Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What are the Secrets to Happiness?

A couple of my new blogging friends, Wendy and Paula have been participating in a weekly meme called Wednesday Hodgepodge run by Joyce Daley over at From This Side of the PondIt looks kinda fun so I thought I'd join in once in a while. Today I am going to do last week's meme otherwise I'll miss out on all the great questions from last Wednesday and, conveniently, there's no meme this week as Joyce is on hols. Now I think the idea is that Joyce posts random questions (hence use of the word "hodgepodge") which then everyone answers. Easy peasey!

1. Four (supposed) secrets to happiness from around the world are:

a) overcome your fears by facing them head on

b) allow yourself to relax and reset

c) work to live versus living to work

d) find the good in life.

Which of the four do you struggle with most? Which one comes most easily to you?

I think I am pretty good at A and D. In fact, sometimes I probably take A to the extreme to the extent that not being cautious about challenges becomes a hindrance rather than a help. I definitely get a big of kick out of facing challenges head on, especially in my car. (Have also faced some of these "challenges" from the rear end - cough, cough.) However, I also don't waste my time challenging myself to do things I know I won't enjoy in any way ( like going on a big rollercoaster for example) or ones where I don't have any chance of succeeding ( i.e passing the MENSA test.) However, when I was younger, I would often face irrational and rational fears head on irrespective of the consequences far too frequently which could have ended disastrously - for example I would challenge myself to walk down an unlit alleyway because it was a short-cut and because statistically the chances of being attacked were pretty low. What a complete twit. Nowadays, I would think that behaviour foolish and would encourage all women to take their personal safety seriously.

I probably struggle most with C. But unlike most people I probably spend too much time "living" and not working hard enough. Partially, that's because I am heavily involved in my children's sporting endeavours but also because my lack of organisational skills is diabolical. I also waste far too much time reading The Guardian and various other news sites for pleasure/amusement. If I had more self-discipline I could have written several more books by now. GRR.

2. How would you spend a found $20 bill today?

dream about finding a stack of cash! But I'd be happy with $20. Unfortunately, the most I've ever found was a singular pound note. That was in about 1970. I was with my nan at the time and she made me give it to the local village bobby (policeman). Pah. How unfair is that. I could have bought 100 half-penny chews at the local sweet shop!

So $20? That's about £12.80. Now much to my displeasure, that's not enough to afford the airfare to the USA when I would stick a giant marrow (connected to some electrodes) up the ass of that dentist who shot Cecil the Lion. So instead I could go for either of two ebooks which I would like to own but are currently way too expensive so I am waiting for the prices to go down. The first is The Last Four Days of Paddy Buckley by Jeremy Massey which is currently £9.48 (around $14.80) for a 304 page ebook or RIP by Nigel Williams which was given such a dreadful review by The New Statesman that I'd like to read it just to form my own opinion. I have the feeling that as Nigel Williams is a comedy writer the reviewer may simply not have "got" Mr William's sense of humour - on the other hand it could be a pile of pants. Hmm. However, at a staggering £12.99 ($20.28) for a 336 page ebook I am happy to wait it out until it becomes a more acceptable price.

Hmm - I still I haven't spent the $20.00. Okay, for £12.80 I'll either go the cinema and watch the latest Tiny Tom Cruise "saving the world whilst diving out of a multistorey/plane/car" film and have a (very) small pot of popcorn or if I am in a philanthropic mood I'd give it to WWF in honour of Cecil the Lion.

3. Ego trip, power trip, guilt trip, round trip, trip the light fantastic, or trip over your own two feet...which 'trip' have you experienced or dealt with most recently? Explain.

I had a bit of a "trip" last night. I got "high" on chocolate which I am not supposed to be eating because of my hiatus hernia. However, I'd had a stressful day and needed to wind down (read "comfort eat"). Unfortunately my " high" soon turned into despair when I discovered my chocolate bar had melted (I'd left the uneaten portion on the sofa next to my leg) and Mr Bond, my cat, was licking it. I had to chuck it in the bin as shortly before licking my chocolate Mr Bond had also been licking his private places. Or what's left them after the op. I suppose he was taking his revenge on me. Which just goes to prove you should never, ever, trust a cat.

