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Monday, September 30, 2013

Two Peas In A Pod

So they say that dogs look like their owners. Well, the picture speaks for itself. Ziggy and I are both scrawny, and we're both ginger with blonde highlights. We are both highly independent and hate to be told what to do though I am a little more eager to please than he is and he is a little more obsessessed with biting ankles than I am.

Today was a productive day. Bert and K got most of the spiral staircase finished and I armed myself with soapy water, sponges and window cleaner and blew away a few cobwebs. I have been documenting the progress of the tree house with photos. When we've finished I will continue to take photos of people enjoying it. It's been an almighty project. It's also been a lovely way to spend time at my family home and enjoy my mum's home cooking.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Take A Load Off Me

As I walked home from the shops today I was thinking about foreign lands. My thoughts are never too far away from travel. I was carrying two big heavy bags and it made me think of the heavy rucksacks I have carried on my back as I traipsed from place to place. For some reason it was the third time I went travelling that my rucksack was it's heaviest. This was when I travelled Mexico and S.America. I took a pit stop for a few days in New York and then flew to Mexico City. It was a total seige when I got there as my rucksack was mislaid between JFK airport and Mexico. Now, when I think about it, it was probably so heavy they needed to fly it across on a plane of its own. I was distraught for a couple of days until I got my rucksack back. I then spent 3 weeks in Mexico City before travelling to Oaxaca with Danny Boy. It was then that I realised my rucksack was actually heavier than I could manage. It was so heavy it crushed my lungs so I couldn't breathe properly. I then decided that there was a lot of stuff in there that I didn't really need.

Right now I'm exhausted. Working 6 days a week, going to class the other day and looking after a pup the rest of the time is tiring me out. I think it's Ziggy that is the most hard work. He has entered into a terrible teenage phase. He used to be so good at going out for walks but lately he has taken to growling and attacking my feet. At home he wants constant fun and attention. I started to write this blog at 15:30 today. It's now 19:55. Aw well. This is the way it is for a while. For the next 3 years until Ziggy stops being a puppy.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Master Of My Destiny

I have my first proper class today for the Counselling course. Last night I was finishing off my homework. Each week we must write a report using reflective writing. This is something that should be easy for me as I have done so much reflective writing for my own personal reasons. I have learnt though that even if writing is a hobby it is always difficult writing something that you know will be read. This is why I struggle to upkeep my blog at times. The book that I accidentally wrote was the best writing I could ever do because when I started to write I was not writing for an audience. Or, at least, I was not holding back because of the fear of what other people would think of me.

I found it very therapeutic to write from my heart without the apprehension of being judged. Through my writing I found answers to questions I didn't even know I was asking. In writing I had found a release. By putting it down in black and white I could see all the shades of grey (and there are way more than 50). I finished the book without actually having achieved anythinhg other than a feeling of peace. I had made peace with myself. I had stopped hiding from myself. How could I deny my soul when it was laid bare before me?

For the homework we were asked to think about our reasons for doing this course. I believe that in order to live a happy life we must have healthy relationships with the people in it. One of the most important tools we have to achieve this is communication. We don't realise it but how we communicate with everyone has a direct effect on our well being. For example, if someone is having a bad day and they work in a shop they may give poor customer service. The person they served feels that they have been snubbed. It is nothing personal but all the same the interaction has made them feel bad. The next shop they go into they don't give the clerk a chance to make them feel bad the way the previous clerk did. So they put up a barrier. The second clerk tries their very best to be as helpful as possible but they feel that their efforts are futile. Why bother being courteous to someone who is clearly rude and ignorant? So this clerk goes home, feeling drained from smiling at people who don't appreciate them. They go home to their family and, just as someone has made them feel inadequate, they need to make someone else feel inadequate. They take it out on their family. These negative cycles go on and on.

I genuinely believe that not many people think too much about these 'little' things. Most people would regard them as insignificant. But how can we be expected to treat our nearest and dearest with respect and compassion if we can't do it for people we have a 3 minute interaction with? It may be naive for me to believe that a few positive shifts in our lives could make any real significant changes to our overall outlook but I am learning to celebrate my naiveity rather than quash it. I am starting to realise though that people will only change if they themselves want to. All I can do is focus on becoming as healthy a human being as I possibly can so that I do not contribute too much to the negativity.

So, the writing should be easy for me but then it wouldn't be much of a challenge and surely the whole point of learning a new skill is to challenge yourself intellectually. I have been working in the retail industry for too long now and it has made me lazy. Now it's time to get back into a world of opportunity and possibilites. And to realise that I am the master of my own destiny.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Chocolate Drop Time

The treehouse is very nearly finished. K and Bert are working on the spiral staircase and with a few handrails in place the tree house will be easily accessible to all. Bert and my uncle B have already spent a night up there with the wood burner blazing and mum and Mrs Banjo have enjoyed a bottle of wine while they watched the sun go down. While the boys were busy making things I took advantage of the sun to take some photographs.

