Step Away

So. I did it.

2 Days ago I finally pressed the “delete account” button for Facebook.

Day 3 of Life Without Facebook and I have to say, I still have the habit of sitting down in front of my laptop in the morning and think of clicking the link to check my FB, but it’s waning very quickly. This morning I didn’t even open up my “daily” folder.

I opened email, checked Ello, and then had a chat with some friends on slack (new school IRC, basically – same good old friends and channel though) and continued with my day.

Sunday means dog park play date, and I also made breakfast for my husband who is on 24/7 duty for a week. Fun stuff.

We headed off, breakfast warm and cup of fresh coffee in hand for him too. Dogs said hi, we hung around for a little bit and then met our buddies at the dog park for an hour and a half of running around in the mud and rain. It was great. Dogs were great.

So I am _slowly_ getting used to Life Without Facebook, and I am starting to slip into a _new_ life routine. It’s pretty cool actually. I have moments though, I will admit, where I think about it… but it passes and I move on.

I was on Facebook for 10 years… seems both shorter and longer. I was a beta tester, so I got to iron out the bugs and see it change. Not all changes were for the better. The recent influx of complete idiots (this new generation is just unbelievably stupid… seriously) has also soured it for me. And the privacy issues and copyright issues and the whole limiting access to your network unless you pay them… just nicked my “mafioso” nerve and I’ve just had enough I think.

I had a lot of excuses/reasons for staying on, but I was brutally honest with myself and realised that the people on Facebook would do fine without me – my rescue organisations would be taken care of by my good friend Nicole (Even more so, as she’s a volunteer at many of them too) and my Berner groups are so large now they would barely notice the absence. Besides, my husband is still on it and he’s still in the groups, so he will let me know if I miss anything.

I haven’t posted photos in a long time, and I removed all my information a long time ago.  So it was no big jump. Just a few moments of heart fuzz and then it was all over.

I still have about 11 days left to “change my mind” until they actually delete all the information etc… but quite honestly – I don’t miss it.

I’m getting back in touch with the “old school” – even writing letters by hand (just to my mom for now, but I’m happy to write to anyone who wants me to) and living my life for ME.

Hoping my inspiration will blossom again – for my photography, my sewing, my running, my yoga.

It does feel like a weight off my shoulders. I don’t know why, as I was not really very involved anymore (only checked it once a day for 5 minutes) but it does feel like I’ve let go of something that I didn’t need. Which is a nice feeling. If a little scary for me (if you ever have time to listen, I can try and explain my “unable to sever” dreams/daydreams/thoughts) generally.

Life goes on, and so do we.

 

Stay frosty.

 

 

Queen of Excuses

I am the queen of excuses.

Sometimes they are valid, but mostly they are just pathetic attempts to make myself feel better for being lazy/clumsy/fat/uninspired.

So yesterday, I finally kicked my own butt, and made an effort. I signed up to Livestrong Women and got the “MyPlate” app for my phone as well.

It has a calorie tracker. I set my current weight, my goal weight, my age, my sex, my height and my activity level and it told me how many calories I should try and consume a day to help me lose weight.

I thought – that looks easy! And then I started actually putting in the things I was eating and wow do those calories add up quickly! Luckily, I saw that a nice easy dog walk a few times a day helps a GREAT DEAL – so imagine how fat I would be if I didn’t have my girls to keep me active?!

So today, I am feeling much better about it all – I know I _can_ go through the day on the calories I have to consume, without feeling hungry, and as long as I keep up with the dog walking, I will manage to lose some weight. Of course, I need to get a scale to actually see if I’ve lost anything!

One of my many excuses for not running started out as a legitimate one: while at the dog park, one of the dogs (not Azzie, surprisingly!) slammed into my knees and popped my right knee back very hard. It was swollen and bruised for over 2 weeks and I could barely walk, much less run. So I gave it 4 weeks to heal. That was 6 weeks ago. So. No more excuses. I MUST RUN! If dog walking takes off anything from 97 to 170 calories, imagine what running can do?! Come on, biatch, get your fat butt in gear.

I must just ignore the guilt I feel for leaving behind two perfectly good dogs while I go off and do stuff on my own… right?

