Friday, 28 December 2012

Making A Difference.

I had a very quiet Christmas Day.  Although, I did manage to have a fascinating conversation with the four walls who refused to give concrete answers.  I also discussed the meaning of life with Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!   Lovable son arrived in the early evening just long enough to open presents, grab his Christmas meal and proceed to his bedroom.  I have learnt that an X Box and gaming online, is a must in my young man's life.

I do have an advantage spending Christmas mostly alone.  No tolerating 'uncle Bert' who gets increasingly drunk, talks in a very loud voice about his views on politics, religion and the kids these days.  One tries to nod  their head at the right times. "Yes uncle Bert.  Ah those kids these days, eh!"  What one really wants to say to him is, "Why don't you shut the f**k up, you opinionated buffoon!"  Instead, one grins at him through gritted teeth.

'Granny Good Witch', in the meantime, continues with the theme about the kids these days, how they have no respect and are ever so rude.  At this point, Granny Good Witch makes a snarky comment about the state of the home, reaches over the table, grabs the last slice of turkey, finishes of the finest malt whiskey, lets rip with a fart that burns out nostril hairs and then falls asleep in the Christmas pudding.

Nephew Tom and niece Mary, have food fights, smash the antique grandfather clock and torment the family cat.  The night of Christmas Day ends up with a traditional family argument where uncle Bert finds out his wife, auntie Mabel, is having an affair with Bert's brother, Fred.  Fred, quickly swigs back the last drops of his home made wine and staggers out the front door.  Uncle Bert staggers after him down the street and tackles him in front of the police station.  They are both arrested and wake up on Boxing Day in a cell wondering how they got there...

Yes, I could of felt sorry about myself being mostly alone on Christmas Day.  Instead, I decided to try and make a difference.  I knew that many folks do struggle with Christmas Day and I reached out to the sad, the lonely or those who just wanted to chat, anyway.  It turned into an inspiring day and I was deeply touched by the interaction that was shared.  To direct my focus onto something positive, instead of being overwhelmed by sadness, taught me some valuable lessons.  If we do help each other, we really do help ourselves.

There are those who only look for the bad.  And thus, all they see is bad when there is goodness right in front of them.  I used to be like that.  Yet such negativity, ate me up, controlled my life.  Now I choose to see the good.  What we shared on Christmas Day was a resounding victory for the good in this world.

I looked at the warm, gentle ambience of the flickering candles.  The flickering candles, symbolic of a continued better life.  Thank you for being here and I will always be there for you.

Monday, 24 December 2012

You Have Been Here For Us And We Are Here For You.

Hello, I'm Einahalk, the wee child of Fidelina the beautiful fairy princess and Geoffrey the garden gnome.  You have been here for us and we are here for you.
Hello, I'm Fidelina, the beautiful fairy princess.  You have been here for us and we are here for you.
Hello, I'm Geoffrey the garden gnome.  You have been here for us and we are here for you.
Hello, it's me, your friend, Penny the Jack Russell dog.  You have been here for us and we are here for you.
Hello, it's me, your friend, Gary.  You have been here for us and we are here for you.

Some find Christmas Day a desperately tormenting and a very sad time. They are alone. Immersed in their pain.  They are invisible background spectators as they watch the happy children ride around on their shiny new bicycles. They sense a celebration that is not a part of their lives. On Christmas Day, the phone doesn't ring and the cards of Christmas past, gather dust in the back of dresser drawer.  

We can make a difference to the lives of someone who is suffering in relentless silence. That neighbour down the street, the little old lady who hardly comes out, may well be grateful for a visit.  See her eyes sparkle as you ask how she is and wish her a Merry Christmas. Yes, for the sad, the lonely, we can make a difference.

On Christmas Day, we want to make a difference. If you find Christmas Day to be a very sad time and need someone to talk to, we will be here for you. If all is well in your life and would like someone to talk to, we will be here for you. I struggle with Christmas Day and if I can be there for others, then I know we really have helped each other.  

If you wish to contact us, we will be online almost all of Christmas Day. Please take into account time zones and we might not be able to respond to some messages until Boxing Day. You can private message us on Facebook, or Twitter, or via the "About Me" section on our blog where you can find our email address.  All information regarding how to contact us are on our sidebar. You can be assured your anonymity is guaranteed.  
And young Gary.  A little boy on a pony.  A young boy full of sweet childhood innocence who rejoiced in the wonders of the world.  That young boy, now this man, wants to show much he really cares.

May you and your loved ones have a peaceful, positive Christmas.

In hope and kindness, Einahalk, Fidelina the beautiful fairy princess, Geoffrey the garden gnome, Penny the Jack Russell dog and Gary.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

The Wee Folks Annual Christmas Message Of Hope.

  The wee folks.  A message of  hope and may mankind learn the lessons they tell us.
And thus, Fidelina, the beautiful fairy princess, Geoffrey the garden gnome, and their wee son, Einahalk, rejoiced in the warm, reassuring glow of the twinkling Christmas lights.
The wee folks, such wondrous, magical creatures, had come in from the cold and gathered in the comfort of the living room.   All different, all equal, celebrating the magic of a special time.
Such diversity.  Their's is a world where all is possible and no judgement is ever passed.
See the joy, the sheer delight on the faces of the wee folks.  They know that life should be a celebration of all that is good.
And the party continued.  They danced and they sang to sweet tunes of love, hope and understanding.
In the above photograph are Venetia, the sister of Fidelina, and bridesmaid from the enchanting wedding of Fidelina, the beautiful fairy princess and Geoffrey, the garden gnome.  Standing beside her is the 'best gnome',  Teagan.  There was a hint of romance between the two of them at the magic-filled wedding on the first day of summer, June 21, 2010.  Note the gnome in the background, Yrag, who is the best friend of Teagan.
And here is a happy little monkey, with his great long arms, wrapped over a couple of friendly garden gnomes. Nice tinsel effect, happy little monkey.
Dreams can come true.  Dare to believe in yourself.  Fidelina, Geoffrey and their beautiful little boy, Einahalk, wish you a peaceful, happy and so very positive Christmas.
And the wee folks gazed out the window.  They looked out, looked up, at moon drenched sky.  Tis a marvel to behold the shining orb through winter branches.  Soon they would leave.  Return to their world of love and peace. 

