Archive for the Musings Category

Forwards and backwards

Posted in Books, Journal, Musings with tags on 28/04/2017 by Jen Healey

So phase erm… 2? of the move to Redditch is well underway.  The one item of furniture I own has been transported over to the new place already, making room in my Stratford ‘cupboard’ for me to empty out the bed storage.  Where the majority of my beloved books (and a few other items) have been stowed away/neglected since I moved last time.

books

This was a task I was not looking forward to, but it was not as taxing as I had anticipated.  It even had the unexpected side-effect of prompting me to think about all the subjects I used to read, research and indulge in.  In essence, part of who I used to be.  Those things that fire our imaginations and fan the flames of our individual passions, that can sometimes be put away, intentionally or not.  In my case, I had little choice but to store away these precious resources, due to the incredibly close quarters that I have called home for the past almost 2 years, longer even, as my room in Leamington was not much more spacious.  I do find it curious though how easily these things which I held so dear, were so easily forgotten.  Almost shameful in fact.  But when handling these books and other items from my former life, I was reminded of how it felt to immerse myself in these interests.  I was reminded of who I am.  Much like my starting to write blogs again, it is energizing and restorative to feel passionate and engaged in such edifying activities.  I actually feel more hopeful and content, on an individual/personal level, than I have for a considerable amount of time.  It’s refreshing and intoxicating.

Right now I’m resisting the cynical urge to say something like ‘now watch something fuck it up’, as tempting fate is a concept I’m achingly familiar with.  That dread when you begin to feel positive and happy, almost not allowing yourself to feel too happy for fear of something dreadful happening.  Or is that just me?  I doubt it.  That being said, life is not quite ideal.  Of course, like you I’m sure dear reader, there is sadness and external stresses that can cause anxiety and threaten our perceived resilience.  Those emo mos that are to our minds silly and uncharacteristic in comparison to the image we may have of ourselves.  But hey, we’re only human after all.  That being said, I always take solace in knowing that nothing lasts forever.  Things change.  I feel a very definite shift is only a few days away and I’m looking forward to starting the next chapter, where I will be ‘taking back’ those things that I used to find pleasure in.  For instance, over a week ago I put myself on the waiting list for an allotment nearby to my new address.  As readers of my other blog will be aware, I used to have a few allotments years ago, but circumstances changing radically, meant that I had to give up that particular occupation.  I need this back in my life, along with my books.

The move will also give me the opportunity to get cooking and baking again, in a kitchen that I can call my own… oh the wonder of that!  I can’t wait to enjoy time in the kitchen again, almost as much as the boyfriend can’t wait to be on the receiving end of said culinary adventures, or so he says.  Which reminds me, I need to clear out the cupboard in the kitchen of my current house share, wrap up the crockery I treated myself to last year and hope it makes it to its new home intact.  Not to mention the cleaning and hoovering I need to do in my ‘cupboard’ so the next tenant (the lovely Agnes, who is moving from her room above mine) has a nice, clean empty space.  Also, for myself, a little purging of my lost years here in Stratford.  I refer to them as such because, whilst I found new interests and friends here, I also lost/forgot the things that were stored away about myself.  In doing so, I have made my time here harder than it perhaps could have been.  Focusing on other people and activities, at great personal cost, in more than one way.  Which kinda made me feel a little more lost than I might have done, had I made time and head-space for myself.

I have often said that I don’t believe in ‘finding yourself’, the concept of being lost (and having to search for yourself) is an uncomfortable one for me, as I have always thought that I have a strong sense of who I am at my core.  I would prefer to think that I have been attempting to ‘create myself’, which is a more constructive concept I think.  In retrospect, I forgot about some of the things that I enjoyed, projects started but not finished, and things that I have some knowledge and skill with.  Reminders of which may have been a welcome mode of self-support along the way (although some things were and remain a little too difficult to give attention to, at the moment).  Not that I haven’t had good, true friends there supporting me along the way, I have some of the best friends anyone could ask for.  I am speaking about myself here though, surely the main purpose of a blog is to do so.  I have not been a good friend to myself.  I’ve kept myself isolated from many things which may have been helpful, lost focus, and hidden from one pain by replacing it with others.  Hindsight is a bitch, but also illuminating.  I hope to retain the lessons I have learned and plan to work harder to steer my life in the direction I want it to go in.  Let’s face it, life isn’t a rehearsal and I’ve wasted too much time already.  The path is illuminated in many ways, especially now that I am drawing a line under so much that has gone before, but taking the important things forward with me.

