Always look on the bright side of life

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In my limited pool of knowledge, I have found that there are two types of people in the world – those who love Monty Python, and those who don’t.  That may be a very broad assumption, and one that has been purely based on my personal experience and nothing else.  The people I have encountered have very distinct opinions on the subject and sway very heavily to one side when it comes to the British comedy.  You may be perched on the fence, or have no opinion at all, but this post is based on the myriad of people who have shared their strong opinion with me.

It is not a subject I bring up haphazardly in conversation, but there comes the inevitable moment when I unwittingly kick a reference to Monty Python into a conversation.  It either completely misses  the uprights and lands uselessly in a blank faced crowd, or it sails right down the middle, scores and the crowd jumps to its feet.  It can be the most innocent of comments but Monty Python fans recognize it immediately and a look of happiness glazes their face when they identify with one of their own.  In mere seconds, they have responded with another piece of Python repartee and an entirely new conversation spins in a warped direction.

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(photo credit: tumblr.com)

I wasn’t introduced to the genius of Monty Python until much later in my life, but I certainly made up for lost time by watching those comedic geniuses incessantly.  Python fans seem to have an undefinable bond.  Without even beginning a conversation, I have had friends walk past me in public places doing their best impression of the Minister of Silly Walks and I can’t contain my laughter.  When I lived in Halifax, we would have Monty Python nights and the group of friends who were as fixated as we were would gather around our television set.  We were all able to quote 90% of the lines in each movie (sad, but true) and we even used small wooden salad bowls to emulate the coconut horse hooves in the Holy Grail.  Obsessed?  Perhaps.  But those are some of my fondest memories.

There are nights when I am feeling less than my usual exuberant self and Monty Python seems to be the only thing that can bring me out of my funk.  The Meaning of Life finds its way into my DVD player, the machine that goes “PING” pings and all is right in my world once again.

Time to weigh in friends – what is your quest?  What is your favorite color?  Which side of Python are you on?

When Inspiration and Epic Awesomeness collide

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I would imagine the combination of the two above descriptors to parallel the absolute brilliance of chocolate and peanut butter coming together to provide a delicious taste explosion.  But the truth of the matter, the reason I called you all here, is to accept three awards bestowed upon me by fellow bloggers.  (and since I really don’t like dispelling too much truth about myself, having to do it only once seemed more plausible)

Thank you to my good friend TwinDaddy who hails from StuphBlog.  He has nominated me for the Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness.  (who knew there was such a thing, but it sounds….um….awesome).  His comedic brilliance, humility, heart wrenching truths and absolute Unshittiness™ are worth checking out if you have not stopped by there already.  And shame on you if you haven’t!!

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And then not one but two fellow bloggers nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  Thank you to Lissa from The Lissa Chronicles and to Nicole from My Desire for Inspiration for giving me a much-appreciated shout  out.  They both share honest opinions about life and what it takes to keep a smile on your face.  Keep up the great writing, ladies!!

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It is customary, once the awards have been accepted, to link back to the bloggers who nominated you, which I have done and tell some random facts about yourself.  I’ll try to keep it light and exciting so you don’t doze off before I get to the end of this post.

  •  As a child, I wanted to be Violet Beauregarde from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory so much that I went to bed with gum behind my ear.  I had to cut half my hair off to get the gum out.
  •  I’m great at giving advice and horrible at taking it.
  • I once threw up all over a friend’s back.  I was holding her hair and rubbing her back while she was trying to throw up and as soon as she did I became the sympathetic puker.  It took hours to clean the bathroom.
  • I have a very wide range of music likes – I listened to Johnny Mathis on the way to work this morning.  Yesterday it was Motley Crue.
  • This will be the last fact because I don’t think I’m interesting enough to fill another 5 bulletin points and you’ve probably nodded off already.

The rest of the rules basically want me to play favorites and nominate a certain number of bloggers for each award.  I can’t do it.  I can’t single out 10 bloggers – simply because each one of the blogs I follow inspires me with their awesomeness on some level.  So in the pure TwinDaddy style of being a rule breaker, I urge you to check out the list of great bloggers on my page.  It will only display 50 (how rude!), but you should check them all out when you have time.

I think my speech time has come to an end….I can hear them cuing the music.  Waiter?  I’ll have a glass of Cabernet…..Waiter??

She cannae take any more, Captain. She’s gonna blow!

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People handle stress in very different ways and each of us have varying extremes when it comes to our breaking point.  Some are lucky and are able to desensitize themselves to the perils that compound normal levels of stress, while others become weighed down and feel like they are shouldering the burdens of the world.  I am perched precariously in the middle.

I have a pretty high tolerance for stress.  I can quell the volcano of emotion that begins to rise by merely separating the things I can control from the things I cannot and putting out those smaller fires, one by one.   I don’t always win that battle but I do make a concerted effort to not let things bother me that are out of the grasp of my command.