It’s hard. They do everything with me – they are with me nearly 24/7 (only times they are not is when I have to go into a shop etc, so I leave them at home – I don’t leave my dogs in the car if it’s even vaguely warm outside – and if it’s cold, I still only do it for maximum of 5 minutes) so it’s difficult to leave them behind and head out the door in my running shoes. I know it’s all me! They don’t care, as long as I come back! They were the only ones worried the one night that I went for a run late at night and got locked out of the gate I went through  and had to run an extra 4km to get home… I was gone nearly an hour… my husband had no idea, but the dogs went ballistic when I got home!

I love them so much, these two silly fluffy butts. They are just getting healthy again, after so many months (years, in Gina’s case) of being unhealthy and not quite “right” at all. They are (besides my husband) my everything in this world.

But it has to be done! I REFUSE to turn into a fatty before I’m 40! It’s no excuse! Sure I’m getting old, heading into middle age… but I know women who are twice my age and they run marathons, for goodness sake! I’m HEALTHY, got use of my legs my body my mind – I have NO  excuses left.

And the yoga, too – I need to do that more. The dogs settle after a few minutes of flopping all over me and climbing under my Downward Dog, so that’s not an excuse EITHER!

Vegetarian thing is going well – I’m settling in to my routine and menu nicely, even when tempted by other food that I loved before. I just think about where it came from, how it got there… and my mind is set. I feel healthy, despite the weight I’ve gained (and I know I have, thanks to the wobbly bits and the bits that fight me when I put on an old pair of jeans) I just need to drop the fat now, and tone the muscles that I know I have underneath!

Doing the 30 Day Ab Challenge (Livestrong Women) and I WILL FINISH IT. No giving up.

Interesting people

You never know when you will bump into someone cool and interesting.

Dogs and I were on our usual long morning walk on post and a chance decision (from Azzie) to go down a set of stairs instead of along the road led us to meet an intriguing chap – clearly “that other unit” – he was absolutely delighted to meet the dogs and took Azzie’s crazy head butts and crotch slams in his stride. He said they had a MWD and he was the same – lots of rough love. We chatted about tick control and how he thought it must be very hard for us because my dogs had such thick black coats, we chatted about his dogs back home (two boxers) and how they would go nuts when he eventually (and he said that with a slight sigh) got to go back home for a bit. He patted and hugged (much to Azzie’s delight) the dogs (even Gina allowed him to give her a little squeeze, then she came and sat behind my legs as if to say “that’s all you get, you’re not my daddy”) and he said they were awesome and I thanked him. We continued on our way and he went back to his office.

He had an interesting accent that I struggled to place – American mostly, but almost French sounding, so perhaps from New Orleans, or a former European citizen? I counted at least 3 healed bullet holes on his body – and that was all I could see outside his tshirt and shorts. Such a gentle soul, to be in such a violent career.

I wish him well.

Silence is not always bad

Doing this #100happydays thing with a few friends – where you try and find at least one good thing about your day.

It’s been… interesting. I will admit that I skipped a day, or two. Not because I couldn’t find anything to feel happy about, but simply because my brain has enough trouble remembering things that help keep me moving each day and I just forgot completely to “take a shot” of something good.

I wanted to take a shot of my dog’s poop – that’s when I realised that I needed to think again. Reason being – my dogs have been so sick for so long, that seeing a “good” poop from them made me happy beyond words. Seeing it consistently for the last few days has really kept a lightness to my heart. Also, seeing Gina’s new energy level and playfulness (like when we first got her!) and Azzie calmness and happiness, makes me feel bad for them that they were sick for so long.

It’s still slow going – taking it a day at a time with this – but they are definitely getting better and this makes me HAPPY!

A happy fur mom.

Azzie has another issue that we now need to deal with – but it’s not making her sick and it doesn’t affect her in any way other than it embarrasses her and makes a little mess. Doesn’t happen all the time, of course – almost random, really – so it’s hard to sort out. Going to try something natural first, before we hit the drugs. Just waiting for it to arrive in the mail.

Husband has been gone “on mission” for a little bit and will be gone for a little while longer. I miss him, of course, and the house is silent without him – especially in the evenings and on the weekends when we let our hair down and listen to music, watch movies, laugh about things or he plays his games and gets loud and silly and has fun with his friends online.

But sometimes, it’s alright, the silence. I focus on things that I would normally ignore – me, for instance, and how I am doing.

Some people find it hard to understand that I really don’t mind being on my own. I’m never “alone” – just, not in the company of people. This is fine with me – I like my own company. I can say/think what I want when I am with me – no filter necessary to either tone it down or make it understandable to other humans. My husband gets me better than most, I will admit, but even for him, some of the things that come out of my mouth, from the depths of my dark mind, even he doesn’t always understand it.

