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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Has Started

So that's all the work finished for Christmas. All the school work and all the work work (which has been horrendous) and I am back home from my last shift just sitting here going "phew!". I'll have a snooze in a bit because I'm going out tonight for our work xmas dinner. This time last year kinda passed by in a blur. We have decided this year to not have our christmas dinner in the treehouse. Really, it was a lot of hassle bringing all the food and plates up and we didn't light the fire in time for it to be properly cosy and, well, my heart was broken and chicken and stuffing were not going to mend it. That was last year though and this year my heart is beating strong.

All the coursework was very tiresome. I love my course and I love learning and I love writing. I just hate doing it when I know I have to do it and when I have to do it in a certain timeframe. I'm not sure that will ever change. Maybe when I'm 70. We had a lovely last day of class eating party food and doing secret santa. I'm happy that I've got another few years with this crew. My coping strategy at work this past week has been to laugh as much as possible.

I was mostly organised with christmas presents this year. Mostly, I don't think I've ever got it perfect. There's always presents lying around in the springtime. I have some wrapping to do tomorrow. I hope I'm not too hungover. Ziggy is out at his granny's. He has been a little cantankerous of late and barking at people in the street. I'm not sure what's ailing him but I hope he winds his neck in. A cross, yappy little dog is not what I want. I miss my happy, friendly little puppy! I think he might be a bit fed up with the pishy, rainy weather. Well, I guess it's nap time for me :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

For Tomorrow

Aha! Some dude (John Perry) has written a book on the Art of Procrastination! I knew there was a purpose to it. My mate told me he had borrowed a book from the library about proccrastination and how to overcome it. Of course, he hasn't read it yet. I don't know what Perry says about it but I am coming up with my own theory that centres around me not feeling bad for not doing the things I'm supposed to be doing. It goes like this: Procrastination is a modern day concept born out of the illusion of time. The notion of 'time' has changed since man was a more simple being. Time was told by the sun and the seasons. Now time is told by numbers (grrr...numbers!) Cavemen did not procrastinate. They did not put off hunting because they were too busy scratching their bums. So, if procrastination is a symptom of modern day society, it is nothing more than a social construct, in which case, it can be deconstructed (Yeah! We're gonna break that bitch down!) Procrastination is just another word we use to make ourselves feel bad. The word itself comes from the Latin pro meaning 'forward' and crastinus meaning 'of tomorrow' so to put another spin on that, it means putting something off 'til tomorrow and that's a good thing because that means you have faith that tomorrow will come.

I think it's good to take the pressure off and go with the flow and believe that things will happen when they're meant to happen. My tutor last year always used to say "trust the process" and "don't force anything". Why we battle with ourselves internally is a mystery. Always believing we should be doing this, that or the other instead of just doing what we want to do. And sometimes we want to build virtual cities and breed virtual fish and then blog about the whole exciting experience.

Is it obvious that I'm putting off doing my final piece of coursework? I did feel it was very important to write this blog. And play guitar. And drink some wine.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Some Dude Once Said

I must have a quota for how many words I can write in a week. Like an inbuilt one. The poor old blog has had to take a back seat to coursework. Not that it matters much really. And at least I'm keeping busy. I had a wonderful week off work. It involved drinking lots of coffee, staying up late, seeing a few friends, and getting horribly engrossed in a fish tycoon type game. Really, I should have known better. Luckily, though, I was silly enough to download a link that was offering "unlimited metro money" and got myself a nice virus to contend with. That knocked the silly game on the head and taught me the importance of updating my spyware and reinforced the saying that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

I don't care for that saying though. I have been shocked at how time consuming my coursework has been. I guess that's because the first time round doing a degree I didn't have to go out and earn a living. And I didn't have a dog that needed walked for an hour everyday. Haha, I recall a time when I longed to write an essay! But as with most things I was all gung ho at the start and when it came to it I was put off by the prospect of having to research. That's the only think that makes me get through the counselling course, the fact that the research I'm doing is into myself and I'd kinda started that anyway. I am out of practice writing academically though and I forgot what a chore referencing is! I was never good at referencing because I was always too lazy to find the source and recalled on my own memory which was hazy at best. I rely on "some dude once said....I think it was kung fu panda but I could be wrong".

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Making A Real Pig's Ear Of It

I really am starting to be more honest with myself. For example, I tell myself I am a very patient person, and I suppose I am in a lot of ways, like I'm much more tolerant of people and they foibles than others and, even if I am feeling the stress of impatience I don't let it show. Today, in work, it was tough going. Soooo many people, so many trollies, so much ducking and diving and squeezing (at one point a lady pushed her trolley tight into the aisle so it wouldn't be in the way of others but she failed to notice that she had also pushed me tight into the aisle.) That wasn't when my patience ran out though. This was at the very end of my shift and I realised I'd lost my phone. Remember that new smart phone I got a while back? The one that tied me onto a contract for two years and I thought, what the hey? I have a dog I might as well have a phone contract! Well, we have an app on our phones that helps us to check if things are in stock and it's definitely made things a lot easier but when I lost my phone I was in despair. I would never have my phone on the shop floor if it wasn't for my manager encouraging everyone to use the app. I thought I was going to have to pay £12.50 for the next year and a half without the luxury of a nice phone. Of course I didn't have insurance. I laugh in the face of insurance. Then there was the fact that I didn't know anybody's number and I'd have to go to the phonebox to call mum and tell her the sad, sad news (I am laughing as I write this).

So I was miserable and feeling sorry for myself and a tear rolled down my cheek. Several people helped me look for it. My wee work mammy was away home early so someone else acted as my surrogate work mammy and marched me to the phone shop to cancel my contract. Then the word spread that my phone had been found! I was so relieved I thought it unimportant to dwell on the fact that I very nearly had a meltdown over the fact that I'd lost a stupid phone. But, why be hard on myself? Better just to learn the lesson and be happy that everything worked out ok.

It has to be said though, I can take no more today and Ziggy has decided he's going to be a pain in the ass. It's been so long since I had to send him to bed that he's pretending he doesn't know what it means anymore. I've bribed him with as a pig's ear which he's demolished already. Now I think I might have got him into some kind of Zen-like way of being.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Clean Rotten

Anyone who knows me will know I'm a nemophilist. I put this down to being raised by hippies but it's also an innate part of me. Like I was an Ewok in a past life or something. For several years now I have been working towards a sophrosyne. I believe this can be achieved through balance and acceptance and, of course, my counselling course is helping me with that. I am a very feeling person and I get excited and passionate easily. I have been affected by not just my own erlebrusse but others'. Sometimes this leaves me koyaanisqatsi and I feel a real fernweh. I feel like I need to be on an adventure. But I hold onto a meliorism and sometimes I am so convinced of this that I am filled with vorfreude. There is the hope and possibility of magic. Anything could happen. I am reminded of my smultronstalle and life is strange and good and weird and fun. I am aware of the sillage of everyone I've ever met, the imprint it left on me. And sometimes,when I'm lucky, I experience a mamihlapinatapai.

One of my favourite websites is stumbleupon because you can learn so much from it. I found this list of unusual words and I decided I'd write a little paragraph using them. So if you need the dictionary here it is. I am completely fascinated by words and language. I always find it funny that we have several sayings here in Ballymena that could be confusing for others. For example, if something is dirty we say it is "clean stinking" or "pure rotten" and if something is amazing we say it is "deadly good" or "weak good".

I am convinced that there was a third part of this post but I've forgotten it. I'm too tired to try to retrieve it so I'll leave it there.

Monday, October 27, 2014

So There You Jolly Well Flippin' Well Blinkin' Well Go

My mind is a strange, strange place. F'rinstance, while walking Ziggy the other day I had a peculiar thought about different types of swearing and the effect it would have on young children. Children who are at an age where they know some things but not most things (though we are always at that age really). There's plain swearing like; shit, f**k, bastard, c**t (that's the order my ma likes to use). Then there's the more colourful style of swearing and this is where it might get confusing for kids. For example, 'Bloody Hell' might seem more tame than 'F**k's Sake' but imagine the visual image it can conjure up for a child. Firey pits of hell, with people screaming and blood EVERYWHERE. Some people like to say 'Holy F**k!' This is confusing and misleading to a child who knows that 'f**k' is a bad word but 'holy' is a good word. Of course, if a child is brought up without those religious connotations then swearing would just be swearing. Plain old swearing. Which I'm not condoning by the way.

Anyway, the thought that lead to those other thoughts was of my mum, who likes to say, 'So there you jolly' well, flippin' well, blinkin' well go' and it made me smile. And there ya go!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Night In With Neighbours (Not The Twits)

There's that boy Fly again. Super handsome pooch. Ziggy wants to be just like him. As Ziggy grows older I see the dynamics changing. He still adores Judy and Jess but they grew tired of him long ago. Jess doesn't play with him so much. Luckily for Ziggy, Fly is always up for larking around. I have also noticed that Ziggy and Maya, my sister's dog, have become very fond of each other.

