Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Doing a David

Attenborough, that is. Walking around this morning talking into my camera for a bit :)

Apologies for low quality and dodgy sound - I'm limited what I can do from here, but it was fun to have got something online so quick after taking it. Had *such* a fab day today, and also hit over 1000 miles in my hire car - and double-checked there's no mileage limit on it ;)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Stories

I had one of those "woah!" moments over the weekend.

I was engaged in a big ol' bout of tidying, organising, and filing. These things often tend to take me a while, as I can often end up getting distracted by whatever it is that I'm trying to tidy/organise/file ;)

I keep a lot of things (read: random old junk) that spark memories. Leaflets collected on holidays, train tickets, pieces of paper with random scribbles, ... Things I keep that I think may later prompt a smile when I rediscover them.

And it's true, many of these things do spark those memories, spark those smiles, as I later come to rediscover them.

But I didn't really specifically think about this until I found something that I couldn't remember the story behind. Certainly, regardless of what that story is or how long its telling would take, it will have a story. But it felt very strange to hold in my hand something I had chosen to keep, yet not to know its context.

This got me thinking about stories. The stories behind all the things around us.

Everything has a story to tell. From the big things everyone knows about - the stars and the sky, the rivers and the hills, the mountains and the trees - to the little things in forgotten places. Some of these things simply pass through our lives, no more than an idle narrative as the page is turned. Others are a part of the story. And there are so many types of stories behind these things. There are the technical stories and sentimental stories. The stories of where things came from, and the stories of what they were. The stories of things seen, and the stories of things cherished.

The tapestry of life is an ever-changing, ever-evolving wonder. I wonder how these things thread through it?

The pound coin down the back of your sofa. How did it get there? How did it come to you? What has it seen?

The flimsy piece of cardboard that was your train ticket for a day. What did it mean to you? What did you do on that day? Where did you buy the ticket and where did it take you? Where did it come from? Was it once a part of a tree in a forest near you? Or did it come from the other side of the world?

The notes you write for yourself. Reminders and things to do. Would you know now what they meant? Did you do them? Did something more exciting come up that you forgot? Or was there so much going on to begin with that you had to write them down?

A hundred million things pass through our lives, and every one has a story to tell.

I like blogs. Blogs capture a fraction of that most personal of stories, the story of ourselves. Why did you start your blog, and where did it take you? Did the very act of telling that story take it to new places?

We are absolutely surrounded by stories. Most sit, tantalisingly out of reach, hovering beyond our awareness.

I wonder where we would go, who we would be, were we to know those stories. How much would they teach us, and how much would we learn?

Everything has a story. Everything has at least a glimmer of true and absolute wonder behind it.

I am glad that we do not immediately know the stories of all these things, or I would not have thought to write about it :)

What fun would it be, without the mystery?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Minds are like parachutes

Just because you've lost yours doens't mean you can borrow mine.


Hehehehe :) Some of these things do crack me up :)

I mean, with things like:
Teamwork

A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.
What's not to love? ;)

On a completely different subject... Last night was a big party night on my salsa calendar :) I always really look forward to and enjoy the big parties. The first one I went to in particular is special to me, because it was where I really realised it wasn't just something I did, but something I felt a part of :)

But they're also a lot harder work than a normal class - at a class, "all" you really have to remember is how to repeat what you've been doing. A lot of people tend to use the main freestyle section between the two sets of classes as a social catch-up, so it's also very easy to get caught up in that and forget to do any dancing ;) (Hey, there's always a lot of gossip ;) )

You see, as a bloke, the really difficult bit is being able to lead the woman. If you don't lead her, you'll just stand there trotting backwards and forwards for a few minutes ;)
The two sides to this are both in knowing how to lead her where you want her to go... and the hard bit... figuring out where you want her to go! :) Because you really can't remember a whole routine from a class very easily, and even if you do... They never last long enough, and you can't just do the same thing again and again for three minutes! ;)

So one of my best dancing nights was when I stayed dancing through several tracks of the freestyle section in a normal class and felt very "in the zone" :) (Being able to drink juuust the right amount helps too ;) )

So, when the big parties come 'round, I always felt semi-positive leading up to it (if also nervous), but then found I never felt I did enough dancing when there.

