October 17, 2014

I like big books and I cannot lie...



I am a voracious reader. Always have been, always will be. I will forever thank my lucky stars I have a mother who recognised my thirst for the written word and encouraged it. It is my fervent hope that my boys will discover this joy for themselves too one day, outside of car/rugby/gaming magazines. (I suppose I should be thankful that at least they're reading something, right?) Because nothing beats the joy of losing yourself inside a story as it wends its way here and there, round and about, taking your imagination on a little journey to wherever and back. To be so engrossed in every word that time becomes irrelevant and your only priority is staying on board for the ride is a pretty cool thing, even by today's technologically advanced standards.

To this day, I am often found with my nose stuck inside the pages of a well-thumbed paperback (I'm still old school - haven't quite graduated to the Kindle. Yet.) For mine, paradise can often be an uninterrupted afternoon curled up on the couch getting lost in some alternate universe. Time well spent.

Naturally, as you'd expect, some books are turned into movies. Or TV shows. Results are a little hit and miss, I find. But every now and then, a show comes along that is captured almost as perfectly on screen as it is in your head. Game of Thrones would be one, excellent, example. 

And now, I have recently discovered another:




Diana Gabaldon has written a series of books that began with Cross Stitch and is still ongoing, Book #8 Written in my Hearts Blood has just been released! They tell the ever-evolving story of Claire, an English combat nurse from 1945 who falls through time to 1743 and falls in love with Jamie Fraser, a young Scottish soldier from the Highlands. When I began to read the story of Jamie and Claire, I was unprepared for how much their story would take hold in my head and in my heart. I couldn't stop reading! As Diana writes him, Jamie is the kind of man I wish to God I knew in real life. He's passionate, loyal, and honest. A man who can be fierce yet tender. Who speaks of love and honour and wields a sword like no other. And leaps off the page into my head hot and sexy as hell. The Scottish accent doesn't do any harm either, ye ken. And that, dear readers, was even BEFORE I saw him realised on TV. *coughs* Oh my.




Ladies, this is Sam Heughan. He is the EPITOME of Jamie Fraser. As Claire would say, "Jesus H Roosevelt Christ." Mark my words, he is going to be a STAR. 




I have watched the first 8 episodes of 'Outlander' as it's called, twice in the last week - we now have to wait until 2015 for more - and I am utterly transfixed. And not just because of Jamie, uh I mean, Sam (although I confess, I was more than a little taken with HIM. It's been a while since I've had anything remotely close to biblical relations so I'll take the eye candy when I can get it, ye ken?)

To see this wonderful story recreated so beautifully on television is a rare treat, so often TV execs ruin a great story with 'artistic licence'. Not this time though. Diana Gabaldon herself is involved in the production of the show, and clearly she's making sure her characters are treated right! 

So if you're keen for a bit of escapism, a great love story and something a million miles better than the shite regularly dished up on our screens as 'decent television', find some time to watch Outlander - or better yet, read the books and THEN watch it! I'll leave you with a little more food for thought, shall I?










Who's watching with me? Have any of you read the books? What's your favourite Jamie & Claire moment?

October 8, 2014

Closer...




I've been feeling my way along the parameters of this new life for a while, taking in the unfamiliar twists and turns similar to how you move about in the dark; slowly but surely. And then sometimes not so surely. It's just over a month since we moved to a new house and I'm finally at the point where I wake up without being jarred by the sight of my bedroom's new surroundings. It's hard to adjust to change after 14 odd years in the same house but I'm doing it, all the same. Isn't it funny what you get used to. And just as easily un-used to.

It's a lovely neighbourhood. Leafy, green, lots of people who take pride in their home and surrounds. We're close to pretty much everything we need, schools, shops, public transport, motorways, and more parks and walkways than you can poke a stick at! Spencer and I have enjoyed that, I must say. We're settling in. All boxes are unpacked. The noises of the house are becoming increasingly familiar - songbirds singing at sun up, the timber floor gently creaking just after 6am as my eldest boy quietly pads up the hallway on his way to work, the gentle click as he closes the front door.
The sound of a neighbour's truck half an hour later forewarns of the alarm clock's impending screech, the soft but insistent push of my cat's paw against my bare shoulder moments later as she realises I'm almost awake and can you get up and feed me NOW please? I lie there for a moment and savour the calm of another new day before throwing an arm out to silence the electronic slave driver before she barks.

Breathe in.... breathe out. You're okay... everything is okay.