I know that Ziggy has grown up because I very rarely send him to bed these days. In fact, I would say that has something to do with the departure of Meka. I wonder if he is better behaved because he thinks in, his little doggy head, that I could very easily get rid of him. Maybe it's just coincidental. He still likes to bark at nothing sometimes but he's a good boy mostly. Older niece agrees with me and I never ask her if Ziggy was a good boy at Granny's anymore. I used to ask her this every Thursday and her answer was always "no" followed by the exact reason why he wasn't a good boy.

We do miss Meka. Ziggy was unsettled for a couple of nights when she went. It took me two weeks to finally take her cage down and give it to Jakers. That was part laziness and part holding on to her and, if I'm totally honest, I'd say it was 70% laziness 30% holding on. I did toy with the idea of getting a couple of baby rats because I thought that they would probably be even closer to Ziggy and sleep curled up in his fur. Then I went to the pet shop and saw two adults who needed to be adopted because nobody wanted them and I thought if I was going to get more rats I'd be better to take the ones nobody wanted. And then I told myself to wise up I had enough to contend with looking after Ziggy.

It's Saturday night again. I have no plans as yet but the night is young. The night is young though I am old. Or at least my body is old and I was partying last Saturday and Wednesday night so if I spend an evening watching old episodes of Neighbours I'll be content.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Post About Nothing

Well, life is interesting at the minute! I'm busy but not so busy that I don't have time to bless myself. I just don't have much to write about. The interesting stuff is top secret and requires more information than I care to share but things are, once again, making a lot of sense. I have always believed myself to an ok communicator but there is always room for improvement and I have had quite a lot of conversations recently that have made me realise that I am progressing. I have reconnected with some important people.

I still feel very overwhelmed at times. Just because I am who I am and I do care so much about everyone and everything.

I guess that's why I don't have much to write about, because I'm having all these conversations with different people and I really feel like I'm getting somewhere. There's a lot of laughter and hope. There's a lot of honesty and that's the thing that makes me smile. People are talking to me from their hearts and that's all I've ever wanted.

And music and dance are just as good as writing and words.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Super Pooch

This week has been productive. I got Ziggy's dog licence renewed (that means it's been a year since the Twits complained about Ziggy's early morning barking), oil to heat the house, issues in work sorted and I even had time to squeeze in a coffee date. I also caught up with Gus and we worked on the blues song, which has yet to be named. The course is going great and I've handed in my first bit of homework. I am very much the same kind of student I was 10 years ago, and that is the kind that leaves everything to the last minute. That's ok though because I procrastinate in style and I'm continously doing "research".

Last week went by in a flurry of annoyances at work and catching up with family. I had some class mates round for drinks on Wednesday night and I had pizza and cider with some work mates on Saturday night. When you're young you just have mates. When you get to a certain age you start to define your mates by how you know them. I still long for the day when I can write..."on Tuesday I went to the forest and climbed trees with my soul mates." It'll happen, I know it will.

Ziggy is officially no longer a devil dog. He is a super pooch. He has learned to relax more and he has realised it's nice to cuddle beside me. Our bond grows stronger every day and I no longer feel guilty for leaving the house without him. He is much more accepting than I ever gave him credit for. Also, the flatmate keeps him company a lot of the time. He has become the dog I dreamed of and, despite this, I found myself looking at him the other night and mourning his puppyhood. We humans are very strange indeed.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Whisky Dog Blues

Although I haven't been doing much blogging lately I've been keeping busy with music and a bit of photography. Oh, and my course, which is a vast change from last year which was 3 hours every week. I now wake up for work every Monday, start at 6 in the morning, work until 12:30 and then go to class which is from 1-9. It's a long day but I enjoy it. Gus and I wrote a blues song on Sunday. The first line is "I should have drank more whisky last night, so I wouldn't drink so much today"

I don't know what these flowers are but they were growing on amongst my sister's vegetables

This handsome boy is Fly. Ziggy adores him.

This is Willowherb. I thought it looked nice and fluffy.

Ziggy peers off into the horizon keeping his eyes peeled for The Enemy.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Meka Moo

For the first time in 4 years the rat cage lies empty. Meka was the last. My little champion and warrior. I had her put down yesterday because she was growing lumps everywhere and it was only a matter of time before the cancer would have caused her suffering. The reason she is my little warrior is because she survived several things in her short life. She survived major surgery when she had a lump on her chest. She also survived the death of her sister Polly. Rocky had to cope with the loss of his sister, Pepe, but he was never the same rat after and he died a year later. Meka, on the other hand, missed the company of her sister but continued to take pleasure out of life. It wasn't too long before Ziggy came along to keep Meka company and she accepted him just like he was a giant rat. She let him into her cage, she groomed him, she tolerated his rough playfulness. In the earlier days she would get up on her hind legs and look him square in the eye. Ziggy always backed down.

She was the sweetest little rat. When we first got her she was nervous and stuck close to Rocky. Her sister Polly was always the brave one, adventuring and escaping. But Meka was curious, and always much more active than Polly. After she had her surgery Meka became much braver and more interested in humans, not just me. My bond with her grew then because I sensed that she knew I had done a good thing for her by getting the lump removed and she seemed to trust humans in general. It such a nice feeling when a small animal places their trust in you. Meka, as a youngster, was super cute and she liked to crawl around my head and neck and sniff in my ears and up my nose. She also liked to play with my wet hair after I'd had a shower. She was a greedy minx and when food was put into the bowl she would grab all the best bits and hoard it at the bottom of the cage. She continued this habit even when she didn't have other rats to contend with.

So here's to Meka, and Pepe, Rocky and Polly too. I hope some day to have rats again but, for now, I'd like to save a space in my heart in case a stray dog happens to stumble on my path :)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Every Little T'ing's Gonna Be Alriiight

I was off work on Thursday so I had a lazy morning with Ziggy on the sofa. Then we went for our walk. It was a beautiful, hazy sunny day and Ziggy and I were both in fine form. I then went up the town to get stationary and folders for my course starting on Monday. It had been ages since I'd been up the town. It had been ages since I spent any money. I came back home and N called round and we took Ziggy to Portglenone forest. I wanted to find a log to sit on so we followed a pixie trail that led us to the perfect log. We sat for a while, chatting and enjoying the serenity of the forest.

Later that evening I went out for hot chocolate and ice cream with a few girls from work. They are all at least 7 years younger than me but I didn't really notice until they started talking about all the hot actors they fancied and as they showed me pictures of these dudes on their phones I realised that I had never heard tell of them. Also, they weren't that hot. But I am always complaining that I don't get to hang out with girls enough so it was nice to do something with them.

On Friday, after work, I went for a session of reiki. I paid £20 for an hour of bliss. It really was so relaxing. I lay down on the bed and he placed crystals on the 7 points of my body that represented the 7 chakras. Then he placed his hands on the crown of my head. I have always liked being touched on the head but when he placed his hands on me I felt like I was being cocooned in the most comforting way imaginable. He then alternated placing his hands between my head and shoulders. At one point I became aware that I wanted him to place his hands on my forehead and, without saying anything, he did. I also felt that I needed the sides of my face, my ears and cheeks, to be touched and again, he instinctively knew to place his hands there. He worked down through the body and when he touched my feet it also felt strangley comforting and relaxing and I also noticed the heat of his hands more. But, without a doubt, my head seemed to benefit the most from it.

Afterwards he was able to tell me the things he picked up on. He too had noticed that there was a lot of healing taking place around my head. He could sesne that I was a deep thinker and my mind was like a washing machine. He asked me if I had any trouble with my ears. I mentioned in a blog post a while ago that I had bought ear drops. They helped for a bit but I had ongoing problems with my ear and had been to the doctor's three times. The last doctor noticed a perforation on my ear drum (probably caused by myself when I was poking cotton buds into it). I am currently on the waiting list to see a specialist. The reiki man said, however, that even though he felt it a lot around my ears he beleived that it was actually my sinuses that was causing the difficulty. I have always been prone to sinus infections and every time I take a cold that's where I feel it most.

He then went on to tell me that he felt a lot around my stomach and he asked me if I was a fussy eater. He said that this part of the body also represents confidence issues and he believed that I struggled with being sure of myself. This is true, even after I had made a conscious decision to work on my confidence it is still an issue I battle with. He said he also felt a lot of healing around my feet, in particular my left ankle. I told him that I sprained my ankle twice when I was younger but I couldn't remember if it was the left or the right foot. I have been trying to visualise my First Holy Communion pictures as that was one of the times I had sprained my ankle. It won't be hard to find out if he was right. And I think he is.

So my overall verdict is that it was deeply relaxing, soothing and insightful. I would reccommend it to anyone but I do believe that people will get varying results. For me, it was something that I was ready to embrace. I felt open to the healing that was being offered and I also felt very comfortable with the guy that was performing it. I had met him once before in different circumstances and I had sensed a nice vibe from him then as well. I felt throughout the session that we were in tune with each other and that helped me to get the most out if it that I possibly could. The main feeling I got was one of protection. As soon as his hands touched my head I felt safe. I will be seeing him again, for sure.

