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Met some real geezas!

It's been a good weekend.  The house party allowed me to meet two new people who I very much like.  I also had my first experience of balloons containing real L.E.D.s - not your usual run of the mill glow in the dark nonsense.  I was so enamoured by them, that I was given one to take home, and later on in the evening, having imbibed much wine, I proceeded to take a large number of pictures of my now withered (but still lit) balloon.  My fascination was that of someone who was far too heavily intoxicated for a first meeting.  Still, everyone seemed to get along well.  Apparently I put two men (incidentally the new people that I like) firmly in their place at some point, but luckily my words were taken in good humour.  I have no idea which words they were referring to.

Today I was taken on a tour of London.  I had a cocktail lunch in Covent Garden, a wander around Regent Street which houses a shop that I would quite like to live in, and went to Chinatown.  Coming out of one of the tubes we had to climb 193 steps unexpectedly which was a little stressful, but otherwise I coped remarkably well.  When we first arrived, one of the first tubes we saw was a step beyond the notion of sardines in a can.  When the doors closed there were people hanging slightly out being squeezed in.  I looked on in horror, but luckily waiting around a while, there were quieter ones.  Not something I could imagine doing on a daily basis though.  I witnessed the emergence of some very strange human behaviour and I found the whole experience bizarre.  Above ground though I really enjoyed myself.

I could not be happier to be home.  It was tiring, and sent my brain into quite a bit of mental overload.  On a study note, I read some of my text book on the way over (not so much an option on the way back post party), and it turns out the sense of smell is in fact quite interesting. 

New people.  New knowledge.  New drink - I now like gin with water, cucumber and lime, drunk from a rinsed out baby food jar. 

Permalink 4 comments (latest comment by ROSIE Rushton-Stone, Monday, 26 Sep 2011, 20:47)
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Morning musings

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Edited by ROSIE Rushton-Stone, Friday, 23 Sep 2011, 11:13

The wife of a friend has written a (*version of) a song that I just cannot stop playing.  I find it strikingly beautiful. 

Today I have some actual work to do (the work that pays the bills type) and then I think I will have a read of my books.  I feel calm, and relaxed after several hours running yesterday, and the idea of curling up with a book is a pleasant one.  I just have to make sure I pick up the right book...

Tomorrow I am going to a housewarming in London.  I hope I get an opportunity to go into the city as well.  That probably comes as a surprise given my fear of crowds, but London is different.  London I like.  Nobody tries to talk to you and nobody makes eye contact.  Nobody has time for anyone else in their busy lives, and I know that I can go about my day undisturbed. 

I just received a letter from my Great Uncle.  He is 95 years old (or possibly 94), and still going strong.  He writes in his letter of his difficulty in mastering the art of e-mail.  I find it incredible that someone of his age is still attempting to adapt to these technologies.  I feel that I would have probably just left well alone were I in his position.  I sent him a picture of the balloon fiesta in an e-mail, and he has commented that he counted 24 balloons.  I'm not sure that the general population would have noted that, but, disconcertingly, it was a fact that I had already established.  It never hurts to get confirmation I suppose!  I am of the impression that he and I are very similar, and had we been closer in age would have had much to talk about.  As it is, I think that particular link has been instead made with his son, whom I met for lunch the other day.

Well, it's been a very long and lazy breakfast fiddling about on here, and now the time has come to start the day.

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by ROSIE Rushton-Stone, Monday, 26 Sep 2011, 08:33)
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Hmm, so after my run the other day, my irritating friends decided they would wind me up in the best way they know how.  Telling me that I had not, in fact, run half of a marathon.  I put a photo up of my 21km reading from the treadmill.  Within minutes someone had pointed out that I was 90 metres short of my self-proclaimed achievement.  So I posted a comment under my photo stating in no uncertain terms, that anyone else to pass comment would be liable to my wrath.  Foolish move.  My phone beeped for England.  I tried to let it go, but stubborn and competitive as I am, I could not.  So today I ran 15 miles.  Nobody can now dispute that I achieved the half marathon distance.  I wasted the morning doing it, but I have at least made my point.  It is so easy to wind me up about specifics like that, and although it sends me into a fury, it also brings amusement to my world, which is something I like, even when it is at my expense.  Which is lucky, because it usually is.

That reminds me, yesterday on the train, my friend and I were discussing intellect - what it means, who has it and so on.  I reminded him that my flaw in that area is total gullibility.  Unless I concentrate very carefully, I miss all sorts of stupid things.  He immediately said that gullible was a word they had taken out of the dictionary.  Before I had thought about it, I was so shocked at the prospect of gullible having been removed, and almost upset by the notion, that I launched into a full-blown freak-out, until his uncontrollable laughter caused me to backtrack, realise what had happened, and wish (as ever) that I had thought before I spoke.

I realised today that I have less than two weeks before my assignment is due, and less than four weeks until the exam.  The receipt of this previously avoided information has impacted in a very real way.  I'm quite glad I decided to access it after my run, or I suspect that I would be feeling quite on edge round about now.

The building work is STILL going on.  So there's banging to the right, and drilling, and to add to that particular loathesome provocation, our next door neighbours' children have developed squirrel-like behaviour, and are scurrying about rather than employing the more accepted human movements that I would have thought were surely bestowed upon them at birth.  Of course it could just be that they have a rat infestation or something equally alarming.  Best not to think of it, especially given the exceptional volume of rubbish they produce.  I've counted seventeen bags before.  What?  No, I didn't stand outside someone's house and count their rubbish bags in fit of rage like an old woman with no friends.  Don't be ridiculous. 

The landlord of my local got in Crabbies at my request some time ago, and is supposedly complaining that after I went to such great lengths to force him to supply it, I never come in to drink it anymore.  He's quite right, so tonight I will.  Just for him.

Permalink 4 comments (latest comment by ROSIE Rushton-Stone, Monday, 26 Sep 2011, 08:42)
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Happy as can be!

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Well it has been quite a day. 

I caught an early train over to Bath, because it turned out by chance that a friend was travelling over at the same time, and we figured we might as well take the opportunity to have pleasant conversation, rather than risk the usual entourage of free-therapy seekers.  As it happens, he was my OU tutor many moons ago, so he is always interested to hear how my studies are progressing.  I told him how my current course is proving hard to connect with, as I am only interested in one section - touch and pain.  One very small section in comparison to the scope offered to the other senses.  He said that his friend was an expert in pain management and would pass me his contact details.  Excellent.  Weirdness crept in when this aforementioned friend coincidentally bumped into us at a bus stop, allowing me to be introduced in person.  Even better.  But still weird.

Finding myself with several hours before the lunch meeting, I wandered up to the Slug.  There are many places I would have preferred to sit, but none that I could guarantee would not be occupied by conversation starters.  At 10.30am, the Slug is home to the first drink of the alcoholic, before they slowly meander their way down town.  Today there were two, ordering their spirits at half ten in the morning.  The most perfect of company in my opinion.  Five hours on of course, not so much, but that was not going to be my problem.  We nodded, smiled and went to opposite sides of the room.  I found myself a nice quiet sofa in a dark corner, and, wait for it, opened my text book!  I read more of it in there than I have in the past month.  It has forced me to consider, that in future out-of-home study may be worth pursuing.

Before I knew it the time had come.  Meeting with family who are fascinated by synchronicity, my encounter with the pain man made for the perfect opening story.  I arrived first, and then a while after my cousins (I think; I'm not really too sure - my grandmother's brother's son and his wife - I tend to refer to anyone who isn't parent or grandparent as a cousin; it's easier!).  We chatted until x arrived, in a flurry of anxiety and nerves.  I felt really sorry for him.  I for once was not nervous at all.  I am so lucky to have met such amazing people.  I wish I could have their conversation on tap.  I find them so exciting to be around that I completely lose the ability to be scared.  There is something about them that I find relaxes me to my very core, which is not something I can say of other family members I have met, however much I may like them.  I felt the lunch was more strained than the last one however, and a number of things were brought up that will come back to bite me in a few days.  The trouble with relaxing, is forgetting the rules.  Never speak about family without thinking of all possible consequences.  I realise that isn't possible, but I have to at least try.  I told my cousins that my Uncle was coming over from Australia in a month and I hoped to see him.  It came out before x arrived, when I wasn't considering my words.  They then said to x that they had heard from me that his brother was coming over.  This is a sore topic at the best of times, but coming as a shock (I would normally choose 'the perfect' moment to divulge volatile information of that nature) caused him to shoot me a look that made me quake.  I knew I had screwed up.  I didn't listen to the conversation for a period after that, as I was retracing my spontaneous dialogue from before, to search for any further errors I might have made.  I brought with me a letter for x from another family member, but after several moments of near-tears, mild-but-brewing aggression and the ever worrying downturn of the mouth, I was too scared to pass it on.  It was not the time. 

