Wednesday, December 26, 2007

RAINY BOXING DAY

I tried to work out today, honest, but got to the gym and remembered that my card was laying on my hallway floor back in my homestead. D'oh. So returned home to work out with my new exercise ball. Jumped a bit of rope too.

LEGENDARY!

R came to collect me to go see I AM LEGEND on the IMAX screen. I have decided my vow for 2008 is to avoid all movies that are scary, suspenseful, and violent. Seriously only uplifting films for me. If I look back at the many cinema visits I've been on this year, I can't say there were too many that would be described as uplifting...We definitely need more inspirational films out there. Roll on SYBD - the movie.

Incidentally (in true Thea fashion of finding positives in everything), though it wasn't my cup of tea, I was grateful to finally have seen a 'proper' movie on the largest screen in Scotland...That was cool!

BODY IN THE CLYDE?

As we were waiting to go into the cinema - I noticed some divers diving into the water under the back of the IMAX...So many policemen there - I joked they'd "probably find some body in the water there". Turns out I was right. Can you believe it? Geez I was walking all over the place there just yesterday and today they uncover a body? Ugh.

Which brings me (rather tenuously) to my next somewhat morbid topic - largely inspired by 1) IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE and 2) THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS MOVIE that I watched this afternoon.

The latter very loosely based on the former...and in this case Kermit was wishing he'd never been born. Haven't we all wished that at one time or another?

We just never know the effect we have on other people's lives. And wouldn't it be great if we could actually see that we make a difference to the people in our life or other people in general?

I mean we never really see tangible proof that we make a difference.

Sure if you're a doctor or something, you might see the difference you make, but if you're a mere mortal like me - how do you know your life means anything? How do you know anyone actually gives a toss of your existence? I wish I could have a glimpse at the world that doesn't include Thea Newcomb. Call me quirky, but I'd like to know I was making a difference. Perhaps I am being a little too hard on myself, I don't know.

To be fair, I do get daily notes from people around the world thanking me for SYBD. That is something. It means a lot. In fact today one arrived from a young man (31) in Guadalajara, Mexico:

"The first time I saw this site was about a year and a half ago. I broke up with an ex-girlfriend about two years ago. It had been a relationship of 6 years and a half and I was obviously depressed. I felt horrible, and I didn´t know what to do. My family and friends helped me a lot, but as you may know, it was not enough. So I thought that it should be a site in the web - that´s when I found the site. I read all your sections every week, and I really liked it. Maybe many people have told you the same, but it's true, this site helped me to feel better and to get cured from my depression. As I have told you, it has been 2 years ago since I broke up with that girl, and now that I remember it I feel great. I know that I´m fine, I´ve started a new life and I think I´m over it because I´ve passed the test of your site. I want to thank Thea Newcomb for creating this site, it´s awesome, and I know it´s been helpful for lots of people. I thought I´d never make it."

Yeah, ok that's pretty awesome...and it came in this afternoon at a time I was questioning my own life and existence and how I might better serve while I am on this planet of ours...but perhaps I am serving enough?

Maybe all of us make a difference, but we just never see it? Perhaps the real fault here, in me, is looking for validation externally? I don't know.

I guess it's the holidays - combined with the knowledge of my lovely friend Gail's passing - that has sent me into a spiral of introspection.

Who would attend my funeral? What would my own epitaph read? What would people say about me? Would anyone actually give a crap if I wasn't here?

Don't worry, I'm not suicidal, just looking at the "bigger picture" and questioning whether I am doing enough with my limited time on this earth. Surely I am not the only one who thinks like that?

DO THE TAO NOW

So I really am enjoying my DR WAYNE DYER book CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

If you want to check it out on AMAZON - US (click here) or UK (click here)

It really is a life-changing book (for me) which has crystalised so many principles my mother (and to some degree my father) have tried to instil in me. It won't be everyone's cup of tea but it resonates with me.

The biggest challenge for me is to practice non-judgment. It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do. We're constantly judging and labeling, other people, their actions, their clothes, their habits - all of it. Every conversation I ever have seems to have that to a degree. Try it yourself. Go through one day where you don't make someone else right or wrong, good or bad, ugly or pretty, short or tall - etc. It's not easy, that's for sure.

The hardest thing in life for most of us to ever realise is we really have NO CONTROL over anyone else - how they feel, how they act, what they think - none of it. We can only control our own thoughts, feelings and actions (with some effort, mind you).

Stephen Covey's 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE often talks about how / why we have so many misunderstandings in life:

"While we tend to judge ourselves by our intent, we tend to judge others by their behavior." Stephen M.R. Covey

So true Mr. Covey. We end up making some random assumptions by doing that too. I am never very good at trying to explain this - but I see examples of it in my life and the lives of my friends - on a daily basis.

Well that's about enough waffle from me this Boxing Day Evening. I must tackle some of the stuff in my hallway that needs to be bagged up for re-cycling or charity. Then it's off to the bath with that DYER book!