Today I am headed for unknown territory. An adventure, if you will. Gus resides in a far off land and we're jamming there for a change. I do believe that it is in the wilds of the countryside and there is a forest and feral cats for Ziggy to play with. I'm bringing my camera, my geetar and a head full of zen and humour. That's all you need sure.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Maybe Tomorrow....

My youngest niece and I like to have indepth conversations in a made up language. She is very good at it and makes all the right facial expressions even though she is saying "Agombi kyian shupapa fallella". And then I nod my head and say "Fee fee, caranya asloo borodia sleven". It ocurrs to me that these converstaions are just as meaningful, if not more, than a lot of the converstaions I have with adults. I am coming to the conclusion that we are all just talking gibberish.

Sometimes we have to take a long hard look at ourselves to realise why we have come to a certain point in life. I have known for a long time that I am the sort of person that cares deeply about things. Things matter to me. A lot. I get so excited and hopeful and full of promise. And, when things don't go to to plan the disappointment I feel can knock the wind out of me. I was wondering why I'm like this. I came to the conclusion it's because I haven't actually grown up yet. I get excited about life like a child gets excited about going to the park. When something doesn't work out for me I feel the same sadness that my 4 year old niece feels when we leave the house without remembering her all important box of fairies that is actually really a pencil sharpener. I don't experience these emotions over the trivial things but, when something matters to me I pour all my heart and soul into it. The more I invest of myself the more disappointed I feel. And that's the problem. I can't invest less. I just can't do it. I wear my heart on my sleeve.

So is it time to grow up? Will I fare better in a world that favours adults? Shall I start building a wall up around myself and taking all my advice from the sage of cynicsm? Shall I take this crown of naievity from my head and put on the crown of judgement? I'm not so sure. Think I might just bide my time and see where this playful, childlike way of being might take me. I'm not ready to join the adults yet. Maybe tomorrow I'll wanna settle down.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Spider Bites

It's a wonder I managed to get anywhere in the world with my lack of organisational skills. Then again, there's something about 'winging it' that makes the whole experience unique. I was reminded today of my sister's wedding in Norfolk. I had been to Madrid with Jakers. It was his first holiday and we had a wonderful time. We flew out together from Dublin although we nearly missed our flight. I'll never forget the look on Jakers' face when he said "Does this mean we're not going on holiday?" But we made it just in time and to calm our nerves we decided to have a drink on the plane. I suggested whiskey (of course) and Jakers looked at the picture in the menu and said "I dunno. I dunno if I fancy powdered whiskey." Yes, the whiskey did come in sachets but we were on a plane, not a spaceship, and the whiskey was not powdered.

I had booked our room in a hostel and given some random time of arrival. When we got there we were fours hours late and the hostel owner, who looked like a member from ZZ Top, told us he had given our room to someone else but we could stay in a shared room for a couple of days and have the private room for the last few days. We made a deal with ZZ Top and shared a room with several people. It just meant that we appreciated our own room when we finally got it.

Jakers and I flew back separately. He went back to Ireland and I flew to London to meet Dirt Bird so we could travel to Norfolk together. I was meant to arrange accomodation for us with one of my two aunts but I left everything to the last minute when I was in Madrid and everything fell to an arse so Dirt Bird's friend, a roadie, said he could put us up for the night. I met Dirt Bird and we met the roadie and he told us that it was his sister's house he had been offering up to us and shit had hit the fan and it was no longer an option but we could stay the night at this recording studio. So we did. When we got there we went to 'the bar'. There were a few others but they soon left. The barman was a black guy who appeared to speak in riddles most of the night but who also made a lot of sense. Needless to say Dirt Bird and I were not wise and drank the night away. The drunker I got the more the barman made sense. When the sun came up we went up to the roof and then we went out for breakfast. This is what happens when accomodation is left up to me.

A spider crawled around the floor this morning. This time last year I would have been feared but I am trying to overcome my disliking of spiders. It's not rational when I can let a wasp climb through my hair and feed it sugar and water but freak out when I see a spider. The flatmate and I both noticed Ziggy licking at his hind leg today and he didn't want to put any weight on it. I couldn't see any obvious cuts and he didn't yelp when I investigated him. Then I saw him sniff at something on the floor that made him flinch. It was the spider, dead. I think Ziggy might have been bitten by the spider. It's still annoying him and he won't walk on it properly but it's clearly more discomfort rather than pain that he's feeling. He has been eating bits of sausages so I assmue he's otherwise ok.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Sleeping In The Tree House

This morning I had my driving test. I failed. And I knew I had failed but it's ok. I was a little bit disheartened but I never really expected to get it first time anyway. At least I know what to expect now and, really, the most annoying thing about it is having to pay for it again but sure, I'll never go hungry. I might not be able to get the Littlest Hobo t.shirt I want just yet but that can wait!

Besides, the universe had to balance my happiness out in some way because life has been so sweet this past week or so I was getting kinda spoilt with happiness. I went to a party on Saturday night armed with a guitar and half bottle of Jamesons. I met some fantastic people and we laughed the night away and sang songs. Gus came round for music on Tuesday and we actually kinda wrote a song, though the more I play it the more I think that the song might have already been written before. I don't know, it doesn't matter because I'm having such a good time laughing and singing and bouncing ideas off people that everything else is irrelevant. After the party on Saturday night we took a walk through the forest. I noticed a build up of mud by a small stream and I had the urge to poke it with a stick. The mud was harder than I thought, the stick snapped and I fell into the stream.

I slept in the treehouse the weekend before that. Bert informed me that it was the coldest night of the year so far. I lit the stove and some candles and took my sleeping bag up and settled down. The sky was so clear so I went out to the porch to look at the stars. It was brilliant. My body and mind knew that it was sleeping outdoors, amongst the trees. I felt like an Ewok! I woke up around half four shivering in my sleeping bag because the fire had gone out. If I had rammed it full of logs before going to sleep it would have lasted longer but I'll know for next time. It didn't even occur to me that I could just go into the house and go back to sleep. I put on my jeans and coat and got back into my sleeping bag and willed myself to get warm. I fell back asleep, when the sun was coming up and an hour or so later I heard small feet climbing up the stairs. My niece had remembered I was sleeping in the treehouse and come up to tell me that she needed a bowl for her breakfast.

My course starts in a couple of weeks so that'll be another thing to keep me learning and growing. The driving will come eventually. Ziggy will be sailed around the country at his leisure. I will ask him "Where do ya wanna go today Ziggy?" and I'll know just by looking into his eyes, 'cos I'm teaching him that trick. And then I'll pick the camera back up and remember that I have other hobbies as well as music and I'll also remember that I want to find someone to illustrate my book so that I can read it to my nieces when they're still children. It's nice remembering what I want to do with my life :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Shake It Out

It is very true that, if we want, and if we persist and if we choose to see the silver lining, a positive will arise from every negative situation. Last week when I was feeling down I spent the afternoon walking in the forest with dogs and mum. When I cam home I picked up my guitar and played a song I wrote. Despite the sadness that flowed through my veins I sang as best I could. I then sang it again while recording myself with my camera. Y'see, I can do things like that now because I have a smart phone! I played it back and was heartened that it didn't sound diabolical. Days went by and my mood lifted. Monday came and I was feeling like I needed to give myself a good shake, not for any other reason than we should always give ourselves a good shake once in a while. So I shook myself in to being brave enough to post my video on facebook for all my friends, family, work colleagues and randomers that I picked up on my travels to see.

I do not think I am the most amazing singer in the world. I am alright. I am most certainly not the best guitar player in the world but I wrote that tune. All by myself. And, well, the lyrics are just a real basic poem I wrote years ago but I wrote them for a reason and that reason was to remind myself that I am here to experience as much of life as I possibly can. All that aside, I wrote a song and I was proud of myself and I wanted to encourage other people. So many of us are held back and crippled with fears, worries, insecurities and feelings of inferiority. There are so many people in the world, so much talent, and it is easy to feel jaded that your own slice of talent doesn't cut the mustard. I was glad that I was brave and people were so supportive. And this has encouraged me greatly, to do all the things that I love to do and to share it with as many people as possible.

So Gus (obviously not his real name but, well, I like to give my friends some privacy) has been round for a few practice sessions and I have been chatting to N about collaborating with us too. My dreams of bringing everyone together in some kind of collective creative community are coming to fruition. This makes me SO happy! If I could only get Ziggy to be more creative and less destructive then I would be surrounded by a big bubble of peace.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dead Bird Season Revisited

Yesterday I got out of dodge. I was starting to feel stagnant seeing the same scenery. So I took a visit to the town where there be a lot of chefs and I had a very pleasant stroll in a forest. It was a rather convoluted journey. If I was driving it would have taken me an hour to get there but I was relying on Norn Iron's transport system which operates a system that dates back to sometime in the 1940's. But why would this bother me? Being on public transport means your going somewhere! I took the train to Belfast and the bus for the rest of the journey. While on the bus I thought back to my travels in Ecuador. There was something about the lush, green, sloping fields that reminded me of home. And the traditional Ecuadorian Women who reminded me of Pearlie.

