Catpaws Cafe

Random musings from my virtual fountain pen

Archive for the tag “introvert”

Rojito, our miracle cat

Red

Tabi and Rojito, a few months ago.

This is our Miracle cat, Red’ed or Rojito, meaning little red in spanish.

Red and Blondi were left behind when their family moved away. For approx. six months living the indoor life, the next fending for themselves on the street.

Little by little they began to trust us, and found our kitchen a safe place to sleep, hang out, and get a little food. Blondi was the shyer or the two: never wanting to be touched but happy to play with Tabita. Needless to say, they’ve been my saving grace being stuck in the house providing me entertainment and company.
Then about a month ago Blondi was gone and and a week later Red disappeared too. And most cats in the ‘hood, a neighbourhood dominated by cats. We were left coming to terms with not expecting to see either of them again.

Sweet Blondi

This is Blondi, Red’s brother, a month before he disappeared.  Gentle, shy and a picture of health.  How anyone can consider such beautiful beings vermin and kill them is beyond comprehension.

Thus I was overjoyed to see Red come through the door but it quickly turned to heartbreak seeing his condition. He can only be described as a skeleton with fur. He was weak but he’d come to us for help. Make no mistake, we are his furever home for as long as he wants it to be.

So why didn’t I rush him to a vet? It was Sunday evening. I got one leg in a cast and need help to get out – but who and where? My husband have been working for four weeks without a day off. The language barrier were I to go on my own in taxi etc. And of course lack of money. Red did not appear to be in any acute pain, though I know cats have a very high pain tolerance level. I don’t know where he’d been or come from or how he’d made it back. He was very weak and coughing blood. Frankly, we didn’t think he’d make it through the night and didn’t want to break his trust by putting him in a box, in a taxi, to spend it in a steel cage surrounded by fear and strangers. If he was going to make it he’d pull through, and if he didn’t, he would die at home surrounded by love and friends. He picked his spot – my floor cushion by the back door – opposite the bedroom.

I sponge bathe him when too weak to groom, scratched when it looks like he’s got an itch. Fed him scraped fish mixed with water every two hours and whatever else he’d eat. Sometimes a teaspoon, sometimes a tablespoon. One day at a time.

The basics; Red is approximately a year and a half. Now if someone told me he was 15 I’d believe it. That is how much he has aged in the week he was missing thanx to human cruelty. He eats very little but he eats. He drinks. Goes to the sandbox. He coughs but he’s stopped coughing blood. From a healthy and well muscled young male to an affectionate ghost of his former self.  I can only presume that the newest cat-hating neighbour followed up on his threat to put out food laced with rat poison “to get rid of the kittens” he called vermin.

Red is such a little fighter. He’s come so far. I’d like to take him to a vet still to be checked over and get whatever extras he needs to help recover his health. Without it there’s no knowing what internal damage has been done. He finally started grooming again last night so after two weeks of round the clock watching and worry, I’m beginning to relax a little.

I used to say If you can’t afford to take your charges to the vet, don’t have any. But my vulnerable heart can not turn away a cat in need at my door. I can not close the door and say go away you are not my responsibility. I will do what little I can to help, and right now it isn’t a lot. Clean any wounds, put vegetable oil on ticks and a bit of kibble, and always have clean water available outside for any passing cat or dog.

We struggled to find the money to feed us all at times but somehow we do, we find a way. Now there’s only three left and I desperately want to find somewhere else that is safer for the cats and move. I feed them and keep them in at night because that is all I can do.

I wish I was in a financial situation where I could do more. I wish I had the money to donate to every free clinic there is and sponsor opening ones where there aren’t any. I wish I had the language skills to enthuse locals about trap- spay or neuter – release. I wish I had the energy to volunteer endlessly. I wish I had a car to pick up and bring those who need help to make it to a vet clinic.

Most of all I wish I lived in a world where respect for all life was the norm and sick care and health care was free and available to all everywhere.

If I put this on my fb page I’ll have to deal with “How dare you ask for money and help again – you should be ashamed of yourself” so no gofundme. If you want to help, please help. If you don’t, then don’t. I understand and I won’t judge you. The cats will be very grateful if you do. If you can and want to help go to the top of the page to “Other ways to connect” and then click on Miaowser’s fund. It will take you to paypal. And like the Tesco add says, every little helps.  On behalf of Red and us, thank you for reading.

