My first attempt at something like this so it should be an interesting ride.
Tuesday (I think) 28th April 2020|
I think it’s quite amusing that now we are all restricted to our homes and having to entertain ourselves, we start writing about our lives but the only thing going on is that we are locked up in our own homes with nothing going on.
I have been off work since the 23rd March and it seems a lot longer than that.
Going from a forty-hour work week to a week of trying to keep busy is a bit of a culture shock. This is the longest spell that I have ever had out of work in my adult life. (I’m 62)
Luckily, I am healthy and fit enough to go on a daily bike ride. That usually eats up at least two hours of my day. Then I try to keep busy writing emails and playing Football Manager 2020.
If anyone reading this plays FM20 please let me know. That game is so addictive.
|Writing Sprint! Set a timer for 10 minutes and write without stopping about whatever comes to your mind. I challenge you to deny your urge to edit yourself as you write. If you must, you’re allowed to edit, but only after you finish your ten minute sprint. Ready? Set. GO!
…..the box was giving off a lovely aroma. It was delivered yesterday afternoon and none of my room mates had claimed. I checked the label, it was addressed to me. Oh crap, it’s the laundry detergent that I ordered from Amazon. It saves me having to carry it home from the store.
Quite funny when I think about it. I walk home from Bevmo with 24 beers but a big bottle of detergent is too heavy to carry home from Walmart!
The fresh smell coming from the box didn’t bode well. I opened the box and my fears were realized. The liquid was slowly oozing out of the uncapped bottle soaking into the cardboard. Smells lovely but very messy. I have double bagged the whole mess and now working my way through the Amazon process of getting a replacement and returning the damaged bottle.
So I thought that I was being clever by getting Amazon to deliver the bottle but now I have to take it to my local UPS office to be returned.
It will put a bit of excitement into my day. But the journey will eat into my time playing Football Manager, hopefully today will be the day when my team……
|Write about a fork in the road in your life, and how you made the decision to go the direction you did. What would have happened if you chose the other path?
Straight off the top of my head I thought of quite a few forks in the road moments. Then I took a minute and realized that some of them might be classed as sliding door moments.
(Sliding Door movie always makes me laugh. Some good British humour).
I suppose the difference is that you don’t have any control over a sliding door moment but when you come to a fork in the road you have a choice of which way to go.
My example has three forks!
Summer 1995, I was in my 17th year working for an English automotive glass company. Over the years I had worked my way slowly up the short, wobbly ladder of management and I was managing two small branches of the company.
I was called to a strategy meeting with my immediate boss. I knew that he would want to talk about declining sales figures, so I went prepared with my forecasts on how I was going to turn it around.
My boss opened up with, “I don’t want to talk about sales. Put your paperwork away, let us talk about something else.”
He was making my job redundant, but he offered me a different job if I wanted to stay with the company. The redundancy package was good.
After having lunch together, he told me to go home and think about what I wanted to do. Take the money and leave or stay with the company in a different job.
I had a two-hour drive home with all kinds of thoughts racing through my head. I got home and called my mum and dad to tell them my situation. I didn’t want them to decide for me, I knew that they would support me whatever I decided.
I then called my brother. This is when the third fork in the road appeared. My brother wasn’t home, so I told my sister-in-law my situation.
“Come and live with us and see what happens.” At the time they lived in Mallorca, Spain.
So my options were, I could stay in England with a steady job. I could take the money and look for a new job in England. Or option number three was to take the money and go and live in Mallorca and see which way the wind blew me.
My kids had just gone to live in America with their mum which made my decision easier. About seven hours after I had had lunch with my boss, I had decided to take the money and go to live in Mallorca.
I ended up working in the private yachting industry and travelling around the world.
That one decision changed my life and because of where I went and what I did it steered my kids in a direction that they hadn’t thought that they would go.
My life in England probably would have been okay if I had chosen to stay in Blighty. But I have never regretted my choice.
There has been a few more forks in the road since that summer in England but that was the big one.
|Look at a picture from your younger years. You don’t have to share the photo with us, but try to describe it in as much detail as possible. What led up to the photo being taken and what happened after?