I hated public transport when I was younger. I hated making journeys on my own and I have been caught out a couple of times and stranded in places I didn't want to be. The doors once didn't open at the Cullybackey stop (I swear it must've been a technical fault but over the years I have come to doubt this and wonder did I maybe not press the button to open the doors - who knows?) and I had to get off at the next stop which was miles away. I also jumped on the wrong train after getting home from Amsterdam so late at night that I'd missed the last train to Stoke and had to sleep on a bench. I was listening to music and didn't hear where the train was going and it took me a while to realise that I was going in completely the opposite direction of Stoke. I am sure there was also some kind of incident when I was about 13 involving me getting on the wrong train back from Dublin but the details are a little hazy.

I have become very accustomed to public transport now and I enjoy the random meetings of individuals who each have a little story to tell. I once took a coach in Thailand from Bangkok to Krabi. I wanted to travel in comfort but I got a bit confused between first class and buisness class and I went for buisness. The majority of passengers on the bus were Thai buisness men. It was a memorable journey though and at 2 O'Clock in the morning the coach stopped at a massive night time food market. All the men jumped out and had great big feeds that would have choked a donkey. I just smoked.

I took my camera with me yesterday but I was in good company so I didn't take a lot of snaps even though the whole place was very photogenic. Although, on the way back we noticed a dead magpie at the bottom of a tree. This was just at the start of the walk and we hadn't noticed it before. Forever the detective I touched the bird to see if it was long dead. It was kind of cold but rigor mortis had not set in. This made me think of dead bird season when I kept seeing dead birds. I just checked out the significance behind it today. A dead bird is often seen as an ominous sign. Since a bird represents freedom a dead one can signify the loss of freedom. But for every negative spin on a happening there are the positive spins and one site claims it to be a sign of the end of a something negative and the beginning of a positive phase in your life. The other spin on it is that death is the biggest part of life and creatures die all the time and it really means nothing other that what that dude Elton John sang about. It was probably just as well it was dead for had it been injured I would have been compelled to take it home and nurse it back to health. And, of course, I don't really rate Elton John and it doesn't seem logical to me that a dead bird should equate a loss of freedom or anything negative and that leaves the only other spin, which is a dead bird is a symbol of good times to come :)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Pee Game

Yesterday I played a game with my nieces when we were out for our dog walk. The game was called "Guess How Many Times Ziggy Will Pee Even Before We Get To The Riverpath". I placed my bet at 11. Z decided 9. Younger Niece didn't really understand the game but she guessed 10 anyway while Older Niece put her bet at 16 but decided to go for 12 upon her mother's advice. Ziggy seemed to understand we were playing a game and he made it all very exciting and tense for us. He was on pee number 9 and we were still round the corner from the path. I knew he would squeeze a few more out but he teased us by cocking his leg then changing his mind. Pee number ten came out and this knocked Z out of the game and put Younger Niece in pole position. Ziggy toyed with us some more before pee number 11 came out when we were just metres away from the path. It was looking like Ziggy knew the score and wanted me to win but then he made a u turn, went back to some nettles, lifted the leg and pee number 12 came out. Older Niece was delighted that she won the game and wanted to play a similar one to see how many poohs he would do.

Later in the evening I called round to see Sunshine and Moonshine. We drank some beer and cider and went to the park. I think it's a real shame that adults have to wait to sun down before they can have some fun at the park but until they build official play parks for grown ups we don't really have much choice. We all concluded that swings are just not what they used to be. Still great fun but health and safety has meant they are not as high as they used to be and the bars are not as flexible, preventing you from swinging so incredibly high that you might go up and over the bars. Health and Safety are like a real old, boring couple that spoils everyone's fun.

Ziggy hates it when I procrastinate. The wallpaper in the bathroom had been peeling for quite some time and it had been on my 'to do' list to buy some paint and redecorate. Ziggy had a wee go at removing some of the wall paper for me. On Wednesday when I was feeling sad and blue I started to rip the wallpaper off. It was a perfect activity to be at considering my frame of mind. I just wanted something kind of mindless, and a little bit destructive, to be at. Then, of course, I couldn't put off buying the paint as I'd already started the job so off I went to B and Q and bought the most expensive paint I could get for a bathroom. Because that's what you do when you haven't much money! So that's probably gonna be my project for the day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Depressive Optimist

Wow, I have just been hit square on the face with a shovelful of depression. Fuuuccckk! Just when I think I’m strong and happy and well equipped to deal with the shit of the world I am propelled back down into the pits of doom. I am so sick and tired of holding on and reaching out and asking the universe, please, please just give me my single grain of happiness. I don’t want it all, just a little. Just enough to keep me going until my body has aged to the point where it matches my soul.

I have mustered all the positivity and hope that I can. I have laughed and smiled and sang with the world and I know happiness and I know love and I know adventure. And I know nothing lasts forever except that sometimes this depression feels like it is going to last forever and I can’t really handle that.
Slowly things happen, things improve and I am lulled into a false sense of security that everything’s gonna be ok. Then it halts. The slow progress I’ve made feels like I might have conquered an ant hill. A fucking ant hill! Well, jeez Louise I climbed that bad boy and I felt so goddam proud of myself for a millisecond. Only to have it all taken away because the next ant hill is at least ten billion light years away and I just don’t know if I can make it that far and still have the energy to conquer it.

Then I am reminded of all the wisdom I have gained from reading books by Pauolo Coelho and I wonder why I am giving in when I am so very, very close. Close to what? I don’t even know but I keep hoping that my grain of happiness is round the next corner, or a bit further down that twisty path. The one with weeds and wildflower. Or maybe I should just go on down the path with broken glass and graffiti and so what if I cut the fuck out of my feet, sure the skin’s as tough as leather anyway.

I had to think seriously about whether or not I was gonna post this but the death of Robin Williams has made me realise that too many people carry the burden of depression and feel the stigma and, ulitmately, feel like they have no choice but to end the pain for good. I have used medication before but, at this point in my life, I don't want to simply block out all my feelings. Besides, it's different becuase the more I open up about depression the more I understand it and the less I fear that it will go on forever. It just feels like that sometimes. I am totally past the point of caring what people think of me. Sort of. I know I have a lot of love and light to offer and I know that I'll ride this out and reclaim back just enough strength to prepare me for the next outburst. That's not that I always expect to fall back down but that I know I need to prepare myself for it. Dealing with the Black Dog head on is the only course of action for me. There are reasons I feel the way I do, it's not like my depression is unexplainable and I am working as best I can to keep focus on all the good I have in life. I can feel hopeless but optimistic at the same time, if that makes sense.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Grizzly Man

Where on earth has my mind been? Somewhere half way up a tree in a forest I've never even been to. It's ok though. I trust that the tree will look after it. Ziggy seems to be on some kind of blogger protest which involves him putting his head on my laptop thus preventing me from writing. I'm off work all this week yay! The Lovely Mels was home at the weekend and we partook in a spot of bouncing and discussing the joys of human nature. She was also home a couple of weeks ago when the almighty Bird of Dirt was here. We spent an evening in the tree house before joining Nellybert and chums for some music making. Maybe I already mentioned that, I can't remember. It's all about the music at the minute. I had a friend round on Sunday for a jam. This dude just pops up periodically in my life from time to time but he's great on the geetar and good for my motivation so I coerced him. We did an assortment of tunes from Johnny Cash to Bob Marley. There was laughter, tears, the odd bum note and a few swallies consumed. We then sat down to watch the Grizzly Man, a doocumentary about an American who spent 13 summers living with bears in Alaska.

As always, with a story like that, there were a lot of people who had opinions about what he was doing. One dude pretty much said it was his own fault that he died at the hands of the bears but it was a shame he took his girlfriend with him. I made up my own mind about the Grizzly Man, based mostly on his own self-documentation with video cameras that he would use to record himself. I think his name was Alexander (though I might be getting confused with Alexander Supertramp - this is terrible that I can't even remember the Grizzly Man's real name and I only watched this show two days ago. I could have just googled it but that's where my laziness comes in. I'd rather waste two minutes writing about how lame I am than use the internet to be factual), but anyway, Alexander was a very effeminate sort of chap. He was not gay, or at least, he had girlfriends but he felt that nobody really understood him. He spoke to the bears in a very gentle tone, even when he was cross with them and trying to show his dominance. If he had to be cross with them he would say afterwards "I'm sorry. I love you."

The Grizzly Man was someone who just didn't fit into society and didn't even want to try. He was happier with the bears. He knew that he could die at their hands and he had accepted that fate. After watching the documentary I wondered if he could have prevented his death and chose not to. It seemed as the years went on and the Grizzly Man spent more and more time in isolation he became more and more angry and bitter about how he was perceived by the world. He recorded himself going off on rants and you could tell that, although he was happier being with the bears than anywhere else, he still seemed to be despeartely lonely. The footage that was taken hours before his death showed him taking in his surroundings and realising how lucky he was to be experiencing what he was. To me, it seemed like he was ready to die. Of course, that is only speculation.

