Revisiting My Youth… and Wishing I Hadn’t

Cheri Lucas Rowlands/The Daily Post

Cheri Lucas Rowlands/The Daily Post

Loneliness is an interesting feeling, particularly when it isn’t evident that you’re living a lonely existence.

One of my biggest blogging regrets is that I didn’t start one sooner. I have always kept journals from a young age and I have boxes that are filled with notebooks full of the ramblings of my younger self.

As an experiment I thought that it would be a fun idea to return to those notebooks for the first time in years and revisit my youth. I’ve seen quite a few inspiring posts based upon a similar concept and I invisaged that I would be able to glean some insightful content that would make me smile and remind me of happy memories of my life, experiences and of who I used to be.

I wish I hadn’t.

I have always believed myself to be content with my own company, proudly stating this on many occasions. However, what struck me about those diary entries was just how lonely I was. I have been known to rant on my little blog, but the rants that I discovered in those notebooks were of epic proportions. I hated everyone and everything. I was heavily in debt, I couldn’t afford to heat my house or eat properly and I was angry at the situation I had got myself into. Large amounts of the pages were taken up with financial charts that were designed to resolve my circumstances and pay everything off, but they never seemed to work. I was bored, I hated my job, my family, my friends. I wrote the same things again and again, and it never seemed to occur to me that I needed to change things if I wanted the situation to get better. I was man obsessed and desperate for affection – I had written about my ‘feelings’ for male acquaintances that I only have moderate recollections of now and I spent pages and pages quoting my favourite romantic movies and creating imaginary scenarios in my head where my knight in shining armour would rescue me. I wasn’t living, but merely existing, and despite being surrounded by lots of people, I felt completely and utterly alone.

There was one particular paragraph that made me stop and stare.

‘I procrastinate and talk utter sh*te to myself over and over again, making false promises to myself and those around me that I never follow through with, getting through life from day to day and not really achieving anything. At the end of each day I sit, alone, on my uncomfortable couch in a messy house watching inane programmes on the television until the early hours of the morning that only serve to make me want to believe that life is like the movies…’

Wow.

Admittedly, my existing memories of that particular time weren’t great, even before I decided to read the diaries – things were tough – but to my recollection other times had been far tougher and my current recollections were nowhere near to the level that I had recorded on those pages. As I read more and more I started to become frustrated with myself at my words, my hatred, my anger. I saw those words from the point of an outsider – I wanted to jump into them, slap myself and point out all the good things that I had in my life. I had a job, a house, pets, friends and a family, however disfunctional. I had everything.

While I can look back at that period of my life through seemingly rose tinted spectacles as the person that I am now, my words told me that I was lost and unhappy and yet couldn’t give a reason as to why. I wasted so much time wanting things for my future, when I should have been living for the present. I rang my mother and told her what I had discovered, and her response put everything into perspective:

“You may not feel this way now, but you must have needed to write it down at the time, so in a way it was a positive thing for you…”

She was right, as she always is. I did need it. As my blog serves me with an outlet to vent, to talk, to discuss, so did those journals. I needed to put pen to paper and release everything into the open.

I took those pages and shredded them. Hundreds of them. And with each piece of paper that was destroyed, I told myself that I am not that person anymore.

Hopefully, I never will be again.

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

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A Dented Bucket List

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I love Bucket Lists – lists of things that we wish to achieve/see/do before we die – and last year I spent hours creating the ultimate Bucket List that combined all the smaller ones that I have made over the years. I’ve made a good start on it too and have been able to cross quite a few things off…

However, I was inspired when I saw the idea of the ‘Dented’ Bucket List, created on the RawrLove blog in support of the much missed Rarasaur, who had suggested the idea herself. I decided to create my own – focusing on things that I would never deliberately see and do, things I never hope to experience and things that I have experienced already but would have been on the list. These are not meant to be judgemental towards anybody else and their lifestyles, they are based purely of personal preferences and are in no particular order.

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1. Cage dive with Great Whites. Not even if there was money involved. Never. Ever.

2. Have to start my life again from scratch with almost nothing.   

3. Live through the coldest two weeks of the year without gas or heating under a duvet, with just 25 pence in my bank account.

4. Wear fur.

5. Attend a bullfight.

6. Do drugs. I’ve never tried any of them aside from cigarettes and alcohol because I’ve never had an interest to and never will – it’s something that has never appealed to me.