The guy up front is Rex, a dog my mum is looking after and who she's totally fallen in love with. Ziggy, of course, is in the background. There is also a flash of Jess' tail. It is only after taking a million crap shots that I end up with an accidental gem like this but, sure, isn't that the beauty of digital photography? I have learnt the hard way that when it comes to taking photos of dogs they tend to run off at the crucial moment when the shutter goes off. Poor old Meka hardly gets a look in these days there are so many dogs about. She's lying in her hammock now giving herself a good clean. She doesn't know it yet but it's chocolate drop time and she's going to be so happy.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Back To School

I nearly hate to say it, because if I say it I might end up scudding myself, but things are starting to pick up for me. I am one of these people who takes a step forward and then takes two steps back. I don't mean to but that's what always happens.

So the good news is that I'm starting the counselling course next week. I am super excited to finally get the ball rolling after so many years. There is no point in wishing that I had started years ago because the time just wasn't right for me. And whether or not this is the start of a career for me is hard to say right now but, work aside, I know that I will gain a lot form this course. It's nice to be able to say that I'm doing something with my life.

Other progress is being made. I have mentioned about accidentally writing a book. Before I started to write it I had half written a children's story called Freddy and the Fox based on the unusual sighting of my mum's cat and a fox down the back lane. I blogged about this a while back. After doing a lot of 'therapeutic' writing I was able to go back to the story and finish it. I has been lying gathering dust on my laptop's hard drive for quite some time now because I was channelling all my energy into my book. Of course Freddy and the Fox is not a story complete without illustrations. So K has been in cahoots with an illustrator from Romania and we have been given a sample drawing. It's very strange and exciting to see how someone visualises your words.

Today I have a lot to do. I have to enrol at the college and pay the first instalment of my course fee. I then have to go for a driving lesson. I don't dread my lessons the way I used to. When I come home I have to get stuck into some studying, both driving theory and the handouts I've been given for the counselling course. It's a good job I had all that spare time to myself last year because I think I'm going to be very busy for the next wee while.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Dirty Dog Sprollie McAuley

Progress on the treehouse has been slow but yesterday K was champing at the bit to get out working on it. It was a foul day. The sun was shining but there was a gale force wind blowing. I went up to the treehouse to take a few photos but it was actually pretty scary so I spent the rest of the day lying on my mum's sofa wrapped up in blankets and listening to her singing Sprollie McAuley to the tune of some silly song. This was strangely comforting.

This is a photo of the Sprollie McAuley that mum was singing about. You will notice she is on a leash. You will notice that she is none too pleased. If you look very closely you will also see the cow dung caked in her fur. She went out for five minutes and came back covered in shite. She was banished from the house and it was cold and windy outside. She jumped into the open boot of K's car. Bert yelled at her and she jumped out but only because she thought she was being let back into the house. When the door was promptly closed in her face she went into the boot of k's car again, stole a chew bone, and ran away to munch on her prize. Her smugness was short lived though, as you can see from the picture below.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ziggy's First Post

I was going to write about mum's fantastic birthday on Saturday but I realised that Ziggy has done very little to contribute to the world so far other than being cute. Since I know that he is much more than just a pretty face I thought it would be a good idea to let him tell you all about the day's activities.

What can I say? Saturday was awesome! First of all I arrived at the party and all my favourite people were there and all the dog friends that I know. It was raining at first so we all hung about the house having a bit of a play. When the rain stopped it was time for the Treasure Hunt. I had heard Hannah talking about this treasure hunt but I had no idea what it involved. All I know is that she wasn't a bit pleased with me for trying to eat the treasure. It was great fun though. The kids had envelopes with wee cards in them. When they opened them they would open their mouths and make a noise. It went something like this..."Blah blah blah blah blah".

There was lots of running around to be done and after the treasure hunt we found a nice little spot by the tunnels where there was an amazing feast taking place. They seemed to call it a BBQ. Well, when I smelt the smells round here I didn't want to leave and neither did anyone else. After all the big humans and small humans had stuffed their big fat greedy mouths there were a few things left over. I was given something called a 'rib'. This kept me busy for a long time, that is, until Judy came along and stole it off me. I hear them all chatting about Judy being some kind of 'Top Dog' but I don't think that's any excuse for her stealing my nice rib. She growled at me when she took it and I growled right back at her. She just laughed in my face though and carried on eating my rib.

