Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Years Lists

You know how that surfing goes. I check in with the oh-so thoughtful Jennifer who leads me to her chicken obsessed friend Natalie who takes me to meet Marrisa who throws down the challenge - list 10 accomplishments you are proud of and let her know so she can collate a list of lists on her blog.

Well this is all very in the spirit of New Years Introspection which I love so much - that feeling of a fresh start and a time to regroup and focus. However, my initial recation on trying to compile a list was that actually I hadn't really acomplished anything. I scoured some of the links on Marrissa's site ( oh go and find them yourself, I can't be bothered to do more links!) to find examples of suitable achievements and that made me worse. I certainly have not given birth vaginally ( or indeed any other way) to a large headed child. ( I once had to go outside of a book shop and put my head between my knees because I looked for too long at a book on pregnancy). And it might well be that I can make boo-boos go away by kissing them - I don't know,I've never tried....

My first list seemed very career orientated. Which seemed very selfish. I haven't done anything world changing. I haven't brought a chid into the world ( I have no desire to - see selfish, above). In fact I am a waste of space really... then I got a grip and thought - well hey, look at all these blogs I read. They are about (excuse me here) ordinary people going about ordinary lives but making art and beautiful quilts and making me laugh about the small things in their life. And these people who are doing nothing remarkable in world political terms draw me back for more day in and day out because together with their little (and in some case rather big) acts of creativity and sharing they made a community to which I love to belong. A community which has welcomed me into its fold ( look - you are all reading me!) and which makes me feel normal, inspired, talented and accepted.

So here, is a revised list of my 10 acomplishments. Some are carreer related because -heck!- I am a career woman and proud of it but some are things that my career has enabled me to do financially and most are small things. Then, there is my fantasy list of accomplishments!

10 real accomplishments

1. Finally on my third attempt, after missing out twice by 1% I got a distinction in a degree! ( An MA in Creative Writing) Lots of whoops and feelings that I could finally let go after that envolope arrived in the post!

2. When appointed I was one of the country's youngest ever part time Judges

3. I can stand up in a conference room of 400 lawyers and make them all laugh and I can take a group of scared trainee solicitors and train them so that they are confident and enthused - and make them laugh while I do it.

4. I taught my nephew to tie his own shoelaces. ( I also taught him to slide down the stairs on an inflatable lilo which got him into trouble when he tried it at his Gran's house but forgot the all important cushions. Still, he remembers the fun with fondness!

5. With my husband I sponsor five children around the world to make sure that they have good health care and education. I hope it also helps their parents have time to kiss boo-boos away for them. (They are Rony in Guatemala, Miriam in Mali, Babita in Nepal, Mapholobo in South Africa and Carmen in Bolivia)

6. I made a quilt for my parents' anniversary that was so beautiful my mother cried.

7. I am a travel agent extradordinaire ( Just today I found us the oldest - and it seem to me cutest- houseboat in Amsterdam to rent for a while in the summer.)

8. I can fix my parents' failing technology over the phone. (Mum: the Printer won't work. Me: What's wrong with it? Mum: I dont know that's why I rang you. Me:What is it doing? Mum: Nothing. That's the problem. Oh, There's a flashing light. Me: Look it up in the manual and tell me what that light is for. Long pause. Mum: Manual? Me: (Sigh) Hang on while I download one...)

9. I am mortgage and debt free ( and have a stash!).

10. I am not a woman driver. I can read a map but I don't usually need to because I can drive on instinct and when I get there I can parallel park in a tight spot in one single move. I happily drove over the Atlas mountains (twice) despite my husband being rather concerned when the hotel concierge told him not to take that road it being 'the most dangerous road in Africa' (Tosh by the way!!)

10 fantasy accomplishments. (Some are pure fantasy, some, well, deep inside there is a teensy weensie hope - can you tell which is which?)

1. I pioneered a life changing surgical technique.

2. I met Nelson Mandela.

3. I published a novel.

4. I met Bill Clinton ( and I can tell you for free that you will never ever know if there was a black dress involved. I am a woman of class!)

5. I used all my family lawyer's negotiating skills to bring peace to Israel and Palestine.

6. I. won a quilt show. Heck, I won Houston. I made the most amazing memory quilt out of a little black dress.

7. I travelled overland through Africa distributing Aids medication to outlying villages.

8. I emigrated to South Africa -to the Cape, where I set up a quilting shop with a cafe and yoga studio attached and free classes with kits for women in the townships to start businesses.

9. I bought a big barn and converted it into a huge studio with a minstrels galery for my books and hand sewing sofa at one end and a wet area for dying at the other.

10. Nelson Mandela bragged to Bill Clinton about meeting me.

Thank you to you all for reading me. I hope you all have a very good 2008.


StegArt said...

Another great few minutes spent reading your blog. Happy New Years Helen!

Marisa said...

Love your list, and love your fictional list too! I would be hard pressed to put my wish list into only 10 bullet points. Anyhow, thanks for sharing, I'll be back to read more of your very cool blog!

Garnered Stitches said...

Yours is one of the first blogs I go to once I have logged on, just to see what delights you have posted. I feel inspired to write my own list both real and fantasy but must see what Your Royal Highness has been up to in Quiltland. Enjoying watching the Water quilt develop!

jazminandjohn said...

Wow! We found your blog by accident - fantastic!
Jazmin managed to do one of your fantasy achievements a few years ago. I was working for Oxfam in South Africa and when my contract was over, we moved from Pretoria to Cape Town and opened a quilt shop (one of her fantasies for many years)