Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Blogtober has arrived!

It is finally here! Taylor's and Helene's Blogtober challenge has arrived, and I am thrilled. 
Here is the deal: we all try to blog in October, including weekends. It's totally bananas, and I for one can't guarantee that I will be able to do it - but let's not start talking defeat on the first day, okay? Let's get this party started! Are you with us?

Today's prompt: If you won the lottery you would

How often have you fantasized about that possibility? If you are like me, many, many times. But while it may be fun to go shopping for a day and buy whatever your heart desires (and pay off all the debt!), I always feel that winning the lottery could do more harm than good. Let me explain:

1. Work sucks, no doubt about it. I go because they pay me, and the minute I win the big bucks, I would quit. But once in a while, you also get some satisfaction out of it, and it makes you feel good inside. No really, it's true. There are several things I would miss out on if I didn't work: patients telling me I'm good at my job (best feeling ever!); fun with co-workers; the satisfaction of a job well done; all the free food. Even though I wouldn't need free food if I was rich... oh, who am I kidding, free food always tastes better, right?

2. Not that I have ever been in that situation, but you always hear that famous and/or rich people have a hard time determining who their real friends are. Fame and wealth attract a whole whack of parasites, and that is pretty sad. Quality over quantity, real over fake!

3. If we would have a couple of extra millions lying around, I'm pretty sure we would end up on an episode of animal hoarding. My husband couldn't help himself - he would buy all the animals!

4. But the most important reason: Paydays.
Does one ginormous payday make up for all the bi-monthly happy days?
I'm not convinced.

That's why I don't play the lottery.

Do you hope to win the lottery? What would you do? Tell us!

The Daily Tay

xo Miriam

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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

September was golden

September, you deserve a round of applause. You were outstanding! Lots and lots of golden sunshine, fun outings, a camping trip, a free dress, some surprising happy news - what more could a girl ask for? This is a tough act to follow (yes, I'm looking at you, October!).
Here is the usual monthly picture-round up.

Summer in the city | Blackberries | Sunflower | Hungry horses (and a Sheila)
Our own apples | Sunshine flooding the office | Ghost, the llama | Lily, sheep herder
My faithful companion | Under the willow tree | Breakfast for the horses
Hummingbird dress | Blue | Poppies | Dahlias
 Perfect evening idyll | Coffee love | Autumn is colourful
Beach walk | Grasshopper | Evening sky show | Red berries
Green-eyed girl | Boots season has started | Mushrooms in our yard | Texture
Spiderweb | Turkeys on the prowl | Autumn leaves | Bear

Tomorrow is the first day of Blogtober! Are you in?

xoxo Miriam

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Monday, 29 September 2014

Little victories

Last Saturday was a bit of a roller coaster of emotions. I woke up excited, which changed to apprehensive, went to enthusiastic, anxious, awkward, surprised, relieved, victorious. 
You may ask yourself: what event could cause all those emotions? Well, ladies and gentlemen, it was an event that certainly warranted all those feelings - it was a dinner party.
Of course, it wasn't just any old dinner party. It was the birthday celebration of one of my very best friends, and there was no question that I would not be there.