I have to say, I've been feeling pretty serene the past few days...Long may that continue.

Tomorrow though, I might have to break my shopping ban and head to town to replace the two pairs of slippers that have been sent to the bin this afternoon. I won't feel too guilty as I've got three bags of clothes for charity so far...and counting.

Peace out.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A SOLO CHRISTMAS - MINUTE BY MINUTE

Well Christmas Day 2007 has come and gone. I survived it. I thought I'd give you a little glimpse of what has transpired for me today...A singleton's Christmas as it were...

10:40 AM - Wake up at a nice leisurely hour.

10:42 AM - Walk to lounge and switch on phone and read a variety of texts (most annoyingly from people who feel the need to sign BOTH theirs and their partners names). Grrr...

Reply only to one from an SYBDer who claims that there was no "Brad Pitt" under the tree, but at least, she said, she didn't have to go to her ex's parent's house today. I completely related and laughed out loud. You see, the first Christmas after my "big break-up" (99) I thought the exact same thing. It's good to find things to be grateful for so I applaud her on her efforts.

10:45 - Log into FACEBOOK and read a lovely, lengthy message from producer boy STEFAN D. (Eyes welled-up whilst reading it).

10:50 AM - Leave lounge and head for the kitchen, and switch on the radio - it's the lovely COLIN KELLY on Radio Clyde (A station I seldom would deliberately tend to listen to -- except for the odd Billy Sloan show, at a push).

10:52 AM - Hop into the shower and mentally re-write the lyrics to Mariah's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" to include things like "in my bed," and "in my shower...." etc. (Yes, I'm naughty. ;) No wonder Santa never stopped here last night...)

11:00 AM - After shower, get dressed and make three scrummy pancakes.

Switch off Radio Clyde once I hear the Sugababes butchering "White Christmas".

11:20 AM - Photograph the pancakes and then proceed to eat them merrily - all the while sipping tea from my soyouvebeedumped.com mug.... (see pic).

11:25 AM - Put on BBC1 for SANTA CLAUS 2. Ah something festive, yay.

11: 27 AM - Bored with SANTA CLAUS 2 and so channel hop.

11:28 AM - End up watching a TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY ON HUGH HEFNER. Marvel at how creepy I find it that an 80-something man has three girlfriends in their 20s.

11:38 AM - Blow dry hair and get dressed.

12:00 PM - Lug a giant box of clothing to the car for a charity donation on the 27th.

Vow to take twice as much when I finally do go on the 27th...

12:05 PM - Take a walk toward the River Clyde.

At traffic lights (near XFM), notice a cute guy who is stopped at the lights. Guy waves - and I realise that I actually know the guy (what are the odds?) - a lovely BBC producer called Chris. How apt...(geddit? It's Christmas! Oh never mind....)

Listen to DR. WAYNE DYER'S 'POWER OF INTENTION' on the iPod as I walk. I contemplate my life, my year, my future and make a mental note that my life's mission is to help as many 'broken hearted' individuals around the world as possible. Thus 2008 needs to be about completing the book and film versions of the website...

1:15 PM - After a long walk, and many pictures snapped, I return home feeling very serene.

1:30 PM - Make another cup of tea.

Begin to cook feast. Cut extra large sweet potato and baked potato in half and pop them in the oven.

1:35 PM - Put on TONY BENNET'S Christmas Album - Snowflake.

2:00 PM - Decide to tidy desk - not for fun - but because I am actually looking for my SD Card Reader so I can edit the photos.

2:10 PM - Paint fingernails festive color (burgundy) on right hand only.

2:18 PM - Found card reader and desk is tidy (win/win) so begin editing photographs. Watch stupid Whoopie Goldberg Christmas film while doing so.

3:00 PM - Begin cooking the bird (a chicken joint) and cut up all the vegetables for steaming.

3:10 PM - Go back to the movie and editing pictures.

3:30 PM - Check bird and start to steam veggies.

3:45 PM - Add roasties and Yorkshire Puddings to oven. Baste the bird. Continue editing pictures.

4:30 PM
- Dinner is served. It's arguably the best Christmas Dinner I've ever had the pleasure of eating (though I admit it doesn't look as lovely as yours no doubt did)...

5:00 PM - Kimba calls from Ohio and we talk about our respective Christmas Days.

We both open our presents from our friend Fiona in Australia. (Incidentally, I got a business card holder and mirror key chain and three CDs). Note to self: get new business cards made...

5:30 PM - Channel hop until I wind up on Movies 24 for a Steve Gutenberg film MEET THE SANTAS (the sequel to the one I watched 2 days ago on the HALLMARK channel, I believe)

6:00 PM - Begin to write Stefan a message back.

6:16 PM - Watch the rain fall from the comfort of my sofa.

6:30 PM - Speak to dad on Skype - upload photos whilst doing so.

7:00 PM - Skype drops the call with dad so put on Dean Martin and chill out and reflect upon my peaceful day. Think of family and friends around the world and hope they're feeling as content as I am....

