I AM WOMAN (See me iron…)

I hate ironing. As the only woman in the house, the ironing of clothes naturally falls to me… “Gender stereotyping!” I hear you shout!

Well, the fact of the matter is, I am slightly obsessive about getting the job done properly and I’m not very good at delegating either. I have tried. Honest.

My older son has now left home and as an ex-army cadet he knows perfectly well how to iron. Yet still, when he come home, he brings a load of clothes that need both washing – and, yes – ironing too… However, it is my mother he chooses to bless with this duty, which she fulfils with loving care and attention.

My partner can iron… but chooses not to, in the same way perhaps that I choose not to put the bins out. Gender stereotyping again? Possibly, but in my defence, I must state that when my sons were little, I did not rush out and buy them guns and action figures in soldier’s costumes. Instead, we had (and still do actually) dinosaurs. Lots and lots of dinosaurs. Small plastic ones, cuddly ones and model ones. I was secretly delighted when our local newspaper was giving away free model dinosaur skeletons – you push the pieces out of a sheet of balsa wood and clip them together, although it’s quite annoying because my Pterodactyl’s head keeps falling off…

IRON 2My – no actually – my son’s Triceratops

My youngest son claims he can’t possibly iron, as he is too little. Hmm. Considering he is sixteen and taller than me, that excuse is so feeble it’s practically on its deathbed. I said to him:

What about when you go to university? What will you do then?” to which he confidently replied:

Oh, I’ll come home every weekend and bring it for you then!” My planned lesson in practical life skills gave a feeble beat of its hopeful wings and expired…

To me, upon reflection, I suppose ironing has been a way to mark the passage of Time. Twenty years ago, I was ironing tight jeans and little tops, then maternity wear and baby outfits. The jeans grew longer in the leg as I grew older, baby t-shirts into proper mens’ shirts with collars… as I progressed to comfortable pull on trousers and easy care shirts.

IRON 3I’d help, Mummy, if I could grow thumbs…”

Oh well, I suppose I’d better go and get another load done… lucky the express steam cloud of my ultra-modern iron will hide my sentimental tears… 

All photos were taken by my son!

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Citrine and Silly Cats

Citrine (9).jpgA richness of Citrine…

Citrine is actually one of my son’s favourite crystals, consequently he has little heaps of it in various parts of his room. Apparently, if you put some in the farthest back left point from your front door, or the door into an individual room, it will attract wealth and abundance… I’m still waiting for that part to happen… It’s a pretty enough crystal, and although my son had brought pieces home before, I had felt no particular ‘vibe’ from them. Most Citrine is actually Amethyst that has been subject to some form of heat treatment, either in its cave of birth, or ‘lab’ conditions, and what some call ‘natural Citrine’ is actually slightly yellow Smoky Quartz. Subsequently there is a range of colours: I have a rough piece that reminds me of a pint of beer, the dark amber body shading to a white, cloudy top. I also have a darker piece, almost sherry coloured that when I held it, brought to mind a boozy older uncle at a family wedding, for some reason…

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Citrine is a powerful cleanser, both warming and energising. It never needs cleansing itself and is good for encouraging creativity. A typical interpretation is that it absorbs negative energy and returns it to the earth, therefore it is also a useful aura protector. It cleanses the chakras and is linked to the solar plexus and naval chakras, promoting joy and positivity. Citrine boosts self confidence and the enjoyment of new experiences.

I could appreciate Citrine for its prettiness and supposed beneficial metaphysical properties, but I actually felt none of this until my son came home and presented me with one particular piece that resonated with me instantly. It’s about the size of a cherry tomato, only pyramid shaped and I was drawn to it immediately. Rather than the golden yellow of most colours, this piece is actually about the colour of a glass of good quality champagne. Pale and sparkling like winter sunlight, as I held it, I felt almost like the bubbles were going up my nose… It is a happy and energising stone, perhaps one of the best I’ve come across for depression and both draws in and reflects out light and positivity. My son’s crystal lady Lizian pointed out that paler stones are often good for depression since they are light bearing and reflect that quality outwards, rather than brooding and meditative.

Citrine (12).jpgChampagne Citrine!

These captured bubbles of golden sunlight as I said are reminiscent of champagne, and one can often, I presume be silly after champagne… (It’s actually one of the few alcoholic drinks I haven’t tried!) My cats are a delight to me when they indulge in kittenish, silly behaviour; I heard somewhere that this is a behavioural adaptation they have retained in order to manipulate humans… Ting, my Siamese, is a joyful little cat and often plays “chase and wrestle” with her sister, Tooty, who as the bigger cat, usually wins through sheer weight.

Citrine (6).jpg“Get OFF me you great oaf!”