A pack of foxes became very attached to the Grizzly Man. They followed him, chased him, played with him. He'd ruffle the tops of their heads and their eyes would close in contentment. He was their little prince. A lot of people believe that wild animals should not be tamed, that it is unnatural, but what if you let yourself be tamed by the wild animal, or, y'know just be a bit more wild like them?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Backyard Babies

Sometimes I underestimate the power of life. I am amazed by the sheer strength and will that a living thing will exuberate, just to keep on living, growing and being beautiful. Of course, Pearlie's death also taught me that when something gives up the will to live, and go on peacefully to the next stage, there is a strength and will in that too. I once wrote about a plant that my friend Dirt Bird gave me as a housewarming gift. Oh, what a source of guilt that turned out to be as I let it die of starvation. It has been said by many people, many times, that one should not own a pet unless they are capable of looking after a plant. As it was, I had the rats already and it was kinda because of them that I let the plant die. That's not to say I'm trying to shift the blame. I take full responsibility. Instead of feeling guilty I now look back on that plant and wonder if, perhaps, I had to let it die because there was something negative in me that I needed to let go of. Or maybe that's just how I have reasoned it to alleviate the guilt and shame that I couldn't even give a plant a taste of water every once in a while.

Last year I decided I would like to plant a tree and learn the art of Bonsai. The quest started with digging up some saplings. I repotted four altogether. I left them out in the back yard and tended to them every once in a while. The winter came and, along with it, my heart was broken and I had barely the energy to nurture myself let alone these saplings that I had hoped would grow healthy and strong. Thery stayed out in the backyard all through the harsh winter and they died. I would look at them periodically, feeling a kind of nostaligia about how excited and hopeful I had felt when I first planted them. I had no guilty associations. I had started to learn that guilt was not a trusted friend but a sleekit one that would try to hold me back. Then, with the first whispers of Spring, when everything else was beginning to awaken, I noticed that two of the saplings were clinging onto life. In that desolate backyard these saplings had held onto a glimmer of hope. They wanted to be bonsai trees. That was their destiny.

I took them out to Nellybert's and repotted them after trimming their roots (Bert winced when I did this but that's what makes a bonsai tree a bonsai). They still have a long way to go (about 15 years) before they look like they are supposed to but what's 15 years in the grand scheme of things? They are now flourishing and amongst all the nature and greenery that the countryside has to offer as opposed to the grey concrete of the town.

The Lovely Mel also bought me a plant last year. Obviously the fact that my friends now buy me plants for my house is a sign that I am some kind of adult. This plant showed off beautiful flowers for a week and then it began to wither and fade. Everyone in my family is a keen gardener and possess more than a shred of common sense when it comes to such things. I saw the flowers die and assumed the whole plant had died. So out it went into the backyard as well. Whilst I liked to keep an eye on the tree saplings I became completely oblivious to this other plant. But, a week ago I noticed it and realised that it had began to grow again and was just about ready to bloom. The original stalk is dead. It juts out of the plant pot to remind me that it has been reincarnated, once again, into something beautiful. Of course, people that know about plants and trees and nature, know that they can grow anywhere. It's just that I believed that nothing could thrive in such a desolate place.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Warm Warm Warm Weather

Pearlie's funeral happened to be on one of the warmest days of the year so far. This was fitting as she hated being cold and would bumfle herself up in as many layers as possible. My reading was difficult to do. The sadness kind of hit me when I got up to read about her and I felt my voice start to crumple. I managed to compose myself and was able to finish the tribute.

The awesome weather continued for the next few days. I stayed at mum's on Wednesday night and all day Thursday. The girls were out and they entertained us with their childlike imaginations. We painted for a while and then played a game on the trampoline that was called "Go Mad and Crazy". This involved me bouncing around like a loon with arms and legs flailing all over the place while I shouted "Everything's all mad and crazy". The girls joined in until we'd all fall in a heap laughing our heads off.

Friday was even warmer and when I cam home from work I discovered Ziggy hadn't been well. He'd had a few accidents on the floor, seemingly, from both ends and I was a bit concerned about taking him out for a long walk. I hooked up with Z and her brood and we drove to the river path so all the dogs could have a dip in the water to cool them down. Ziggy ran around with Maya and didn't seem the slightest bit unwell. I came home from work yesterday afternoon and the flatmate told me Ziggy had had another wee accident in the morning. He seemed ok and I took him for a walk around Portglenone forest with someone who owns an American Akita. Ziggy and the Akita had a great game of chase and dipped themselves in the water. I went out to Nellybert's after and Ziggy spent the next four hours playing with Jess. My mum looked at him and said "I thought you said Ziggy wasn't well."

This morning I have watched him out in the backyard and he's had more bouts of diarrhea and vomiting. I don't know if it's been the heat, or something he ate, but even when he's not well he just wants all the fun there is to be had. He's resting now for the first time in days. Meka is also not a hundred per cent. She has started to grow another mammory tumour, this time on her side. I don't think I will put her through another big operation as she is in the final stage of her life. Rats only live until there about 3 years old and Meka is two and a half. By the time the lump grows to a size where it's starting to affect her she will be dying of old age anyway. That will be the last little ratty I keep for a while. This morning I had her up on the sofa with Ziggy and I. She lay in below my dressing gown and came out every once in a while to sniff Ziggy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Sweet Goodbye

Pearlie Blue passed away on Sunday, peacefully at home with Bert holding her hand. She'd had a tough couple of days but, thankfully, she didn't suffer unnnecessarily. Everything happened so quick. I hadn't been out to visit during the week as I had no transport but when I phoned on Saturday mum told me she wasn't good. I spent the afternoon with her. She was weak and tired but she still asked me if I'd had a driving lesson. When I kissed her goodbye I prepared myself for it being the last kiss, although, some part of me thought that I would see her the next day because she had always been such a fighter. Her last words to me were "Thankyou". It was a sweet goodbye.

Obviously I feel sad, but not for myself, for Bert. And Bert feels sad because he loved her like all children love their parents. Despite the sadness we all recognise that she was ready to go. Though her mind was as sharp as a tack her body had been failing for quite some time. She had coped long enough with the inability to stimulate her mind as much as she'd wanted because of physical restraints.

Of course, death always makes me philosophical about life. The more funerals I attend the more I understand why we carry out these rituals, because, in understanding death, we appreciate how to celebrate life. I have to say, I probably always had a bit of a morbid fascination with death from a young age, only in the sense that I thought about it often and was always curious as to what happened after death. Since I didn't buy into the whole heaven concept, it seemed like there were only a few other possibilites really. I guess what I'm angling at here is that I didn't think I'd really be so affected by Pearlie's death and that's just dumb because death makes everyone think about life. No matter how many times it happens.

I want to get back to the point I made about Pearlie being 'ready to go'. That's something that not everyone has. Over the years I have watched the clock ticking by and felt like I should be doing so many things, so quickly, all at once, before time runs out. That's self-inflcited pressure. Pressure I neither want, nor need. I certainly have no regrets about my past so why should I have expectations about the future? I think I really understand the concept of 'living in the moment' now. That's not to say that I will be a master at this practice. Our mind's thought processes are so ingrained to our way of being that we can only try as much as we can to change the habits of our thinking. What I'm trying to convey here is that I'm ready to go. I don't want, or plan to die but, if I was one of the many few who died before their 'time' I would leave this earth knowing that I lived my life the way I wanted to and I experienced all that I could possibly experience, and, to feel that way is pretty liberating.

The funeral is tomorrow. Pearlie had a small family and only two blood relatives remain. But she had an extended family that include an assortment of different people. People who care very much for Bert and who are proud of him for looking after his mother 'til the very end. His father would have been so proud.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ziggy's Thing

The flatmate and I have quite a few things in common but the main thing is we both love Ziggy. When the flatmate comes home and Ziggy doesn't run to the door to greet him his first question is "Where's Ziggy?" I was chatting the other day about how Ziggy's life was much more mundane before he moved in and the flatmate said "Yeah, Ziggy was telling me all about it" to which I replied, "Oh, is that right, what kind of things has he been saying?". The flatmate answered, "Well, he told me he had to go to bed at eight o'clock every night". I said, "Yeah, well, he wasn't lying, he did have to go to bed at eight every night", and then I added "You know Ziggy's been telling me some stuff about you too."

I enjoy pretending that a dog has a voice and can talk to humans. Brian the dog is my favourite character in Family Guy for the simple fact he's a dog that does human things but still gets scared of the hoover and can't help wag his tail when he gets praise. It's silly, I know, but it amuses me.

Ziggy has so many different toys. These include; a ball, a squeaker, a tugger, a teddy, a bone and a donut. I have run out of names for his various toys so the latest one i got him has been named his 'thing'. He also has a rubber wibbly wobbly thing that he never plays with because I haven't given it a name yet. Meka likes that particular toy since the rubber is nice for her to chew. The only time Ziggy shows interest in this toy is when I put it in Meka's cage. Opening Meka's cage door is one of Ziggy's new tricks. He does it all the more because he knows he's not supposed to.

