i can’t decide where to bathe this evening.
too many options!
on a day by day (or hour by hour) basis, during regular normal life, my ‘mazing mood swings look like this
and for the most part, i enjoy the ride.
but when actual depression takes hold, i get stuck under the horizontal axis of the graph, thus:
everything and nothing conspire against me and i’m trapped, tap-tapping along the bottom there, still looking for a way back up but… exhaustion, apathy, irrational thoughts, agoraphobia…
i’ve been bouncing off the meh-line for the last couple of years which has been good
(like, who/whatever had been standing on me finally climbed off.
like, doing simple tasks didn’t take all day every day nor require every bit of willpower and stamina that i had.
like, having a rest from the crazy so i could just get on and do *something*)
and it was also useful, as most of 2014 was dedicated to end of life care for my beloved anakin collie.
anakin was my very best pal and constant companion during the last 15+ years, so to say 2014 was “hard” is an understatement. also, Husband ‘n i had put Eveything Else on hold, so 2014 was some kind of miserable limbo.
wait, it wasn’t like everything was shit! there was happy times and plentiful good things and so many extraordinary kindnesses – but it was haaaaaaard. and ever so limbo-y.
and after she died, everything was weird and different and peculiar for a long time
which was getting kinda boring and so very frustrating because
and i’m looking forward to feeling things, and getting on with all of the things, new & old, because
“ain’t no shame in holding on to grief, as long as you make room for other things too” – bubbles, off of the wire.
i wasn’t sure we’d manage a holiday due to anakin’s continuing broken.
plus, the car is also continuing broken, so it was all a bit touch and go… but we made it!
we *aaaalways* have a good soundtrack for our roadtrips – it’s part of The Thing – but this time we couldn’t listen to anything apart from what is that funny noise? or is that a bit of car falling off? and for some terrible, terrible reason the only song my brain was letting me know all the words to, was ‘true’ by spandau ballet (wtf??! I MEAN WTF??!!!).
so i sang that for 4 hours (!)
and took photos of famous landmarks.
and huh huh huh hu-uh huh
i know this much is true.
huh huh huh hu-uh huh i know this. much is. true.
it was a long & painful drive for Husband and anakin :)
“hey, anakin! where are the guys? i’m not sure we’ll find them in this crowd…”
“oh wait, there they all are.”
the anakin dog was remarkable. she’s very tired, stiff & wibbly now that we’re home, but she wasn’t going to let a silly thing like stroke or arthritis ruin her holiday – she managed plenty of digging, splashing about in rockpools, clambering over rocks (sort of), running (a little bit) and walking (miles!)
i spent an awful lot of time
letting my obsessive nature run wild helping my sister collect perfect rocks for her work, and building little stonehenges.
part 2 – my birthday week! yay! (*contains more moaning)
while the all-consuming anakin thing was ongoing, august continued to race by. suddenly it was my birthday.
ani was much better by then, but loudly unhappy about being shut downstairs alone. i’m not a good sleeper at the best of times, so by then i was achieving 3 hour bursts of zzz & hadn’t left the house in weeks. i was also severely good humour deprived.
for my birthday treat mum & dad were coming to visit – the plan being to break the monotony of my
pyjama dog carer days weeks… but
luckily, despite my fever, i had the good sense to warn my (en route) parents of contagion danger.
or i would have, if i could’ve gotten my stupid phone to work.
i was thoroughly spoilt by family, real life friends, internet friends … internet friends who’ve become real life friends … customers who’ve become internet friends who’ve … just so much spoiled. and all week long :)
anakin approves. (**for them’s that’s asking… metal sheep is from here sundial style )
Husband had ordered me some beautiful ceramic pieces from one of my new favourites, camila prada. but he knew they weren’t going to arrive in time, so one of his work colleagues made this to tide me over… *snorrrrrrrrrk*
one of the best bits about Birthday Week, was finally leaving the house. even if i was dosed up, mildly infectious and had a box of tissues in my handbag. we went to a local pub for a lovely lunch (with fruit juice. meh) followed by – my favourite – tiramasu. i couldn’t taste ever so well, but the textures were lovely!
nipped in to buttons & bows for a fabric fix on the way home and…
(well, as of now, i have a few pieces in there. i’m pretty much done with stocking real life shops, but this is different – no faff, just a few things made with fabrics bought from her shop, and it’s so very, very local :) )
meanwhile, dad and Husband had walked on ahead to see how anakin’d fared during her first Home Alone.
