March 2014

March was a terrible, terrible month.  I think I did a fairly good job of hiding how terrible it was.

I did manage to complete the #FMSPhotoaday challenge though, and am continuing it for April.  I know that you’re obviously dying to see my pictures, so show and tell them I shall. Or, the best ones anyway.

#somethingborrowed ... the last page of a book I borrowed from the library. It was sad, and they've made it into a film. I'm in two minds about going to see it.

#somethingborrowed … the last page of a book I borrowed from the library. It was sad, and they’ve made it into a film. I’m in two minds about going to see it.

#faraway ... Waiting for the bus after work; it's a long way away, under the bridge.

#faraway … waiting for the bus after work; it’s a long way away, under the bridge.

#cropped ... my feet, in one of my favourite places.

#cropped … my feet, in one of my favourite places.

#weathertoday ... it was overcast but spring-y.

#weathertoday … it was overcast but spring-y.

#soft ... Qyzy, my beautiful boy cat (who has softer fur than Dora, who is much less annoying.)

#soft … Qyzy, my beautiful boy cat (who has softer fur than Dora, who is much less annoying.)

#morning ... at the antique fair, where we stumbled upon them filming for bargain Hunt again. They did lots of running around for seemingly no reason.

#morning … at the antique fair, where we stumbled upon them filming for bargain Hunt again. They did lots of running around for seemingly no reason.

#nostalgia ... Sindy was my favourite toy as an ickle-thing, so now I source her out and antique fairs. And not forgetting the Enid Blyton Dean & Son Ltd. books in the background.

#nostalgia … Sindy was my favourite toy as an ickle-thing, so now I source her out at antique fairs. And not forgetting the Enid Blyton Dean & Son Ltd. books in the background, of course.

#sticky ... I wrote my Blokey a post-it note and left it on his 'current mood' thingy, because I am lovely.

#sticky … I wrote my Blokey a post-it note and left it on his ‘current mood’ thingy, because I am lovely.

We also took a trip to London to watch our beloved (not very good) football team win the FA Trophy in a match with a lesser known (and even more not very good) team. Notice how two not very good teams are unable to fill Wembley Stadium … *grin* (It was an amazing atmosphere though, even with only 20,000 people making a small dent in a stadium built for 80,000!)

My first view of Wembley, from the tube station.

My first view of Wembley, from the tube station.

Just outside, drinking extortionately priced tea and enjoying the blue sky.

Just outside, drinking extortionately priced tea and enjoying the blue sky.

The supporters go wild!

The supporters go wild!

Playful.

Playful.

We won! So much applause!

We won! So much applause!

That was March.

#fmsphotoaday

MARCH-photoaday

Last year I took a photo a day, for no other reason than I wanted to. However, it becomes pretty boring after a while, especially when you run out of things to take pictures of (oh my God, it’s ten to midnight and I haven’t taken a photo today; where’s that damn cat!). So, after a hiatus of a couple of months I stumbled across this fun thing to do, and so do it I shall.  I’m going to try to twitter and instagram them, but will share my best attempts with this blog, because it’s mine and I can.

Tomorrow we’re off to my MiLs for birthday celebrations (hers) and to hear stories of house buying (BiL & YASiLs). I shall nod and smile in appropriate places whilst wishing I was at home, being a homebody and hoping that next week will pass very very quickly so that the weekend will get here and I can relax.

Today one of our cats has vomited. We suspect Qyzy, purely because he bolted his food and the stomach contents left on the floor look decidedly fresh. It is nothing but fun in the house of KatieF.

taking the next step

cat

Back when the world had just stopped being 1999 and was enjoying all that the early ‘noughties had to offer, I went a little bit crazy.  There were reasons for this craziness; breast cancer took my auntie, old age took both my beloved grandad and my beloved childhood pussy-cat, the Big Brother listened to stupid advice from me and left his wife for his masseur, and I put my abusive lover onto a train and kissed goodbye to him for ever.  This all happened within just seven months.

Oh, and I was being bullied at work by both a parent and by a fellow teacher.

Sucked to be me.

The craziness manifested itself in ways of which I’m not necessarily proud. I withdrew from life.  Having been signed off work with depression I locked myself away in my tiny little flat. By night I drank vodka, chain-smoked till the ashtray was overflowing and chatted to sometimes odd, sometimes charming, very rarely lovely, guys online.

By day I slept.

I also took risks, the most stupid of which was meeting guys in London for ‘fun’. This was only twice, but it was dangerous and ill-thought out.

The craziness didn’t last for long. I gave up my beautiful little flat and toddled off home to Mumsy for some tlc.  A few months later I met Blokey and the rest is history.