Their message to us is simple, yet profound.  For the wee folks live in their wee world, where stigma, labels and the passing of judgement, are bizarre and baffling concepts.  May we learn from them.   Let us celebrate and rejoice in the diversity of mankind.  And just like in their world, we can truly be, all different, all equal.  

Thursday, 20 December 2012

International Date Line.

I thought I might as well give it a try and so I phoned up the "International Date Line".  I was hoping they would work out better at providing me with a date then those dating agencies I've seen advertised on television.  You might know of the ads I'm meaning.  Yes indeed, they boast, if you don't get a date in the first six months, you get the next six months, free!  Wow, great stuff!  Add another six months of humiliation.

Anyway, I got through to the International Date Line. "International Date Line, how may I help?", stated the friendly female voice.  "Hi there, my name's Gary and I'd like a date please.", I replied.  "Certainly sir.  Any particular date?", she said.  "I'm not fussy.  As a long as she's breathing would be a heck of start.", I explained.  "Sorry?  I  don't understand.  This is the International Date Line and we can offer you a calendar date of your choosing."  At this point, I was going to tell her that I didn't want a date with a calendar, but thought better of it.

"Sir, at a nominal fee, we can have a day in your honour marked on calendars worldwide."  I started fantasising about staring at my calendar and grinning at February 30th aka "Klahanie Appreciation Day."  Realising that the International Date Line was not a dating agency, I politely ended the conversation.

After smashing open my piggy bank and gathering up my life savings, I proceeded to the betting shop.  "Good day Mr. betting shop dude.  I wish to bet my life savings that the world will end on December 21, 2012!"  Oh yes, I noted the silly grin on his face.  He wont be smirking when I win my bet.  Hang on a second.....hmmmm....

I'm going to be calling the Tonga Information Board and being the closest country to the International Date Line, where the new day begins, I will ask them if the world has ended.  Anybody west of me, I shall duly inform you if the world ends on December 21, 2012.  You are very welcome.  Apocalypse Yes?  Apocalypse No?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Blog Of The Year, 2012.

Hi, yes it's me, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!  We have been honoured with having the, "Blog Of The Year, 2012", forwarded onto to me and okay, my human, Gary.   We wish to thank Teresa and her very talented writing dog, Indy, who can be found at this site, A Likely Story.

Okay, there seems to be some kind of rules to go with this award.  So here they are.

1: Choose the blog(s) you consider to be deserving of the "Blog Of The Year, 2012", award.

2: Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen and 'present' them with their award.

3: Please include a link back to this page, Blog Of The Year, 2012 Award.  and include these 'rules' in your post (please don't alter the rules or the badges.)

4: Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the 'rules' with them.

5: You can also join the Facebook Group .     

6:  As a winner of the award, please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award.  Then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar.  Then you can start collecting stars.

Anyway, I'm now totally confused.  I just hope that by following the above links, you can figure this all out.  I think I will finish this and go for a well deserved doggy nap.  Oh yes, I'm supposed to tell you about the blog or blogs I have chosen and tell you all about them, or something like that.  I'm also supposed to let them or one person, or animal, know I have actually bestowed this here award to them.  Excuse me while I catch my breath.  Wow, I just watched my breath float around the room and now I've caught it....

It's a very difficult choice to pass on this award.  There are so many amazing blogs and the interaction from you is warmly embraced.  You are all superstars in the blogging world.  So here's what I'm going to do.  There is one young fellow who inspires so many with his informative, wonderfully written and heartfelt postings.  Many of you will know what I mean about this remarkable young man.  Several of us put up birthday tributes for this young blogger who has touched so many hearts.

And thus, it gives me and my human, great privilege on bestowing this award to Lenny Lee.  If you've never visited Lenny, you can find him here,  Lenny's World .  I know how much it would mean to him if you went and said "hi" and wished our terrific young buddy, "A Merry Christmas".

Friday, 14 December 2012

Santa Paws Is Comin' To Town.

Hi there, yes it's me, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!  Gary, the human I so kindly allow to live with me, has asked me if I would grace this site by doing a 'pawsting', I mean, posting.

Ah, "tis' the season to be jolly".  Goodwill to all man and animals, alike.  Yet I know that this time of the year can be even more pronounced for those in pain.  For those who only know desperation, solitude and feel like spectators peering out from tear-stained windows at the celebration of others.

Gary is sick and he knows that his sickness is not some sort of bizarre competition.  The, "I'm sicker than you", mentality does not come into the equation.  He knows it's not a contest.  Everyone's hopes, dreams, pains and concerns are just as valid as the next.

Gary has told me how humbled and inspired he has been by the interaction he receives from those who are in pain and yet their selfless, altruistic attitude is about being of support for others who are needing words of encouragement, of comfort.

