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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Challenge Hannah

I quickly got over the bathroom incident. I think Ziggy was trying to tell me to decorate the room. He's good that way. I can feel spring in the air and it makes me smile. I was thinking I might write a letter to Channel 4 suggesting they do a Challenge Anneka type show that Ziggy and I could host. I want to be paid for having adventures and doing treasure hunts and flying in helicopters and doing it all really fast because there's only an hour slot. I think, with all the tripe on TV these days, there's an actual possibility they'll take me seriously. The only thing is my bum might not be big enough. I could always stuff padding down there so it dutifully knocks into the camera when I'm overcoming obstacles.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ziggy Does A Bieber In The Bathroom

I finished work a couple of hours early today and wasn't sure how I was going to put the afternoon in. I took Ziggy his quick walk rond the block to relieve himself and bumped into my sister and niece. My niece was going to gymnastics so I thought I'd tag along. I took Ziggy for his proper walk and then left him back home before calling round to my sister's. Ziggy is not used to me going out and leaving him unless it's in the morning. He accpets that he has to spend that part of the day by himself but, otherwise, I try to fit my life around him as much as possible. This is good of course. I am a responsible dog owner. But lately I've realised that I have to live my own life a bit more and not restrict myself to dog friendly activities.

So I left Ziggy behind. I gave him the run of the house for a change rather than being confined to the one room. I thought it would make it easier for him. I came home two and a half hours later to the sound of whimpering. He had let himeslf into the bathroom but couldn't get out again. I opened the door and was met with complete chaos. He'd completely ripped up and chewed the lino flooring, he'd pulled towels all round him, tore up the toilet paper and managed to bring down the plastic side of the bath (which was poorly designed anyway). So that's the last time he gets the run of the house. I called him a bad boy and phoned my mum in tears. I was angry but I knew it wasn't his fault. When I got off the phone I went to find him to let him know I wasn't cross. He was hiding behind the sofa. He refused to come out at first. Which is strange because he's never been punished harshly for anything. He seemed to know that he'd done a really bold thing. But he was trapped and frustrated in the bathroom. He came out from behind the sofa with some coaxing and now he's lying on the sofa beside me.

The mess looks bad and I have to go clean it now. Mum thought Ziggy had died because I was so upeset. So, from her point of view it could have been a lot worse. Things could always be a lot worse.

Monday, February 24, 2014

I Drink, Therefore I Am....Drunk

I was chatting to the taxi driver who left me home today about the kind of work I enjoy doing. We both agreed there was no way we'd want to be cooped up in an office with the same ten work colleagues for years doing the same thing day in and day out. I was saying how there tends to be a bad atmosphere created in such places with office gossip and politics. People like to moan and complain and this has a negative impact on everyone who works there. I told the taxi driver "Misery loves company". He had never heard this saying before despite being at least 20 years older than me. He liked it. He kept repeating it. Then I told him he'd be more aware of that now. How people who are always complaining and bad mouthing tend to stick together and the people who are happy and positive tend to stick together. This melted his head a wee bit. He liked the saying but he didn't want to thnk too much about it. I laughed as I got out his car and joked about what else he might talk about with his customers today. He laughed and said he'd be better sticking to football.

People don't like to think too much. And, whatever they can do to stop themselves thinking, they will. TV, junk food, addictions are all tools to drown out that voice in our head. As always, I believe in balance. Being someone who thinks too much I am aware how it can be a bad thing. But to not think at all, well, that just makes you dumb, in every sense of the word. I did find this on the internet yesterday and it did make me smile and so I'd like to share it because it's silly and I'd rather be silly at the minute than thinking all the time:


It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then -- to loosen up. Inevitably, though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker. I began to think alone -- "to relax," I told myself -- but I knew it wasn't true.

Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time. That was when things began to sour at home. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother's.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself. I began to avoid friends at lunch time so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?"

One day the boss called me in. He said, "Listen, I like you, and it \hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another job."

This gave me a lot to think about.

I came home early after my conversation with the boss. "Honey," I confessed, "I've been thinking ..." "I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce!"

"But Honey, surely it's not that serious."

"It is serious," she said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as college professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking, we won't have any money!"

"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently. She exploded in tears of rage and frustration, but I was in no mood to deal with the emotional drama.

"I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door. I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche. I roared into the parking lot with NPR on the radio and ran up to the big glass doors... They didn't open. The library was closed. To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.