7:05 PM - Make another cup of tea (what's that, my third? Oops) in Red Barking Dog (NY Diner) mug.

7:10 PM - Phone sister Wendy who's in Santa Cruz with her boyfriend Rich celebrating her Yule there. Speak about love, sex, presents, family and friends. Usual festive topic? Not sure. For us, I guess :)

7:27 PM - Sip tea, eat biscuits and listen to Dean Martin from start to finish (a mere 43 minutes).

7:53 PM - Remember I need to remove nail polish on right hand because it looks disasterous.

8:00 PM - Stick on the "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE" DVD.

"You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down for you".

8:15 PM - Start stretching and doing crunches on the pilates exercise ball. (Get bored with in minutes.)

8:28 PM - Add JOHN BUTLER TRIO to iTunes on the Mac and then the PC. Then do the same with the CHURCH CD. (Didn't know they were still together?!)

8:30 PM - Watch the funny "POOL" scene in the film. Priceless. Splash!

8:45 - Continue trying to write Stefan back...

8:58 PM - Phone goes. It's Julia in England. Nice holiday chat.

9:08 PM - Push 'pause' on the film so I can make a CD comp for a certain someone's Xmas gift....

10:00 PM - Head to the bedroom to start filling up more charity bags of clothes.

10:29 PM
- Have filled another bag of clothes for charity.

Starting to feel tired...so contemplating a bath.

10:45 PM - Finish email to Stefan and start to message Matt in Boston. Remembering he's Jewish - I stop just short of wishing him a "Merry Christmas" (phew!) :)

10:49 PM - Crave Malteesers so crack open a tube.

10:50 PM - Back to watching IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.

Remember I've got one last present to open from Hannah.

Kiss Me Lip Gloss, Bliss Hand Cream, Oatmeal and Spice Soap, KShocolate chocolates, a funky nail file, and a gorgeous Rose smelling candle.

Very nice indeed.

11:05 PM - Decide to call it a night and take myself off to the bath and then sleep.

I survived Christmas. (Another solo Christmas - no less.) It was a very relaxing, peaceful, and lovely day...I was actually surprised I never felt sad. Quite the opposite - I've felt glad and grateful for all that I do have - a lovely home, wonderful friends all over this globe and plenty of food, clothes and music to last a lifetime. Yes, I am blessed. If you're reading this, I suspect you're blessed too.

Good night - whoever you are and wherever you are.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

BALLS!

Well, this must be the third entry in one day but here we go again...My friend Jenny came round for tea and a chat. She dropped off a present as well - just what I wanted - a Pilates Ball :) I was so happy when I opened it, I welled up. Och I am easily pleased I guess. Anyway, Jenny, like my dear friend Gail (mentioned in this blog recently) - is one of my longest-running friends here in Scotland. I am delighted we're friends after all these years. Just as some of my other friends have done, Jenny took pity on me and invited me to her house for Christmas dinner, but as I've bought so many provisions for my own feast, I politely declined. That said, I may pop round for dessert after! Still surviving - I hope you are too - whoever you are. Off to do some stretches on the ball....:)

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WAKE ME UP WHEN IT'S OVER

Well another day has dawned. I just feel like crawling under the duvet and waking up on the 27th. I am tempted to switch off the phone and computer and just hide away. Not the most mature response to the pending holidays, I realise, but I just can't seem to summon up the courage to face it. (Cue Al Green's "Tired of Being Alone")

Christmas really is not a nice time to be on your own is it? Have you ever been alone on the holidays? Probably not...By and large, I am used to it by now - but that doesn't mean I actually like it.

It feels as though every one I know is surrounded by their loved ones - their kids, their parents, they're partners...Ha....Pardon me while I strike up my pity party for one! LOL. Whatever. I will survive. It's what I do! Ho hum.

Well at least I have plans this afternoon and on Boxing Day afternoon - so it's not all grim. "Must accentuate the positive, must accentuate the positive, must accentuate the positive..." and speaking of positives, I did get a rather hefty donation from one of the loveliest site members on SYBD - so perhaps I'll treat myself to a little someting on Boxing Day. Who knows?

Anyway - every day above ground is a good day. Mustn't lose sight of that fact.

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ANOTHER GRADUATION....

Last night when I got back from the cinema with Ross I received an email from Kimba to say our friend in Greenock has passed away.

From Greenock, Gail was a pen pal of Kimbas (who lives in Ohio!) and when it came time for me to settle in Scotland, Kim passed on the address to me so I'd know someone here. A great lover of music and life - Gail and I got on well. She was always bubbly and kind-hearted and that just makes this loss so much greater. A young, 30-something air hostess - Gail befriended everyone who came into contact with her (even Duran Duran!)

So I feel very sad once again. A death like this brings into question so much about our lives. What we're doing, how much we take for granted, and the friendships that we've had and lost or perhaps let lapse. It makes us think of our own mortality and if I (or you) were to "graduate" tomorrow - who would care?

I guess we never know whose lives we really touch, do we?