A fresh faced twenty-four-year old with a big smile on my face. Not a drunken smile, a natural smile. Proud and happy. All my hair (there’s a lot of it) is still dark brown, years away from the grey bonnet that it is now. I’m wearing a blue and white t shirt, horizontal stripes, it would probably be described as an old-fashioned sailor’s shirt. The colors of my football team, Everton. In an hours’ time I will go and watch them play our local rivals Liverpool.
Cradled in the crook of my left arm is my young son, Paul. He is six weeks old, eyes closed. Also dressed in blue and white. He has a white cardigan with small blue bobbles on the sleeves. (I’m guessing that my mum knitted it.) Pure white bootees and a blue and white bobble hat. The outfit is finished off with a blue and white bib saying, “I Support Everton”.
In the crook of my right arm lays my little girl Clare. Seven minutes younger than her big brother she is dressed identically. She has her eyes open trying to work out what all the fuss is about.
The photo was taken for prosperity, in the future the three of us will look at the photo and say, “That was our first Derby Day experience together.”
I feel as though I should explain that a “Derby Match” in England is when two local rivals play against each other.
Unfortunately, the game for Everton supporters was an absolute disaster! We went down to a humiliating 0-5 defeat. It was horrible!
I suppose the small crumb of comfort that I can take from the day is that that day will always be remembered by me. Mostly for a lot of wrong reasons. But it doesn’t take away the look of hopeful expectation on my face in that happy photo.
There have been a few times over the years when Paul has blamed me for brain washing him into being an Evertonian for the rest of his life. Hey, it’s a tradition, all dads do the same. In fact, he is brainwashing his own small son now.
|The prompt today is very simple: Write about the person you call Mom.
Mum is the person who keeps the family glued together. She will be 84 this year and she is still managing to keep active. The current pandemic has caused her to be in lockdown so she has been living in her little apartment on her own. But she hasn’t let it get her down. The family call her on Facetime as often as possible to keep her in touch with the rest of the world.
Mum lives in England and I live in California, so I don’t get to visit her very often. When I do, I am always amazed at the list of birthdays she keeps on her calendar. She must spend a small fortune every year sending members of her family birthday cards. When I read the names off the calendar, I don’t know a lot of them. Mum knows all of them and has photos of most of them on the walls in her small apartment.
She never goes anywhere without striking up a conversation with someone. Strangers are only people that she hasn’t met yet.
My favourite memories of mum are from our family Christmas dinners. When her grandkids were small there was usually 12 people to feed. My mum worked her magic in her small kitchen, and nobody ever went hungry. And she has always managed to spoil her grandkids!
Mum is special. She has always been there for me when I needed her help or support. And she was there when I didn’t know that I needed her help and support!
Thanks Mum, I love you.
|Choose an event in your life that someone else remembers differently. Describe both memories and debate the differences. Who do you think is right? Why do you think you remember it differently?
Like a lot of families, we have a Whatsapp group. It helps to keep us all in touch as life passes us by.
A few months ago, my daughter was waiting to board a long-haul flight. She sent a group text saying that she was boarding the plane and that she hoped she wasn’t seated next to a young family with screaming kids because she was looking forward to getting some sleep.
I replied saying that she should be sympathetic to travelling families. Its hard work with babies or toddlers on a long flight. I have firsthand experience.
It was the early eighties and our little family went on a typical English summer package holiday to Spain. Me my wife and two toddlers who were just short of their second birthday. I know that they weren’t yet two because the holiday company had an offer of any kid under two could go free with a paying adult.
Which always seemed strange to me. How many two-year old’s travel without an adult? And how many nonpaying adults did they allow to board the plane?
Anyway, I digress.
The flight was just over two hours to sunny Spain. We were seated so that all four of us were together and it was quite easy to keep the kids amused.
But the flight home was totally different. Unfortunately, we had three seats at the back of the plane and one seat near the front of the plane. After a brief discussion I took the kids to the three seats. I don’t recall my wife putting up too much of a fight to sit on her own at the front!
The whole flight for me was an epic wrestling match with two little bundles of energy. I got off that plane a sweaty mess.
I told this story over a few texts on our family group. There was quite a long spell before I received any replies.
Then it arrived. The text that I expected from the lady whom I used to be married to. (I don’t like the terms Ex-wife and ex-Husband.)