As I sank to the ground, clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker's Anonymous poster. Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting.

At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was "Porky's." Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting. I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home.
Life just seemed ... easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking. I think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me. Today, I registered to vote Republican.

I'll never forget my Thai friends who told me "Don't think too much". I thought they were telling me not to drink too much but they preferred me to drink a lot and not think so much. Also, some people get a bit carried away with the "I think, therefore I am" philosophy. If you think you're brilliant that does not necessarily mean you are brilliant. A new motto should read "I think, and then I act accordingly, therefore I am"

Sunday, February 23, 2014

At Least There's Ice Cream

I'm pretty sucked dry at the minute. I'm not exactly what I'm sucked dry of. Words maybe. I had a few days off. I spent Friday evening with The Dogparents. T and I went to a session. I can't explain too well what this session was but it did give us a good giggle. Last night I was in child land with my nieces. It's a wonderful place to be. My younger niece likes to make us laugh by telling us a joke. This involves her saying "a joke" and we all roar with laughter. My older niece thinks that if she spoons a big blob of pink icing sugar out of the cup and turns round so she isn't facing me, I won't know that she's eating it. The classic ostrich syndrome of burying your head in the sand. If I can't see you, you can't see me.

So I'm watching TV and this dude has just said "Jane's advice to me was to be more.....something, or other, I wasn't really listening. But I'll take it on board. Starting from tomorrow". Obviously it was an extremely educational programme I was watching (Come Dine With Me).

I really have nothing to write about. I do, however, have Haagen Dazs ice cream so it's not all bad.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Tree House

It's taken me a long time to be able to talk about the tree house. The project that I was so excited about last summer. I have to be comical about this. I'm referring to it as The Summer Of Magic because everything just felt so great. Excitement was in the air. A lot of hard work and love went into making that tree house. And every branch on every tree had grown perfectly to accomodate it's design. It's like the trees always knew there'd be a house there one day.

I was so proud of it. I took thousands of photos. I loved the way everyone bonded over building it. It represented what was important to me. A community working together to create something. It's been kinda hard lately not to look on it with sadness in my heart.

But, you know what? It's still a damn fine tree house and it's about time I celebrated that again. And what better way to celebrate than a party. An official tree house warming party. Woo Hoo!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

In Rod We Trust

I didn't really know what version of this to share as there are so many. I decided on this one by Mary Black because I like the Indian folk music sound mixed with the Celtic folk sound. This song has powerful memories for me. My mum used to sing it. And that's the reason why I'm honouring it now. A few years ago I would turn my nose up at my mum's offers for me to hang out with her and her friends. It wasn't that I didn't like them but I just felt that I should be hanging out with people my own age.

Well, I have to say that my mum and stepdad have worked very hard in building their network of fantastic people around them. They have done it through kindness, generosity and love. In this past couple of months, when I haven't been rightly at myself, my mum has been my rock. And I know better than anyone, it hasn't been easy for her. Nellybert, as a team, are ace. Bert for the practical support and mum for the emotional support. Nellybert's closest friends have also been there to help out in any way they could. The Indian head massage from TMC was devine and the ongoing support of MM is giving me a sense of hope.

I think one of the best things I could do at the minute is surround myself with music. I have given up trying to reach out to my peers. Kids these days just can't commit themselves to anything. I have been practising the guitar a lot lately and I'm craving some musical interaction. Time I got in with the Tuesday night crew again. I used to participate when it was a bunch of amateurs but now Bert plays with pros so it's a wee bit more daunting. But, if I can travel to S.America by myself, teach Thai students English without any training whatsoever and throw caution to the wind by telling a boy I like him, well, I think I can play a song or two in front of some musicians.

*The title to this post is another one of Nellybert's dearest friends. He and TMC are dogparents to Judy and Jess (and Ziggy now too).