4. If you could master any physical skill in the world what would it be, and how would you use that skill?

Hmm tricky. I rather fancy being a skillful mountaineer. Imagine all the places you could gain access to and all the opportunities that would arise. I could even becomes a stunt woman on a Mission Impossible film! They'd probably use me to stand in for Tom Cruise. We're probably about the same size without heels. (His heels that is.)

5. As July draws to a close, let's take inventory of our summer fun. Since the official first day of (North American) summer (June 20th) have you...been swimming? enjoyed an ice cream cone? seen a summer blockbuster? camped? eaten corn on the cob? gardened? deliberately unplugged? watched a ballgame? picked fruit off the vine? taken a road trip? read a book? Are any of these activities on your must-do-before-summer-ends list?

Swimming?  Yes. I swim all year around in my endless campaign to keep my derriere from looking like a baboon's arse.

Ice cream cone? Yes. I ate a Magnum a few weeks ago. It was very hot. And I was comfort eating. (Again.)

Film? Yes. I went to see Terminator 4 with Arnie last week. It was great. I am a big Arnie fan. Sad I know, but that butt of his still has a nice shape to it and that's all the justification I need.

Camped? No. I last went camping about ten years ago. I hope it will be another ten before I go again and preferably never. In fact, there is not the remotest chance of me going camping unless for some obscure reason I have to share a tent with Gerard Butler.

Gardened? Yes. I was forced to help Mr T erect a new fence. Under pain of death.

Corn on the cob? No. Not one of my favourites. It doesn't come out of a packet.

Deliberately unplugged? No. I love films, music and communicating. Unplugging would give me a panic attack (unless I was in the wilderness sharing a tent with Gerard Butler.)

Watched a ballgame? Yes. I watch sport all the time, especially cricket and tennis. I was watching tennis most of the day yesterday. But, believe me, when your kids are playing it ain't always relaxing. (Hence the chocolate bar.)

Picked fruit of the vine? No. But Mr T picked the blackcurrants in our garden. Does that count?

Any of the activities above on your to-do list?

Sharing the tent with Gerard Butler is definitely on my to-do list now I've got over the fear of camping and accepted it as a necessary no-fear challenge. I am still going to pass on the corn-on- the cob though.

6The Republican Presidential candidates will debate on August 6th. What's your question?

Imagine you are in England and have a meeting with the British PM and you want to dress to impress. Do you wear pants or briefs?

7What's your most listened to song so far this summer?

This one. It's an old one but I am addicted to it.

8Insert your own random thought here:

I think I would be really cool in a film with Tom Cruise or Arnie or even Gerard Butler. Happiness comes in many forms. This could be one of them.

Oh I forgot the book question. I just read The Principles of Fasting by Leon Chatow, I am currently reading Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut and Still Alice by Lisa Genova and the next book I am going to read is 10% Human by Alanna Collen.


  1. Great post. I was thinking of reading Still Alice but would probably find it too hard. We've also given up on camping after many happy holidas when the kids were younger. My old bones just can't cope with hard floors and hubby needs to be plugged in every night! lol

    1. My bones have never been able to cope with camping, Wendy.Not even with my extra padding!

      I have been meaning to read Still Alice for over a year! However, I am planning to write several articles on Alzheimer's (since my own novel touches on it - but in a more humorous fashion) but from several different perspectives.(Happy to expand off-line.) If you have experience of Alzheimer's Wendy and it is not too upsetting for you - I will be looking for a few personal quotes at some point over the next few months to add some depth to the articles. Perhaps you would consider it?:)

  2. Replies
    1. That's great, Wendy. Thank you very much. I will be in touch ref the article when my kids get back to school. (I can just about manage a blog post at the moment - my brain isn't fired for academic writing at the moment!)

  3. I enjoyed Still Alice! I loved your answer about camping. I don't think I would go camping even if I could stay in a tent with Gerald Butler. I hate camping. Can't imagine why anyone finds that to be fun! Happy to see you participating. I'm looking forward to the next one.

    1. Camping is my idea of hell, Paula! I wrote an article about once for the BBC - you might enjoy it when you have a moment:) http://www.bbc.co.uk/threecounties/content/articles/2009/06/15/mumstheword_camping_feature.shtml

      Still Alice seems to have been very well received. I plan to see the movie too when I get a chance. (Prioritising the new Tom Cruise one first.LOL)


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