And now?

So then here we are again on the brink of another new year and what have we done. John Lennon asked that same question some years ago in his song ‘So this is Christmas‘. Did you think about the question then? One of the things I tire of about the perpetual merry-go-round we in the western world ride each year is that nothing ever changes. It isn’t so much the things which people cling to in order to keep up with the Jones’ or follow like sheep in the tradition of others else feel left out, no, it is more the stupidity of their mindset. We are after all free spirits are we not? Why then is there the need to do anything because others do it? We can think for ourselves, do as we please (within the constraints of a civilised society of course) and live how we wish, it is entirely a free choice. No-one pressures anyone else into doing something they really don’t want to do you would think but often the opposite is true. The bland statement of  ‘Oh well we are human beings and expect and accept our behaviour’, is a measure of our own defeat. It’s about time we stopped following all the other sheep who eat in the same old pasture and go find another field, do our own thing.

If you could start your life anew
What would you think or say or do?
If everything you did before
Could be wiped clean and be no more
Would you respond and let it be
Or stay still blind and never see?
You may not think that this is true
But all these words apply to you.

Shirley Anne 21 Dec 2017

So what will change for you this year? Have the promises you made to yourself last year been kept? Probably not in most cases or if they have they probably didn’t take root because they were starved of nourishment and consequently died to become a forgotten memory. Well another year has passed and you are still stuck in the rut, still doing the same old thing, still supporting some nasty habits and maybe now regretting your lack of will-power. Do something different, make some changes and keep them, you owe it to yourself. Who knows how long we may live, chances missed, opportunities passed-by, reluctant attitudes and by this time next year you will look exactly like you do now. Whatever paths you take make sure they are good ones, ones which will stay the course in your life. Make this year the best you’ve ever had but for all the right reasons.

Shirley Anne

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Last day

Too Drunk...
Too Drunk… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So ends the old year and a new one begins. It was Saturday, the last day of the year and I had ideas of doing a bit of garden maintenance but again I had slept in rather late and shelved the thought. I intended working for an hour or so in the morning because the weather forecast showed that it would get windy and wet later on. I awoke at 9.50 and by the time I had gotten downstairs  it was 11.00. I therefore waited a while and prepared lunch instead. The wind did pick up and it was quite cold to be out in it. Soon after lunch E left the house and I thought she would be out for the day but she was back an hour later. In the meantime I potted about doing very little except watch a bit of television. It was New Year‘s Eve but I had nothing planned for the event, I never observe it.

English: Fireworks over Copenhagen the night b...
Fireworks over Copenhagen the night before New Year’s Eve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

That has been the way for many years and as far back as I can remember. When asked why I don’t observe the occasion I say that I am simply not interested, which is true but then I think to myself what would be the point? I haven’t drunk alcohol now for a number of years and as most celebrations centre around drinking the night away it would be pointless. I would feel like a fish out of water, everyone getting drunk all around me and me being sober as a judge in their company just doesn’t work. I often wonder why people think that getting drunk is a great way to celebrate anything. Some no doubt will get drunk on drugs too. Why do people treat their bodies that way? It is self destroying. So I don’t want to be a part of it. Saturday evening was spent watching a movie till late and then off to the Land of Nod and getting up on Sunday morning without a banging headache and a mouth like blotting paper. The new year for me would be just like the preceding one and the first day just treated as another day. If you really think about it that’s exactly what they are. We hope the new year will be better and that things will change but in reality they don’t because our hearts are not in it. Maybe this time…..?

Shirley Anne

The days grow long

English: Holy Spirit church: Cellingpainting: ...
Holy Spirit church: Cellingpainting: Birth of Christ Locality: Heiligengeistplatz Community:Klagenfurt  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Around this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere of our Earth the days begin to lengthen, that is the hours of daylight. At the same time of course the nighttime hours get shorter. The day is almost upon us, the celebration of the birth of our Saviour and many will be marking the day in their usual way. Before I became a Christian believer I had another faith, I was an atheist, I didn’t believe in God or Jesus Christ and I’d never heard of the Holy Spirit. I followed, like many others, in the tradition of men, celebrating Christmas as non-believers do. People around me would say, Christmas is about family and it is a time for children. Children were told, as they still are, that Santa Clause would be bringing them toys if they were good. Why are children told such lies? There is no harm in make-believe I hear you say but it is just as easy to tell the truth is it not? Children end up growing as non-believers and the lies are perpetuated. If you are going to celebrate someone’s birth surely they will be at the centre of it won’t they? No-one goes to a birthday party that has nobody there whose birthday it is! There cannot be a party without its host. There cannot be a party without an invitation to join-in either, that would be stupid, yet it happens every year at Christmas. If Christ is not in Christmas there is no birthday party to celebrate. Time is short and Christmas will be upon us in a day or two. Time is short for us all and one day we each of us will pass away. For those who believe there is a party in Heaven that will last for eternity and Jesus will be there to greet them, he is their host and will welcome them in because he knows them. Do you know Jesus? Is he the host at your party? Without him there is no real celebration. The invitation is there…..are you going to accept it?

