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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Thrice Salted Ricotta

I've been going with the Flo (my car) for three weeks now and it still doesn't feel 100 per cent real. That I am a driver. That drives. Tomorrow night the GCDC's will perform a few tunes at Uncle T's open mic night. I won't start getting the jitters until a few hours before playing. But then, when I think of what I've accomplished since the last open mic night (my degree, driving test, not dying from a stress related illness) I reckon I can handle this one.

Yesterday I sampled some Scicilian cheese and sweets. Everything was really tasty although the thrice salted ricotta cheese caught me off guard and it seemed like my tongue had shrivelled up inside itself. Wine and water helped with coaxing my tongue back into shape. And...well...it was an experience :)

Today was meant to be a productive day. The plan was to fill in an application so I can work towards my accreditation. I completed the easy bits like my name and D.O.B. and, as usual, left the difficult bits (phone numbers and addresses of references) for another day. I also planned to print off a form so I can request my career break. I downloaded it so it's ready to print for another day. Because, today is not a 'doing' day, it's a 'being' day. It's a 'lying in front of a warm fire and resting the mind, body and spirit day'.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Strange Encounter

I am a prolific writer. I'm not saying I'm a good writer but I am prolific. And, as such, sometimes I have to go through all my notebooks and rip out the pages that don't resonate with me. I was doing just this yesterday when I found a little memory from Thailand. Something that I would never have remembered had I not written it down:

Last night I was queuing up in 7/11 with a handful of snacks. A guy behind me started talking in what little English he knew. He asked me the basics like what my name was, where I was from. Then he told me in Thai that he would pay for my stuff. I tried to refuse but Thai people are very persistent. He told me was a policeman and I must've looked like I didn't beleive him because he then pointed to his hip and showed me his gun. I let him pay for my stuff and he asked me where I was going. I told him I had to meet a friend at the nightclub and he insisted on giving me a lift in his car even though the club was literally across the street. When I got into the car his girlfriend was there. I asked her what her name was in Thai and she was very sweet. They dropped me off and then waited for a couple of minutes before driving off.

A lot of strange things happened in Thailand but that one was up there along with the crazy ordeal of getting passport photos taken.

Friday, September 08, 2017

The Spider Mafia

I may have been able to talk the spider out of leaving my room but the next morning his two big brothers were waiting for me down in the kitchen. And then his daddy was in my room a few nights ago. So...yeah...the spiders can do what they want.
I was driving for one full week before I got my first parking ticket. I think I am dedicating so many brain cells to driving that it's making me forgetful. This is the downside to being, pretty much, a pensioner before I passed my test.

It's September already. This year had gone by in a flash but it has been a good year for me. I've completed my degree, passed my driving test, had a trip away with the Lovely Mels, bought myself the Box of Glory to progress with music making and...I've even found someone who is gentle and passionate to enjoy my free time with, someone who fills my jar with light. Perhaps both age and experience have taught me to not take anything for granted anymore, least of all happiness, just enjoy it when it's there and, when it's not, try to remember that it will come round again.

Right now, I'm wondering...what would happen if every single person in the world felt joy and happiness in their hearts at exactly the same moment in time? Would the universe shit itself?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Spider Whispering

I've just had a very grown up conversation with a spider and asked it very nicely to leave my room and then blew on it so it knew which direction the door was. It made a bit of a detour but it left willingly in the end. But...even more exciting (and scary) than that. Mum and Bert are away to get me my first car. I should be going too but I'm a little bit terrified. It's a big commitment and, in many ways, I still feel like I'm 9 years old.

But...I have to be brave. Like when talking to the spider. And I have to be thankful that I'm in this position. And I know that, depsite being nervous, I am excited about all the potential adventures in store. Perhaps the next post might have a picture or two :)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Man Made Trees

Ahhh...The Lovely Mels and I spent a few blissful days in Amsterdam. I realised it had been 5 years since I'd been in foreign land and a part of me reawakened. But there was also an awareness, perhaps a mindfulness, about this trip and I felt that I was able to really absorb the finer details. The juxtaposition of lazy, hazy vibes in a city that's buzzing with activity. The character of all the unique, wonky architecture. We made cat friends, dog friends, bird friends and even a little rat friend. I think our favourite was the cat that sat in the window of a cheese shop. Mels and I were amazed that it didn't eat the cheese. Perhaps it was there to make sure the mice stayed away.

