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Posted by on Dec 31, 2015 in Dodo Diary |

Dodo Diary December 2015: Self-Improvement Challenge, Month #10

Dodo Diary December 2015: Self-Improvement Challenge, Month #10

It’s been a good Christmas – and it’s not often I say that!

Over the years I’ve grown accustomed to Christmas being a bit of a disappointment. To be honest, I blame the Americans.

Well, OK, not all of them. Just the ones in Hollywood.

Expectations are so high.

We want it all in our traditional English Christmas – the carol-singers with lanterns and knitted scarves, the sparkling fairy lights on the tree, the glowing log fire, the gentle snowfall on Christmas Eve, the angelic rosy-cheeked children opening gifts with cries of delight.

And most of all, the big family gathering with the roast turkey dinner.

After all, we deserve it, don’t we? It’s been a long, hard year.

And for many years, once our kids grew up and left home, my partner and I haven’t had a proper Christmas dinner . Still, at least we had each other, and if we were lucky, one of our six sons would come round at some point on Christmas Day, but the others were all too far away and had their own lives and families. And they couldn’t leave the dog. And anyway we were old and gloomy and boring and they didn’t really want to spend Christmas in our chilly, cluttered house instead of their own warm, cosy homes with all their own stuff around them and Ultimate Power over the TV remote control.

Does that sound bitter? Actually, I’m not.

Most of all, I wanted our children to have happy lives. And they do.

And if their idea of a happy life doesn’t include us (even with the bribe of a big pile of presents), then perhaps we are the ones who need to change.

But this year my super sisters saved the day – we were invited to two family gatherings, one on Christmas Eve and one for the big family lunch on Christmas Day. So a good time was had by all.

And next year we’ll be spending a wonderful family Christmas Day with one of my sons and his family.

I haven’t told him yet.

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Posted by on Nov 27, 2015 in Dodo Diary |

Dodo Diary October & November 2015: Self-improvement challenge, Month #8 & 9

Dodo Diary October & November 2015: Self-improvement challenge, Month #8 & 9

Do I look sad enough to get your sympathy? Good. I need it.

No, it’s not due to my credit card bill for Christmas presents. (Well, not entirely!)

I always feel depressed at this time of year. Unfortunately, I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, due to the lack of winter sunlight here in sunny England.

Events in my life over the last two months weren’t especially bad, but sometimes I just can’t shake off the gloom and it’s a struggle just to get through the day without biting people. Which is the reason I didn’t start my Dodo to Dynamite year in January.

Our house is an icebox, and I’ve been eating everything that isn’t nailed down, because I’m so cold – who feels like virtuously chomping fresh fruit when it’s apple-crumble-and-custard weather?

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Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Dodo Diary |

Dodo Diary September 2015: Self-improvement challenge, Month #7

Dodo Diary September 2015: Self-improvement challenge, Month #7

I had a bit of a shock this month.

I was at my sister’s party, and afterwards the photos were all over Facebook.

I saw one of myself, sitting in a chair, with my flab bulging over my waistline, holding a cigarette in one hand and a glass of Diet Coke in the other. Although it’s a party, I’m not mingling and chatting, but sitting with my partner.

“What a perfect ‘Before’ picture,” I thought. “It shows all the things I wanted to change.”

And then it hit me.

This isn’t ‘Before’. This is over HALFWAY THROUGH my Dodo to Dynamite in a Year self-improvement challenge.

Which is why I’m blushing!

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Posted by on Sep 29, 2015 in Creativity, Self-Control |

Making time for creativity

Making time for creativity

You’re a creative person.

You’re full of exciting ideas – if you could only decide which to start on first.

You’ve got the skills to make something good – maybe even something amazing.

Yet somehow you never seem to have enough time to… well… create anything.

You start projects, but they never get finished.

Those brilliant ideas lose their savour halfway through, so nothing feels good enough.

You go over things in your head so many times that they’re so familiar, you have a feeling they’re not original – that you must have heard them somewhere else.

And life gets in the way, and it seems self-indulgent to waste time on your personal creative projects when there are so many more important calls on your attention.

So you end up with a handful of crumpled dreams.

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Posted by on Sep 26, 2015 in Relationships | 1 comment

Gratitude and gardening: a saw point

Gratitude and gardening: a saw point

He’s out there again.

Only this time, he’s holding a saw.

And I’m getting more anxious every time I look out of the window.

I don’t know what to do.

The thing is… I really wish my partner would stop doing the gardening.

You see, my idea of gardening is chucking a few flowers into plant pots and mowing the lawn once every spring.

Occasionally I’ll glance out of the window and see my beloved flowers hanging over the side of the pots, doing an impression of parched men crawling across a desert. Then I leap outside to water them. And then the ungrateful things die anyway.

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Posted by on Sep 19, 2015 in Dodo Diary | 2 comments

Dodo Diary August 2015: Self-improvement challenge, Month #6

Dodo Diary August 2015: Self-improvement challenge, Month #6

Wow! I’m already halfway through my Dodo to Dynamite in a Year self-improvement challenge.

If you’re wondering why I’m dressed like Scarlett O’Hara this month, it’s because the months have Gone With the Wind and I can’t believe how quickly it all happened.

The trouble with saying, “Oh, well! Tomorrow is another day!” is that you can say the same tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…

And nothing ever gets better.

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Posted by on Sep 14, 2015 in Relationships |

When a friend in need is a… pain in the butt

When a friend in need is a… pain in the butt

You’ve heard the story so many times before.

And now you’re hearing it again.

Yes, your friend is telling you their problems, and you’re listening and trying to be sympathetic.

But inside, you’re thinking:

Not this again! If you’re not happy with your life, why don’t you actually change it instead of giving me earache about it?

You’ve already given all the sympathy you can give.

You’ve talked through all their options, and they don’t want to choose any of them.

You’ve given your advice – and they’ve decided not to take it.

And you’ve reached the point where you’ve had enough.

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Posted by on Aug 14, 2015 in Quotes |

Quote: It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live

Quote: It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live

If only…

We all have our dreams.

But do they have a hope of becoming reality? Or are they merely an easier alternative than facing reality and changing it to what we want?

You may remember the Mirror of Erised from the first Harry Potter book.

It shows the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. However, as Professor Dumbledore warns Harry:

‘This mirror will give us neither knowledge or truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible…’

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