I’m incapable of taking an eyetest and not all news is good news

My left eye is a menace. It refuses to behave in eye tests so I’ve been to the optician 4 times during my ‘holiday’ and have had new glasses made twice; I’m still not convinced that the correction is right. I’m to give it another few days before I’m allowed a third test with a more experienced optometrist….I’m getting all the spiel from the regular staff about adjustment periods etc while I’m sat there wondering just how far away they are from my face and how bad the cross eyedness will be when I remove them this time. The first left lens was the wrong power and I suspect the second has a marginally wrong axis or centre of vision does not align, or, y’know, both, or neither. Lets face it, I don’t like change. 

The staff clearly think I’m some kind of nutter…the way this should work is, you get your new glasses, accept everything’s been done perfectly and just deal with the headaches, you don’t tell them all about it for god’s sake, and not repeatedly! I hope they are right and I don’t fall off my bike tomorrow.

What a nice headache-inducing way to spend my time off work. Sigh.

………..

It was my intention to be creative these two weeks, make something, create something, but inspiration has not been abundant and playing ‘ori and the blind forest’ took precedent. I’m shite at computer games at the best of times, but one on a PC without a controller is well beyond my skill level even on easy.much swearing has passed. 

So instead I downloaded a karaoke app that lets you record yourself singing along to the songs on your phone. So I did that, and recordings  (so far only k’s choice) are only available for a laugh on request because I kind of hate my voice and don’t want it here for posterity. I will say though that it’s annoying how few contralto alternative, indie and (+/-pop-) rock singers there are out there to copy ;p

………..

Also the depressed, anxious and otherwise unpredictable and neurotic dachshund who I was playing with, picking up and generally bonding with last week viciously bit the damned gardener on the leg on my birthday so considering her age and deteriorating behavioral problems, she was sadly wished all the best in her journey to the doggie afterlife 😦

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It is upsetting but being small and cute doesn’t mean a dog is immune from being dangerous. Responsible dog ownership means making difficult decisions. In a weird way, I’ll miss my mum’s snappy, growly little fluffball, but not nearly as much as she will.

………

In other news, for a change and to build my confidence, I rode the Highland pony today while my friend rode ‘the beast’ that is Buster, but they were both like lazy angelic horses the whole ride so that was lovely and relaxing for all. 

Now thanks to said pony my knee injury that I’ve been trying to ignore for a few weeks is niggling again. Dammit. 34 and griping about my joints and singing karaoke at home alone. How did it come to this??? 

Seattle Story webs

Hello Hello! I expect my absence was interpreted as abandonment of the blog, but no, here I am, back from holiday and full of jibber-jabber about the trip. I actually have so much balderdash to dispense that I’m going to break in up into digestible chucks of blah. In case you are wondering, those morsels are hidden in the hyperlinks.

I went to Seattle for a week – and the take-home message is that it was good. I know what you are thinking..that’s a hell of a long way to go for just 7 days and you know what? you’d be correct! Jet lag sucks.

Let’s start at the beginning, a few days before travel I had some anxiety issues  but we made it onto the flight and to be honest, it could have been a lot worse. I was concerned about the plane being so small (767) and going so far (5,000 miles) but it was relatively spacious and comfortable (for economy), the staff were polite and friendly, food was just about edible and in-flight entertainment was decent – I mean, I managed to watch a couple of films that whittled away the time, but right now I can’t for the life of me remember what they were!

here is a view from the journey of the rockies (? – ok just googled and yes that would be the rockies – phew!)

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pretty huh?

Then we traveled off to our airbnb-rented accommodation, found surrounded by a load of artsy things all over the garden. Day one was largely a blur as we just went to the shop for toastable provisions and settled in for a quiet night of trying to stay awake.

