I've been on a family holiday this week so unless I'm going to go into such inspiration as my three year old stepson telling my six year old stepson (who had just thrown up all over the car) not to eat the sick, I need to look to literature for my guest. I'm a big fan of Sarah Dunant and loved this extract from a book of hers that I devoured in a single day.
Extract from Mapping the Edge
by Sarah Dunant
'So you don't think of him now?'
'Hardly ever. It's funny, I'm not sure I can remember him very well. It's so long ago, as if I was another person.'
'Sounds like you came out the victor in the end.'
'You think so? I don't see it as a battle any more.'
'That's how you know you've won.'
 
Today's guest is my friend Samantha. We've known each other about four and a half years and she was the only friend to survive my marriage. Nobody messes with Samantha who is disturbingly intelligent in the way that makes even cats grudgingly respect her. While my ex always claimed to like her, I think perhaps he knew better than to take her on. It's a short entry, taken as it is from an email but it's so brilliant and so kind that nothing else would do for this week.
Superwoman
by Samantha
Even if you have a Superwoman costume in the wardrobe, you don't have to wear it all the time.
Picture
 
RSVPs and nobody at the party. Not that I can really pout too much but I've two people saying they're writing for this page and one touched but seemingly doing nothing about it. So no specific guest but hey, why let that stop me? Especially now the fiance and I have the internet again (it was down for 24 hours, we nearly died!). Anyway, there's a song that helped me move on from my ex by a band I think are just fabulous and so here's another Life Lesson blog (written as I'm sure you appreciate from a what not to do perspective).
Salesmen, cheats and liars
by my ex
The world is not a nice place and people are not on your side. Do not be complacent for man is selfish and ultimately there is nobody who would not sacrifice you in order to achieve their own goals. Even when things are going good be sure to hold something back and avoid being vulnerable. Some might say you are running with the self-fulfilling prophecy but don't buy it!

I know the only feeling you have is rage 
And I know that I'd feel the same as you, but 
I think you'd better take a good look around you 'cause 
You're so pissed you can't even find your drink 


Those that claim they're trying to help are merely projecting their own ideas onto you. Just because they've had their share of pain doesn't mean they won't inflict it as soon as you let them. Empathy is simply opportunism or loneliness that breeds desire for company at the bottom. Either way they'll drag you down.

Sometimes it's wise 
To know which way the gun is pointing 
Before you yell, "I see the whites of their eyes." 
Sometimes you'll find your senses all disjointed by 
The lines and wires of salesmen, cheats and liars 


If you let your guard down even one iota then people will trash all over you. You can think yourself in love even but you will either have your heart broken or settle for small scale casual cruelty. Set your strength from the beginning and keep them in their place. They are out to hurt you so subdue them. But even then, they'll leave you for the sake of causing pain.


Well she left, without one word of tenderness 
And noone saw you cry but me 
Your friends heard you say, "Good riddance, I'm better without her." but 
'Fess up, you thought about diving into the Don 


Trust in yourself. Hold your values and views. Adapting to experience is simply giving up and didn't you say all along people were out to screw you over. It's not pessimism, it's realism to assume the worst. You may get the rare positive that surprises you but you are never disappointed by life, simply prepared.

Sometimes it's wise 
To know which way the car is going 
Before you put your pedal down to the floor 
Sometimes you'll find your senses all disjointed by 
The lines and wires of salesmen, cheats and liars
 
A quick glance at a calendar tells me I've been ill for over a month. I've taken three sick days each roughly a fortnight apart. It is getting quite disheartening and is something I worry about as beyond the fact I feel I'm letting my employer down, I spent four years living with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) which is now more commonly referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I've had a couple of minor relapses over the years so I'm cautiously optimistic I'll soon bounce back. It's a controversial illness with some arguing it to be largely psychological. My response as a teenager was fine, give me crazy pills then but I'd like my life back please. Anyway, rather than get into that I've decided to share the health advice I've been given over the years.
Spit buckets and whisky
by Assorted
Paul was my on-off boyfriend from my GCSE's to when I went to uni. He was at Hull University (reading Physics I think) and was friends with a student nurse. Whenever someone was ill she would remind them to keep spitting in a bucket; spit spit and never swallow. The reasoning makes sense in that whatever you're coughing up is probably best out of your body. I try do it when I remember but actually it grosses me out a bit so today I haven't been.

Hot honey and lemon. My mum made me this as fairly standard fare when I was a child but I wasn't a huge fan of how sweet it was. Around my mid-teens I was allowed proper hot toddy's and think they are awesome (not really suitable for taking to the work place however). My ex used to point out that drinking while you were ill might numb the pain but could prolong the length of your illness.

Which leads me onto getting rid of unhelpful people. Really, my ex had to go. The fiancé makes fabulous hot toddy's and still wants to cuddle me when I'm sweaty and feverish.

The fiancé has had one piece of advice though and that has been banning me from consuming dairy as it increases mucus production (Mmm get me with the sexy talk in this blog!). Avoiding dairy seems smart but really I'm doing it because he's largely the person feeding and watering me.

Given that she watched me fade before her during my ME days my mum is understandably concerned and keeps reminding me to rest and stay warm. Obvious advice but hard to follow. Feeling a bit better I did some gardening on Saturday (in the drizzle no less) and subsequently spent yesterday ill on the sofa and had today off work. Two days doing nothing and I'm bored as hell.

A piece of advice I'm not following is my paternal grandfather's prescription of iodine for everything. From applying it neat to open wounds to gargling with it, iodine was the answer. I have never actually tried it as my mother always got in his way with her radical application of plasters and paracetamol. Still, Grandad isn't far from his 90s so maybe he's onto something.
 
For the last two weeks the Monday Guest has written a blog for me. But there are a whole host of people I want to feature and not all will write. Some will be interviewed and others will have their story written by me. This entry follows the latter and is a life lesson from my maternal grandmother who I called Nana.

Wear fabulous shoes
"by" Nana
It was the last time I saw her. I knew she was dying and that this last meeting would be goodbye and felt at a loss as to what to do. On impulse and from lack of any other ideas I put on my hot pink suede shoes.

I went into her room in the hospice and felt really awkward. It was her but somehow not her. Nana wasn't the staying still sort. Even on the sofa at the end of the day her hands would be busy with cross stitch or tapestry. She asked to look at my shoes. She liked them.

And on her deathbed my Nana told me to always wear fabulous shoes. I promised.

I'm not one for regrets. For the most part I endeavour to live a life that I won't regret but I wish she could have met the fiancé. I wish I could tell her that not only do I wear fabulous shoes that not only make me smile, feel good about myself and that in making me make that promise to her, she was giving me the gift of taking her with me with each step I took but that I could tell her an utterly absurd love story.

About a girl that met a boy online and his username was Jimmy_Choo and when she realised she was in love with him she took a train to London and went into Jimmy Choo. That the girl bought a pair of shoes and told the boy and that absurd action not only made him smile more than he thought a pair of shoes could make him smile but that in a single crazy action she realised anything was possible.

Life lesson #1: Wear fabulous shoes

    The Monday Guest

    The Thursday Column has become an institution; mostly just for me but there are a few people whose feedback suggests that my desire to publish something near the end of the week has resulted in a product that fills a pre-weekend Thursday muse or a Friday morning coffee break. Well, I'd like to start each week in a similar way and have asked my many brilliant friends to support this goal. If you would like to contribute, please contact me.

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