January 12, 2017

January again

Posted in January tagged , , at 11:52 am by viewfromthisdesk

Almost a year ago I wrote a post about death.  At the time, there had been many high profile celebrity passings and society was in shock at the loss of talent.  For me, the date that I wrote was the anniversary of my Dad’s death and as this looms on the horizon again I find myself in a pretty dark place.

Celebrity deaths last year were frequent and many people were upset at these.  Music and the arts affects us all, we each have a song that takes us to a magical memory, a favourite film or album for all occasions.  I must confess, I wasn’t upset at any of these.  Shocked and surprised for a moment, but never upset.  Growing up, death has just been one of those things and for a long while I’ve wondered if I’m immune to feeling any emotion when it comes to death, I’m all out of feeling, I used it all up.

But at the end of January 2016, Patch Cat died.  It was a Sunday afternoon, we were not with her.  She was 16 and had been everyone’s favourite cat.  She loved boys, tolerated girls and would run off in an open van in a heartbeat.  She did honestly once elope with the RAC man who had come to fix next door’s car once.  If you were allergic to cats, she loved you more.  She was old but was the Peter Pan of cat-ness.  She always wanted to play and had this look on her face that was always kitten like.  She wanted nothing more than to chase after a scrunched up ball of paper or to lie as close to the brick hearth of our open fire as possible, even if it meant singeing her whiskers on occasion.

Pirate Cat didn’t seem bothered that her sister had died.  They were never close to the point of ever curling up together.  They had their own favourite places and these never overlapped.  Pirate had a permanently worried look about her, she was much more quiet and took her time getting to know people.  It wasn’t that she liked girls more than boys, she didn’t like anyone much because she just didn’t trust anyone.

But Pirate Cat chose me.  She would let me fuss her, she would on occasion sit near me.  A few years back, this progressed to sitting next to me on the arm of the sofa on the condition that I didn’t move, attempt to stroke her or acknowledge that she was there.  And then one day, she sat on me.  We must have had the cats for at least ten years, if not more by this point.  It was for less than a minute but I remember the shock and excitement like it was yesterday.  Neither hubby nor I could believe it had happened.  She was not a lap cat.

And then I got ill.  And whilst I had been ill for a bit, it was around the time that I was not managing my crashes particularly well.  I was not listening to anyone and I was just in a cycle of making myself progressively worse.  Hubby got me to sit on the sofa one day and all of a sudden Pirate Cat was sat on me.  I was so shocked that I didn’t move.  And so it began.

Pirate Cat became a kind of service cat if that makes sense.  Her sitting on me made me stop.  It became a statement in our house that ‘Pirate Cat says rest’ and it was the only thing I’d listen to.  No human could get me to take any notice of how I was feeling or how bad I was making myself.  On occasion, hubby has come home to find me asleep on the sofa/floor/bed with Pirate Cat on guard.  She wouldn’t leave me until he’d acknowledged her.  It was like she was making sure he knew he was responsible for me now.  She would calm me, look after me and make sure I knew I was to stop.  She was the cat guard of my duvet palace.

Just before Christmas, Pirate Cat was noticeably old.  We had celebrated her living with us for 16 years in November and knew that as she was at least 17, this was a proper stonkingly good age for a mog.  She slept more, she ate less, her joints began to click more than mine.  The tables had turned and it was us that was looking after her.

Last Friday, at 6.20pm, Pirate Cat died.  The details are irrelevant, but we were both with her.  We said thank you and goodbye and she just deflated away.  I haven’t cried the way I did on Friday for decades.  She has left an enormous hole in my life that I’m struggling to cope with.  Last night I apologised for sneezing because sneezes made her jump, then I remembered she wasn’t in the living room to be startled by it.  She used to let herself in the downstairs loo and lick the back of the door, we have no idea why, she did it all her life but she would often get stuck because she’d lick the door shut.  Before we left the house, we’d have to make sure this door was properly shut and I’m still checking it each morning.  I am leaving the bedroom door open just in case she wants to curl up in the duvet even though she hadn’t made it upstairs since late November.  I’m convinced I hear her clicking along the laminate in the hall.  I was certain I saw her the other night walking around the edge of the sofa.  Hubby and I have both heard her chattering in the night and then remembered it’s Jack from down the row, not Pirate.

I’m not ready to think about new cats.  I don’t want new cats, I want Patch and Pirate back.  I don’t want it to feel like I’m replacing them.  I’m sure in time it will happen, it certainly is very odd having a cat-free dwelling and it is true that ‘a house without a cat isn’t a home’ for us.

