Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Z is for Zebedee

Zebedee has a magic moustache which is pretty cool. It is also a rather splendid moustache.

Zebedee had a habit of arriving just when he was needed - sort of the reverse of a traffic warden.

For those that don't know, Zebedee was a character from The Magic Roundabout a favourite TV series from my childhood which may go some way to explain why I am the way I am today, tomorrow and yesterday.

In fact, my sanity after Blogging from A to Z mixed with writing for a living and consequently spending way too much time at a keyboard seems strangely akin to Dougal et al. I think perhaps I should eat some of the poppies that Ermintrude was so fond of and go fly a kite...

"Time for Bed" said Zebedee.

Night night.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Y is for Youth is wasted on the Young

When I was young I never really thought about giving break-dancing a try. Now I'm in my 40s I'd love to give it a go. Only thing is I've already got tennis elbow in one arm and the other morning I pulled a muscle in my neck just by rolling over in bed.

When I was young learning was pretty boring. Now I devour books on Marketing, Motivation, Science, Creativity, Presentation, Confidence building, Sales techniques... I can't get enough... My brain has become a sponge eager to absorb new nuggets of information that can be mixed and blended with what's already stored up there - the bits I can remember anyway...

When I was young, I thought people in their 40s were really old...

When I was young there were enough hours in the day to get everything done - stuff like this blog post! Running out of hours today, so let's just go ahead and publish - then it's Z tomorrow and we're done with this crazy challenge!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

X is for Xylem

Now it's time for a little game. There used to be a show on TV that used this format, but I can't remember its name. My sister and her husband would know - they both have a remarkable memory for 80s trivia - but they are not somewhat inconsiderately not answering their phone!

Anyway, the rules of the game are as follows. I present to you the word Xylem and three alternative definitions for said word. All you have to do (without cheating and using a dictionary, Google or calling Auntie Doris) is pick the one you think is correct!


Xylem is a character from Marvel that acted as a sidekick to Captain America in four episodes of the 1960s' TV series. Although never fully explained, it was assumed he was of extra-terrestrial origin.

Xylem is a short piece of music composed specifically for the xylophone. It originates from 4th Century China where the instrument was used in water divination.

Xylem is a tissue in plants that conducts water and dissolved nutrients upward from the roots and also helps to form the woody element of stalks and stems.

Just send in your answer written on the back of a homing pigeon to the usual address by last Tuesday and you would win an amazing prize! Yes, you could be the proud owner of a Xenopus which is either:

a) an African clawed frog with an unusable tongue

b) an extinct species of cat which hated all others of its species to the extent that they wiped each other out in vicious battles.

c) the world's largest musical cloud hypervisor


I don't know about you, but I'll be glad when this Blogging from A-Z challenge is over...

Friday, 26 April 2013

W is for White

Every month something special drops through my letterbox - another magical journal has found its way to me so I can add my own pages to the wonders within.

Eight artists contribute, adding their own interpretation to the journal's colour theme. This month I received Angie's White journal. A scary colour - but we were allowed a dash of another so mine became rose white.

I cannot tell you the joy this project brings. Sharing this journey with my friends every month fosters a strong connection. We are a tribe that supports and strengthens. I feel a great sense of belonging... they are very special ladies. It is ubuntu.

Sharing for Paint Party Friday and serendipitously we reach W in the Blogging from A to Z challenge ... nearly there!!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

V is for Vampire Diaries

My guilty pleasure.

Given the amount of quality televisual experiences available, I do worry that my two 'must watch' programmes are a series about teenage vampires and a matchmaking show for people with more money than sense.

Maybe I just need a complete break from the more serious side of my life. Today I've been writing about the acquisition strategy of a cloud hosting company - I need some light relief.

The Vampire Diaries is delightful in that it doesn't really take itself too seriously. The plot has more holes than a pair of torn fish net stockings, but well, who cares? It's the eye candy that draws me in. Such pretty boys... I am but a shallow creature.