So, I think the party was a success. From what I understand there were a few mishaps. The kids nearly didn't get the bouncy castle due to the incompetence of a man named Fred. Also, one of Z's dogs went missing. She must have had enough with all the noise and commotion of people enjoying themselves so she took a wee dander. She ended up walking all the way down to the village where a kind couple found her. Everyone was really worried about her. I don't know why though, it sounds like she had a fantastic adventure.

Well, I think that was a pretty accurate account from Ziggy there. Well done! He's not a bad little fella when he isn't terrorising me and hanging off the bottoms of my jeans by his teeth. I am in the process of teaching him tricks. I think it must be built into all dogs to understand the command 'sit' from an early age. It has taken him a little longer to learn how to give his paw. But yesterday he mastered how to lie down and I'm so proud of him as this particular command had caused some confusion for him before and when Ziggy gets confused he gets annoyed. Everyday he gets a little better. I did a bit of reading about his breed (Lhasa Apso) and they are well known for being a breed that is more concerned with pleasing themselves than pleasing their owners. They are also slow to mature meaning that Ziggy will remain puppy like until he is 3 years old! Well, looks like I have my work cut out for the unforseeable future!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

A Day In The Life Of Ziggy

This morning K an I had a conversation about who Ziggy would spend the day with. I proposed that Ziggy would have a better day with me going to Cullybackey to see the Judy and Jess and my nieces. K said there would be plenty of dogs and children to play with if he went with him. I won, of course, and Ziggy did indeed have a splendid day. He would have had a great day if he had gone with K too but he wouldn't have had these great photos to remember it by.

As you can see by the photos he spent very little time standing on his own four little paws. He provided the bulk of the entertainment for my nieces. He was sailed about on the ninky nonk, pushed in the pram, had snuggles with Aunty Katkins and was generally treated like a baby all day. Jess is still but a pup herself, albeit a great big lanky pup, who can put Ziggy down with one paw. Judy is super tolerant of him as long as he doesn't touch her food. Ziggy knows that Judy is top dog and Jess is making sure he knows she is second in line. Ziggy also met Young Loveheart's big Alaskan Huskie, Phoenix, who was as gentle as a giant. After a busy day sporting and having fun it was time to go home. He is now sleeping beside me on the sofa having only stirred briefly when he farted and wondered what it was.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Big Dogs And Tiny Hoops

Right now I'm having to jump through a lot of hoops to get to where I want to be. I remember my younger cousin being the only one brave enough in his family to watch the birth of his little sister. When asked what he thought of it he likened it to a dog jumping through a hoop, only the dog was much bigger and the hoop was a lot smaller. I love the way kids have such a simple approach to life.

Anyway, one of my good qualities is that I find it impossible to tell a lie and one of my bad qualities is that I find it impossible to tell a lie. Upon purchasing a packet of cigarettes, many years ago when I was underage, I was asked if I had any ID. I did not have any ID. The shopkeeper then asked me if I was over 16. I said no. He laughed and sold me the cigarettes anyway for being such a good honest young lass. It is my inability to lie that has led to me having to jump through so many hoops. I struggle with getting a balance here on this blog. I want to be completely open and honest but I am learning that I can't be. It frustrates me because, ultimately, it is through being completely honest, not just with other people but with ourselves, that leads us to a contented life.

All I want to do is go to work and know that I have made someone's life a little better. The reason I go out to a job that gives me no real satisfaction is so that I can work towards leading a life that is going to fulfill me. I have many passions in life, music, photography, writing but my main passion is feeling connected with the world, including the people, animals and nature within it. I guess the other passions are just a way of channelling how I feel. I guess what I'm talking about really is the fact that I'm sick of sitting here feeling disconnected from the world (despite a good healthy internet connection).

Today was a productive day. I went to the doctor's first thing to jump through yet another hoop. I changed my doctor about 2 years ago. She is the most amazing warm and sunny person. She positively glows. She is always more than happy to help me, which is something you don't seem to get a lot of from doctors these days, which is ironic considering that's kind of a big part of their job description. I suppose doctor's, like the rest of society, have ran out of patience having to deal with morons and imbeciles on a daily basis.

Then I went up town to buy a new docking station for my ipod. I'd been without one for several weeks and it occurred to me that my quality of life was not as good without loud music and dancing in it. I also went looting for some treats for the treasure hunt. Then I came back home briefly to write out the clues and decorate them with stickers and then it was time for my first driving lesson in over a year. I picked a bad time for it just as all the kids were coming out of school and the traffic was dense. The main thing is I made a start again. I've got the ball rolling and though driving most definitely does not come naturally to me I just have to keep on ploughing on.