 

I’ve had more memories return, as well, from my youth. It seems 10 years is long enough to keep them locked away and now they are starting, slowly, to resurface. I’ve “dreamed” a few – but I know they are _real_ not just my usual vivid dreams. I “remember” them when I wake up. Things come back to me. I have been a little… saddened I guess is the word, by some of them. Because I could not (cannot) remember most of what happened to me before the accident, when things come back and I can understand them better, see them from an older and wiser perspective – I see things now that I was completely oblivious to when they happened.

One of the memories nearly woke me screaming the other night. I woke up with jaw clenched, hands clenched so hard my nails dug into my palms. I was sweating profusely and my heart was beating so hard I felt like I was going to vomit. And my head hurt so badly I couldn’t move it. My husband slept on, so I am assuming my “noise” was all internal. Which is fine. It’s not a memory I wanted to share, anyway.

 

Head injury, and PTSD, affect us for so long after they happen. Sometimes the recovery can be painful – not just physically, but emotionally and mentally too. New pathways are formed in our brains, which means new ways of seeing things. Some of the things can really suck.

Luckily, one of the good things that came of my head injury, PTSD, and subsequent recovery is that I am very strong, mentally. I am also very close to myself. If that makes sense. I know _me_ and I know what I am and who I am and what I can and cannot handle. So, while I feel like I wasted my youth trying to have things I could never have, be with people who didn’t want to be with me at all, or get myself into situations I should have been smarter about – I learn something from every memory that comes back.

Any fellow sufferers who read this – hang in there. Don’t give up. Be strong. Be yourself. Trust yourself.

 

The moon, the moon, the moon…

As much as I don’t want to believe that, as a woman, I am affected by the moon – I cannot deny how utterly loony I get when the moon is full. Seriously.

I become short-tempered and emotional and then the next moment, numb and depressed and sullen. I am clumsy (clumsier than usual) and I feel like a hundred tons of brick on little stick legs (even though I know they are not, and I weigh pretty much the same as usual) and no, I can’t blame it on PMS either. It happens when the moon is full, every time.

Do men feel any twist and pull from the moon when it’s full? Is their inner “tide” affected at all?

Arb and TMI, I know, but I’ve just had a crazy rollercoaster day and it’s not even 3pm.

I just needed to get it down before I lost my marbles.

 

 

moon
The Moon photographed by P-M Heden of Vallentuna, Sweden.

Let it go

I had a moment of deep disappointment yesterday: it’s been over 4 months since I did the photo shoot for the military working dogs and their handlers and I’ve not heard a word from them. I mailed the “liaison” a number of times (on both email addresses he gave me) and sent him the link to the photos, and asked for suggestions for their calendar and photo book. In that time I also created a DVD with all their images on them, and told them I was happy to get anything printed that they wanted to put up in the office. I also spoke to the base PR person, and he said he would get back to me when he got back from leave. Nothing. I sent him more mails, he said yes he would get RIGHT back to me, he said he loved the photos! STILL nothing.

Weeks went by – no response. I mailed again – simply asking for favourites from the handlers now, and went ahead and used my best judgement on the calendar selections and created it. I sent them the link to it. Still nothing.

I also saw one of the handlers when he was out with his dog (who was one of the dogs I took photos of!) and asked why I’d not heard anything – he said that the liaison was PCS’ing (leaving the post, leaving the country, changing stations) and hadn’t shown them anything :( I said I’d given someone at the kennels the DVD and he said nope, he’d not seen it. So all the work was for naught. He promised to speak to the liaison, but I still haven’t heard anything.

I got mad. I got sad. I felt miserable. I felt used. I felt invisible.

 

And then… I just let it go.

Let. It. Go.

The only person/thing I can control in this universe is ME. So that’s what I decided. Their loss, their issue, their problem, their choice. My choice is to carry on and look ahead to the NEXT opportunity.

Simple.

Let it go.

 

meh

Been thinking some more about my deadline (Friday) for deactivating my Facebook account (and other sundry peripheral social media accounts) and pondering what would, in fact, be the best option.

Complete deactivation? Or simply a very pared down version – remove all “likes” and peripheral groups that I do not interact with in any way? Check it only once a week, to forward on animal rescue group posters etc?

I know I don’t have a large audience, with this blog, but I know there are some thoughtful and intelligent people who might be able to offer some comments on this matter.  I know of a few people who have bandied about the idea of “quitting” Facebook.