Everything is going rather swimmingly at the minute. I am definitely learning not to stress out so much and I'm enjoying this zen-like state of being. It's funny to think how I thought I was so happy last year. On the surface it did seem like everything was going my way but there was still a fragility about my state of being. I find life so poignant sometimes. I am back riding the waves, only this time they aren't waves of sadness but waves of excitement.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Brain Drops Keep Falling On My Head

I joined the rest of the world and got a smart phone. I was paying £15 a month and using the kind of phone where young people ask "What is that contraption you're holding up against your ear?" I might as well pay £12.50 a month and have the kind of phone that can do everything except make perfect toast. I've had it for two days already and I've hardly used it. This is because I had a couple of days before my phone number was switched over to the new sim card. The guy on the phone told me that I would lose any unused credit I had on the phone. I had £10 of credit to use up, which I did by calling a few people. I then realised I had £20 worth of O2 rewards so I redeemed some of if it in vouchers and some of it in more credit which I also used up last night calling some more folk. I felt super smug about making sure that every single penny was spent.

But all this chat about phones and money is boring. Tomorrow I have a day out in Belfast planned with Nelly and my lovely nieces. This Saturday is the 12th day here in Norn Iron (of course it's the 12th day everywhere else in the world but they don't seem to get as excited as the boyos here do). So I'm off on Saturday for a rare treat and Ziggy and I will be heading to the countryside to get away from all the banging, and tooting and whistling and piping and cheering, and shouting and general noise. Out in Cullybackey we will only have to put up with the hooting of Bert's clarinet and the occasional barge from Nelly when a dog runs over her plants.

I took a trip up to Boots chemist this afternoon and got ear drops, eye drops and Pearl Drops (whitening toothpaste). I have had a slight blockage in one of my ears that has been interfering with playing guitar and singing. I wanted the eye drops because I want my eyes to look brighter and I figure putting a ween o' drops into them is easier than clarying a tonne of makeup on them. The toothpaste will probably do very little to whiten my teeth but I got it on clearance so I feel like I got a bragain and that is just as uplifting as having white teeth. Also, I am a mere 60 points away from having enough to get one of my favourite (also one of the most expensive) perfumes. How a girl as scruffy as myself could end up having a taste for exquisite perfume I don't know. I guess I'm hoping to meet a blind man with a keen sense of smell.

So, today, I'm all about the head and giving it some TLC. My feet also need a bit of attention but, fortunately, I can keep them well hidden whereas my head is there for all to see. The only kind of 'drops' I didn't get were brain drops. Maybe I don't need them now that I have a smart phone!

Saturday, July 05, 2014

The Photo Update

The sun's been shining, Ziggy got neutered, there were walks in the park, days with the girls, driving lessons started, and the odd whiskey or two drank. I've been busy enjoying life. Here's some pics:

Ziggy shows Alfie who's Boss

Bert partakes in a spot of tree surgery

The girls paddling

Ziggy's new bud


Ziggy after his op

Ziggy has learnt how to open Meka's cage door and steals her food

Fun in the field

Ziggy's piggies

Our dog walk

Ziggy's whirlpool

The Emotional Update

So the past few weeks have been nice. The weather's been nice. I had a week off from work, which was nice. it's also been a mixture of activity and relaxing and things changing and staying the same. I guess what i'm trying to say is, it's been life. The past few weeks have been life. I have been contemplating giving up blogging for a variety of reasons. Part of me feels like it has served it's purpose. It's an account of my memories, experiences, love and learning that's been going on for 10 years now and I wonder if it's exhausted. Or if I just feel frustrated because I can't write what my heart wants me to write even though so few people read it. I don't know. I don't know how I feel about it.

What I do know is that I have invested a lot of time and energy into everything in my life, this blog included. I'm not sure I want to give it up just yet. I happened to google something the other day and the only relevant thing that came up was a blog post. I read it and thought to myself, 'Wow, this girl sounds so much like me'. It wasn't until I read another couple of posts that I realised this girl was me. It was a blog I'd started to write years ago when I was so full of frustration about my life and I did not want to taint the Palace with negativity. There were only about 5 or 6 posts in total. Clearly I had decided that I was going to focus on the positives in my life rather than the negatives. But my life was so negative then and I needed that outlet for a short time. I have tainted this blog now but it has been a welcome stain. My broken heart is on the table. I have been armed with a scalpel, for quite some time, dissecting it.

I continue to feel very jaded about the world and my place in it. Everywhere I look people are having babies and I just don't think they even know what babies are. Humans continue to be greedy, selfish, angry and thoughtless. I see no end to it. They are completely unaware of the world around them. They live in their own bubbles that they never want to leave because why would they leave? They have everything they need. Food, drugs to self-medicate, entertainment. But all of these, especially the food, is like what the powers that be use to control their people. Religion is no longer the opium of the masses. It is has been replaced with food, drugs and pop culture.

I also continue to feel hopeful and excited about what the rest of my life has to offer. Fuck everyone else. Let them drudge around this world only half living. I continue to search for my own small piece of happiness and I realise that, while I'm doing that, I have already got my own small piece of happiness. My life is progressing just the way I want it to with nothing holding me back. And as always, no matter what thoughts are going through my head, I continue to be positive towards everyone and try, above all else, to make them smile.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dogs and Their Pets

Ziggy would like to share a few words on the human/canine relationship:

When a dog is born they are assigned a pet human. This is the only thing that doesn’t make sense to me. Dogs have no real choice about which human is assigned to them. It seems to be luck of the draw. And then, of course, there are some dogs that don’t get this privilege of a pet human. I feel kinda sorry for those dogs.

Dogs are very important and they need their pet humans to be really obedient. I often find with my pet Hannah that she is quite stubborn and strong willed. I found her easier to control when I was a puppy and she was kind of drunk on cuteness. We often have a battle of wills and sometimes I win and sometimes she wins.

My work is very important. I look after the house when Hannah is out doing silly human things. I must do this in case intruders break in and steal the house and Hannah and I have to live on the streets. She seems to recognise this as an important task as she always shows me lots of praise when she comes back home to find that I’ve done an excellent job at keeping intruders away.

Humans need plenty of exercise and stimulation and it is also my job to keep my pet Hannah motivated and make sure she gets out for plenty of walks. I do find that she can be lazy at times so I really have to pester her to get up off her lazy arse. When we are out and about I like to catch up with old friends and make acquaintances with new ones. Mostly I am just sussing everything out and making sure that it’s safe for Hannah. Sometimes she meets some of her friends too but their interactions with each other are oftentimes dull. It’s nice when they pat me on the head though.

As much as Hannah can be hard work at times I wouldn’t change her for the world. I’ve seen some dogs whose pet humans are so unruly that they must keep them on a lead at all times, even when there’s no traffic about. I am glad I have my pet under control. The only really, really annoying thing she does is interfere with my work when I’m barking at all the intruders trying to break in. She doesn’t understand that if I don’t keep my guard at all times we could be living on the streets.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Free Bird

So today was rather eventful in my little old life. I had my driving theory test and I passed. I'm not there yet but I'm half way there. I also finished my course, handed in my portfolio, passed my exam and recieved my certificate for the Level Two Counselling Skills. We had all grown fond of each ohter and it was sad to say goodbye. The tutor asked us to participate in one last creative learning task and that was to bring an object from nature to class with us. She told us to spend a bit of time choosing our object and letting ourselves be drawn to something. I would have liked to have gone out to Cullybackey to pick my object and I would have been spoilt for choice. It would also have been nice to meditate on the moment and use all my senses to help me feel drawn to something. As it was I was rushing around and I only had my backyard and down the street to find my object from nature. I looked in my backyard and was immediately uninspired. I went down the street and walked to the little bit of greenery behind the fire station. I saw a feather on the ground and I knew straight away that it was perfect.

When we presented our objects in class the tutor told us to work in pairs and describe the object but use the word 'I' instead of 'it'. She told us to describe it physically and talk about what it's function was and what purpose it aspired to. Interestingly, everyone else in the class had chosen some kind of plant or flower. I was the odd one out. When I described the feather I said it was "long and thin" which is kind of like me but that it was also very strong. It's function was to keep the bird warm, dry and protected and to help them fly. When I saw the feather on the ground I knew I was drawn to it because it represented being as a free as a bird. The feather also functions as an old fashioned pen and I love to write. With pens. I would write with feathers but ink is very messy.

So all in all it's been a good day. I now have a summer of Thursdays free and that can only mean one thing. I get to spend more time with my darling nieces. The two little ones who never fail to put a smile on my face.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Putting Humpty Together Again

I guess my readers (all 5 of them) are eagerly waiting to hear about the progress of my toenail. Well, what an experience it’s been! Only I could view it as such because that’s how my brain works. I managed to keep the half nail attached for a couple of days with plasters. I woke up one morning and the nail had fallen off. I was glad because I could see the nail that was left and there was a bit more of it than I had thought. But the soft nail bed was exposed and this made me feel just as grossed out as when I wasn’t sure what was lurking underneath the dead nail.