On Christmas Day,  three years ago, Gary stayed online on a mental health website "chat room" for almost the entire day.   He was there for the lonely, the sad and those who just wanted to talk.  Now, with my support, we are going to be available on this Christmas Day.  If anybody wants to email us, the contact details can be found in the "About Me" section on this blog.   We will do a further reminder about this just before Christmas Day.

We want to be here for you as you have been here for us.  Oh yes, when we help each other, we help ourselves.

Pawsitive wishes, Penny.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Despite The Glare.... I Made It There.

Ah yes, last Tuesday I went to Wales.  Remembering which side of the road to drive on, the left side, was one heck of a good and vital start.  Yes indeed, I can imagine the following situation.  Driving along and some British police dude indicates to me to pull over.  "Excuse me sir, but you are driving on the 'right' side of the road!".  To which I reply, "That's okay then."

I don't have satellite navigation in my car.  No voice of Mr. T telling me, "At the next roundabout, sucker, take the first left.  I said the first left, not the second left, fool!"  Or the alluring voice of  Joanna Lumley stating, "You've arrived, darling!"

Tuesday was a very sunny day.  The entire trip from Leek, Staffordshire, England to Cardigan, Wales, was a matter of driving directly towards the sun.  No, not literally.  However, the glare off the road was so bad that I could barely make out the direction signs at roundabouts.  This meant, even though I mostly knew how to get to my destination, some roundabouts were guesswork.  

And some roundabouts where I could almost make out the name of a place I needed to head to next, suddenly became mystery roundabouts where the names I could almost make out, made no sense at all.  What happened to 'Upper Lower Piggy Bottom'?  One roundabout got me so confused, I ended up getting dizzy as I went round and round and round....until finally I gave up, took a chance and much to my relief, discovered I was on the correct road.

To go from my place to Cardigan, Wales, is a distance of 162 miles.  Being mostly on single lane roads and getting stuck behind tractors on winding, uphill roads, meant it took 4 1/4 hours to do 162 miles.

The last part of the journey is from the town of Aberystwyth.  From Aberystwyth to my friend's house, near Cardigan, is a total of 37 miles.  During the entire 37 miles, a Welsh police car followed behind me.  Weird, even though I wasn't doing anything wrong, I kept waiting for the lights to flash and get pulled over.  I start thinking, "Did I pass that last tractor at a correct place, do I maybe have a burnt out break light...I gonna' end up in jail....." Then I pulled into my friend's driveway and thankfully, the police car didn't follow me into the driveway.

From late Tuesday afternoon until noon on Saturday, I stayed with my friend.  I like to think that we created positive distractions as both of us are going through some challenging times.

Every time I go out, I have to confront my social fears.  To drive a car without any company just compounds my anxiety.  Yet, once again, I was determined to challenge my inner critic and I'm so glad I did.

I am deeply, profoundly grateful for your support.  I'm very sorry I've not been as interactive on other blogs as I would like to be.  I will do my best to rectify that.
I reflect back as night fell upon the harbour in Cardigan, Wales.  No matter what the oppressors try to impose, they will never get the better of me, or you.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Bringing Back The Vibrant Colours Of The Rainbow.

And the darkness descended again.  The colours of the rainbow faded back to shades of black, of white, of grey.  For the past month I've been living under a cloud of gloom.  Time to have the sun shine through that cloud of doom and see the vibrant colours of the rainbow.

Like so many, I have been targeted by a ruthless British government.  A government who are attacking the poor, the sick, the vulnerable.  And through this, the memories I had tried to move on from, were dredged up by a questionnaire that questions my illness.  Yes, the stress has been unbearable and made me feel sick, distraught and hysterical with fear.  Indeed, this horrible government is making the already sick, sicker.

Why are they doing this?  It's all in the name of austerity.  That would be austere measures where those who can least afford it, are suffering the consequences of those who got us into this mess in the first place.  This may sound all too familiar, no matter where you live.

For the past month, I've been completely exhausted.  Barely able to get out of bed.  For the past month, I would get out of bed and within an hour, found myself back under the duvet.  Thanks to all this outrageous stress imposed, I have been feeling anxious, breathless and barely functioning.  In actuality, I can hardly muster up the energy to type this.

With every fibre of my resilient, defiant nature, I challenge this.  I need to relax and realise a more positive now.  I have decided, no matter what obstacles are put before me, I shall knock down the barriers and find a way.  I always do.  I will not give negative influences permission to sabotage my right to a peaceful, positive life.

I have a friend in Wales who needs some comfort.  My friend is going through a challenging time and I want to be there for him.  This means that I'm staying well away from a computer for the next few days, starting Tuesday morning.  I believe that by trying to help my friend, in turn, I help myself.

I am profoundly grateful for your ongoing support and understanding during one of the worst moments of my life.  I know that we are here for each other and that fills me with hope, inspiration and the determination to carry on.  Thank you for reading this.  I'm visualising the vibrant colours of the rainbow.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Prawn On The Internet.

The following is another reposting that was originally published on Friday, 27 November, 2009.  I hope you enjoy this one and if you have read it before, enjoy it again.  And thank goodness, I've just sent of a huge pile of paperwork that has caused me so much stress. So, just for the 'halibut', here you are.....

Prawn On The Internet.
I keep hearing about folks searching for 'prawn on the internet'. I've really no idea what all the fuss is about. Something about soft prawn and hard prawn. Well, I don't know about that, but I've had a deep-fried prawn. Anyway, I didn't need to 'surf', or, for that matter, 'trawl' the internet, to find prawn. No, all I did was go into my local supermarket and found prawn hiding inside a bag of crisps (or "potato chips", if you are reading this from North America). Yeah, I know, the bag states it's, "Prawn Cocktail", and at this point, you might be thinking up some double meaning connotation.

