A busy weekend

My day off begins with sunshine, warmth and a smile. Today, I am going to find birthday presents for two people. One, a very close friend and two, my husband. I am not really a lover of shopping. I like to know what I am going for, find it after having a massive trying on session in one shop, buy it and come home, unless it’s clothes for me. Then I like to go to one shop, find it, try it on, pay for it and come home. There is nothing more tedious than traipsing around a myriad of shops in search of something that fits or looks right. I sound like a dream shopper for the man in tow, but believe me I’m not, because invariably I end up going everywhere to find one thing. I am so fussy about my clothes and if I buy something I don’t feel comfortable in, it stays in the wardrobe. Hence the tedious traipsing.

Today though, I have people to buy for and I know which shops I am hitting. The ideas for gifts aren’t definite. I am trying to remain open minded so it could all change by the end of the day.

The weekend was busy with gigs. I had a Valentine’s dinner dance on Friday and as usual, it was a night for romantic slushy songs. It’s the only night of the year I can sing so many slow songs and get away with it. Asking for requests usually brings “lady in red”, irrelevant that I am a woman singing about another woman. No one cares as long as it’s heard and danced to. Saturday though, made a Valentine’s change. Another friend has her birthday the day after her husbands, so they had a joint birthday party and asked me to sing. Very few slow songs that night. Instead they partied, ate, drank and danced the night away, culminating in my friends favourite song, “Raining men.” image

imageB

They loved my mic stand and pretended to be either lead or backing singers. It made me smile. A great night had by all and Happy birthday guys. Hope the heads weren’t too sore the next day.

Unfortunately, my hubby and I couldn’t celebrate Valentine’s this year. Usually we go out the day before or after, but the day before I was working and the day after was a collapse day. That’s what happens when you work all day and most of the night for 48 hours. Oh well, next year it is.

Advertisements

Night owl or Lark

It’s a couple of days since my last blog and it’s taken me most of the day to summon up the right amount of enthusiasm to write one.

Everyone suffers when they have too little sleep or are just weary.  Atthe beginning of Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project, she decides to try and get the right amount of sleep instead of watching an extra TV programme.  I did not make this rule for myself, however, I did think that I would just go to bed when tired instead of denying that’s how I felt.  Interestingly  I found myself going to bed earlier and earlier, and waking earlier and earlier.  Nothing wrong with this,  I hear you say.  Actually, for me there is.

It goes against my long built up sleep patterns.  As an entertainer I work late and it’s impossible to suddenly switch it around to being a morning person.  I have long held the belief that I am, in fact, allergic to mornings.  My favourite way to wake up is quietly.  Alarms grate on every nerve and make me feel annoyed.  Once I am conscious, I still need quiet.

My ex-husband was a morning person.  He would wake up with a happy and loud “Good morning!”  and insist on holding conversations even though the only response I gave was an “ugh!”, which translated into any language means “be quiet and leave me alone.”  Having never learnt my morning tongue, we usually ended up having a huge argument as I got more and more wound up.  This was not the reason we divorced but if there is anything positive about that institution, it was the return to quiet mornings.

Luckily for me, my now husband is also an entertainer and a night owl.  Mornings for him are not the best time of day, so we gently wake up over the course of an hour in silence.  Sixteen years later we are still together so it works for us.

Going to bed early is a no no.  We need to be ready to entertain until the wee small hours.  In fact we can spend day feeling exhausted and only become compos mantis just as most people would be retiring.  The difficulty though is when we have a few nights of going to bed after 2am.  In my youth, it seemed easier but now….oh dear.  Age has caught up and I need my 8 hours, but it only works if I am in bed before 2.  I blame the scientists for figuring out our body clocks, Rem sleep patterns and educating us.

Maybe, if work had made me feel so exhausted, I would feel rewarded.  However, on my previous post I blogged about visitors.  So I have concluded that perhaps being in the Jacuzzi till 2am when you have visitors has the same effect as working till that time and is the least conducive to writing.