It makes me personally think about friends I've lost and those I miss. Though I hadn't seen her since the diagnosis - I did try and would often text and email her.In face, earlier this year, I sent her the LANCE ARMSTRONG book IT'S NOT ABOUT THE BIKE and had it sent to her in hopes she'd be inspired in some way...As if that book might somehow save her. How foolish I am. But like most people I want to help people but am powerless with something as big as Cancer. Having lost my mother, my mum, and my grandmother to Cancer it's a feeling of powerlessness I've known all too well and it's frustrating.

I feel so sad. Gutted even. But it's life. No, scratch that, it's death. Gonna happen to all of us at some point. It's just something I find hard to reconcile.

And speaking of tears, I am watching the final STUDIO 60 episode which is bringing on the tears...I can't believe they didn't pick this up. I loved it.

I digress. I am going to endeavor to not feel too sad about Gail because 1) she's no longer in pain and 2) she'd not want people to feel sad, she's want them to celebrate life and her life especially. She made a difference. What more can any of us strive for?

SPONTANEOUS VISITS

I love it when people call in and see me. Today as I was packing up to go to the gym, I got a call from a friend on their way to Loch Lomond for a walk so I ditched my plans and went out for the lovely scenery and exercise. We walked more than three miles...

After the walk, I came home and with a quick turn around went to the gym. Get this, I swam 2 miles. Can you believe it? (*pats herself on the back*).

Then I was paid a visit by the lovely Somervilles - Kevin and Siobahn who not only popped in for a hot bevvy and some chocolate cake, but they also came bearing gifts. So alas I am not sans-gifts for Christmas. I have TWO. One from Hannah and one from the Somervilles. I feel blessed.

Not only that, but Kevin, the lovely gem of a man he is, has assembled the rather tall IKEA CD rack - that's been blocking my hallway for six weeks now. Hooray! Now I can work on sorting my CDs tomorrow!

So it's not all SAD news for today's blog.

It's a lot like life - good and bad. Happy and sad. Life is so full of dichotomies. The biggest one in me is the opposing sides of being a happy singleton and longing for a companion. I suspect I am not alone in that. There are certain times it's great to be single and of course certain times it's not so hot. Christmas and New Years fall into the latter category for me.

Right now I could really use a hug but as I look around, there's no one here. So alas I shall retire once more to my bath and bed...along (sniff, sniff)....

It's now officially Christmas Eve - so Merry Christmas to the Christians among you.

"God bless us every one" as Tiny Tim once said...

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

TIS BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE

TIS THE SEASON

Well here we are again. That time of year. People are stressed. Shops, tubes and buses are overcrowded with teems of people, banging into you with their over-loaded bags of presents.

You know what I mean....That look of guilt on their face...as they worry they've not bought enough for their loved ones. Most guilty are the parents of kids who feel like they need to keep up with the Jones - or rather keep their kids up with the Jones' kids.

God forbid their kid doesn't have the latest Wii or iTouch or whatever the latest gadget that today's teens want is...

LIFE IN THE PRESENT IS GIFT ENOUGH...

Well, I have decided to not buy any presents for anyone. That's not to say I am not getting anyone anything - I am just not getting sucked into the consumerism that is rife around the world. I feel as though we've lost the true meaning of Christmas - which is certainly not to max out credit cards on the latest gadget from Apple, Sony, and so forth...

So looking around my cluttered home, I've decided my Christmas is going to be about getting together as many bags of items I can donate to charity. In the bags will be books, CDs, clothes, DVDs anything of worth....etc.

I've got two bags together, so far. Anyone with me? Actually I know some people are with me as there is a whole thread on SYBD about this very subject. You see, apparently I am not the only one who's a hoarder. There are half-a-dozen women who've come forward to say they're doing my challenge too. I note with interest that none of the MEN from SYBD have come forward. I am not sure if that's due to the fact that men don't generally have as much "stuff" (at least clothes) as us women?

I will endeavor to photograph my charity bags as PROOF I've done what I've set out to - for the next blog entry.

Last night - I weathered the weather and got my Christmas dinner - a turkey joint, some veggies for steaming, roasties, and a wee chocolate sponge. It actually sounds sad when I write it out, but no sympathy required. You see, I survived the festive period of the millennium alone and after that - anything else is a piece of cake!

One thing I've not sorted out is what to watch on Christmas. I guess the usual suspects IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, and WHITE CHRISTMAS,...Also, there are plans afoot to see a film or two at the cinema. Something I did yesterday was to see BEE MOVIE and FRED CLAUS. I enjoyed them both. I quite like the luxury of doing double headers on Friday afternoons.

THE ODD COUPLE

Speaking of films, last night I was kept up far too late...(ahem) when I discovered THE ODD COUPLE 2 was on the Paramount channel. I liked the first one, I love Walter Mathau so of course I taped it and am enjoying it as I type. These old codgers remind me of my dad. It must be a pre-requisite to become dippy and cantankerous once you hit 70. I'll have to watch out for that...