All four of them will take part in the “let’s roll in the dirtiest part of the garden” game, although it’s quite funny to watch. First one drops and rolls ecstatically, waving their legs in the air and wriggling, then the next one, then another, and then usually last, Charlie. The looks I’ve had from people walking past on the park; me, standing there, surrounded by cats on their backs… Usually Charlie is the first to stop rolling, springing lightly to her feet and running away, pausing only to slap a couple of the others as she passes.

Citrine (8).jpg“It’s my bench, I can kill it if I want to.”

They are hysterically funny with catnip mousies: Lily will take one and sit on it, kicking and scuffling. Tooty will clutch it in her front paws and rub it all over her face, wash-cloth style. Ting does pretty much the same, only she manages to cross her eyes as well for the ultimate look of bliss. Charlie is the funniest. Present a mouse to her for approval and she will wrinkle her face as if tasting the fine bouquet…

Hmm, not quite aged enough. Perhaps the pink mousie…”

Then she will take it in her jaws, shake it and fall on her side where she will clutch it to her chest and proceed to deliver a series of ripping and tearing kicky scratches, until worn out, she will stop, her eyes half-closed with the satisfaction of a mouse well killed.

Citrine (10).jpg

In conclusion then, if you’re ever feeling low, then acquire a piece of Citrine, mobile sunshine for the spirit. Perhaps stay away from the catnip mousies though…

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“Neh neh NEH neh neh, neh”

All photos were taken by my son!

Sleep

Deep, restful healing slumber is one of those things that persistently eludes me, like a massive lottery win…

It started when I was a baby – my mother told me I had trouble sleeping, so my father used to stick the carrycot in the back of the car and spend hours driving around, trying to get me to sleep. My uneasy relationship continued when I was a little girl. I suffered from night terrors, possibly not helped by the fact that the house we lived in at the time was supposedly haunted. The blood pounding in your ears when you lay down was, to me, the footsteps of giants coming up the stairs. I was never one for sleeping in my parents’ bed either, despite the fact it can help soothe a child to sleep. I was always too hot, too restless, tucked between my parents, wanting the cat, wanting to be awake so I would know what was coming to get me… My own bed, my cat and a large stuffed black panther called Bagheera, helped me achieve some semblance of night time peace; but even then, I remained a prey to nightmares.

Sleep (1)Doesn’t she look peaceful?

The blessing of older siblings…my sister insisted I watch television with her. She’s ten years older than me and obviously when we were younger, our viewing tastes were very different. I wanted to watch “Lassie”, my sister wanted “The Birds.” I still have nightmares now about the scene where Tippi Hedren stumbles across a room full of birds, perching, watching, waiting, then attacking. Sharp pointed beaks and clawed feet dragging at her hair and scratching at her face… My dream remains the same after all these years, even though I’ve never watched the film again. I’m a child, kneeling in front of a door, desperately trying to push the prying beaks back through as they puncture the wood.

My cats have helped. As I go to sleep, I usually like to have a hand on who ever is my sleep guardian that night, knowing that their warm furry presence will stay with me as I wrestle with trolls, run away from shadowy threats and look, always endlessly looking for I don’t know what.

Sleep (3)Ammonite (millions year old fossilised sea snail) under your pillow is supposed to aid restful slumber…

Drowning. That’s another good one. I don’t really watch films that involve boats or the sea. “Titanic” haunted my dreams for months, trapped beneath the weight of water, gently filling my lungs and suffocating, suffocating, as I beat my fists against the surface of sleep.

I love the preparation for sleep. Clean pyjamas, clean hair, freshly brushed teeth and then slipping between the sheets of my bed – my one indulgence, I love good quality bed linen – soft, fresh pillows and blissful darkness. And then it begins. The impossible itch that chases the nerves around my body. The sheets heat up and turn into snake demons that wrap themselves around me and trap my feet. My pillows turn over and attempt to smother me. Finally I wake up, hands clenched, heart pounding, eyes streaming from yet another dream where I’m running down endless corridors trying to escape from nameless terrors.

Sleep (4)A Selenite palmstone – serene, peaceful, perfect for helping you sleep…

I’ve tried everything. Cool, dark room, no tea before bedtime, no television, milky drink, reading myself to sleep, nice music playing, complete darkness, herbal remedies, sleeping tablets, lavender oil, Howlite, Selenite, Ammonite. These crystals are said to pave the way into restful, calming sleep. No such luck. Even as a student, drinking my way into unconsciousness only guaranteed that I would wake up half an hour later, parched and headachey, grumpy from dreams of wandering through deserts populated only by psychedelic cacti…

Having children made it worse…up every twenty minutes to poke them as they slept, alert to every movement and change in breathing, envious of their complete and utter relaxation into sleep. I envy the cats’ ability to fall so completely into slumber, on the back of the sofa, curled up in the garden, on the newspaper…a smile of satisfaction curving their furry jaws as they enjoy their dreams and wake up relaxed, instead of taut and pinging like an elastic band pulled to full stretch.

