Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Movie Sunday

I just wanted to drop in and say hello. I've been taking it easy and enjoying the weekend. On Thursday, we had our Thanksgiving dinner and it turned out really great. I surprised myself...everything turned out really great, like someone else had cooked it. LOL. I will share a bit more about this later in the week. On Friday, even though it isn't called Black Friday over here, we did go out and finished all of our Christmas shopping. We missed most of the crowds since most people were not off work. Brit Boy took the day off. There were lots of sales going on, so we got some good deals on some modest gifts. A sign of the times, but it was really nice and simple...the way I like it :-)

Today, Brit Boy is downstairs watching his sports and I'm upstairs watching one of my favorite films.... "Tootsie". I love it because it is definitely of a certain time period and it once again takes me down nostalgia alley just like "last weekend". I guess it's a phase. The end of the year always gets me nostalgic. When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do on Sunday was to watch movies...the more retro the better :)

Brit Boy and I have already had leftovers from Thanksgiving to eat for early dinner. So I'm free of cooking today. Woo Hoo! LOL. After I finish watching "Tootsie", I may watch a DVD or something. I really love Sundays. Have a great rest of the weekend! :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Sweet Goodie

A few days ago, I received this sweet little goodie of an award from my bloggy friend Mike at Rambling Stuff. It's called Simply the Best and I'm touched that Mike gave this to me. I would definitely like to send it right back to him because without fail, Mike is always simply the best :-) So thank you Mike for being my friend and for always making my blogging day!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Weekend Down Memory Lane

Today, this post will be a bit of a hodgepodge of things about my weekend like I used to write. I haven’t done this in a while. My weekend has been rather meandering, so this post will be too (smile).

Well, they forecasted snow for most of the country today, but we just missed it. They showed some really pretty photos on the news earlier of the places that did get snow. So today we are snowless, but it’s cold.

To rewind a bit, on Friday, I got the chance to go all nostalgic. There was a show on TV that night, about hit makers from 1983. First of all, it was a trip to realize how long ago that year actually was. (smile) This show really took me back to being a teen and my love for some of the British acts of the day. There were a lot of British acts doing well in the States in the 80s, so Brit Boy and I have that shared bit of musical history even though we grew up 4,000 miles apart. They highlighted a lot of acts, but a few of my favorites from the show were Spandau Ballet who sang “True”, which is just simply a classic and instantly takes me back to being a teen in the 80s. Years later, this song was sampled by PM Dawn for their song "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" and Tony Hadley, the lead singer from Spandau appeared with them in the video. On the show the other night, Tony Hadley performed the song on his own. I found out a while back that one of the other guys in the group, Gary Kemp, wrote the song. He was featured on this other show where they had songwriters tell stories of how they came up with past hits. He wrote a great song in my humble opinion. (smile) Here's a taste of "True" for your listening pleasure. This video is a bit out of synch, and I couldn't find a better one, but the music is still great. Check out the 80s clothes...fabulous! (smile)

And here's PM Dawn's song with Tony Hadley near the end of the video...this takes me back to the 90s....loved the 90s too! (smile)

My other favorite from the show was the reuniting of Kajagoogoo who had the hit "Too Shy". This was a smooth song too. The opening fade in of this song is so smooth and the bass is just hot. Love it! I guess you can tell I love my 80s. (wink) I loved being a teen back then. The lead singer Limahl had interesting hair back then and he still has cool hair now(smile). The band hadn't played for over two decades together on TV here so it was great to see them all.

Here's a clip of "Too Shy".

Both Limahl and Tony Hadley look pretty much the same and they both still sound great.

On Saturday, we went into town and I mailed my ballot for the Senatorial run-off in Georgia. When my county back home sent my main ballot, they also sent me one to use in case of a run-off. So I filled that out and got it mailed off. We also got some Christmas shopping done. A lot of the stores were having big sales so we jumped on that and got a few gifts.

Later, we were sitting around watching TV and discussing where were we going to go around Christmastime. Last year, we went to Salisbury Cathedral for their Christmas Carol Service and that was wonderful. It really highlighted the Christmas spirit. The choir sang a cappella and their voices rang out around the sanctuary. It was a beautifully unique experience. This cathedral is just gorgeous. Here’s a photo.

We are trying to see if they have anything at Bath Abbey, but so far we haven’t found that they do something similar, so we might end up going back to Salisbury. Bath Abbey and indeed the whole city of Bath are just absolute jewels. This city is one of the most beautiful places in the world to me and it's where Brit Boy went to university. Here’s a photo of the Abbey.

