Never Feel Alone

I love to keep busy. It makes the days race by, and all of a sudden, look, it is Saturday, and I am left wondering to myself where the hell did the last week go?

The plus side of being a busy bee is that your mind is occupied and you get to spend lots of time doing fun things that recently you have not really been given the opportunity to enjoy. But then with every up side, there is a down side too, and while I have really enjoyed being as busy as I have this week, I have also missed kind of having my finger on the button so to speak.

Does anyone else suffer life withdrawl symptoms?  No? Ok, I’ll shut up now! :P

lol. So you are all reading this thinking ‘God Rob’s gone mad!’ and to be honest you wouldn’t be far wrong. Life recently has been such a wild roller coaster of up hill and down hill, bored to distraction one moment and rushed into a manic frenzy the next. I do kind of feel like a tornado has swept through my life and left me very uncertain of where the heck I landed.

Learning that life has moments of chaos and that we are actually quite adept at sorting it out, adapting and getting on with it is often an amazing feat that i pause to marvel at. Humankind has got to be the most adaptable creature on the planet, and the age old saying of “We’ll make a plan” rings as true today as it ever has. Sometimes they are botch plans, temporary fixes, a patchwork to get us through the moment. Other times they are organisational wonders, detailed plans that involve hours of preparation  loads of operational skill, and produce amazing results.

Thing thing that I always find amusing about this random approach to our circumstances, is how often we are as unsuccessful as we are in getting the results we wanted in the first place. Failure is an ever present part of the plot, the uncertain and unpredictable result, much the same as a roll of the dice. Yet this doesn’t seem to phase us as people. We just plough on, pick up the pieces of our failure and find another way. I love that about the human endeavour.

Watch a small child. They set their mind on an eventual goal, and learn through experience how to go from where they stand, to the mind blowing feeling of achievement that success brings to us. It is this desire to win, this overwhelming burden to get it right, be the best, find a way, that makes us special people. So even in the chaos of random activity, the pressures of our daily lives, we still manage to find a way.

Ways to stay in touch. Ways to let those who matter, know that they are important. Ways to stay healthy, and fed and watered. Ways to keep our finger on the pulse. So yeah, I guess I am just saying that despite the fact that we dip in and out of the focus of our friends and acquaintances  it does not make us any less special, needed or important. We may from time to time feel a little isolated, lonely or forgotten, but reading between the lines, we realise that there are times we all just don’t have the time we wish we had. It is probably just at that moment that the people you miss need to hear that you are there, alive, well and thinking of them. A simple message, a word of encouragement, a smile on a highly pressured day. These are all things we need, cherish and desire, so make a little effort and remember that those around us have just as much on their plate as we do on our own. Together we are the ones that make the difference in our world. :hug:

Thought for today – “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in our weary world.” – William Shakespeare

Song for today – Girls and Boys by Blur

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LOL or ROFL That’s My Mom

We have always been rather blessed as a family, as comedy for our entertainment through the years has kind of always been provided by my mother. Mom is a wonderful woman, but takes fright really easily and is so gullible bless her. I have some pure classic memories through the years of funny instances and events that provided much mirth for me as a kid and us as a family.

It is always good to get around the table and recount these memories or tease mom over the various mishaps through the years. From bringing a rather posh restaurant to a standstill on Christmas day, to having a coffee shop evacuated in error, or learning to skateboard on a parcel trolley, unintentionally I might add, mom has always managed to make me crack up.

This week was a perfect example. To give everyone some background, my mom has Alzheimers, and I am a full time carer now for her, luckily having been given permission to work from home. Now while this is over all a hugely difficult thing to face, it does produce some moments that can only be describes as hilarious.

On Monday afternoon, while I was busy working in my room, mom occupied herself in her room with some chore or other, and everything seemed fine. At some stage I became aware that mom had been in the bathroom for a fair amount of time. It is like a sub concious thing I have kind of developed to listen for tell tail signs of distress or emergency, even when I am busy.

So, I noticed that she’d been in the bathroom a fair while, and so decided to just give a close listen and make sure she was ok. I could smell her shampoo (it has a really strong scent) and realised she was washing her hair, so panic over. However, a half hour later, she was still washing her hair. I wondered what was up, but again, I have learnt to be patient and allow her to do what she needs to do as long as she is in no danger.

When I eventually heard the door open, I called out to check she was ok, and heard her gawf as she wondered through to her bedroom. I waited for her to change, and could hear her giggling in her room, and by now my curiosity was raised to high levels.