My resolution therefore, is to sleep earlier and write more.  It’s just today you will have to excuse my ramblings!!

image

The truth about visitors

imageThe arrival of guests usually signals the beginning of so many things.  On a negative side,  the preparation is exhausting.  Trying to fit in a whole house clean, ironing, bed making, towel matching, fridge and freezer cleaning and spider web demolition while working is a test in itself.  Then, after they leave there’s a whole house clean, ironing, bed making and emptying the fridge and freezer of all the naughty foods that they leave behind.  Standing on the scales afterwards can prove a very scary experience as there will have been an awful lot of calories taken in during your time of entertaining.

In times gone by, with back to back visitors, it has proved tiring and expensive, and we would breath a sigh of relief as we waved off yet another car full.

On the positive side, the arrival of familiar faces brings hugs, kisses, smiles, new stories, precious time in each other’s company and a renewing of friendships.  It’s a touching of hearts, morals, belonging and kinship.  There are new experiences, the making of new memories and most important of all, there is laughter.

Even though I have to leave and go to work every day, there is the anticipation of returning home and recognising something different from the norm.  There is enjoyment in a change of routine and a sense of holiday even for the workers.

image

After four years of hardly any visitors due to our circumstances, it is so wonderful to, once again, have people to stay.  To welcome people back into our lives has made me realise that the negatives are insignificant.  In fact they have changed to the opposite.

I love the fact that the discipline of having to clean means that I sort out my rubbish and get rid of it at more regular intervals.  Having to iron and sort bedlinen equals no excuses to avoid the ironing, thus removing the piles.  My fridge and freezer stay a lot more organised and the spiders don’t stand a chance.

I am a happier person for the laughter, more educated because of other people’s experiences, more social because I have to be and perhaps a little kinder or tolerant.  In all, visitors enrich, I look forward to time in their company and feel honoured that they chose to spend time in mine.

clan.

A stressy day.

Ok, so it hasn’t been a particularly stressful day but irksome would probably be more accurate.  I had many plans, but for some reason I don’t feel like I have achieved much.  I have started making a check list every day.  It’s mainly for one reason and that is to make sure jobs get done, so that I have enough time to write.

I read a blog this morning which issued a challenge and I decided to take it up.  For the next 30 days, I am going to make sure I swim for 30 minutes.  I do have this procrastinating attitude to exercise and although I promise myself faithfully that I will stick to my regime, I can be found convincing myself that 3 times a week is enough and I’ve done them already.  By swimming first thing when I get up, it gets it out of the way and I can concentrate on other things.  In theory anyway.

That done, I then turn to phone calls and annoyingly having to sort out something that I thought had been organised yesterday, but no, apparently it’s too difficult to give me the correct number when I first ring in.  I have to waste time, my frustration and phone calls to get someone to answer the question.  Nothing too bad, just a little irritating.

Then shopping.  Food shopping is one of my least favourite things to do without my hubby on hand.  It’s always way too heavy for me to lift inside in one go and invariably one of the bags breaks.  Then there’s finding a home for it all.  Boring!  Never mind though, it has to be done, so off I go.  I notice that the door lock spins a couple of times before locking, but it’s done it before, so I wasn’t too bothered.

I bought a box.  It’s a collapsible plastic thing.  Perfect, I think.  I can get quite a lot of shopping in there.  It will fit in the boot of the car and stuff won’t roll around.  Pleased with myself for my organising head, I pack all the fruit, veggies and bottles in it, wheel the trolley to the car and… Find the boot of the car full of equipment. Husbands car! No other box is going to fit in there.

There is is a law here in Spain, that prohibits “stuff” being put on the seats and it’s a hefty fine if you are caught.  Ok, I can’t put it there then. I know, I’ll put it in the front footwell.  So I pick it up and realise it’s really heavy.  In fact, it’s so heavy that the box suddenly seems a bit flimsy.  Add to the fact that the temperature has soared into  the 30’s and I am struggling in full sunshine to manoeuvre this box that weighs a ton, between 2 parked cars to open the passenger door and deposit said box.  I wheeze and sweat and manage to get it in, only to find it’s about 2 cm too big and the door won’t close.  Oh joy.

The box ends up, with some not too gentle persuasion, balanced precariously on top of the stuff in the boot.  I drive home, praying that it won’t fall and break the eggs.  Luckily the eggs did survive, but yes, it fell.