So, the mother of my children proceeded to tell me that I had that story completely wrong. She would never leave me alone with the kids on a plane.
Well I knew that she didn’t want to leave me on my own, but the circumstances brought it about.
My past wife was convinced that I had the story wrong. This is when my hiking survival training came in useful. Never get in between a bear cub and its mother.
I sent a text to the group saying that maybe I had misremembered the incident and that the lady who used to be my wife must be correct.
Then I sent individual texts to my kids telling them that the story was exactly as I had told it!
I speak to their mum every now and again. When it comes to this story, she thinks she is right but I know that I am right.
|Take a look at this list of values: https://liveboldandbloom.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/400-personal-values-list...
Pick your top ten values and rank them based on how important they are to you. Then, write about the values you chose and if any have changed throughout your life.
I learned a long time ago that being reliable can paper over an awful lot of cracks. There have been times when I wasn’t great at doing a job. Yet my boss would forgive my shortcomings because he knew that I would always be there when needed.
I had a boss who used to say that I was like a classic Ford Model T. “Old, expensive but reliable.”
I like to think that my kids learned the importance of reliability from me.
Can be confused with boring! I know what to expect with stability.
There have been a couple of times when I have been too loyal, and it has come back and bit me on the butt. My kids have my loyalty, others have to earn it.
It probably should have the prefix, good. I don’t think anyone would wish for bad health.
This is an obvious one, but I feel as though it can’t be ignored. Especially the way the world is now during the current pandemic. Without good health the rest of my list would be redundant.
Staying fit is a concept that first hit me in my twenties. I was married with two babies and a busy job. I had always taken staying fit for granted because I had time to play football every week. When the kids were born, I had to reevaluate how to stay fit. I discovered that running when the kids were asleep was the best way to go. Since then I have always made time to exercise. The natural high of physical exhaustion is hard to explain to someone who hasn’t tried it. Get out there and exercise! Even if it’s just a short walk, you will feel better for it.
I worked and lived on private yachts for many years. When I first started, I was taught a valuable lesson when I had a painting or varnishing job to do. It was called the “Law of the P’s”.
It was a law that I stuck to then and up to this day. It goes like this;” Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.”
In some way’s adaptability can contradict stability. That’s why being adaptable can be so useful. If you can’t be adaptable then you could be considered stubborn and not open to different ideas. I try to always be adaptable even if I think it might be the wrong way to go.
When life gives you lemons……
There are times when I haven’t realized that I was being resilient. When I look back, I think I made a good job of it.
If I listed my working career here and all the places that I have lived and visited, then you would see how diverse my life has been. Hopefully, I still have time for some more diversity.
Some of the people I have worked with over the years would probably translate this one as “Fussy old bastard.” I like things to be done exactly right. There are times when I can’t get it as good as I would like but at least I tried.
|“I used to believe...”
…that avoiding any form of conflict was the best course of action.
As I have got older, and maybe a little bit wiser, I have realized that conflict is something that must happen for us to resolve problems and hopefully come up with agreeable solutions.
You can be politeness personified, lead by example or the most agreeable person ever. You will still come across conflict in your day to day life. Some people just love the action and the drama.
Luckily, I don’t usually have major conflicts with my family and friends.
My work life is different; part of my job is to supervise a small team of work mates. Years ago, I would find any excuse not to deal with problems in work because I didn’t like conflict. Now I am comfortable with it because I know that if I don’t deal with it the problem won’t disappear on it own.
What I’ve learned is that it is how you deal with the problem is what will control the level of intensity of the conflict.
I prefer the calm, sit down and talk approach. It doesn’t always come up with the best answers but more often than not it resolves the problem.
The worst that can happen is that we agree to disagree. It didn’t solve the problem, but it reduced the growing conflict.
Screaming and shouting has never been my way of dealing with conflict. The only thing that comes out of that is entertainment for any bystanders.
Over the last two days I have had a calm, controlled conflict with a new roommate. It seems that he is incapable of opening and closing a door without making one ungodly racket.
In my younger days I wouldn’t have said anything and hoped that the problem would resolve itself. But the older and a little wiser me decided to talk with him about the problem. The talk was a resounding success. And he thanked me for bringing it to his attention!