In the meantime, I’ve found a company that does memorial jewellery and I’m in the process of sorting that.  It isn’t cheap and I’m going to ask to friends and family to consider getting me a bead instead of birthday and/or Christmas gifts this year.  Certain colours mean different things in the honouring of Pirate Cat and it’ll mean she’s always with me.

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January 25, 2016

January Bucket List

Posted in January tagged , at 10:30 am by viewfromthisdesk

I’ve stopped making resolutions, they never worked out for me too well and I have enough misery-via-failure in my life that I don’t need to add to the pile myself.  A few years ago I started doing a list of ‘x-things in 20x’ which kinda worked out and kinda didn’t.  Some things were beyond my control – like dates for epic Severn Bore events and all my targets for further or maintained weight loss disappeared under a pile of satisfying kit kat chunkies.  And there’s no regret within a kit kat wrapper.

So this year I’m going to do monthly bucket lists.  Maybe if I break stuff down into smaller targets, they might just happen?  So here is January.  Which will probably become February as well because the month is almost over!

* Write Christmas thank-you letters.

Shameful I know, that we’re four weeks on and this hasn’t been done.  In my teenage years, our gifts wouldn’t be ours until we’d written our thank you letters, so it should be part of my very being to write them on Christmas afternoon, or Boxing Day morning at the very latest.  I really wanted to hand write them this year.  I don’t know why I thought that being as I struggled to write a tiny amount of Christmas cards.  I think I’ll be sitting at the computer instead and hope that the recipient is happy with a letter, regardless of whether it’s typed or drunken-dancing-spider scrawl.

* Weed rose beds x2

These beds are tiny.  Honestly.  But weeding is a task I struggle with because of the amount of physical effort it takes; bending down, walking through the garden, grabbing the plant, twisting, pulling, shaking.  Yes I’ve got a gadget that helps but it’s still not doing it for me.  I can’t hire someone to do it for me; I can’t hope it will do it magically overnight itself.  I can’t keep asking friends and family to do it for me.

* Eat somewhere new.

So this is combining a positive thing – my love of food – with a negative – my fear of making plans to go out in case I (choose from a long list of reasons not restricted to) fall over and make a fool of myself, drop cutlery, drop food, start slurring my words, have to cancel because I’m ill, make myself ill because I force myself to go out when I know I’m not 100% because I don’t want people to think badly of me for cancelling plans *again* or the worst one at the moment, have to ask someone to cut up my food because whilst I’m able to be out in polite society, I’m not able to hold cutlery or exert force to cut up my food and don’t want to simply order mashed potato and shovel it like a toddler into my cake-hole.  Eating somewhere new will enable me to make one date plan, manage my time around it, meet up with friends who I don’t see otherwise and then, STUFF MY FACE.  Win-win.

Join me in maniacal laughter when we get to March 1st and these three things didn’t happen.

January 15, 2016

January 15th

Posted in January at 9:50 am by viewfromthisdesk

Or:
There’s an awful lot of Death about.

 

Death, as an event, is horrid.  There’s no getting away from that.  But Death as a ‘thing’ will always be to me Terry Pratchett’s figure.  Speaking in Subscript Capitals and utterly polite on all visits.

And recently, there’s been too much Death.  Famous people normal people alike.  On a personal level I lost my Grandad and a bat friend at the end of last year.  It’s surrounding us and I’m sorry Mr Death but you can just do one for a while now.  The problem is, death is ever constant and today is just another personal reminder of that.

I read a thing the other day where someone was listing all the things that their Dad had missed in the 19 years that he had been dead for.  Many people commented that he would be proud of the writer, that he was with him in spirit somehow, that he had always been part of those events.  It got me thinking.

Today is the anniversary of my Dad’s passing.  It’s been 26 years. So for starters, all those birthdays, Christmas mornings, then changing schools, exam results, sporting achievements.  The big stuff – graduation, engagement, wedding day.  The scary stuff – braces, operations, days home from school in tears because of bullies, mean girls and being dumped (again), first job interview, you get the idea.

So part of me gets maudlin and does the whole ‘woe is me’ moment.  Isn’t my life rubbish because my parents died and missed everything.  And then I remember that all those epic moments that have made me, happened because they died.  All because we moved and had a very different life.