Well, I guess since it's lunch time - I ought to get showered and out to Byres Road to check mail. Hope there are a few more cards there. I've only got 15 or so, so far...Oh well it's not about the quantity, its about the quality right? To be fair I've only sent a few cards out. I meant to send many, I did, but I just sorta never got round to it - what with traveling in California and to London....

I hope those of you who celebrate Christmas have a lovely one. And those of you who don't manage to enjoy yourself doing whatever you do while the rest of us do.

SUNNY SANTA

Next year I am gonna plan it better and head to the sun...so I can sunbathe away the Yuletide. But for this year, I'll be charitable, have a scrumptuous feast for one, watch multitudes of DVDs and sleep - plenty of sleep...Wake me up when it's 2008.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

P.S. I LOVE YOU

This morning I was up at the crack of dawn. It's unlike me to be up early but for some reason I seem to be in a routine of going to bed super early (by my standards) and getting up early. It's most odd. Anyway it was handy to be up early because I had a press show this morning for the new HILARY SWANK / GERARD BUTLER film - PS I LOVE YOU.

This is generally my type of film, and I can't say I wasn't moved to tears on several occasions, but it's just not realistic love story. It featured a kind of love that can only be found in the movies.

Holly (played by Swank) has been married to Gerry (played funnily enough by Gerard) for nine years, and they in live in a small NYC apartment. Cut to Gerry's wake and it's time for Holly to mourn the loss of her husband. Knowing his days were numbered, Gerry had time to leave letters and presents for her which are delivered over the coming year. This is what I mean by a love reserved for cinema. What guy would actually do that for his girl? Would you? I'd doubt it. Not only have I never seen a love like this in real life - I can't imagine any guy loving ME that much. (Chance would be a fine thing).

If you can get past the piss-poor, fake accents, it was a semi-sweet bit of celluloid. But Americans are idiots (I can say that because I am one...(cue Green Day)) - but why on earth did they have have Gerard Butler do a rubbish Irish accent when they could have simply had him keep his own gorgeous Glasgow accent? I think he'd have done a much better job if he didn't have to try to act and do a fake accent. Don't get me wrong I like ole Gerry (and in my opinion he's the hottest guy ever born in Glasgow!!), but each time he spoke, it was cringe-worthy. Bless his cotton socks.

And geez, don't get me started on JEFFEREY DEAN MORGAN'S Irish accent. Sheesh. Another hot guy (last seen dying on GREY'S ANATOMY) who did an equally silly job with his Irish accent.

Suffice it to say, I am not sure whether I loved it or loathed it - which doesn't often happen to me when I see a film but there you go! If you're not a stickler about accents - you might really like this drama - but accents are something I get a little pedantic about, call me quirky.

It was a good soundtrack and boasted a good cast. In addition to Swank and Butler - you'll find KATHY BATES as Swank's pub-running mother, HARRY CONNICK JUNIOR (who works in the pub) AND and LISA KUDROW as one of Swank's desperate best friends.

Jury's still out on this one folks. See for yourself if you wanna risk it! But be sure and bring tissue if you do. It's a real tear-jerker.

TAO TE CHING

Inspired by a DR. WAYNE DYER PBS series I saw whilst home, I've decided to attempt to read the TAO TE CHING. I'm not bragging or anything - to be honest I am having trouble understanding it but at least I am attempting to glean some enlightenment. Points for effort here.

Some passages that stand out for me are:

HARMONY

Embracing the Way, you become embraced;
Breathing gently, you become newborn;
Clearing your mind, you become clear;
Nurturing your children, you become impartial;
Opening your heart, you become accepted;
Accepting the world, you embrace the Way.


Bearing and nurturing,
Creating but not owning,
Giving without demanding,
This is harmony.


SUBSTANCE


Too much colour blinds the eye,
Too much music deafens the ear,
Too much taste dulls the palate,
Too much play maddens the mind,
Too much desire tears the heart.


I get it and yet I don't...

I'll keep working at it. I did invest in the meditations CD by DR WAYNE DYER (who did the PBS special) - CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS CHANGE YOUR LIFE that inspired this little, recent Eastern Philosophy interest of mine...and all being well the CD will come tomorrow or so. I've been attempting to meditate daily but so far it's proving challenging. Switching off my mind has always been rather challenging for me. Wish I paid closer attention when my mother was trying to teach me to mediate while growing up.

LONDON CALLING

Well I am gearing up for more time in London and yet more meetings about a variety of projects. I've got fun stuff lined up every day that I am down - and am happily mixing business with pleasure!

I've nearly finished the smaller book of break up lines and stories. The illustration my long-time-friend DAVE did are just priceless. I like how all of his characters (well the guys anyway) actually look like Dave. I wonder if that's deliberate. He's always been one of the funniest, hottest, most-talented guys I've ever known - even back in junior high school. Hopefully the book will be a huge success - for both our sakes. You'll buy a copy won't you? All three of you? Cheers.