Today, I am still in that old school music mood from Friday, so I have been playing some music from back in the day while I flip through my recipes for Thanksgiving. Gotta get those sweet potato pies done in the next day or so (smile) So I went down a musical memory lane and have been listening to The Jones Girls...I've always loved this song. My older sister used to play this song a lot.

I've also been listening to Evelyn Champagne King, Stevie Wonder, Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, Shalamar, and Hall & Oates, and a lot of other stuff from before I was born to my childhood, to my teen years and onward. It was a good ride (smile)

It’s been a good meandering weekend. Now onward to Thanksgiving…my FAVORITE Holiday! Trevor has decided that he is gonna camp out on the table all week so he won’t lose his place for dinner on Thursday. He loves his food.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I've Been Tagged!!!

I’ve been tagged by Lisa at Serah’s Soap Blog. She makes various soaps and her creations are fabulous. Her cupcake soaps look so good sometimes that I just want to eat them (smile) Please stop by her site and check out all of her wonderful items. Lisa did a very creative seven things list using cartoon characters…she is creative all over the place (smile)

This is my second time being tagged so I had to dig a bit more in the drawer of my life to come up with seven more things. Here I go once more with my seven random things about myself.

#1 – Whenever I get a drink at a fast food place, I get the heebie jeebies if I don’t wrap a napkin around the cup. I can’t STAND the feeling of the wet cup on my hand. If I don’t have a napkin or paper towel to wrap around it, I will use my sleeve if I have on long sleeves. I don’t know what it is, it just drives me crazy :)

#2 – Back in March, I had a chance to talk to a researcher from the Oprah Winfrey Show about a feature that they were doing with some of us who were reading “A New Earth” along with the webcasts. The researcher asked me questions about my experience in reading the book. Then she told me that they would get back to me if they wanted to use me. Well, they never called back, but my “almost but not quite cheerleader” within me was thrilled. LOL. I was just grateful to be considered.

#3 – I’ve met a few celebrities in my life. In the mid 80s, I met Dionne Warwick and got her autograph. She had a perfume out at the time and she was at a department store signing autographs. It was my mom’s birthday, so I thought this would be a good gift for her. So I spoke to Ms. Warwick and then she signed the box of perfume for my mom. Also, I have met two members of the group Hootie & the Blowfish back in 2000. I met the lead singer Darius and the guitarist Mark. They were cool. I met them after a concert that I attended with two of my nieces. I have nieces and nephews who are not that much younger than me, so we would hang out occasionally. And going a bit further back to 1995, I actually spoke to Darius on the phone when he was at a radio station in Atlanta. So it was a full circle moment when I finally got a chance to meet him face to face (smile) I was a big fan back in those good old days.

#4 – I honeymooned on the island of Lanzarote, which is a part of the Canary Islands, with Brit Boy. The landscape is really unusual and scenes from “The Planet of the Apes” were filmed there. When I found this out I was excited. I loved all of those movies and the tv show. Here’s a photo of some of the landscape.

#5 – While we were in Lanzarote, I took a ride in a submarine….well a mini one and Brit Boy was there too. (smile) It was a weird sensation.

#6 – Also when we were in Lanzarote, we took a camel ride. I couldn’t believe how far it was to the ground. LOL. Brit Boy and I shared a ride. We traveled in a group and there was a camel attached to ours from the front and there was one attached to us from the back. We were riding along and all of a sudden I felt something rub my arm. I looked back and it was the camel behind us. They had a covering over his mouth so he couldn’t bite me, but he was intrigued by my arm and just kept rubbing his mouth and face on me the whole time. I guess he liked my scent. LOL. He was a cutie.

#7 – I used to be something of a spelling bee champ when I was a kid in the 70s. I even have a second place ribbon squirreled away in my keepsakes. I have second place because I guess I had an aversion to being number 1 back then. LOL. I used to act as if I were a boxer and I would “take a dive” and mess up on purpose. It was a kid thing. LOL. Sometimes I would win and sometimes I would let myself lose. It was just a game I played. Here’s the thing though, now it seems sometimes that my spelling is slipping a bit and I have to double-check myself. I usually just laugh and say to myself, “well ain’t karma a b*tch”…LOL.