Of course I miss them.  Or I at least miss what I remember.  Or what I imagine would be what having parents is all about.  I transpose other people’s lives onto my memories which is just stealing essentially.  I don’t know if I believe in the whole ‘he’s still around’ thing but if it works for others then that’s fine by me.

I cannot be sad that my life took a random direction aged 10 and almost-a-half.  I’m still in touch with a couple of people from before that eventful day, I’m glad they choose to still keep me in their lives, we were so little then and so much time has passed by.  I’m in touch with people that were important elements in my teenage years that I would never, ever have met if I hadn’t moved.  I have a life, a job, a future that would have never existed otherwise.

If nothing else; my Dad would be proud that there is a man in my life that loves cider.

January 13, 2016

January blues

Posted in January tagged , at 12:06 pm by viewfromthisdesk

I realise I’ve not written for a while. It got to the point that every time I thought about typing something, it was very negatively-based either because I was feeling down or something had happened and I needed to break that cycle.  I know that those of you who read this are doing so because you want to support me through the bad times as well as the good but I need to start giving you both sides of my life.  Otherwise I’m just going to convince you I’m a miserable, grumpy mare.

 

I went through my Gratitude Jar from 2015 a couple of days into the New Year.  I aimed for New Years Day again but I had that rubbish flu bug thing over Christmas and New Year so spent a huge chunk of time asleep or horizontal in my ‘jamas.  Well, what else is two weeks off work for?!!? I was surprised by some of the notes in there, mainly because I’d forgotten that I’d written about events.  There were very few notes from other people which was a shame as those were the notes I loved most in the previous years.  I can’t expect people to continually contribute to my jar though.  I haven’t yet decided if I’m doing a 2016 jar, I think I’d like to but we’ll see.

 

But I found this note when I was going through it and it really struck a cord.  Almost one year on, it’s still utterly relevant so I figured I’d share it as my first positive thing of the year.

IMAG0591

 

January 20, 2015

It’s all about the mugs.

Posted in January tagged , , , at 12:20 pm by viewfromthisdesk

My last entry to this online diary stirred up quite some interest.  Not in me of course, but in the mugs that I’d been talking about with such praise.  I feel I need to share the love, so you can all understand why I’ve been wittering on.

The first mystery parcel contained ‘Goddess’ and ‘Overworked/Underpaid’.  An additional mystery parcel last night contained ‘The Boss’  I have the bestest friends, I really do.

I’m going to save the box that one came in to put the contents of my 2015 gratitude jar into.  That way, the box is an instant reminder of a good thing as well as the notes within.

IMAG0318

 

The others I desire can be found on my Amazon wishlist:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/registry/wishlist/9FG8SFUUW5QG

Or the actual website for the whole range by this artist can be found at:

http://www.keithbrymerjones.com/

 

I’m still wobbly but down to one crutch though which is progress.  Being smothered in ibruprofen gel each night isn’t quite my version of romance, but one can’t be picky at my age.  Managing as well as can be expected which is good enough for me today.

January 14, 2015

Random acts of Kindness

Posted in January tagged , , , , at 11:51 am by viewfromthisdesk

Last year I tried to do this.  I sent some cards, gave some flowers, tried to surprise people and say ‘thank you’ and ‘I appreciate you’ and make them smile.

I didn’t truly appreciate how fabulous this activity is until just now.  I was honest last week and said I wasn’t great, which wasn’t a lie.  Wednesday through to Saturday evening were totally written off.  I made it to the rugby on Saturday but I was held together with neoprene and held up by crutches and friends.  I didn’t jump up and down, I didn’t expend too much energy on the game, I just enjoyed mud-covered fit-men and felt proud of myself that I’d made it out.  Sunday wasn’t ideal, I was able to move around by clinging to walls or hubby. I had to turn down a bat activity which just about ruined me emotionally.

Monday was AofK #1.  A friend had treated me to a spa day and it was lovely.  I’ve never been a girly-girl and so this was an interesting experience.  I had a gorgeous massage and delish afternoon tea.  I felt spoilt.  When I got home I had a banging headache which I put down to not drinking enough through the day but I couldn’t shift it.  Early to bed for me with rather a large handful of painkillers.

Yesterday was AofK #2.  All through December and into January I’d been entering competitions to win a certain set of cups on the internet.  I was desperate to win these blinking cups.  And I didn’t, but a friend did and I was horribly jealous.  My headache from Monday hadn’t abated all day and I was feeling really down.  I was utterly beaten into a mess of pain and emotion.  I was falling asleep at my desk and was begging to be taken home.  All I wanted to do was go to bed and never wake up, I felt that pathetic and rubbish.  So I was put to bed and hubby woke me at 6pm to feed me.  Yesterday, whilst I was at work, a box was left with my neighbour which hubby fetched whilst I was asleep and within said box were two of these cups.  I cried with happiness, I really did.