POLL POSITION

You have 18 days left to answer my poll question to the right of this blog...I'd love to release the results as a press release but I need a few more (hundred) replies I reckon for it to hold any weight...These days every tom-dick-and-harry website does polls. I was on Fred Mac's show on BBC SCOTLAND two days ago - talking about a poll on which nationality makes the best lovers. (Yeah I don't know why they asked me either)...I do have five nationalities under my belt, so to speak, but I am not sure I've slept with enough guys to make such generalisations. Still it was a right laugh - as Fred's show usually is - particularly with Big Brother's FEDERICO along side me.

Well that's about all I can report on....

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Monday, December 10, 2007

WE ARE TOGETHER - TRAILER

For those of you who are regular readers of my lil blog - you'll know just how often I have been banging-on about WE ARE TOGETHER - the first ever feature film by Teddy Leifer (L) and Paul Taylor(R)...Well their trailer for the film is now on the site and I urge everyone out there to view the trailer and make sure you see this film as soon as humanly possible. Hands down, it's my favourite film of 2007. Truly inspirationaly. Enjoy. (WATCH IT HERE)

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SURVIVING A SOLO YULETIDE...

Well I am gearing up for yet another holiday period alone. While I can't say I am "looking forward to the holidays" at least I don't dread them like I once did...Below is an article I wrote soon after launching SYBD and it gets a bit of an update every year. Hope you find it useful - particularly if, like me, you're going to be on your own...

And for any of my Scotland-based friends who may be reading this - stop by for a cuppa and some cookies, I'll be here!

BE A SEASON SURVIVOR

Six months before the turn of the century, I was relieved of my girlfriend duties (read: dumped). Due to work commitments and extortionate peak-time airfares, I was forced to spend my first holidays, ever, alone. The threat of a solo yuletide filled me with dread, so to combat those doom-filled worries, I drew up a festive survival strategy of my own.

Now, it has to be said, that most of you won't be totally alone for the holidays like I was (and have been over the past several years), but you may find my tips on how I made it through useful…I survived, so can you!

PREPARE A FEAST

Just prior to that first solo Christmas, I went to the supermarket and picked out a selection of all of my favourite foods. Naturally, unable to eat a whole turkey on my own, I opted for a turkey joint for one. That was plenty for the holiday dinner and lunch the next day too! I also chose my favourite bread, potatoes, salad, munchies, and sensuous desserts. I made sure that everything I chose was something that I really loved and looked forward to both preparing and eating.

Of course, when you are adjusting to solo life, cooking (let alone eating) may just be the last thing you fee like doing, but don't punish your body - it needs healthy nourishment to flourish. So even if it's a feast for one, be sure you have a feast.

DECORATE YOUR SPACE

As a child growing up, my family would always drive out to a local tree farm to cut down our own Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving. To this day, I still love to decorate my home at the same time of year - even though it is just going to be me who enjoys it. I'm worth it and so are you.

If you normally like to decorate, but can't quite get into the holiday spirit this year, then force yourself to do it anyway. Pick yourself up a little tree (real or plastic it doesn't really matter) or simply opt to buy a string of fairy lights and put them in your window.

Buy some new ornaments or if you're crafty, make your own. Pour some eggnog or mulled wine, whack on some Bing Crosby and decorate to your heart's content.

If you have don't have a place of your own, then simply decorate your bedroom or one of your windows.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

If you like ambient lighting, then make sure you have plenty of festive scented candles on hand for the cold, dark winter nights. Decorating your home in a cheery festive manner with those candles, or some fairy lights, will let you discover how tranquil a room, lit only by candles and Christmas tree lights, can be. Don't delay. (Note: Listening to Christmas carols is optional)

SHOP ONLINE

I don't know about you, but I sometimes find that the high streets and malls are not only over-crowded with holiday shoppers, but also they're swarming with couples. So to avoid prevalence of "happy couple syndrome", do the bulk of your shopping online. It is predominantly secure (do your research first though) and utterly convenient! Many sites offer gift-wrapping and will send the purchases straight to your family and friends for you. This is particularly handy for those who are geographically dispersed. It will not only save you time but may also money on postage!

ORGANISE YOUR TIME

I recommend strategically planning your free days to avoid boredom and worse still, over-thinking. Those of you without family or friends to spend time with, who are dreading the solitude, may find that it is amplified over a holiday period.

Break your days down into small blocks, as having something positive to look forward to each day will help you through the yuletide more smoothly and give you something constructive to focus on.

Your schedule might involve arranging nights out with friends and colleagues, booking time to visit people, DIY projects, studying, writing, goal-setting, gardening, shopping, taking in some movies, buying and preparing scrumptious meals, sorting out clothes to donate to charity, painting, drawing, creating or revamping a website - anything that you enjoy doing.

To avoid being overwhelmed by loneliness and emotions, be productive. In a nutshell, my template for Christmas Day often looks like this: wake up, maybe have a nice long bath, watch a movie, start cooking, take a walk/run, shower, put on PJs, eat a festive feast, read some magazines or a good book, watch another movie and call family/friends and go to sleep.