7. Buy and/or listen to Justin Bieber’s music.

8. See Justin Bieber in concert.

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9. Go camping. 

10. Skydive. I have a terrible fear of heights and flying, and so the two combined are even worse. While it appears on a lot of Bucket Lists that I have read, it will never appear on mine.

11. Bungee Jumping. See number 10.

12. Lick anything from someone else’s belly button.

13. Complain about having a job. While I may complain about my workload on occasions, as most people do, I have never, and will never, lose sight of the fact that I have a good job and I am very lucky to work there.

14. Watch Twilight again. There’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back.

15. Eat boiled egg. Eww. The smell is enough to make me feel sick.

16. Spend the night in a haunted building. I don’t see the point in scaring myself for fun.

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17. Be ‘too old’ to do something.

18. Lose sight of the importance of a good friend.

19. Perform on stage in a play. I have recurring nightmares about being in front of an audience and not being able to member my lines.

20. Make The Bloke wear a matching outfit, unless it’s fancy dress.

21. Get another perm. I looked like a blonde reject from an ‘Annie’ audition.

22. ‘Grow up.’

23. Pose naked. Nobody needs to see that. I envisage people running away and screaming ‘my eyes! My eyes!’…

24. Forget. Forgiveness is one thing, forgetting is a whole different matter.

25. Expect anything from anyone.

 

What about you? What would be on your dented bucket list? I’d love to hear your ideas!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

 

http://queenrawr.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/dented-bucket-list/

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/list-lesson/

 

The Sound of Silence: Twelve Hours Without Media

I’ve always thought that I was quite comfortable with the sound of silence – I enjoy time in my own company and often find that my most productive moments are when I am by myself.

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Bigcatgroup.co.uk

I decided that I was going to try a little experiment while I’m still recovering from my hospitalisation last week – I intended to spend just 12 hours with no electronic media whatsoever, the purpose being to examine what life would be like on a more simple level and to discover exactly how comfortable I am with the sound of silence. That meant no TV, phone, music, computer, laptop, iPad, Internet, DVD’s, Blu Rays, cameras, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress, Instagram, iTunes, apps, games consoles – instead I would have to find other things to occupy my time. I also set myself a rule that small naps would be permitted, as I often indulge in afternoon naps at the weekends, but sleeping for the majority of the day wouldn’t be allowed. The Bloke would be in with me for a part of the day, but for the rest of it he would be off doing other things, so aside from any quick conversations that we would have the majority of the day would be spent in silence. I was going to start at 6.00am and finish at 6.00pm and was quite looking forward to it. It was only going to be for twelve hours… Easy! Right?

Here was my day. Note: there would be photographs accompanying this but as I wasn’t allowed to use my camera I had to use google images post challenge.

6.00am: I woke up in a positive frame of mind and went and injected my diabetic cat. Normally, I would follow this by checking my blog, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr and I was surprised by the immediate feeling of loss that washed over me when I realised that I wasn’t allowed to do so. So, what to do instead? TV? Nope, that wasn’t allowed either. I suddenly felt very tired and went back to bed.

8.00am: I got up, had some breakfast, put some washing in, put my clean clothes away and vacuumed the upstairs part of the house.

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Anne Taintor

9.00am: I decided to start the monumental task of sorting out the piles of paperwork and useless junk that have been lying around the house since we moved in. I put all my old bills into a bag for shredding, I collected all my tickets and cards together for my scrapbook, sorted out my bookshelves and piled up all the books I knew I wasn’t going to read again ready to go to the charity shop. I then (finally) unpacked the last two boxes that were left over from the move. I couldn’t believe the sheer amount of pointless crap that I had insisted on packing and bringing with us. I was ruthless – I obviously hadn’t missed the items in those boxes and so I got rid of the lot.

11.00am: The Bloke and I went to the charity shop with the items that we had collected – he insisted on accompanying me just in case I passed out as I am still quite light headed at times. We also called at the bank and deposited the change that I had bagged from around the house – it worked out that we had £11.00 lying around, which we used to treat ourselves to some snacks for this evening.

12.00pm: I put another load of washing in and made lunch. I have to admit, by this point I was starting to get a little bored. Normally, my chores would be completed with music playing in the background, and I was growing increasingly frustrated with my own thoughts – my brain started to wander to deadlines at work, or play random snippets from songs on a loop and after a morning of this I found that I was craving the TV, just for something to take my mind off the increasingly negative thoughts I started to have. I had some playtime with the cats, who had spent a lot of the morning following me around (until I got the vacuum cleaner out) and it was quite amusing to see Daisy stalking a rubber mouse on the floor.

