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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.