Tag Archives: Life

Operation Beautiful

Hyer, Martha01Jane at ‘They call me Jane’ today wrote about a wonderful site that I want to share with you here.  It’s called Operation Beautiful and it’s a project that I think every woman should be part of, in fact everyone, and certainly all parents.   The premise is simple: To leave anonymous post-it notes in public places that simply say ‘you are beautiful’ (or very similar) – a personal boost for anyone seeing them, an assurance that they are in fact beautiful despite what they may currently be feeling.  In an extremely brief course of therapy I was told to do something very similar, so according to current thinking this is not a load of hoo-ha, and could actually start to make a difference …and Lord knows, we need to bolster our self -esteem when the messages that constantly surround us in the media seem to do nothing but undermine us.

I have two daughters and maybe because of my own childhood experiences I did everything I could when they were growing up to bolster their feelings of self-worth, to praise them and to tell them how much I love them.  Even so, none of us can help but be influenced by the images of ultra skinny, air brushed models that surround us.

Maybe more insidious are the stories of the perfect women with their perfect lives.  We’ve all come across them (and much though I love Nigella, in many ways, she’s a major culprit in this) – the women who live in some kind of 1950s Utopia where their children are scrubbed clean, well-behaved, fed perfectly nutritious home-prepared dinners, read a story and put to bed (where they stay and not winge at the top of the stairs) at seven o’clock in the evening, before Mummy cooks up something else – something totally spectacular for her and hubby.   Never mind that perfect Mummy has made it her job to make life look  perfectly easy and so is paid a perfectly lovely salary.  And never mind that perfect Mummy may live in a perfectly lovely house, with a husband with perfectly lovely income that can pay for perfectly lovely home help to clear it all up.

No.  Images, TV programmes and magazine articles albound about how easy it all is to look better,  do better, be better.  The fact of the matter is that life is not perfect, we are not perfect and unlike, say 100 years ago, many of us do not have the support of family close by who can take the pressure off us.  We struggle on, doing the best we can, but no doubt constantly feeling that somehow we ‘could do better’.

I also have to say that my experience of other mothers is that we are often our own worst enemies, excellent at psyching each other out.  I once visited a friend’s house and she made it a point to show me her airing cupboard.  (??!)  I soon saw why.  It was filled with perfectly laundered and folded laundry, in perfect little stacks.  I seem to remember that I maybe inappropriately snorted and said that if you were to take a punt on opening my airing cupboard door you’d most certainly be swamped under a stack of tumbling towels and pants.  I subsequently learned that the laundry she was so proud of was farmed out to a professional firm.  Well there you go – It’s easy to be perfect, with help.

Go visit Operation Beautiful ladies.  In fact, I think everyone should visit, because the message is coming through that  boys are increasingly starting to worry about their own body image and I know that despite the good front they put up, grown men also worry that they could do better in our screwed up and over-pressured western society.  I’m sure you guys can come up with your own affirming and appropriate post-it note phrase.

Let’s all fight back against the media.



Filed under Home, modern life, People watching, Uncategorized


For the first time in months, this weekend my husband and I have nothing that we have to be doing.  This morning we did our usual weekend recce over breakfast, discussing what must be done over the next two days and both felt as if we’re somehow forgetting something vital.  We’re not.  Our time is our own.  In my head the tumbleweed is rolling across the open prairies and you know what?  It’s a nice feeling.

I have this theory that constantly being idle is actually bad for the spirit.  On the other hand I can confirm that constantly having something to do is equally bad.   I’m glad that we can get back to the happy medium.  Today will be the normality of a trip to the pet supply shop for cat bics and blob, followed by, who knows?  Maybe a trip to the beach for a ‘Mr Whippy’ from the ice cream van.  Ah…normality.  I like normality.

0232, Bike Ride


Filed under Home, modern life

There comes a time…

If you haven’t already reached there, trust me, there comes a time in your life when a simple thing like spelling, or more correctly mis-spelling and the corruption of the English language will suddenly bother you in a way you never thought possible.  Someone who saw this sign had clearly reached that stage in life:

Drive through


Filed under modern life, People watching, Photography, Things to make you smile, web memorabilia

A question of ownership

SealThe city of San Diego as been given 72 hours to remove seals from a beach at the area of La Jolla so that children may use a concrete paddling pool there.  The pool was originally built and gifted to the city by a local philanthropist in the 1930s and nowadays contains such high levels of bacteria that there are signs advising people not to use it …. yet they still do.  (…??!…candidates for the Darwin Awards no doubt…)

As you might expect with one of these ‘man versus the environment’ issues, passions are running high.  City authorities are now at loggerheads with those who say that the seals are a valuable tourist attraction, the seals need a period of rest each day and that the area should instead be made into a sanctuary for the animals.

As the seals are a federally protected marine species, the only suggested solution is to employ someone to walk up and down the beach with a public address system loudly playing the sound of dogs barking .  (Torture for nearby human residents too I would have thought). Of course, passions are so inflamed that authorities feel that the person with the dog barking address system will need police protection – probably 2 officers will do.