I had planned to spend the evening in Bath with x after lunch, as an old friend of his (and now mine) was going to be in his old 'local' pub, and a band with members we both know were playing.  I was going to catch the late night train home, despite the reroute to Severn Tunnel, which is something I would generally avoid at all costs.  Unfortunately, the vibe was in no way suitable for such a lengthy period of time, and I felt it better to miss out on the experience and leave on good terms.  Which I promptly did.  There were a lot of things said today that have not been said in many years - I certainly wouldn't have had the balls to say them.  There will without doubt be repercussions.  Almost perfect timing for my exams actually, as these bouts of crises always seem to manifest at the most inconvenient of times.

After the lunch it became apparent that the only things x had taken away from it were the negatives.  It's as though he thrives on it.  He seemed happy with the notion that there was discord between the cousins and their sisters.  It somehow makes him feel better towards his own relationships with his close family.  I have noted many times before, that the people who constantly find the negative aspects in others, always seem to pick out the ones that they themselves possess most strongly.  It's as though they subconsciously know, but have such a strong protective mechanism in place, that transference becomes a natural reaction to anything that isn't good.  I have to wonder if these cousins picked up on any of what was going on at the meal.  If they noticed the negativity that flows so seamlessly from x.  Probably not.  It usually takes years for people to see what I see.  It's frustrating, and it's good.  It's frustrating, because I was hoping for some form of respite.  But it's good, because all the time that they shower x with their love, they surely must be making his life that little bit better.  I hope.  I left the lunch feeling high as a kite, floating on air, inspired and above all happy.  Within half an hour of leaving and spending time alone with x I felt all positivity had been sucked back out of me.  I made the right decision to leave when I did, though at the time I felt bad about it. 

I've come away with a lot to think about.  The emotional stuff, though likely to seep out in my fizzy limbs, can wait until it shows itself.  I'm not going to encourage it, or give it unnecessary opportunities to enter my world.  The conversation though, was engrossing.  Archaeology and biology; two highly intelligent and successful people, who have ideas about the world that make me sit back.  They make me want to learn about everything.  I hope that someday, when I am their age, that someone of my age will feel about me as I do about them.  However hard this journey becomes, I think it will be worth it.  I may need to remind myself of it on occasion though!

Overall, a success.  And catching up with an old friend thrown into the mix - just brilliant.  And to top it all, I have a new study plan!  Take my books to the pub smile

Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by ROSIE Rushton-Stone, Thursday, 22 Sep 2011, 17:00)
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What's going on in there?

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Behind the walls of skin and skull, my body and brain are up to something secret.  I might add that this is not a mentally unstable statement!  Having spent a significant amount of time running off my worries yesterday, I awoke to find them returned with renewed intensity.  They were not gone at all, I was just too physically exhausted to acknowledge their presence.  The difficulty is, unusually, I do not know what I'm worrying about.  I have that slightly nauseous feeling of nervousness, and the anxious tingle I know only too well.  A feeling of fizziness.  It's ok, but it would be nice to be let in on the secret.  I can't concentrate on anything.  Something is playing on my mind.  Without my knowledge.  How is that even possible?

Today I write from a different location.  I am at a friend's house, checking he hasn't been residentially mugged whilst away in Italy.  He hasn't.  It's scarily rough here though.  Less than a ten minute walk from my house, but a whole World apart.  The family who live opposite terrify me.  The sort of people who openly stand outside their house dealing, and permit their rottweilers and pit bulls to threaten passers by such as myself.  Always allowing a little too much length to their dog's lead, so that it can jump and bark, and feasibly bite, within inches of you.  Intimidating thugs who only maintain these levels of repugnant hostility through their confidence in the support of the rest of their neanderthal pack.  It wasn't so bad last year.  Most of them were in prison.  I guess it won't be long before that particular state of affairs is restored.

I'm missing him for more than my usual lift home.  I am highly dependent on him for advice and moral support.  He is to me the very best of father figures, and though heading towards 70 and his memory starting to fail, he continues to manage my ever unbalanced world.  I cannot wait for him to get back.  Sitting in his house is a small comfort.  I've found some items of amusement.  His shopping list which is simply 'booze' in the centre of a brown envelope.  A number of scribblings of notes taken from phone conversations to me, none of which I can imagine will make any sense to him in isolation.  Things like 'snuff taker/bargewoman', 'evolution and algorithms' and 'C 1760 -> hate 19th C'.  Really, if he thinks he will forget, he should take more detailed notes.  He left me a crate of beer which is nice, and in gratitude, I took a little trip to the shops this morning, and have adorned his kitchen surface with a bottle of the finest brandy, some dark lindt chocolate, a box of turkish delight and a big bag of wine gums.  Well what was available of his kitchen surface.  He truly is the most cluttered being I know; it's wonderful.  My grandad was like that.  Maybe this friend reminds me of him.

During my trip to the supermarket, I believe for some fortunate beings a large amount of free food and drink was obtained.  Just as I came to the point of paying, the fire alarms went off.  That has never happened before, and I'm surprised I didn't have a coronary on the spot.  Hundreds of people all exiting together.  Makes me feel on edge just to recall.  I had unfortunately just paid.  For the majority of others, they all headed outside with their trolleys, and a large percentage of them took the opportunity to sidle off to their cars.  I reckon there were many thousands of pounds lost today.  I am reconciled to accept my poor timing, and have to acquiesce to the fact that had I walked off with my basket, I would likely never have been able to get the security thing off the brandy.  Also of course, I would be a thief, and that would take away somewhat from my chastisement of the local criminals.

I think what I am worried about is the family lunch tomorrow.  I haven't actively thought about it, but I can't think of anything else that would be making me so jittery.

I haven't any physical recompense for yesterday's half marathon.  That surprises me.

Hmm, a little read of the text book perhaps...

Permalink 5 comments (latest comment by ROSIE Rushton-Stone, Wednesday, 21 Sep 2011, 22:09)
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Running scared

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This morning I ran half a marathon.  Indoors admittedly, but nonetheless, 21kms.  The stress of the course got to me, and it took all that time to settle my nerves.  I'm quite pleased with myself.  A few hours afterwards I was ravenous, and was in the perfect position of having made a truly spectacular stew last night (this is not aimed at you Sue as a cruel joke, it is pure coincidence I assure you!).  I certainly didn't have the energy to cook properly again at that point.  Our vegbox has been a little frustrating recently, giving us each week both normal and sweet potatoes.  Too much potato for my liking.  It seems to be stopping next week, and instead we appear to be getting free chillies, which I suppose makes up for their past potato misdemeanors. 

I've started to read Wolfram's book, referenced in my last post, and although it is clearly going to be an interesting read, I think he possibly made an error of judgement in not having it professionally edited.  It is disconcertingly conversational.  I shouldn't judge yet.  I should, of course, be reading my text books, and attempting to make links in preparation for the looming TMA and the even more terrifyingly imminent exam.  I am scared.  Yet I am still behaving in a somewhat alarmingly apathetic manner.  Am I really so arrogant as to believe that I can pass in so complex a subject matter without reading the text?  Surely not!  But there is certainly something holding me back.  Perhaps it is a fear of failure.  The text book is, at this moment, open on my lap.  If ever there was a moment to make a decision, now would be it.  Look away from the screen, and down to the book.  Now read.

Permalink 4 comments (latest comment by Susan Whelan, Monday, 19 Sep 2011, 23:26)
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New blog post

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A family member sent me an old article this morning, and it's turned out to be the best read I've had in ages.  She said that the synchronicity between the contents of my previous e-mail to her, and this article would make me laugh aloud.  It didn't, but it certainly made me sit forward. 

I had written (about a different article): The truth is I find this notion too close to the Time Machine, too needy of division, too keen to simplify the complex boxes already falsely created.  We as humans have made the world so complicated, that people have reverted to simmering the information into smaller and smaller containers - but it will never work.  There are no boxes, and so therefore anyone trying to fit one or escape one will fail before they make their attempt.  Whenever I am told something new, I always try to acknowledge my first thought.  For the article, my brain must have scanned my recent reading, searched for the number three, and immediately made a link.  My brain is filled with mental reams of lists, and numbers play an important role.  I find it fascinating that now whenever I am thinking of tissue damage, I will immediately think of that article.  Two entirely unconnected things.  Sometimes I have to get a grip of myself in exams, as in order to recall certain information I have to first recall some very random and often funny anecdotes, events or other experiences.  If I cannot think of the word 'allodynia' (one that I very much like as it happens, hence my obvious keenness to unnecessarily include it in my last e-mail!), I know now that I can think of crop circles (yes, I had a little read about Dolores!), scientific 'people boxing' versus soul boxing or your good self, and instantly remember.  The difficulty lies with how quickly I can lose focus, and instead thoughts of crop circles might take me back to reminiscing about my childhood, and wondering about your friend's theory on crop circles, as it just did.  I am fascinated by these bizarre links that are made in my otherwise logical and ordered mind. 

It seems clear to me, that for her to have sent me this article, she truly understood the point that I was making, and I find that both reassuring and intriguing.  Most people miss my points entirely.  Of course, that does mean the fault sadly lies in my expression of thought, but I can only speak or write as I think.  After all, I do not have access to the workings of the minds of others, and so cannot anticipate their interpretation.  Unfortunately.

