Rambles, rants and raves

A lot of opinions spilling out of my brain


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Lola

Lola arrived in our home as a teeny tiny thing that could fit in the palm of your hand. She is now four months old and no longer tiny but a flying flurry of fur.

I have learnt a lot about myself since Lola entered my life. I have had a lot of animals in my life and each have taught me something different but Lola has done something different. Life changes when something that has never-ending energy and a huge capacity to love and bite simultaneously becomes a part of the family.

Lola at two months old

Lola at two months old

She is a naughty puppy. If something is small enough to go into her mouth then it will. And even if it isn’t she will attempt to dismantle it until it can. This includes everything from pillows, toilet paper, chairs, hands, slippers and anything that resembles some sort of food item. She also enjoys the chase so if you run after her she runs harder. She also enjoys barking at small children and making them cry (this has happened enough times to become a thing). She especially loves to poop and then when you’re picking up said poop, push your hand into said poop. She’s a bundle of fun. No, really.

Lola – despite the fact she likes to do things that aren’t allowed and is probably considered more of a bad dog than a good dog – is amazing. She is a fast learner and is already trained to do a load of tricks that I am extremely proud of teaching her and she has taught me a lot too.

Lola at three months

Lola at three months

A dog expects a certain amount of friendship and as a result that dog promises to be loyal and playful and kind to you. I thought I was patient when Lola arrived and I quickly realised I wasn’t. Puppies like to bite and test things with their mouths much like human babies and when you are trying to relax a puppy in your home will make that feat difficult. I have become more patient since Lola and I met. I have become more considerate as she has taught me to think before I act (even if she doesn’t). Everything I do has a direct effect on her – in a big or small way and she feeds off my attitude and mood. In becoming a more relaxed and patient person I have seen Lola develop to be a better puppy.

She is still stupidly excited about everything – a blade of grass, a sneeze, a tissue – whatever and though I am finding the most trouble with her exuberance during training and obedience, she has reminded me to enjoy the little things. I like to think I remember the moment more now and the fact I should stop consistently fixating on the future. I still do that of course, but I’m working on it and I find myself smiling more and breathing deeper as a result.

A bond has been created that I am not a skilled enough writer to describe. It is a strange thing when something gives you its undying love immediately and continues to give you that even when you probably fall a little below expectations. She has helped me with missing the boy and living apart from him. She has reminded me that the life we continue to talk about is happening right now, it won’t stop just because you have both eyes on the horizon.

Lola drives me crazy at least half the time because if she’s not trying to embarrass me then she’s doing something naughty. But I love her still. I love her with all my heart. She is a good dog and we are both learning from each other. So while I teach her tricks and how to behave in a human world, she teaches me a little more about life – lessons that a human can only learn from an animal like Lola.

The determination in her eyes to come at me and lick my face while I was taking this picture is a little terrifying

The determination in her eyes to come at me and lick my face while I was taking this picture is a little terrifying


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A big ramble trying to talk about little things

This time last year I was in New York having the Best Time Ever. This time last year I was posing for a photo outside the New York Public Library (a must for book-worms like me) and still had a whole New York adventure to live out.

Now I am sitting in my parent’s kitchen blogging. The sun is shining, the pup is eating my slipper which is still on my foot and the cats are sleeping in the living room. I am also a reporter on my local newspaper which continues to thrill me with joy even when it’s stressing me out.

It’s funny how things change. The boy and I were planning to go travelling this September but then the opportunity for the job I am in came along and I had to grab it with both hands – the same way I intended to do with travelling. It was a great way of getting on the ladder and learning the ropes the only way you can when you’re in a job. The boy was happy to postpone the travelling and so was I and I still don’t regret my part in that decision after six months. I still plan on going travelling but it won’t be for a little while yet and I’m happy with that.

If you’d told me that last year when I was posing for a photo outside the New York Public Library I would have probably laughed in your face and been a little dismissive. Travelling is something I have always wanted to do, and am determined to do – I would have seen no other way than doing it as soon as possible and that would have been when the boy graduated.

But things change. Opportunities come up that are too good to miss and you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t grab onto them with every bit of strength and vigour you had.

I am a planner and it is often difficult to accept that my plans must change. I am also stubborn so this adds to my hesitance of not wanting changes in my plans.

I like change that comes from stepping out of your comfort zone, doing something different and pushing yourself so I plan to do things like that but I don’t appreciate the other type of change that makes you stay right where you are and make the most out of it – milk it until it’s dry and then you can move on. That is the type of change that came in January when a work experience placement turned into a interview for a proper reporting job. I would have been stupid not to take it, even if it wasn’t in my plans and I think that’s why I don’t regret it. It’s an exciting change but a different one to what I was planning. Maybe if it had been a compromise I would think differently, I don’t know.

So right now, I’m not in NY ticking off a dream come true (I have wanted to travel there since I read about it books and realised it wasn’t make-believe) and daydreaming of a travel adventure. Right now I am ticking off a job as a reporter on a local paper – another dream come true.