SleepHowlite is particularly good for insomnia…

Occasionally I am granted six hours of sleep, as complete as if I’ve been knocked over the head with a brick. The world is bright and clear cut, I am relaxed and calm, able to deal with anything the day throws my way. Then it’s back to bed. The blood starts pounding in my ears, are those footsteps coming up the stairs? The sheets turn into bear traps, tethering my ankles so I can’t run from the terrors that haunt my nights.

Nothing has happened to me. I can’t claim any traumas that would disturb my sleep patterns, I have no justifiable excuse. I just can’t sleep. And my partner snores.

All photos were taken by my son!

The Black Cat Blue Sea Award

First I would like to say a massive thank you to Brooke of https://theutopiauniverse.com/ for nominating me for this award, (how could I resist when I already have two black cats of my own?) considering I am still a relative newcomer to the blogging world. I can highly recommend her blog for inspirational and motivational words of kindness and wisdom. Go and have a look…

The rules are as follows:

Display the award on your blog

Nominate 7 other bloggers (obviously let them know)

Answer the three questions that come with your nomination

Ask three questions to your nominees

 

Sight_2016_05_05_112246_499 (2).jpgTooty: “They have awards for black cats?”

Here are the questions I was asked and my answers…

 

1. If you knew you only had 24 hours until you moved to the other side of the world, what would you do and why?

24 hours… well, to be honest, I’d probably be doing really practical boring things like arranging pet passports for the cats, ensuring they have the necessary visas and the best forms of transportation. Then, I’d also be helping my son pack up his crystal collection, making sure that the more delicate specimens are really carefully packed and padded… My cats are very important to me, which is why I would be making sure that they would travel comfortably, and my son has invested a lot of time and money in his crystal collection, which is why I would be making sure they too would travel safely. Sorry, really boring, practical answer…

 

2. What was or do you think will be your favourite age and why?

That’s difficult! I have mixed feelings about being a child so I can’t pinpoint a particular age… I quite enjoyed being a student at university… now I’m sort of mundane and middle aged, I’m hoping I might be fifty and fabulous!

3. What happy event, stands out most in your mind and why?

Another difficult one… I suppose the last time we went to Whitby, which is a seaside resort in North Yorkshire, notable for being the place where Dracula’s coffin came ashore in the book by Bram Stoker, it’s a beautiful historic little town, where the ruins of the abbey watch over the people below from its hilltop viewpoint.

Although it had rained for much of the journey up there, as soon as we set foot on the beach, the sun came out and lit up everything with that clear sparkle particular to seasides…

 

My nominees are:

Shell’s Sizzle

Ask Napi

Crazy Cat Mama

Limitless Blog

The Adopted Cat

Magnetically Aesthetic

Life Experiment Blog

 

 

Here are my three questions:

 

1. If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?

2. When was the last time you cried with laughter, and what was it at?

3. What is your earliest memory of a world event? (i.e. do you remember JFK being shot, the collapse of the Berlin wall, that sort of thing…)

 

WP_20160416_11_27_49_Pro (2).jpgLittle Lily looking regal and sparkling in the sunshine… 

Obviously there is no pressure to accept, I hope someone will (!) and enjoy taking part and passing it on… Thank you for reading, as always!

All photos were taken by my son!

Bloodstone and Biting

bloodstone

I have been bitten quite a few times by a variety of animals. I suppose, being the daughter of a veterinary surgeon, it was inevitable, but really…

The first bite I recall in detail was from a hamster. I was only little, and this hamster had been bought to replace my much-loved precious hamster, Gogo. It latched onto my finger with the ferocity of a piranha and refused to let go… after that, we downsized to gerbils, charming little animals that I am pleased to say are one of the few things which haven’t bitten me…

My sister expressed a desire for rats. They bit me. My family had horses. They bit me. My mother acquired an orphan lamb. That bit me too (and the dogs…) What can I say? I soon learned to approach all animals with respect, but apparently, I am just one of those people destined to be on the receiving end of animals’ teeth.

errysnoutSneaky dog tooth…

And beaks. I’ve been bitten by a swan, geese, cockatiels and budgies. Knowing that I am personally conscientious enough to have kept up with my tetanus shots and inoculations, I have been called upon to break up dog fights when my mother’s dogs were attacked (Mum’s dogs were fine…) and I’ve also been bitten by quite a few cats. At this point I must emphasise if you are ever bitten – by anything – then wash the wound thoroughly with antiseptic, seek medical attention if necessary…

Having said that, both our cats and dogs teeth need the same care and attention as our own. You can get specially formulated dental chews to help clean their teeth, dry kibbles can help keep teeth clean and healthy or if you’re feeling particularly brave you can clean your cats’ teeth with a toothbrush and special toothpaste.