The article is worth reading, if for nothing more than to see the word 'brobdingnagian' used in a sentence.  I had never heard of the word before, and I have little doubt it is going to be my favourite one of the day, scientific terminology aside, of course.

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by ROSIE Rushton-Stone, Monday, 19 Sep 2011, 17:31)
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A sprinkling of madness

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I am having the most bizarre day.  I'm truly grateful to have spent it on my own or there is little doubt that I would have been incarcerated.  I've had a full blown fight with my filing cabinet after it accepted the key and then refused to let it go.  I worked myself into quite a stressed-out sweat jiggling it about for a good half an hour.  Then I had a terrible disaster with some sticky back plastic trying to conduct an experiment, which resulted in me having to cut my hair with a pair of nail scissors, as the three pairs of regular scissors would not show themselves.  I restrung my banjo and suffered more injuries than I think I have ever suffered at its neck before.  I made a poster on pain (yes, today, I officially studied at long last!).  It covers about five pages of the several thousand I need to memorise over the following few weeks.  My glass is as ever being viewed as overflowing when in fact it is entirely empty.  Optimism does not adequately describe the concept of passing the forthcoming exam.  I had a fish finger sandwich to put a bit of normality into my day, and I just can't understand why, but I sprinkled a spoonful of coffee into it, and didn't even notice until the first bite.  I don't even drink coffee.  I have spent the remaining time turning the house upside down searching for my brightly coloured special offer star type cards that I use to write difficult-to-remember words on and stick around the house.  For yet another unknown reason I seem to have thought it necessary to hide them somewhere totally obscure, and I am yet to discover the location.  Very frustrating.   I'm giving up.  I've tried very hard to be productive and everything has just turned round and tee-hee'd in my face.  So now I'm going to be entirely unproductive, have a glass of wine, and try to imagine that I am not the idiot I have been so perfectly acting the part of for the earlier part of the day.
Permalink 7 comments (latest comment by ROSIE Rushton-Stone, Sunday, 18 Sep 2011, 06:47)
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Positive energy

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The Hill energy I absorbed yesterday has stayed with me all the way through to today.  My mind was left up there, blowing in the gale, clearing itself of other people's bullshit, and sending me imagery of open space and freedom.  It's only just returned to me, fully refreshed, happy, and raring to go. 

My doctor phoned me today.  I thought it best not to tell him that I was under the impression I had been having out of body experiences, though the comedic value of doing so would surely have counteracted any unfortunate consequences that might have stemmed from such an admission.  Of course, I do not truly think I left anything  more than happy memories on the Hill; it's just that they have become deeply ingrained for the time being. 

In the spirit of changing energies, I moved my room around today.  At the point in time when everything was in the middle of the room, in a mountainous jumbled heap, I had my usual realisation that I had made a huge mistake.  But of course, it was too late to go back.  I didn't break anything for a change, but I did find quite a bit of glass from an incident with a light bulb some months ago.  It's all mostly back in some sort of order now, and the room feels more in line with my current mood.  Which is one of complete invincibility.  I am off to celebrate a beautiful person's birthday now.  I am always grateful to people who don't celebrate on the wrong day just to hit the frightening nightmare that is Friday and Saturday nights in this town.  It does indeed appear that Morlocks are rife, and certainly best avoided.  Thursday is acceptable, and unlikely to incur an unprovoked attack from a child using inarticulate, mindless, witless and abusive language, and bearing adult weaponry.  If I see one, I'll suggest that they go for a long Hill walk and then tidy their bedroom.  Oh, wait, no I won't.

Right, time to go!

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by ROSIE Rushton-Stone, Friday, 16 Sep 2011, 13:38)
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New blog post

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Yesterday I wasted several hours struggling to let go of my anger.  I spent quite a bit of time beating the boxing punch bag to what would have been a pulp, were it not made of a sturdier material than my fists.  I resent having negative emotions like that hanging over me.  It's not natural.  The arrival of the post only served to make things worse, bringing as it did a letter from another new family member, who I have not seen since being a very young child.  I do not know how they got my address, but it seems to be flying around quite freely at the moment.  The letter is short and to the point, and requests a meeting.  The last additional stress I needed.  I would love to see them, but it's not something I can just go and do without consequence.  I need to plan it, and ensure that I'm not accidentally doing it in secret.  It sent me into meltdown and it soon became apparent that the only thing that would help would be to get up a hill.  So that's what I did.  Three hours later, I felt much better.  Straight up to the Devil's Chimney, where I spent some time freaking myself out and thus forgetting my worries.  You are supposed to leave a coin on it as protection, but this does not make sense to me.  Although I don't believe in the Devil I do greatly fear what 'it' represents.  In terms of religion, I can't believe that any God would approve of anyone 'paying off' his nemesis, and so I refrain from doing so.  This is where I always go when I'm stressed, then up a little higher to the highest point, and across the hill.  Then I look down across the whole sprawling mass of civilisation and realise that there are bigger problems out there, and while there are hills left to climb, I should save my energy for walking.  My surname used to be Hill.  The third of my favoured benches has now tumbled over the edge in yet another bout of erosion.  I'm happy to sit on the grass, but I feel a little sad to think of the people who donated them, in memory of loved ones.  I guess it's really time to say goodbye when your commemorative bench falls off the edge of a cliff.  The imagery is pleasing to me, despite being sad.

When I got home I went for a five mile run after which I finally felt exhausted, and therefore unemotional once more.  What a relief. 

In the evening I received a response to my regrettable e-mail.  A wholly beautiful and overly kind response, filled with words of support, love and realism.  I am lost as to how to reply.  I was more than relieved to get a positive response, but on reflection I feel guilty, like I have committed a betrayal, and that I have somehow sought love that I do not deserve.  It was exactly that type of behaviour that I was fighting against.  I am fed up of the other party having imaginary crises, and getting undeserved sympathy, particularly from strangers, but equally from the new family.  Fantasy world does not begin to describe the extent of fabrication that is currently taking place.  I do my best to ignore it.  But it slipped out with all that has gone on.  Now that I have divulged an albeit very small part of the problem, I am being praised rather than being punished for betraying a trust - I'm sure the person concerned would not be filled with joy to read the e-mail I sent.  It makes me uncomfortable, and my instinct is to reply and tell them they shouldn't be so nice, but I know that would only serve to hurt them.  They give out their love and support with the most magical sincerity that I have ever known.  I consider myself a very genuine person, and often too honest, and certainly willing to see my faults before others; but the decency of these people surpasses me in a way that awes me somewhat. 

In terms of study, I am aware that my neglect has now reached a level of such excess, that it hardly seems worth the effort of trying to escape the complete laxity that has evolved.  To compare to human neglect, I would be looking at a long prison sentence right now.  It is worth it though.  It would be a waste of life, time and money to cave in now.  Plus it would mean that I had succumbed to the pressures of family, and that would represent a ten-year personal standstill, where I had learnt no life lessons, and could demonstrate no improvement in coping mechanisms.  Those representations just aren't accurate.  I have come so far.  I have progressed from channelling my anger into destroying my environment, to trying to seek positive solutions.  Completion of this course has now taken on a deeper meaning in my mind.  It means that I am no longer controlled in the all-encompassing way that I once was.  It means, that although I find it indescribably difficult not to run to the aid of a person in a 'crisis' even though generated from a negative imagination, I can stop myself.  I can prioritise.  Being the person that I am, I do not doubt that I will continue to get roped into the madness that is currently so free-flowing, and the next few months are going to get progressively more difficult.  But whereas my response time and time again has been to throw in the towel - purely because I don't want to give people I dislike the satisfaction of being able to tell others of my accomplishment - this time, whatever anyone says, this is for me, not for them.  I'm trying to feel as though I own my own success.  I'm getting there.  There are people out there who can take it away with a single sentence, and take all the credit for themselves.  I have had all my achievements taken away from me over the years, and now that I am nearing the end of the degree, I don't want to let go.  At the moment I own it.  And there it is; written self-analysis.  I have established the real cause of my complete indifference, and subsequent subconscious attempt at semi-failure.  I'll have to work on that.  Maybe I'll start by reopening the text book today.  I'll never catch up, but at least I can complete it.

Of course it could just be laziness! 

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by ROSIE Rushton-Stone, Friday, 16 Sep 2011, 13:39)
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Screwed up

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Had a most unfortunate screw-up yesterday afternoon.  I spoke without thinking.  Well I wrote without thinking.  I wrote what I was thinking.  In an e-mail.  And I sent it.  No going back.  Bugger.

I haven't heard back.  And I'm very very stressed as to what the response will be.