Firstly there's delicious Damon who likes to take his shirt off at regular intervals (though possibly not as often as one would like) and mainly wears black. He has this slightly wonky smile that sets the heart a-flutter and a very hard stare when he's being protective of those he loves. He's flawed, he's angry, short-tempered and fun.

Elijah is back. It wasn't fully explained where he went, but I figured it out as I saw him pretending to be a doctor in another show - must have been handy to be near all those blood bags. Elijah is a more of a gentle soul as vampires go; a romantic, less impulsive than Damon - but possibly easier to handle.

Klaus is a proper baddie. The cast seem to forget this on occasion and cut him the kind of slack not normally given to someone that murdered members of your family and close friends. Sometimes the script writers like us to see into his troubled soul when he gets his paints out and comes over all sensitive. However, underneath the oil paintings and creativity he is still a psychopath - albeit one that has a rather 'puppy dog' meets 'come-to-bed-with-me' smile.

Alaric was rather tasty too but unfortunately they killed him off.

So, we await with bated breath the next instalment. Will Elena recover her humanity? Will Caroline fall for Klaus? Will the scriptwriters come up with a more interesting plotline than Silas - the supernatural creature that can pretend to be anyone he wants to be (conveniently negating the need to pay for an extra actor)?

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

U is for Ubuntu

At the Call of the Wild Soul Retreat last September we were introduced to the concept of ubuntu by the beautiful Katariina Fabering. Originating from Southern Africa, ubuntu can best be described as a way of being - connectedness and kindness. It is summed up perfectly in this clip by Nelson Mandela. He describes a scenario where a traveller would arrive in a village and be looked after because it was the right thing to do.

In many ways ubuntu symbolises the community that has developed as a result of that retreat. From the moment I stepped across the threshold of Croydon Hall, hidden deep in the Somerset countryside, I felt welcome and a sense of belonging.

Long after we returned, we remain (thanks to Facebook) connected. Through this medium we are offering support and friendship for no other reason other than we want to. It's a safe and welcoming place where we are all improving ourselves.

Thank you Erin Faith Allen for bringing us together.

For me ubuntu is sincerity, collaboration, community, warmth and a sense of belonging. What does it mean to you?

Read more here on wikipedia.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

T is for Tennis Elbow

Contrary to what you might think, I have not been playing tennis. It turns out that you can develop this condition from gardening too - specifically weeding.

Regular readers will know I enjoy an annual battle with the bindweed in my garden and this year it is clearly fighting back with new tactics - for how can I dig it up when my right arm is in so much pain that I can barely lift a glass of water, let alone dig out miles of sneaky roots? It has also brought in its stinging cousin the nettle to join its forces. This plant may well have been the cause of the elbow problem. There was much yanking and strain to the joints and tendons - though miraculously no stings!

May I just say that tennis elbow hurts. A lot. And apparently takes months to get rid of... I am much better today though and no longer reaching for the anti-inflammatories every four hours so I'm secretly hoping its just a strain.

Makes you realise how much I rely on having both arms in action. Feeling a sense of gratitude that I have them.

Monday, 22 April 2013

S is for Supermarket Scream

I'm not sure what it is with supermarkets, but they appear to trigger the inner demon within me. The second my car makes the turn and surveys the sea of vehicles all fighting for parking, my nerves immediately begin to fray.

Once inside this mild-mannered 40-something with a cheery disposition and friendly outgoing nature disappears. She is replaced, instead by some form of evil super-villain with the most aggressive, impatient nature. She wants to snarl and shove and pick up slow shoppers and throw them out of her way as her every turn is blocked, the goods she craves barricaded in by the gormless deliberating over which carrot to select and her legs tied in knots trying not to trip over children running riot.

It's not their fault. I think that most shoppers (with the exception of yours truly) are afflicted with a mild case of zombification as they step into the store. They seem unable to move in a straight line and lurch mindlessly through the groceries, stopping for no apparent reason in the middle of the aisle or just staring with bemusement at the yoghurts when I'm trying to get past them to grab my own - the one I had pre-selected in my mind before I got to the shop, never mind the dairy counter.