I was feeling positive about last night because I felt this month that I'd really clicked with my Cuban style. I mean I knew theoretically before that all I had to do was take moves from Casino Rueda (danced as a group) and apply them in a one-on-one basis, but it still wasn't easy.

Until last night ;) Phwaaaaaaar hardly did any On2 (which is what I actually have most lessons in), did a few Merengues and Bachatas... But mostly Cuban style all night :D And I mean pretty much all night :) lol, I really could have kept going after the party came to an end ;) And I danced with so many people! :)

I am so thrilled, I really am :)

I still believe that starting is one of the best decisions I have made in my life :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Push the Button

Ooh! Exciting!

And here I am ironing my shirt.


Ooh there it goes! Into the chamber, now they're removing the 'cork'!

I mean I'm quite pleased for them that, on the whole, it's going so well so far. I mean it's not the sort of thing you can easily test, I imagine!

This is more exciting than I was expecting, I have to say.

I also realise that, in the very unlikely event that the world ended, I have in my heart always tried to do what I believe to be 'the right thing'. I am pleased to have regrets. If I looked back and saw nothing I regretted, I think that would be wrong. I hope I've learnt from them. You know, if the world did end, I think I'd feel at peace.

Whoohoo! It worked!

And now I can get back on with living :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Year On from a Long Week

I have fifteen posts with a Draft status. Some of them are duplicates, some of them are notes, some of them are only for me, and some are simply unfinished.

My Nan died a year ago yesterday (09/08/07), and it is her that this post discusses. Originally dated 23/08/07, I was writing it some two days after her funeral. I can remember starting it. I cannot remember why I did not finish it.

I can also remember that it was a very intense week, that week last year. Perhaps this is why this random day in the middle of August helps to split the year up for me and acts as a time of reflection. Or perhaps there's some great cosmic energy that leads me to reflect in August, as I seemed to spend a lot of that month last year in contemplative reflection.

Let's leave that reflection there for now. This post is not about me. It is about my Nanny.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



So, that's my Nanny in with my Grandad. For the easily confused, the gravestone hasn't been added to yet.

It was slightly strange how just as we arrived at the church (two limos following the hearse) and got out, the rain absolutely began bucketing down. Mum said, "Mum, I thought you'd have been looking down on us and given us nice weather."
Several people said it was a shame. It occurred to me to ponder saying at the time something about that the sky was crying. I later settled on pointing out that a popular expression for such things was that the heavens had opened, so this was also perhaps a good sign.

They are the closest people to me ever to have died, my Nanny and Grandad.

Having lived further away for several years, I think it has lessened the impact somewhat, though.

It hit my sister just before the start of the service. Next-door-but-one neighbour (who had agreed to sort out the teas for the wake) had hopped around to the front to ask, "Are you ok, Monkfish's Mum? Are you ok, Monkfish's sister?" - at which point it hit my sister. Ironically, she'd been the one most telling my Mum that she should try to be strong and not cry too much during the day.

My sister says that her greatest recollection of our Nan is just of her laughing. Not at anything in particular, just in general.

I guess I can see that too, and a few random old tales of having fun.

At 84, my Nan was the oldest of seven. They used to have to sleep two to a bed. She remembers asking her Mum when she was young whether she could have a dolly. "You don't need a dolly, you've got the real thing to look after," she was told.

During the war, against her mother's wishes, she jumped at the chance to sign up and help out. She was stationed around the country as a cook. She loved it.

We used to see Nanny and Grandad every Saturday. We'd get there in the morning, have lunch, then somewhere between just Mum and Dad and all of us would go to Asda to do the shopping.
One of the best bits was after the meal! :) When it came to... running into the cupboard to search out what tasty yummy things were in there today! :)
Hmm, I can remember often a packet of Mr. Kipling Vienese Whirls would be found :)

But but but it was even better when their old friend who used to make cakes had given them something! Cor, some of them were absolutely delicious :)

After my Grandad died, my Nan had a fall once where it took her several hours to be able to make it to the phone. After that, my Mum was able to convince her to move. My Grandad's family had lived there for more than a century - he was born in that house. When it came up for sale, my Nan and Grandad were able to buy it with the help of a loan of a hundred pounds from a well-to-do friend.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was a curious place to have left it, but half-way through that paragraph is all I had written. My Nan moved into a bungalow around the corner from my parents, my sister buying a portion at the same time. I don't think they ever told Nanny how much it cost. My sister lives there now. She has the concrete frog that my grandparents used to have in their garden in hers still.