DEVELOP NEW TRADITIONS

Each year, without fail, I schedule time to watch a plethora of festive films - like Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life. Additionally, I always watch my childhood favourites too, such as, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, The Year Without a Santa Claus and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. These are my traditions and are the same every year.

Another of my traditions carried over from childhood is that I keep every present that I receive for Christmas day - opening just one special one on Christmas Eve. Sometimes if the present has been sent, I try to call the person up and open it over the phone to share the excitement and give thanks. Sometimes, I wait until my friends are visiting on Christmas day to open all of my presents so that I don't have to open them all alone.

Something new that has come from my solo seasons is that come rain or shine, sleet or snow - I take a walk or a run in the afternoon on Christmas day. The roads are always quiet which makes me feel like the world is my own. I am alone with my thoughts about my life and my future.

And if I take a walk instead of a run, I bring along the camera and shoot the wintry scenery. I find it incredibly relaxing knowing that I am not forced to spend a holiday with anyone I don't want to be with.

Why not think about what traditions you've got or can instigate for your first solo yuletide. If you don't have any traditions, there is no time like the present to start some.

TREAT YOURSELF

Is there a little something that you have had your eye on this year? Perhaps a new mobile phone or a spiffy new jacket? Maybe you need a new computer or want to buy a new DVD? Whatever it is, treat yourself to something special. You deserve it. Everybody's budget varies and only you can know what little pick-me-up will do just the trick.

If you can find something that will entertain you over the break, so much the better. For instance, this year, I have a hankering for an Apple - which stores several thousand tunes in one tiny handheld player! That is a gift that keeps on giving and will no doubt provide me hours of enjoyment.

WORK!

It's not actually as silly as it sounds. When I was a working singleton and facing the prospect of filling up two weeks of holiday time on my own, it made perfect sense to work the days that the office was open. It was usually quite quiet over the break, the atmosphere always festive, and the extra cash went a long way to replenish my depleting holiday funds.

It helped to be around people and away from my empty flat - even just for a few hours during the day. Also working has the added advantage of showing a good worth ethic to superiors. I can't say it ever worked for me but who knows, you might even get a promotion after your boss sees your dedication!

INVITE PEOPLE OVER

Living abroad, my friends have become my surrogate family. Though many of them offered to have me join them for Christmas the past few years, I felt it would actually make me feel more homesick and lonely to be around a family that was not my own.

It is now a tradition, however, that certain friends come to visit me on Christmas day just to open presents. I love having some company in the afternoon for a chat, some munchies and some present opening. The same goes for Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

VOLUNTEER

Helping other people is good for the soul. Hearing other their troubles can give us perspective about our own problems. Now matter how painful our experience feels to us, the fact is that a broken heart (and indeed singledom) is only a temporary thing. There are always people out there who have more permanent pain or who have it worse than you -- even when it doesn't feel like it.

So, if you think you might have too much time on your hands over the holidays, why not pull out the yellow pages and find a shelter to serve some food in, volunteer to read the paper at a local old folks home, or find a kid's charity needing support? Helping, old, young, ill or infirm will take you out of your own heartbreak and make you (and them) feel better. Win/win.

EXPRESS YOURSELF

Regardless of whether you are male or female, don't be afraid to cry. Holidays are stressful times in the best of situations, so don't be embarrassed if you have crippling moments of loneliness hit you. When we are alone and thinking over Christmas's past, it's unavoidable to feel nostalgic and longing. Don't keep it all in ore be embarrassed when it all comes pouring out. It is healthy. My mother used to say having a big cry added seven years to your life! If she's right, I should be here until 157.

Write down in a notebook, diary or journal how you feel and how you want you future to be. Set some goals of things you wish to accomplish in the coming year. Not only is it therapeutic but it's enlightening to read previous thoughts, feelings, and emotions on down the line.

Historically, I spend a lot of time over the holidays (particularly New Years) writing about how I want my future to look and feel. As one year closes and a new one begins, I look to my future and day dream a little.

Visualisation is proven to work, so why not picture yourself on down the road - say at next year's holidays - and write down and describe how you look, who you are with and where you'd like to be spending your future festive period.

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!

If you have some spare time, you may choose to go on holiday to get away from it all. Maybe you fancy a winter break to the sun or to head for the slopes? The choice is all yours.

If you can afford it, a change of scenery is a fabulous way to create new memories, and will stop you from staring at your own four walls wishing your ex would call.

If you are unable, due to time or money, to go away on holiday, perhaps you can take a break for even a day or two and visit friends or family members? Even a short day trip or break can prove beneficial, as being surrounded by those who love and care for us is a healthy way to spend holidays.

Breaks benefit us in a few ways. Firstly it's good for us to have something to plan and look forward to. Secondly, the busier we are the less we're likely to be sitting idly around wondering what your ex is getting up to this year without us.

REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE!


Make a list of people you want to call over the holidays. Every year, I have a long list of family and friends whom I like to call throughout the Christmas and New Years period.