Day 2 was set aside for the EMP museum and pike place market. the museum was cool, especially the projector exhibit and the gallery of Nirvana’s old gear. Sadly we didn’t get to see any flying fish at the seafront market, but, sorry I wasn’t prepared to purchase a haddock in order to see it thrown around! We had the first of many starbucks visits too 🙂

Day 3 was pretty much wasteland as far as I can see – we had only arrived a day and a bit ago and some bright spark decided to get us tickets to the Macefield festival – which would have been great, except the band they really wanted to see was playing at 1AM…soo….that’s like staying up until about 10AM the next day…and I’m sure you can imagine how well I cope with sleep deprivation! yeah exactly, I don’t. So, much napping was done and general slobbery until the evening. I felt that the beginning of the festival was good, I liked the first band we saw, they were called Gibraltar, and played well, so all three albums were purchased and we went off for some pre-Mark Lanegan Pizza. I enjoyed the soporific tones of Mr Lanegan and from then on, it all went a bit pear-shaped and the evening disintegrated into a seemingly endless cycle of  pain, boredom, attempting and failing at keeping eyes open, and generally looking like a total drunk. At the end of the final band it got worse.Yup, the one cab company we were relying on ran out of cars and I was in no fit state to work out how to get a cab. Read here about choosing your travel companion wisely. Anyway, we got back to the apartment around 3AM and slept in late the next day, so some more wasted hours.

Day 4 we took the Argosy cruise around the harbour and saw the city from the water. It was a gloriously sunny day and we even got to see some sea lions sunbathing. Later we went to the Chihuly garden and glass and saw some really beautiful glasswork.

Day 5 we had a busy day, starting out in Freemont taking a look at the Troll under the bridge, and then went for a stroll around the gasworks park. This place was really unique, a great view of the cityscape and some great industrial relics. We then meandered over to the aquarium which was nice, as I got to stroke a starfish and the highlight was seeing the sea otters. I have never seen these little critters in real life and they are just THE most adorable things ever. For proof and shots of the gasworks park see here.

Day 6 we finally got around to doing the obvious tourist thing and went up the Space Needle, not one, but twice, once during the day and once at night :). What I learnt was that I have height-induced vertigo – yay me! I never knew! it was like the whole thing was tiled and I was falling over. Weird and not that scary, just a bit nauseating! This day also saw our first trip to Capitol Hill, so SO finally go to his beloved used CD stores. One of which was HUUUUGE and apparently warranted a good 1.5 hours of trawling through while I went for a very overpriced fresh juice. <YAWN>

Day 7 being the last full day, you might think that we wanted to make the most of it but, actually we needed to be up late again for a gig that SO wanted to attend, so we just took the underground tour – this took us into some of the original streets back from when Seattle was a couple of metres lower down and built largely in a boggy muddy flood plain. The Tour poked some fun at nearby town Tacoma and the founders and their lack of foresight with plumbing issues etc. It was educational and reminded me a lot of history classes about manifest destiny and all that.

The final day took us on a brief trip to a fancy area of Seattle called Denny-Blaine, where there is a park containing a bench memorial for Kurt Cobain, right next to the place where he killed himself.

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not at all morbid. Honest.

It was after this that I made arguably the worst decision of the trip. I figured we could just walk our luggage up the hill to the train station. This was a bad decision because of health anxiety and because of my travelling companion.

This was all probably all  terribly boring to read – just skimming through the touristy things to do in Seattle, but I guess it might be nice for me to be able to come back and read it in the future even if no-one else likes it!

I bought myself some cute souvenirs too
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Looks like I’ve gone all steam punk huh? Well so be it!

I have been to the states before, but I can’t tell you how confusing things like crossing a road, and paying a bill can be. It seems like if there is a pedestrian sign you can just walk out onto an interstate and the traffic stops for you…but then when there are no signs, how do you know if you are J walking? Maybe the sign is behind a tree? Well cars kept stopping and waving us weirdos across the road, so I guess we were too hesitant, but in England, you can’t go taking risks, they’ll just mow you down and brag to their friends about it! Bill paying of course involved a lot of worry about tipping, how much, how to leave it, who to tip. Apparently you are supposed to tip a barman for the 3 seconds it takes opening a can of beer but they will be offended if you try to tip them for spending 5 mins calling you a cab (sooo confused). Also according to the interwebs waiting staff expect 15-20% tip…so obviously that is what we left but it’s so difficult to gauge what service warrants how much tip. I understand now that the wages for restaurants and bars really suck in the US, and that tips are expected, but we just don’t really have that culture here. I worked in a relatively upmarket restaurant and often people would leave no tip, even when they had excellent service, and in a bar where you NEVER got tips unless one of the patrons fancied you and bought you drinks.
Another thing that struck me was how friendly people seemed to be. A lot of smiles and just making conversation.
Amazingly pretty much no-one that we met thought that we were English. They couldn’t tell from my accent at all.I did inquire specifically what they looked for and it was a cockney accent they considered English. Well. Ok. That’s a bit weird because regardless of what state you are from, if you come to England, everyone will know you are American (or Canadian, depends if you say the word “about” or not).
The final words I have to say about seattle are about the bums and trust. I was unaware quite how extreme the homelessness situation was in Seattle. There are homeless beggers all over downtown and many elsewhere. Far far more than I have ever noticed in another city. Although they didn’t give us any trouble (a couple had signs saying they wanted money for weed….seriously??! Can’t you be like British homeless and at least pretend you aren’t just going to go and get wasted on our hard earned cash?) it wasn’t very pleasant to see them, it made me feel kind of guilty for being on holiday, and that’s not the name of the game. On a final note, I found people much more trusting than back home. For example, someone just left their iPhone on a ledge next to a shop and no-one stole it, and cash left on tables for bills doesn’t get stolen. The exception to this rule is security at night clubs who think that UK drivers licences are Basically fake id’s…well, sorry matey, but I don’t trust people not to half hinch my passport the day before I fly!