For the sake of decency, and the avoidance of a second screw-up this morning, I shall call the person under scrutiny Bob.  No links to be made there!  So, just over ten years ago, Bob decided he didn't want to see any of his family anymore.  This in itself was no problem, but because I loved him, I felt guilty when I saw them.  Each time I did see them, Bob would find himself feeling uncomfortable with his own emotions, and not wishing to deal with them head on, he would transfer them onto me, in some of the most verbally negative ways imaginable.  Of course, many a time I was vile back, but when someone is able to maintain their button pushing for hours and hours, there will always be a snapping point. Eventually, it became too much for me to cope with.  I was feeling constantly bad about myself.  I couldn't do right.  If I saw family I had to deal with the ever worsening aftermath, not to mention the constant requests to see Bob, and to find out where he had gone, what he was doing and if he was well.  All information that I was not allowed to disclose.  If I didn't visit I felt guilty, particularly to the elderly relatives, with whom I knew at any given moment I could lose the opportunity to ever see again.  Rather than going under, I chose to write to my family, and tell them that for reasons of self preservation, I could no longer have contact.  Bob maintains therefore, that this was entirely my decision and that he never stopped me seeing anyone.  In terms of absolute truth, he is of course correct.  However, had Bob not said all the cruel and shocking things that he did, my decision would have been different.

Then I met Al.  He witnessed my meltdowns with Bob.  He heard the arguments.  A few moments before complete breakdown, him and a friend of the time held an intervention, and got me to go and get help.  I spent a long time in therapy.  I spent a lot of money on therapy.  I invested, and my relationship with Bob improved as a result.  Bob did not like my therapy, and anytime I tried to use the tools I took away from it, he would tell me that my counsellor was paid to be on my side and therefore did not count.  Of course, this is not the case, but it was hard to stomach.  It was no different to Bob telling me that my friends would be on my side regardless.  That also is not true.  My friends tell me when they think I am in the wrong.  It's rare as I chastise myself quite enough without needing anyone to point out my faults.  I have been blamed for everything since the earliest age; been forced to take responsibility for things that were not mine to take.  I know now that it was all real, because the long-term people in my life have seen it.  When I start to beat myself up for screwing up they bring me around, telling me they were there, they saw it, and it wasn't my fault.  Bob is very clever though, and he is able to make anything and everything my fault.  I sometimes wonder if he even likes me.  But then, the reason that I haven't cut him out of my life, is that underneath all this festering bitterness, is a beautiful, kind and caring human being.  And that person comes out from time to time and makes it all worthwhile.

Anyway, as I have written about before, I recently regained family contact.  Bob decided he would like contact too.  Al was present for this conversation, which is lucky as I don't recall.  Bob now maintains that I forced him to make contact; I guilt-tripped him; he did it to save our relationship; he had no choice.  Bob still won't have his own, adult contact.  He still makes it through me.  I receive his post, and his e-mails, and ferry conversations around cyber space and the postal system.  I hate it. 

Yesterday, a lunch meeting was arranged.  There were 6 dates proposed to me.  I passed these to Bob.  I said the first two were inconvenient, but the other four were fine.  Bob said the other four were not convenient to him.  I knew that he would.  Bob wanted one of my busy days, so I agreed.  He chose which one.  I e-mailed them the chosen date.  Bob phoned me back a few minutes later in an anxious state, saying he couldn't make that date.  Now, I know that Bob felt bad for changing the plans.  And how does Bob deal with uncomfortable feelings?  Blames me.  So he then proceeded to tell me I had rushed him, he hadn't expected to have to make a decision so quickly, he didn't like having dates thrust at him like that, I should've given him more time to think, I shouldn't have phoned on a Monday, I always do this sort of thing and I do it on purpose, and just as he was about to enter into his usual family rant, I told him to get off the phone, go away and think about what he wanted, and phone me when he knew, as I knew exactly which road the conversation was going down.  This was midday.  At 5pm, Bob sent me a text message to say he was sorting it out.  At 8pm he sent a text message to say he had chosen a date. 

Yesterday I was so angry.  So angry that we had gone back so instantly to a time that was close to unbearable.  That he has reverted straight back to his old ways.  That I'm left ferrying messages back and forth again.  That I'm taking responsibility for two people again.  I was so angry that I first wrote a very strongly worded e-mail which I sent to myself, and then wrote a second e-mail detailing my discomfort with the situation, which I sent.  To the people I have only met twice in ten years.  To people that I don't really know.  I didn't tell them anything specific.  But I did disclose that Bob's behaviour was something that I could not deal with again.  Bob and I were just starting to get things straight and I feel like we've taken a massive step backwards.  I wanted to run away from it all, lose contact again.  I never ever want to feel so bad about myself ever again, and I can see exactly where this is leading.  Bob is not coping.  And when Bob doesn't cope, he tries to destroy me.  It's all true.  I just wish I had kept it to myself.  They probably won't even believe me.  Additionally, they still seem to think we're meeting on the original date, which is tomorrow.  I hope that's rectified by tomorrow otherwise I will have to go all the way to meet them, apologise for Bob's absence, and explain that he cannot make it until the following week.  Because, of course, this situation is my fault, and therefore it is up to me to sort it out.  These people we're meeting are quite possibly the loveliest people I have met, and I was really excited at the thought of seeing them again.  I love talking to them; they are interesting, engaging and kind.  But right now, I am more than ready to walk away from the whole thing.  I feel sick to the pit of my stomach.  And today, I will have to deal with Bob.

Permalink 10 comments (latest comment by ROSIE Rushton-Stone, Thursday, 15 Sep 2011, 13:19)
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Been there, done that!

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Ha, so casual!  So I have accomplished my greatest social hurdle to date.  I feel strangely lost without the constant anxiety hanging over me; a bit like when I finish final exams, and then have those three months to twiddle my study thumbs.  I think I'd become quite accustomed to it over the past few weeks. 

I arrived in Exeter on Friday afternoon after an unfortunately stressful journey due to severe overcrowding.  I chose as my focal points a lady's toes with bright purple nail varnish, and another lady's bag, which had quite a distinctive smiley face assembled from two straps, a clasp and a lucky fold in the leather.  Sitting in the vestibule with all those people for two hours, carrying a suit bag and all this other junk that comes with dressing up.  Yuk.  Met my mother for a quick drink, and then off to start the celebrations with my friend.  She was so excited.  I think it's the most excited I have ever seen anyone.  We did establish that this is the culmination of everything she has worked for in her entire adult life, from the moment we met as office juniors some ten or so years ago, to now, officially a criminal legal executive.  She greeted me with a massive tub of flumps to say thank you.  In truth it was evident that she was as proud of me for coming as I was of her for her achievement!  the flumps were individually wrapped to save me getting myself into a state with them (once opened, must be finished!).  Friday night was nice and chilled.  Just a few glasses of wine watching a shallow but enjoyable film with her housemate, who was moving out the next day.  Saturday I woke up to find my chest already slightly seized up.  I had hung my dress infront of the bed, and my first thought was that this must be how people feel on their Wedding day, when they wake up, and the first thing they see is the dress.  If the situation arises again, I will hang the dress out of sight.  There was no good reason to start the stress at 7am.  Time seemed to grind to a bit of a halt until about 2pm, and then it was all go.  When we left the house at 4.30pm, my heart started to pound in my head.  We had about an hour of driving around picking people up, before getting to Torquay, and I spent the entire journey gripping my seat and trying to focus on breathing.  Arriving in Torquay, the moment had arrived to change into our dresses, and as we walked down the stairs for a glass of champagne whilst waiting for the taxi, my chest came close to exploding.  I was shaking from head to foot, and while everyone else was sat at the table, laughing and drinking, I was pacing around the garden wondering if this was going to be the cause of the heart attack I'd anticipated must be due one day, with so many heart beats getting used in so short a space of time.  I came back in and the others came downstairs, and we were off.  The taxi journey was one where I didn't hear a word anyone said, and could think of nothing more than the fact that it was terribly hot.  The relief of getting out was incredible.  My friend and I then went to meet her mother.  We did so in private at first, as she has a tendency to get over excited (like mother like daughter!) and the sight of me in a dress was highly likely to result in some happy shrieking and hugging and compliments that I am unable to take.  My friend had already thought ahead that this would not be a situation I would relish infront of a large group of people.  As it was, it worked well.  For the first hour or so, my responses to all questions from friend and stranger, whatever the topic, was 'I'm ever so stressed' or 'isn't it hot'.  I found it pretty hard to think of anything else.  Photos happened, and were not too bad.  Perhaps the least painful photo session I have experienced.  I didn't particularly feel as though people were stealing a part of me without permission, as is my general feeling.  In fact, if there is a nice one, I would quite like to see what I looked like, as it's hard to tell from the inside, even with a mirror, particularly as I have a highly inaccurate body image, supposedly.  By the time we were seated for the meal, I was fine, and the rest of the evening went without a hitch.  I would say apart from the speeches, which given the level of intellect in the room, lawyers and barristers and so on, were the most shockingly dull and badly presented speeches I have ever had the misfortune to sit through.  There were moments where a pause gave the indication of an end, and my soul would rise, and then they'd start a new sentence, and it would sink again, well beneath the floorboards.  Once they were finally over though, the rest of it was entirely pleasurable.  I did make a couple of inappropriate comments, though I haven't yet worked out why.  I know when it happens though, because it's when people choke on their food or drink and then burst out laughing.  Luckily I think people think I intended to be funny.  Seeing my friend getting her certificate made me feel oddly parental and proud.  We've been through so much together with our excessive workloads plus distance learning, and have been there for each other the whole way through.  It really was quite a moment.  The meal was nice enough.  The people on our table were all great.  The dancing started after, which was funny to watch.  The world of law is not akin to the world of appropriate nor attractive dancing.  The man encouraging people to dance with his microphone was an arrogant idiot, but for whatever reason the ladies liked him.  I wanted to knock him out, but there you go.  Only once did he come round and try to grab people off tables, and I had a mild panic attack despite the wine, but I successfully remained seated throughout.  When it ended, we went back to the house in Torquay, got changed immediately, and then sat around until the late early hours of the morning, drinking and eating crackers.  That was my favourite bit.  Really chilled and fun.  Consequently Sunday was quite a struggle.  I was sad to go.  Normally we would have had a chilled day, maybe gone to Exmouth and had a pub lunch, then chilled out and watched a recovery film with my box of flumps and some strawberries or chocolate.  But I had to head back.  I don't feel as though I had any time with my friend for a proper catch up, so am really looking forward to the next time we can meet, under less stressful circumstances.  On only a few hours sleep I then attended a 60th birthday with my mother, for a lady who I have known since I was two, but have not seen for about ten years.  So, although lovely to see her, particularly as she 'won' her battle against cancer a few years ago and I know it is important for old friends to show their faces, it was still incredibly uncomfortable and awkward for me.  One of her sons is the same age as me.  We spent a lot of our childhood together, and coincidentally went to the same senior school for a couple of years.  But our friendship has never grown beyond the family friend level, much as I think we would probably get along well if we knew each other better.  It was a mixed bag of emotions, because they are all such lovely people, but nonetheless I was relieved to leave, not least because I wanted to be at home after such an eventful weekend.  Now that I'm home, have slept, and am back in my comfort zone, it all seems totally surreal.