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Red, now, back for two weeks.

The Paperback is OUT!

At long last THE PAPERBACK OF THE SPIRIT OF FLYING IS HERE!!!  And what a long strange at times completely exhausting trip it’s been!
My labour of love – I hope you enjoy reading it.

Currently available in the UK on Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1v0tQUL
And in the USA  http://amzn.to/1uHjSFr

Phineas the thumb-cat inspects the very first copy of the bookbook!

Phineas the thumb-cat inspects the very first copy of the bookbook!

Introverted adventure to Malinalco

I recently went to Mexico’s quirky capital, D.F.– Distrito Federal – on business and decided to tag on some writing time and make it a two in one, just for me. Going on my own was not the original plan, it just happened that way.
I’d forgotten how enjoyable and liberating it can be travelling on your own; doing what I want when I want, no one to take into consideration, no wondering if your companion is bored, or being bored myself with other peoples choices. No fears over missing out; I can relax in the evening with a book back at the hotel room, rather than feel irritated and overloaded in a bar; a compromise to a travelling companion who thinks we should go out; it’s what people do on holiday isn’t it… No packed days of stuff that you have to do or fit in, just a couple of ideas and see where I end up. A lot of cosy bookshops and cafés then…!

Random cafe in Mexico City

Random cafe in Mexico City

I’ve been asked a lot how I found out about Malinalco, or Mali as the locals called their picturesque little mountain town. Happenstance is how. I was in a hurry so I ran into the bedroom, grabbed my Mexico travel book, threw it on the kitchen table in passing en route to the toilet… Out of curiosity looked I looked where it had opened when it landed, read it and thought that sounds good, why not head there? So I did and it was lovely. Truly beautiful.
During the week it was a tranquil, relaxed haven with Wednesday market being a film-makers dream. So much so it felt out of integrity to take photos of all the traditionally dressed up traders with their wares and handmade crafts, come from all the little villages and towns around for the day.
Roll around Friday and the week-enders arrive; hotels and guest-houses fill up, the amount of shops and restaurants triple and the town centre becomes party-central until the wee hours of the morning. Time your visit to suit your recharging needs.

2014-08-20_17-34-53_116Going away to write did not work out quite as I had imagined for a variety of reasons. I missed my husband and the cats yes, that was expected.

Part of me wanted too much to explore to be disciplined. Where we live there is little or nothing I haven’t already done countless times, so being in a new and beautiful setting with wild rambling walks and culture at my fingertips, I wanted it all; Inspiration, experiences, nature, exercise. Though I wouldn’t consider myself a nature person, I do like the absence of other humans and the company of trees and other pretty greenery. Add to that an Aztec temple, museums, and lots of craft shops.
To just lock myself in a room (which I chose specifically because it had a desk instead of a tv) or sit on the balcony, felt a bit like ignoring a buffet when you’re starving – dumb and counter-productive. It also made me feel too weird and judged, though I don’t expect anyone actually took any notice.2014-08-22_10-29-55_164

There was also the old pressure stalking me, ready to pounce… Others may hunt down all the sights for great shots to show friends back home, and to sustain themselves whilst saving up for their next adventure. I’ve realized I travel in search of spiritual connections, in the hope of encountering soul family. I look, I search, even though I know the futility of it all. I can’t help myself. My fear is what if “they” are here and I miss them because I didn’t “make the effort” and “push myself”.
That fear drives me on. I wander aimlessly, perusing, observing, smiling, trying to relax, be approachable. While part of me wants to scream at my soul creator come on, darn it! Something, someone. Make my effort worthwhile! Someone approach me for a change, strike up a conversation. We don’t have to become bff, just ten minutes of meaningful conversation, a connection, a spark of light and glimmer of hope at the end of a solitary tunnel, that the loneliness (not to be confused with solitude) won’t last forever. That it’s not the life sentence I’m beginning to fear.