I have a lot of ‘what ifs‘ to ponder about concerning this odd little period of my life, and I’m mostly thinking about it now because if I wasn’t where I am right now (in a loving marriage, with a fabulous relationship with Mumsy) I think I’d be heading back to CrazyTown with a one-way ticket.

As it stands, I’ve been to the GP. I said I didn’t want to take antiDs. He asked what I wanted. I said I’d like counselling. He’s going to refer me.

My biggest ‘what if‘ of my craziness episode is wondering where I’d be now if I’d asked for counselling back when the world was enjoying its new adventure in the 21st Century.  However, I think I’d be in the same place I am now.  I’ve stumbled upon recollections, signs, the writings of people connected to me, which have made me a different person to the one I was in my mid-twenties. I’ve put the jigsaw pieces together and I’m solving the puzzle. I think that counselling will help … it may not complete the puzzle, but it may render it complete with just a few token pieces missing.

And it might be a waste of time, but I won’t know if I don’t try.

I had counselling once when I was at uni. I think it was towards the end of my first year, so I was still an impressionable eighteen year old. I was told I wasn’t depressed, he didn’t know what I was doing there and it was a waste of time. I saw him twice. I feel very angry now that he didn’t take the time to listen to me, didn’t crack away at the defences I’d built up and realise that I was very fucked up indeedy.

But I’m grateful that he didn’t because I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t be the woman that I am if he’d been good at his job. And it’s very hard to explain that I actually like being me; it feels safe and comfortable. That was the hardest part about going to see my GP and admitting I need some sort of help or support. If counselling (and/or pills; he’s told me to consider them) do achieve what I want it/them to achieve then it means I might change. And I can’t bear the idea that I might change.

But I do feel calmer now, and that’s a blessed relief.

And I will write a happy happy happy post one day.

(i’m also having bloods taken so they can check my thyroid … i don’t want it to be my thyroid because i do need counselling, but i suppose it would be good to know that my deeply ingrained feelings are just being exacerbated by something medically treatable.)

who the fuck is edward cullen?

onceuponatime

… in a not-so far away land, lived a girl with an insatiable need to write about herself for all the world to see.  Oh, she had kept diaries in the past, but these were full of silliness and teenage-angst.  Nobody ever read those diaries. Nobody ever will, until our heroine is dead and buried.  She tried various means of introducing herself to the world at large, but finally settled on Xanga.com.

It was a jovial little place.  The girl let people into her head – warts and all – and they still wanted to be her friend.  This made her feel all squishy inside.  She discovered that the world was very teeny-tiny (one person she befriended was a real life friend of her Baby Brother) and that most folk are completely bonkers and attention-seeking numpties.

She frolicked happily in XangaLand for five and a half years, until the time came to fly the nest. XangaLand shaped the girl into a woman and when her Blokey offered to buy her the katiefinger.com domain, it only seemed fair that it be put to good use.

One day KatieF went back to XangaLand and found that it was gone. GONE! Oh, woe. But it offered our young(-ish) woman the opportunity to download all her posts and save them on her computer.  This she did, and then she made a new blog* and now all her old Xanga posts live there.

At some point she will read through those ancient posts and have a laugh, but for now she’s just happy to have seen an occasional snapshot of a life once lived.

Just who the fuck is Edward Cullen?

(*it did dawn on me a very long time later [today] that i could have just imported them into a page on this blog, but i didn’t.)

you know you’re all grow’d up when …

I was raised dragged up in a house with green living and dining rooms. For much of my childhood and adolescent years they weren’t *just* green though. Oh no. In each room three walls were wallpapered with designs of tiny green flowers on a white background and one wall was papered with the craziest green(y-ish) circles.

Crazy wallpaper

Me, with my beloved Uncle Keith in about 1982.

Of course, it wasn’t just the crazy seventies wallpaper which we lived with.  There were also the garishly orange patterned curtains to contend with, and the predominantly green patterned carpet. My parents were the height of fashion.

My Mumsy still has the carpet. It went out of fashion and then came back in.

1975

May, 1975

Christmas 1982/3 - what's with the ornaments, Mother?!

Christmas 1982/3 – what’s with the ornaments, Mother?!

July, 1992

July, 1992

The littlest nephew - Christmas, 2013

The littlest nephew – Christmas, 2013

If carpets could talk it would have the most amazing stories to tell.  And some not so amazing. And some which would make my Mumsy blush, lots.

Anywhichway, having been brought up amongst so much green, in all its hues, I was adamant that as a grow’d up I would never – NEVER – have any green in my home.