Eventually she came through to my office, and while still drying her hair, informed me she’d had a disaster. I turned to look at her, and asked what had happened. She explained that she’d found some stuff in her cupboard for her hair, and had decided to try it out on a little bit of her hair to see if it still suited her. Well, apparently she’d got more than she anticipated on the one side of her hair, and it was a disastrous colour, (I assume from its age or something). Too shy to tell me, she’d rushed to wash it out, but it took 16 washes to get the stuff out.

Well by now I was giggling myself, just from the state my mother was in while trying to explain this all too me. I got up and followed her through to her room to dry her hair for her, and as we got there I asked what she had done with the ‘stuff’ she’d put in her hair.

“Oh I threw the bloody stuff out,” she told me. “I don’t want to be doing that again.” (please bear in mind my mom’s memory, she’d probably forget she’d tried this in a few weeks, and if it was still lying around might try it again. I am blessed in that my mom is still aware of her mental problems and manages them quite well when she can).

“Oh”, I said. “What was it doing still lying around?” My mom stopped dying her hair a number of years ago now.

“I don’t know, I just wondered what it would look like, so wanted to try a little, but that didn’t work,” she giggled.

“What colour was it?” I enquired.

“Hang on, I’ll go get it,” she replied wondering off as I readied the hair dryer.

When she returned, the fun started…..

What she handed to me was a small bottle of Revlon Facial Foundation in a light sandy colour. Well, I was rolling on the floor. I couldn’t talk, tears were streaming down my face and my sides hurt like hell.

When I could eventually talk, I explained the reason for my hysteria to my mom. “This is facial make up,” I explained.

My mom’s eyes became the size of saucers, and she proclaimed, “Oh good God, what would I want to put that s**t on my face for?”

Well, this moment will live long in my memory. My mom is a fine old lady that has done so much for me in my life, and while it is hard to deal with what is going on around me, it is our ability to laugh that makes it bearable some days. I hate to think about the reality of it all, but they say it is the good things in life you remember the longest. In this instance I know that this is true.

We will all face hardship and difficult times at some point in our lives, but even in the darkness, there are days that are good days.

Thought for today – “While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” – Angela Schwindt

Song for today – Mama I Love You by the Spice Girls

Too Cute? – The Poll No 1 – Dogs

We all love to see a picture of something cute. It puts a smile on our face immediately and makes us feel all warm and fluffy inside. Part of our human nature is to feel endeared and protective towards something that we cute and cuddly. From a very young age I can remember seeing a cute animal and wanting to take care of it. The same goes for adults and young children.

Over the next few posts I’m going to profile a set of pictures of various young animals that I have thought portray the essence of cuteness. The challenge for you then is to select one of the five pictures displayed and vote for it on the Poll at the bottom of the post. I’m interested to see which one comes out as the cutest of the lot. 🙂

So go on, what are you waiting for? Get choosing…

Pup 1

Pup 2

Pup 3

Pup 4

Pup 5

Vote for your favorite

Please refer this post on to friends and family to vote. Thanks 🙂

A Very Happy New Year

As we close the doors on a tough and often trying year, may we look back at 2011, not with regret at the trials and tribulations of a turbulent year, but in fond memory of a year that taught us resilience, patience, humanity and that we can survive.

2012 arrives with the prospects of another New Beginning, a year that may be the one that changes the face of our world as we know it forever. May everything that we have learnt in our previous years bring us humility, compassion, friendship and be the source of rich blessings throughout the year.

I pray that each and every one of us remain safe, strong and enjoy good spirits. May our friendships grow stronger, our prospects look secure and our future be as exciting as any James Bond thriller, without all the shooting and drama that goes with it.

To every single person that reads my blog, I say thank you, I hope you return, share with me, and help me to better understand the world in which I live.

Do They Know It’s Christmas – “Of Course We Do!”

I was reading today and came across a tweet that pointed me to this post on the Hayibo.com website, and it made me chuckle a bit, but the overall emphasis on the idea behind the content of the post, is something close to my heart. It’s good to hear it from the mouth of another African person too, and I really hope that the single does well.

Reposted from Hayibo.com

CAPE TOWN. After 28 years of silently tolerating it, a group of unemployed local musicians have joined forces to release a Christmas single, entitled ‘Yes we do,’ in response to the Bob Geldof inspired Band Aid song, ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’.

Speaking at the launch of their song, the musicians praised Geldof’s relentless quest for an answer and said they hoped their collaboration would free the Irishman and his friends to start looking for solutions to new and more important questions.
“Like Do they know about climate change in America? Or did Kim Jong-il have time to write down the abort codes for the nukes before he died? Or perhaps he can revert to the time-honoured classic – ‘Tell me why I don’t like Mondays.”