For someone as introverted and highly sensitive as myself it is a truly horrible pressure to force yourself to “go out and meet and talk to people” because I think I should, but I have yet to find another way to make friends. Noone’s ever come knocking on my door saying “I heard you were in town, I’ve been expecting you. Want to go for a coffee?” and turned into a fast friend.
Just because I’m introverted does not mean I don’t want friends. It just means I’m not interested in what I call extrovert-fun; the bars, clubs, noisy shopping malls and crowded parties. It could mean walks, coffees, lunches, small groups or one on one.

View from the Aztec Temple

View from the Aztec Temple

Lastly it was the am I getting x pesos worth out of this day, x being the cost of the basic hotel-room and food etc. It goes something like this; if I’d been filling notepad after notepad with pages and pages of inspired prose of the kind that barely needs editing, then yes. Heck yes. As it were, I got some good character studies that no doubt will come in handy later when fleshing out the population in my current novel with personality traits and quirks that make them fascinating characters. But nothing near what I had hoped for.

When I started writing Andino Andina the writing flowed. It was a magnificent stream of inspiration and consciousness a writer – any writer – dreams of. Writing at it’s most enjoyable. I wrote for hours, not even pausing to eat, until my hand was all cramped up after some seven hours that I had to continue with my other hand, which is considerably less easy on the eye.

Knowing I only had enough funds for a few days and not producing “enough” to justify the expense to myself, I booked my ticket back home.
I then asked myself what I needed most; more culture nourishment or more nature (both being in short supply where we live) and decided on another 24 hours in DF, rather than listening to another night of bad karaoke while trying to focus and squeeze coherent sentences out of my pen somehow.
It turned out to have been a wise choice. I spent hours in the hazy sunshine topping myself up with the delicious coffee and warm atmosphere at the Mono Azul, watching the hang gliders high above, before catching a colectivo to the bus station in a neighboring town and bus back to the big city.

Coffee at Mono Azul before leaving Malinalco

Coffee at Mono Azul before leaving Malinalco

And that is where I met some truly lovely people; on the microbus, among them the flyers I’d been watching from below, making their way back up the mountain for another flight. It was wonderful to be really seen, in the moment. I have a honest interest in flying of any kind and if I go back I’ll definitely consider a tandem. They in turn showed a genuine interest in me and my writing. We didn’t swap email addresses or anything; it was not one of those meetings. But I came away with a smile on my face that lasted, even in the pouring rain, for the rest of the day.
Or maybe that was the sweet, wild strawberries I’d filled my thermos-flask with and shared with the hotel porter and the cleaner 😉

Until next time,
Catpaw

Seasons changes and personalities preferences – perhaps

I’m back from a short break in Mexico City – the quirkiest capital city I’ve ever been – and surroundings, which offered a welcome break from the relentless heat of the last four months where we normally live.  With summer holidays coming to an end and my favorite season here in the northern hemisphere approaching I thought I’d share another excerpt from “The Spirit of Flying”  while I work on setting my “new” laptop up so I can share some more recent writing and photographs from my travels.
If you like it, follow the link at the end to my website and there’s a link to buy the book and at the same time support (with no cost to you) the translation into Spanish just by using my link when you go shopping on Amazon for whatever your heart desires.  Enjoy.

Imminent Completion
The words can not describe the feeling
It is not of end-completion. It is end-of-a-cycle completion.
Like turning over an hourglass,
but instead it’s more like Gaia going to bed,
bolstered up by feather-down pillows and duvet with a good book.
All before returning to one-ness in a womb-like and restorative sleep,
before doing it all again.

Every autumn this delicious feeling
the stresses of summer:
of getting as much out of it as possible,
the parties, the bbq’s, get a tan
all in a short few months.

Then, with the change of seasons
from extroverted summer
to introverted autumn.
For a short transitory while
the temperature is just right
the air is crisp and fresh
like my own head clearing after a head-cold.

Nature brings on the spectacular finish
to the abundant extravaganza of summer
painting most of the vegetation
using a palette of flame colours
turning trees into giant fire crackers.