I suspect the seals have always visited this beach and maybe back in the 1930s, when La Jolla was a quiet little seaside resort, shared use of the beach by man and animal wasn’t perceived to be a problem.  During the 1990s seal visitors increased and coincidentally, by that time there had also been an explosion of human visitors and residents.

LaJolla_Seals2I was at La Jolla a couple of times in the 1990s and my visits gave me magical memories that I treasure and make me want to visit again some day.  Forget the man-made attractions of cafes, restaurants and up-scale boutiques because I can find those around every corner.  What I can’t easily see in very many places, and therefore made my visit so special that I’d like to return some day, was the beautiful coastline and particularly the ability to get close to a large gathering of wild seals.  People had gathered too – some on the beach just yards away from the seals, some standing up on the little harbour wall.  All of us just quietly watching, all no doubt enjoying an all too rare opportunity to get so close to an aspect of nature that we rarely see.

In my opinion it would be a huge mistake to try to remove the seals.  Not only will it be costly to keep two policemen on ‘seal patrol’,  if the annoying public address system does the trick the seals may move on, but they may well take up residence on the very next beach along, causing a nuisance to swimmers, surfers and beachgoers there.  If they should sadly disappear entirely from the La Jolla area then I think that the town will notice a big drop in visitor numbers.  To me La Jolla without the wildlife is just another pretty coastal town and I (along with many others, I suspect) will have little reason to return.

Then there is the bigger moral question of who really owns this or any other piece of  coastline?  Is it ever ours to trade – to sell or to give away, imposing our will on all those who share it?  I’d argue that the marine life was there long before man and so we have a duty to be good new tenants, finding ways, wherever humanly possible, to discretely share the same space.  Besides which, is it really so difficult for us to find another place for a toddlers’ paddling pool?

La Jolla_Seal beach


Filed under environment, Green issues, modern life, People watching, Photography, world

President Clinton talks about UFOs

In this video, from 2005, ex President Clinton is asked about UFOs and while most of his answer is as you might expect, the resaon I’ve posted this here is that there is a moment, around 4.45 mins, that I rather like.  I wonder how many Presidents before him had done exactly the same?  …all of them I bet!  At least I hope they have.  Curiosity means that you have an open mind, a quality that I believe is absolutely essential to be a successful leader of any country.

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Filed under media, modern life, People watching, Smile / Humour, Things to make you smile

Skewed priorities

newspaperIt’s amazing how with the death of Michael Jackson time seems to have stopped.  People have stopped starving to death in Africa, there are no wars, no threats to world peace, no environmental disasters, no companies announcing mass redundancies, entire nations are no longer financially crippled and global warming is no longer a threat to the future of our planet.  Phew.  Thank goodness for that then.

As my husband said this morning whilst watching Sky News:

‘We’ve had fifteen minutes of Michael Jackson, 15 seconds of British detainees being released in Iran, 10 seconds on the policing of the G20 summit and 5 minutes of Wimbledon.’

It’s good to know we have our priorities right.


Filed under media, modern life, People watching

The Yin and Yang balance

YinYangThere is a yin and yang balance to life, if you choose to look for it.  Just lately I’ve been in pain – a finger joint on my left hand has finally succumbed to arthritis.  It’s been on the move for the last year or more, the joint slowly swelling, but in the last week has begun to painfully throb. 

Under the weather

Under the weather

Do you have arthritis?  If not, count yourself lucky.  Rather unfairly at my age, I think, I now have two points in my body that are affected: in my left foot – the searing arthritic pain of which is currently on several years’ sabbatical, thank the Lord (but the effect of which has left me with a misshapen foot), and now my left hand.  What is particularly frustratring me is that it would be my left hand, wouldn’t it?  That’s my fully functioning hand.  If it was my right hand it would rarely be used and so the swollen joint wouldn’t be accidentally and continually knocked, and I wouldn’t be noticing how it now hurts every time I even bend my fingers (which, in the case of my left hand is, not surprisingly, very often). 

Still, I count myself lucky that it’s merely a finger joint and not a hip or an entire arm that is in arthritic agony (that would be a real stinker).  

I’d just managed to again painfully bash my hand against the furniture while cleaning yesterday when the phone rang.  The caller purported to be from the company that I tend to buy my shoes from.   (I say ‘purported’ because I don’t see Shoe shoppinga scam here but you never can tell nowadays) . They said that as a subscriber to their newsletter my name had been entered into a competition to win shoes for the next year and that my name had been drawn as the winner. Winging its’ way to me shortly via Recorded Delivery will be hundreds of Pounds worth of vouchers to cover shoes for every season – from January through to December.  How cool is that?  Of course I am not a shoe fettishist like other members of my family, and it just so happens that I have only just bought enough shoes to last me for the next year (at least) but, hey, I’m not complaining!  I’m on the winning side!  I was seriously thinking that this year would be marked only by one ‘money out’ situation after another yet the other day I won £25 on the Premium Bonds [woohoo] and now I’ve won a whole load of shoe vouchers.  Could this be a turn in the financial tide?  That would be nice.

So there.  The yin and the yang balance at work:  I am in physical pain but at least I’ll have plenty of pretty new shoes to distract me and with my current winning streak, who knows?  Perhaps I’m in line for a big lottery win!

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Filed under health, Home