A perfect result from calm, polite conflict.
|I have never been materialistic. I find that I am happy knowing that my family and friends are healthy and enjoying their lives.
“Stuff” doesn’t mean much. Don’t get me wrong, if I happened to get a winning Lotto ticket I would probably splash out on a new bike, the latest Kindle and a whizzy bang up to the minute laptop.
When I read todays prompt, I first thought about photographs. But of course, although they are priceless in one way or another there are usually copies of them somewhere.
My priceless object is a beer glass. Not very exciting I know, but it reminds me of so many happy times when I have drunk out of it in the company of good friends and family.
It was given to me by my friend Christian, for my 50th birthday. What makes that birthday special to me is that I was working in the Caribbean at the time and unbeknown to me, my friends and my son, whom I worked with, arranged for my mum and dad to travel from England surprise me.
Bloody ell, it was a big surprise. I had an idea that my work mates would have a cake for me, but I didn’t expect my dad to be carrying it towards me!
That day I enjoyed plenty of beers out of that glass, and a lot more since. And with every fresh beer I relive that wonderful birthday.
Unfortunately, Dad is not with us anymore, but I still raise my glass to him and think of happy times.
You can’t buy memories like that.
|Find a local news story that makes you feel something. Share the story along with your opinion on it in your blog.
When I first saw this story, I thought it was some kind of gag.
Or at the very best it was a gag that had definitely been ill thought out.
If you don’t want to click on the link, I will give you a quick overview of the news item.
A man was pushing his shopping cart in the aisles of Vons wearing a Klu Klux Klan hood!
In what/whose world did he think that that was appropriate or funny behavior? Thankfully, the staff at Vons asked him to remove the hood or he would be asked to leave the store. Maybe he should have been asked to leave the store and never come back.
I don’t live too far from this store and I was oblivious of any racism in the area. But since reading this story a few people have told me that racism has always been a problem.
Really? There are still small-minded people like that out there? Am I being naive or just going around with my head in the clouds?
If I had been with my grandkids in that store how would I have answered their inquisitive questions about the man wearing a white hood?
I’m a little disappointed that it was only the staff in the store who asked him to remove the hood. I can understand that the general public probably didn’t want to get involved with conflict. But there are times when we have to speak out when something is happening that is clearly wrong to most good people.
There is one part of me that thinks that the photo of the imbecile shouldn’t have been published because it was giving him and his followers publicity that he shouldn’t be getting. But I also saw a photo of the guy without the hood and that is the photo that should be shown around the area to shame him.
He is probably impervious to shame.
|Describe your cooking or baking ability. What was the last thing you cooked/baked that you we’re proud of? Are you a recipe-follower or freestyler?
Monday was always a good day to get home from school. My mum called Monday her baking day. She baked all day to try and have enough goodies to sate the appetites of her husband and three sons.
I can still smell the jam tarts, lemon curd tarts, mince pies (sweet and savory) and the piece de resistance, apple pie. That aroma has only ever been bettered by the smell of a beer cellar in an English pub. (My grandma ran a pub, but that’s another tale.)
Like most families we all grew up and flew the nest. Many years later I was visiting my mum and dad. After a lovely meal mum asked me if I wanted some apple pie and custard. “Bloody ‘ell yes please.”
She placed the bowl in front of me and she saw the disappointment on my face.
“What’s this mum? That’s not homemade apple pie.”
She replied, “I know, I don’t bake since you boys left. There’s nobody here to eat it.”
The end of an era. My mum’s apple pie has gone to the great bakery in the sky.
After that visit I thought about baking myself.
I checked the kitchen cupboard. I had baked beans, sweetcorn and a tin of spinach. Even I knew that I wouldn’t get any baked delights out of that sorry collection.
So, I did some research; I needed baking trays and all kinds of other baking instruments. I made a list and I was ready to go shopping. Then I thought I may as well get the ingredients for baking while I was out.
I read a recipe for some fancy cake. My enthusiasm for baking was waning. This was a mission.
Looking for and buying all the ingredients seemed too much like hard work.
The juice of a West African gum tree, the ground up powder of a rare Venezuelan coconut and if I found all that I had to then get five drops of blood from a Turkish teenage virgin. (It didn’t specify male or female.)
I went to Krispy Kreme instead.