Thursday, February 06, 2014

This Is What A Hoor-Cat Looks Like

This is a tale of a ginger cat,
A cat who was big, and oh so fat!
And he met, one day with a rat, who was late,
For a date, with a mate, a friend he called 'Fate'
The cat, who was quick, and oh so slick,
Pounced on the rat, who was taken aback.
The cat it fled, with his prize in his jaws,
The rat could do nothing but hold up his paws,
And pray to the good, that he wouldn't be food,
That he'd meet for his date with his friend called 'Fate'.
The rat closed its eyes and squeaked out 'please',
The cat was tickled and suddenly sneezed,
And lo and behold, the rat was released,
From the jaws of that terrible, fat, ginger beast.
The rat he did run as fast as he could,
Ran deep into the dark, dark woods,
Where he thought he was safe, from the cat and it's claws,
And these terrible things with their terrible jaws.
But down from the sky, swooped a bird that could fight,
The rat stood no chance and gave up its plight,
In the mouth of the bird, the rat took flight,
Way up in the sky, oh, what a sight.
And a little girl watched, as she walked down the street,
Watched the bird in the sky and saw the rat's little feet,
She yelled out loud as a train went by,
And it frightened the bird that was up in the sky,
It let out a squawk and the rat fell through the air,
Thankfully, though, the girl's aunty was there,
She caught the wee rat and took her back home,
Where the rat would be safe to run free and roam,
A place that was fun , no birds and no cats,
But best of all, a place with more rats!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Things My Dog Can do

I used to leave BBC Radio 4 on in the mornings when I went to work so Ziggy wouldn't be startled by all the noises of the outside world and start barking. I haven't done that in a while now but I defineitly think it's helped Ziggy learn the English language.

I know most dogs are clever. And I know that owners have a tendency (just as parents do) to think that their dog is the most intelligent being on the planet. Ok, so the truth is, I haven't much else to write about so I'm pretending that my dog's cleverness is far more significant than is actually deemed necessary. I don't care.


1. Sit! I have to start off with the more unimpressive things to build up momentum.

2. Give his paw. Though he's not keen on this. I understand. I don't like giving my paw either. Or holding hands with boys.

3. Lie down. Sometimes I get him to do this when he's being naughty just so he remembers that it's much nicer to get praise than be shouted at. It hasn't really worked so far.

4. Roll over. Ziggy KNOWS how to do this but he just thinks it's far too much effort. He used to at least try but now he puts his head down and refuses to make eye contact.

5. Stand on his hind legs and pirouette like a ballet dancer. I don't really have a proper command for this yet as he just did it one day and now keeps on doing it because he knows I love it and he'll get a treat.

6. Tell the difference between his various toys. Everything's lying on the floor and I ask Ziggy to get his tugger/squeaker/teddy or ball. He knows exactly which one is which. Though the tugger and teddy are his favourites.

7. He knows exactly what house my sister's dogs live at and he scratches at the door even if we're just walking past to get home.

8. He knows the names of his two most favourite bitchers in the world. JUDY and JESS. When I say their names he goes frantic running to the door.

He's only 8 months old so I reckon by the time he's two we should be seeing him on the big screen. I seriously think it's time that Joesph Gordon Levitt took on a role in a film where he needs a trusty animal side kick. Let it never be said that I didn't have hopes and aspirations.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Doing The Doggy Paddle

On Saturday night I went out to the pub and, of course, Ziggy came with me. Had the crowd been a bit more sedate we would have stayed longer but when drunk girls are screeching "Awwww.....gizza a wee go!" and they're talking about holding your puppy it's time to leave. Really, I should have left Ziggy at home because the whole point was for me to go out and see my friends. I did see them but very little chatting was done as everyone was too busy cooing over Ziggy. This didn't ail me in the slightest. I feel proud as punch about my dog so a compliment his way is a compliment my way.

In the morning I woke up to a beautiful, bright day. I took Ziggy for his walk earlier than usual and because it was so nice we stayed out a bit longer than we usually do. I sat down on a bench by the riverside and all of a sudden this strange feeling came over me. I can't be sure but I think it was something akin to happiness. Or, at least, the closest I could be. All of a sudden the day ahead looked like something to be enjoyed rather than "got through". I even got excited about what I would have for dinner. And to think, if the sun had been shining this whole time maybe it wouldn't have felt so bad.

The rest of the day was constructive. I tidied the flat. I had a bath and then Ziggy had a bath. I ate better than I have in months. I watched bloopers of Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby laughing their heads off on live TV. They are the least professional presenters in the world but they are a joy to watch because they aren't pretending. They're just being themselves and enjoying it. I always liked Philip Schofield anyway.

I have been playing guitar and listening to music again. Maybe one of these days I'll have a good dance. January is over now and February's gonna go in a flash too. Each day is a day closer to spring. If yesterday is an example of the good a mild, sunny day can do me then bring it on. But, y'know, I can't let the weather take all the credit. Things are getting better. I rode the fuck out of that wave. And now I'm gonna do the doggy paddle.