 

 

 

 

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Nazis: a warning from history

Posted in Journal, Musings, Philosophy, TV with tags , , on 18/05/2013 by Jen Healey

nazi prog

The title of this blog is (more or less) the title of a series of three programmes that I had recorded quite a while ago on my sky+ box.  Over the last couple of weeks I have watched them and thought about them.  Of course there is the obvious reaction to the actions (and inactions) of those involved in the atrocities that were perpetrated against the Jewish people at the time – horror and disgust, coupled with a, perhaps unbecoming, fascination with how the hell people could treat others in such an ‘inhuman’ way.  I put that word in quotation marks because remembering that humans are capable of such things, leads me to question what it is to be human?

nazis3

 

The holocaust is not easy subject matter for pleasant conversation, some people would say, perhaps because it is a real conversation.  I am bored to death with having dull, platitudinous conversations about the weather and other such inanities.  Talking about what idiot was on television being paid to play the idiot last night – no thank you!  Why is it that, generally speaking, people shy away from discussing ‘heavy’ subjects?  Are they so afraid to learn something about history, or themselves?  Frankly, I am terrified that such an unwillingness appears to be rife.

jews

 

Please don’t think that I am any kind of authority on this subject, far from it, I have so much to learn about everything – there just aren’t enough hours in the days of the weeks of the years of my life to accumulate anything close to the knowledge that I wish I could.  Perhaps that is why I don’t wish to waste any more of my time on this planet on meaningless, unimportant, brain-dead shit.

nazis

 

That said, after watching all three programmes, I was struck by the testimonies of some of the German people, who grew up at the time.  They were taught that they, the Germans, were superior in every way and that the Jews were less than human.  I understand that.  I don’t agree with it, but I can understand it.  As children, young people, even impressionable adults, we tend to believe that with which we are presented, don’t we?  I don’t think that excuses murder/mass genocide, of course, but then denial is a powerful thing.  How much did people ‘look the other way’?  We can probably never really answer that question.  But, if we are not talking about such things, how can we realise that we should question things.

camp

 

I don’t want answers from someone else.  I want to question things for myself and raise my children to question things for themselves.  It is probably a bit frustrating for my daughter when she asks me questions that are tricky, because if I don’t know the answer I either help her read about it, or I tell her as many sides to the argument that I do know.  Usually starting sentences with ‘some people think… other people think…’  Then I ask her what she thinks.  Annoying, I’m sure, but I think it’s important.  I try not to sugar-coat things either, not that I don’t have fun and make-believe with her (Santa, Tooth Fairy etc.), but I don’t want her to have such unrealistic expectations of people that she will be set up for a lifetime of hurt.  She is growing up in this world, our world, which is full of scary people.

nazis4

 

nazis2

 

That’s another thing I am fascinated with, accounts of serial killers on CI (Crime and Investigation Network), ID and in books.  Ewwww!  How morbid!  I hear you cry.  No.  Real.  Making yourself aware of what people are capable of, I think, is important.  Also, interesting when thinking about basic societal concepts like morality, which is brought into focus by watching such programming, and shown to be not such a basic or clear concept really.  If you really think about it, really talk about it and really question it.  From where do we learn morality?  Is it from religion?  (If so, see Nietzsche.)  Is it innate?  Or is it something passed down through generations?  (If so, what makes that ‘right’?  See Socratic questioning).  Why don’t we discuss such things?  These are interesting to me and more than worthy of my time and attention, when I can give it.

remember

 

Keeps my mind busy when I’m stood at the checkout anyway – beep, beep, beep.