The power to make even the most simple decisions is leached from the conscious of the shopper, although it does appear that this particular ailment more often afflicts the long-married couples whose inability to decide between them whether to have a custard cream and a jammy dodger with their tea can drive one to delirium!

And let's not get onto trolley control. Surely we should be made to pass a test before being let loose with these weapons of mass frustration. Steering, parking and general control are concepts lost on most.

Finally we reach the checkout where inevitably there will be some problem with an item or two necessitating the supervisor call... Or the slow packer, the chatterbox, the paying with small change...

OK, I'm exaggerating slightly! However, the day I wrote this post had involved a particularly irksome grocery shop and I needed to vent!

And at least it's not Walmart...

Sunday, 21 April 2013

R is Regal, Rembrandt and Rolling

Well, we've had words and artwork telling the story in this month's blog posts. I thought I'd let photography do the job today.

Some snaps of the most regal Chatsworth in Derbyshire's rolling dales. Home to the Duke & Duchess of Devonshire and an incredible collection of art - lots of Rembrandts on display at the moment.

This was going to be a more lengthy post, but I've done something to my right arm while gardening and can  hardly type, so we'll just let the photos tell the story... especially this last one, which rather surprised me!

Now it's either prove of alien life or something to do with the random setting on that app on my phone camera...

Friday, 19 April 2013

Q is for Questions

Wanna interview me?

Ask me a question (within reason!) and I'll do my best to answer it.

Simples ;)

I'll start the ball rolling:

Q: Is this post a cop out?

A: Well, it depends on the number of questions I get...

Thursday, 18 April 2013

P is for Poppy

Well, given my proclivity for painting the things it had to be really.

Here are a few I prepared earlier...

I'm a bit talked out when it comes to Poppy art and I've been sat at a computer all day so need a break. Masterchef is calling... So I'll just let the paintings talk for me this evening.

I'm going to share with my friends at Paint Party Friday though - need a bit of a social!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

O is for Oh dear...

You know what, I'm really tired and try as I might I just couldn't come up with anything witty or interesting about Owls, Ostriches, Odyssey or Ojaceratops.

My Orange pencils didn't feel like drawing an Orang-u-tang nor could I remember what an Ocelot actually looked like.

I'm written out today - in fact, in the soap Opera of my life my character is taking a sabbatical - at least until tomorrow... when our letter is P... for Poppy.... nice easy one that!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

N is for New Post

Well, we're past the half way point of this marathon blogging session and it should all be downhill from now on. However, I confess to sitting and watching a blank screen for some time this evening waiting for inspiration to strike.

I figured if I just started writing that something would come and inevitably it has. But it's an emotion tinged with anger and sadness. As I wrote the word 'marathon' in the opening sentence, I could not help but bring to mind the horrific events in Boston yesterday.

I've never competed in a one of these races, but I have stood on the streets of London and watched that city's marathon several times - and it's always a 'must watch' on TV if I don't make it there in person.

I revelled in the party atmosphere as the crowd cheered on the athletes - a colourful mixture of the professionals, amateurs and 'wish-they'd-never-starteds'. It's an amazing place to be as every wave and voice from the crowd seems to lift those tiring legs as their owners strive for personal bests, fundraising milestones or even just to finish.

Marathons have become as much an occasion to raise money for charity as a sporting event and every year thousands upon thousands are donated and collected for the needy. This atrocity was aimed not just at the poor souls who happened to be in the path of the explosion, but every charitable cause that was represented. It is an evil and cowardice that makes me sick to my gut. It is a pain felt across the globe and for what?

Right now we have no answers to bring any meaning to this tragedy. My heart and prayers go out to the people of Boston and everyone who has been touched in any small way by the actions of those who would bring terror.

