22 January 2013
Well of course I’m not silly enough to venture out in what is quite deep snow now in buffalo sandals, but I am going to get some. Talk about bringing back memories – I had a pair in the mid 70s and wore then till the fell off my feet.
It wasn’t all bliss – breaking in buffalo sandals is the job for a masochist or someone with the toughest feet in the history of tough feet. I have a vague memory of toes blistering and hurting like stink, but one suffers for one’s vanity when young. Once worn in, the sandals were incredibly comfortable and that’s the bit I chose to remember.
With our holiday approaching fast, I had thought about something light to wear on my feet and through a series of synaptic leaps, remembered my old buffaloes – but they surely can’t still be available… can they? Oh yes they can. Through the power of eBay, there were a couple of places selling them, though they had to come from the USA or India, but I was poised to purchase when dear old K reminded me of how it was to break a pair in – not the sort of thing you want to do to your feet whilst on holiday. Shall I get some? Of course – it’ll be a fond trip down memory lane and if I can get past the first few wears, they’ll be perfect if the sun ever shines in England again.
Meanwhile, outside, the snow is coming down in big, fat flakes, silently covering the village in a cloak of white and muffling all the normal evening noises – what bliss.
The snow last week brought down a huge branch from the top of the holm oak that is just the other side of the wall in our neighbours garden. It must have come down in the middle of the night, though we didn’t hear it and looking out the back the next morning, there was just a huge tangle of branches and leaves. Well, waste not, want not – there are several straight branches that will make wonderful wands. I just need to strip the bark and side shoots from them and shape them while the wood is nice and soft. I was born in the Oak Month and have been wondering why I’ve never found the materials to make myself an oak wand… and now I’m given such a gift. I do wonder if the main bough could be carved into a long, sinuous dragon – even though I have no idea about wood carving – I’ve never let small details like that get in the way. If I make something, I shall post pictures.
18 January 2013
I had a fascinating conversation with K the other day. We were talking about a blog post by Leo Babuta on his inspiring Zenhabits Blog and we came up with a wonderful analogy for ourselves.
The discussion had been about holding on to old ‘stuff’ and by stuff I mean all the baggage of one’s life. Mr Babuta posits that your life is like a glass and you can fill it with all the stuff from your past, or you can fill it with the things you want for your future. Now, I haven’t put that nearly as elegantly as he did, but that’s the general idea. You can only fit so much ‘stuff’ into your glass, so if you fill it with the hurts and sadnesses from the past, there’s no room for the wonderful possibilities of the future; we either look back or we look forward. It made perfect sense to me.
What we did was to take his wonderful idea and liken it to drinking wine; you have a wine glass and if you have the old, sour wine from yesteryear in it, and you insist on holding on to that wine, any new, fresh wine that you pour on top will be tainted. You won’t want to drink as much of the tainted wine as you would if it were newly uncorked and at it’s best, so there’s wine left in the glass. But because you’re the person who hangs on to the dregs of wine, every time you top up the glass, it taints the new wine. Your past can spoil your future if you hold on to it.
In our lives, we have to empty the old, stale wine, wash the glass and start afresh. Then, every sip is full of possibilities, excitement and freshness. Easy in theory, but developing that analogy has given me a good tool to work on any hankering I have had to hold on to things from the past. I can simply ask myself: is this fresh wine or old, vinegary wine? It’s a really simple test, but incredibly effective… and pertinent to my life.
This new perspective on dealing with the past – and let’s face it, we can’t go back and change the past, so we may as well move on – was particularly brought home to me over the past week. I know people who move like dolphins at play from their past into their future, but I also know people who cling to perceived hurts, slights and injustices as if their lives depended on it. Sometimes we need those mirrors others provide to motivate us to change and I have been given the gift of a mirror that has helped me change – for that, thank you.
10 January 2013
That’s my choice. Actually, I have lots of choices: vacuuming, blogging, accounts, selling on the phone, coding, yadah, yadah… You get the idea – but just now there’s an urgent need to vacuum, the carpets are becoming catpets, i.e. something to walk on consisting mainly of cat fur, but the sun is shining.
It’s such a rare treat to see blue skies and sun that it seems a terrible waste to vacuum when I could be digging yet more bulbs into the garden and even contemplating getting the lawnmower out, as the grass is rather shaggy. So here I am, looking through my freshly cleaned window at mare’s tails and vast swathes of blue and feeling joy.
Talking of clean windows, am I the only person to have a complete ‘fraidy cat who’s terrified of the sound of the window cleaner, his ladders and the swishing noises he makes on our old glass? ÜberCat is very large; he weighs 7 kilos and he’s not at all fat, in fact he’s a lean, mean loving machine, and ordinarily he’s the one who tries to “protect” me from the vacuum by putting himself between me and it. Über is a funny mixture of soppy cuddle beast (with added dribble) and fierce personal protection cat and where he normally rushes to meet visitors, throwing himself at them for a stroke and ear rub (while CatBert legs it upstairs to hide), all that changes on window cleaning day.
I should have known. I’ve had a few late nights and took a lie-in this morning – normally I’m bounced on by CatBert and then Über comes along and gives me a hard stare to let me know he’s disgusted with my lazing and that I should get up and feed them. Before you think I doss in bed every morning, this sort of behaviour can start as early as 5 a.m. if Bert is really peckish. This morning, Über got on the bed but instead of the hard stare, he inveigled his way under the duvet, lay next to me and rested his head on my arm, with nothing more than his white toes on one paw poking out from under the covers. I guess the window cleaner had started somewhere else before he came to our house and Über must have heard him, even if I hadn’t.