12.30pm: I got out the vacuum cleaner again and set to work on downstairs, much to the cats annoyance. I tidied up, organised the side and coffee tables, put more of my washing out and started to get stuck into little jobs that I had been avoiding for a while. I started to get stronger urges to turn the TV on, despite the fact that I knew that there was very little on (daytime TV is shocking in the UK unless you’re into property or antique programmes).

2.00pm: I decided to have a nice hot bath. Normally, I would put on a playlist of relaxing songs, but instead I had to lie in silence, which I didn’t enjoy. I got a book and started to read, realising that it had been six months since I had last done so, and I had forgotten just how much fun it was. A quick glance in the mirror revealed that my eyebrows had grown out so much that they were beginning to take over my face, so after locating my tweezers I managed to sort them out, following this with a long, overdue pedicure.

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Debbie Ridpath Ohi

4.00pm. I was bored. My chores were done, I was too weak to go outside again, I’d had a bath, read some of my book, tidied the house, played with the cats and organised my paperwork. I had started to experience an intense craving to get out my iPad and write something down, and the strangest thing was that it was a similar craving to what I had experienced when I was quitting smoking – it was a physical, intense urge to do something that I knew I shouldn’t be doing. I decided to follow a similar approach to what I did when getting rid of cigarettes (I got an electronic cigarette) – I substituted the iPad with a notebook and a set of greetings cards and I did something that I haven’t done for years – I wrote a letter to my friend. When we were at university my friend and I used to write to each other all the time and I have kept all her cards and letters in a shoebox. It suddenly occurred to me that during my first two years at university I lived in the Halls of Residence without a TV, the Internet, or a computer, and so I used to write her lots of letters to pass the time at weekends when I couldn’t afford to go out. The more I thought about it, the more I remembered how peaceful life was – some of my happiest memories are of sitting in bed on a Sunday morning, reading a book.

As soon as it turned 6.00pm, and I had cooked dinner and sorted out the cats, the first thing that I did was grab my iPad, switch on the TV and start to write. While it was only a short experiment, it has been valuable in that it has allowed to catch up on lots of chores that needed to be finished, reminded me of my love of reading and writing letters, and more importantly, it has taught me a few things about myself.

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Jackieholder.com

1. I am not as comfortable with the sound of silence as I initially thought. My brain goes into overdrive when there is nothing to occupy it and has a tendency to visit the darker and more anxious times I have experienced, and I have subconsciously used the sounds of the TV and music to block it out.

2. I still believe that I am comfortable with my own company, but found that this ‘alone’ time is actually spent chatting to people on various social networks and not actually by myself.

I was surprised at how reliant I am on technology for entertainment. So, I am able to take something from this lesson and in the future I am going to take a little bit of time to put everything down, turn everything off and embrace the sound of silence.

What about you guys? Do you ever take the time just to do nothing? Can you cope with the sound of silence?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/the-sound-of-silence/

Written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge.

Things I Wish I Had Known At 16 Years Old, 16 Years Later

The challenge of focusing on different perspectives is a difficult one – I don’t possess a creative fictional brain and spent a lot of time attempting to imagine various situations from the perspective of contrasting people, to no avail.

However, the sad news that I have received this week has prompted me to reflect on life a little, and I found myself thinking about the me of 16 years ago. This me was a very different person to the me that I know now, and there are lots of things I want to say to that 16 year old, with her frizzy blonde hair, her insecurities and her weaknesses. I thought I knew everything. I had a plan – where I was going to go, what I was going to do and how I was going to do it – and if my 32 year old self could travel back in time I would give the 16 year old me a good slap and a lesson in naivety. However, hindsight is a wonderful thing…

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Straighteners didn’t exist back then. Neither did sunglasses apparently…

These are the things I wish I had known at the age of 16, 16 years later.

How to say no. There have been many decisions made for me during my lifetime and it took me until my late 20’s to learn how to say ‘no’ and tell others what I actually wanted for my own life. Learning this at 16 could have potentially saved me hours of boredom and dissatisfaction.

How to simply let it go. I spent most of my 20’s harbouring futile resentment and hatred towards people and situations that were out of my control. Meanwhile, while I was crying and feeling sorry for myself, they were out living their own lives without thought for anyone but themselves.