That first night I went to bed and had a struggle getting to sleep. I tossed and I turned. No matter what I did I was acutely aware of the fact that my toe nail was missing. I whimpered. I tossed and turned some more. I prayed to god that I would never EVER be tortured and have my nails removed because this was unbearable. Even the air irritated it. It wasn’t actually painful, just very, very uncomfortable. My toe felt nervy and raw and sensitive. The next day I woke up and felt fine. I went to work and by the end of the day I was aware of that horrible nervy sensation again. I put in another restless night trying to drift off to sleep but being kept awake by a sickening feeling. By the third night I had my toe bandaged up my Nurse Nelly and since then it’s been unproblematic. It must have grown enough for me to feel like it’s not so exposed and tender now.

I love analogies and last year, at the beginning of my course, we had a class that was about ‘body dialogue’. This is the idea that our bodies are telling us everything we need to know if we just listen to it. We did an exercise in class and we talked about certain parts of the body and how they felt. What would that part of the body say if it could speak? I recall that day having a twitch in my eye and I said it felt restless and twitchy, like there was a little man with a fishing rod who had hooked my eye and was constantly tugging on it. I pondered it at the time but now I wonder if that little man with the fishing rod was trying to get me to look in the direction he thought I should be looking.

The physical discomfort of my big toe matched the emotional discomfort I went through at Christmas. For some reason I like it when this happens. It’s like the physical aspect of it is a sign that it’s working its way out of your system. You are truly healing. I can’t attribute all the pain I felt at Christmas to my ex-boyfriend. I had a whole lot of other hurt I needed to get out of my system before he even came along. I suspect he did too. But it’s ok because I’m training to be a counsellor and as someone once said “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again but we can because we’re counsellors”.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

In Dreams

I might as well rename my blog The Palace Of Heavenly Ziggy. I don't mind admitting that I haven't a while lot else to write about at the minute. In the weeks leading up to Ziggy's birthday I kept telling him that he was going to be a big boy and he'd have to start behaving a little more responsibly. It actually seems to have worked. He hasn't miraculously turned into the most well behaved dog overnight but we are getting there. For example, last night he was barking out the window at nothing. He probably heard a leaf rustling in the wind. I had a stern conversation with him. It went like this: Now Ziggy, you're going out to see your GRANNY tomorrow, and to see JUDY and JESS but you have to be a GOOD boy, or you won't get to see GRANNY. NO more barking out the window and being BAD or you will GO TO BED and you won't see GRANNY. Ziggy listened to this with his head cocking from left to right. He sighed and lay down and went to sleep. Of course, all Ziggy heard was GRANNY JUDY JESS GOOD GRANNY NO BAD GO TO BED GRANNY but he understood what I was saying to him.

And, seemingly, he had a great day flying about with Fly, a dog that does exactly what it says on the tin. Which is fly. Ziggy barely had enough energy to eat a few mouthfuls of his dinner before conking out on the sofa again. I haven't told him yet but I phoned the vet today and booked him in for his change of life operation. As soon as I got off the phone I felt guilty. I seem to recall feeling much less guilty about Rocky getting his balls chopped. I suppose the thought of dozens of unwanted baby rats eased my conscience a bit. Ziggy has made further progress in that he can now "play dead" on command. He has also rolled over a few times for me as when he was playing dead he figured he was half way there and he might as well please me. The wee dude's lying flat out on his back, snoring at the minute. I've been thinking about doggy dreams recently and wondering if they have very boring dreams that involve chasing balls or do they have crazy epic dreams that they are chasing a rabbit with a duck's head and they follow it into a burrow that leads through twisty tunnels and eventually brings them out in a butcher's shop where cat's are their servants and humans are their playthings and the hottest bitches are in town smelling of fox dung and calf shit? I'm going for the latter. I'd like to think dogs can have crazy dreams too. The way Ziggy's eyelids and paws are twitching at the minute would suggest that he's having a good time whatever he's doing.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

It's My Party And I'll Huff If I Want To

So it was Ziggy's birthday and he started the day off at his granny's house where he had runs and chases and a birthday boke. When he got home I gave him the birthday presents from the flatmate and me. He then posed (very reluctantly) for a millisecond just so I could get this reminder of his very special day. Of course, typical Ziggy had to show his displeasure by huffing. I went to the birthday girls' party on Saturday night. I missed the stripper but was there for the pineapple hunt, which, unbeknownst to me consisted of two pineapples that were doing the rounds. We toasted Sunshine and Moonshine with zambuca soaked pineapple and sangria. It was a lovely night.

But the real action in my life all lies in my big toe. Before Christmas I dropped heavy crates on my toe. It started to grow out black. Eventually white nail started to grow and i have been patiently waiting for the black to grow out. Disaster struck the other night. It is half way up and the nail has started to come away. This happened on Sunday night. I felt queasy about it but I stuck a plaster over the nail to keep it attached for now. I went to work on Monday and thought about my nail only briefly at times. I went to my interview (which went ok I think so fingers crossed!)and afterwards I stopped in at the podiatrist. They were fully booked. I went home and took Ziggy for a walk. All of a sudden I became very aware of a senstaion in my big toe. Not sore, but nervy and a bit unpleasant. I soldiered on with the walk and came home and phoned my mum who reassured me that my toe probably wouldn't fall off. It didn;t stop me worrying about infection. I made some cheese and crackers with branston pickle (I had this same snack the night before because I've been too lazy to get groceries) and after a couple of bites I got a really strange taste in my mouth like metal but really bitter. I drank some water and took another bite. Again, that tangy, metallic taste. I checked the date of the branston pickle. It was fine. Besides, I'd had it the night before. I couldn't finish the rest as my stomach was turned. I had unfounded suspicions that this was related to my toenail. Somehow. I then felt cold and weak. So cold. It hadn't been an unpleasant day but I was shivery. This was probably the infection setting in, I told myself. I went to bed and I could feel my cheeks burning. My big toe felt warm and unpleasant. I shuffled around trying to get comfortable. I told myself it would be fine in the morning. And it was. I got to work in lively spirits but after an hour I started to feel drained. I felt like I was wading through mud all day and I felt a tightness in my chest.

It's amazing how the mind works. And how illness can escalate and how you can actually make yourself sick by thinking about it. I know I'll be fine. Though I felt sick in the bath because I was thinking about the water seeping under the nail (I get this same queasiness when I see wtaer sitting in my belly button. I feel like it's gonna seep into my body and drown me). I was lucky enough to capture this shot of Meka and Ziggy the other day. They are rather fond of each other though it's rare for Ziggy to be patient enough to let Meka come to him. I think it's a very sweet photo.

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Little Bit Sucky

Do you know what sucks? Seeing a dog get hit by a car. Do you know what sucks even more? Feeling partly responsible because the other dog saw Ziggy across the road and ran for him. The dog was an alsation. It was stroking about outside on the street and when it saw Ziggy it bounded for him. The car wasn't going overly fast but it still hit the dog with enough force to send it flying through the air. The alsation quickly jumped up and ran back to it's house. The owners hadn't witnessed it and I was concerned the dog was more hurt than it looked. I checked on the guy driving the car and asked him if he was ok. He was a young fella about 17 and he said he was ok. He asked if the car was ok. I said the licence plate was a bit cracked but it was fine apart from that. He said he knew that was a really horrible thing to ask but I got the impression he was probably driving someone else's car. I told him he should go and let the owners know that he'd hit their dog in case the alsation was more hurt than it seemed. I would have done it myself only I didn't think it was a good idea going in with Ziggy. I told the dude I'd wait with his car. He came back a few moments later and he said the dog was in the house and the owner thought it seemed ok but they would take it to the vet's anyway. I really do hope the dog will be alright. If he hadn't seen Ziggy he wouldn't have ran across the road.

The day has been grand otherwise. I would have felt much worse if the dog had been killed right on the spot. But it wasn't so I shall put it out of my head. Ziggy has decided that he'll do the "play dead" and "roll over" tricks for me as long as it's on soft carpet. It really seems like he's making an extra special effort as he approaches his first birthday. Ziggy shares his birthday with Sunshine. Moonshine's birthday is the following day so tomorrow night is party night. Normally Ziggy would be present for such occasions but I have decided that I would be wise to send him out to mum's, come home from work and have a nap so that I'm not looking for bed come midnight.

I have an interview on Monday for the next stage of the counselling course. I've been dreaming lately about a holiday but between driving and course funding I'm probably gonna have to wait about three years before I can even afford to renew my passport. It's a good job I have all those memories of holidays before and a cunning ability to convince myself I'm in a different country. Today, I think I'll go to Ecuador.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Summer Scoop

I have been working on my papergirl project. This is just a first draft so it might get revised a time or two before I submit it. I use Yankee candles to make my flat smell nice and my favourite flavour* at the minute is called 'summer scoop'. It made me think of K and so I wrote this to get a bit of sadness worked out of my system. I've also included some photos of Ziggy to balance it all out and make this a bittersweet blog post. Thank dog for gods!

