this is not what this post is about.

This is about a reading I have just discovered, written in 1912.

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature you meet.

To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud word, but in great deeds.

To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

So -at least for today and I will try to carry this forward, I greet you with a big beaming smile and yes, we are well, yes we are good and yes, we are happy.