A prawn is a crustacean. A crustacean is chiefly an aquatic creature. Typically, having their body covered with a hard shell or crust. One type of prawn is known as a "king" prawn. Contrary to what I'd believed was true, a king prawn is not in line for the throne of the British monarchy. Crabs are crustaceans. One type of crab is known as a "fiddler" crab. The fiddler crab, does not, as I was led to believe, play a small stringed instrument, or indeed, entertain the various sea creatures, with tunes from 'Fiddler on the Reef'. 'If I were a rich clam...' Lobsters are crustaceans. One type of lobster is named, "slipper" lobster. To this day, not one slipper lobster has been seen wearing slippers, smoking a pipe and sporting some tacky cardigan.

I wonder if a prawn has 'coral sex'? Do they do it 'atoll'? I wrote this story just for the 'krill' of it. I think I need 'kelp'. I know this posting was 'all at sea'. Yet somehow, it 'warmed the cockles of my heart'. No more fish puns because I'm beginning to 'flounder'. Right, that's enough, I'll 'clam' up now.  

Sunday, 25 November 2012

'WEE.T.' Still Phoning Gnome.

While still working on a mountain of paperwork that is causing a lot of stress, thanks to this disgraceful British government that's attacking the sick and vulnerable, I submit to you another rerun posting.   This was originally posted on August 10, 2010.  Thank you for reading or rereading this.  Gary.

                                                      'WEE. T.' Phone Gnome.

I was scouring, or trawling, or perusing, through one of the local, thrilling beyond my wildest dreams, newspapers. I'm used to such exciting front page headlines in the local 'rags' such as, 'Farmer Brown's Cow Dies!' and "Girl Loses Doll Out Of Pram In Derby Street." That second headline is actually true. I guess, although very sad for the little girl, it was kinda' surreal to think that was actually worthy of being the headline news item. Ah, life in a small town.

Anyway, I read through the obituaries, my name wasn't there. I was about to dispose of the newspaper in the correct recycling bag. Then I noticed, much to my astonishment, in a paper that likes to delight me with vital information, such as the big cake sale at the community hall, the following article.

"Aliens may be using a cosmic version of Twitter to contact us - but for decades we have been missing their "tweets", it has been claimed. ET is more likely to be sending out short, directed messages than continuous signals beamed in all directions, say experts."

"This approach is more like Twitter and less like War and Peace," said Californian physicist Dr James Benford, president of Microwave Sciences Inc.
He and twin brother Gregory, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Irvine, looked at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Seti) from the aliens' point of view.
They concluded that Seti scientists may have been taking the wrong approach for the past five decades."

So, there are aliens from other worlds trying to contact us using a cosmic form of social networking?  'Yodafone' might be one form of communication. 'E.T'witter'?  'Forcebook'?  May the Forcebook be with you.  Judging by the gibberish I read on the social network sites, maybe some of my friends are actually from another planet and are trying to convey what they believe is a deep and profound message.

If there are aliens twittering away, maybe they have some special powers and could transport 'celebrity' 'twits', I mean twitters, to a galaxy far, far away. The next two paragraphs shall provide examples of 'tweets' from 'celebrities' that really should be viewed by an attentive audience on another world.  Wonder what they would make of this?  

"Ok. This is now mad. I am stuck in a lift on the 26th floor of Centre Point. Hell's teeth. We could be here for hours. Arse, poo and widdle,"   Those were the immortal words of British writer and comedian, Stephen Fry. 

 "Some punk bitch rookie cop named Fisher #10026 made the arrest of his bulls**t career today by arresting the Notorious Ice-T for no seat belt. That was some bull they made up. The officer said 'I know who you are and I don't give a f**k!' That was right after I called him a punk bitch."  Yep , those were the articulate words of that much loved rapper, 'Ice-T'.  Ice-T meet E.T.
The 'wee folks', Fidelina, the beautiful fairy Princess and her husband, Geoffrey the garden gnome, had heard about the possibility of life on other planets. So I let them read some interesting articles on my 'magic machine'.
The wee folks got all excited about the prospect of life on other worlds. They'd heard of one particular alien wanting to use a phone. Thus they tried contacting life on another planet.  Maybe there might be  wee folks on some distant galaxy. Life on planet 'Elf'?  Or is that just an another investigation for the 'Elf Files'? Geoffrey, rather optimistically, spoke these words into the magical speaker, 'WEE.T. phone gnome.'

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Slow Down Time....Again.....

While still working on challenging some stressful situations in my 3D world, I'm submitting another archived posting, originally published on Friday, October 8, 2010, titled, "Slow Down Time." If you had read it before, pretend you didn't and pretend that you have slowed down time.  Thank you and may you have a peaceful, positive day. 

                                                         Slow Down Time.

Have you ever wanted to slow down time?  Well, you could watch a watch.  You could even stare at your clock.  If you are a dude reading this, the word I typed was 'clock', there is an 'l' in there.  I was thinking of using the 'neighbourhood watch', to..... 'slow down time', unfortunately, I couldn't fit it through the front door.  Soooo could continue reading this boring blog.  That should work.

I'm sure you are familiar with the usual stuff that could 'slow down time'.  You know, waiting for water to boil, watching grass grow, and one of my big favourites, waiting for paint to dry.  Exciting news!   I have found another method to 'slow down time'.  I propose a toaster.  If you stare at the bread in the toaster, it takes an eternity.  If you leave the room, your smoke alarm will go off.