Now I will tag seven others. To my picks, I hope that you will participate, but I fully understand if you can't. No pressure at all :) My tags are:

The Many Ramblings of Me
Crayon Writer
The Peacock’s Nesting Place
Just Me
Sassy Black Friend
Stay at Home Mom
Bella Casa - Beautiful Home

Thanks Lisa! :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A New Earth Revisited

Several days ago, I was tagged by Bas at Istanbul Expat. This tagging has to do with books, which I LOVE!!! (smile) Love my books! Anyway, when he tagged me, I wasn’t reading anything which is kinda rare for me. I usually am reading something. Of course with me that can mean something that I have been reading for months because I have this habit of reading more than one book at a time and the reading gets strung out. I will have about two or three books going at once and then I’ll hop from one to the other and then revisit the previous one and I’m still able to pick up where I left off. I’ve always done this even when I was a kid. It may sound like my mind would be frazzled by this, but it works for me. Can’t explain it, but to each his own, right? It’s sort of one of those march to your own tune things and my tune comes in stereo. (smile) I have heard of other people doing this, so after that I was like, okay, so I’m not alone. LOL. Gotta love it! Do any of you do this?

Anyway, he tagged me during a rare dry spot. I was taking a breather. The rules state that you pick up the nearest book for this tag, but for once there wasn’t a pile near my bed, because I had cleared the decks. So I put this tag on the back burner for a while. Well, in the last few days I have started to re-read a favorite book of mine, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle because the time felt right. And I decided to take a chill pill and read just one book...a novelty ain't it? (wink) Then this morning, I looked at a note I had placed on the side table, right here next to the couch, it said, “Don’t forget the tag from Bas!” I said to myself, “Oh yeah, can’t forget,” and then I put the note back down. I turned to walk into the kitchen and kicked over a pile of books I had sitting on the floor next to the couch…my new “to read” pile. “A New Earth” singled itself out, so I took it as a sign.

The rules of this tag are:

1) Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages)
2) Open the book to page 123
3) Find the fifth complete sentence on the page
4) Post the next three sentences
5) Post a comment and tag five more people

So here it goes.

From “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle

‘The ego doesn’t know that the more you include others, the more smoothly things flow and the more easily things come to you. When you give little or no help to others or put obstacles in their path, the universe---in the form of people and circumstances---gives little or no help to you because you have cut yourself off from the whole. The ego’s unconscious core feeling of “not enough” causes it to react to someone else’s success as if that success had taken something away from “me”.’

I read this book earlier this year, and it, along with other things helped me out of a dark spot I was going through. I read it along with the Oprah book club webcast seminars and it was great to have the author on the webcast there every week to help me go through it. I won’t lie, it was a tough read for me when I started it initially, because so much was crowding my mind at that time and I couldn’t comprehend no matter how hard I tried. And also it is just a lot to take in. The book’s words were fighting for space within my head and they were up against some pretty stubborn sad thoughts in there. But once I participated in the first webcast and had Mr. Tolle to lay the groundwork, the trickle out of the old stagnant thoughts started. Maybe just a drip in the beginning, but anything was a help at that point. And by synchronicity, the next day, or later that morning for me in the UK, I started my blog. It was my first “step out” since I came here to England. This was a baby step that started me in forward motion again. (smile)

As for the quote, I haven’t come to this point during my re-read yet, but I remember it standing out to me before. It reminded me of the importance of simply sharing the spotlight with others. And it reminds me so much of my friend Kim that I lost recently. She personified this. Fear robs us of so much in life and keeping everything all for ourselves does cut us off from the whole. You can call it the whole of humanity in a spiritual sense or the whole person that you and I are meant to be. It doesn’t cost me anything to help someone or cheer them on along their path, but it costs me dearly to not do it. It diminishes us I think.

This book has so much more to it and it challenges me and I like that. I imagine that I will refer to it time and time again during my life. I love it when a book stays with you like that.

As for passing this one on, I will just open it up to you my dear readers. Please feel free to take this tag if you would like to participate. Have fun!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Great New Awards

Today, I would like to finally acknowledge some great awards that I have received over the past couple of weeks. I’m a bit behind lately, so please forgive me my blogging pals who gave me these awards.

I received the “I Love Your Blog” award from Tahtimbo at Everyday Living . I’ve received this award before, but it never can get old to me. The greatest compliment is to do something that you enjoy and have other people really like it. So I’m thrilled. :-) Tahtimbo is a stay at home dad who writes a great slice of life blog. He also shares my interest in shows about ghosts :-) Please check him out.