I had to make a couple of trips to get things upstairs to my front door and the sun was not letting up.  I arrived there, overheated and in need of a drink, with my hands full and a bag of rapidly melting ice cream that I had, kindly,  bought for my husband, only to find that I couldn’t get in.  The front door key was just spinning and spinning I the lock.  Wonderful, thinks me and I ring my husband.

Suffice it to say that I eventually got in.  My head was pounding with the sun, my shoulders feel like I’ve just done 10 rounds with Lennox Lewis and it’s now much later than I expected.  Lunch, that’s what I need. So I start to prepare something and plan what I need to do next.  I have an hour of ironing, then cleaning for guests that are arriving on Thursday, I want to do some writing and I also need an hour practicing the piano.  I also have a gig tonight and looking at how many hours I don’t have left, I realise something is not going to get done.  Then the phone rings.

Its the owner of the bar that I am working at on Saturday.  Cancelling!  Great!!  No work, no money and little chance now of getting another gig at such short notice.  So my day has been irksome.  It is a day designed to take away pleasure.

This is now a decision for me to make.  Do I remain irked or shall I change it.  Well, first thing now is to take some pain killers to get rid of the tension headache, to have a quick jacuzzi to wind down and then enjoy my night.  I chose, you see, to change it.  Tonight I get to sing to some fabulous people in a fabulous place that has a view to die for.  The breeze will be in my hair and the music will flow.  Life doesn’t get much better than that!!

 

A Life of Sundays

It’s Sunday, she thought as she opened her eyes.

Sundays, as a child, had always been mind blowingly boring.  Apart from helping to cook Sunday lunch and the long winded trip to church, the day seemed to drag on forever.  There was too much time spent in the company of irritated parents who couldn’t wait to get the kids back to school the following day.  A childhood full of disappointing Sundays.

Sundays as an older teenager and young twenties, was spent sleeping and recouperating from the crazy partying that seem to accompany that age.   If enough time was passed in sleep, the monotony of the day never broke through the drink addled haze.  If there was a boyfriend on the scene, the afternoons would find her lips glued to his or slouched on the sofa, watching a movie. Sunday was a wasted day.

When the children came along, Sundays were a crazy day.  There was little chance of a lie in as there was always someone ready to bounce on the bed, shout “Mummy, I’m hungry.” Or  “Mummy, look what she’s done!” Or a high pitched wail as someone got their fingers caught in the door again. The only chance of the day not being spent in a state of mayhem, was to take the cherubs out and let them run off some of their pent up energy.  Sundays were exhausting.

Sundays with teenagers was different again.  Time was spent standing at the bottom of the stairs, either yelling for them to get out of their lazy beds or trying to be heard above the sound of the latest music craze.  There was the inevitable “Is your homework done?” followed by the excuses as to why it wasn’t, the ensuing argument and the “I hate you.” stomp up the stairs and slam of the bedroom door, shaking the whole house off it’s foundations.  Sundays were spent praying for Monday morning to arrive early.

Then came the Sunday when the front door closed for the final time. The car packed with boxes, pulled off the drive as the last child disappeared to their own home.  After years of looking after so many people, nothing could prepare her for the devastation of no longer having anyone to care for.  Sundays were silent, eerie and sad.

It’s Sunday, she thought as she opened her eyes.  Today is a day full of possibilities.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the garden is full of flowers. There is music to play and art to behold, dogs to walk, books to read. What shall I do today? She smiled. I think I shall do everything I want to.  Sunday is my day.

.com

Although my blog is not quite a week old, I have decided to go for it and purchased the domain name of Discoveryandachievement.com, so now I am a .com and very excited.

I always thought I would enjoy blogging and I am surprised by how much I love it.  It was started to see if it would improve my happy state and it has.  It is a pleasure every day receive emails from the site to say someone has either enjoyed something I have written or decided to follow me.  I find it remarkable that there are so many like minded people out there.

Today is only a short blog as it is my day off and I intend to spend the rest of the day in the pool or jacuzzi with my husband, or writing my novel, for which I have renewed enthusiasm and the perfect plot line.

Happy Sunday everyone.