The colours of the sunsets changes too
ever so slightly towards cooler hues of winter.
The difference between a colourful cocktail with clinking ice cubes
and a steaming mug of hot tea or coffee
perhaps topped with whipped cream and cinnamon.
Of browsing a great second hand bookstore
as opposed to shopping for a beach wardrobe.

Not yet cold enough to light a fire
that crackles and brings its own magic to a room.
A hearty soup replacing the salad.
The harvest is in safely and
it’s all coming together for crafty evenings when the wind howls
and can chill you to the bone.

For a short few weeks
the state of nature around me
resonates with my own being totally.
Even with its wild storms
blowing away not just old leaves
but sadness, disappointments and the depression
that hovers on the figurative porch
waiting for someone to accost.
Bringing with it freshness, preparing the ground
with a blanket of leaves for the rest that we call winter.
Patting us on the back, of a job well done.

Inside candles replace flowers on the dresser and altar,
pyjamas and instead of fans in the bedroom.
Autumn is dancing with me in a slow waltz
intimate and delicious
to music only we can hear.
There is nothing more to prove
nothing more to be done
but follow his gentle lead
Soon enough winter will follow
with shorter days, grey clouds and cool lemon sun
and rest me in it’s embrace
So just for now
let’s keep on dancing…

Summer is ”needing” to go somewhere, do something
if only for its own sake
to have something to talk about.
Spring is like a hyperactive toddler
when mum wants a lie-in and to wake up slowly at a delicious pace.
It wants to do this and do that, all at once…
not luxuriate in the peace and comfort for a few minutes before getting up.

Winter is a night flight, in a smallish aircraft
where the Stewardess closes the door and the cold out
warm air fills the cabin
and all the low hum of conversation among the passengers
mix with the scent of coffee coming from the galley.
For a few hours we need to do nothing but relax,
read a book or magazine or even take a nap
before we land at our destination
where the hustle and bustle of returning to the ordinary world
and rejoining our busy lives once again.
Continuing on our journeys
to home, hotels or places of work.

Late autumn is restfull, undemanding
and at the same time inspiring;
new projects, new hobbies, expansions of the mind.

The Spirit of Flying is a bit like autumn to me
a sense of oneness and imminent completion
of no time, no goal
of being for no other reason than existing complete in the now.

I am one with the wings, or with the helicopter
and we just ARE.
Of all the fulfilment of a child’s hopes for Christmas being right there
wrapped in a silk scarf if you so wish
and then realizing you feel complete in yourself.
Where being turns to IS-ness
time has no meaning because it no longer exists
it is not a vacuum but a state so rich
there is nothing anyone could possibly add.
Bliss – the state with no opposite.
Weightless in space
at no specific point
here, there, and everywhere.
Nowhere else I want to be
nothing to accomplish
remember to do
but exist.
No longer confined to a body but eternal,
an eternal return.

(30 October 2012)

Here’s the link:

http://thespiritofflying.weebly.com/the-spirit-of-flying.html

The dusk and dawn

 

The dusk and dawn

 

When the worlds overlap so slightly

is when the pain of separation

is at it’s most intense.

I never looked at it that way

I only knew it hurt

but I couldn’t work out why

I’d been just fine five minutes before

just like for me in 3d

I often don’t realize how much I miss something

until reminded

by having it once more

a blessing in itself, in disguise

So at dusk the pain of separation from

my soul family is so palpable

because of those on the other side

are cloaked but near.

It hurts so bad I never made the connection

I never thought that’s what it was

tho now,

when I compare the two

missing someone who has passed over

or longing for someone who is away

I can see they are one and the same for me.

 

So here I am subconsciously thinking I’m travelling and

moving the world over

in search of my souls cherished companions

where I need first to explore

and know intimately

the Pain of Separation.

And I know how to be a stranger

just as I know how to pack up and move.

Years of temping taught me how to pick up and fit in

without ever being noticed.

To the next place, and the next…

Many times I wanted to stay

mostly for the camaraderie I witnessed

but it was not to be

and anyway, I was always too soul restless for that.

I’d spend a year with the same group and

the itchy feet would start

Like watching from the sidelines

the echoes of voices

the same lines

over

and over

and over…

When I got a close fit

they’d disappear out of my life

often without a trace

no explanation, no closure

and the confusion and question-marks would hurt so much

sometimes instant,

other times time would trickle away

and they’d be irrevocably gone.