This, theoretically, should be easy enough to do if you start early enough and the animal is trained to accept it… or so I’ve been told. My one ambitious forray into dental care for my cats did not end well…

Come here Charlie, look! Mummy’s got a lovely thing to show you! You like being brushed, let’s brush your teeth…”

Aaaah! What are you DOING! Leave me alone, help! Murder!”

*CRUNCH*

F*#@!”

We never spoke of it again. Since then, I’ve stuck to specially formulated dental chews and the occasional trip to the vet to remove tartar.

aaahSay:” AAAHHH”

Perhaps I should arm myself with Bloodstone for my next foray into dental practise… I personally don’t use it, but it is a powerful healer and excellent blood cleanser. A typical interpretation is that it is a very good grounding and protecting stone, imbuing the wearer with courage, yet showing how to avoid dangerous situations. It will keep out undesirable influences and can help enhance decision making. Most notably, Bloodstone is a powerful healer – always useful! – as it is an energy cleanser and can help stimulate the immune system. Linked to the lower chakras, it can cleanse and realign them.

bloodyellBloodstone is also referred to as Green Jasper, and the red ‘blood spots’ are bits of iron oxide… There is a myth that it was the stone around the foot of Christ’s cross and the blood is His…

I know that if I ever go anywhere where they have animals that are big enough to eat me, I am seriously considering having an outfit of Bloodstone made…

Where’s your mother…?”

Oh, she’s just over there, breaking up a fight between a crocodile and a lion.”

Spiders: Part 3

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This. Has. To. Stop. Right now. Or I’m leaving. It’s not even September.

The other day, I was sorting through my wardrobe and I found a blouse I’d forgotten I had. I thought I would try it on. I removed my glasses, took my shirt off and exchanged it for the other one. I didn’t put my glasses back on.

I went to look in the bathroom mirror, to straighten the collar. I saw something on my shoulder – couldn’t quite make out what it was. I returned to the bedroom to put my glasses on and had another look. The dark blur resolved itself into something unmentionable. There, upon my shoulder, beaming happily at me, was the largest spider outside of nature programmes I have ever seen. The breath died in my throat. The spider raised a foreleg in friendly greeting. The spell of horror was broken as I ripped – yes, ripped – all – yes, all – my clothes off and run screaming through the house. The cats watched:

What’s up with her then?”

Oh, I reckon she might have found a little something I left for her…” This, from Lily, who has a somewhat warped sense of humour. (Dead mice on the bedside table, half a mouse in the kitchen sink, that sort of thing.)

SMOKADAQUAR.jpgSome pieces of Smoky Quartz, excellent for protection and deflecting negativity…

Having reached the safety of the kitchen, it was daytime, so of course all the blinds were open – sorry neighbours – I thought to myself, it would be safe enough to go back and check… I edged carefully up the stairs and peered cautiously around the corner into the bedroom. It had gone. (Well, really, what did I expect? The spider parading up and down in front of the mirror: “Hmm, I could do with a smaller size, but the colour’s not too bad…”)

I lifted the blouse up. No spider. I put my jeans back on. No spider. I haven’t found it yet. So, it’s still in the house, somewhere, with me… It’s a large one. Large enough for me to harness it to a shopping trolley and go racing off to town like some modern day Roman charioteer…

Oh, excuse me, I see it now, galloping past the kitchen doorway, one of my bras clutched in its jaws…

FrogMum with Speeder (3).jpeg

All photos were taken by my son!

Day #3 of 3 Day Quote Challenge

Canine Quotes:

 

Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole.

Roger Caras

NotherNoo.jpg

 

 

Our dog chases people on a bike. We’ve had to take it off him.

Winston Churchill

Photo-0049

 

 

You think dogs will not be in Heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.

Robert Louis Stevenson

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My final nominations are:

Lilyandardbeg

Whippet Wisdom

Daily Feline Wisdom

 

Reminder of the rules:

Post 3 quotes for 3 consecutive days

Nominate 3 new blogs each day

 

Thank you to everybody who has looked, liked and followed! I enjoyed the challenge, I hope you all enjoyed reading. Thanks again 🙂

P.S. Sorry everybody, Whippet Wisdom did the challenge in April! My fault but check out their lovely blog for gentle, clever dogs, scenic pictures and words of canine wisdom. Thank you!