all was well! the dog that could not walk had leapt onto the couch, rooted around under the cushions, become entangled in my knitting, leapt off the couch, run around the room a bit… i wish they’d taken a photo of the devastation.
ah well, the big shredded hole in my new scarf will always remind me of Birthday 2013 :)
she does seem to like my NOT FOR DOGS knitted stuff.
part 1 – canine vestibular syndrome
*** i think i’ve avoided blogging because of this. i’d ignore it completely if i could, but it’s kinda impacted on everything every day since.
and i don’t want to understate How Distressing, but i’ve successfully blocked out most of my thoughts, feelings & emotions from that day, so do *brainskim* along with me, as we get it over with :) ***
way back in july, right after i last blogged, the anakin dog suddenly became very poorly.
we were heading up The North to visit my parents that day – my godparents were visiting from south africa and i was desperate to see them – the car was packed, electrical things had been ocd-checked & double checked, i was wearing clean dayclothes, we were ready to set off…
and then anakin staggered out.
she couldn’t walk, and when she tried to stand her legs kept collapsing under her. her head was tilted at a crazy angle, she was panting & drooling, and her eyes were flickering & rolling…
Husband had to carry her in to the vets and she wasn’t even arsed about the indignity of that.
i was expecting the worst.
fortunately, as soon as the vet saw her, “it’s not what you think. it’s not as bad as it looks”
like a stroke, but not a stroke (although maybe a little stroke). like the worst kind of vertigo. with nausea. inner ear somethingsomething. wordswordswords. she should make a full recovery. wordswordswords.
it was a really hot & humid day, so my sensible bit of brain knew the last thing we should do was put her in the car for a couple of hours. but rest of brain knew i couldn’t cope with sitting at home all weekend, just watching her and feeling helpless. so later on, we did go The North. anakin slept on my lap and i syringed water at her.
approx. 12 seconds after we arrived i burst into tears.
is it weird to say i had a lovely weekend?
anakin was happy to have all her people around her, we took turns lying on the floor feeding & watering her, and Husband slept downstairs so he could help her outside in a toilet emergency.
except, when i tiptoed down at 4am to check on her, they were both sleeping soundly. next to a little pile of sick. the funniest part, is that my parents only had the BRAND NEW CARPET fitted 17 days earlier. ahahahaha
^ it was the best i could do at 4am. sorry mom.
once they existed, it became a lot easier to help her walk – we used the handles to take her weight, used her collar to steer – and she was awfully pleased that i no longer had to hold her bum up while she pooped.
on the sunday, we were lucky enough to catch an impressive display by the red arrows from the comfort of my parents patio. both mom & godmom are from RAF families so that was a bit special. i didn’t have my camera to hand, but it looked a bit like this
home again, we covered our slidey tile floors in a jumble of carpet scraps, rugs & duvets so anakin would have purchase when she tried to walk again, and resigned ourselves to the fact we’d be living in the lounge while she needed 24 hour care. Husband and i took it in turns to sleep on the couch (i did 2 nights, he did the other 42)
the first days were about tempting her to eat & drink – she couldn’t seem to work out where the end of her face was, so it was all by hand – everything saturated in drool, gravy & flakes of salmon. it smelt heavenly.
the weather was still being ridiculous hot, so i was cooling her down with ice packs. she was shedding great chunks of fur from the stress. it all ended up in the freezer but i didn’t even care.
improvements were gradual – her eyes stopped moving & she could lie down properly, after that she was able to sleep restfully. she could hold her head up a bit better, which meant she could drink. her appetite returned, and she was keen to get back on solid food (if i held it just right so she could bite down). she could stand up on her own, she could wobble-walk unaided. she still fell over if she tried to turn… so she realised walking backwards was sometimes safer, and that she could use her tail for balance.
she could chase cats. she could manipulate us.
but she still couldn’t go upstairs.
we fell into a new routine of no routine. getting up at 4am because she fancied a wander in the garden in the rain. getting up at 6am because she didn’t like Husband going off to work. 20 minute bursts of sewing time because she didn’t like being alone.