We went to the Botanic gardens and discovered many interesting things. There was a desert land, a jungle world and South African plains. It was in the South Africa section that Mel got very excited about a particular tree trunk exclaiming, "Dude! Look how smooth that tree trunk is!". I placed my hand on it and it felt cold. I thought to myself: I don't really like this tree. Then I felt a little guilty for having favourite tree trunks. It wasn't the tree's fault it was made this way. But, something didn't sit right with it all and as I looked up I realised that it wasn't actually a tree trunk but a large metal rod that was part of the structure of the building. I pointed this out to Mels and we laughed at her silliness. It was akin to the "No Hooting" sign on our road trip.

Ziggy was a little sad when I was away but I've been off all week and he has come everywhere with me. Yesterday I bought him a new collar. He's a proud little man. Later on we are going to see Gus to do some music. I have purchased a digital 8-track recorder and we have been having fun with it. Ziggy helped me to lay down my first track. His bark sounds mega with the reverb turned up. I'm gonna get him to do some more backing vocals for me.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Thunderstruck

I was preparing myself for the end of my degree to feel a little hollow. When you devote so much time and energy to something that comes to fruition there is a great sense of relief and another sense of...so what now? I expected to feel a little bored, empty and restless but I haven't had time to. My life is busy and full. Mostly with good things. Stress and worry are never too far away. I am happy but that doesn't mean the whole world is. And, as always, I feel a huge responsibility to fix things. This is an ongoing challenge for me...I am not responsible for the whole world. Having said that...it's what drives me. It's where my passion is directed. I have so much to express I feel like I really need to go live in that hedgerow in Connemara. I feel like I need to sit in a darkened room, listening to music, dancing, writing, singing and cultivating something that can help me to connect.

There has been several thunder storms in a space of a week. It feels like we're on the cusp of something. I witness that thunder in a lot of people. I sense that it's been bubbling away under the surface for a long time and it's ready to explode. Feelings are spilling out and it's not a bad thing but rather, a very necessary thing. It's making room for the sun to shine.

I'm cultivating hope. I'm practicing my self-love. I feel that everything's so fragile but I can keep this fire in soul burning if I rememeber who I am, who I truly am. All those tests I passed, they were hard, but the hardest test of all is taking off the mask, deconstructing the defenses and keeping my heart open just enough to let the light in without drowning in the darkness. And, as always, I'm ready.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Box Ticked

Imagine my joy and relief when I received the letter to confirm that I had passed all my coursework and exams (still 6 hours to complete and a bit of paperwork to sign off and then...I'M DONE!). Imagine, then, my even greater joy and relief when I sat my driving test a couple of weeks ago and...miracle of miracles...I passed :)

I conquered my nemisis. I put it down to several things, a list comprised in no particular order of how much it contributed but which includes; rescue remedy (placebo or not I took it and it worked), an instructor that I had a good bond with (why oh why did I give money to people who just couldn't teach me in the way I needed to be taught?), the counsellor I saw who worked somatically with me to release tension and stress from my body, the completion of my degree and knowing that I was supported by professionals who had faith in me, positive self-talk and visualising my facebook status update and how many likes I would get (I knew people were rooting for me :), my family who helped ease the financial burden and, because I realise that a lot of these things, while they helped to boost my confidence rely on external influences, I can't forget the most important thing that helped me to pass my test...belief in myself.

So, while I mop the up the cheese that has just dripped onto the floor, I just wanna say that, the novelty hasn't worn off yet. I passed my driving test!!

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Nearly There

I thought I might squeeze out a few words as I drink my coffee and wait for an appointment with my supervisor. How chuffed was I to realise that my last post received comments. Because, as much as I am happy to write for the sake of writing, everything I do in life is geared towards truly connecting with others. Despite my social outcast tendencies.

