Bits and bobs

Random thoughts about random things by a random person


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Putting the right perspective on other people’s opinions

When it comes to this topic, the most common thing I hear is that we should never let other people’s opinions influence us.

I don’t think that’s necessarily true, or healthy.

And I don’t think the opposite is true, or healthy, either.

Other people can provide a distanced perspective on things in our lives and help us see things slightly (or even sometimes completely) differently than we see them.

Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees and we keep waltzing deeper and deeper in.

Even unasked for advice can provide some valuable insight on something – even though it can be as annoying as all get out.

That’s not to say that we should always follow the advice we are given. Listening and following are two completely different things.

If we are able to sit and really listen to what is said and allow ourselves to be distanced a little from the situation, we can evaluate what has been said a little more objectively. We can pull out the things that we accept and then push aside the things we don’t want to accept.

It might help us with some of the decisions we have to make – or possibly even help us extricate ourselves from some situations already-made decisions have put us into.

Of course, it’s easier to write those two paragraphs than it is to put them into action!

It takes a certain amount of, I would say, emotional maturity to do that. Depending on the situation – or the person giving the advice – we may have more or less of that than in other situations, or if we are hearing it from someone else.

A few things that could help in determining if we should listen or not are listed below. This is not an exhaustive list. And you may already have your own formula for how to deal with other people’s opinions. These are just some things that have helped me sift through the occasional morass of opinions.

1. What do I want and why do I want it? What do I expect to accomplish or get from it?

We can be very easily influenced if we don’t have a solid idea of where we stand on any given thing. Before we start listening to what other people have to say, we should at least have an idea of our own position on it and why it’s important.

2. What is the intention of the person speaking to me?

If we know that the person genuinely loves us, then we can assume that they are speaking from a place of concern. For me, that makes them more worth listening to than someone whose motives I’m not so sure about.

3. How much do I trust that person?

This is related to #2.

If the person is someone we trust, then why wouldn’t we listen? Even if it’s something we don’t want to hear, it might be that we need to hear it. I would rather hear something like that from someone I trust than anyone else. Or worse, not hear it at all and make a really stupid decision because I was maybe too stubborn to listen to another perspective.

4. How many people are saying the same thing?

If everyone around us is telling us practically the same thing, that’s a really good sign that we should stop and at least think about it.

Unless we’ve completely surrounded ourselves with awful people (and why on earth would we do that??), at least some of those people should be people we know and trust. If that’s the case there’s a good chance that what they are all saying has at least some value.

5. What do I want and why do I want it? What do I expect to accomplish or get from it?

Hopefully you have paid enough attention that you have noticed that this is the same as #1. 🙂

That’s because after we’ve heard what everyone has had to say, we should re-evaluate our own thoughts and position.

Has anyone said anything that shows that we won’t actually achieve our goal by following our current plan?

Or maybe has someone articulated a fear that we already had – or a consequence we hadn’t though of – and, hopefully, even provided some suggested solutions?

After all that, though, ultimately it is our own decision, whatever comes of it.

What’s that saying? Something to the effect that

We are free to choose, but we can’t choose the consequences.

So we have to accept everything that comes with those choices – the good, the bad and the ugly.

In a nutshell: Don’t dismiss what others have to say just because you don’t want to hear it. And don’t automatically do what they say just because they want you to.

Easy-peasy, right? 😉

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Day 7: A perfect night

Well, folks, the cloudless sky of earlier did not disappoint.

The sky tonight is, if you’ll pardon the pun, stellar.

Even though I’m still inside the village and there are a few lights around, the light pollution is really quite minimal.

If I walked just 10 minutes to the right of my place, it would be much darker, but like I think I said before, I’d also end up in a ditch or down over the cliff (it is the Cliff Road, after all). Even dressing in reflective gear wouldn’t help really.

And, really, who cares? The sky here is still beautiful. I know it would be even more spectacular if it were completely pitch black, but if we constantly chase whatever we think perfection might be, we miss out on what we already have.

And what I had tonight was fabulous. I stayed out looking up, wayyyyy up, until I got a kink in my neck!

The binoculars my brother and sister-in-law gave me for my birthday allowed me to see even more, too, which was great! (I had no idea how shaky I am, though!!! Even with my arm resting on something, it was hard to get it to hold still. I’ll be looking for a tripod adapter and tripod before too long!)

When Mother Nature decides to put on a show, she really puts on a show.