And it is, for the most part. There are still a few little wrinkles to be ironed out, but ironed out they most certainly are going to be.

Like it says: "I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday." 








September 24, 2014

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth...



I'm baaaaaack!

I guess it's true what they say, old(ish) writers never die; they just go on a loooong hiatus. Boom tish.

Well, what a difference a year makes. Those twelve little months can whoosh past in the blink of an eye, can't they? Before you know it, you're unpacking the fairy lights and Christmas decorations even though it only feels as if you've just packed them all away. (Unless you're like one of our neighbours down the street who leave their fairy lights up all-year round.) 

So what's been happening, you ask? What has Sarah been doing? And what IS Sarah doing next? At this point I can honestly say I only know on a day-to-day basis. I have no big plans. Nor do I need any. The past year has seen a steep learning curve of changes for me and mine. Nine months ago I separated from my husband after almost 19 years of marriage. Yeah. BIG change. Massive. Huge. I won't go into all the gory details here - this is not that kind of blog, sorry - suffice to say that it was my choice to leave and I have no doubt it was the best decision for me, and my children. A happier Sarah is a much better Mum and/or everything!

So as you can imagine, the landscape of my life has changed immeasurably. I can't say it was quite how I imagined my life might look at age 48, but it is what it is and you know what? That's alright by me. The benefit of age and a fair bit of hindsight tell me that life in general is usually an open book - it's whatever you decide to make of it. That's not to say that I haven't had my moments of uncertainty, stress and fear-induced anxiety; God knows I most certainly have. I've weathered some very dark days, awful, desperate days. There've been panic attacks. Hyperventilating episodes, fighting to calm myself days. I hardly recognise the woman I was then. 

But I am finally starting to find my happy place. YES! The optimist in me is slowly but surely exerting her influence and I'm so glad. That means I'm on the mend. Sleep is coming in longer bursts and is more restful. I look less strained and a lot more relaxed. I moved to a new house recently and it's beginning to feel like home, a true reflection of me and my boys. I walk in and it feels welcoming. I was at home on my own the other day and I caught myself looking around the room and thinking: "I did it. I really did it. And I'm doing okay." It was a pretty cool moment, readers. The beginning of something GOOD.

So I'm grabbing hold of these new beginnings and holding them close - they are only a few small things, for sure, but nevertheless they make me HAPPY and that's the whole point. I was watching Pharrell Williams on the Graham Norton Show last night and they mentioned his song 'Happy' from  'Despicable Me' that the kids and I both love - I defy anyone to sit still while it plays; you cannot help but tap your feet as it bops along.





What's made you happy lately? The thought of school holidays and no alarm clock? The start of next term? Or maybe it's just you, the couch and a bowl of Maggie Beer's Burnt Fig & Honeycomb ice-cream in front of the TV?? 




May 27, 2013

27/5: Music for Monday...

Source

Everyone in my house had Monday-itis this morning. Except for my eldest. He was up and out the door by 6am. The only reason I know this is because our resident feline diva had been literally walking all over me since 5.30. How freaking hard is it to find a suitable spot to plonk yourself down on, I ask you?


A few seconds later - in truth an hour and a half but it honestly FELT like only seconds - the alarm went off. Let's get this wagon train a-moving! Except that no-one was keen. Just very slooooooooow.


I had to wake up Son#2 THREE times before he eventually surfaced with a muffled 'Wha...?" from under his doona. Rise and shine, baby, I was thinking. If *I* can get up and get my shit together, then surely you can too. I'm a night person, remember?!


*sigh*


Things can only get better from here. I hope.


Today's song is a more recent tune - one I heard on the radio over the weekend while out and about. I was enjoying one of those sport-free weekends - a very rare occurrence in this house - which came about after a few days of very heavy rain. Spence and I were enjoying an invigorating Saturday morning walk in the autumn sunshine and this song kept me moving with a spring in my step. I liked it so much I've added it to my iPhone's music playlist. See what you think!


Hey baby won't you look my way
I can be your new addiction
Hey baby what you gotta say
All you're giving me is fiction

I'm a sorry sucker and this happens all the time
I found out that everybody talks
Everybody talks, everybody talks (too much)

Neon Trees - Everybody talks





Happy Mondays, people.


May 13, 2013

13/5: Music for Monday...

I thoroughly enjoyed all the pampering of yesterday but today it was back to work! You can tell when I have a day off, that's all I'm sayin'.


