Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Window Coffee Room

Ladies and Gentlemen, I just have to share. Thanks to the D-Man, I've been introduced to The Window. Apparently, it is the smallest coffee house in the world. I believe that. Supported by The Prince's Trust, it's on Wensum St and it really is tiny.

As you know, I require one good cup of coffee in the morning to get me going. I can drink all the instant shit in the world after that (and heaven help me I do), but if I don't have that good cup of coffee...bad things happen. I'm fussy about my coffee. At work, they're ever so patient with me when they make me coffee. Work get in mahusive tubs of Gold Blend (you Nescafe abstainers, don't start abusing me), I have two spoons of that, two lumps of brown sugar and two spoonfuls of Coffeemate. I like my coffee robust (like my men...if I had any).

Yesterday, I ran out of my usual Taylor & Harrogate's Lava Java and had to start on my emergency stash of Italian Blend. Ugh. It was enough to get me clean and dressed and out of the house before mid-day.

What can I say? I'm so glad I did. Hayley remembered me from my previous visit from about a month ago and welcomed me like a regular. Because it's so tiny, it's not so much a coffee house, but more like someone's front room. The patrons chat to each other and it doesn't matter if you're a regular or have just wondered in off the street, you're welcomed and included in the conversation.

I explained what I was after and Hayley made my first cup, the House Blend. It was gorgeous. Robust and flavourful, mmmm.... But I fell in love with the second blend, The Mexican. Now you start talking about layer upon layer of flavour and body. Hayley ground me a bagfull and then let me smell.

Oh man, talk about fabulous. I think I shocked the other patrons when I said, it smelt good enough to do lines of it off a mirror.

This morning, I nearly leapt out of bed to make my coffee. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is an orgasm in a mug. Rich, layered flavours with a dark chocolate after taste. It's true, I'm in love.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Strong Arm Tactics

That's what I did when I did my NLP training in May. I think it was on Day 3, I rang Boy, all bubbly and enthusiastic and told him I was signing him up for the Practitioner's course in October. His response was: yes mum. As it was when I came back and was all excited. Yes mum.

So, we did the Get the Life You Want weekend with Richard Bandler and Paul McKenna, and he suddenly got enthusiastic. He began to see what I was going on and on and on about. His potential began to occur to him. That weekend was great. He met the main trainers, he saw Richard on stage and had an idea what was going to happen.

He stayed with my cousin for 5 nights, but she was having guests, so I booked him into the hotel where the training was going on. When things went tits up with Northern Bloke and my plans for the weekend changed, Boy reiterated how much he wanted to see me.

I changed the room from double to twin and got my butt down to London Saturday lunchtime. It was amazing walking back into the conference hall. There were lots of familiar faces, the trainers and people I'd done the Practitioner's course with were doing their Masters. It was like coming home. And there was Boy in the middle of it. He really made it his own.

The organisers let me hang around. And even better, they let me sit in on the last session, so I could see him get his certificate. It's late and I'm tired and need to get into the bath and bed, so I won't stay too long. But he was so moved, there were tears. We held on to each other and I told him how proud I am of him. He went down there by himself, stayed with people he didn't know very well, he was open to this new head magic shit and he participated. He was up for it!

I am so excited to see where this takes him. The fact that now he realises he has choices. And the first one starts with: how much fun can he have every day.

Saturday, October 08, 2011


The world mourns the loss of Steve Jobs. Everyone crawls out of the woodwork to say how marvellous, what a visionary he was, how much the world will miss him.

I type this on my Dell laptop, but my iPhone is plugged in charging as I write. My iPod Touch is downstairs ready to belt out the tunes I love. The first proper computer in our house was an Apple 2e, Pops brought himself into the digital age on that, while I wasted time playing games on it. I was 14 years old.

A few weeks ago, I fell across Steve Job's 2005 Stanford address. I'm blaming Rog for this. I was moved and unbelievably inspired by his humanity, his humour and his wisdom (Steve Job's, not Rog's). The three anecdotes were exactly what I needed to hear at the right time. The Universe really does have amazing timing. His address reminded me, I'm not always right, I make bad decisions and that's okay. Reinforced that Life is too fucking short to waste time. It inspired me to continue following my Path.

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the doom-mongers, the pessimists, the 'isn't Life shite' brigade. Yes, Life is tough, but I believe we've got a choice: to moan or to rise to the challenge. To remain the same or to embrace change. To wait for someone to make things better, or to find and implement ways to help ourselves and each other.

I am inspired by the story of Steve Job's life and achievements; and for me, that is a greater legacy than all his money and business achievements. Because ultimately, he is now the richest man in the cemetary and his family and close friends mourn his loss. And I feel for them and for us. They lost a husband, a father, a lover. We lost a shining light.

Friday, October 07, 2011

It's All About the Attitude

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me share this pearl of wisdom with you: I have an attitude problem. I have been told that from an early age. It used to make me think I should curb my tongue and try to play nice. Last year, after my dad died, the Editor in My Head took a long vacation. While she was away it got me thinking that actually, my attitude problem stems from my view of Reality and my upfront communication style. You see, I lack the social graces which enable other people to eat dog shit and say 'mmm...yummy'. I would be the child in the crowd going 'why is the Emperor naked'.

My attitude problem cut short a promising career in local government, where there are a lot of naked people, doing stuff because that's the way they've always done it, and they need to been seen to be doing shit, rather than actually doing shit.