It is bizarre, the memories that make us smile :) I remember sitting on that frog as though I were riding it. I remember walking around the fields out the back of their house; I remember going for bike rides when I got to stay there for a few days on holidays; I remember my Grandad always used the outside toilet, even although they had had one inside since my Mum was a girl; I remember playing upstairs with a box of old jewellery - once worn, a ring gave its wearer magical powers; I remember playing Snakes & Ladders; I remember... so many happy memories, and I am glad that this post helped focus my thoughts to such places :)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Shoe Inflation

You know, I remember that this time last year, I had three shoes.

Well, not three shoes, three pairs of shoes. I can remember this because I remember feeling pretty chuffed when I bought that third pair, because they were in a style I hadn't worn before, and I remember I bought them when I'd gone to buy furniture, and came home with a new coat and a pair of shoes ;) It's a pretty common confusion. Furniture. Shoes. See? I mean, they both... often... involve legs... *cough*

In fact, I even was so excited that I even blogged about it at the time :)

As I looked at the line of shoes under my bed the other day, it kinda struck me that things have moved on a bit since then.

I now have eight pairs of shoes. Eight pairs!! Good grief, what am I doing with all these shoes!? :) I'm pretty sure I still have just the two feet ;) And even more bizarrely, I'm also pretty sure I've worn all of them at some point in the last month.

For the easily confused, I don't mean at the same time ;)

Whatever happened to "work" and "not work" ?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Chuckling Upon Reflection

As I recently reflected upon my last couple of counselling sessions, I really did have to chuckle to myself.

Allow me to summarise two consecutive weeks:
Week A: Ask myself fewer questions. Stop weighing up all of the possibilities and be more spontaneous.

Week B: Ask myself more questions. Stop to fully consider their answers and consequences.

Hmmmmmmmm! :)

Ok, in fairness, that's over-simplified and out of context. It actually does make sense (to me, at least, and that's what counts) when in context. No, really, it does! ;)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thank You, Mr. "bathroom"

Why, thank you, Mr. "bathroom" whose valuable feedback on my previous post was as follows:
Cabinets and countertops offer the much-needed storage space in the bathroom to store your toiletries, keep medicines and first-aid box, cleaning milk, moisturizer and deodorants, towels and napkins besides other things that you use daily while showering in your bath. They are powerful accents to your bath d├ęcor and help you to define the tone and style of the bathroom wall cabinets and make the best use of the wall and floor surface of the area.


That was most interesting and insightful. Sadly, in my quotation of your comments, I do appear to have accidentally ommitted the URL that you mentioned.

I wonder at the purpose of such a feat.

Yes, the more pages that link to a page with relevant search terms will increase its page rank within Google... But to what end?

To sell bathroom furniture?

It's certainly in a different league to viagra and Swiss watches, I'll give you that.

Hmm. Best guess... To artificially increase the popularlity of such a site so that when people perform a legitimate search in Google (or similar), they arrive on your site... Which I guess contains no real content or products... But would contain a lot of adverts for bathroom furniture. Then you simply sit back and reap the income from the advertising click-throughs.

Bah. What a load of old toilet!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

On the Floor with Fate

I guess that it is probably about three months now, since I sat at my computer, searching.

Waiting for that bolt of inspiration to form, to hit me, to sink its undeniable truth before my very eyes.

Searching, I found myself, for some new activity to partake of an evening. "Evening classes", a friend had suggested... Although, by the end of college, I had hoped that I had finished with the minutiae of academia. The forced structure of theoretical learning is not an area I enjoy - at college we had ended up skipping lessons, to learn that which we truly yearned to learn, rather than that they chose to teach.