I think it's now time to focus a little on studying, which has been greatly neglected for the past few months.  I'm ready to withdraw from society to the world of books.

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Here goes...

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So this will likely be my last post before the big day.  By tomorrow I will have fully entered into stress-overload.  My friend will spend the night settling my nerves at intermittent points during our conversation, when I stray from the more interesting topics, and revert to asking repetitive questions about the following day.  Saturday we'll get ready, slowly, in stages, and then Sunday I'll have done it.  I also just remembered that I have to go to a 60th on Sunday afternoon, and much as I want to (and will) go, I wish these things would stop falling so close to one another.  

I went to see my doctor today to see about getting PRN anxiety medication for events like tomorrow.  I was thinking maybe 4 tablets a year, just to cover Weddings, Balls (that shouldn't happen again really though)... rarities basically.  As soon as I walked into the room I felt panic rising.  I had my hands under my coat and they were shaking like crazy.  I was conscious that I was sweating on my forehead which is normal for me during panic, but I didn't want to wipe my brow for fear of him seeing my shaking hand.  Not that I mind that in itself, but my knowing that he had seen it would have served to make me more nervous, feeling more of a need to behave normally, and thus entering into a spiral that would have soon become out of control.  I hadn't even got out my question and already I wanted to run out as fast as I could.  Truth is, without repetitive doctor visits, I won't be allowed, even for such a small number.  They are too addictive, and my personality would become immediately dependent on them.  He did at least allow me more sleeping tablets.  He's pleased with the way I have managed them to date.  Maybe if I keep that up he'll reconsider the others.  Surely PRN meds would be better than alcohol, as one offs here and there.  Maybe not.  He's a good doctor, and the only one that I will see.  He's known me since I was two, and though I've lived all over the country, I have always always travelled back here to see him.  I have to wait weeks to get an appointment.  So given those facts, I have to respect his decision.  In truth I do; I just don't like it. 

I watched Catfish last night and it had a profound effect on me.  I had night terrors on and off all night, about one of my hugest fears: that people are not who they say they are.  I used to have an ongoing fear that my service users did not really have learning difficulties.  I once asked one of the ladies I worked with if she really had autism, and she just burst out laughing.  In theory, she did not have the mental capacity to even understand the question, but the reality was that she laughed.  Anyway, it was a startlingly good film and I only wish I had watched it sooner.  It is extremely rare to have me so gripped, though of course this did have in its favour a very small cast.  That usually bodes well for me grasping a proper understanding of what's going on.  Let it be said that I was genuinely riveted.

It's been a day of panic actually.  I wonder if it was fuelled by the reaction to the film last night.  Earlier was unfortunate, as I went to the train station to get my tickets sorted.  I had forgotten that school had started up again, and I walked up just as all the kids and parents appeared out of the various school gates.  My heart sank.  Every cell in my brain told me to turn around, go home, and do it later.  But these are the moments when I am supposed to fight the instinct, discuss the problem in my head, decide how frightening the reality actually is, and ultimately realise that it's all in my head.  Of course, what they will never quite accept, is that in my head as it may be, it is still my head.  As in I am the one to experience it!  It's done now anyway, and I'm not going out again.  I've overcome two of my phobias in one day; that's quite enough!!!

Aside from all that nonsense, which is a part of my day-to-day life, I have had a happy day.  And a productive one.  The nagging and rising fears about Saturday night can only be pushed to the back of my mind by being active, and to that end I have properly sorted out the massive tent from last weekend, which was quite a job I might add.  I've done a lot of other boring but necessary jobs too, but there is no reason to list them!  Isn't etiquette a funny thing?  If I could go to this ball in jeans and a t-shirt, just hang with my mates, few drinks, few laughs, I'd be getting excited, not anxious.  Anyway, I have to go and try to sew on a button.  Something I have been avoiding all day as it possibly one of the most frustrating aspects of clothing repair I have ever had the misfortune to experience. 

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Made an effort to try on this ridiculous dress for the ball today.  I figure if I wear it every day from now until Saturday for a little bit just around the house, I should be used to the discomfort of it in time.  Should have started a bit earlier really, but haven't really had the opportunity over the past few weeks.  My friend is so excited about it!  I'm excited about seeing her, but the ball, not in the slightest!  The dress itself is 'pretty' in terms of what a dress represents, but I'm not cut out for doing 'pretty'.  This becomes quite apparent, when I put it on, and from a distance I suppose I look quite feminine, but then up close, I'm all grazed elbows and bruised knees, from too much climbing, hanging and tripping over things.  For most people of my age, it would considered far too childish to climb trees, hang off bars or enter into impromptu rap during sensible conversations.  But with me it doesn't even look strange.  It looks as though I'm behaving exactly as would be expected.  It's more normal for me to leap through the house than to walk through it, and impossible for me not to hop round in circles when waiting for the kettle to boil.  Boredom.  Boredom hits me the second it makes itself known.  I feel it before anyone else in a group.  And then I will find a way to push the boundaries, in so many different and often unexpected ways, that I even surprise myself from time to time.  Ultimately though, it means I need to expend some energy.  I'm feeling the energy pulsing through me stronger than ever today.  Two days being virtually inactive has left me with reserves.  Below the keyboard, there is a flat bit on either side of the mouse pad, and each time I finish a sentence, I play the laptop drums; the cymbals being a swish of the curtain, or a kick of the armchair.  It is activities such as these that give rise to the majority of my bruises, and it's mostly unavoidable as I am unaware of them until I actively describe them.  Or of course, if someone enters the room, and stares at me.  But there has to be someone in the house for that to happen, and I generally know when that's the case.  The other issue with the dress is that I find it surprisingly difficult to breathe normally in.  The stress I feel as soon as I put it on, and the tightness of it around my torso (I am told that all ballgowns have this discomfort inbuilt) seems to make me forget to breathe, and then all of a sudden I have a massive intake of breath which makes me feel a little like, well let's just say light headed for the sake of a blog-personal life separation, and that subconsciously makes me do it again.  I'll probably faint or something equally inappropriate for the attire.  If I'm going to do that, as has happened many times before, far better to do so in jeans.  Though it has inadvertently got me backstage in a few festival situations which brought about the ownership of some particularly well-loved t-shirts.  That type of coincidence is sadly rare though, and more often than not it results in a being brought round by someone I would rather not have been brought round by.  I might just stay sitting down as much as possible, though bending is significantly more difficult when wearing it than I am accustomed to.  I'm doing this for my friend, and that's fine, but it is genuinely beyond me why anyone would do it for pleasure.

The recycling men (or I suppose the council, though they have not felt it necessary to let us know) decided this week that they are no longer collecting tin cans.  Seems an unnecessary step to take.  As far as I can tell they now only collect glass, and let's be honest, that's the only recyclable item that is actually fun to throw in the recycling bins.  Excellent way to remove tensions.  Though our local recycling place is no fun anymore - it's all electronic, and only works half the time.  I miss getting to hear the glass exploding inside those giant bins.

