working in my pjs

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Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in a long time, I stayed in my pjs all day and only left my house to water my path tomatoes.

I wasn’t really planning on it but somehow it happened. Instead of getting dressed before I ventured downstairs in the morning, my desire for tea and toast was too big, so I ended up sipping my tea  still all cuddly in my pjs.

Then there were emails to answer, things to research and write and before I knew it, it was 3pm and I was still in my nightly outfit. And since I still had a long list to attend to I decided I might as well just stay comfy.

So I sat all afternoon, well into the evening in my soft pajamas, typing and working, enjoying the wooly socks on my feat and hot cups of tea. And even though the weather wasn’t bad outside I enjoyed staying unseen and getting things done.

But today things are back to normal, I am washed, dressed and my hair is tamed and I am ready to tackle what lies ahead. I have a few errands to run, a friend to meet and a film  preview to go to, so the outside world has me back and my pjs have the day off.

But it’s nice to know that they are ready and waiting for me to step back into tonight, the perfect comfort clothes for sleepy relaxation and the occasional working day spent unseen at home.

One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.

Groucho Marx

a beautiful gift

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dragana_pic_lowresI have several very talented friends, but one in particular: Dragana Jurisic. She is a beautiful photographer and I love both her company and her work.

Yesterday she gave me an incredible and generous gift, a ‘thank you’ for the help I’d given her in the past. I still can’t quite believe that I may now call this work of art my own and I spent some time hanging it. It now thrones on a wall in my living room, somewhere that I will see and enjoy it everyday.

Dragana took ‘my’ photo in Skopje, Macedonia and it shows a bronze statue of a woman diving into a river (I think it may be the Vadar) below a stone bridge, and if you look closely you can even see some bronze legs sticking out of the water.

The photo was taken as part of her Doctorate and solo exhibition: YU: ‘The Lost Country’ in Belfast last year. This week the exhibition is coming to Dublin, to the RHA (Royal Hibernian Academy), and I am really looking forward to going to the opening on Thursday night.

But until then I will enjoy just looking at my very own ‘Jurisic’ and I know it will give me great pleasure for years to come.

Skopje, Macedonia. Main square littered with ridiculous ‘wizardof Oz’-like sculptures. Disney art vs. infrastructure. It’s very clear which has taken precedence. A nation in crisis. Flags everywhere. ‘We are Macedonians, whatever that means.’

Dragana Jurisic (from her writings)

deep dreams

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I didn’t want to wake up this morning. I was so comfy in my bed and a wonderfully vivid dream captured my attention, luring me away from the day, holding me  captive to the night.

It wasn’t any special kind of dream, but it felt like being inside a novel, a story I would enjoy to read. I could feel my feet as they ran barefoot over grass, I even believe I could smell the sun on the flowers.

As I curled up in my bed, my eyes tightly shut my thoughts thoroughly occupied, sounds from outside drifted in through my window, pulling me away from my imagination, into reality. And as I slowly let go of my dream and turned towards the day I felt a little sad, knowing that world I was just in would be lost forever.

Dreams are wonderful things and we all have them, even those who claim not too. But they are funny things as we don’t really know all to much about them.

An average dream can be anywhere between 5-20 minutes long which means we spend about six years of our lives dreaming. So why can’t we seem to hold on to them, remember them? Well, for one thing brain scans taken while people were asleep show that the frontal lobes, the area that plays a key role in memory formation, are inactive during our REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, our deep sleep.

Another interesting fact about REM sleep is that we are sort of paralyzed while we dream. This phenomenon is knows as REM atonia and prevents us from acting out our dreams, this just really means that our motor neurons aren’t stimulated, ensuring our body doesn’t move, protecting us.

The freaky thing is that this paralyzes can carry over into our waking state. For as  long as ten minutes someone who has awakened from a dream can feel unable to move, this condition is know as sleep paralysis, and can be frightening but should soon pass.