Now then, time depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on.  If you really, truly, want to 'slow down time', make sure you are on the outside of the bathroom and are desperate to get in there before you shit yourself.  Of course, the person, or in this case, "Tails the fox", are completely oblivious to your plight.  What makes it worse is the fact animals don't even use 'ass wipe', I mean 'bog roll', I mean toilet paper.  No, just like good old kittie, or your adorable dog, Tails the fox, just wants to play with your toilet paper and spread it all over your bathroom floor.

Or, you could, 'slow down time', by doing what the dopey idiot in the photograph did to, 'slow down time'.  Dude in photograph boards a plane at Heathrow airport in England at noon.  He takes a direct nine hour flight to Vancouver and discovers he has arrived one hour after he left.  'Good afternoon, Gary!'  Yell his adoring fans waiting for him at the arrivals lounge.  'It's One P.M. eh...are you ready for some lunch eh?', screams one of his adoring fans.  'WTF!  I've done it!  I've 'slowed down time!', replies Gary to his startled but still adoring fans.  Incidentally, I've seen my face recently and my methods of trying to, 'slow down time', appeared to have lost to the relentless onslaught of gravity.

In closing, yes we're nearly there.  In closing, I have some other methods to 'slow down time'.  You could visit someone you despise with a seething passion.  You know the type that make awkward silence seem like a fun plan.  Then again, this could backfire because you might spend a great deal of time going over those on your 'hate list'.  This could actually 'speed up time'.  

You might pretend you are a kid.  Of course, if you are a kid, you will know what I mean.  Anyway, pretend you're a kid, sit in the back of a friend's car and scream, 'are we there yet?'  You might try practising, by screaming, 'are we there yet?', on a bus, on a boat,  in a taxi, or on a plane.  Maybe forget trying that on a plane. 'Sorry Mr. Air Marshall, I was just trying to 'slow down time'.'

You might even try this.  Hang around really large objects.  According to certain scientists, time goes slower near large objects.  So, I'm heading for the pyramids, or perhaps, just hang around with my very large friend who gives, 'ballpark figure',  a whole new meaning.

Are we there yet?  Yes, mercifully, we have come to the end of another boring and ridiculous blog.  Reading this may have helped you 'slow down time'.  Right, I'm going now, time to listen to a fascinating and absorbing game of chess on the radio.  One last thing.  I'm struggling to sell my 'Marcel Marceau' CD.  Any offers?    I think I have 'time on my' hands......

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Remembering A Journey Down The West Coast.

As I continue to regain and reinforce my positive focus, I thought you might like to read one of my very early posts.  This post from November 24, 2007, brings back some profound inspiration.  Makes me understand, no matter what barriers come my way, I can climb over them and realise how much I have to be grateful for.

                                              From Lions Gate To Golden Gate

The year was 1972, two weeks before Christmas. This would be my second trip to California in the space of six months. I just knew this would be another great adventure in my life.

In the early summer of '72 I had travelled from Vancouver to San Francisco on a Greyhound bus. Upon my arrival in that great northern California city, this wide-eyed eighteen year old prepared himself for a wonderful, multi-cultural experience. Here I was, in San Francisco! Wow!  It looked just like it did on television. Cable cars, Fisherman's Wharf, the winding roads, the very steep hills, and of course, Alcatraz.

I spent a few days in that great city, absorbing all the sights and sounds of the bustling community. Being of an exploring nature, I found myself back at the Greyhound bus depot. I purchased a ticket for Lake Tahoe, which is located on the California, Nevada border. It was there that I met a a very friendly California family. We got along so well, that I arranged to stay with them for Christmas. They lived in a small town near San Francisco named San Pablo. Ah yes, it would be Christmas in California. This brings me neatly back around to my opening paragraph.

So now it is nearly Christmas in the year 1972. My long journey south from Vancouver to San Francisco, a distance close to a thousand miles, was going to be an even greater adventure than my first trip. For this time, an even wider-eyed nineteen year old was going to drive there in his first car. Yes indeed, I headed off down Interstate 5 in my '64 Plymouth Valiant. Fingers crossed, my pride and joy would get me there safely. 

Well, somehow, I did make it. Driving through some of America's great towns and cities. I travelled through Seattle, home of Bill Gates, home of Boeing, home of Jimi Hendrix, home of that legendary band "Nirvana". I moved on through the beautiful city of Portland Oregon. Soon I would be in California. Soon I would see my friends in San Pablo.

Over the next two weeks, I would have some of the most memorable experiences of my life. It was an action-packed time. I social-networked with loads of people. I had a fantastic time, heck I even went snow-skiing for the first time ever. Skiing was a rather strange concept. I mean it was like suddenly strapping on a pair of size 107 shoes on your feet. It took some getting use to. I recall being covered in snow, lying on the ground and staring up at the sky. I look back on that very special, very different Christmas with warm, fond memories. Yet one memory of that California Christmas has left me with a profound sense of caring for those not as fortunate as myself.

On Christmas Day, that wonderful family that I was staying with had a Christmas tradition that I will never forget. That morning we drove off to the grandmother's house. She lived in a city named Oakland, which is located across the bay from San Francisco. Her home was in an Oakland ghetto.

Yet despite my anxious perceptions of a ghetto and the stigma attached to such places, all I felt was warmth and kindness. This was a proud lady, living in a place she chose to stay in. This was a lady, whose fair skin was part of the minority in the neighbourhood. Somehow, it didn't matter. 