There was a star fairly low on the horizon, over the entrance to the bay that was so bright, it even reflected off the ocean! It might even be a planet. Venus and Mars are out and about tonight, apparently, so Mr. Google just told me.

I love looking at the sky and appreciating the beauty, but I am absolutely not at expert at deciphering what I see! Well, I can recognize a plane or a satellite…cuz they are moving, and I can find the Big Dipper and sometimes Orion’s belt, but that’s about it.

Anyway, it was spectacular to me. The beautiful show in the sky, complete with the Milky Way Galaxy, the ocean rolling gently onto the beach…

An absolutely wonderful way to end the day!!

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Day 7: Beautiful sunset #999?

I know, I know… enough with the sunsets!

But can you really, truly ever have enough of them?

This evening’s was/is spectactular. Remember the reds and vibrant colours I mentioned yesterday? Well, we had them this evening!

Unfortunately, my tablet doesn’t have that good a camera, so the pictures below don’t show them that well.

If you can use your imagination, paint the whole bit above the hills a beautiful deep red and orange red.

AND…the clouds haven’t come in yet, so I think I’m going to get the starry, starry night tonight. 🙂

Sunset, Waterville (facing towards Ballinskelligs), just after 8pm, Sept 18/19

Sunset, Waterville (facing towards Ballinskelligs), just after 8:30pm, Sept 18/19

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Day 6: I’ve got mail!!

I can’t believe I forgot to tell you about this yesterday! So even though this is being written on day 7, it’s about day 6, so that’s how I’ve titled it. 🙂

As I was sitting at the sea-side of the house yesterday, doing my drawing, I heard some rustling at the back door. (That’s the door that I think I already told you is broken and I can’t get open.)

I looked up and through the frosted glass, I could see a man there in a red shirt. It looked like he was trying to put something in the mailbox.

That wouldn’t have anything to do with me, so I went back to my pencil and paper.

Then he knocked.

I went to the door and let him know it was broken and I couldn’t open it.

Then, quite unexpectedly, he asked, “Is this Lucy Cove?”

I was awash in a mixture of surprise and childlike, Christmas-morning glee! Mail for me? Here?!?!

I maintained my cool outwardly and simply asked him to put it in the box and I would go round later to collect it.

He did so and left.

Never, since I got here, had I wished that door wasn’t broken like I wished it in that moment!

I couldn’t just pop around the house to get it, either. It’s an end unit townhouse, with a carpark next door. I had scoped out earlier in my stay if there was a quick way through the carpark to the upper road.

Unless I magically develop some decent parkour skills on the quick like, it wasn’t going to happen.

I would have to walk down to the other end of the block and then back to this end of the block (on the back street) to get into the garden and claim my prize.

I was tempted to go right away, but I knew if I left off the drawing without finishing it, I would never finish it and it was something I really wanted to do. Plus, I’ve been practicing telling myself no and this was another opportunity for me to learn to wait.

So I waited – until I had finished the drawing and got dressed to go out for lunch.

It wasn’t easy. Every now and then I would look towards the back door. Or I’d look at the paper and think, “I could finish this when I come back…” (knowing full well that I wouldn’t).

I wasn’t curious about what it was – I’m hitting the big 5-0 while I’m here so I assumed it was a birthday card.

I did wonder, however, who on earth would have sent something to me while I’m on holiday in Ireland?? I remembered my friend Kelly had texted me a few days before I left, asking when I would be leaving for my trip, so I thought then that it must have been her.

Despite the temptation and curiosity, though, I persevered and waited!

Once ready to go, and still not really wanting to go down the block, to come back a block, and then have to turn around and go back up that block (which was the actual direction I needed to go for lunch and errands), I thought I’d take another look at the carpark.

Maybe I could scale the stone wall? Maybe it wasn’t as high as I remembered?

I scoped it out and, yeah, it was high. Too high for my almost-fifty, unathletic body at any rate. Bummer.

I took a gander to the left side of the lot to see if there was any hope in that direction…Hmmm…Did I see a break in the large boulders that bordered it? Did that look like a path between the boulders and the fenced-off field next door??

Off I toddled to check it out. Sure enough – there was a small path that I hadn’t seen before! I scrambled between/over two boulders and up the path to the other road. Then I went through the gate to the back garden and, through a little jungle of flies and webs, I claimed my prize!!!

There was another surprise when I didn’t recognize the handwriting. Kelly and I have known each other for decades now and I am familiar with her writing. This wasn’t it.