I no longer celebrate Christmas as I once did, the way the world does but I celebrate in my heart each and every day for what Jesus did for me and praise him.

Shirley Anne

Hangovers and stuff

Hangover Square (film)
Hangover Square (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It will soon be New Years’ Eve and another excuse for a binge, not that many need an excuse. One thing I haven’t celebrated for more than forty years is New Year. I had plenty of opportunity but no inclination. Yes, I once drank and to my shame over-indulged on many an occasion but ceased drinking just over two years ago. In fact I once gave up the drink for more than thirteen years until I slipped back into the habit around 2002. The problem with alcohol and indeed many other forms of drug, yes it is a drug, is that it is addictive and when that addiction gains strength it can be destructive too. The body has no need for drugs except where they are medicinal but the mind is our weak spot. It is what we think that decides what we do, often to our detriment. So here we are just before New Year and many will be preparing for their celebrations, where to go or who to invite to their own parties. Of course the main activity will involve drinking alcohol and for many, excessively. The aftermath will be headaches, hangovers, injuries and even sadly, death. Some will still insist on taking to the road in their vehicles causing mayhem in the process and if they don’t kill themselves they may kill innocent bystanders or motorists. I think drinking any amount of alcohol before driving should incur the severest penalty, a complete ban on driving for two years. Some will disagree with that saying that small amounts of alcohol do no harm. I disagree, any amount of alcohol has an affect on the system. Most who celebrate of course will do it sensibly, though perhaps noisily. I will probably be asleep well before the midnight hour and will wake up feeling refreshed and free from the dreaded hangover. Out of interest the only real remedy for a hangover aside from not bringing it on in the first place is to drink plenty of water and continue to do so until the headache disappears. The headache, the hangover is simply caused by dehydration therefore the only solution is to rehydrate…..drink water! There are many supposed remedies but only drinking water works. There is no need to drink alcohol in order to have a good time, alcohol often affects memory anyway and whatever ‘good time’ that had been enjoyed is not remembered. What is the point in that? Whatever you do on New Years’ Eve. be wise, be safe and enjoy it. I will enjoy my day differently.

Shirley Anne

Family and friends?

English: This is actually Tom's Restaurant, NY...
English: This is actually Tom’s Restaurant, NYC. Famous as Monk’s in Seinfeld, and as Tom’s Diner, in the Suzanne Vega song of that name. It is located at the northeast corner of W. 112th Street and Broadway in New York, close to the campus of Columbia University, in the same building as the Goddard Institute of Space Studies. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I took E to her place of choice for a meal on her birthday, Friday, which was to our usual restaurant. I am certain she has shares in the place! I had been to do a job in the morning and was supposed to drive to another house some distance away to assess some work there but was unable to contact the client. I left a message on the phone and returned home with the intention of dining out with E. I received a return call and arranged to go to the house on Monday as I shall be working close by that day. I got changed but E told me that she was expecting our youngest son and his girlfriend to call within the hour so our trip to the restaurant was delayed. They did arrive an hour later with a gift for E and stayed awhile. I invited them along with us but they declined the offer. Eventually they left and we set off to eat. We don’t normally visit this restaurant on a Friday so we had no idea how full it may or may not have been. As it turned out it was quite full. It appeared that more than a hundred guests were holding a wake and had taken over part of the establishment and another party of people were using a large area of the remaining available space. We found a couple of tables empty and by the time we received our meal many were leaving. I wondered just how many of those at the wake had actually been close to the deceased. It may have been that all of them were but somehow I have my doubts. In my life I have very little contact with my family and my friends are few and I wonder just how many would be at my wake! It may sound an odd thing to say but what would be the point for those who are not really a part of my life in attending my wake? It would be too late for them to ‘pay their respects’ as I wouldn’t be there to receive the honour! I have always thought that wakes only serve to give people an excuse to eat, drink and be merry and maybe speak about the deceased’s life. What people do after I am gone will benefit me nought will it? Why don’t they get involved with me whilst I am still here? Maybe invite me out to dinner…………..