(i had a little video to add here, to show how mobile, active, playful and happy she is now, almost 2 months on. but i was accidently in it. in my pyjamas. so, sorry internet, you cannot see.)
now listen, right, it’s very important to bear in mind that
1. i don’t like leaving the house
2. i don’t like crowds of people
3. i really don’t like leaving the house to be amongst crowds of people
4. i especially don’t like leaving the house and being amongst crowds of people when there’s too much hot.
but i do like belper, and i do like food. and i especially like local stuff.
so yesterday i braved all of the things to attend the annual belper food fair :)
i’ve only ever been in the memorial gardens in november(s), so it was nice to eat my breakfast here on a glorious summer day in july. there were musicians on a stage nearby, so we sat on the grass, under a tree, and ate our (lincolnshire) ostrich burgers.
belper’s quite a small town – we’ve only got 1.5 supermarkets and one(ish) main high street – so it was pretty cool to see it packed with market stalls and people (gawd, so many people :/ ) all the way down the hill.
being an awesome blogger, i’d remembered to take my camera and use it.
being terrible at CROWDS OF PEOPLE, i was continually pissed off that they kept getting in the way of photos i might like to take (if i was an awesome blogger).
(although marty mcfly and his grandma got in the way of all my shots)
there were very many wonderful stalls that i didn’t take photos of, but i elbowed everyone out of the way to take this – mrs bishop’s doggy deli – so i could show anakin when we got home.
fresh basil is one of my favourite shops in belper… but i couldn’t even get near it yesterday
as well as amazing cheeses, fancy olives, interesting chutneys and naughty meats, we bought lots of cakes… and did i mention how hot it was?… i kept everything safe in my handbag until we got home *thumbz*
i googled them – shottle farm brewery – and after reading the “our story” bit on their website, that beer tasted eeeeeven better. need more. srs.
i am practically walking backwards after such a brilliant week!
on sunday, we returned from our glorious weekend away just in time to watch andy murray winning the wimbledons. the drive back had become increasingly “glorious” – derbyshire is much closer to the equator than lincolnshire – so i was pretty much dying of hot when we got home.
but despite the wimbledons and the Too Glorious and the temptation of this,
i had 2(ish) months of neglected housewifering to attend to real quick… because my friend C. was coming to stay! :D
the last time she visited, this occurred so we were both determined to Do Better this time. we’d planned leisurely local shoppings, girlie stuff, meals out, no passing out or alcohol-induced blackouts, romcoms, and much catch-up chat whilst sitting in the garden enjoying the glorious.
and then we actually followed through and did all of the things on our list!!!
there is usually some sort of public transport fuck up when C. visits, and this trip was no exception.
^ signal failure in nottingham / trains delayed for hours *grump*
we had a lovely week though, doing all of the things.
i meant to document it, with smug photos of belper being glorious, of our independent shops, the variety of good places to eat… but i forgot.
the day that was slightly cloudy? that day we walked to ‘the devonshire’ on bridge street for a late lunch at their awesome carvery.
and the day that was Husband’s birthday, we drove out to…
(well, we went some other place first, but there were too many people there for my liking, and they weren’t sitting in the right place – i wanted to sit under an umbrella next to the river. also the menu was laminated and had pictures :/
“sorry you guys, i just don’t think i’m going to be able to eat here”)
… the day that was Husband’s birthday, we drove out to ‘the hanging gate’ in shottle. it was super glorious again, and we were all super relaxed (plus super starving) so we had a big lunch, and then sat out in the gardens for coffees and puddings.
hey, look! i remembered to take my camera!
but i was too stuffed / idle to go beyond the shade to take photos of the pretties and the countryside bathed in glorious.
for all of the other meals (including breakfasts), we mostly ate deli stuff from ‘fresh basil’. normally C. and i only have whisky (including breakfasts) so we were
quite extreeeemely proud of ourselves. *proud*
subtitle: the one with the crow road
back in the olden days of black and white, when my dad was a wee boy, he used to spend time at this little cottage on the crow road in glasgow.
it was owned & run by his aunt and uncles – they had lock up garages for rent, and petrol pumps for the customers.
when we were kids (oh, and still), dad *always* told us about the time auntie eva sent him out to serve sean connery…
there’s other stories too, part of family lore, but i promised dad i wouldn’t say on the internet due to possible libel reasons :)
sadly, their little cottage was demolished in the late 70’s to make way for Progess, but it – and its peoples – are still remembered fondly and talked about often.
