The Wordsmythe's Weblog…

…On Words, Love and Life

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

Dancing queen

I love to dance and I’m a good dancer, even if I say so myself. It’s against my ‘religion’ to let good music go to waste. I firmly believe that it should, where possible, be accompanied by highly energetic gyrations in time to its beat. I relish every chance I get to express this part of my personality. I can usually be found bopping to music in my seat at sit-down events or while driving and always welcome a chance to don my dancing shoes and boogie down.

Now I accept that there are different kinds of music and some are not for dancing to but it is not to those kinds that I make reference. I am talking about the kind to which you instinctively find yourself tapping your feet or drumming your fingers; the kind that makes you nod your head and hum or sing along irrespective of whether you know the words properly or if you have the kind of voice that’s best suited to an audience of one – yourself; the kind that convinces you that you’re a great dancer even if your best moves closely resemble the dying throes of a decapitated chicken, complete with flailing limbs.

This love for dancing runs in the family. I have vivid memories of sneaking out of bed as a very young child and peeping through the banisters at the grown-ups dancing at my parents’ numerous dinner parties; memories of my dad playing his LP records while he, mum and my four sisters and I all danced along in our living room. My sisters and I are usually the ‘last man standing’ on the dance floor. It would appear that my boys have also inherited this trait though so far their moves are proving somewhat lacking in rhythm. However, I live in hope that they will come into their own as they grow older and not let the maternal side down.

While dancing is something I enjoy, regretfully, I don’t do it as often as I would like. Something which I do do regularly is work out.  It isn’t necessarily something I enjoy but I keep at it in a bid to keep fit and lose some weight.  Anyway, I found a way to combine something I love with something I don’t really like – Zumba® which involves dance and aerobic movements choreographed to hip-hop, salsa and a variety of music. I love Zumba®. A whole of hour of twisting and twirling, hopping and bopping, the upbeat music, ahh, bliss!

I sustained a knee injury earlier in the year so had to stay away from anything that could potentially cause it more damage, sadly this included Zumba®. I still worked out at the gym but I would gaze longingly at the dance studio every time a class was taking place. I missed it so much, I decided to try it out again with the mind to leave if I so much as felt a twinge in my knee.

I signed up for a class last Monday. The regular dance instructor was ill so a replacement was called in. She introduced herself and encouraged us to have fun. She was really good and her energy and enthusiasm were infectious. About halfway through the class,  the familiar strains of the intro to Dbanj’s Oliver Twist filtered through the loud speakers in the dance studio. You can’t even begin to imagine my surprise and joy! I started oohing and singing along to the song and then proceeded to start dancing even before the instructor had a chance to show us the steps.

I had a really good time, even my ailing knee co-operated fully by not hurting. I’m so happy. I can now get my fix of dancing at least once a week while getting fit in the process. What more could a girl ask for? Well, I could ask for a lot more but that’s a post for another day.

Until then, enjoy the song that got me shimmying and shaking my bum on Monday, Dbanj’s award-winning song, ‘Oliver Twist’ (‘Oh-lee-vah Tweest’ according to EDU Open-mouthed smile).

Do you enjoy dancing? Are you a good dancer?

Thanks for stopping by.

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Forever Grateful

It’s Thanksgiving today in the United States of America. Historically, it was a day set aside to thank God for deliverance from war and natural disaster. These days, it’s a holiday usually marked with an over-indulgence of more food than the average family can eat in a week and overnight queuing at shopping malls for Black Friday sales.

It isn’t a holiday in the United Kingdom but I’ve chosen to celebrate it along with my friends and family stateside, minus the turkey and trimmings. I’m celebrating the spirit of the holiday by thinking back over my life and all the reasons I have to be thankful. It’s by no means a perfect or problem-free life but it’s my life and I’m so very grateful to be living it.

I’m thankful for my family;

  • For my husband, Mo Cushla, for putting up with my shenanigans and for making marriage a delight.
  • For my sons, who make everyday an adventure with their antics, their humorous take on life, their affection, their curiosity, their joie de vivre and for making me a proud mama.
  • For my parents, my sisters, my in-laws and other relatives for though “blood makes us related, love makes us family.”

I’m thankful for my friends, some of whom I haven’t even met in person yet, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, have gone on to become very dear to me. For these people who love and exasperate me in equal measure and to whom I so generously return the favour of exasperating and loving; of whom the words of Mary Ann Evans aka George Eliot ring so true;

“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”

For the dynamics of friendship which sometimes play out like a soap opera complete with melodrama, hysterics and cliff-hangers but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m thankful for the brains and brawn of inventors and pioneers in technology. For men and women like the Wright brothers for the airplane, Mary Anderson for the windscreen wiper, Alexander Graham Bell for the telephone, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, the Winklevoss twins and all those who work unrecognised and unacknowledged in the background for significantly impacting the way we communicate and live today.

I’m thankful that I live in an age with so many opportunities within reach; opportunities to learn and improve my craft, to communicate with friends and family both far and near as though they were right next to me in my living room.