Shirley Anne

E’s Birthday

Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today it is E’s birthday she is now ’39’ years old……well you didn’t think I was going to reveal her real age now did you? Save to say she is younger than I am. Once was that I celebrated my birthday, that is the day I came into this world and not my ‘other’ birthday, the one I mentioned in an earlier post. I don’t celebrate them as I once did. Actually I cannot see the point of it. What is a celebration anyway? Does it mean getting drunk, partying and eating too much? Is it receiving gifts from those who feel the need to give them? What difference does it make or is it just an excuse to do all of these things? I have learned that all these things really are pointless to enjoying my life and my birthday is simply another day. It hasn’t always been the case that people celebrate birthdays, in fact they are not celebrated in many parts of the world. Birthday celebrations along with many other things we as human beings do are perpetuated through tradition and nobody wants to fly in the face of tradition for fear of being considered anti-social or weird, in other words afraid of what others might say or think about us. I could take E out for a nice meal by way of acknowledging her birthday and I might just do that but I do that often anyway. I might buy her gifts but she has most everything she wants and another gift simply adds to the pile she has already. Consumable gifts are a good idea, things that won’t sit in a cupboard for months on end and be forgotten. Birthdays mark another milestone in the journey of life but often we don’t want to be reminded of that especially as we get older. My argument is not what I can buy for E but what I can do for her to let her know she is loved and appreciated all the time and not simply because it is her birthday. I do this to my best ability anyway. She knows this and that is better than any other gift I could give her.

Shirley Anne

It’s great

Hangover Square (film)
Hangover Square (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s great! This morning I feel great, no hangover or anything like that because I no longer drink alcohol and I’ve had plenty of sleep. I do not celebrate New Year as if it were something of great importance to me, it isn’t. In fact I haven’t celebrated the event in something like 35 years so it isn’t something I miss. I realise that isn’t the same for everyone and each follows their heart. For me though I cannot see the point of it all. Rationally and logically speaking it is simply another day in my life. Tomorrow might be a day to remember or maybe the day after, in fact every new day is a blessing if you think about it. Today is the start of a new year, measured from the birth of Christ but as nobody knows when he was actually born and as the calendar has undergone more recent changes it seems a bit silly to celebrate 1 January as the beginning of the new year.  Thinking about celebration and why we do it I have come to the conclusion it is a waste of time. We celebrate the day of our birth expecting gifts to mark the occasion, why? What have we done to deserve it? If anyone should mark the occasion shouldn’t that be our mother and father? It is all quite pointless if you think about it. I am just happy to be alive and it is great!

Shirley Anne

Celebration? Not really.

Birthday celebration
Birthday celebration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I mentioned the other day that Sunday the 14th marked the anniversary of my operation and full transition as a woman. To the average person that event means very little but for those who actually have to go through the whole process of transition it means a lot. It means the culmination of a life ambition to correct Nature‘s mistake. It is a difficult thing to understand for those who do not suffer the torment of having to live a life as the person everyone expects you to be when you yourself know you are not. For those who have these hurdles to negotiate it is very much a relief to have them all finally done with and for me that happened ten years ago on Sunday. I call it my ‘official’ birthday, my actual birthday being 21 November. Well her majesty The Queen has one doesn’t she? So I had it in mind to celebrate that milestone in my life but wasn’t sure how or if I was to do that. During the week I had entertained E twice by taking her out to dine, once for no special reason as we often dine out anyway and once to celebrate her birthday which we did on Friday. Dining out again didn’t seem appropriate, especially with just one person so it didn’t happen. I suppose few people would have been interested in celebrating the event with me anyway and those that might live too far away. I spent the whole weekend at home apart from taking a couple of hours out on Saturday to go for a bike ride but on Sunday evening I decided to visit my local pub for the first time in over two weeks. If you remember I had injured myself falling off a ladder at home and my head required twelve stitches to seal the wound. For more than a week I suffered the after effects and had a headache  which took all week to subside. I didn’t much feel like going out so remained at home when I hadn’t work scheduled. Yes, I did go to work but took things very slowly and only worked for a couple of days. I don’t usually go to the pub on a Sunday afternoon because it gets rather crowded ao I leave going there until the evening instead. When I arrived at around 8.30 there were not many people inside so I sat alone for some time just admiring the scenery. After a half hour or so things changed, more people came in and before I knew it I was surrounded by a couple of people who wanted to chat with me. I stayed until closing time as I didn’t have any plans to get up early on Monday morning, I had no work to do, well work outside of home that is! When I did get up at 8 o’clock the sun was shining brightly through a cloud-filled sky and it began to rain. The rain glistened as the sun’s rays shone through and I knew there had to be a rainbow in the west. I took a look and saw one of Nature’s beautiful sights, a rainbow stretching right across the darkened sky. I might not have celebrated the anniversary of my other birthday in any special way but I was able to celebrate the start of a new week with a rainbow! It can only get better.