Just because everything doesn’t happen at once, doesn’t mean it won’t. We leave in an age of immediacy and sometimes we lose sight of the fact that though human life doesn’t last as long as certain other creatures on this planet we have a long while to make the most out of it. We are living longer, healthier lives and we need to make the most out of all of it – not just the first 20 years.

Right now, I feel very, very lucky. I feel like I am milking life and it’s a good feeling. Often in society we’re made to feel narcissistic for bigging ourselves or the lives we lead up but that can’t be good for us emotionally. That means we look for dissatisfaction and unease and stress. So, here I am saying I am happy with life  – though this week has been a little like drowning in mud – it happens. Not every day can be perfect.

This blog post has little meaning, or significance. It is just a person declaring she is happy. A person accepting that change happens and embracing it because it’s another adventure. Not the same one, or a better one, but a different one that’s just as exciting.


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Friendship

In my twenty-one (soon to be twenty-two) years on this planet I have made my fair share of friends. I have also lost contact with the majority of this fair share of friends. Am I sad about it? No. Do I regret those friendships? No. Would I try to rekindle them again? Probably not.

People see friendships as something you’ll always have. Once you’re friends, you will always be friends and I find that, frankly, a little absurd. My closest group of friends (there are five of us) are the ones I’ve known since I was 13. We stay in contact regularly and try to meet up as often as we can and before we start missing each other. We do that because we like each other even when we don’t.

I then have the group of friends who I’ve met recently, through my NCTJ or university, who I try and stay in contact with fairly regularly and I have one or two childhood friends that even though I don’t stay in contact with, we’ll always be friends and when we meet up – it’s like it always has been because we grew up together and bonds like that are just too darn strong.

Then there are the other friends who I was really close to but lost along the way. Through a lack of staying in touch, through a falling out, or just through a natural occurrence or our lives taking different paths and us not feeling it was worth the effort to continue those friendships. That doesn’t make the friendship we did have any less special and it doesn’t take away from everything we shared while we were friends but, like many human relationships, some have their best by dates and there’s no point trying to deny that.

I would not take back any of the friendships I had and lost. I learnt a lot from them and even the ones that ended badly had their fabulous moments that are now a part of the fabric of my life. It doesn’t mean I want to rekindle those friendships even those that didn’t end on bad terms but just fizzled out. I believe they did so for a reason and if you stopped trying then there’s no point flogging a dead horse.

It’s nice to keep in touch and say hi once in a while if you cross paths again but there’s no point pretending to be back in the golden years of the friendship you once had. Just because you are no longer close to someone doesn’t detract from the fact you once were.

It sounds horribly superficial but like clothes there are those you keep forever because they are too much a part of your life to let go, there are those pieces of clothes that you once were obsessed by and completely loved but are now ready to give away to charity and let it be enjoyed by someone else and there are those that you keep but never really wear apart from every once in a while when it feels good to be nostalgic.

It doesn’t mean you’ll look back on the pictures of you wearing the clothes you gave away and shudder that you actually tried it, and you shouldn’t remember those clothes and regret them happening – they were right for the time, they worked then, and they made you happy in that moment. They stopped doing that and it meant letting them go was the best thing but it doesn’t mean you need to go back to the charity shop and buy it again to try once more. You’re not the same. Things change. People grow and relationships will sometimes have to drift, break and end as a result. It’s no bad thing, just a part of human life.


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A love story in 100 words

There once was a woman (not a girl) who met a man.

They did not fall in love immediately but got to know each other, became more and more curious and enthralled and eventually without even realising it had happened, they fell in love.

It was good, then hard, then they worked at it and kept working at it and it stayed being good. There were no break ups and no dramas. There were fights and shouting and apologies quickly followed.

There are kisses, hugs, touching. It is fun and hard and entertaining and exciting and difficult and easy. Indescribable.


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When I can’t find the words

When I can’t find the words, or they feel inadequate, I usually look at pictures and other people’s words or go and do something else to see if I can find them.

Sometimes the words will come right to the edge of my brain and then when I try to grab them, they slip away like eels. It leaves me a little confused because I don’t know how to express how I’m feeling and that leaves me with deep thoughts. But I enjoy my time swimming in them.

Today, maybe because I’m tired, I couldn’t catch my words. I stepped away and it didn’t help. I looked at other words and that didn’t help and then I went into my contemplating mood and realised how I was feeling but I still couldn’t find the words that gave those feelings justice. I started randomly browsing and after less than 30 seconds I found an image that described my feelings – in the grand scheme of things – completely.

Azealia Banks by Matt Barnes. Found on piccsy.com

Azealia Banks by Matt Barnes. Found on piccsy.com

I am happy. I am lucky. And, most of all, I am extremely grateful. This picture sums it up very well. Sometimes, I just can’t find the words and there’s no shame in that. An image can speak for itself.


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What they don’t tell you about exercise

Last month I found that I got breathless climbing up my home’s flight of stairs, my circulation was bad because my right hand didn’t warm up properly, even if I had it against a radiator and then I went to my nurse to get the pill and was told I’d put on 4lbs in four months. No biggie as I asked her if I was still in the healthy bracket and she told me I was – phew! But still. It got me thinking.