I was introduced to her friends and neighbours. They were part of a community that knew all too well what being underprivileged meant. The adversity that they endured seemed to unite these folks in making their lives that little bit better. Seldom have I experienced such community spirit. I left that ghetto in Oakland, with inspired perceptions. Despite the trouble and strife that was so much a part of their world, they never gave up on being positive towards each other. That day, that special Christmas Day, I was honoured to be among such caring, genuine people.

So from the Lions Gate Bridge, in that great Canadian city of Vancouver, to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, I had travelled down the west coast of North America. Somehow, despite the frantic driving methods of the Californians, my 1964 Plymouth Valiant survived. As I reached the Canadian border and went through Customs, I knew my journey was almost over. It turned out to be a journey of self-discovery.  I have been truly blessed with some powerful memories.  What a positive focus.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Continuing To Stick With It.

I'm having a bit of trouble focusing on my blog.  I'm working on reinforcing my positivity.  Thanks to you 'sticking with me', for which I'm profoundly grateful, I'm going to do a repost that was titled, "Stick With It"  If you have read this before,  I hope you can 'stick' this one out.   I will continue to stick with it...

There was this guy I knew who had a bit of yearly school tradition.  The poor fellow ended up in twelve different schools in twelve years.  At the beginning of each school year he would glue himself to the head teacher.  'Why do you do that?' I asked.  'Well, my parents told me that I should always stick to my principals.'

I have no idea where this blog is going.  It might go for a stroll through the park and end up at a take-away restaurant and order a pizza.  Can you tell I'm typing 'off the top of my head'?  Now how awkward is that?

'Knock, knock!'  Excuse me, ...'someone's knocking at the door.  Somebody's ringing the bell.  Do me a favour, open the door and let 'em in...'  Well, perhaps not.  Okay, I'm back now.  Yet another 'door-to-door' salesman.  I told him I don't need a door and that there is no reason whatsoever that I require a 'shiny new knob'.  'Sir', he stated.  'I'm merely wanting to canvas you.'  'Canvas me?  What?  You want to turn me into some kind of tent?'  He gave me a perplexed look and rushed off.  So quickly that he almost forgot his door, complete with the shiny new knob.

Let me see if I can do something that relates to the title of this posting.  Ah yes, 'stick'.  Apparently, 'stick' can be something that holds two objects together. It can be a small thin branch of a tree.  You can 'stick out like a sore thumb' and end up in a 'stick-up' as you 'stick to your guns' whilst getting 'stick' for living in the 'sticks'.  You can even have a hockey 'stick' , a walking 'stick',  a 'stick' of gum and oh yes...something what is it?  Hmmm...a memory 'stick'.  And speaking of walking sticks.  This shepherd told me he was really struggling.  'Why's that?'  I inquired.  'Just can't get the staff these days.  Nothing but crooks.'

Note my hand desperately clinging on to that wonderful object of alleged stickiness.  It is sometimes known as 'Scotch tape' or 'Sellotape'.  Let's just call it a roll of sticky tape.  Sticky tape, the gift wrapping nightmare.  I usually end up with a series of teeth marks on said sticky tape.  It's one of life's great mysteries that the beginning part of the tape magically blends into the roll.  Several teeth marks later and I discover that broken shred of tape that comes of the roll and sticks to my fingers.  Then, I start again, frantically searching for that elusive spot that indicates where the beginning part of the tape is now hiding.  Yep, one of life's great mysteries.  Along with the mystery of the missing pens, combs and socks.
Right then, that's enough of this.  I managed to stick with it.  I hope you were 'glued' to your computer screen as you read the musings of a man who tried not to get unstuck.  If you somehow managed to stick with it and read to the end of this posting...well done!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

A Pothole On The Writing Road.

Here it is, the early hours of a Thursday morning and I cannot sleep.  Any semblance of focused writing has been tested to the extreme with a series of negative influences that threaten my desire to maintain a healthy, fulfilling balance in my life.

Workplace bullying, physical, financial and psychological, cost me my house, my life savings, my marriage.  So traumatised was I that I nearly drank myself to death.  And now the past I have been trying to make sense of, to try to move on from, is being dredged back up by a heartless government who wants to test me to determine if they consider me capable of going back to work.

We are hearing the horror stories.  People too ill to work are having their incapacity benefits removed, placed on jobseeker's allowance and are expected to go and find jobs that don't exist.  It's a cynical ploy by the British government to cuts the benefits of the vulnerable in half.

I never asked to become ill.  I wanted to be a contributing member of society.  Yet, I did get ill.  An unrelenting negative environment virtually destroyed the remaining fragments of my dignity.  I did a lot of volunteer work within the mental health field until I could take no more when a certain mental health charity reinforced my mental health issues.  And thus, I started staying at home, reclusive and finding a therapy by writing.

I do my best to turn what seems as negatives into positives.  However, I am really struggling with this.  I have a daunting questionnaire to fill in that is causing much anxiety.  I have the ongoing nightmare of anti-social neighbours who have left me no choice but to give up a house I treasured and a garden that was created out of love and hope.

I'm trying to not let negative speculation drive me to another breakdown.  Maybe all will be okay.  I will do my utmost to make it so.  What I do know is that I thought that my writing was starting to get better and that my dream of being a published author, complete with the fancy book cover, would come to fruition.  Right now, it all hangs in the balance.  If I am forced back to work in a job market where no jobs exist, it will destroy me.  And if did get another job, I would live in fear of further bullying.