But it provided a spark, a focal point from which I could expand my search - both the tangible (Google) and the intangible (mental, emotional). Seeking new parameters, adjusting my criteria, challenging Google to give all that it could give, to find something that reached out and grabbed me. I believe the eventual query that led me to my final path was simple - "things to do in [my local town]". I rather fancied... something that I didn't expect to usually do. Something challenging, perhaps something sporty.

As luck would have it, I found something. Not just something that challenged me, though, something that scared me.

Did you ever see that episode of Friends where Chandler and Monica get hitched? That Chandler had tried to learn to dance (despite his unfortunately slippery shoes) always somewhat fascinated me. I'm not entirely sure why. Memories, perhaps, of the times at which I have found myself in a venue at which dancing occurs; the times at which I was happy to lurk at the sidelines, apart from those occasions I found myself dragged reluctantly to the dance floor... But smiling.

I do not feel that I have a great sense of physical skill or co-ordination. To watch me attempt to catch something is like watching a two-year-old juggle - and one which has just swallowed everything in Amy Winehouse's bathroom cabinet, at that.

I mentioned, with some trepidation, my idea to my counsellor.

Well. Bugger me, it only turned out she used to teach the stuff!

Sometimes, things feel almost too coincidental to disregard as mere chance. So I went for it.

I began attending classes that deal in several types of mostly Cuban-inspired dance.

The Lady Luck was smiling when I made that decision. I could not have hoped to meet a selection of more outgoing, friendly, social, and encouraging set of people than these :)

I can find it very difficult... But I also enjoy it immensely :D

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Are You Well?

Does anyone else actually remember the Glam Metal Detectives? I remember a sketch with a poor comedian who always resorted to "Anyway... Anyway... Are you well?" after dropping a stinker.

Anyway... Are you well? ;)

How's the cat? Are your plants still alive? Hell, is the cat still alive? Changed the colour of your hair? Are you busy? Did you have to pay the fine you were dodging all the time? Woooah, think I slipped into song there ;)

It felt like time to say something... To say what, I do not know. Is not knowing, so, [clicks tongue] cannot be saying. (Now, there's an obscure reference ;) )

When I think of me blog, I think the word that floats predominently through my mind is "repurpose". Where on Earth I picked up some sort of marketing bollocks-like word like that, I don't know ;) But still, I think I need to "repurpose" it.

I enjoyed blogging about the random things, and I ... "enjoyed" isn't the right word, but could find a sense of... calm?... in posting some of the "bigger" things. I recall someone once said of some of my posts that they were written from the heart, and they were. Some of those sort of thing, just... helped me find my way.

It's certainly been something that's helped me to grow who I am, and that can only be a good thing :) (We-eeell... ;) )

Where now? I'm not sure... There are times I think of things I'd like to blog (especially when you need to climb up on that soapbox and shout to the world ;) ), but then even when I was actively blogging I only got around to blogging around 1% of them ;)

It's getting the balance right, y'know? A blog is a tool, and I need to figure out how I want to use it now. I started a separate blog the other week, but I have a clear idea as to its purpose (it's not anonymous, and its focus is on techy stuff... I've often wanted to voice things on that subject, and then I realised I knew just the medium - contact me privately if you want its details) - unlike my old friend Don't Blame The Stars.

The other thing I'm trying to watch in myself at the moment are the activities I get up to and that I stay in control of them... Two examples from this past week were m' friend trying to persuade me to try (seriously, I think he must have been a drug dealer in a past life) World of Warcraft (aka "that goblin game" in Northern Monkey's lexicon, if my memory serves me correctly) - I'm sure I could play it, and I'm sure I could enjoy it... But right now, I don't want to. Investing that much time in something like that doesn't "do it" for me right now.

Likewise, following on from my "Check out my new HDMI cable!" evening I recently organised for the guys at work (translation: "let's watch a DVD, eat pizza and drink beer!"), one of the others at work helps to run a radio control car club thingy that he invited us for an evening doing last night. Interesting night, and we did it on a night that the club is usually closed, so we had it to ourselves. Nice setup - they have an old warehouse with a few tracks set up in it, monitors around the walls showing race results, PA system... Surprisingly professional... But anyway... It was fun for an evening (plus, pizza and beer were involved again... ;) ) racing someone else's car (uh, and they weren't expecting us to break two of the shells... oops... the cars can do like 30mph, apparently... into a wall... lots of times ;) ) but there's noooo way I'd want to do it more than a couple of times a year, let alone weekly.