Now, totally flummoxed, I looked to the top left corner of the envelope.

It was from my friend Trish!!! That was even more unexpected because she is on holiday right now in Portugal!

I looked at the postage cancellation mark and sure enough – she sent it from her holiday.

So here I am, currently in Ireland, getting a birthday card from Portugal, from a friend who lives only about 3 hours away from me in Ontario! How fun is that??

Take that, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks!!


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Day 6: A beautiful evening

Waterville is located in the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve.

A dark sky reserve (or preserve) is “a public or private land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment.” (darksky.org)

I do enjoy a beautiful starry sky so I have been looking forward to seeing some stunning night skies while here.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a clear night since I got here.

This evening, though, when I was out on the patio reading, it looked hopeful – a beautiful blue sky with only a smattering of clouds.

Having a read in my favourite spot

However, before too long, the clouds began to roll in from the east and my astronomical hopes were dashed. Boo hiss.

That said, the sunset was quite lovely. There were no bright reds and oranges – colours normally associated with stunning sunsets, but it was beautiful nonetheless. I’ve included a few shots and you can decide for yourself. 🙂

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It’s “About Time” – My thoughts on the movie

As I am wont to do, before I headed out on my travels last week, I downloaded a few things from Netflix. I always download more than I will likely watch en route because you never know when or where you might get stuck or delayed.

One of the things I downloaded was “About Time”. I won’t go into what it’s about – if yo’re interested, you can read a quick IMDB summary here. I’m just going to tell you what I thought of it. I won’t give any spoilers, either, so feel free to read on without any worries about it being ruined for you if you decide you do want to watch it.

I’m not normally one for chick flicks, which this definitely seemed like it would be. It also had a potential “Groundhog’s Day” similarity and I realllllllly don’t like those movies where a character relives the same time over and over again, so that was strike 2 against it. In fact, both those reasons are why it had been in my Netflix list for a while now without me actually watching it.

“Then why did you even bother with it, Lucy?”

Well, I really like Domhnall Gleeson and Bill Nighy. If they weren’t in it, it never would have ended up in my list at all. I downloaded it for the flight et al because I thought that even if I didn’t like it, it would at least be a bit of fluff that didn’t require much brain engagement.

At any rate, as you know, I didn’t end up delayed anywhere so I didn’t need it on the flight or any of my other subsequent travel legs. Last night, though, I was in the mood for a movie, so I put it on.

Quelle surprise!! I thoroughly enjoyed it!! The time travelly bits (not a spoiler – that’s part of the plot snippet for the promo) were not constant or overdone, like I thought they would be. Or at least was worried they would be. And while, yeah, it’s about Tim finding his true love, it’s only partly about that.

It is, as the title says, about time. About how we spend our time and how we value it.

I laughed out loud and I cried. Any movie that elicits both of those reactions out of me is a winner in my books. In the interest of full disclosure, it’s really not hard to make me cry when watching something…it’s the laugh/cry combo, though, that’s the key bit.

In looking for the link for you above, I saw that “About Time” is from the creator of “Love Actually”, so really, since I loved that movie, too, if I had known that before I likely would have watched this sooner. I can even see me watching this again and again, as I have “Love Actually”. It’s a definite feel-good movie.

All that to say, if you are looking for something to watch, I definitely recommend giving this a go! (If you do, I’d love to hear what you thought of it…)

Note: For those interested, it’s rated 14A. I assume that’s because of the occasional smattering of “colourful” language and some semi-nudity/sex-related scenes. If you know me well, you know I don’t like movies that are a constant blue streak of swearing or full of graphic sex scenes. This movie was definitely not that at all. 🙂

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Day 6: An artistic challenge!

My friend Shamima gave me an art journal for my birthday and I brought it with me on this trip.

Today I challenged myself to sketch the view from the table in the sunroom.

It’s not 100% accurate and is definitely not to scale (as you can see from the pictures in previous posts), but the main pieces are there. It turned out better than I thought it would, actually!

(The book pages already had the quote and the flowers in the bottom left and top right corners.)

I’m not, as you can tell, good at drawing, but that’s what challenges are about, right?

If you are already good at or comfortable with something, doing it isn’t a challenge.

I plan on doing some more of this scene, so maybe it will get better as I go. 🙂 In any event, I’m still happy with this first go at it and that I did it at all!!

My first attempt from my window

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