Many moons ago, I had a boyfriend who was into electronics. His parents were renovating a house and we lived there rent-free in return for keeping it safe while his uncle worked on it. The uncle was a nice man but fond of the drink so living conditions were a bit unpredictable. There might be water or electricity, or not. The boyfriend had more oven timers than you could shake a stick at. These days he’d be arrested for terrorism but he was only interested in automating the music playing. He wired up the record player to an oven timer so that you could wake up to hear Louis Armstrong or Tom Waits. Another oven timer switched on the coffee maker. It was like living with Wallace and Grommit. I think he liked inventing electrical circuits to relieve the boredom of his job. Anyway, some of the gadgetry must have rubbed off because I have a vintage amplifier to which I had attached a dvd player to play cds. The dvd player coughed and died so off I went to Curry’s last week to get a new replacement dvd player. Two young male assistants were hovering around a man who wanted to buy headphones. I hovered myself, hoping to detach one of them to get me what I had chosen, but no joy. I approached a girl and asked “Do you work here?” She pointed to a badge and said “I’m on work experience. Why, what’s wrong with you?” I assured her it was okay and went on my way, musing that there is a big difference between “What’s wrong with you?” and “How can I help you?” I wondered what the likelihood was of her getting an actual paid job. Not that there are many of those for all those young people who have gone through years of college only to end up doing “internships.” Yeah, right. The last I heard, having to work for free was called slavery. Anyway, I eventually located the item, paid and then went to another shop to look for a roller blind. “What size do you need?” asked the assistant. A reasonable question. I had cunningly written down the measurements and forgotten to bring them with me thanks to the Brainopause. I decided to chance buying one anyway, and on my way to the till, I heard a girl saying to another assistant “….so I said to her, that’s my facecloth, why is there a guinea pig sitting on it?” At that point, I thought it was time to go home and rest my ears.
On Saturday I met my friend for lunch. We met at secondary school many, many years ago. We were in the same class. I distinctly remember being behind her on the stairs and noticing with awe and admiration her high heeled blue shoes which were anything but regulation school wear. She still has great shoe sense and I still admire her greatly. As we chat, we invariably say “I can’t believe that was twenty/thirty/forty years ago!” It does indeed seem unbelievable to both of us, because inside we feel eternally young. Personally, I feel like I am about thirty one inside: old enough to be gaining perspective on existential angst, young enough to do cartwheels, although I was never great at them. I notice that these days, my mind is better able to grasp complexities but there is the occasional click of neck or knee to remind me that time is moving on for my body. I also notice that it takes a lot more maintenance than previously to keep my body working as well as it can! I used to do yoga once a week. It was optional. Now I do it every day and it’s not optional – I seize up if I don’t do it! However, on the positive side, I recently started learning Tai chi and I absolutely love it. I had tried to learn it years ago but didn’t stick with it. This time around, I have found a class that is ongoing, with really committed teachers, and I am in it for the long haul. When I am doing Tai chi, time stops. I am completely focused on trying to do the movements correctly and in the correct sequence, and my mind is at rest. It is meditation in motion. There is a palpable sense of peace in the room. It was one of the things my friend and I chatted about at lunch. Another thing we giggled over was how Sister Camillus told us to go our separate ways when we ended up in different classes, and that she didn’t want to see us trying to keep in contact on our lunch breaks. Yeah, right. Great judge of people she was! Oh it’s great to be grown up and mature all right!
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Cats are God’s best invention. They are warm, furry and funny. Is there anything better than putting a purring cat to your ear and listening to the sound of happiness? Talk about sound therapy to heal the heart and soul! We can learn a lot from how cats spend their day. Get up and stretch. (Activate muscles and open energy channels.) Big yawn. (Release tension from the jaw.) Go out for a ramble. (Fresh air and exercise.) Come back in and be served food. (Manifestation of good-quality staff.) Go for a power nap. (Don’t overdo it.) Get up and stretch. (Stay flexible.) Nibble on some food. (Eat small and often.) Go out and catch sparrow as gift for Mammy. (Use God-given talents.) Watch Mammy in disbelief as she rejects gift and instead successfully resuscitates sparrow from near-death experience by giving him healing energy. (Educate Mammy in higher healing arts.) Watch Mammy with exasperation as she runs out door with chirping sparrow wrapped in kitchen towel. (Create exercise program for Mammy.) Watch Mammy in puzzlement as she adds revived sparrow to her miracle list. (Create spiritual growth opportunity for Mammy.) Throw back leg over shoulder to clean bum while considering that Mammy needs to get out more. (Attend to physical and mental hygiene.) See what I mean? Cats are God’s best invention.
I have just come back from doing a talk in my local library on ‘Introduction to Self Publishing.” The librarian had said five people were booked to turn up for it, so I was pleasantly surprised to find fifteen, not five! A further pleasant surprise was that most of them were older than me, and I’m no spring chicken. People listened closely and asked great questions. Another pleasant surprise was how buzzed I felt afterwards – I guess, writing being a solo effort, it’s nice to connect with fellow writers and aspiring self publishers. I was not allowed to sell any books, but to one lady who asked to buy one, I said, let’s step outside the door and do business! In turn, she not only paid for the book, but gave me the name of a useful website. She’s in marketing, so any help in that direction would be most welcome. I was delighted with the enthusiasm shown by people, but I think the library staff were less impressed, because even after they called closing time, the questions kept coming thick and fast. One senior lady told me that she had written a memoir, but that she was ninety, and she better get it published soon, while she is still above ground. Now THAT’S what I call a deadline! I hope they all succeed in finishing their books and getting them published. We all have a story to tell, and the world will be a richer place for the sharing of stories that connect us and remind us who we are.
One of my cats, Felicity Sophia, has a habit of sitting on my desk, preferably on my keyboard, and extending her claws into my head to get my attention. It works. I really could have done without it today, on a day which started off with no answer to the first three calls I made to my usual computer fixer guy. I have one reasonably good laptop, and a mini laptop for travelling. The reasonably good laptop was working okay until Saturday morning, when it slowed from a brisk trot, to a sedate walk, to a let’s call the ambulance pace. Having been here before, I did the usual: ran a quick scan – which took four hours. Deleted cookies, then made hot chocolate and ate cookies when that didn’t work. Tried to do a belated back up, having done the last one a month ago. Uh oh. I knew I was in serious trouble when it told me it would take four hours to copy one folder. So I was relieved to have a back up computer, right? Wrong. Whether it is a planetary alignment, satellites overhead, fairies with leylines or just bad luck, the mini laptop has also slowed to a crawl. Sometimes I can fail to see what is in front of me, but even I am getting the message: I have angered the technology gods. I am now downing tools, switching off the computer before it blows up, going for a walk around the block, having yet more hot chocolate and non-internet cookies when I come back, and settling down with Felicity Sophia on my knee to watch Gibbs in NCIS. I surrender to my fate, and will take up the cudgels again tomorrow.