I was submerged in my skin, feeling myself rot and decay and peel away, ‘til my core was exposed, all swollen and tender, all soft and raw. And in this fragile state he came to charm and disarm me, possibly harm me, but my heart was exposed, all swollen and tender, all soft and raw. He built me this gorgeous house in the trees, with heart shaped leaves and the bees who could see, I was stung before, I was swollen and tender, all soft and raw. So I jumped through his hoop, got caught in the loop, fell in love with a summer scoop. And my core was exposed, my heart and soul juxtaposed thought this was gold, I thought this was treasure, thought this was forever. So I said goodbye to my summer scoop, danced to the beat of my own distant drum, my freedom was gold, my thoughts were my own, this was my treasure. This is forever.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The New Seating Arrangement

Just at the minute I have an inability to write. I don't know why. I think it's because I'm holding myself back from what I really want to say. Despite my attempts to always be open and honest there's just some things best left. So I hand my blog over to Ziggy to see if he's got much so say for himself:

Oh boys, oh boys, I just don't know what to be at with myself. Y'see, Hannah and her flatmate got rid of that big stupid TV, which was ok, I didn't mind because sometimes I saw things on the TV that annoyed me and I could never get at them, but Hannah didn't like the big empty space it left so she put my favourite armchair their in it's place. She seemed to know that this would upset me but she didn't care. I used to love sitting on that armchair looking out the window. I especially liked to bark at all the other dogs I seen. So life's been tough this past few days. I can stand at the top of the stairs and look out that window but all I ever see are a few birds. So I bark at them. Then Hannah tells me not to. And now I can't get in behind the sofa and hide and scratch and carry on. The whole living room's changed and I don't like it. I asked Meka what she thought and she said she didn't give a flying f**k. So I did a whole pile of naughty things just to get back at Hannah. Nothing really bad, I've just generally been a bit more pesky than usual. I hoped that she might reconsider the seating arrangement so I could just go back to looking out the window and barking. Think I'll just keep being naughty until she does

Well, looks like Ziggy did have something he wanted to get off his chest. I do feel very guilty about taking his chair by the window away but I was glad to get rid of the big stupid TV.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How Were We Made?

Not so long ago I wrote a post on the number 216. It was a very light hearted post because I was feeling so shitty at the time I had to be jovial whenever I could. But it seems the number won't leave me alone and there's a whole lot of "significance" behind it. When this number started to crop up in my life 5 years ago I thought it was odd but never gave it any real serious thought. A lot of people have numbers that keep figuring in their lives so that part is not unusual. Now, I find it hard to write with a hundred per cent enthusiasm about a subject that has always seemed airy fairy and wishy washy to me. In the past year, through events in my life and learning that I've done I've come to appreciate all kinds of theories and philosophies about life. The event of seeing numbers repeatedly in life are said to be the result of angels communicating with us. It seems to be their message is a simple one, just to let us know they are there. I have my struggles with religion and the concepts of heavenly creatures and so, five years ago, I would have called this utter pish posh. But, like I said, life is teaching me not to scoff at things just because they don't fit into my idea of what is right. When I was younger I felt it was more important to place my faith in myself and the people around me. The 'concrete' beings that I could physically know and touch. As I get older I realise that as concrete as we might be nothing lasts forever. So I looked beyond the physical and delved into the spiritual.

I didn't explain the number 216 very well in the last post. The reason being is that I don't know how to explain it. My brain understands what I'm reading about it but I can't express it in my own words because a lot of it boils down to maths and I just don't get maths. What I can do is provide links. The first one is good old wikipedia. This one's for the real maths buffs. The second one shows that the number 216 is, in fact, well known. Clearly someone has had the same thought as myself and queried if the number 216 has any significance. Of course, everything I read about it has to do with maths or religion, two of my most hated subjects. I wasn't going to even mention it again except that I was looking through a magazine, a strange magazine that my flatmate got, and there was an advert at the back for a book by William Neil called How We Were Made: A book of revelations. The illustration shows the number 666 and a hand pointing downwards to the number 216 in a circle with wings. I thought this required further investigation.

This dude William Neil seems to have devoted an awful lot of time to the number 216. It's actually kind of boring and I guess you have to be really into numbers to be interested in such stuff. All the same, I'll have to check the book out just to see what it's all about. I am kinda worried though as I think he might be one of these David Icke types. At least his name was mentioned on this site. I wish I was being haunted by a far less notorious number. In all seriousness though, it is just a number, though, according to google the world's going to end in 2016. Hmmmm, like we haven't heard that one before. Still, better make sure this next couple of years are extra special good ones. Just in case ;)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Papergirl Belfast

Today I had one of those 'senior' moments like when someone is looking for their glasses and they're already wearing them. I was walking Ziggy down the street and I momentarily panicked that I'd forgot his lead, which was, of course, attached to his collar and in my hand.

Ziggy gets called a whole lot of names. The list is extensive and includes; Ziggers, Chief Ziggum, Sir Zigalot, Zigalo, Ziglet, Ziglerthene (my mum's name for him), Zigstar, Wee Man, Wee Dude and Wee Shit. Basically, I'll call him anything, anything but The Zig. The way I see it he has to earn that title and he is far too young and cocky to appreciate it yet. Like Paulo and his sword, Ziggy needs to know what to do with a title like that before he can own it with honour and pride. It has been noted by fellow dog walkers that Ziggy walks around like he is King of the River Path Walk. I encourage all their dogs to put Ziggy in his place.

A few days ago I felt like all my energy had been zapped from me. I guess I was only just getting over the Whisky Flu and I'd been out gallivanting most nights so a bit of exhaustion was inevitable. It felt more than that though, like I'd surrendered something of myself that I was't quite ready to surrender. My body told me everything that I needed to know. It was just a matter of listening to it. I rested for an hour on Friday night before heading round to see Sunshine and Moonshine. It was the most satisfying rest in which I hung out somewhere in between reality and dreams. It was very peaceful and when I came to I was re-energised and feeling good (like Nina Simone good).

The lovely Shiny girls told me about an interesting creative project called Papergirl Belfast. People are encouraged to write, draw or create something that can be rolled up and put in a tube for people on bikes to randomly distribute to the members of the public. Such a brilliant idea I have to be a part of it!

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Pilgrimage

There are a few Arts I'm trying to master at the minute like how to make my life a little less like a sopa opera. I have attracted drama for years now. I don't want it but it finds me as soon as I decide to go out and be sociable with people. it's nothing major and nothing I can't handle but it's certainly made me question what the hell I'm doing to avoid a somewhat, normal, peaceful life. I think I've figured it out this time round. I feel for people too much. I care about them too much. I want everyone to be free and happy. I can't detach myself from other people's pain and it's something I need to learn how to do if I want to become a counsellor.

I am a sponge and I soak everything up. Having learnt a major lesson this year in how to take control of my life, I now have to learn what to do with that control. I don't want to care so much for people that when their world get's rocked mine does too. I don't want to be afraid of other people's feelings. I can't be. It doesn't help me. Yesterday I made myself finish The Pigrimage by Paulo Coelho. It was less enjoyable to read than many of his books and just as I'd got to the last 40 pages I gave up. It's been sitting in my room gathering dust for a while now. I began to wonder if there was significance in me being unable to finish it at that particular time. Maybe I would only be able to finish the book when I was ready for the lesson. I decided that yesterday I needed to finsih it. The wisdom that I was waiting for was in the first paragraph.

The story is about Paulo doing a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in search of his sword. He does not know where he will find it and his guide, Petrus, tries to teach him exercises and meditations as a way to look within himself for the answers. It is not until Paulo realises that he has been so obsessed with the end result he has failed to even think about what he will do with his sword when he gets it. He suddenly realises he will not be able to find his sword until he, first, knows what to do with it.

I still have a way to go on my journey, not that it will ever end, but I'm getting closer and closer to that feeling of authenticity. Perhaps, one day, I will go on my own pilgrimage.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The Art Of Procrastination

I am fixated on playng Rounders at the minute. I like it because it's neither a girl's game nor a boy's game. For those of you that don't know, Rounders is like the British version of Baseball, only much smaller and without the acclaim. A better game, by far, I would say. Millions of Americans may beg to differ though. I was never overly sporty at school. I was more spotty than sporty. I also went to the kind of school where sport was glorified. If you were the very best hockey or rugby player you could securely claim your place amongst the Jocks. If you didn't have brains to applaud at least you had brawn. I had brains but not the kind of malleable ones a school like that wanted you to have. I challenged my R.E. teacher on all kinds of controversial subjects like suicide and gay rights. He would become flustered and, while I had him engaged in such debates, there would be no learning from the Bible as outlined in the curriculum. It's really no wonder I failed the exam.

Today I'm indulging in a spot of procrastination. I'm off work and should be getting stuck into the housework but I am choosing to painfully squeeze out a blog post when I really have nothing to write about. That's how a true procrastinator operates. The thing that they choose to do instead of the thing that they should be doing is quite often pointless and irrelevant. But I'm trying to understand the Art of Procrastination. I am convinced there has to be some evolutionary reason as to why humans do it. Spiritual teachers tell us that procrastination is the enemy and, so far, I have been unable to disprove this. But I will continue on my quest to master the Art of Procrastination and when I figure it all out I will let you know. Eventually.