Tiredness versus Blogging

The idea of my blog is for me to write everyday but, yesterday was impossible.  So I ask myself, is it really possible to commit to this everyday?  Even today I have the perfect excuse not to bother and that excuse is exhaustion.    It is a very content exhaustion that stems from work well done but nevertheless it’s hard to write when all I want to do is switch off my brain and sleep.  It is however, only 6.30 and I am sure, most will agree, that’s it’s too early.

As someone that has hereditary high cholesterol, despite being a vegan and not eating much fat at all, I have decided to up my exercise level in order to try and reduce this potentially dangerous substance in my body.  Reassured by my instructor that Zumba would be beneficial to my weak, held together with titanium rods back, I enrolled in her class.  The first week was great.  I kept the intensity low as I was a little worried and was pleasantly surprised that I was not at all stiff or aching the next morning.

Feeling that I was onto a winner, I boldly attended another class on Thursday night and, having been lulled into a false sense of security by my previous success, entered into it with more verve.  Mistake!! Two thirds of the class later and I was in pain.  My back hurt and the pain shot down my leg and into my foot.  Perfect indicators that a I am not as strong as I would like to be and time to tone it down a bit.  Lesson learnt.  Zumba needs to remain low impact.

Once home the pain travelled upwards and I went to bed wincing with a migraine.  I awoke on Friday to find my shoulders had elevated to my ears with tension and my brain was groggy.  My eyes felt cloudy and I struggled to get out of bed.  After a tedious lunchtime meeting that went on far too long and then teaching a vocal session, I tried to prepare for my evening gig.  On taking my brand new dress out of the washing machine, I found splashes of blue dye all over the light pink material.  The conclusion is that dyeing other clothes in the machine to give them extra life, has in fact cost me more.  So gutted about my dress,  I hurriedly hunted for something else to wear.

Time was of the essence, as I had a long drive ahead, so I threw things into bags, chose clothes that would do, although not perfect, and shoved my gear into the car.  Feeling that the day had gone from bad to worse and dreading the drive ahead, I called my husband on my hands free.  Even that wasn’t working properly and I hung up, unable to have my little moan and feeling very frustrated.

Working day and night is difficult for anyone and it often seems to be a case of feast or famine. It’s either sit around all day and earn nothing or run around like crazy and earn well.  If only there was something in the middle.

It was at this point that I decided I needed to calm down and be grateful instead of harassed and stressed.  So I sang and warmed up my voice, gave thanks for the beautiful countryside and the fantastic gig I was going to and guess what?  It worked.

image image image

i arrived at my destination easily, met some fantastic people, giggled with friends and enjoyed the fabulous singers that were also on the show.   My first set was a little gentle, starting with Dock of a bay and ending with the classical Nella Fantasia, but the final set was a blast.  There was no way I was letting those people sit down.  I played and sang one dance tune after another until, not only they were breathless, but so was I.  They called for more as I tried to leave and I gave them a rendition of All that Jazz from Chicago.  They even danced to that.

image

There are times in a performers life when you wish you had stayed at home.  The audience is surly and doesn’t  want to know you, and nothing you do is right. These are the worst times because an act is only as good as their audience.  It can be demoralising, frustrating and kick your self esteem from under you.  Many people think we do the job because we are confident and want the acclaim. Some of us do, I suppose, but I do it because music is my passion, my voice is my gift and I am lucky enough to be able to earn a living from it.  It has kept my family fed and clothed and taken me to some wonderful places.

In truth, performers put themselves up for more ridicule and criticism than any other career.  Our spirits can take a nose dive with every negative comment because our talent is so personal to us.  However, even if no one makes a comment, you always know when it’s a good gig and the feeling of warmth that emanates from a crowd that is enjoying your show, is second to none.  Last night was one of those.

I drove the long journey home on a high, knowing I had done my job.  The adrenalin gave me enough energy to make it and even though it was really late, it still took me a long time to wind down enough to sleep.

Today, I hosted my radio show and had a great time, but now, there is no adrenalin.  Tomorrow is a day off,  my body is going into relax or relapse mode and my brain is shutting down all functions apart from the necessary.

Is is it possible to blog when exhausted?  Yes.  My feelings of gratefulness abound and I am so happy that being grateful turned a disaster of a day into a night that I will remember for a long time.