Questions?  Abso-fuckin-lutely.

 

Solipsism

Posted in Journal, Mental Morsels, Musings, Philosophy, Wonderful Words with tags , on 07/05/2013 by Jen Healey

That is definitely a meaty word for today.  Yes, I’m still immersing myself in philosophy, it opens so many doors and avenues of thought and research.  I can see why such postulating and theorising can take a lifetime of work.  Absorbing.

But, back to the word of my day – Solipsism.  Whoa!  I think I’ll leave it to the wonder that is Wikipedia to provide the definition – here. 

Any thoughts?

😀

 

 

Bowie and Reznor!

Posted in Journal, Mental Morsels, Music, Musings, Reviews with tags , , , , , , on 27/04/2013 by Jen Healey

I may just faint from the ridiculous excitement I experienced when I found this video this morning –

Be still my beating heart!

I accept that I am probably a long way behind those ‘with it’ cool cats who have their fingers on the proverbial pulse, who have been aware of this collaboration for an age now.  I’m comfortable with that.  In fact, it underlines the opinion I have about music, art and literature in general.  It may be ephemeral, but that just means that it is there to discover at any time, you just have to look behind you once in a while.

That is the beauty of music etc. you can find something that speaks to (or for) you and is in line with where you are in that snapshot of the moment.  You get it.  You feel it gets you.  It resonates somewhere in your soul.  I don’t think it is an obscure, complex or unattainable thing, in fact, it is the exact opposite.

I may be getting a little off-track, but I enjoy ‘just going with it’, from obsession to obsession – or as I like to think of it – being interested and excited about something.  Is that so wrong?  Or weird?  Again, I don’t think so.  Nor do I want to get bogged down in defining either of those W words, today.  I’d take either over feeling world-weary or apathetic any day of the week.

Back to the star of the post, the vid, the lyrics of this are incredibly apt with my most recent perspective (realised whilst having a cup of tea in the park with a good friend of mine), which is that ‘normal people’ scare me.  They are so hostile, stressed and afraid of being human.  Scared that they won’t be able to maintain their apparent conformity with prescribed norms.  I’d like to examine the doctor.

I’ll stop before I get carried away, as is easy to do when you can’t hear the other person.

If I have introduced you to a tune/vid/artist that you enjoy – aces!  They are both seriously yummy too.

Pick your level for today…

…and enjoy it.

 

Simple things

Posted in Journal, Mental Morsels, Music, Musings with tags , , on 03/04/2013 by Jen Healey

There were times in my childhood when cash was less than plentiful, like a great many others, both then and now.  It’s something many people may feel is a cause for shame, unless they have made lots of money since then and have their own ‘rags to riches’ tale.  I don’t feel either.  I feel grateful for not having vast sums of money when growing up, and at present, believe it or not.  I’m not saying that being skint is fun, but it is not the end of the world, nor the end of enjoyment.  Yesterday, after staying up late to watch ‘The Genius of David Bowie’, I spent time pottering around the house picking up after the family listening to Bowie repeatedly.  This is something I have previously had problems doing, as it brought back emotions that I didn’t care to relive, which was a shame as the man is truly an artist.  This may well be my favourite song of his –

Although, the lyrics of this one are… very ‘Nietzsche‘ – wonderful –

It got me feeling all nostalgic, but yet with a sense of stoic and profound, smiling to myself and feeling pleasantly moved.  You know, that thing.

In fact, I have been testing the safety of looking back into things from my childhood, through my new ‘philosophy tinted’ glasses, quite a bit of late.  It has been both empowering and quite successful in raising my mood, for free.

Prompted by scanning quite a few jars of lemon curd a recently, I decided (or succumbed to suggestion) that I had to have some on hot buttered toast, which I did and felt reminded of some pleasant times from the past.  I enjoyed it.  Then, from the same prompt, it was tinned peach slices with evaporated milk – bliss.  Both these treats were not expensive, also, priceless in their surprising purpose of making me feel close to my lovely grandma.  Not in a way that makes me sad about the fact that she is no longer here, more that I was giving a little nod to my memories of her.