Monday, 15 April 2013

M is for Millionaire Matchmaker

You know how sometimes you have to watch trash TV. When nothing else will suit the mood, you need a fix of drivel...I've found the perfect blend in over-the-top, cringe-worthy, loud-mouthed, sometimes romantic, hilarious and just plain entertaining Millionaire Matchmaker!

Patti makes Simon Cowell come across as soft as she both selects mates for her clients and then gives them a piece of her mind about what they've been doing wrong all these years... "Who does that?"

Yet even this manages to provide some educational aspect as along with the insults and put downs, Patti dishes out relationship advice by the bucket load. Style tips too - though I was with the poor sod who was somewhat reluctant to listen to Destin's makeover advice... I mean would you trust a man with a mohican to take you to the hairdressers?

I mean this with no disrespect, but Americans can do trashy TV so much better than us Brits (although My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding may give you a run for your money). Maybe it's because they are from another country and culture that adds to the whole glamour of the experience. I'm not sure what it is, but I love it.

I do find it hard to believe that the show isn't scripted. I mean are these people seriously for real? One lady took a guy on a date - she booked out a whole cinema for a private screening ... of her own promotional tapes!

I love how Patti always includes a few red herrings in her mixers - the most unsuitable matches (yet the kind that they usually go for!). One guy may has well have had 'gold digger' tattooed across his forehead, yet our 'Hello Kitty-loving' millionaire still picked him. Patti's reaction was priceless. Sometimes she throws clients out of her office for being so useless and shallow. She really is very scary!!

Reading this back some hours after I wrote it, I realise it's not terribly well written - maybe the nature of the show is rubbing off on me. I think I'll give up and go see if I've an episode recorded and ready to watch...

Saturday, 13 April 2013

L is for Lion

A bit more effort went into this than the giraffe and iguana, though the background was from the same batch of paint brayered onto paper.

Strictly speaking it's not a sketch, even though I plan to post for Sunday Sketches (so I hope nobody minds)... as well as the A-Z blogging challenge. I'm all in the wrong order this week - my sketches were of long neck and wrinkly skin.

I was a bit disappointed with the scan - there's more green showing than is actually on the piece. What do you think of him. Is he looking 'lion' enough?

I think I'm going to do more like this. They are fun.

Friday, 12 April 2013

K is for Killing Me Softly

 I was explaining to 'himself' all about this A-Z blog challenge and asked him for suggestions for K and this is what he came up with. I think he may have been trying to be ironic...

However, before I could dwell on this for too long, I was suddenly reminded, in a roundabout way, that yesterdays's post was supposed to be J for Jack - as in the Giant Slayer, he of the beanstalk.

You see, as soon as I heard him utter those words, then I felt obliged to sing the song, which in turn got me thinking about the film About a Boy, when the young Marcus faces humiliation by the whole school yet still sings it for his mother.

Then I remembered that little Marcus with the bad haircut and the uncool attitude grew up to become a rather handsome young man called Jack who climbs up beanstalks to rescue a princess. Jack the Giant Slayer is rather a cracking tale of adventure, cooking and daring do. I strongly recommend it. I was going to share the trailer, but frankly it's a bit of a spoiler, so just go and see the movie and enjoy the surprises.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

J is for Jargon

J is for jargon also known as a characteristic idiom. A collection of words or phrases that mean diddly squat to anyone outside their spheric influential.

At work we bandy about a great deal of jargon about clouds - but these aren't of the cirrus or nimbostratus variety, nor indeed cumulonimbus. No, we're dealing with hybrid, virtualisation and public versus private. I'm proud to say I'm actually Cloud certified, or possibly just certifiable - that issue remains for debate.

BTW did I tell you I used to be an online gamer? Us gaming geeks have our own language. BRB need a bio...

Sorry, where was I?

Ah yes, writing about jargon - laying down my hero's journey, building a character arc and heading for resolution.

It's important to conclude one's post by leveraging learnings from best practice and touch base with one's readership.