I want to, I really do, but I know I would feel badly that the good work I can do with networking lost/found dogs and dogs looking for loving homes would be stopped. I know of at least 4 cases where my “share” has led to a happy ending for the dogs (and cat) in question.

 

On a completely different tack – I love the clothes that Lucy Liu wears on “Elementary” – I am pondering a “style change” for myself – I’ve been “this way” (whatever _this_ is) for so many years I don’t even know what I was like, style-wise, before. Of course, the head injury doesn’t help with my recollection of my past. I simply.. CANNOT remember.

I know I borrowed clothes from “friends” – because I could never afford to get my own clothes, and I wore a lot of handmedowns. But other than that – I have no recall of that time.  Probably a blessing in disguise, right? I did, after all, grow up in the eighties.

Thankfully, I know I couldn’t AFFORD to be trendy, so my fashion sins are fewer than my acquaintances.

 

On another note: IT’s SNOWING!!! FINALLY! Been snowing for hours, but nothing is sticking yet, as it’s still too “warm” for that. Hoping it continues overnight, so we can have a nice blanket in the morning for the dogs to play!

Before The World Became Smaller

I had a thought a few moments ago.

Letters. Letters are awesome. Handwritten, filled with the smell, feeling, sound and visual treasure of someone taking the time to put pen to paper specifically for YOU. Or you, taking the time to do the same for someone else. Making spelling mistakes, trying to stay neat and tidy and legible, trying to write with a flow and ease that makes sense to the story you are telling.

So personal. Special. A treasure.

So, while I know that it will be hard, and that there will be times when I think “I can’t do this” or I feel guilt for abandoning my charities and rescue organisations and awesome groups of like-minded people – I am removing my Facebook account. Once and for all.

It’s time.

I will, of course, keep my email open, and since G+ is so wrapped up in everything else, it will remain simply because I cannot remove it – so I will have chat too.

So if you need me, come find me on G+, or better yet, send me an email – if you know me, you know my email address (or at least ONE of them!) by now.

Best ever – write me a letter, or send me a postcard.

We don’t take the time to enjoy these simple joys – I plan on doing just that.

With the new year, everyone also chants the mantra “new year, new me” – but I am going for somewhat of an _old_ me – before the world became so small, and everyone knew what everyone else had for breakfast.

The world, OUTSIDE, is still so beautifully FILLED with awesome things to see, and taste, and smell and DO – I want to get OUT there.

I will, most likely, remove my twitter account, and other peripheral “social media” accounts – there are just too many, I feel.

I will, however, also keep my blog going – it’s been a hard slog to get here, and I don’t relish losing the access I have to vent and rant and air my views on things.

This is just my opinion, my choice and who knows, I might be dragged into the next social media “new thing” by my “friends in the know” as I’ve been a “beta” tester for so many of these before – but for now, I want simplicity. I want old school. 

I want hard copy and tactile communications. I want to throw myself into MY LIFE, not watch other people’s and wish I could do the same. I want to put my efforts back into things that make ME happy – my photography, my health and fitness, my sewing, my baking and cooking, my amazing husband, my incredible dogs. I want to LIVE LIFE, not sit and watch it pass by!

We do, truly, LIVE ONCE – I don’t want to regret the “I should have” moments.

 

*tthhbbbbbt*

 

A

Snippet 16

“You don’t need to know everything, do you?” she asked coyly, crossing her legs and sitting back in the big soft armchair.

That smirk of hers was well known now. She was on the cover of every tabloid magazine and a lot of men’s magazines as well – those that wanted the publicity.

Jacqui tried not to sneer at her. She despised this type of woman. Famous for being famous, or famous for being infamous, in this case.
Famous for being disgusting, is what Jacqui thought, but she was not an independent journalist, she worked for someone. She had a boss, and her boss told her to interview this idiot, expecting sales to be made from it.
Jacqui said she would do it, but it was not likely the boss would be too happy with the interview. She wasn’t going to be “nice” to this IQ-challenged, money-grubbing bitch. Why be like all the rest of the magazines and blogs? All cooing and fawning over her like she was some kind of important person who made a difference in the world. She wasn’t. She was a piece of trash, in the worst way, and came by her “fame” through the most low means.
Jacqui was not going to hold any punches in this one. She was tired of this shit. Tired of people who did nothing, helped no one except themselves and thought this made them better than everyone else. Oh no, bitch, not this reporter. You’re in my sights, she thought to herself and tried not to grin evilly.