Shaking off negativity and passivity

I have been totally spoilt these past few days. I have been welcomed, accepted, entertained, repeatedly hugged. I have had delicious food, great company, smiles galore. As Hercules Poirot would say, it has been a trip most splendid. Mere days out of my usual pressures and I was already starting to think that maybe I wasn’t such a dreadful person after all, and maybe things could be a good deal more pleasant. No, that they SHOULD.
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It rained non stop. Drizzle to torrents and grey skies abounding. Fog obscuring the distance but that didn’t matter because the brain fog lifted and the drizzly greyness of my thoughts made way for sunny intervals. I think I forgot how fun it can be to splash in puddles, or to adventure around a castle when your inner pessimist says you should be safely in the warm and dry.

You may note a touch of past tense.

I arrived home more confident in myself. So. When SO started ranting about bloody disabled people ruining the rail station etc I disagreed. I strongly believe in defending those who are subject to prejudice, even if I don’t know the full story. Yesterday it was the disabled. I put forward a view that people with disabilities deserve to live as normal a life as possible, sadly this costs money and provisions like parking close to things are required. But. Because I do not know many disabled people and because I do not know the details of their subsidised help or benefits (and because there are those who abuse the system) I was told that I basically had no right to an opinion. That my liberalist view was pointless because I didn’t know enough to form an informed opinion and should therefore shut up.

Well.

Bollocks to that. Everyone, no matter how ill-informed, ignorant or socially inept, has the right to an opinion and freedom of speech. So I know nothing? Ok but I FEEL, and my feeling is that it’s not right to deny those who are less fortunate than ourselves the ability to travel by rail etc, nor is it acceptable to talk in such sweeping derogatory terms about such a diverse set of people.

So yeah. I got my pointless liberalism out of the cupboard and am rubbing it in everyone’s faces and no-one can stop me. Ha!

I wish it had stopped just there but no, the topics changed but the dismissive offensive attitudes were still presented to me. And still, and still, I disagreed.

Rather than taking the opportunity to discuss amicably and exchange ideas, experience and knowledge, I only received a lesson in how wrong I was and how it was bad of me to be so confrontational.

Ah.

Now let me think about that. Confrontational suggests that I go out of my way to cause a fight. But. All I did was try and express my different opinion when I was presented with something I considered offensive and unfair. I think that’s called having a discussion. But some people are so used to just scolding and preaching that if someone tells back, the shock of it feels aggressive. Well aggression breeds defense no? And I’m not sitting on my laurels accepting every bigoted, narrow-minded, prejudiced, dismissive, offensive comment that is thrown at me. I’m afraid by some hideous osmosis over years of passivity these seeds have grown to blackened sickly saplings in my mind but now I’m cutting them down and making way for some prettier things.

What revolting weather for late May!!!

Good grief! if you told me we’d been time warped back to march I’d believe you. cold, wet and windy.

Yuck.

I saw the queen yesterday. I saw her getting off a bus. Yup, really – here is proof –

DSC_1428-1For clarification, she is the one in the coral suit and hat. She was on a visit to Cambridge to open a new part of Addenbrookes hospital and also the new LMB building. Ok maybe not the most exciting thing ever, and maybe we had to wait far too long in the cold but now at least I can say I have seen her in real life!