for dad’s birthday present, i had the idea of commissioning kirsty elson designs to re-create the crow road cottage as one of her gorgeous little driftwood cottages… and she agreed :)
mum & sal knew about it (obviously. because i’m not THAT good at secrets) so there was much conspiratorial lol-collaboration via the internet on some “finishing touches”
mum: “i’ve bought a ‘to scale’ model of an olden car. i’m not sure which scale though so it might be too small”
me: “i’ve made some miniature saltire bunting to drape…”
mum: “but did they even have bunting in the 50’s?”
sal: “i’ve got the rowan tree for in front of the cottage. and i’ve made some driftwood petrol pumps… but i think they might be too big?”
me: “hmm… i fear your pumps’ll be towering over my teeny tiny sean connery”
last saturday was dad’s birthday, so Husband, anakin and i made the trip up north for a little family get together and deliver his special gifts…
“happy birthday dad!”
dad: “did i ever tell you about the time…”
first, right, can i just say thankyou SO much to everyone who entered – you’re all such good sports to reveal your dirty secrets here on the interwebs :)
i didn’t do this in any scientific way – such as counting or graphs – but it appears that the most popular celebrity crushees are barnyard cucumberpatch off of sherlock, and hans gruber off of harry potter.
^ dreamy <3
you lot are weird. but i’m very happy about that :)
(i ran out of same-coloured paper, but don’t worry – helper dog is both colour blind and unable to read.)
she eventually picked a winner (and by that i mean; she eventually got a bit of paper stuck to her nose. she’s really not very good at this anymore.)
the winner of the fancy pants zombie lady is… JELLYBEANJEWELLERY
she chose jensen ackles as her no.1 crush.
(anyone who’s been reading my blog since december 13th will know jensen – as dean winchester off of supernatural – is in my top 5 obsessions. but that is PURELY COINCIDENTAL!)
well done – i’ll contact you by email soon :)
and thanks again to everyone else for such a great response, and for all the LOLs here & over on facebook!
for someone who spends their days embroidering and applique-ing bloodspatter, i’m awfully squeamish. but then, red french knots are very different to the real thing.
i had to go for a blood test yesterday (i actually had to go a while back, but have been successfully putting it off for
years days). for Normal People, it’s probably just a routine thing that they can just do, but for me it became A Thing.
a thing that involved Husband taking time off work, so that he could wake me up early (obviously i barely slept the night before), make sure i got washed & dressed (clean asylum hair, proper day clothes, underwear, shoes), and take me there in the car.
and come in with me. and show me how to take a ticket. and where i should stand. and where i would go when my number was called. and confirm that 60 still came after 59.
the waiting room was packed, mostly with over-70s, so i whispered to Husband that we should stand near the back so that they could take the chairs – even though I COULD BARELY STAND on my trembling jelly legs.
“oh fuck, Husband. *dramatic sigh* this is like my WORST THING”
“being Outside, do you mean?”
“well i actually meant Waiting, hospital, blood & needles.. but yeah”
they finally started calling people in.
Husband: “are you okay?” *sympathetic*
me: “gawwwd, imagine if the apocalypse happened right now… this would be the group of survivors we’d be lumbered with. we’re the youngest ones here! we’d have to be the ones who do all the stuff. that’s so too much pressure and responsibility for me to deal with right now”
by now i was shaking (hands and legs) and sweating and my mouth was all dry and my heart was pounding, and even though my feet were carrying me down the corridor to the room marked BLOOD, the voices in my head were screeching “it’s not too late! you could still make a run for it!”
here is a photo (*artists impression) of me sitting in a comfortable chair, looking out of a large picture window at the hedgerows, trees and rolling green hills of the beautiful derbyshire countryside.
also pictured, my right arm and what may or may not have been occurring BECAUSE I DID NOT LOOK.
my traumatical surgical procedure, Husband took me home – via the chocolate eclairs aisle at morrisons – and settled me on the couch with a big mug of sweet tea.
even though i DID NOT LOOK, all afternoon, i kept reliving the moment and shuddering and whimpering and being pathetic.
at bedtime, Husband had to remove the wrapper for me because i glimpsed a smear of dried blood on my arm and the cotton wool was STUCK.
Husband: “let’s be honest, ‘zombie apocalypse survivor’ seems unlikely at times like these”
i still haven’t looked.
on the bright side,
1. i know i’ll never take up heroin as a hobby
2. i didn’t have a panic attack so my medication must be working