The pause that Jacqui took to arrange her recorder, and fold her notebook to a clean page and click her pen, made LaDonna (“Like Madonna, but with a La!” insert stupid giggle here.) very uncomfortable. She shifted in the chair and uncrossed and recrossed her legs. Her smirk was gone, replaced with thin lips pressed together.
Jacqui took a moment more to stare at her, to really look at her. She was actually very plain under all the makeup, even a little left of plain. Her hair was clearly not naturally blonde and she had a slightly droopy left eyelid which would catch up with her in a few years. Unless, of course, she found some wealthy man to pay for her corrective surgery. It wouldn’t surprise Jacqui in the least if she got married in the next few months to some aging starlet or wall street fat cat. That’s how this type worked. Strike while the iron is hot, while the fame is high, while the media loves you – because it’s gone in a flash. Well, this one will be gone in a flash, if Jacqui had any say in it.

“So, LaDonna, tell me about your childhood. Nobody seems to know where you came from, or who your people are.” Jacqui began.
“I prefer not to talk about my childhood, because it’s not important.” said LaDonna, her confidence returning as she got her set answers ready and knew where she stood.
“I believe you signed a document when you agreed to this interview, that stated you would answer all questions put to you. Or no deal. Let’s begin, shall we?” Jacqui said with a slight smile and a cock of her head.
“I don’t remember signing anything!” LaDonna giggled, “I was probably high on something at the time!” she added, in what she thought was a suitably conspiratorial tone but was really just a stage whisper so that her “crew” of hangers-on would hear, most likely. Jacqui heard a few snickers from her loyal entourage. Loyal for not much longer, she thought.
“Whether you remember or not, LaDonna, you signed it. I have a copy if you need to be reminded.” she said.
LaDonna’s face twisted and Jacqui watched something churn there that she hadn’t noticed before in other interviews. Rage. A temper. Wonderful!
“I don’t like being talked to like a child!” flashed LaDonna, and made as if to get up and leave.
“Does it bring back bad memories?” Jacqui asked quickly, jabbing it at her like a knife.
LaDonna gaped in anger and Jacqui could see how bad her teeth really were. Yeah, she needed to get those done too, when she found her rich man. Her face flushed and she stood and crossed her arms like a toddler about to throw a tantrum.
“Sit.” said Jacqui. The voice worked on her dogs at home, so it should work on this woman, who was far less intelligent. She definitely heard a titter from behind her, in the dark corner of the room, from one of the cronies.
LaDonna looked toward the corner, but couldn’t see who it was. She kept her arms crossed, but she sat in a great huff. She made a great show of adjusting her far too short dress, and checking her far too tall stilettos, and then crossed her arms again and stared belligerently at Jacqui.
“Where were we? Oh yes. Your childhood, LaDonna. Tell me about it.” she began again.

My Friend Lizzie

My New Zealand friend Lizzie (aka Elizabeth Charleston) has been through hell and back. We met many many years ago in Cape Town, and for many reasons (our mutual love of horses, the outdoors and being awesome) we became friends, despite all the crap going on in our lives.

A few years after my massive head injury, she suffered one herself (her horse fell on top of her, causing many injuries, including the head injury that basically stopped her life in its tracks) and we found ourselves consoling, complaining and comparing reactions and stress factors and triggers. Her friendship helped me overcome some terrible psychological issues thanks to the PTSD from my head injury. When she came back to Cape Town for a short visit, we spent quite a few mornings sitting on the stoep (porch) of the house on the farm I was watching for a friend – sipping tea and watching the early morning mists rise off the grass paddocks and the Guinea Fowl flapping and dancing in the dew covered grass. These quiet mornings were therapeutic for both of us.

She’s been through some rough times since then (a secondary knock on the head set her back quite a bit) but she bounced back, and is slowly (as all head injury sufferers will understand – slowly is the best way, or the wheels fall off) climbing back on the (proverbial!) horse of life. She is a staunch advocate and spokeswoman for  THINK! Head Injury Awareness in New Zealand and has made huge ground breaking steps in both removing the stigma of this “invisible” injury and making people more aware of the help they can get, and the steps they can take to live a “normal” life.

She just started a blog and I wanted everyone to check it out – she’s only written one post so far, but that’s the way it goes :)

She is an interesting and clever woman – just give her a chance to “recharge” :) – not to mention one of the most beautiful women I know :)

 

Easily distracted by shiny things