Did you get all that?

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

I is for Iguana

No time for words today, just picture. Plus frankly, I can't really think of a whole heap to write about these wrinkly creatures.

Colour went down first followed by the sketch over the top. I like working backwards!

Starting to feel the pressure of this A-Z blogging challenge. I have time in the car tomorrow to think of something more inventive than Jam to talk about for my next post.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

H is for Hula Hoop!

I must go out to the shed in the morning and bring in my hoop. I've got a proper adult size and weight one (it makes a BIG difference).

Today I took delivery of two new fitness DVDs as I prepare my stomach for baring belly on the beach this summer. The terrible weather has lulled us into a false sense of security as we've hidden under layers of wool and puffa jackets. I was rather shocked to discover that it wasn't a rolled-up flesh-coloured t-shirt giving me extra warmth around my waist, but in fact a spare tyre complete with love handles. Time for some drastic action.

Although I have never been what you might call particularly athletic - always far too uncoordinated to get picked for any team sports and rubbish at catching a ball - I never had any trouble with a hula hoop and can keep the thing spinning around my waist for hours. OK, slight exaggeration. I would get really bored hooping for hours, but I can certainly manage 30 minutes without dropping it once.

Should be great for multi-tasking because I have some TV series I need to catch up on and I can stand and spin while watching - genius! Although my current addiction to watching Masterchef doesn't really help the waistline. Dieting does not get tougher than this... Yesterday I made a creamy chicken pie after watching John Torode. It required finishing off with sticky toffee pudding and clotted cream ice cream with honeycomb pieces... what can I say? I need

The pie comes in after 14 minutes. "It's a good looking pie John, a good looking pie." 

Monday, 8 April 2013

G is for Giraffe

I've always loved giraffes with their long bandy legs and necks like periscopes. If you're going to live in the wilds of Africa and are not top of the food chain, I guess being a giraffe is probably your best bet. Although lions like a bit of best end of neck for their Sunday dinner, I'll put my money on old long legs putting up a good fight and flight.

It's also to their advantage that they are without the sought after tusks, horns and skins that put their fellow savanna-dwellers on the endangered list which is truly something to be grateful for.

I don't paint enough animals. I feel a shift coming on... Much as I have enjoyed the poppies, the plains of the Kalahari are calling!

This long-limbed fella is trying his best to blend into his surroundings. He swears he saw Larry the Lion lurking - and he had a napkin tied around his neck...

Sunday, 7 April 2013

F is for Fishing Moon Part 2

This is the reason we call a crescent moon a 'fishing moon'. My son has always been a great one for noticing and learning brand identities which will make some marketing folk very happy.

One of his first words was Weetabix which I remember him yelling from the back seat of the car when he spotted a lorry. 

Children are of course a viable target group for advertisers who have long recognised that they can 'get them early' and infect their minds with pretty pictures and silly jingles, but fortunately us parents still have the ability to influence too. I ensure that my son grows up with our family brand values embedded  within him - as well as a love for anything that comes out of the window of the building with the golden arches...

Saturday, 6 April 2013

F is for Fishing Moon

A crescent moon has been known as a fishing moon in our house for some years.See if you can guess why...

Come back tomorrow and I'll give you the answer!

Friday, 5 April 2013

E is for Einstein

There was a great deal more to this man than wild hair and physics. In fact, he came up with one of my favourite quotes about creativity:

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand."

Imagination takes me places that my life does not. I visit planets, lead revolutions and hang my paintings in the kinds of galleries frequented by people with deep pockets. My imagination has the capability of doubling two and getting five. It knows no bounds. It believes in anything it chooses.

Imagination is a powerful thing, which when mixed with its cousin intuition, opens the door to creativity. From this heady mix have come pieces of music powerful enough to bring you to tears, creatures the like of which we have never seen, heroes and villains and technology that blows your mind!