Remember these? –

003

I have not had silver-top milk, from the milkman, for the longest time.  These were not delivered to my door, sadly, but sent over from my in-laws last week and went great with some weetabix.  Basic, yes, but that is often the most satisfying.

This post has been a little food-heavy, but I think that is one of the most direct routes to the past when, in retrospect, things felt so much more simple than now.  That can be a comforting, pleasant feeling sometimes and if it is one that is inexpensive to access then so much the better.

Music, also can be a powerfully evocative agent for certain times in our lives, for good or ill.  I am saddened when music that we once loved, and is thought of as defining a personal era, becomes difficult to listen to.  Which is why I’m all for ‘taking it back’, listening with different ears and perhaps associating it with something in the here and now, if there is not much in the past to hang it on that is not unpleasant.  It is a simple thing to enjoy, music, which is powerful and can be thought-provoking…

If you listen to that which touches your philosophies, life and perspectives, maybe challenges you and gives you pause to think.

What moves your mind… and hips?

Absolutely Amazing!

Posted in Books, Journal, Mental Morsels, Music, Musings, Reviews, Wonderful Words with tags , , , , , on 15/03/2013 by Jen Healey

An exciting sounding title, I know, but I’m so filled with surprising good feeling at the moment.  (Let’s hope that me posting this doesn’t jinx that!)  But, I have recently been finding that despite dire finances and a lack of career focus, there really is more to life than these material matters.  Those of you who have spoken to me of late will be well aware of my latest fascination with Philosophy.  Please don’t run, I’m not going to start getting all pretentious and lofty, that’s just not me.  However, when I find something that is both helpful and interesting I like to share it with anyone that is willing to listen.

So, with this in mind, I’m going to sing the praises of both a book that I have recently read and the library services which made it possible for me to do so.  The book is ‘The Consolations of Philosophy’ – by Alain de Botton.  Which I will own for myself one day soon, as it has become a very important book to me, marking the beginning of a love affair with this subject.  Here is an open invitation to join up on goodreads and share a world of books and opinions – click here, if you like.

The other link that I’m going to pop on this quick little post is one to my local library service, which enables me to search, reserve and collect books without leaving the village (courtesy of the Mobile Library service).  Yes I know this may sound a little old-fashioned what with E-Readers and the like, but I don’t think that anything compares to the feel and smell of a real book, that has been held and read by other people before me.  Okay, enough sentimentality from me.  I would urge you to support the work of your local library though, it is free after all and is a precious thing that would be terrible to lose, in my humble opinion.

I hope to see you on goodreads soon.

Enjoy something simple and cheap/free where you can.

N.B.  The Rush obsession continues also – The Trees – please skip the stupid feckin advert and give this song a listen.  I love it.

 

I’m taking it back…

Posted in Comedy Genius, Journal, Musings with tags on 06/07/2012 by Jen Healey

Yesterday I wore a dress that I haven’t worn since I was last at work, about a year ago.  It is pretty much the only item of ‘work clothing’ that I didn’t donate to the British Heart Foundation.  I just haven’t wanted to wear anything that I associate with ‘that place’, as I found it uncomfortable.  I’d bought/ordered said clothes purely for work purposes, as they were smart/semi-casual and made me feel kinda professional whilst still retaining a little personality (mainly due to the fact that I wore boots with them – not my gorgeous New Rock ones).  However, they weren’t ‘me’ and were just a reminder of a time and place that I cannot return to, nor would want to in all honesty.

The dress that I wore yesterday is a bit colourful for my taste, as I obviously prefer to wear black with black and more black.  But it was quite nice to feel a bit smart-ish for one day.  I didn’t want to embarrass my daughter at her school production, an extended version of the show she did in Stratford on her birthday, that I sweated through last night.  The school hall was positively cloying!  And they made us all dance the Lambada – urgh!

I intend to keep and wear the dress again, as I quite like it.  So I’m taking it back –

Oh yes, I do actually wear dresses on occasion, believe it or not.

😉

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