I was shit out of hope last week. My resources were depleted. I cried a lot. Those tears washed away a lot of sadness and frustration. They made room for some fresh hope. Just in time for the last couple of weeks of academic testing. As my mum read recently, it's not what we achieve in life but the obstacles we overcome to get there. I realised that I was carrying a lot of residual stress from my three years of crazy flatmate shenanigans. The crying helped with that. Also allowing myself to be pissed off and unhappy for a day or two. Once upon a time I believed that I could control my negative emotions but by letting go of the need for control I can allow the emotions to flow through me without getting 'stuck'. Who needs that shit poisioning their system? Absolutely, definitely not me.

My new TV show obsession is called How I Met Your Mother. It is a comedy about a bunch of 30 somethings who are caught between wanting something meaningful in life and the fear of letting go of their youth. One of the female characters hangs out with not one, but two of her ex boyfriends. She then dates her therapist who points out the incestuous dynamics of their group. You can kinda see why it interests me. But mostly, it is bubblegum for the eyes which is what I need to calm the everticking cogs of my brain.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

As I'll Ever Be

Hello little blog! Time is such strange concept at the minute. But that's not the reason for my not blogging. It's more my use of time. And lack of content. I was sick. Not with any kind of animal flu. Nor the human flu. Perhaps it was some kind of Bonsai tree strain, I don't know for sure. Between it's lurgy-ness and the stress of "being alive" I was pretty much good for nothin'. I see patterns in my life though. And it seems that each year comes new insight and easier ways to manage "being alive".

Dirt Bird has just texted me saying "Yaaay. Friend Therapy is the best! (smiley face with tongue sticking out)". And it is. Sometimes I forget that I have friends. I go through months of wondering who I am in relation to others. I'm Hannah, the weird one at work who takes her break at different times from her colleagues, and I'm Hannah, the weird one in class who gets on with everyone but is close with no-one. I'm Hannah, the girl who loves her family very much but always finds some reason why she can't attend the family functions. I'm Hannah, the girl who always complains about being lonely but feels an intense desire for 'head space' when she's around too many people. I play the social outcast. It's a role I'm familar and comfortable with even though it serves no purpose in my life.

So having time with a friend like Dirt Bird, like Mel, like Gus, that is how I make best use of my time. Because it's with these people that I can truly be myself. That I can forget about the responsibility of life and remember that I am a child of the universe and I deserve to feel free and happy. Dear God I never want to lose that feeling and this past few months I have felt the nails being hammered in my coffin by my own hands. Am I ready? As I'll ever be.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bully For One and All

I found out recently that I'm an anarchist. I'm actually a pacifist anarchist. I have been one for many years although I didn't realise it. Perhaps because the punks kinda hijacked anarchism and my first true love was a punk complete with mohawk, ring through the septum, ripped jeans and jingly jangly chains. I much preferred him when he was a sweet little indie kid.

Mum feels more soothed now that I have identified myself with a political stance. Though it hasn't stopped her from saying "That's why you should vote..." It's different every time. She just wants me to vote. She wants me to care. I do care. I just do it in a different way. I'm still telepathically organising a revolution. It's exhausting!

To be honest, I don't know enough about anarchism to truly identify with it. It's like Buddhism, I like what I know about it but I can't claim to be Buddhist. Sure, I killed a fly last year but it haunted me in more ways than one. I do have a political stance though, or maybe it's just a stance in general. I truly believe that the natural world is our teacher, protector and leader. Humans thinking that they know better than the ground beneath their feet is just ignorance and arrogance.

I have been spending a lot of time down the woods with the dogs. I am sure that when I talk about them people may imagine a proper little forest. The truth is that the trees are teenager trees and most of my trekking through the woods involves walking half the size of myself and getting pine needles in the face. I came back the other day to discover that I'd been ravaged by some kind of woods critter. I don't mind though. There's a part of the woods where the ground is all uneven and mossy. I'm sure if I sat there long enough the fairies would come out to play. Or the swamp witch with her doo doo pigs. Gus and I have a woods song which goes "Off and off we go, through the thick of the woods, bully for you, bully for me, bully for one and all". This is sang in posh ye olde English accent and we sing it with great gusto.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Cinderella

What a difference a day makes. Last week was a wobbly one. With just a couple of months left of my course (the class side of things anyway) I was on the verge of giving up. It just so happened that a fairy godmother waved her magic wand and decided that I deserved a fighting chance of making it to the (graduation) ball. Faith was well and truly restored.