Now I’d like to pass this award along to a few of my many favorites in the blogosphere. This is a hard choice because there are so many blogs that I love, but here goes. And I will mention here what I have read on other blogs….to those that I pass these awards along to, I understand that some may not be able to participate in passing these along. So no pressure :-) I just pass these awards along in the spirit in which they were given, to highlight some blogs that I thoroughly enjoy. So without further ado….here are my picks for the “I Love Your Blog” award:

Health Nut Wannabee Mom
My Life in Italy
The Many Ramblings of Me
Rambling Stuff
Thinking Out Loud Blog
Just Me

The rules are that you link back to the person that gave you the award and then pass it along to seven of your favorite blogs. Also let them know that they have received the award.

Next, I received a cool award that I had never received before, called the “Butterfly Award” and I was lucky enough to receive it twice. I got this one from two great blogging friends, Mike at Rambling Stuffand Ivanhoe at Communiqué by Ivanhoe . Mike is so sweet because he initially gave this award out that day to a list of blogs that he loves, and then showing the big heart he has, he left me a comment to say that he wanted to give this to me too. What a great guy :-) Both Mike and Ivanhoe have great blogs that I love to visit and they always have something interesting to say. So please check both of them out…they are both very kind folks :)
Here are my picks for this award:

Confessions of a Fitness Diva
Writing to Survive
The World As I See It
Jewelry Rockstar
Regina’s Family Seasons
Small Town Mommy

The rules for this one are to link back to the person who gave it to you and then pick seven of your favorite blogs and let them know.

And last, but certainly not least, is this fab award I got from Heidi at Health Nut Wannabee Mom . Heidi is so sweet and I love her blog. She gives the best health tips on her blog mixed together with lots of fun, so please check her out. Heidi gave me the “Uber Amazing Blog Award”. Isn’t that an impressive title for an award…wow! :)

Here are the rules for this award:
1)Put the logo on your blog
2)Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3)Nominate five other blogs
4)Add links to these blogs on your blog
5)Leave a message for your nominee to let them know

Here are my picks for this award:

People You Need To Know
Communiqué by Ivanhoe
Red Pine Mountain
The Leaping Thought
Gifts of the Journey

Again, I’m so thankful to have been given so many great awards courtesy of Tahtimbo, Ivanhoe, Mike, and Heidi. Please drop by and check out their blogs and all of the other favorites I’ve listed here. Happy reading! :-)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Great Moment

I am so overjoyed today! (smile) I am so excited that Senator Barack Obama is now our President-elect. Brit Boy and I stayed up until well after 6am UK time just to soak all of the coverage in. All of yesterday, I was like a lot of people…cautiously optimistic about the outcome. As the electoral votes kept ticking upwards, I got more and more on edge. And then, at the moment when they announced him the winner, I immediately wept and looked over at my mother’s photo on the table right next to me. I thought….what an amazing moment Mom, huh? (smile) I had such a head rush like someone had compressed my head and then let go. There was such a rush of relief like I can’t describe fully. I felt exhilarated along with everyone else and I am so proud of this moment in our history. (smile)

We were watching the coverage from back home online and watching another channel on television too. A powerful moment for me was when Mr. Obama was declared the winner and they were showing the crowds going crazy with excitement on one side of the screen and on the other side they had those who worked during the Civil Rights Movement. It felt like a full circle moment. And it was an amazing moment for all citizens. When I saw the faces in the crowds in Chicago, New York, and all over, with the beautiful variations in skin tones and ages, I felt the true beauty of humanity. It made me cry over and over again. I am so proud of my fellow citizens…we are all Americans standing together from every background! And now we stand once again with the world. I am inspired and I feel like from today on, I can do anything. (smile)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy Election Day

I just wanted to wish all of my fellow citizens a Happy Election Day as you go and cast your votes. And if you have already voted as I have, enjoy the day! :-)

Thank You

I just wanted to say thank you to all of my readers/friends who have come by to give their support to me as I wrote about my friend Kim. All of the kind words were so comforting. This is what I love about the blogosphere...great friends and lots of true support. (smile) I'm so grateful.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

My Friend Kim

As you all know, we have just come out of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I did a couple of posts highlighting this very important cause. Well I am like many of you now. I have lost someone who was so dear to me, to this horrible beast of a disease. It has taken me several days to come here and write about this, because I just didn’t know what to say. It was like I was in a state of shock, but it was a shock that I knew was a possibility, and yet I didn’t want to entertain the thought of it all turning out this way. I didn’t feel like I knew how to honor my friend and do her justice with my words. Then I decided that her advice to me would be, “Girl, just say what you feel” :-) So I will just say it simply…I’m gonna miss her so much.