But stress has a funny way of being able to continue a slow burn without any alarms going off.  It smolders behind walls and can ignite spontaneously when it recognizes the slightest bit of exhaustion or defeat.  Exhaled oxygen will spark the embers and the fire of stress breathes new life.  I didn’t feel the heat emanating but the flames got the best of me and, when the inferno had died down slightly, the fiery beast had etched its charcoal marks deep under my skin.

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(photo credit: earthtimes.org)

My tension is now stored neatly in large charred knots under my shoulder blades.  The volcano of stress is no longer spewing lava and lighting fires as it goes, but it is laying dormant under my muscles, reminding me that it has the power to erupt with the slightest sign of newly induced tension.  Any rupture in my otherwise calm facade will bring bubbling magma to the surface and give new life to that slow burn.  Time for some deep breathing and a calming glass of wine!

How does your stress affect you?  Is it an easily controlled burn, or does it rage out of control?

Excuse me, I’m trying to scurry here….

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The Daily Prompt has asked this question: Do parties and crowds fill you with energy, or send you scurrying for peace and quiet?

When I was younger crowds never bothered me.  I went to concerts and enjoyed the combined energy that only a crowd could produce.  But as I’ve gotten older, I have achieved an extreme level of distaste for feeling like a turtle caught in a school of fish.

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(photo credit: twistedsifter.com)

That mass of people who hurtle themselves in all directions seem to have no awareness of those around them and give me the sense that I have lost control of my own trajectory.  Malls are especially unsettling for me and I avoid them like the plague, especially during the holidays.  Although there is greater risk of credit cards being compromised with the advancement of hacker technology, I am happy to sit in the comfort of my own home and shop online for those gifts that cannot be purchased locally.

A small party with an intimate group of friends is bliss.  I tend to relax and am able to be myself, allowing my goofy personality to take center stage and I feel more comfortable asserting my need to be the life of the party.  That assertion becomes non-existent in large groups and I get a growing sense of discomfort feeling like that lost turtle again.

Give me a subdued night with good friends, good food and good wine any day.  My life now is about developing those close relationships with people who matter to me.  I don’t miss the feeling of being a pinball in an arena sized game and playing hide and seek with friends in a crowd of 20,000 people.

The cover looked so good

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The bar was at capacity and the air was electric.  The band was loud and the crowd was euphoric, floating on the notes of the songs and dancing like nobody was watching.

He saw me first.  I was at the bar doing everything I could to get the bartender’s attention when he casually slipped in beside me.  With one flick of his hand he elicited a response from the bartender and my drink was ordered for me.  It wasn’t what I was drinking, but I guess he assumed I would enjoy it because it was free.

He was attractive and seemed to ooze charm.  We became engaged in conversation and I was drawn in by his deep blue eyes.  There was a merriment in those eyes and his words fell on deaf ears until I regained my composure and began to participate in the rhetoric.  My attempts to interject words into his monologue, however, were in vain and all I could do was sip the foreign liquid in my glass, nod my head and smile.  I did manage to utter a few “mmm hmmm’s” to make it seem like I was mildly interested.

His inflated ego began to infect my mood.  The conversation revolved solely around him and the walls felt like they were closing in.  I was beginning to suffocate as he used all the available air to continue to talk about himself.  I slowly began to back away from the bar and I don’t even think he noticed.  I lost myself in the swaying crowd and found my way to the door.  As I glanced back to look at him one more time, he was still talking but there was nobody there to listen.

The outward look of him held so much promise.  Too bad the meat of his story contained only one word repeatedly typed on every page – me, me, me.  I should know better than to judge a book by its cover.

~

This post was written for the Trifecta Challenge:

Please pay attention to the third definition this week.  If your post has to do with bacteria or disease, you’ve likely misused the word.

INFECT
1: to contaminate with a disease-producing substance or agent (as bacteria)
2a : to communicate a pathogen or a disease to
b : of a pathogenic organism : to invade (an individual or organ) usually by penetration
c : of a computer virus : to become transmitted and copied to (as a computer)
3a : contaminate, corrupt <the inflated writing that infects such stories>  
b : to work upon or seize upon so as to induce sympathy, belief, or support <trying to infect their salespeople with their enthusiasm>

I need smaller plates

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I tend to not go to restaurants that offer buffets.  Not because I don’t find the vast selection appealing but because I find I put too much on my plate, too many different things, and I can’t focus my attention on the things I find most appetizing.  I tend to spend more time separating the food into different piles and less time zoning in on what I really wanted to have in the first place.

Lately, I have been finding my life reflecting the same level of stress I feel at a buffet, but only because I’ve loaded too many tasks on my plate and I feel full before I even tackle the meat of what lies before me.  The conglomeration of work and home life has been piled higher on my plate and I’ve reached the point that I am creating those contrasting piles and having to decide which flavor has become more important.