Last week I bought some paint.

Melon Sorbet

Melon Sorbet

And some painting equipment.

Let's get painting

Let’s get painting

And one wall in my living room is now green.

Green!

Green!

Flowery

Flowery

An injection of personality

An injection of personality

Not only have I given in to Green, but I gave in to Patterns on the floor too.

Patterns!

Patterns!

All grow’d up.

*sigh*

ps: my bathroom is green too.

not in my head anymore

fuck

I was on the phone with Mumsy earlier and she was telling me about how Baby Brother’s partner (Joey-Joe-Joe) has been poorly. He had some bloods taken and they showed that his liver is slightly off-kilter so he needs more tests.

I hope he’s not ill; I don’t need anything else to worry about, she said.

This is why I bottle things up.

She has a son with a bad back (to the extent that it is basically crippling him), another who they thought had a tumour, and another who spills his heart out to her her when he’s feeling depressed, or having problems with his Father or wife, despite being a thousand miles away in a foreign country. She has a son-in-law with chronic kidney failure and a daughter who has already put her through enough worry by having elective major surgery.

I’ve had a good sob (my already poorly Qyzy-Qat tentatively came to see what the matter was and let me stroke him so I could calm down and actually breathe again) and I’m now putting this online for the world Lone Reader to see simply to have it in a place other than in my head.

My day can now return to normality. I have postcards to write and photos to sort into a frame. Then I might go and snuggle up in bed with my pussies and have a well-deserved nap before it’s time to hit Gym.

Sorry.

the melodramatic self-pity post

horridplace

I was simply enjoying a car journey home from the garden centre one day last week when – with no provocation – some great big freaky freakoid leapt out at me and caused the weirdest sensations.  In my head I’ve been likening it to a mini anxiety attack, but on reflection it appears I’ve been suffering from these without realising for howevermanyyears anyway; stress-related IBS, blushing, tongue-tiedness, palpatations, festering warmth and that humongous debilitating knot of worrisomeness that lives in my chest as my constant companion.

The further I get from the actual experience the more ridiculous it seems, but it was truly frightening, if only for a couple of minutes.

It began with a WHOA!

Became a YOU’RE GOING TO BE 40 THIS YEAR!

And hasn’t really ended.

I don’t feel old. But I am old. And I suddenly realised that my life as passed me by, and the older I get the more blurred it becomes.

I haven’t really achieved anything with my life. I haven’t had a baby (SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! STUPID MOTHER OF MY BLOKEY!) and I may have a mortgage but we only have one toilet (I know, I’m ridiculous *rolling of eyes*).

Yes, society makes me think that I’m a failure. All of a sudden my head has decided that I haven’t conformed to society’s wishes. Facebook screams of the jubilation of babies and children and I just want to bang my head against a brick wall.

“My toddler had a poo today!”

Well, no shit.

I suppose the best way I can describe my experience in the car was one of deep sadness. And I don’t just mean deep.  I mean DEEP.  And for the briefest of moments I actually thought, I don’t want to turn 40; I don’t have to turn 40. It was such a peaceful thought … and it’s that peacefulness that scared the crap out of me.

I know that I’m blessed. I have an adoring Blokey, two beautiful cats, a couple of crazy neighbours to keep me occupied, a job I love, I know some brilliant people and have an amazing family. We own our own house (with help from the bank) and our own car. We have savings that amount to more than I earn in a year and I can afford to buy pretty things.

But I feel that my life is spiraling out of control. I need control. I crave it. And yet I have none right now, and I’m teetering on the edge of my world with a sense that I’d be quite happy to fall off the edge …

(I don’t want sympathy … I want a kick up the arse, with thanks in anticipation …)

goodbye

questions

OMG!

Where does the time go?

I’ve borrowed this from some super-duper site for (empowered American) women.  I thought it would help me reflect on the past twelve months.

  • What was remarkable about the year?

We had NO Hospital stays!  Can you say, ‘WooHoo!’?  2013 must have been the first year since 2007* that Blokey wasn’t offered a Hospital bed in which to rest his weary head. This is amazing and causes me much happiness.

[* I may be wrong; 2010 may also be a year which had no actual stays, but as we had a LOT of problems with PD that year it was still a year in which Blokey was frustratingly poorly and we both felt the effects of that ... so 2013 was definitely the year that Blokey was at his healthiest and the only Hospital visits were for check-ups ...]

  • Who came into my life this year?