An American psychologist called Calvin S. Hall did research over a period of more than forty years and collected over 50,000 dream accounts from students. The surprising result of these dream accounts is that people tend to experience more negative emotions than positive ones. Why this is, is a little unclear but many researchers believe that this helps us tackle stress.

But the most interesting dreams are the lucid ones, dreams that we can influence and that we are aware of. These are dreams we direct and often remember, but only half of all people can recall at least one instants where they were able to control their dream and only few experience them quite frequently. I seem to be one of these lucky ones.

But for now I am awake and will make the best of the day, maybe wander down to an antiques fair in a little while, or take a stroll on the beach, happy in the knowledge that dreams don’t seem to run out and await us all when we close our eyes at night.

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

Oscar Wilde

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue

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streetbeach

This week’s Photo Challenge was set by Swiss-based architect and photographer Frédéric Biver (fakeormistake) He is asking for two images that are in DIALOGUE with each other and explains:  “dialogue in photography can be perceived as a consensual interaction between two images. Placed next to each other, each photograph opens up to meanings that weren’t there when viewed alone. Each composition reveals the photographer’s specific sensitivity to certain content or visual elements.”

While going through some of my photos for this specific challenge, I noticed that several motives keep coming up, one being lifebuoys. Dublin is situation by the sea, water is always present and always a potential danger. So no matter if you are walking the streets of Dublin or wandering on the beach you’ll always find these reminders.

If you want to see other offerings just follow this LINK

 

failed favour

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Yesterday I tried to help a friend. She had asked me for a favour but sadly it failed. You see, she needed a large framed picture to be picked up and brought back to the framers and since she doesn’t own a car, I am not even sure if she can drive, she asked me to help her out.

Of course I agreed and I went to pick her up, we first had lunch and then we tried to load the big square into my tiny, two doored golden car. Very quickly it became quite event that the frame was not going to fit in through the boot. The inside space would have been enough, but due to the curves around the edges the opening was about 1cm to small.

Next we wiggled the unwielding frame in through the passenger door and with a lot of careful pulling and delicate maneuvering we coaxed it in behind the seats. But we were left with two minor problems. She wouldn’t have been able to sit in the passenger seat and I wouldn’t have been able to drive.

As we tried to make the frame fit into the car a couple sitting out in the sun enjoying a chat and a snack started to make suggestions of how it might work. All to no success. Then a lone engineer, moleskin pad and coffee cup in hand, wandered over and suggested taking the rubber seal off my  door, not really knowing how to do this nor how to put it back on.

In the end we had to declare ourselves defeated and my friend called a taxi. When the big shiny four doored car arrived, with ease the driver put the frame on the back seat. It even had some wiggle room. Left standing on the curb beside my insufficient vehicle I watched my friend plus frame be ferried off into the sun, and I felt a little bit rejected and somewhat upset about my failed attempts at a favour.

But trying counts – right?

The pleasure we derive from doing favours is partly in the feeling it gives us that we are not altogether worthless. It is a pleasant surprise to ourselves.

Philosopher Eric Hoffer
 

words spent – friendly chats and interviews

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This week my writing time has been cut down considerably. It’s not that I don’t want to write, nor that I don’t know what to write but other things have been getting in the way. I have spent the best part of the week, so far, by preparing for and going to job interviews and catching up with friends.

We spend so much of our time talking: either explaining things to people, selling our skills to potential employers, describing things we need or even just to share information. And we probably spend nearly as much time wondering whether or not we were understood, or what we could/should have said instead.

When it comes to job interviews, we try to speak clearly, chose our words extra carefully and way what we say. When we sit on that hot seat, trying to sell our skills, and us, with every word we say we can’t help but relive every conversation and ineloquent phrasing.

It’s a bit like those first few conversations with the guy you have a crush on. Every word you stutter, each syllable he utters, is dissected, deconstructed and twisted into a shape we can make sense of – be it it good or not.

But time spent with friends – chatting, laughing, teasing, sharing – is relived not based on the words we shared but on the emotions we felt. In our minds we may recall the conversations and even remember certain phrasings, but it is what we felt that makes us smile, feel nostalgic or warms us from within.