Day 5 of the Blogging A-Z. I'm enjoying this :)

Thursday, 4 April 2013

D is for Dooley

A random Dooley I found on the internet - Mick, an Australian boxer, born in 1862

Dooley is my maiden name. I kept Wright as my married name after I got divorced so as to have the same surname as my son. Then I became ‘the Wright Stuff’ which matched my writing for a living tag so it’s stuck now. Unless ‘himself’ ever makes an honest woman of me of course…

I did like being a Dooley though. It was quite a rarity in the town where I grew up in the middle of the English countryside. Hop over the Irish sea though and there’s Dooleys in their thousands.

The name comes from the Gaelic O Dubhlaoich which itself  is derived from dubh, which means black and loach which refers to a hero or champion.

So, there we have it. Clearly I am descended from a long line of (possibly) raven-haired warriors who may have preferred to dress in black. Watch out!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

C is for Croods

Help! I have been pulled back to the age of the hunter/gatherer. I am obsessed with amassing strawberries, leaves, bones and fish. I am developing RSI from tapping the screen. I can't stop myself. I have to increase production, evolve and build the latest stone-age accessory...

It's as bad as those darned angry birds. My name is Lisa Wright and I am addicted to playing the Croods.

Is this a conspiracy by Rovio to halt worldwide production as slowly, one by one nations of this planet become consumed by the need to complete Gran's chores and make soup for Ugga? Are Rovio in fact an alien nation so sophisticated with intelligence that they have realised that they don't need fighter space ships or monstrous creatures to take over a planet - they just need a simple game to zombify its inhabitants. Soon we will all be hunting and gathering for our new masters from the planet Rovio...

I need to get out now while I still can...

Blogging from A - Z. C is for Crood.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

B is for Brick

Having decided to use a random word generator to provide suitable inspiration I got rather bored clicking and waiting for something beginning with B to every appear on screen. It seemed it was random only if a word began with a D, M, C, or S... We got there eventually of course.

When I think of brick I think of the Famous Five's Aunt Fanny. She really was such a brick - what with all the lashings of lemonade she dashed out and her willingness to turn a blind eye while the youngsters rampaged across the countryside running down villains and having a jolly good time of it.

Funny how language and names shift in popularity and meaning isn't it! Today my Dad was talking about the Frank Sinatra LP - Songs for Swinging Lovers... If we took the modern meaning, the car keys would be on the turntable too! Poor Frank, he'll be turning in his grave... (or maybe just giving a saucy wink!).

Look George it's easy... you just type the word Fanny in google image search... Auntie is such a brick, I'd really love to illustrate this post with a picture of  her...

And for those interested in where these things come from, I found this...

"brick of a person -- A good, solid, substantial person that you can rely upon. The expression is said to have originated with King Lycurgus of Sparta, who was questioned about the absence of defensive walls around his city. 'There are Sparta's walls,' he replied, pointing at his soldiers, 'and every man is a brick.'" From the "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).

Post 2 of the Blogging A to Z Challenge... (all going well so far)...

Monday, 1 April 2013

A is for Apple

I read an old diary the other night that I'd written in my baby son's 'voice'. Diaries are such wonderful things for capturing the emotions, experiences, sights and sounds of your history.

Just by reading the words 'I like to look at picture cards and say what I see', suddenly I was whisked back nine years and could hear my baby voicing the word app-ool. Magic moments.

It wasn't too long before he discovered the words 'why' and 'no thank you' (I brought him up polite!). Now he amazes me with the sheer depth of his vocabulary.

A is therefore also for astonishing and articulate and, of course, adorable!


This is post number 1 in what plans to be a series of 26 over the course of the month inspired by each letter of the alphabet in turn. I'm not planning on making my life too difficult with any sort of theme - I'll just grab each letter by the horns and see where it takes me!

Check out the hundreds of participants at the April A-Z blogging challenge.


Speaking of apples, you may also like to watch this delightful advert for the new Carlsberg cider - Somersby. It is sure to bring a smile...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...