I felt so touched, so blessed to have these people in my life.  I felt fantastic – my cheeks hurt from smiling so broadly.  I felt humbled; the whole ‘why me?’ thing flying around my brain, battling for space with my headache.  So, if you have the opportunity to do something nice, do it.  Just do it because not only will you feel brilliant, your recipient will feel a thousand times more brilliant.  And if you want to practise your random acts of kindness on me, I’m not going to object 🙂

January 8, 2015

Being honest

Posted in Health stuff, January tagged , , , , , , , , , at 1:44 pm by viewfromthisdesk

I’ve being going on for years about how I need to be more honest about how I’m feeling and how I can’t use the phrase ‘I’m fine’ to cover all my lies.

So, deep breath ….. today is a bad day.

There you go.  It’s out there.  It’s flying around like an enormous neon sign, telling the world that I’m really rather useless and pathetic and rubbish.

Last night I got home from work feeling okay, I fetched firewood, lit a fire, watched some tv and then slept for nearly two hours.  Spent the rest of the evening feeling groggy, nauseous and cold.  Went to bed and slept for twelve hours.  Failed to get up for work at the appropriate time and didn’t wake until 11.59am.

I now feel utterly rubbish.  Weak as a kitten, groggy and fuzzy and ache like I’ve been in a fight.  Really light sensitive and my hands and wrists are KILLING me.  Couldn’t put my work trousers on because after fastening my bra, I couldn’t work the zip and buttons.  So I’m in the office with soft trousers and a jumper.  Get me looking professional as heck.

If ever there was a time I wanted to be able to crawl back into a cave and hide and cry and pretend that reality isn’t happening, this is it.  Honesty is horrid.

January 2, 2015

Same stuff, different date

Posted in January tagged , , at 9:55 am by viewfromthisdesk

I wanted to get excited about the New Year.  I really did.  Yey me! Got to the end of another 365 day cycle of the usual stuff.  But by 11pm I was falling asleep, and whilst I managed to stay awake until the witching hour, when I then fell gratefully into bed, I couldn’t sleep.

ARGH.

I haven’t made any resolutions.  I never manage to keep them so why set myself up for a crushing pile of self loathing towards my failure?  I’m a typical girl – I want to loose weight but I make this announcement whilst imagining I’m shoveling an entire tub of crimble chocolates into my face.  I want to try and be more active but I’m planning on spending the weekend sat on the sofa in my ‘jamas with fluffy slippers and a blanket over my knees.  I want to be more positive about my condition but pah, what’s the point.

 

I’m not really lying head-first in a bowl of raspberry angel delight but I am a bit flummoxed by the whole New Year thing. For starters, it doesn’t feel like we’ve had Christmas and New Year and all that goes with it – it’s not been cold enough for starters!  Why is it so mild and confusing?

The best thing about the change in calendars is that yesterday I tipped out my 2014 jar.  Whilst it wasn’t as full of notes as the first year I did it, I blame this entirely on my lack of doing things with people.  I was rather introverted last year. So, here’s to a new year, a new me and a new jar!

jar2014

January 29, 2014

Something cheerful.

Posted in January at 2:31 pm by viewfromthisdesk

I’ve just finished reading Freya North’s ‘Rumours’ – brilliant book.

I’m off to make another cuppa, shout at the chickens and start Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn’s ‘The Piano Player’s Son’.

Although, not necessarily in that order!

Trying to explain.

Posted in Health stuff, January tagged , , at 9:27 am by viewfromthisdesk

My last post didn’t really help anyone. You worried and I couldn’t handle the contact it created.

You know when you take a jumper off and sometimes you get stuck in the body bit? I feel like that. It’s dark, my hands are halfway up the sleeves and useless and I’m not sure whether to start again. And asking for help is futile because I don’t know if I want arms or head out first or actually, whether I want my jumper back on now.

So, I’m taking this week to try and organise my head. To calm the thoughts and make some order. I am being entirely selfish. Books to read and films to watch and tea to drink. I’m enjoying the silence of my days and hoping for a good frost tomorrow as forecast so I can curl up on my beanbag in the kitchen and watch the garden sparkle and look pretty.

Normal service will hopefully resume soon. Hopefully.

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