I was chatting to a friend briefly yesterday evening.  Seems he has already caught up to some extent with the events of the festival.  It appears most of the people I spent time with were somehow able to make it to the pub on their return.  I forgot how small town Bath can be at times.  It's unfortunate that the crossover between my mother's old ex-friends, and my current ones, is so intermingled, and consequently very susceptible to the creation of awkward situations.  I should watch my tongue more.  I perhaps spoke too freely of my childhood experience of their behaviour.  Much as it served to entertain them, some of it was possibly better left unsaid.  They've known me since I was eleven; I'm sure I can be excused.  He told me that instead of tequila I should have drunk mezcal.  I didn't actually drink tequila, but it was the reason for his friend entering into some sort of alcoholic coma, I now realise.  I'm reassured by that fact in a way, makes far more sense as to how it happened so suddenly.  Not knowing what mezcal was, he had to explain, and I now believe he is insane.  If I had this experience primarily on wine, I submit that I would have had to cancel the ball if the drink he suggests had been available.  I'm glad it wasn't.  In much the same way as I'm glad I didn't succumb to black sambukas at the Wedding.  And in exactly the same way as I'm pleased that I haven't drunk anything since.  I'll bear in mind that should our paths cross in such a situation, that his advice should not be taken.  Though, that applies to the entire group.  Unfortunately, it applies in the very best sort of way.  In my opinion.  There is little question that I would lean towards the advice of the insane after a few beverages.  I don't see our paths crossing for a month or so.  My health will be intact again by then!

Anyway, I have energy to burn, and drumming or not, the laptop just doesn't expend anything like the levels I require expelled.  It's time for a wander.

Permalink 5 comments (latest comment by Susan Whelan, Thursday, 8 Sep 2011, 13:22)
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An improvement

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Today I feel a little better.  Not much, but a little.  In terms of actions, better enough that I'm writing this blog post from the sitting room, not bed, and that I have drunk tea as well as water.  I slept for a long time last night.  I knew that I wouldn't without the aid of a sleeping tablet, and I'm so glad I made the decision to take one, despite the fact I pretty much have none left now, and with the return of concussion symptoms, am unlikely to get more for a while.  Doctors are terribly sensible about these things.

I had a reasonably bizarre set of junk mail in my inbox this morning, all with subject matter seemingly directly related to my debauched behaviour of late.  Obviously that is not the case.  I haven't joined any mailing lists whilst I've been away, nor are any of the mail I mention in any way similar to anything I regularly receive junk from.  So, on the junk side of things, I had one about binge drinking and the regretful circumstances it unquestionably brings about; one from 'Christian Mingle' and how perhaps I should meet people in a safer environment, away from the terror of our current society (*I am not a Christian, but it is the content of their e-mail that made me see some sort of a link); one for a boots voucher, suggesting in no uncertain terms that perhaps I was looking a little older than my years due to 'lifestyle' (not so when it comes to ID-ing me, but certainly so when it comes to looking into my eyes and seeing what's gone on over the years); one from an accident claim company (I loosely related this to the slightly disturbing bruises I seem to acquire where-ever I go, in both the good and the bad states, and finally, to counteract all that these chance e-mails had made me question, an invite from a friend to another festival.  There's no such thing as a spiritual spammer.  There is such a thing as good friends, and there are definitely no festivals I can imagine I would turn down.  At least not any of the ones that people I know would suggest to me.  So there it is.  I would say that I have learnt nothing from the experience, but that is not so.  I've listened to the spam world, analysed what they are saying, and after some fairly long winded mental summation, I have concluded that I'm still happy as I am.  Of course, I don't really believe that they were sent to make me think.  The point is, is that they did.  The other point is that I saved some fictional money that I wouldn't have spent anyway reading my stars in some mildly offensive newspaper.  If something makes me think, whatever it may be, about how I live my life, then I welcome it.  If I hadn't spent the amount of time that I have analysing myself, I doubt I would have come out of things as well as I have.  Which could be considered a tiny bit frightening.  But let's not go there, as I have no more time for day dreaming today.  The real world awaits, and I have no choice but to face it again today. 

Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by ROSIE Rushton-Stone, Wednesday, 7 Sep 2011, 17:08)
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And breathe...

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What an amazing few days it has been, full of new and strange and wonderful experiences.  I'm only really writing this to try to take my mind of the intense unpleasantness that is my hangover.  Thursday I left for a bluegrass festival.  Had a fantastic time as I knew I would, some nice surprises in seeing some old faces that I hadn't anticipated seeing.  Met some new ones too, all of which were good meetings.  I did have one or two slip ups as is inevitable in these circumstances, including telling a poor woman for some time how amazing she was.  She was amazing, but no-one wants a drunk banging on about it with such intensity.  Embarrassing, but there it is.  A moment of sadness seeing the deterioration of an old friend, who now lives in a fantasy world of drink infused hallucination, or so I gathered from some of the things he believed to have happened, that quite clearly had not.  Times have changed a lot from when I was in Bath.  Had a good chat with him before he passed out about a sort of stand-in father, though he certainly never acted the role out with any conviction, so more of a friend.  I've missed seeing him, so it was nice to be updated, and know that nothing's really changed.  I have at long last been able to pass on my love, which has been knawing at me for some time, having had to completely cut contact against my will many moons ago.  The bluegrass lot surely can drink.  On the Sunday morning I think I got in a couple of hours sleep, before travelling back to this Wedding.  I do not know how I made it through.  My blinks were about three seconds long.  I did make it, albeit with a poorly functioning brain, leaving me struggling greatly with both body and mouth coordination.  My red eyed glaze did nothing to reduce the desire for people to tease me about my behaviour at the Hen do.  In fact, it served as a huge encouragement as I was too jaded to string sentences together for quite some time, and therefore unable to defend myself in any way that would have made things better.  It was all worth it though.  I felt more relaxed and comfortable at the festival than I can ever remember having been before.  I even picked up instruments and played them which is very unlike me.  Not with anyone I knew admittedly.  I still have the banjo ringing in my ears and can still hear clinch mountain backstep playing repetitively.  Far better than the usual one noted tinitus, if not a little strange.  For the journey back I thought my mate had his radio on, and thought it was quite sweet that he'd bothered to find a bluegrass CD.  All in my addled head in reality, which I found quite incredible.  Now I need a good four days of rest, relaxation, and detox.  I think it may be some time before I feel human again.  Hopefully in time for this Ball, which is my next social hurdle.  Today is proving to be a huge struggle for me, and writing this is not really helping as I had hoped it might.  I think I'll give up on it for today!!
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I had to rewrite this because I suddenly realised I had used the word 'various' a whole heap of times, and I hate that!  A friend of mine sent me a message earlier telling me to watch 'Meet The Robinsons', saying I would find it funny as it is practically a story about me.  It's an animation, about a thirteen year old boy, who travels to the future.  He is a genius, and an orphan.  None of these things apply to me.  He spends a lot of time sitting on the roof, which is possibly equivalent to me spending a lot of my childhood sitting on high up things, and my teenage years up hills.  He invents strange looking contraptions, which was a large part of my childhood, but his do things like transforming memories into pictures, whereas mine were converting anything with a spring in it into a rocket.  My pens never lasted long, and eventually I was forced to use a fountain pen which was no fun at all.  All it did was write.  I made origami bombs with paper and various thefts from my mother's drinks cabinet.  And I made most of my furniture out of bits of recycled rubbish.  I collected circuit boards.  I had to be taught that when I was given a gift of a tape player, or similar item, that it was unacceptable to take it apart straight away, to get the circuit board for my collection.  Despite the fact that it would have made me happy, and gifts usually came about on days that I thought I could choose to do as I pleased, such as birthdays.  When I was about ten my mother got a boyfriend who was an engineer, and he started giving me circuit boards from random things that had gone wrong, and from his old computers.  I had a little soldering kit and I would make things like door alarms, and anything else that I felt protected me from intruders to my bedroom.  I set traps all over the house, and I would know how many times people had come in and out of each room, with my little electronic counters.  Over a certain number and I would have to conclude that there had been a visitor while I was at school, and I would have to check all my bedroom traps for signs of intrusion.  I grew out of it by the time I was about thirteen, when I switched to hiding things under floorboards and in other secret places so that I could be a little less possessive over my space.  But, this kid is fixing time travel machines.  It's not the same thing at all.  It's very flattering that the comparison was drawn, but so far it is far removed from reality.  Unless something changes in the next half hour.  I'm a bit bored of it now though.  But I do want to see it through to the end, not that I know why.  Talking of films, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was very good.  I hadn't seen the film it was a prequel to, so I had no idea what I was getting into.  For the first hour or so I didn't enjoy it all, just watching cruelty and sadness.  I kept feeling like I might cry, or I might walk out.  Later on I realised it was sort of necessary to give a good reason as to why the apes started to take over.  I know that a chimp is a non-human ape, but I found it very frustrating that throughout the entire film, all the ape characters were referred to as chimps.  Planet of the chimps, or call them apes.  But that's just me.  Silly things irritate me.  In fact I met a friend a few days ago and she was telling me that she was going on a wildlife cruise.  I couldn't let it go.  I told her it was a sealife cruise.  Eventually she conceded that she could see my point, but that it was advertised as a wildlife cruise.  No doubt she'll go on an African sealife safari for her holidays next year.  She doesn't mind me having little rants about these things, incidentally.  Anyway, back to the film.  It's not like I should be studying or anything...
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Last night I met with a good friend to debrief, and to develop a strategy to avoid a repeat performance.  He was very helpful.  He understands how my mind works and always gives obvious, but nicely laid out advice.  I have a new mental checklist for stressful group situations.  Within the first half an hour I should establish whether I am with people who are pleasant to be around.  If they are not, check the time, and ensure I leave within the next hour.  Have someone on standby to meet me after.  If I had of had this information in advance, I would have left, and a whole heap of stress could have been avoided.  As it was, I felt I had to stay.  It can be difficult when faced with a totally new situation to know how to behave, particularly when it comes to what would be considered rude.  I felt fairly sure it would be rude to leave before everyone had arrived (some people did not show until after 11pm).  Turns out that's not the case.  It's the showing of the face that's important, not how long it stays for.  If I had been a little smarter, I would have discussed it properly with a friend beforehand, and come up with a sensible strategy to keep me out of mischief.  I knew well in advance that it was going to be difficult.  Anyway, we haven't had a withdrawal of our invite to the Wedding to date, so I am assuming that I left just as I felt myself losing control of my emotions.  I have to leave very suddenly in those situations - the turn around from normal to mental is incredibly quick - and that would explain why I left without saying anything.  So hopefully I have narrowly avoided a terrible faux pas! 