My friend has bought herself one Monty 😀 Huzzah!!! the ponies will not be split up after all!!! we will move them to a new field in a month or two and start afresh with routines and obedience (they have started playing silly buggers when their tack is being put on…)

Im procrastinating yet again. My job interview is on Thursday yet have I prepared? no…have I spent time and effort fretting but doing nothing to help myself? you betcha!!

ah now i’ve privately wordpressed some interview questions out of myself and feel a bit better prepared.

right – time to unplug from the internet, read a book / draw something / make something / sleep  / call someone. I refuse to let the internet swallow my whole free day!

‘And I need a stranger to tell me I’m beautiful
I wanna hold onto nothing and ride
Like the cinnamon girl
Like a butterfly
Just hold onto nothing
And ride’

I want to fall asleep inside this song and sleep forever…

Good cat, bad cat- my first experience of looking after a kitty

I am looking after my bosses cat for 10 days

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Isn’t she just adorable! her name is Dusty (on account of she looks like a tortoiseshell who has rolled in dust to give her muted colours)

Initially all went ok -Ii went to my bosses house, admired the work they have done on their unimaginably valuable cottage, and we packed up the necessary cat things for her stay, said hello to Dusty then drove her over to my place. Now, I have never had a cat, so I guess I was a bit naive about what to expect. so to start I was a bit disappointed that she immediately shot under the bed and hid there. 😦 but after my boss finished her tea and left, SO decided it was unhygienic for the cat to be in the bedroom and he was tired (8pm) and i had to get her out form under the bed- well, fine, but i susect lifting up the mattress and scaring the poor thing out wasn’t the best plan ;/

once out of the bedroom, i managed to hide a tablet for her in her food which disappeared quite nicely, and she made cat water in the litter tray, and jumped onto the sofa for a cuddle with SO and then me. Ok I thought, we’ve cracked it – the cat is now happy. Oh no he wasn’t.

I was woken up at 1AM by yowling, I figured she was hungry so fed her, but after food and me going back to bed the noises continued until 5:30AM when SO got up…and so did I…because it’s my fault we have the cat here. Ugh. Obviously this text is being written powered mostly by caffeine and twiglets.
So sleepless nights give rise to slight cat annoyance. The plan today is to keep her awake as long as possible so she sleeps tonight, and also having two rather than one shut door in between us and darling kitty cat. We had fun this morning though, kitty and I – I showed her how to get on the windowsill, and she started trying to scratch the litter tray, but being smooth plastic wasn’t much good but as soon as claw met carpet she was scolded.
No cats in the spare (cd) room. No cats on or in the bed. No cats in the ensuite, no pooping, puking or weeing anywhere but the litter tray, no scratching my stuff and no keeping me awake at night. That’s is the rules of my abode.
About the pooping. Boss said she produces a huge amount of um solids, but since arriving no deposit has been made in the litter tray. I seriously hope that SO is wrong and that she hasn’t hidden a stealth poop somewhere.
A cut in the carpet has appeared. UNDERNEATH where the scratching post was. Ah well that carpet is screwed anyway…but how did it happen? Could have been from the iron incident but the angle looks wrong. Could a cat slice a rip through an entire carpet layer? As you see I’m not the worlds greatest feline expert, I just know purring is good hissing is bad and it’s nice to have some company 🙂
Things I have learnt so far
1. Cat food stinks.
2. Kitty will leave some of the stinkiest food rather than finish it straight away because then the whole house will stink.
3. Kitty will try to climb anything even if it’s clearly unstable (ie freestanding DVD rack.
4. Kitty does not do much on command and makes a bad dog
5. When kitty cries in the night you should ignore them or they will do it every night.
6. Kitty likes warm dark places to hide
7. If the cat is hungry enough they dont notice tablets in food (boss was hiding it inside chicken, I figured hiding it in the whiskers was just as good.
8. Kitty wants attention when you are busy or asleep but wants to sleep when you want to play / cuddle.

ps because Dusty’s tail swished across my face SO says I now have cat poo on my face. :/

 

Im trying to keep her awake but every time I try to explain now is the awake, playing, cuddling, wandering around time not at night, she just looks at me with this expression on her face that says ‘fuck off’ and put her head back down again. I am clearly not alpha cat here.