Last Sunday I watched a 15 minute old calf bullock being licked tenderly by it's mother. She was, of course, licking all the goop off it because there tends to be a lot of goop when a cow gives birth. It was still magical and beautiful. The girls decided that the calf should be named Little Gus. Big Gus says he can never go to market. Unfortunately, Big Gus doesn't have much authority when it comes to the fate of calves. What is more likely to happen is Little Gus will go to market and we'll write a very sad blues song about it.

It feels a wee bit like spring and it would be a mortal sin not to don some wellies and take the dogs for a walk. Might do me some good as well being amongst the trees. Every day I say I must do some coursework. Every day I find something else to do, like go for coffee with a friend or, y'know, sit there staring into space. Or write blog posts that never get finished. Or, attempt to get back to my writing project and write lots of words that get immediately deleted. I am certain that a book will never be written unless I go to live in a hedgerow in Connemara. Today I have it in my mind to listen to Moby and dance. But first...a walk!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Too Boring For A Title

Ziigy and I took it upon ourselves to book a dog friendly B&B in Cushendall. We spent last Saturday night in solitary bliss after a pleasant walk along the cliff side. On Sunday we took a walk along the beach and it felt very much like spring. The lady who runs the B&B had offered to look after Ziggy so I took her up on this offer so I could get a bit of dinner at one of the local restaurants. When I arrived back I was offered a glass of wine. Having been anti-social the night before I thought it would be nice to get to know my host. She was due to go for dinner with a friend who was making a fleeting visit but a guest was due to checck in and she felt anxious about not knowing what time he'd get there. I told her to go out anyway and I would hold the fort and show him his room. What I really wanted was another night of solitude in my very lovely room but sometimes my desire to be of service to others overrides what I want.

As it turns out the guest who arrived was a lovely person. I showed him around, offered him a cigarette and within 20 minutes we were tackling the deep and meaningful. Our host came back and asked us if we'd like to go to the local pub where we were regaled with traditional music, dancing and singing. The next morning our host drove us to Glenariff forest, which happens to be one of my favourite places up here in the North. Then it was back to butts, back to class, driving lessons, study, counselling and all those things that keep me out of trouble and moving forward.

I do realise it's a disgrace that this is only my second post of the year. But there has been nothing new to say. Gus and I did another open mic night. We didn't corpse and we're playing again tonight at an ice cream parlour. We've had some great nights here at chez Nellybert's jamming with The dog's Dogfather and Mr. Banjo. Tobe, the GCDC's bass player has been around for some fun and vegan food also.

Bobo productions is sizzling away in the background. Creativity abounds and new songs about potatoes and being deadly serious are on the horizon. But, whilst it's important to make time for fun and games lurking at the back of my mind is the fact that I have assignments and deadlines to meet for my course. Hoops to jump, boxes to tick and mountains to climb. But for once in my life I actually believe I can do it.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

First Post of the Year...Don't Get Too Excited

So there you jolly well, flippin' well, blinkin' well go! That's all that nonsense over and done with for another year. This year was the best Christmas I've had in a long time. It didn't take much. All that was required was me not having a broken heart, the cat not peeing on me, not being too sick to eat dinner and dinner being gorgeous because it wasn't a strange clove infused curry. Simples.

New Year was also fun and I even made it to midnight. And now I'm off work for the next three days. I'm almost scared to say it but I think I've just got caught up with myself. I will enjoy this little sea of tranquility because next week the madness begins again giving me the heebie jeebies.

On Christmas day the dogs and I walked down the back lane and t'rough the t'ick of the woods. There was absolute joy in my heart for being in those woods and not having to race back to do coursework. On New Years Day we did the same only Gus joined us. He lisitened to my sinister "woods" song and laughed at my impressions of a wild pig.

Today Ziggy and I are for the beach with a lovely chica I work with. The last time I was asked to go to the beach Ziggy wasn't allowed. We're leaving at 9 and it is now 10 past 8 and Ziggy is still lying under the blankets in bed snoring. The lazy brute. The sun is only just coming up now but I am hopeful it's going to be one of those bright, brisk days. Better wrap up warm. Last night I dreamt of old ladies mittens. The ones that are fur lined and suede on the outside. I also realised yesterday that the span of my hand covers my whole face.

So, off and off I go, to get ready for the beach.