How to appreciate a moment. I have lost count of the amount of times I haven’t taken the time to step back and enjoy something beautiful.

Not to take the lives around me for granted. My grandfather, one of the nicest, most kind-hearted men I’ve ever known, passed away when I was 16 and to this very day I miss him dearly. One of my biggest regrets is not taking more time to find out about him, his life and his experiences. It was nearly 13 years after he passed that I researched my family history and found things that he could have explained further.

How to value my own opinion more than the opinions of others. At the age of 16 the slightest unkind word would send me into a spiral of self-doubt and worry. While these doubts still plague me from time to time, I can now trust my own judgement that what I am doing is right for me, and despite my many flaws and faults I can look at myself in the mirror and be proud of who I am.

How to hold my tongue during a heated argument. At times I have been ruthless when angry and have said things that I will never be able to take back, regardless of how many apologies I have made.

The value of money. I’ve wasted thousands over the years on nonsensical things and have nothing to show for it. Indeed, if I had saved the money that I have spent on cigarettes since starting my smoking habit at the age of 16 I would be able to put a large deposit down on a house, or be able to travel the world at least once.

How to appreciate that the love of a friend is just as important (and in some situations more so) as the love of a partner. While I am not the sort of person who abandons her friends for a relationship now, I have neglected friendships for the sake of a man on several occasions in the past and have had to work hard to regain them.

To understand that, regardless of the subject, my mother was, and still is, right about everything. 

What about you? What one piece of advice would you give to your 16 year old self? 

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @Suzie81blog

Written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/writing-challenge-shoes/

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Ghosts of December 23rds Past

I moved to Birmingham in 2001 and so I have travelled up by train on the day before Christmas Eve every year since. Over the years my younger sisters have moved out and have preferred to spend this day with whatever boyfriend they have had at the time, so it has traditionally become a day for me and mum.

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My tree this year

Today’s experiences have been very similar to those of the last five years. I got an early train, managing to avoid the mass exodus of half the population of the city, I battled against the high velocity winds and rain that always seems to accompany a visit to Manchester and I witnessed an old lady getting accidentally slapped in the face with an extremely large sausage roll. It wasn’t anything sinister – a woman was eating it, the wind blew it out of her hand and straight into the face of an unsuspecting elderly lady walking past. I shouldn’t have laughed, but I did. (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a bad person). I arrived at my mum’s house to be greeted by her three hyperactive and rather smelly dogs. I immediately changed into a clean pair of jammies, plonked myself on the couch and laughed at the dogs gleefully shredding the stuffed animals that I had brought them from Christmas. Mum made some lunch and after we had eaten we put on a James Bond film and that was the last thing that I remember – I slept for several hours and awoke to Noel Edmund’s ‘Deal or No Deal’ blasting from the TV.

There’s something extremely comforting about being here, even at 32 years old. It’s warm and cosy, the dogs are asleep and as I write my mum is in the middle of her soap opera marathon, which she delights in telling me the storylines, despite the fact that she knows I don’t watch them. There’s an opened box of chocolates between us, the remnants of what was a teddy bear shredded on the floor and I keep getting a hint of pine from the enormous tree that is standing proudly in the corner of the room.

It is this scent that is quintessentially the essence of Christmas, evoking hundreds of memories from years gone by.

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The dog shredding his present, with White Christmas on the TV.

We’ve always had a real tree. The house that I grew up in had a large living room and we would buy a seven foot monster and spent hours decorating it, adding to it every year with the various toilet roll based decorations that we had created at school. The 23rd December would be an excruciatingly exciting time – we had bought and wrapped our presents but weren’t able to put them under the tree as we had a beagle, Patch, that once took it upon herself to eat everything, including the bath salts, which she promptly threw up later in the day. Our activities often depended on the weather – it would occasionally snow and my sisters and I would build a snowman, we would watch all the Christmas specials on the TV, we would order a takeaway- a special treat – from the local pizza place and I would spend every December 23rd watching the clock and desperately wishing for time to pass quickly.

As a teenager I attempted to be a little more ‘cool’ about the notion of Christmas, but secretly I was just as excited about it as I was as a young child. I counted down the days, then the hours and then began clock-watching on the 23rd. As I grew older I got a part – time job at McDonalds (not the most exciting job I’ve ever had) and so December 23rds were spent working, after which I would return home with offerings of left over Big Macs and Veggie Burgers, much to the delight of my father.