On the plus side, they had worked out a penalty system for the evening which meant the first-timers (five of us) could race against the experienced lot (three of them)... Even better was the fact that with that system in place, I won the 1st place trophy ;) (Didn't know they had got some li'l trophies in before that :) )

They also appeared to frown on my "Hey, how quickly can you run 'round the track?" experiment... ;)

...Anyway... (Are you well? ;) )

I want to be careful with any of these activities that they don't block out others. It can become too easy to get distracted and let them control you if you don't properly supervise them, and finding & setting those boundaries for myself can be something I struggle with sometimes. ... Or often ;)

I had some time this evening, and thought I'd sit down and share that good old random splurge with you ;) Hey, it's just like the old days, huh? ;)

So, I'm not "back back" yet, but, I am, probably... Less... not around.. than I was... n't... Erm...

[waves his hand dismissively] I'll play it by ear. ;)

-IM

PS. Can't believe I didn't think to check YouTube before! Shame how the things we enjoy watching when we're young never seem quite the same later in life though...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Like the Moth and the Lightbulb

...I'm going to have a break.

Unlike any previous periods of absence that I may have had 'here', this one is a concious decision.

I've been thinking about this for a few days.  My blog... Represents a way of dealing with things when they became too much for me, and I didn't know how else to deal with them.

I feel it that it is time that I try to learn some new ways of dealing with things.

I'll be back, at some point, and I'll still be thinking of you all and wondering how you're doing.

This, here, all of it, means a great deal to me, but goodbye for now.

I love you all.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Busy Week

Tuesday March 4th 2008 ended for me today sat in a park car park (in my car) with the windows ajar, looking up at the stars.

Bizarrely, the last thing I had done before that was buy some petrol, shoe polish, and a fruit smoothy. Still, it was nice to do something productive while also getting the air I'd fancied ;)

Had the first of my two introductory counselling meetings today. Talked to the woman about the other, and she basically said she'd recommend just going with whichever had a place first.

Funny way to spend your 2nd anniversary, but there you go.

Car MOT tomorrow, 2nd lot of counselling people on Thursday.

So. There you go. Busy week.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Me?

I wrote, quite some months ago, about Relationship/Couple Counselling.
I remember reading (I think on Relate's website) that because most couples see therapy as a last resort, they can leave it almost too late, when everything becomes harder to fix.

At the same time, I also wrote:
Recently, a day or two ago, someone suggested to me that if our regular PST appointment still didn't become available this week, that I should go talk to someone myself. At the time, it did seem an almost silly idea. Now I'm not so sure.

I think that my first statement above applies just as much to individual counselling, too. All the signs were there. I had a chilling reminder of this less than a year ago, but again, I failed to act.

I was aware of the terrifying enormity of what I did to Quna from the moment I had done it, and I knew that it was something that I, and only I, could be responsible for.

I contacted my GP the next morning to discuss counselling, and am now on their waiting list. It sounds like the counsellor attached to the surgery has a long list, so I have also contacted one place that I have had suggested by my GP, and one that I found on BACP.

Some of the things I have seen inside me scare me.

My behaviour sometimes, not just to Quna, but to other friends too, has been abysmal, shocking, and downright childish.

None of this is up for debate.

If you, reading this, are someone that I care about and I have ever hurt you, than I am sincerely sorry.

I have a lot to learn, and a lot to unlearn.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Lessons from Icarus

The ups were dizzying. They were beautiful and incredible; we soared through the sky together, and when we looked down, we could no longer see the ground.

We encouraged each other to be all we could be, and we grew together and in ourselves.

The downs, too, were dizzying. They were terrifying and scary; they dragged us down with fear, and when we looked up, we could not see the sky.

We both became people that were not ourselves, and it was horrifying.

We love each other, but this is self-destructive.

I shall not mourn the loss of the dizzying downs.