It was 11.30 before I could coax my otherwise brave and fearless cat out from under the bed. Poor ÜberCat. He’s still jumpy and CatBert, who is completely impervious to the window cleaner, stole some of Über’s breakfast too.
Oh goodness, in the few minutes it’s taken me to type this the sky has filled up with clouds, the brightness has dimmed and it’s looking distinctly less tempting to go out gardening. Good decision to blog, but now I must apply myself to invoicing and marketing duties. Adieu.
06 January 2013
I went into the garden for the first time in ages today. After all the nastiness with the builder and landscaper, the builder virtually doubling the price and the landscaper lying to support the builder, I haven’t wanted to go near the garden or look after it.
K has argued that I should keep the anger I have about what was done to us separate from the garden (which was what the builder and landscaper worked on) and that I should reclaim the garden as the built monument to my dad and as a place of enjoyment. I know, on an intellectual level that he’s right, but on a visceral level, I just can’t do it. I’m so angry, with no outlet, and until the balance has been redressed and both parties have had what they gave out threefold, it’s a challenge to make the separation. I suppose that rather shows me up as an unevolved troglodyte, but I don’t care.
I had ordered some bulbs way before the court case and they either had to go into the ground or I had to accept I’d effectively burned a whole lot of money, as there were quite a few. The plan had been to move some debris and put in swathes of purple and lilac coloured tulips and then fill in with other plants as the fancy took me. The intended spot was the end of the long flower bed where the landscaper had left in a heap of stones, some the lovely buttery yellow stone that’s full of fossils from around here, and rubbish, like a broken spade handle and other rubble.
Earlier in the year, we had moved a lot of the stone to a corner to create a new Toad Hall where our resident amphibians could over-winter and also to give them a place to shelter from the cats, but we were still left with a great big pile of stone. One of our neighbours has taken some of the excess stone for a wall restoration and the remainder is sitting on top of the wall waiting for him to take it. K moved the remaining stone from the flowerbed and we rescued some day lilies that had been shoved in a corner and stones piled on them. K planted some of the bulbs and I did some tidying up and cutting back of manky old foliage, before we got too puffed out and gave up. I suppose we shall plant the rest of the bulbs next weekend, though now the stones have gone, I shall be able to do bits on my own, thanks to K’s efforts.
The worst part is that i feel so conflicted – I want to look after the garden and as soon as I start thinking about it, I can’t help but plan flowers for the coming year, and on another level, I’d like to bow the whole thing up with dynamite and never have to see it again. Actually, I’d prefer to blow up the builder and the landscaper, but I know I must let Karma do its thing and that’s where the problem lies. I’ve never been terribly good at sitting back and waiting for things to happen, or for the universe to do its worst; I’d far rather give it a helping hand… only I can’t. So, here I am, feeling torn about the thing which as meant to give me pleasure, commemorate my wonderful father and be a place of solace. Is dynamite good for smudging…?
02 January 2013
The sort of ‘interesting’ that the Chinese might wish you when wishing you one of those dodgy years that might look a lot better than it smells. On my visit to the doctor on Monday to get my sore shoulder sorted, I not only got an injection into the joint (ouch), but a battery of blood tests too. I’d had the same tests in the summer and the words Multiple Myeloma were bandied and I was sent for tests to rule it out… which thankfully was the case. Since then, I haven’t been back, fearing that an ear ache might result on amputation of my head or athlete’s foot in a diagnosis of gangrene. Call me a coward and I’ll readily answer to it.
I won’t even go for mamograms and smear tests theres days – I’ve come to the conclusion that the fear and stress created by all these tests is harmful to my health and peace of mind, after all, I have to die of something!
Anyway, in the end the shoulder got so sore, I had to go as I couldn’t even put my bra on without yelping and whimpering in pain. The choice of daily pain or my nipples poking out below the hem of my skirt just wasn’t the sort of decision I was prepared to make, so off I went. Apart from the shoulder, I felt glowingly healthy. After poking a needle into my shoulder, and while I was off guard, my Doctor casually said: “All right if I take a few blood tests?’ and before my brain could engage, my mouth had said yes and the needle was in my arm. “Fine”, I thought, I’ve been feeling pretty ok over the past few months and it’ll be nice to make the na-na-na-naaa-nah playground noise when I could prove that my cholesterol was still at a respectable 5 and my blood sugars better than those of skinny bitches. I went home and forgot about everything apart from the mad burning in my shoulder… until this afternoon.
Bum. It seems some of my liver enzymes are all out of kilter and despite giving up butter and eating well and losing a stone, it seems my cholesterol is also up to 7 – time to go for an ultrasound on my liver and a consultation with a liver specialist. See? Every time I go to the doctors I come out feeling a darned sight worse than when I went in. I shall have to go and have it checked now, so my imagination doesn’t start playing all sorts of tricks, but what a right, royal pain in the arse.
Sod it, I’m off to the hairdresser tomorrow to have all my hair cut off – I’m bored with it and feeling ennui at looking like an unkempt yeti, so I shall focus on how nice I shall feel tomorrow after being relieved of lots of hair and even more money.
I still maintain 2013 will be a good year, even if I have to make a late resolution never to go near a GP surgery ever again!