After I turned 18 and was legally allowed to drink, my sister and I would go out on the day before Christmas Eve, and this was a tradition that lasted for several years. We indulged in many silly activities, but one in particular stands out for me: We had enjoyed a brilliant night at Bar Juice and after eating pizza in a kebab shop we got a taxi home. It had snowed, our house was at the top of a hill and the driver was unable to drop us off outside, so we had to walk the rest of the way. Unfortunately, we were wearing high heels which wouldn’t grip in the snow and in our drunken state we ended up crawling up the hill on our hands and knees, laughing all the way. When we finally managed to make it into the house we were greeted by our less-than-impressed mother who became even less impressed when we both promptly threw up in the bathroom. Classy ladies.

As an adult December 23rds have been difficult over the years. My family split up and consequently relationships have been strained, and in some cases are now non-existent. We’ve lost various little friends – our beagle, Patch, and later our retriever, Ollie, but we’ve been lucky to find three more little friends to share our lives with. I am grateful for being able to spend this day with a wonderful mother and her smelly dogs, and I hope that there are many of these in the future.

In response to the Weekly Writing Challenge

One Hundred Miles: Collecting Detail

Picture courtesy of Lovinchelle

I moved to Birmingham in 2001, just under one hundred miles away from where I grew up in Bolton, My mother still lives there and every few months I will travel ‘Oop North’ to visit her. As I don’t drive (long story, but perhaps best saved for another time) I get the train. The average journey lasts about two hours and I often amuse myself by writing about the details in my surroundings – fellow passengers, the scenery, interesting events – the passing of time seems to fly by and before I know it I’m at my destination. Here are some of my recent observations – I apologise if you may have read some of this before.

Sometimes, the journey is entertaining even before it begins.

I’m not a morning person. In an ideal world, the very early hours of the morning are when I would be at my most productive, but I’m resigned to the fact that any sort of focus at work would be impossible if I don’t have a minimum of eight hours sleep every night.

Meh.

However, the journey to the station proved to be quite an interesting one. Even at 6am there were still lots of people walking around in their clubbing outfits from the night before and some had obviously started to feel the effects of consuming their entire bodyweight in alcohol. One particular girl was stumbling around outside the station in a dress that was so short it barely covered her bottom. She had taken her enormously high shoes off and had made the intelligent decision not to bring a coat on one of the coldest nights of the year so she was shivering violently. She was alone and looked miserable, so I asked her if she was ok and was she able to get home. She looked at me with a death stare and replied:

“Yeah. F*ck off and mind your own business.”

Nice. As I started to walk away a car pulled up and I heard the girl yelling, “Where the f*ck have you been? I’m freezing my f*cking t*ts off here!”

Classy bird.

Waiting on the platform can be miserable.

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Bolton train station on a cold Sunday morning

Small train stations are miserable places in the UK, particularly when the weather is cold and windy. The platform is quiet and the air is punctuated by the sound of a screaming child and the occasional announcement over the tannoy system by a woman who clearly lost her passion for her job years ago. There’s a man that has been hovering near me for the last ten minutes. I know what’s coming next: he’s going to sit next to me, ask me what my name is, where I am going and them ask me if I smoke and can he have a cigarette. I don’t mind talking to people – I’ve had lots of different conversations during train journeys and I always find them really interesting, but I always attract the cigarette hunters, despite the fact that I don’t smoke that often and rarely have them on me…

Nope, I was wrong. He wanted 20 pence. I’m not quite sure why he wanted such a small amount, but gave it him anyway.

The passengers can be very interesting, or not.

It’s currently 7.00am and I am on the train up to Manchester to go and visit my mum. It’s still dark outside, there’s a heavy mist in the air and there are just three of us in this particular carriage. The other two are having a deep and meaningful discussion about life and keep quoting motivational phrases at each other. Normally, I like these sorts of thoughts and must have thousands of inspirational messages saved onto my computer, but at this time in a morning I would rather they shut up, or at least conduct their discussion at a normal volume – Brian Blessed would be proud of their current efforts.

The Motivational Speakers and I have been joined by a young Asian woman, who has promptly fallen asleep in the chair opposite mine. Her expression is hilarious – her head is almost on the arm of the seat and her mouth is wide open. She isn’t dribbling yet, but it’s only a matter of time…

The views can be somewhat surprising.