I shall greatly mourn the loss of all the beautiful, beautiful things that we experienced together.

We have to take two steps apart to lose those extremities, and see what we have left as friends.

It is intensely difficult to look at someone you love, to feel the memory of the past highs, the hopes of those future, and to feel that you are sacrificing all of that glorious beauty. But this is not a sacrifice. It is a preservation. It is a preservation of something so beautiful, we could not bear to see it be destroyed.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Old Donny Norfolk

Nope, I'm still not dead ;) I've been musing the last post. It's one of those things where I've been thinking I'd like to say something to explain what happened since then (Summary: :) ), but I haven't really worked out what.

Anyway, it's not likely to be within the next few days - early tomorrow (Wednesday) morning I'm off up to Doncaster with my boss to demo our progress with an application we started writing this month to a new client.
Wednesday evening, rather than heading back home, it's off to a hotel in Norwich so that I'm ready for a Speed Awareness Course that begins at 9:30 in the morning (taking it elsewhere, it seems, was not an option) Incidentally, I did 36mph - I think that the option of doing a course instead of getting points is a great idea, and shows an effort to genuinely improve safety - unlike someone in my office who seems to think that all of the police are out to get you. This has sparked more than a few debates ;)
Myself and another colleague both looked at him slightly gob-smacked as he told the story of one of his mates who "didn't do anything wrong, except speed a bit, doing 100+, but perfectly safe! I mean he was dodging the police stingers and everything, it was only them chasing him that caused a problem! Only stopped because he ran out of petrol."

Aaaaanyway :)

Back in a few days. :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Irony

Irony.

Irony is thinking back to Saturday, to the big row with your girlfriend. Irony is mentally going back over the events of the day, trying to analyse your behaviour and what she told you. Irony is trying to isolate what behaviour it is that leads to these bouts. Irony is trying to stop thinking of things that you could ask her to do differently, and trying to establish what you can do differently.

Irony is remembering back, plucking out the constructive from the unconstructive, seeking for the lessons she may have imparted upon you.

Irony is recalling the one point made more than any other.

Irony is hearing that phrase over and over again, repeated as 'though stuck in a loop.

And above all? Above all, irony is remembering that "you just don't listen!"






That's the bit that made me chuckle. I used to find writing to be somewhat therapeutic, and it could help me to work things through in my head. So, I write this as much for me, as I do for you. This is the bit which, I hope, may help me to process this information in a useful manner.

This, I believe, seems to be Quna's single biggest consistent complaint against me.

And, and I'm letting you in on a secret here... I don't understand why.

You see, this is (what I perceive as) a common weakness in many men. I know people like this. They don't listen to their other halves because they don't care about what they're saying. This is something I decided, many many years ago, to try to do differently (along with always putting the toilet seat & lid down).

I do care. And because I do care, I try very hard to listen.

So I am actually quite upset to keep being told this (and have told Quna this many times). But it leaves me not actually understanding what this problem is, nor what to do about it.

I wonder if it's actually a small wodge of things together that get lumped under this generic heading of "not listening":
- Genuinely not remembering something (E.g. I talked before about The Christmas Run-Around for a bottle of champagne - Christmas Eve morning I went to Quna with a pen and paper and asked her for the name of the champagne. "You see! This is what I mean when I say you don't listen!" - I can tell you why she wanted champagne, I can tell you why it's special to her on Christmas and how this tradition started. I had never bought champagne before in my life and simply couldn't remember the name from the day before)
- Mis-understanding something. After all, we all make mistakes sometimes.
- Having listened and understood what she has said, the ultimate crime - disagreeing. This goes along with other top problems I have - "you always have to have your own way" and "you always disregard my opinions". Again, I find I struggle somewhat with this one, as I do try to be open, to discuss things, and to find a compromise. Of course, the fact that I try to discuss these things comes back to "having my own way", as Quna would sometimes prefer not to discuss what-ever it is at all, thank you very much, and my desire to discuss it is an example of my disregarding her opinions.

Hmmm.