So if you've lost touch with some old friends or family members, who not take this opportunity to reconnect.

CONCLUSION

So treat this festive yuletide not as a daunting time but rather as an exciting time to make new traditions, catch up with old friends, travel and sort out any home or work projects needing completion.

Whether you choose to be with people or alone, be sure to schedule your time wisely. Only you know the way that you want to spend your break, so figure it out and then do it.

Remember, the busier you are, the less time you will have to wonder what your ex is getting up to this year without you.

If you start to get blue, imagine all the stress and squabbles your family and friends may be going through and think of how grateful you are for this year's peace.

At the end of the day, it's your break, you are in charge of exactly how you spend your time and who with - that's empowering not depressing!

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

BACK IN BLACK

I’VE RETURNED

First day back after a few weeks away is always challenging isn't it? I suspect I’ll take a few days to re-acclimate but am doing my best to be as productive as possible today.

VANISHING ACTS

Last week Brian and I went to Chilis – my favourite chain restaurant - for dinner. There was a wait so we took a seat at the bar when we both clocked onto an article in the San Jose Mercury News called “Silence is maddening when guys disappear” (Not sure how long that link will work but maybe you can Google the title of it, if it doesn't work?)

Of course it got us talking about how cowardly and clueless men are or rather can be. Before you get ready to FLAME ME - this isn’t meant to be a gender-bashing session merely an observation. Heck, truth be told, I love men…I just don’t understand that whole thing where guys are keen one minute and not the next - but I guess my feelings tend to fade out on a more gradual basis.

Suffice it to say, I've never done a 180-degree turn overnight like some men I've seen. In fact there's a new thread on SYBD started by Writer Lady that discusses that very thing called "People Who Do 180-Degree Turns" which is proving to be an interesting read.

As I say, this subject is coming up far too much for my liking on SYBD that's all. Judging by the replies on that thread (and others of a similar ilk) - it's happened to a lot of people (women) and often.

THE NUMBERS DON'T LIE

Which brings me nicely to my next topic on the very same subject. It’s pretty shocking to see that in my poll - here on this very blog - 12% of exes just vanished. That’s a pretty high amount. Too high, in fact.

In this age of communication overload, have we totally lost the art of communicating one-on-one?

In this day and age, it’s become far too easy to blow off a text, ignore an email, block someone on instant messaging programs - whatever. It’s as if it gives men (people) the permission or maybe the opportunity to behave badly.

So if you’re someone who has a tendency to just vanish – do your best to resist the urge, grow some balls and not just say “goodbye” but say why. Whoever you're leaving will live, honest.

Before you accuse me of being a 'woman scorned' - this hasn't happened to me (for a while now anyway)...but it has happened to me in the past.

YOU’RE NOT THAT INTO HIM EITHER

Some years ago there was a rather annoying book called ‘He’s Just Not Into You’. I bought it, I read it and found some of it to be worthy, (she says grudgingly), but last week, again when out with Brian, I picked up a similarly-titled book ‘Be Honest: You’re Not That Into Him Either’. This book, which I am reading now, I just love! So much so I am going to be promoting it on the homepage of So You’ve Been Dumped, soon. (For now you can buy it on Amazon US or Amazon UK

I have to admit I really like this book. It’s though-provoking, written by a PhD…and a good read for all you single women out there. Check it out if you're one of those women who dates 'in betweeners'.

GOOD VIBRATIONS

While I was in California, I received an email from the folks at Love Honey about Hello Kitty Vibrators. I don’t know why but I found the whole thing disconcerting. Call me old fashioned, but I like my vibrators to resemble what they’re ‘replacing’ (ahem) and to be a bit more 'adult'. I mean, Hello Kitty??

Speaking of which, a rabbit is on my Christmas list. I have a feeling I'm gonna have to buy it for myself. Apparently – according to everyone I know who’s got one – they’re the business!

I just watched a video on the Love Honey site where the lovely Tracy Cox was talking about the mini-rabbit and claims that “more women own vibrators than washing machines”. Hmm, I find it a teeny bit hard (pun intended) to believe, but, I guess, given all the sexually-unfulfilled women out there, and amount of laundrettes, she may be right?!

WEATHER

Weather has been pretty shocking (though I hear it’s gray and miserable in California now too) so I don't feel too too bad...

The tree is up, the candles are lit and I’m slowly getting stuff from the trip unpacked and put away. I didn’t get nearly enough Christmas presents (well ones for other people anyway) as I should have. Shame on me.

LONDON CALLING

Well much to the chagrin of many site members I've had to opt out of the SYBD Xmas Party this weekend as I am not going to be in London until the following weekend. There are more meetings lined up to discuss this film and I am exploring all funding options and routes just now.

Hopefully by the end of 2007 I'll have everything set up. We'll see...

CHOW CIAO!

Well it’s time for me to make some chicken nachos so I am off. Be well, be safe and be happy - whoever you are and wherever you are.

PS: And remember the GOLDEN RULE and please treat people with respect...

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