Speaking at the launch of the single, whose proceeds will go towards teaching discipline, literacy and contraception at British schools, composer and singer Boomtown Gundane said that for years he had been irked by Geldof’s assumption that hungry Africans were also stupid.

“Or was he just saying that Africans were stupid? Of course we knew it was Christmas.”

He said despite the poverty and hunger that had inspired Geldof and his friends to create the song back in 1984 that Africans had developed their own ways to remember Christmas.

“Just because we don’t have Boney M or Christmas advertising in September doesn’t mean we are oblivious to it,” said Gundane who went on to suggest that Africans were a lot like the Irish.

“They made it through disasters like the potato blight and the invention of the Protestant church without forgetting Christmas – why did they think we would forget it?”

When asked why the ensemble of African musicians, who have called themselves Plaster Cast, had taken so long to come up with a response to the Band Aid song Gundane said it had taken a while for them to realise that it wasn’t actually an elaborate joke.
“We kept waiting for them to laugh,” he said, “But the punch-line never arrived.”

Gundane said he hoped that his involvement with the song would turn him into an expert on British politics and economics in the same way ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ had turned Geldof and Bono into the world’s leading experts on Africa.

“If I’m not sharing a platform with the Queen and David Cameron by this time next year; or headlining at Glastonbury, then I will have done something very wrong,” said Gundane.

My very best wishes to Gundane and the musicians. I hope you have a blessed Christmas, and a very happy 2012.

Give your Community a Social Smile

Our world has become a place where far too much emphasis is placed on being self sufficient. We put too much time into striving to survive. Selfishness is the order of the day, and sad as it is to admit, we have become a society caught up in our own importance at the detriment to our communities and society at large.

A lot of hard work and time is given by members of our society to make charity a working part of our lives, collecting on behalf of hugely valuable organisations or community groups that have a significant impact throughout the world, but this kind of giving is made far too easy for us as individuals. Yes we dig into our pocket and give, but it is left to others to make the difference, and while we can draw satisfaction from feeling involved, we sadly lack the reward of experiencing the change our donation makes at the end of the line.

Don’t get me wrong, I do honestly believe that charitable giving has an important place in our modern world, however what I am trying to suggest is that we as a society should challenge ourselves more.

There is more to be done than simply digging into our pocket and producing small change, or setting up a direct debit or standing order for a monthly contribution to some foundation or charitable organisation.

Let me ask you to think back to when you did something special for a perfect stranger in your community? When was the last time that you made an effort to make someone you didn’t know feel good about themselves or make their day extra special?

I am certain that for the majority of us we can all attest to being guilty of failing this test. I know that far too often I am caught up in a world of personal complexities, the demanding world of surviving in difficult financial times and far too busy to stop and wonder how I could make someone’s day a great day. Does this make me selfish? No I don’t believe that just one action alone makes me fundamentally flawed by selfishness, however I do think that it points to the fact that I could do more.

More importantly I believe that it points to the fact that we could all do more. If you are reading this and thinking, well yes, if I am totally honest with myself, I know that I could also do more, then allow me to challenge you this Christmas to commit yourself to making it an extra special Christmas for one person that you know will benefit from just a little bit of love.

It is not a big thing to show someone else some appreciation this year. It’s a special time of the year anyway, and it’s called the season of giving for a reason, so let’s make an effort to share with someone different this year, and spread the feeling of goodwill beyond our comfort zone.

Communities are made stronger by the simple actions of people within them. We become better people by reaching out and helping people not as fortunate as ourselves. Let’s be honest, we all know of someone that would benefit from our help. Even if you don’t it is not massively difficult to find someone within our communities that would benefit from a little bit of extra love and consideration. I guess the most important consideration in this appeal is that personal feeling of satisfaction. Your personal sacrifice in time, expense and effort produces the most rewarding feeling when you see the look of amazement and happiness on the face or in the eyes of the individual you touch with your love. Nothing can replace that warm glow of unity that you feel in your soul.

So take a moment of reflection if you have read this, and promise yourself to touch another this year. Let us all learn through our commitment to put a smile on someone’s face this Christmas that communities grow into better places through our actions, and people become better people when we share and reach out to each other. Giving is so much more than just your small change, and when a whole society begin to make small contributions to our community, it is then that we see the Big Society take hold, snow ball and become a thriving, healthy, social network of people making the difference for each other.