Here is the thing though: I don't know many of her friends.
We move sort of in different circles, and don't really have overlapping friends. She is a normal, outgoing person, while I indulge more often than I should in my anti-social tendencies. Going to a dinner where I know only the host well, a couple people just a little bit, and the majority not at all? It's terrifying.
All day, I gave myself internal pep talks. "You get to dress up!", and "You get to eat yummy food!", and "You get to hang out with one of your favourite, funny people!". It was working pretty well - as long as I was still in the comfort and safety of my own home.
Then the time came to get into the car. The first butterflies started to flutter in my stomach. "Don't be ridiculous!", I scolded myself sternly. "It's going to be perfectly fine!"
When I arrived there (5 minutes early, as per usual), the butterflies were dancing a wild tango. I forced myself to stay in the car for 7 minutes, so as not to be the very first person to arrive. Then I got out.
The place was hopping, which never helps: too many people all at once make me feel claustrophobic. But I took a deep breath, clutched my purse firmly to my chest, and pushed my way through the crowd. As I was looking around, I noticed a large table with only 4 people on it, but nobody I knew. No wait, hold on... one guy looked vaguely familiar. After confirming that I didn't see my friend anywhere else, I hesitantly made my way over. "Ahem, is this B's birthday party?" They confirmed, and we introduced ourselves. I immediately forgot their names, sat down, and cursed inwardly for still having arrived too early.
Once I was sitting, I pulled a menu towards me, and buried my nose in it. That's what I usually do, because I don't know how to deal with the most dreaded of social interactions: trying to make small talk with people I don't know. Or in that case, 3 total strangers and one guy I only vaguely know and have last seen more than a year ago. How do people do it? What to say? My mind was a total blank. I couldn't think of a single topic to talk about.
Fortunately, not 5 minutes after my arrival the other guests started to trickle in, and there was the usual commotion of welcoming each other, introductions being made, and choosing a seat. My friend also arrived, and I'm always very happy to see her.
But then everybody settled down, and little pockets of conversation erupted all around me. Here I was, sitting as a lonely island amidst a lively ocean of chatter, not knowing what to do.  I had already finished my first glass of water, just to keep myself busy, and had visions of spending the night making frequent trips to the bathroom, not only out of necessity, but also for something to do.
Then, something wonderful happened. The friendly looking guy across from me pulled out his phone and laid it on the table. "Hey, I have the same phone", I inadvertently blurted out. I have a HTC One phone, and you don't see that one very often. Guess what? That was all it took! We started a conversation about phones, apple products (we are against them), my accent (a godsend when it comes to striking up conversations), how I know B, how he knows her. Huh, who knew it could be so easy?
That little interaction made me reckless enough to chime in to another conversation a while later. And so it went, and it was a really great night.
Three hours later I left feeling absolutely elated. I was on a high that made me feel like I conquered the world. I could small talk to strangers! Sober, I may add - I was driving. (With enough alcohol, I can become very outgoing.) I was singing along the radio off the top of my lungs, envisioning my new life where strangers would come together, leaving as friends. I would be a people person! A social butterfly! The life of the party! 
Well, after I came down from my high (several hours later, it was intense), I realized that this was obviously crazy talk. One successful night of chatting to strangers (very friendly onces at that) does not an extrovert make.
However, I realized something: There are a few strategies one can use to overcome that inherent awkwardness that we introverts have in social situations.
Here is what I have learnt this weekend I'm determined to try next time:
1. When meeting new people, try to use their name right away. Not that I have ever done this myself, but I have the best intentions every time. I figure that gives you at least a fighting chance trying to remember their name? I imagine it something like this: "Hi, I'm Miriam." "Hi, I'm Aaron." "Hello Aaron, nice to meet you." I'm usually so focused on the person's face, the name doesn't even register. Maybe by having said it out loud, it will stick? Or all people simply wear name tags. That would be much more convenient.
2. Once you sit down, don't bury your face in the menu. It gives off the message that you don't want to talk. Instead, look around, maybe comment on the restaurant, the flowers on the table, or ask our dinner companions how they know your mutual friend. Again, I have not actually done any of these things, but they seem like a good idea.
3. When it comes to ordering food, talk about it: Discuss the choices, ask if anybody has tasted any of the dishes, maybe talk about other great restaurants or foods you have tried.
4. Bathroom bonding. I don't know what it is, but sometimes it's just easier to talk in the bathroom than out at the table. It is more intimate, there are fewer people, and usually there is less noise. You can comment on the other girl's outfit, hair, make-up, jewellery (whatever catches your eye), or ask for some styling tips. I myself am quite styling-challenged when it comes to hair, and am always interested how other girls get their amazing hairdos. That's a topic I can talk about with almost anybody, without feeling awkward at all!
5. If you can, drink. A few cocktails make everything easier. 
That's all I've got so far. Writing all these down, it seems remarkably simply. But believe me, when I'm in these situations, I'm clueless! So as always, this little list is basically written for myself. Hopefully some of you may find it helpful as well!
Do you have more helpful tips for conquering social situations? If you do, please share! As you can see, there is lots of room for improvement, and I can use all the help I can get. Thanks peeps!
xo Miriam

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