I'll be glad when the Wedding is over and I can put this whole state of affairs behind me!  Not long to go now!  And I go to the Wedding straight from a festival, so I should be nicely jaded.  Ooh, the festival!  That's very exciting!  That's the sort of thing I should be focusing on!  I haven't been to this one for years and years.  I jammed for the very first time at it, when I was about 14.  I was terrified!  Happy memories, that I am looking forward to reliving.  Hopefully I'll form a heap of new ones too.  Can't beat a bit of bluegrass!

Permalink 4 comments (latest comment by ROSIE Rushton-Stone, Tuesday, 30 Aug 2011, 19:15)
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Oh dear!

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The night did not go well.  From start to finish I was just catapulted from one negative feeling to another.  It started with one out of six women ordering a round for five women.  Everyone except me.  So I went to the bar to get my own.  In a bad frame of mind.  Lots more women arrived.  When I had finished my drink, I went to get another, and offered everyone a drink.  Chivalrous.  They all said no.  I returned just a few minutes later to be told they were leaving for the next pub and I owed them a fiver for a champagne reception.  Thanks for the heads up!  So I downed my drink.  In a worse frame of mind.  We got to the next place, where they all continued to put their best efforts into excluding me from any input into conversation.  The champagne was pink, sweet, and horrible, and I don't understand how the measly two bottles equated to five pounds from fourteen women.  At this point I found a woman who was prepared to talk to me.  That bit was nice.  But the background to our intelligent conversation was a backdrop of moronic and boring comments on diets, hair, make-up, shoes and the slagging off of their partners.  I absorbed it all, desperately wanting to tell everyone exactly what I thought of them, but knowing that I shouldn't.  I held it in, as far as I know, and after many more drinks, left, apparently without saying anything.  Of course, bottled up emotions do not remain bottled for long, and when I returned home I am told I started to throw myself around upstairs.  That does not surprise me.  When I experience uncomfortable feelings I have a tendency to inflict pain on myself.  Al intervened, and my anger was transferred onto him.  I am deeply ashamed, and also surprised.  The reason I was so upset was that all these women were being completely vile about their partners, and I couldn't understand why.  I remember thinking on several occasions that Al and I were lucky to have each other, as I had no desire to join in the partner annihilation.  All my thoughts about Al were good thoughts.  I wish he hadn't intervened, though of course he had to, as I was being noisy.  All in all, it has made me realise a number of things.  The 'friend' who was having the party is not a friend.  She is the soon-to-be wife of Al's friend.  Our total lack of compatibility in the friendship department has been further evidenced by her entire circle of friends.  Seemingly not a kind word, or original thought between them.  I found myself embroiled in a negative boredom that I have not experienced before, and do not wish to experience ever again.  The night has had some positive effects though.  I realise how lucky I am to have such interesting, funny and engaging friends.  I realise I am lucky to be in a relationship that I enjoy being in.  When I feel that stomach churning feeling of wondering if I said anything I shouldn't have, it is quickly washed away by the feeling of complete indifference.  I don't care if I upset them, and quite frankly, I'm not so sure any one of them would have understood one of my insults.  Using words beyond 'you're fat' or 'your shoes are cheap' I think would have had no impact at all.  It's no fun to insult shallow, boring people.  Better to laugh with people I like.  Which is what I intend on doing tonight.
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Today is the day

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The day that I prove to myself that I am brave and mature.  I am going to a Hen party.  I am a friend of a woman who is having a Hen party.  I hate parties, fear large groups of women, am terrified of Saturday night when combined with the town centre, alcohol and idiots, and do not enjoy dressing up.  I do not know 93% of the people who will be there.  The 7% is my friend.  If I include myself in the knowing then I know 14% of the people, but as I cannot reasonably engage myself in conversation at a party, I don't think that I count.  I'm scared of new people.  And what makes it a thousand times worse is the entire premise of a Hen party.  I can't take Al for moral support.  I woke up at 7am this morning, and I have not thought of anything else.

So now I will.  Through the medium of the blog.  My skin has become ridiculously sensitive.  Even the movement of my hair is painful, and material much worse.  I'm overly sensitive to touch anyway, but this is sensitivity that is hardly bearable. Air movement makes it itch, and water makes it burn.  This has happened before, and I was told it was a symptom of bodily repair after a serious head injury, which I sustained at the end of last year.  I've been suffering various side effects for the past eight months, but in the last week, all the original hard-to-live-with ones have returned in full force.  I always considered myself a fast healer, but this directly contradicts that belief.  I will have to relegate my recovery speed to poor.  At least the unpleasant sensations of crawling, fizzing and needles, clicking and dizziness, not to mention nausea, will give me something to focus on when I am out tonight.  The one that is really getting me down is re-losing my balance and coordination.  I am dropping things, stumbling, and worst of all, unable to balance on the running machine, aka, the anxiety reliever.  Not ideal!  Plus it means a return to the doctor, which is something I find best avoided if I wish to be calm.  At least I'm still smiling.  Despite my head being the most painful part of all this nonsense, my face is the part of my body I have maintained complete control of.  Of course I am referring to muscle control.  I make no such claims on the occasional mishaps with what comes out of my mouth.

I hope I don't stumble too much tonight.  I resent it even more when I have an alcoholic beverage in my hand.  A mistaken perception from others as to my levels of intoxication is sure to result.

Yesterday I actually did a little study.  Admittedly it mainly involved watching the videos from the DVD.  Today I aim to try to stay focused on the text book.  And not think about hens or stags or brain injury.  Good luck with that!

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Society's definition of rudeness...

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Is such an unfair one! 

I cannot begin to understand how some things are rude, and other things are not.  If I wish to talk in great depth to someone about numbers, it would be rude if they did not have the same interest.  However, people who play computer games seem to think it is perfectly acceptable to talk about them to people (me!) who have no interest in them whatsoever.  I am known, and luckily loved, for my unintentional rudeness that happens most times that I don't think very carefully before I speak.  The majority of the time I do think carefully, but sometimes the barrier is removed, by feeling relaxed, or the influence of alcohol, or by actively disliking someone.  I'm fairly good these days though, and I've learnt most of the rules necessary to not offend strangers.  Don't answer queries regarding rejected facebook requests with 'because I don't like you'; make excuses for not attending events other than 'it sounds boring'; and never, never tell people what they really look like.  And don't tell people their cooking is terrible or that you don't like their gifts.  And so many more; the point is: I know them.  So what is this thing about computer games??  Gamers will sit there, and say 'look at that, isn't it amazing?', 'look at that', 'wow, look at that'...  I can sit there and ooh and err with evident feigned interest and still they can carry on.  I can be blunt and tell them that I don't care and I'm not interested.  I've even outright told them to shut up, and to go and talk to someone who likes games.  But they won't quit.  Al says that they're all like it, and it's because they want us non-gamers to understand how brilliant gaming is.  That argument could be used for anything.  I can't understand why people find certain things boring... maths, science... but I have to accept that they do.  That, I thought, was part of the society we live in... each to their own?!  Well not for gamers.  Living with one on the day of a new release is incredibly irritating!  I don't want to look at the graphics; I don't want to watch the videos; I don't want to look at the city view; I don't care that the depth is so incredible that it almost looks 3D; I don't want to keep looking up from what I'm doing to see what seems to me to be the same picture; I know that it's amazing; I'm pleased that you love it.... but please, please, enjoy it on your own!!  Rant over.  In half an hour we're going to watch Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and then for a beer, and that will make everything seem much better. 