Image source


Three loads of washing were washed and hung out, two baskets of clean clothes folded and put away, breakfast dishes sorted, kitchen benches wiped down, hard floors vacuumed and mopped, dog walked and all was done before 11.30am! Phew. I can clean like a woman possessed when I'm in the zone.


But it also helps when there is an incentive, am I right? And this was a doozy. One of my Mother's Day presents from yesterday was a gift voucher for a one hour massage at my favourite beauty salon, the appointment scheduled for 12.30 today! Oh yes. One thing I must say about my boys - they definitely know what I like!


AND what I need. Because OH MY GOD, did I need it. There were knots in my neck and shoulders I swear have been there for months. And the massage therapist found every. Single. One. I did not want her to stop, the release of tension was sheer bliss! SO DAMN GOOD.


Have you noticed it's always a bit of a lottery with the range of 'relaxation style' music each salon has piped through their treatment rooms? I think they must all buy from the same music catalogues. I've been in enough salons over the years to be thoroughly sick of Enya, Tubular Bells or Clannad. We need to think outside the box, people!


Here's a suggestion for their playlist. Not a hint of chanting, wind chimes or flutes in this, I can assure you. Just very mellow and highlighted by a soulful guitar. I could listen to this particular artist all day. Twice I have seen this song performed live and both times, Sting was nothing short of incredible. What a talented musician.


You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in fields of gold

Sting -Fields of gold





Happy Monday, people.



May 11, 2013

The Magic of Mothers...



I adore this picture. It's a mother's love, shining pure and bright for all to see.


My mother and I have had our share of ups and downs over the years although I'm glad to say they've mostly been ups. I think she'd agree that my teens were probably the hardest period of all, probably not helped by the fact that we're actually very alike. It's only now - as I'm getting older - that I fully realise and understand this. 


"Hi Mum. I want to apologise in advance for
the grey hair I'm going to give you..." 

Motherhood is one of the hardest jobs out. No pay, on-call 24/7/365 days a year, no holidays. No instruction booklet available, just work it out yourself, thanks very much. It wasn't until I had children myself that I truly appreciated everything my mother has done for me, indeed what it actually means to BE a mother. It's a tough gig with not much to show for it at times. 

Heading home... circa 1966.

Thanks, Mum. Seriously, THANK YOU. You've always been there, my rock, my champion, my fiercest supporter. Whenever I've needed a strong female role model, you've shown me the way. All things considered, I think we've navigated the mother/daughter seas very successfully, don't you? Love you to the moon and back. Can't wait to see you in July!!


I'm looking forward to a relaxing Mother's Day at Chez WSDN tomorrow morning. On the to-do list is a sleep-in, a cup of tea with my Sunday paper (with time to read it) followed by a lazy lunch and a rugby game to watch in the afternoon. Can't get much better than that.


Have a wonderful Mother's Day, dear readers. And big hugs to all the mothers for everything they do. I hope you have a relaxing and joyful day with your families.


 
What are your plans for Mother's Day? And for those mums, what's on your present wish list for tomorrow? 



May 6, 2013

6/5: Music for Monday...




I have this quote printed on a magnet. I've had it for ages. I can't remember where I bought it (probably one of those spontaneous purchases at the cash register) but I do remember the first time I read it. 


I loved this bit:  LOOSEN UP, SCREAM, CURSE THE WORLD. 


I've added that to my bucket list. How invigorating would that be! Imagine standing on the edge of a cliff on your own; the air around you, still and portent. Suddenly you take a huge breath and let loose with the biggest scream of your life. The first time you do it, you might feel stupid. Self conscious, even. But then you gather yourself and try it again, putting all your angst and frustrations into a blood-curdling scream that soars out into the open space beyond. You listen to the echo bounce back to you.


And then:  COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS. JUST LET GO. JUST BE.


After all that screaming, it stands to reason that you'd feel some kind of release wouldn't you think? Which could easily be extended and enhanced for a much longer period of time with a relaxing weekend away at an indulgent spa? Where can I sign up for that? I know, I know, I'm projecting but for the record, I like my bubbles in a tall crystal glass, ploise.


So as a tip of my hat to quote writer Carol Shields, I thought today's selection should reflect our continual search for a truer, deeper meaning of self. This particular legendary band sprang to mind -  when you need lyrics with meaning, you'd be hard pressed to go past them. They've got a repertoire so extensive you can find a song for almost any situation. This one happens to be one of my favourites... its iconic opening guitar solo speaks to my soul in a way no other does. 


I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for 
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for


U2 - I still haven't found what I'm looking for





Happy Monday, people.



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