Shirley Anne

Nice food?

Sirloin steak, served with garlic butter and f...
Sirloin steak, served with garlic butter and french fries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I treated E to a one day’s belated birthday meal on Friday, her birthday (anniversary of) was on Thursday but she had been invited to dinner by her sister and her mom so couldn’t dine with me. I suppose the ideal would have been dining together with them but I fear that wasn’t possible as I am sure they haven’t yet accepted me after ten years. No matter. Although I treat E to meals out she does the driving. It works well for me as I like a drink with my meals but she doesn’t drink these days, partly because she never was one to drink much and now her medication prevents her doing so. Occasionally she might have a drink at home but that is a rare event too and is always limited to a small glass of Bailey’s or something similar. I on the other hand can drink a full bottle of red wine with no problem. We drove to a place some 12 miles away, a place we often visit but this time we arrived in the early evening as opposed to the middle of the afternoon as we are usually inclined to do. The management of this establishment changed last year and as far as I am concerned, for the better. It is one of those places that has made the conversion from a pub that sold food to a restaurant that doubles as a pub. Whereas before we would find a table then place an order at the bar and later paying the bill in the same way, now it has full waiter/waitress service as you would expect from a restaurant. The menu has changed of course but that is usual anyway and will change again as they see fit, but that too is usual for a restaurant. I have never had a problem in the past with the food that is served as a rule except for one or two minor things. On Friday however the sirloin steak I ordered was a little tough and was served on a cold plate. I didn’t create a fuss over that, it was edible and I was hungry. I suppose I should have called the waitress to complain but that is not my style unless the food is exceptionally bad. Later, when we had finished that course, the waitress approached to see if everything was all right. I told her that the steak had been a little tough and that the plate had been cold, as was E’s plate. She apologised and we left it at that. We ordered dessert, which was unusual for us because we both had a starter course and don’t usually have both a starter and a dessert but we were pushing the boat out as a treat for E. When the meal was over E had a coffee but I still had wine to finish, then we asked for the bill. When we saw the bill we noticed that we hadn’t been charged for my dessert nor for E’s coffee by way of recompense for a poorly presented steak. We thanked the waitress for we hadn’t expected such a response. Our time together was good and E had me in stitches with laughter with some of the things she said. More importantly she had an enjoyable time too, after all it was for her benefit but then it always is when I treat her.

Shirley Anne

 

The aftermath

Street Party
Street Party (Photo credit: Phil W Shirley)

Well the weekend of Jubilee celebrations is over and her majesty Queen Elizabeth and the rest of us can return to our normal routines. I speak for everyone else who joined in the celebrations for I took no part in the revelry, didn’t even watch any of the events on television or listen to them on the radio. No, I carried on my life as usual and it hasn’t made any difference to me at all. I am not saying that those who wish to indulge in these things shouldn’t do so, that would be absurd. No, it just isn’t for me, I simply don’t get excited in such things. Perhaps it is the rebel in me or perhaps I just find it uninteresting and boring. To be honest many of the planned events by local people turned out to be a non-event but that was due to the bad weather. Events like outdoor street parties can’t take place in the rain. In a street party about three-quarters of a mile from where I live many joined in and seemingly had a great time for the weather here on that day was perfect. However more streets were without parties, including mine. In some ways holding street parties is a great idea for bringing small communities of people together and hopefully with lasting ties. I have to say though if the street is a long one (like the one pictured) I would think it difficult to mix with everyone there unless one walked up and down it’s length sampling the food en-route! In the UK we have what is known as ‘Home watch’ schemes whereby local communities at street level keep a watchful eye on what is going on in their street and their neighbours properties. It is a good deterrent to would-be burglars and gives a sense of security. People should get together in this way and even hold events so they can get to know each other better but it doesn’t always work out that way. Some people find it difficult to mix with others and some find the thought of being too close to their neighbours is one step too far. Personally I am not keen on street partying but have to admit it is a good way to break the ice so to speak. The reality is that things eventually revert to normal and we all go our own ways and do our own thing once the revelry has ended. Isn’t that always the case after we have been out partying? Life goes on as usual despite the many ways we try to change it by ‘living it up’. We remain exactly the same when it is all over. The morning after the night before hits us abruptly and we have to get back into our routines.

Shirley Anne