My friend’s name was Kim. We were former co-workers who shared some great laughs and camaraderie in the office. We both worked for a corporation in downtown Atlanta. We worked in the Sales Department and she was one of the managers in the department. From the beginning she was always cool. On my first day, I was introduced to her and she said, “Welcome” and then we both laughed because we saw a resemblance. We both have sort of heart shaped faces and we just looked like we could be relatives. She looked sort of like one of my cousins does. So from that day on, she would walk past my cubicle and say something or she would stop and talk.

My best memories of her are her coming in in the mornings and saying, “Ohhh, I need my ‘cawfeee’ (coffee)”. Kim had the most wonderful New York accent and to my Southern ears, in its difference, it was music to my ears :-) I love to do impressions, so one day I parroted her morning line to her as she walked by my desk before she could say it and we both laughed. I created a monster though…after that she wanted me to do it all the time :-) She added one time though that I didn’t have enough of a Southern accent for her to mimic, so when we were kidding around, I would thicken my accent up for her pleasure :)

Kim’s other favorite thing besides coffee was chocolate. So around that 3pm slump that we all get, she would come by my desk and ask if I had any chocolate. Sometimes I did and I would load her up with whatever I had. At Halloween and Christmas, I would go by her office and we would trade off candy. It was great :-) But we would remedy any chocolate droughts by going to hit up the vending machines in one of the break rooms. As time progressed she started to collect spare change in a metal tin on her desk, and at nearly 3pm on the dot, she would come along rattling the tin. I’d hear her before I even saw her and then this voice would say, “Let’s go get some chocolate.” I’d take along my own money, but she would often just say, “Hey, I’m buying.” She was just a cool lady, like a big sister. She was great, not because she bought me candy…she was just a friend to me and I so appreciated her.

Kim was one of the higher-ups, but she never played that game with me. She respected me and I respected her. Even though we were in different groups within the department, she would call me into her office to brainstorm with her. Whenever she was writing something up she would always call me to her office with the enticement of chocolate :-) She didn’t need to entice me though because it felt good knowing that she trusted my judgment and skills. It felt good to be valued. And here’s the thing that shows what kind of woman Kim was, she would tell other higher-ups that I had helped her or let her boss know. I think the true strength of character is shown when people know that their strength comes from not only doing well themselves, but also from not feeling threatened by sharing the light with another and knowing that there is power in standing together. That was Kim. She even encouraged me to write for the newsletter for a time. She was always a cheerleader :-)

On many Friday afternoons, nearing the end of my time there, we would sit in her office and talk about what the future held. I was engaged to Brit Boy and was preparing to leave soon. She would say, “Lemme see that picture of you and that cute fella of yours.” I would go and get it and she would say, “Look at that, you all got matching dimples.” Then she would say, “Be happy girl…you deserve it.”

Kim said that she had dreams for the future too. She always wanted to do something to help girls to be strong in this world. She had wanted to do something that would help girls and others through mentoring and other services. She said that when she retired she would love to get a grant to set something up. Then she added, “I’m gonna look you up whether you’re in England or not. I need you to brainstorm with me and write up me a grant proposal.” I would laugh and say, “Kim, you need a grant writer for that, somebody who knows their stuff.” And she’d say, “I trust you to work it out.” I choke up when I remember that. Kim was what we all need in this world…someone who believes in us in spite of everything and will tell us so whenever we need it. So I told her that I’d be there for her when she called, and I fully meant that, no matter how out of my depth I felt :-) She had been there for me countless times and I was gonna be there for her whenever that call came.

I left that December, nearly three years back now and she left there that January. She got another job in North Carolina that was too good of an opportunity to pass up. We both went off into the next chapter of our lives. I always had it in my mind that we would see each other again. I figured that one day I was gonna drive on up to North Carolina, drop in on her and say, “Kim, where’s the chocolate and ‘cawfeee’?"

Then about a year later, I found out that she had breast cancer and even though I know it is a terrible diagnosis, we always have to have hope, you know. So I sent her a card and letter to let her know that I was in her corner and gave her an additional email address to contact me and I prayed.

Well, as the last few days of October ticked away, Kim passed away. She fought the good fight til the end. She was laid to rest yesterday. I wasn’t able to go back for the funeral, but in a quiet moment, I thought of her. And as the sun set and I looked out the window at the clouds, I waved her off and I was proud to have known her and to have called her my friend. People like her come into your life to teach you and I learned a lot about the kind of person that I want to be. I will value her friendship forever…a friend who believed in me.