It's not that I lack compassion. I understand that Life is hard. It's nasty, brutish and fucking short. Actually, it's probably because that's my understanding of Life, that I take the view: you don't like something, do something about it. And if the doing something is hard, then take one step at time. Try, don't whinge. In this, people may argue I also do a lot of whinging. Damn straight. I'm a champion whinger. But, I'm also a champion trier. I take my stubborness, my attitude problem, and I get up in the morning and try to find a different way.

That's why NLP has been so awesome for me. It was co-created by Richard Bandler who is the epitomy of Attitude. He is obnoxious, profane, stubborn and committed. He is my role model. He accepts nothing, he questions everything. He is also one of the most compassionate people I've ever met. I've seen him take people in the midst of meltdown, get them to stop and do something different and be the better and happier for it. He would not win a popularity competition and he's alright about it too.

Life is not about being liked. It's about living to your values.

Last weekend, I bumped into one of my cohort from May. He said to me that the NLP course had cost him long-standing friendships. After 25 years of listening to the same whinges, he couldn't do it anymore. After all, friendships are ultimately about shared experience and values. When your values have shifted to problem solving and Living the Dream, spending time with someone who goes over the same old shit, becomes tedious and boring.

I'm not great with conflict. I don't like it. It de-stabilises me internally. I'd rather run away. However, NLP has taught me that conflict is an opportunity to clear the air. It shows that something within the relationship isn't working and with courage can be sorted out. It requires, however two things: a clear vision of my values and the ability to take personal responsibility for my behaviour.

I am not always in the right. I defend my right to make mistakes, to fuck things up royally, to get things wrong. That's how I learn. I'm pretty sure that's how other people learn too. One of the things I love doing is learning. It's one of my core values. It gets me out of bed in the morning all excited and enthused. And I'm not fussy about what I learn: ground source heat pumps, fragrance, economic development, creative writing, finance. It's all fodder to me.

Relationships are endlessly fascinating to me: what makes people get up in the morning, how and who they love, how they solve their problems. I particularly like awkward, stubborn people; in fact the more awkward and stubborn the better. I like character. Some relationships are for Life, some relationships are just in The Moment. Usually, it's how people deal with and resolve conflict that determines this.

There's a little storm brewing in blogland. Someone feels they have a grievance against me. Instead of picking up the phone and saying 'Roses, you've been a bit of a bitch.' They've chosen to take the passive-aggressive route and their recent blogging has been filled with hints, innuendo and a whole heap of Woe is Me. That their behaviour has been the root of their current problems, seems to currently have slipped under the radar completely.


Me? I have other things to do with my time. This is as much space as I am prepared to devote to the issue. I needed to have a vent. And this has been it. If said person wants to step up and do something different, then great, I'm here. If they choose to continue to whinge and whine and pick over the corpse, that's fine too. I'm cool either way.


Monday, October 03, 2011

Get the Life You Want!

So said the e-mail and ad, with a picture of Richard Bandler and Paul McKenna in big bold colour. I had just finished my NLP Practitioner's Certificate and signed Boy up for it for the middle of October. Now, this is where you Ladies and Gentlemen have to give Boy a big-up. He gets this call from me, ranting how fantastic NLP is, how it's going to change my life and that I've signed him up for the week's course in London 6 months later. He sighed, said 'yes' in all the right places and considered getting me Sectioned. I get home, do more fast talking, arm waving and general enthusiasm. He sighs some more and humours me. Then I saw this e-mail. I make a phone call, get out my trusty credit card.

In the meantime, Life happens and then, suddenly, six months have passed and we're off to Wembley Stadium for the weekend that promises to enable us to Get the Life we Want. I won't bore you with the travel details, but I do reserve the right to rant about the hotel. It was the cheapest, closest hotel I could find to Wembley Stadium. Now the thing is, my knowledge of British geography is crap, added to the total lack of distance comprehension and you'll understand my slight surprise at the time it took to get from London Liverpool Street to Harrow, where the hotel was. If I say the hotel was a dump, I'm actually being very positive. It's the kind of hotel you start with the '1950's called, they want their decor back' or as Boy announced after he risked the shower 'the Prison Service rang, they want the plumbing back'. Me? I'm just not that adventurous. The shower had a sign: please rinse shower mat before use. It was black on beige. And as Boy pointed out the Blue Algae shower gel had brown-furry mould growing out the top of the spout. I reminded him this was a daring adventure; he looked at me and said he wanted rescuing.

We got to the stadium early and were processed very quickly. And then the fun began. So many people to hug: fellow students and the training assistants who made the Prac training so great. I found coffee, we got food and waited as the venue filled up. And then Paul McKenna strutted down the middle of the audience. And then I watched Boy change before my eyes. He finally got what I've been banging on about for the last 6 months. And he loved it as much as me.

He's always a bit shy around adults he doesn't know. When he does talk, he is articulate and confident, but he seldom initiates conversation. Yesterday, in front of 1,300 people, he put his hand up, got Paul McKenna's attention and told everyone that his goal is to make a documentary about body modification in far-flung tribes. This goal, he formulated over the weekend and hadn't told me about. He's now absolutely bursting with motivation and delight. In a message to me today, he said college wasn't coping terribly well with his new attitude.

As for me? Well, I feel fantastic. It feels like everything percolating has slotted into place ready for my next move. My next move? Well, funny you should ask; it's all about World Domination.