Trying to look at this as a pothole on the writing road.  Must pick myself up, desperately cling onto the motivation that drove me me this far.  Yes, I'm sick, I'm scared and waves of panic, shivers of anxiety are keeping me awake.  With trembling hand, I click on publish....

Friday, 2 November 2012

Bedtime On Bonfire Night.

Hi, yes it's me, Penny the Jack Russell dog.  Over here in Britain, we can be subjected to a number of very loud bangs and flashing lights in the sky, from Halloween and somewhat beyond Bonfire Night, also referred to as Guy Fawkes Night.  The previous two years, I discussed my concerns about fireworks and the impact they can have on us animals.  If you wish to check it out, here is the link : Penny's Pyrotechnic Plea.  

What I will emphasise is that we ask humans to use a bit of common sense on Bonfire Night, which is on Monday, November 5.  For your safety and the safety of animals, we would ask that humans would go to an organised, controlled public display of fireworks. 

Renowned Shakespearean actor, Simon Callow, narrates the first bedtime audiobook for us dogs.  It evidently can calm stressed dogs.  Might prove ideal for me, especially on Bonfire Night.  I just had a view of the video and it sort of got my attention.  Just curious to see how my other animal friends react to this bedtime book for dogs.  Here's a link that gives further info about the bedtime story developed for us dogs : Simon Callow's Bonfire Night bedtime story for dogs

And now I must go read my human, Gary, a bedtime story.  I shall read him some extracts from the book I am writing about when I was a puppy titled, 'My First Bark'.  

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Improving Your Self-Esteem.

Greetings friend, in my previous post, Recognising Our Validity, I discussed the subject of self-esteem and how you evaluated your own life. If your self-esteem has you feeling good about your life and those you interact with, the following can be considered positive reinforcement.  If you are struggling and are experiencing low-esteem, due to a number of environmental factors, the following may help inspire you to have the determination to make some choices for the benefit of your overall well being.

Positive Resources And Distractions To Improve Self-Esteem.

.  Identify and accept your strengths and weaknesses. We all have them.

.  Set yourself realistic goals and accomplish them by acquiring new skills.

.  Be good to yourself.  Thinking of others is wonderful, but not at the cost of your own personal wants and needs. This is not selfish, but a chance to look after your well being.

.  Be happy in your own company and focus on positive distractions.

.  Reinforce your right to say 'no'.

.  Realise a 'can-do' approach to help develop and work on your personal goals and aspirations.

.  Take pride in who you are. Delve into, acknowledge and appreciate your own personal differences, talents and achievements. Take pride in your accomplishments, both big and small.

.  Accept and and learn from your mistakes. Do not overreact  to your mistakes and become disillusioned by them. See mistakes not as a barrier, but an opportunity, a chance to grow and improve your life.  Do not be discouraged by mistakes. Try to find the less serious side of an error.

.  Remove negative 'self-talk', the negative 'inner critic' and replace such thinking with positive statements that  validate your right to be happy.

.  Practice positive affirmations. Reinforce them whenever you are having those moments of despair or for positive reinforcement. Everyday and in every way, you are getting better and better.

.  If you experience rejection, step back and try and look at it from a different perspective. Try not to take it personally.

.  Involve yourself with people who are conducive to a positive, healthy environment. Try to distance yourself from negative people who would undermine you, rather than respect your validity.

.  Know that your personal rights, your opinions, your beliefs and ideas are just as credible as any other person.

To summarise, remember this is your life and you have the right to live it in a peaceful, positive, fulfilling way. An honest assessment of your life and what you wish to do to make adjustments, are there for the taking.

If you are content with your self-esteem, that is most encouraging,  May you continue to realise a positive life and be of help to those who need some comfort.  If you are struggling with low self-esteem, I hope some of the above points and some you can come up with yourself, are of inspirational value.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Recognising Our Validity.

What is self-esteem?  In essence, it is how much you like, accept and respect yourself.  Self-esteem refers to how you think and feel about yourself.  The more positive your thoughts and feelings are, the healthier your self-esteem will be.  Conversely, negative thoughts and feelings have a detrimental impact on your overall well being.  

Thus, self-image and self-esteem are intertwined.  You can think of your self-image as the marker on which the opinion of yourself is based.  In other words, a positive self-image is conducive to positive self-esteem.

Feeling good about yourself is a vital aspect of feeling in control of your life.  Other aspects of your life will feel the benefits.  More fulfilling relationships.  Allows you to set realistic expectations of yourself and not the perceived expectations of others.  Feeling good about yourself can give you confidence in realising your goals in life.

Having a low opinion of yourself can give you a distorted viewpoint on who you really are.   And the end result can be total lack of confidence, negative speculation and yes, low self-esteem.

Your self-esteem is based upon your life experiences.  If you were constantly put down, constantly criticized and told you were not as good as so and so, this will impact your self-esteem in a way that you start to question your validity.  If enough people undermine you, you can start to believe the hype.  Do not believe the hype.  If you have been surrounded by a positive environment, your chances of a higher self-esteem level are more likely.

Some Common Signs Of Low Self-Esteem :

.  Being overly self-conscious and a feeling of being inferior to others.

.  Unable to be assertive and prone to being hurt by criticism.

.  Incapable of making an honest evaluation of strengths, qualities and capabilities.

.  Struggles with accepting compliments or acknowledgement from others.

.  Struggles with a sense of self-identity and adjusts their personality to blend in.

.  Insecure, fearful and anxious in the company of others.

.  Fearful of opposition to their opinion out of fear of rejection.

.  Being a 'people pleaser' and finds it difficult to say no.