New relationships are just a minefield of fun, eh? ;)

My way of attempting to deal with an angry Quna who is shouting at me for some reason is still evolving. In the beginning when she began to question some of the qualities I hold dearest to myself it was just plain distressing and could sometimes reduce me to tears ("stop being whiney!"). As I try to establish how best to respond to defuse these situations, I find I am fast running out of options. I have tried to remain calm, to talk gently ("that just makes me feel more stressed!"). At the moment, I seem to be in a phase of responding to her in a fairly similar manner (it's been a lot of years since I've really shouted at someone), and try making the random digs to her as she does to me ("stop trying to score points!") (although I have tried to avoid the name-calling and the impressions).

I fear that at some point, the ultimate solution to these problems, the ultimate cure to arguments, and the ultimate irony, may finally, unwittingly, unknowingly arrive.

To simply stop listening.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Merry & Happy

I find myself having had a merry Christmas, and I am looking forward to a happy new year.

There are, of course, always less fortunate individuals. This year I seem to have had reminders from many around me as to just how unfortunate these things can be.

Allow me please to start with the slightly 'mixed' news brought to us by Northern Monkey, whose sister left her husband (a John Simm look-alike, apparently) of five years (and partner of ten) earlier this year for a married father of two.
As the new twist in the tale became known to Ms. Monkey on Boxing Day, I hope she managed to get enough sleep. Or vodka.

I remember AnnieSeed and of wishing her hope in 2007, let alone 2008.

My boss, meanwhile, has discovered that he has exertional angina. Of the four arteries to his heart, two are apparently 90% blocked, and the other two 70% blocked. Apparently the doctor is amazed that he can even stand up - we assume this must be due to his general good health - he still plays (well, until recently) Friday Night Football, and still loves to go for a good hard run during the more pleasant months.
He is booked in now for a quadruple bypass.

Today, January 2nd 2008, marks three years since I proposed to my wife. Tomorrow her birthday. This week, I plan to read back over a letter from my solicitor to try to make a decision as to whether to pursue divorce or annullment.

I logged in today to a forum of which I am a member. A thread caught my eye - a tribute to a member. "Is this silly?" I wondered, "Or serious?"
Serious, it would appear. A separate thread marked a note from the member's husband that she had died that day.

December 31st. The end of the year. And the end of employment for my redundant colleague, with whom I have worked for five years. He leaves us with no new job prospects as yet, and a partner at home who cannot stand nor sit for more than 30 minutes without needing to lay down afterwards. Despite more time at the hospital than I have had holiday, and more of their own time spent researching it than I have played Oblivion, still nobody knows what is wrong with her.
Still, despite m'colleague being almost twice my age, I suggested that we all went to the pub for lunch. I bought both his lunch and his pint, but more proud was I of the fact that I overcame my inhibitions before he left that day to initiate a quick, manly hug.

Meanwhile, a friend of a friend prepares for a disciplinary meeting at work over trivialities, in spite of what seems to me to be the whole department singing their praises.

My other boss had family over for Christmas day. His brother-in-law felt ill, and went back to bed even before the turkey. Eventually, the paramedics were over. "Man flu," I am told they diagnosed.

He died an hour later.

To all who must suffer pain at this time (or any other), I hope that the words "merry" and "happy" do twist, do not sour, do not leave twinges of hurt and regret.

Sometimes, perhaps, the darkness can seem so blinding that the light cannot be seen.

I would like to say something inspiring. Something stirring, something to make the bad things seem better, something to turn this post around, to produce smiles over sorrow.

Sadly, no such words seem to appear before me.

No matter how small or large our problems, may we all find things to bring us comfort, may we find the things that we love, and the people that love us right there, whenever we need them, no matter the reason.

We all have our load to bear, but no matter how you may feel your load compares to that of another, it does not matter. Comparing problems may make them feel smaller, less important, but that does not mean they weigh less to ourselves.
I hope simply that you have the things and the people around you to help you bear their weight.

All who read this, my readers, my friends, my family, no matter how it may seem to start or end, I wish you all again a very happy new year.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

Hope you all had a good Christmas and begin the new year well.

May 2008 bring us all a step closer to whatever our dreams may be.

That's not the month of May, you understand. Well, it could be. I'm not saying it's NOT the month of May that will bring us... erm... Happy New Year ;)