Up until five minutes ago I was happily immersed in the WordPress world, completely oblivious to my surroundings. The carriage on the train is fairly empty and most passengers are asleep, so I’ve had a lovely journey. Suddenly, someone said,

“Wow! Look at that!”

I glanced out of the window and saw this:

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A beautiful sunset

How stunning. I almost missed it!

And the eternal mystery… Mr Sushi!

I was quietly minding my own business, attempting to take photographs of the scenery outside. In the seats opposite were a young male and female and judging by their conversation they had only just met. He was slightly older than her and a little rough around the edges, while she was quite well spoken and demure. As the journey continued it became evident that there was a mutual attraction – he joked and teased her about the car that she drove, she giggled at his silly jokes and in between a few awkward silences they both tried to ask each other questions about each others lives without appearing too desperate. He said he was 24, she claimed that she was 20 (although she looked a little younger), she explained where she had been the night before, he appeared interested and listened intently… It was very sweet.

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Houses near Stockport

About an hour into the journey the man pulled out the biggest box of sushi I’ve ever seen, proclaiming that he ate large amounts of it. I was a little confused by this – his efforts to impress may have been thwarted by the smell that permeated from it, but the girl seemed unfazed and the light flirting continued. Mr Sushi was obviously beginning to gain in confidence – he made a few derogatory comments about himself, thus giving her the opportunity to compliment him and then made a statement about ‘not being able to chat up a girl properly.’ Her response was, again, to giggle.

As nosey as I may sound, their conversation kept me entertained all the way to Birmingham New Street Station. Just as the train arrived and I got up to leave, I heard Mr Sushi ask for her phone number. Unfortunately, there was a huge queue of people behind me that forced me to walk off the train, and I didn’t get to hear her answer.

AARGH!!

Thus is the eternal mystery that I will never know the answer to. Did Mr Sushi get the girl’s phone number????

In my little world, I hope he did. Despite the sushi.

Written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge.

My Tree Looks Drunk

ImageToday I have worked really hard. Mondays are usually spent catching up with the blog and reading posts that I may have missed (I don’t work on a Monday and affectionately refer to this day as my ‘day of bliss’), but today I decided to take the opportunity to organise the house now the kitchen has been finished. After seven hours of moving and unpacking boxes I’ve found that I can actually move around the living room without having to resort to movements that would make a professional contortionist proud. I was in ‘the zone’ – the shelves were filled, the empty boxes were thrown away at breakneck speed and in my infinitely ridiculous wisdom I also decided that it would also be a good idea to put the Christmas tree up.

I have an artificial tree that The Bloke and I bought several years ago. I’d love a real one, but with three house cats it’s a pointless concept – they attack any plants in the house and I don’t want to spend any more money on vets bills. I usually adore the process of setting out the decorations and I have been known to spend several hours making it look as beautiful as possible while singing along to cheesy Christmas songs.

While I normally hate maths in any form, I have the perfect equation that may be useful for anyone in a similar situation.

Christmas Tree + Three Cats + Lights + Baubles = STUPID IDEA.

I am an idiot.

After standing on each cat several times, shutting them out and watching them open the door by themselves, blocking the door and listening to them cry loudly, wrestling the lights out of the jaws of one cat and yelling at another to stop knocking the baubles off I managed to throw the tree together in a record time – I was so stressed out that I wanted to finish it as soon as possible. There were no Christmas songs and no Christmas spirit, just an overwhelming urge to give up and go for lunch at the pub.

It reminded me of the ever fabulous ‘Simon’s Cat’ and the wonderful Christmas episode ‘Santa Claws.’

ImageUnfortunately, the tree now looks like it has been drinking heavily for the last eleven months. In fact, it looks positively sozzled. I’m sure that somewhere in the loft of the old house there are several empty bottles of gin that the tree and decorations have been indulging in since we put them away last year. I’m too embarrassed to put up a full picture, so instead I’ve just included a bauble.

Incidentally, now I’ve finished, the cats are now sound asleep – after a day of excitement, they’ve managed to tire themselves out. Unfortunately, they’ve tired me out too. It’s a good job they’re cute.

Hope your Monday has been less stressful! You can also find me on Twitter @Suzie81blog

In response to the Weekly Writing Challenge.

Image credit: cheezeburger.com
Simons Cat courtesy of Simon Tofield