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(photo credit: kahakaikitchen.blogspot.com)

If I try to tackle the dish as a whole, I begin to lose myself in the process and spend more time mixing up the components only to create a false sense of accomplishment.  I push the food from one side of the plate to the other, but the illusion of clearing the items from the plate is just that, an illusion.  The same items still exist, they are just located in different places on that same large plate.

I need to learn to take a moment to separate the items on my plate and create a series of smaller plates.  Being able to prioritize the importance of the items on each plate will help me work through them one at a time and the daunting portions will become easier to tackle.  I need to digest each plate one bite at a time.  If I can learn to see it for the fractions of all of its parts instead of just seeing a mountain of food, I can savor each morsel that appeals to me and slowly chew through the rest that keeps getting added to that plate.  I’m already full, but the service never ends!

What do the plates in your life look like?

My life is a romantic comedy, minus the romance

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Romance_Is_In_The_Air_2_by_welshdragon

(photo credit: hdw.eweb4.com)

For the past few months, I have been inspired by the genius idea from one Mr. Edward Hotspur.  He has encouraged us to write about romance, whether it is poetry, short fiction or a personal reflection.  I love everything that romance embodies, but the posts I have written that were spurred on by the Monday challenge were all pulled from the vault of my memories, fond recollections or wishes for the future.  My life, although loosely resembling a romantic comedy, currently contains no romance.

My daily existence does round out the rest of the requirements for the romantic comedy.  I’ve got some unique personality traits that could create a funny story line, I’ve got some quirky friends that make an appearance every few episodes, I have a job that allows me some creative material and a dog that could steal the show.

Living in a small town doesn’t afford too many opportunities to stumble upon romance.  I’ve caved a couple of times and tried online dating sites to see who may be lurking out there, but even the sights that promise to deliver matches based on specific traits that I have listed as important seem to fish in the shallow end of that dating pool.  I’m amazed at some of the “matches” that are sent my way and the online romantic search ends before it really begins.  Even though I have moments of bravery thinking I will give it another shot, I recall this experience and run, screaming, away from my laptop.

Although I’m fine being on my own, I find inspiration in the stories and poetry I read on this blog site written by strangers and by new friends.  They are happy to shout their romantic thoughts and experiences and it makes me want to continue the quest for that ever elusive romance.  The dream of him is still alive and I will continue to hold that dream close.  If we don’t embrace the darkness, we will never be able to see the stars.

What we’ve got here is failure to communicate

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Cool Hand Luke – so cool, and so right.  Good communication is the cornerstone to any relationship.  Whether it be a work situation or an intimate kinship, the ability to be able to convey an idea through honest and open dialogue is the key to any successful alliance.

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(image credit: 123rf.com)

Most human beings like to avoid conflict as much as possible.  The thought of an open discussion, face to face, with the person you need to deal with is unbearable.  We tend to alleviate the anxiety of that topic by discussing it with a multitude of other people rather than facing the dragon head on.  But we fail to realize we are only delaying the inevitable and that myriad of other people we share our dilemma with will only add fuel to the original fire, giving it the potential to burn uncontrollably.

Life could be so much less complicated if we always had the nerve to face our problems head on and communicate our issues with the person that is at the root of our predicament.  I have been guilty of avoiding confrontation myself but the end result was always exponentially worse because I was not dealing with the quandary first hand and I let outside influences sway my judgement.

I have made a much more conscious effort to communicate my thoughts and deal directly with situations before they spiral out of control.  Sure, summoning the courage to take the first step is difficult but ultimately clearing the air at the very beginning of the conflict will allow you to breathe easier in the long run.  The conflict can be easily resolved if it’s not allowed to take on a life of its own and the weight of the problem that sits on your shoulders is assuaged.

I am slowly building the courage to face my demons directly and not allow other voices to be my own.  Only I can have the most honest discussion about the issue that I am faced with and I am learning to have faith in my ability to communicate.  One honest voice is louder than a crowd.

What do you do when faced with a situation that requires confrontation?

Ethereal beauty

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Mother Nature can be a divine creature.  Every day she amazes us with her beauty and she presents us with images that may last for only a visual moment, but they are able to be photographed and conjured up at the click of a button.  Technology helps us hold those moments and preserve them to be enjoyed again.  These are some of the beautiful images I was presented with yesterday.  Although I was having reservations about Mother Nature’s sanity, she has restored my faith in her.

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I love the sunlight shining from behind the clouds.

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The sky changed so quickly in a matter of minutes.

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Although the cold temperatures are back, the clouds look like they are on fire.

Mirror, mirror

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This post is written for the weekend Trifecta Challenge:  This weekend we’re asking for exactly 33 words inspired by the following photo.  Please remember that if you use the photo on your own blog, you must give proper credit (with clickable links).

Photo credit: Bérenger ZYLA / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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Life’s mirror reflects the things that I hold close.  It may not involve truth, but it involves dreams.  My dreams.  And it will only make me see the things I want to see.