Blondie. Not the group, but the Italian Catholic at work. I already knew her, but since we’ve been based in the same office we’ve indulged in many random yet meaningfully deep conversations about such things as Bitstrips, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Amanda Knox.  She makes me laugh because her views are so odd, but she’s sweet and lovely and I’m really glad she didn’t get her promotion at work because it means she has to put up with me, for ever … *evil laugh*

  • Who left it?

My Father, the Monster.  I told Mumsy that I wrote him a letter (but not what was in it) and that I didn’t believe he got it because there had been no consequences. But I didn’t get a Christmas card from him, and I vaguely remember a Fb comment my (not-really) Wicked StepMother wrote on a status of my Baby Brother which went something like, ‘Well, you’re the only one who doesn’t judge,’ leading me to believe he did get it. I was a bit put-out really; I think I’m one of the least judgemental people I know.

  • What were my best accomplishments/achievements?

I went to Paris with a gaggle of girls I don’t know, and then I read in front of one hundred people I (mostly) don’t know. Completely out of my comfort zone on both occasions, but I can now consign both to the big ‘I did that, I never have to do it again’ box in my head.

  • Favourite times/moments?

Laughing with my nephews, snuggling with my Blokey, spending time with my Mumsy, receiving postcards from strangers, getting my cat back (personality wise) from the Crazy Cat-stealing Lady … nothing big, lots of little.

  • Biggest disappointment?

Twelve on-time periods.

  • Best surprise?

Blokey bought me tickets to see Wicked in London for my birthday in July. He also booked us into a hotel and organised the travel arrangements. He’ll have to try to beat that in 2014, what with it being a Big Birthday year!

  • When I look back on the year, I could never have imagined (fill in the blank).

… that I’d have the courage to do some of the things I did, which include things I’ve mentioned above plus the confidence to actually question my own thought-process and begin thinking about who I really am. I also would have laughed in your face if you’d have suggested that we’d be members of the local gym by the years end. Ha ha, feckin’ ha.

  • What was the single most significant event of the year?

Probably my Bil and YASiLs wedding. And the fact that we actually had a holiday … !

  • How do I want next year to be different?

I am going to Tweet, every single day. Tweet-a-day. It’s my new project.  I may combine this with an Instagram-a-day too, but this is less likely because photo opportunities of interesting things don’t come along every day.

Happy New Year, Muppets!

stay-safe-and-see-you-in-2014

bah, humbug.

christmas

I LOVE Christmas, but this doesn’t stop me from whining about it.  In no particular order these are the Top 5 things which truly annoy, baffle, frustrate and irk me …

1. Happy Holidays!

Um, nope. I think you’ll find it’s Happy Christmas! A holiday is something I go on when I travel to a place that isn’t my home and do some sightseeing. Christmas is something completely different to that scenario. I think it’s an Americanism because it’s also said at Thanksgiving, Easter and Hallowe’en and over here we only really celebrate one of those.

[Edited to add: I'm wrong; it's only said as a way to incorporate all religious festivals at this time of year. It is still an Americanism though and it still irks me. *grin*]

When the entire English-speaking population of the world has succumbed to Happy Holidays! America will rub its hands in glee and know they have finally become Masters of the Universe.

2. The Round Robin*

We all get at least one every year stuffed inside a card, and they can be summed up in the following ways:

i.  I’m friends with you on Facebook and haven’t missed a single one of your status updates. Why are you sending me this?

ii. I haven’t seen you since 1652. Why do you think I care about what little Cyril did when the bird pooped on his head?

iii. Gosh, my family is so inferior to yours. Excuse me whilst I go and do something tragic/amazing (so that my family have something to write about next year.)

(*with apologies to anyone who sent me one this year)

3. Family

Christmas can bring out the worst in people. It’s also a time of year when some have to bite their tongue and just go with the flow to avoid those terrible arguments, which will have repercussions well into the first eleven or-so months of the new year. Christmas should be about family, but only if you have a family or indeed, a family that you want to spend time with.

I’m a tongue-biter, go with the flow kind of gal.

My BiL has spent every Christmas Eve and the following Christmas Day at my MiLs since the year my FiL so tragically passed away.  He got married this year and obviously wants to spend the night/day with his new wife, who in turn wants to spend the day with her parents because a) she always has and b) her grandmother is very poorly this year. When MiL Dearest heard about this she threw a Very Big Fit.

Christmas is for the family! she said. My boys should be spending it with me! she said.

She’d been invited to spend the day with my YASiLs family and we were going to spend the night before with her and have breakfast.  I was looking forward to us then heading home and cooking my Blokey a fabulous Christmas dinner, with all the proverbial trimmings.

It’s not to be.

It is probably never to be.