Friendly chats are the best way to spend  – not only our time – but also our words. And only with friends do we know that even the unspoken word can be heard when needed.

One measure of friendship consists not in the number of things friends can discuss, but in the number of things they need no longer mention.

Author Clifton Fadman

talking with our hands – how we make our thoughts real

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Pointing, twiddling, waving, measuring, flapping, swiping, many of us seem to talk with our hands, gesticulating while we chat, emphasizing what we are saying with every movement of our digits. But yesterday I read a sentence that gave a whole new meaning to what we do with our hands.

“We change our minds by moving our hands”  was the statement I read made by Professor Susan Goldin-Meadow of the Psychology Department of the University of Chicago in an issue of the journal Cognitive Science. This short little sentence sums up what people mean by ‘embodied cognition’, the idea that what we do with our bodies influence how and what we think.

This idea contradicts everything that Rene Descartes claimed in the 17th century when he said (I paraphrase here): the body is an entirely separate thing to the mind and soul. And as we all know, the idea of a disembodied mind took off, dominating how the world viewed our inner workings.

But looking back – way back-  to the good old philosophers like Socrates and Plato, they believed (like our modern day followers of ‘embodied cognition’) that what is in the mind must be brought into the real world – thought must become reality.

So when we have an idea, repeat something we have learned or even try to grasp a fleeting thought, by moving our hands, we are creating a non-verbal language, transcribing what are mind is thinking into movement, sometimes expressing something we don’t yet have the words for.

Basically what artists and inventors have been doing since the beginning of time, catching a  thought by molding, painting, drawing, writing, sculpting, composing and creating something that is only in their mind – making their thoughts reality by moving their hands.

He who works with his hands  and his head and his heart is an artist

Saint Francis of Assisi

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fray

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frayA while back I was at a flea/crafts market in the D-LIght Studios and I spotted this old chaise longue. It obviously has been much loved and used, more than just a little FRAYED around the edges and shagging in the middle, but it’s former beauty and glory still shining through.

… she was unaware of the frayed and ragged edges of life. She would merely iron them out with a  firm hand and neatly hem them down.

Crime Writer P.D.James

 
 

monday morning maneuvering

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chaosA new day, a new week and a whole lot of things to do. This week is filling up fast as is my desk with notes, lists, reminders. And somewhere in all this chaos I will have to find time to tackle my manuscript, after all my own set deadline is approaching fast.

So while I sit and maneuver my hours and minutes of this week, trying to make time for everything I need and want to do, I can’t help but wonder about time and how fleeting it can be.

At the beginning of the summer I had a few months of empty space, unplanned freedom rolling out expansively before me and now, with about four weeks left until students and lecturing dominate my life once more, my time is becoming more and more valuable.

With time seemingly running faster I am reminded of something I once read. To paraphrase it basically said that we don’t have too little time to do everything, we just priorities according to our wants and needs.

This means that I need to shake up my priorities and make sure that I don’t get into that all to familiar pattern of letting myself be caught up with things that are less important but very time consuming. Here’s hoping I can stick to my guns, be realistic about my timekeeping and beat procrastination into submission. But thankfully I still have a little time and don’t need to do everything at one.

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.

Albert Einstein

woolly socks and snotty nose

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Three days after the first appearance of my runny nose it has not erected  a snot producing factory and has been happily making me blow my nose every few minutes. Because of this tissues and toilet paper have become an increasingly rare and valued commodity along with fresh lemons and honey.

So today I have decided to give this cold one more chance to vacate my body and am staying in with my woolly socks pulled up and a cup of steaming fluid in my hand. No rushing about, no leaving the house, no stress of any kind, just pure relaxation.

Hopefully this will lure the cold out from my head and into the wild, leaving me free of snot, sneezes and throat tickles. But for now I will curl up with a good book, a few movies and a box of soft hankies.

And tomorrow, well I will just have to come up with a plan of how to forcefully evict this annoying head cold.

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

American civil rights activist: Fannie Lou Hamer

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