I’m thankful for the challenges of difficult people and situations that I encounter because, as trying and tiring as they can be, they help me develop character and make me a better person.

I’m thankful for all of my life’s experiences, good and bad. I may not understand why I had to go through some of them but looking back now, I can see they’ve all worked in my favour, shaping me into the person I am today and equipping me for the future.

I’m thankful for you, my readers. As I pointed out in my last post, there’s a myriad of material you could be reading right now, yet you’ve chosen to read mine. Thank you for your continued support, you make it all worthwhile.

I’m most especially thankful to God for loving and accepting me just the way I am while constantly encouraging and challenging me to be the best I can be.

So on this day of thanksgiving, I give thanks with a grateful heart.

Here’s wishing all my friends and family in the United States of America a wonderful holiday. May the good always outweigh the bad and may you continue to have several reasons to be thankful.

♪♪ Reading… and all that jazz ♪♪

It’s taken me a long time to write this post, not for lack of trying. Rather it’s because I keep getting distracted, putting it aside in favour of reading something of interest and that brings me nicely to the point of the post. Hopefully it will be a better one for all that reading.

I make no secret of the fact that I love to read. I usually have a book or some reading material with me and if I don’t, I will scan my environment for something to sink my reading teeth into.  I have been known to read the labels on toilet cleaner bottles while on the loo if I haven’t remembered to take a book with me.

Book pileFor a long time there was a pile of books mirroring the leaning Tower of Pisa on my bedside cupboard, some I’d already read but hadn’t put away while others were awaiting their turn. I kid you not, the pile was so high, I was at risk of the tower toppling over on to my head and sending me to the great beyond as I slept. Oh, but what a way to go, bludgeoned to death by a pile of books!

Anyway, Mo Cushla very kindly saved me from bibliocide by taking them out of harm’s way and arranging them nicely on the floor. And I’m alive to tell the tale Open-mouthed smile

It’s a great time to be alive and if you’re anything like me, you must be excited.  These days, reading is not restricted to just paperbacks and hardbacks. You don’t need to go trawling through bookshops for your favourite authors anymore. You don’t even need to leave the comfort of your arm-chair. The internet offers a veritable smorgasbord of reading material by way of blogs, e-zines, e-newspapers and full length novels, to mention just a few. Simply being a member of the popular social media networks like Facebook and Twitter puts witty sound bites,  great articles, stories, non-fiction and fiction alike, right at your finger tips.

With 21st-century technology providing instant access to the internet on our phones and tablets most of us are able to read even while on the go. I bet those who regularly travel on public transport are thankful for e-readers which reduce the number of people thrusting newspapers in your face as you jostle for personal space on buses and trains during the rush hour!

The variety out there is mind-boggling and the great thing about it is there’s something to suit your every mood  and preferred genre.

I am currently in reading heaven; reading books on my Kindle Fire, blog posts on my laptop, tweets, Facebook and newspaper articles on my phone all at once and I couldn’t be happier. The only sour note in this divine music is there is so much to read and so little time to do it in. But that’s a good problem to have, so I’m not really complaining.

There will probably never ever be enough time for me to read all the stuff I want to but I don’t let that deter me. Bemoaning the fact would just be a waste of the little time I do have so instead I just seize every chance I get and I read like there’s no tomorrow. And if tomorrow does come, I will read some more.

I came across a number of quotes that articulate precisely how I feel when I read something good.

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”
― J.D. Salinger,
The Catcher in the Rye

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours”
― Alan Bennett,
The History Boys: The Film

“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
― William Faulkner

“My reading list grows exponentially. Every time I read a book, it’ll mention three other books I feel I have to read. It’s like a particularly relentless series of pop-up ads.”
― A.J. Jacobs,
The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

Of all the quotes I found while searching for these, I loved and identified with this one the most;

“Why do I read?
I just can’t help myself.
I read to learn and to grow, to laugh
and to be motivated.
I read to understand things I’ve never
been exposed to.
I read when I’m crabby, when I’ve just
said monumentally dumb things to the
people I love.
I read for strength to help me when I
feel broken, discouraged, and afraid.
I read when I’m angry at the whole
world.
I read when everything is going right.
I read to find hope.
I read because I’m made up not just of
skin and bones, of sights, feelings,
and a deep need for chocolate, but I’m
also made up of words.
Words describe my thoughts and what’s
hidden in my heart.
Words are alive–when I’ve found a
story that I love, I read it again and
again, like playing a favorite song
over and over.
Reading isn’t passive–I enter the
story with the characters, breathe
their air, feel their frustrations,
scream at them to stop when they’re
about to do something stupid, cry with
them, laugh with them.
Reading for me, is spending time with a
friend.
A book is a friend.
You can never have too many.”
― Gary Paulsen,
Shelf Life: Stories by the Book

Do you enjoy reading?  What do you like to read?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for stopping by.

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