.  Replaying conversations in their head.  Thinking they said the wrong thing.

.  Avoiding new experiences because they think they will look stupid.

.  Feelings of frustration, bitterness and resentment towards others.

.  Distancing themselves from society and becoming reclusive.

.  More inclined to mental health issues and the usage of addictive substances to mask the pain.

Some Questions To Determine If You Might Have Low Self-Esteem :

.  Do you like yourself?

.  Do you think you're a good person?

.  Are you someone worthy of love?

.  Are you entitled to be happy?

If you find it difficult to say 'yes' to the above questions, you might be struggling with your self-image, your self-worth, your self-esteem.  I leave you to think this over and in the next posting, I shall discuss the various positive resources and distractions that can be implemented if you are experiencing low self-esteem.

We must understand that recognising our validity is something we must cherish, nurture and let blossom.  Peace and positivity, be with you.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Regaining The Clarity.

I was sitting there in my living room.  What had started to seem so clear, was vanishing into another dark cloud of distorted confusion.  Another moment of despair had crept into my well being.  I glanced over and there was Penny looking at me with great concern.  She could sense that something was wrong.  It was written on my face and in the dull glisten of my eyes.

"Gary, what's the matter?", asked Penny.  "Just feeling a bit down, Penny.  I have tried so hard to maintain a positive environment and yet, I keep encountering negative influences that try to destabilise our right to a peaceful life."

"Gary, let's try this.  Can you think of three examples of where you turned what started out as a negative into something positive?"  I pondered Penny's question for a few minutes and then I responded.  "Right then, Penny, this first example would be one that has impacted us most recently.  Those new anti-social neighbours have caused much distress.  Yet, even at their most abusive, I have responded with a calm politeness.  I'm hoping, because they have been much quieter over the last week that they have learnt something from my example.  And even so, they are an ironic catalyst that has made me realise that it's time for us to move on into a new home, a fresh start, a new adventure."

"That's most encouraging.  Keep going Gary and please give me your second example."  "Okay, Penny.  I did a lot of volunteer work for a mental health charity.  I demonstrated, kindness, caring and the power of empathy.  Instead of acknowledging me, I was exploited and my own personal recovery took a battering.  If anything, they reinforced my mental health issues.  I left disillusioned, disheartened and ready to retreat back into my reclusive world.  However, I met some decent folks through that mental health charity.  Like-minded individuals who had also felt used by the charity.  We have all remained good friends and two of them have now started up their own mental health charity where empathy, understanding, support and encouragement are vital ingredients.  I am honoured to have been asked to be an integral part of that new mental health charity."

"Brilliant.  Now then, Gary, what would be your third example?"  "Penny, here is my third example of turning what started out as a negative and turning it into something positive.  I was subjected to severe workplace bullying, physical, financial and psychological.  This went on for over eight years.  One day I could take no more and had a complete breakdown.  I left that awful, self-esteem destroying, dead-end job that had transformed me into a broken man.  Despite it costing me my marriage, despite it nearly costing me my life due to nearly drinking myself to death, I somehow picked up the remnants of this shattered man and rediscovered me.  The ending of that painful and traumatic time in my life also brought back the dreams of a young boy.  And the young boy, now a man, still a fragile man, recaptured the spark that fired his imagination.  The spark, the power of the written word, had returned and I started writing again."

"There you go, Gary.  Now how are you feeling?"  "Penny, thank you so much!  I'm feeling rejuvenated and I'm understanding that my life aint so bad.  Negative forces will never be given permission to get the better of me.  I have a choice and I choose the right to live my life the way I want to live it."

"Gary?"  "Yes Penny?"  "Gary, I have an additional example to share with you.  I could sense how concerned Tristan and yourself were when you took me to those two different places that were full of animals and people.  I also saw, when your shared sadness eased to shared relief, that you and Tristan were so close together, father and son, united in their love for me and each other."

Penny and myself are wondering if somebody reading this can think of examples of how they could or have changed a negative into a positive. You need not allude to them in a comment.  They can be for you to contemplate.  Peace and positivity, be with you.  Gary and Penny.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Hey Lenny!

Hi there, yes it's me, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star, or should I say, superstar!  Right then, I've taken back over my human Gary's blog to make a very special announcement.  Today, Saturday, October 20, 2012, is the birthday of one of my young buddies, Lenny Lee!  Yes, this cool young chap is now 13.  Yes, my young human friend is now a teenager.

Gary and I, or as Lenny calls him, "Mr. Gary", believe that Lenny is an inspiration to young and old alike.  Lenny is the future of blogging and an important part of the ideal that we embrace in this, the sharing, caring blogging community.

And to you Lenny, myself and Gary, indeed all those who have the great fortune to interact with you, my young human buddy, are privileged and honoured to know you.  Your passion for the written word, the wonderment that fills your young heart, is a profound and touching gift that we warmly receive.

I would kindly ask all our friends, human and animal, to go and visit Lenny and wish this amazing young man, a most happy 13th birthday.  If you have never met Lenny, you can find him here : Lenny's World 
Lenny, I'm forwarding you my very own award, "The Gold Framed Dog Blog Award".  This award has no rules, what it does is spread the unconditional, non-judgemental love that we animals share.  And Lenny, we know how much you care about us precious, fragile creatures of our world.  This, my young human friend, is my birthday gift to you.

Hey Lenny!  On behalf of my human, Gary, I, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star, superstar,  wish you a fantastic birthday!   Stay special and know how much we care about you! :)  Pawsitive wishes, Penny!  Arf!  Arf!