I am destined to a life of Christmas Day boredom with my MiL on an annual basis.  We’ve agreed to staying with her for Christmas dinner but I put my foot down about staying into the evening for tea. No! I said.

It isn’t so much that we have to spend it with her; it’s the assumption that we will spend it with her and the blatant disregard of the fact that both I and YASiL have our own families too and we might one day want to spend time with them on the actual day itself.

I must try harder to get pregnant in 2014; a baby is the only thing that will stop this malarkey. Yes, my baby will just be for Christmas. Yes, I expect I am destined to be childless. It will be my punishment for some minor misdemeanor I don’t remember committing.

4. Festive Charity Givers

There are people all around the world who need help every single day, not just for/at Christmas. Hidden amongst the adverts for food, alcohol and toys (both grow’d up and for children) are the pitiful visual representations of crying children, freezing homeless folk, blind cats and diseased reindeer.

Give to charity! they scream. We want your money! they beg.

I don’t have an issue with giving to charity. I do have an issue with people who only give to charity at this time of year and who shout it from the rooftops so that everybody knows. I assume I’m supposed to give them a Big Thumbs Up? I don’t.

Connected to this is those people who come into the office (or wherever) and say, Oh, I’m not giving out Christmas cards this year. I’m just going to give the money I would have spent to charity.’They rarely tell you which charity though.  I think most of them are just a bunch of tight-fisted Scrooge’s. The same applies to people who just send an ecard at Christmas. What’s the point in that? I can’t put it on my non-existent mantlepiece, can I? I’d much rather people were honest and just said, Look, I really can’t be arsed to spend an afternoon writing out Christmas cards and then spend oodles of money on stamps so they get to the right person at the right time. I have much more respect for honesty.

5. Santa Fuck!ng Claus

Who IS he? When I was a child we didn’t have Santa Claus.  We had Father Christmas. Father Christmas is jolly and huggable and just lovely. Santa Claus sounds strict and like some creepy uncle who you don’t really want to see, but have to.  He probably has a scratchy beard, quite unlike the fluffy cotton-wool one worn by Father Christmas.

Santa Claus is an Americanism (and this isn’t an America-bashing post, honest) which found its way to America courtesy of the Dutch and (much later) Coca-Cola. Father Christmas was originally part (as Father Winter) of the Midwinter festivities celebrated in Europe a very long time ago. In recent years Santa has started infiltrating the British Isles, emblazoning his name upon wrapping paper, cards and gift tags and sneakily permeating our quaint little media so that his name can be shouted through the airwaves.

I wish he’d just fuck off. I don’t mind ‘Santa Claus’ when uttered by an American (they know no better) or as a character in a (n American) film, poem or book. But when I hear a native of this fair land saying Santa Claus it quite gets my goat.

When the entire English-speaking population of the world has succumbed to Santa Claus America will rub its hands in glee and know they have finally become Masters of the Universe.

Just call me Mrs Scrooge.

Happy Christmas!

in lieu of a happy post

dealing-with-depression

I had every intention of writing something happy today.  It was going to be about Dora-cat, but my intention was waylaid and I found something else or two to do, and now I’m not in the mood for a happy post.

Sometimes I get overwhelmingly sad.  No, not sad.  It’s more than sad.  It’s a feeling that I’ve been [emotionally] punched in the tummy and I know there’s no reason to feel this way, but the punching just keeps … well, punching.

I’d like to tell you, faceless and random strangers, about my family, in particular my three full-bloodied siblings.  But I shan’t.  Not today.

Earlier this evening I sent Big Brother an email.  It was an excited email. To paraphrase:

Hey, we’re thinking of driving across Europe in April to visit the country where you live in my Easter holidays! It would be fabulous to spend some time with you. Love you! KatieF x

I received an email back in record time (he usually either doesn’t respond or it takes him about a month) saying:

Will get back to you, we might be in Wales.

To which I replied:

Oh.

And now I feel as though I’ve been punched in the tummy.  It’s completely irrational and stupid, and I’m trying hard not to cry.

Any normal person would be thinking that it’s wonderful, they’ll be in Wales and instead of a two day drive across Europe it’s a five hour drive into Wales. And all I can think? They’re planning something behind my back with Eldest Brother (who lives in Wales) and I’m not important enough to be told and Blokey’s taken the time off work and now we’ll have to drive to the country where they live and they won’t be there but we’ll also have to drive to Wales and I’ll have to watch them all playing Happy Families whilst I miss out on it fully because I don’t have the children required to make this a situation which can concern me …

… breathe …

Somebody slap me.

working towards perfection (and failing)