I started thinking about The Biggest Loser and it made me think about the stairs and my freaky left hand that has a core of ice and the fact that though I’m a healthy weight I am not fit. That made me sad because a) I was writing a lot of stories about incredibly fit people who were running marathons and b) I used to love running when I was a school kid, I was a fit person back then.

The next day I went for a ten minute run. I threw up my heart within the first two minutes and my lungs decided to take a break and stop working after four. All my pores began leaking like they’d never leaked before and my legs could be heard screaming from the other side of the country. I survived though and I did it again the next day.

After two weeks I upped my speed and my time to 20 minutes and today, a month later I am still running five days a week before work for 20 minutes. Last week I started circuit training because I wanted more and I do that two or three times a week for 40 minutes depending on how brave I feel. I plan on upping my to half an hour next week but just thinking about that makes me sweat so it’s not worth thinking about yet.

I still have had no runner’s high or crazy exercise euphoria and it was only yesterday that I noticed a teeny, tiny difference in my body. I hadn’t lost any weight (which is a good thing for me, I didn’t want to lose weight) but there have been changes. I can’t really comment on my hand because the days have gotten warmer but I don’t get breathless from the stairs. In fact, I can chase the puppy around for at least half an hour (she’s fast and that is no mean feat, I kid you not). My body feels tighter and I feel stronger and better and healthier. Not when I’m exercising though, when I’m exercising I feel like shit and it’s taken a whole month to feel strong but still – I’m improving.

However there are a few things they forgot to tell me about exercise. I didn’t get the memo and if I did, I must have forgotten what it said but I have compiled a list of my top four things you need to know about exercise. Not because I’m a fitness expert but because my natural position is sitting, lying or floating (in the sea, swimming pool, balloons – whatever). Nothing to high energy and I wish I’d been told this beforehand. It would have helped.

You sweat

I know everyone knows that the more physical exercise you do, the more you sweat but I mean you start sweating like there isn’t a tomorrow. More than you thought possible. I sweated on my first run – sure; but I sweat a hell of a lot more now. It is because I’m pushing myself more but I think it’s also to do with the fact I’ve reminded my sweat glands how to work and they are making up for lost time. Without wanting to get too gross – or is that too late? – the more you exercise and the more regularly you do so, the more you sweat, by the end of any sort of proper exercise you look like you’ve been caught in the rain. In films when they show those guys in the gym that look like they’ve just stepped in, and then out, of the shower and are now pressing weights, I always thought were ridiculous. It was silly to try and make an audience believe that a person sweats that much. But it’s true, they do. It seems the better you become, the more you sweat.

Stretching is important

Stretching is a little like waking your muscles up and telling them to prepare because something big is happening. You wouldn’t trust yourself to wake up without an alarm so you shouldn’t trust your muscles to do that either. Stretching is your alarm. You do not want to end up finishing a workout with a calf muscle that hurts so much you have to crawl up the stairs. Not that that happened to me. Ahem.

Breathing like a banshee is okay – so is screaming

If T-Rex, a dog and an elephant had a baby then it would breathe like me when I run. The hard part is not laughing at yourself because when you laugh – everything falls apart. I used to hold my breath when running past people which made me have to pant for the next thirty seconds so I’ve stopped caring. I sometimes pretend I’m a monster as I run past people and see if they look scared at my horrendous breathing. Most just look like they want to laugh, some give me worried looks. Who cares? Screaming is also okay by the way, I do my circuit training at home with an amazing workout programme that I found (although I refuse to follow the eating plan, I will not restrict my food) and screaming helps. I’m not sure it’s the greatest thing to do in a gym – I’ve never been to one though so I can’t judge but screaming at home while you sweat enough to create a little swimming pool is probably the only way to survive.

You do not feel good while exercising or after exercising. Give it a month, two or maybe three before good feelings arrive

Anyone who says they feel good straight after a run is a liar. Strong words I know but it’s true. You can feel proud. God knows I did but you don’t feel good. That’s a lie. Your body is depleted and trying to restore itself after a workout and nothing about that feels good. I actually felt guilty when I didn’t feel good and I felt a little frustrated that I hadn’t had an “exercise high” but the fact is hard work does not pay off straight away and it is only four weeks into a regular exercise routine that I am starting to feel better and feel the difference this bloody running and circuit training has done. It’s become a habit which means, though I don’t necessarily look forward to it sometimes (although I do a little) and though I don’t necessarily enjoy it when I am actually exercising (I am too tired and concentrating too hard on not giving up that I have no space for enjoyment), I am feeling better. But those good feelings take a little while to arrive. When they do, they’re awesome but don’t expect to be feeling those “oh-so-good-joyful” feelings, those regular exercise people harp on about. And don’t give up when they don’t come as soon as you’d expect. The oh-so-clever boy told me it actually takes three months before you, and others, see a big difference in your health, stamina, appearance and mentality. Patience, determination and continued effort is key.