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Another one bites the dust

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So I have returned from the Beautiful Days festival.  It was the best one yet.  There was none of that 'I'll be glad to be home' feeling, even by yesterday morning when it came to the arduous job of taking down the tent.  I wore shorts for the first time since I was, hmm, about 9 or so.  Brave.  Bands... Big Audio Dynamite, Gogol Bordello, Pop Will Eat Itself, The Blockheads, Gentleman's Dub Club, The Beat, The Mob, Flogging Molly and of course, The Levellers, to name but a few.  No point in naming things I didn't see, didn't enjoy, or don't remember.  Tim Minchin was also a cool tented hour or so.  Discoveries?  Cider.  Poltimore cider.  I had two nights of discovering a love of cider that I had previously thought wholly absent from my tastebud preferences, followed by a very sudden return of said absence.  I will likely not drink it again until the next time I find myself in a field, in the sunshine, listening to The Mob.  T-shirts: four.  Cash spent at the bar: hard to say, but it appears to be several hundred of those hard to come by British pounds.  Cash spent on food: wait for it... 70 of those significantly easier to come by British pennies, on a moment of succumbing to a hot doughnut.  Ritualistic around food as I undoubtedly am, I lived off crackers and marmite, cold beans, cereal bars and fruit.  Oh, cash spent on tea: six pounds.  Al, on the other hand, being far more adventurous in his eating habits, less starstruck by cider and with no interest at all in caramel vodka, spent the majority of his cash tasting the delights of the festival stalls.  I had occasional bites.  I bought only one hat, and nothing daft.  Very restrained.  I have returned with some very happy memories, browner forearms, a rekindled love of music forgotten, and a kindled love of music previously unheard.  I am happy as can be!
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I am having so much fun e-mailing these new family members; it is really taking away from my interest in studying!  I love e-mailing people.  And it is so cool to know that just about everything I am saying will be new to them.  I don't have to be even remotely selective in my typed thought processes.  Everything that I am thinking and feeling can be put down.  The poor people; they are receiving essays on a regular basis. 

I am running on sleep-deprivation at the moment, leaving me more hyper active than usual.  I find myself giggling at the silliest of things, and flitting about the house like a deranged fly, changing direction mid-step, not knowing where I was going or why I was going there.  Jumping up the stairs one by one, swinging on the pull-up bar, and doing wall press-ups off the bottom stair, before leaping off and back on some invented obstacle course.  I am full of energy.  And I blame the reunion!  I have not been the same since.  Every time I think of it my pins and needles start up, first in my fingers, then up my arms, and within a few seconds I am unable to remain seated.  It feels like the most powerful adrenalin imaginable.  Pure excitement, not cut with anything as it usually is - caution, fear, anxiety - just pure excitement.  Were it a drug it would certainly be the one to result in accidental overdose.

Yesterday I ran eight miles and still there was no sign of inner calm.

I am undecided as to whether this is a positive thing or not.  I think maybe not.  Emotions shouldn't be this excessive!  There again, I should be used to the fact that mine are.  It's a shame I can't seem to funnel any of it into my work.  There again, I should be used to that too.  So, I have learnt nothing.  Good-o.

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In answer to my question as to whether I would be pleased with my half-hearted attempt at my last assignment in exchange for sanity maintenance, or disappointed: whole-heartedly disappointed.  It was stupid and foolhardy.  There is some very strange psychology going on behind that feeling though.  When I finally accepted that I was not in the mood to write an assignment, I went on the basis that if I answered about 70% of it, I should hopefully get around 40%.  Turns out that the stuff I did answer, I answered near perfectly.  Now of course I realise that this assignment could have been one to make my average a more relaxing one.  Had I got 40%, I think I would have accepted that it was what I deserved, and been pleased to have achieved anything with so little effort.  This fortuitous higher mark has just made me feel very lazy, and foolish.  Odd how I keep having unexpected responses.  It seems I don't know myself as well as I thought, and yet people persist in telling me that I over-analyse myself.   

It's been a busy few weeks.  I've been for lunch with family which, had I been blogging for ten years, would not have been an entry anyone would expect to see.  It went very well; a little strange at times though.  I find other people's emotions are almost visible, and swirl around, moving in unexpected directions, in much the way a hat does in the wind, when you are trying to catch it.  Catching blowing hats is a common event in my life.  Avoiding blowing emotions is another, though when sat at a table, with them all whooshing around, they were hard to avoid without making bizarre movements throughout the meal, which I felt would be inappropriate.

Yesterday I went to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta with friends.  It was fantastic. 


It's quite a hefty walk from Temple Meads to Ashton Court and back though, especially when contending with a complete lack of sense of direction, as I was.  There was a good three hours power walking either side of enjoying the festival.  To add excitement to excitement there was also a fair, and slushy drinks.  My friend made us all a wonderful lunch, and the day as a whole filled me with positivity.  And that was despite checking my assignment score on my phone mid-way through.  In our little group was my friend's five-year-old son.  He is quite possibly the coolest child I have ever met, and my friend has done a wonderful job with him.  She lacks confidence when in fact she should be running around singing her own praises to the world.  She doesn't though, so I sang them for her.  We have only recently regained contact, and I'm just so glad that we have.  It's incredibly unusual for me to feel totally comfortable in the presence of someone I haven't seen in a long time, but she is one of those rarities.  Long may it last.

My tickets to a bluegrass festival have arrived.  I'm so excited!  I'm a little annoyed as one of the bands I wanted to see involved the purchase of a separate 'concert' ticket.  I wish festivals would just charge for the weekend as a whole.  More and more of them seem to advertise at a price, and then all of a sudden camping is extra, and parking, and special areas that cost more... it's hardly in the spirit of things.  But aside from mentioning it here, I am over it now.  What's spent is spent, and I'm hoping that the friend I am taking will enjoy it as much as I think she will. 

Following the recent discovery of raspberry sourz, my love of cherry sourz has been reignited.  With raspberry sourz being an equal pleasure.  I went cold turkey on cherry sourz some time ago, in much the same way as I did with pepsi max and cigarettes.  Food and drink is something that I have always obsessed over.  I am at my most comfortable when the same things are part of my diet over and over.  There's no harm in it for the most part.  At the moment I live almost solely off salad, varying vegetable based ratatouille type stuff, apples, crackers, mushroom soup, weetabix and wine.  And now sourz, unfortunately.  When the bottle I have is finished, I intend, once again, to give it up.  A friend reminded me last night that when he first met me, for the first six months of our friendship, each day I would eat 1 banana, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 bag spinach, 1/2 baked potato, 1 tin of tuna and 1 pint of milk.  That was some time ago, but I do remember.  It was based on a very literal interpretation of my nutritional requirements, and very carefully calculated.  At least now I vary the amounts, and intentionally vary the foodstuffs from time to time.  All I can say is thank goodness for vegetables, or I'm not sure that I'd have survived some of my more extreme eating rituals.  I was reminded of this, not only because of the sourz, but because of the lunch yesterday.  I found it liberating to eat a lunch prepared by someone else.  Frightening, but liberating.  It took me a while.  I ate a bit, and then put the rest in my bag until my mind settled and stopped asking internal questions about the ingredients.  Each time it settled, I ate again.  By the end of the day I had tried almost everything, and more importantly enjoyed everything.  For me, this is quite an achievement, and one that I am proud of.  I still need to give up sourz though!!

One of our cats is up to something secretive.  He disappears for entire days and nights, only returning now and then, usually at about 1am, to be fed, and then goes straight back out.  This behaviour is coming from a very old cat who tends to sleep for 23/24 hours of most days, inside.  I think it must be love.

Right, it's time to go, the Sunday drilling has subsided, so hopefully I can get a little reading done.

Permalink 4 comments (latest comment by ROSIE Rushton-Stone, Tuesday, 30 Aug 2011, 18:47)
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Much as this applies to the children responsible for the looting we have seen over the past few days, I'm personally finding the aftermath to be more disturbing.  The online groups that formed as a way of showing that the majority of people were against the behaviour were quickly hijacked by far right extremists.  In the towns local to me it seems that whilst there are no problems in the city centres, masked gangs have taken to breaking into people's houses and robbing them.  We have had friends waking up in residential areas to find these gangs in their bedrooms.  From what I've seen, this side of things has barely made the news.  Certainly the towns around here have not.  Where multinational companies have been looted, money has been lost, and an impact on the economy can be expected, the coverage has been constant.  As Al says, this is anarchy driven by consumerism.  The sentence doesn't even make sense.  And then I hear people walking around talking about racist issues.  What utter crap.  Some people are blind to reality.  The news shows children of all races looting, and some people can only see one race?  The media has much to answer for in fuelling such ridiculous notions.  At least we have rid ourselves of one of the culprits. 

For people to be out there, first using the shooting of a man as a reason to start rioting, and then using the riots as an opportunity to violently exert personal prejudices, I find horrific. 

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