Too late to grieve like for a lover lost

but I guess I grieved on the inside instead

the tears I never shed

the dull pain never identified as such

the missing unvalidated.

Never enough to hold me in one place

when I needed to move on

in search of

and exploring it’s counterpart

when it starts to get comfortable

like ants all over

unbearable

I’m subconsciously urged to move on

by boredom at work

of fear of stagnation.

To stay in a stale job one needs very special colleagues

or a fulfilling life outside of work.

A fulfilling job can equally accommodate

an empty personal life.

Mine was rich on the inside

whilst empty on the outside…

I wanted the inspiring career from day one

to make up for the empty feeling inside and

later to cover up for my lack of success in attracting all I thought I ought to have

I don’t know if it would have made me happy or not

since I never got the experience.

 

Then I came here

I reckoned I’d moved for every other reason bar love

so I thought why not try that.

Actually, that was an afterthought

It wasn’t so much of a choice

as it was a a road with no turnoffs…

No matter how much it pained me to leave

my friends, the job I loved, the car of my dreams

I knew with every fiber of my being

I was doing the right thing.

And so the next phase of my life began.

For a while all the bits of my crazy life made perfect sense.

 

It certainly stepped up the feelings of alienation in a way I had not foreseen. I had expected because I was on the right track at last to quickly make new friends. It didn’t happen that way. Spanish turned out to be just as impossible to get the hang of as it was at college, and I found myself surrounded by women of all ages with babies on the brain and not much else; tourists in search of sun and an escape from their everyday life, problems and worries; and men fuelled largely by beer and tacos.

As the friends I had made left one by one and work dried up, the layers of the onion deepened.

 

My friend Jacquie once said when I was new to Park Gate and feeling low about it, that it takes about a year to make real friends in a new place, and I’ve found that to be my truth too. It’s been almost six years now and here I am, mainly alone, acquaintances aside.

Every other year I encounter someone I feel is close friend material for sure

only to never hear from them again.

 

I don’t know how much deeper into this onion I have to go

or what I’m supposed to do.

What I know is I’m not aligned with much on this island anymore.

I’m not interested in drinking, smoking, bullshitting and bar-hopping. I’ll never have any interest in babies, kids or the soaps on tv.

The sand and the palmtrees on the beaches does not make up for the absence of other things nature wise. I need personal space and will never be comfortable living the way many Mexicans do, on top of eachother and in and out of eachothers pockets and space all the time. 14000 residents plus tourists on 3 square miles of buildable land is too densely populated for me, with more people arriving every week, and soon every foot of land will be covered by concrete in one form or another. I’d like to live somewhere where alcohol is not the main fuel of the economy.

But I only have to look at my husband of almost 5 years now to know I got the man right!  I wouldn’t change him for the world.

 

So now I know

what that dusk and dawn feeling I’ve always dreaded is.

I feel at peace and easeful, for a little while.

I give the kitties a good brushing because they love it and

passers by smile at me and I find myself smiling back,

right here, right now.

 

So where do I take it from here

or where does this take me more like?

I don’t know.

 

Do I care? In the now, no.

If I let myself go to the future, yes definitely.

How much should we allow ourselves to dwell on the future?

I don’t have an answer for that right now.

I don’t want to go there.

Because I am here

and I like to stay in the moment for now.

 

 

10 April 2013

(c) Catpaws Cafe, Liz Rosales.

So what’s underneath the onion

The sewing machine is ”playing up”.   So I don’t feel inspired to sew now, but the next fayre is a week away and this stuff needs to be finished before then. I felt inspired when I designed, cut and pinned them, but I ran out of daylight and sewing black in the evening does not work for me.

So what?  I doubt there’s anyone who always feel inspired, just f-ckin deal with it! I rarely feel inspired to clean or cook, go food shopping or do laundry, shower or brush my teeth, yet it has to be done. Deal with it.

So I scream and punch the sewing machine – I don’t need you to have a highfalutin opinion about my lack of enthusiasm right now – just do your f-ckin’job and sew!!!

It’s not just that it is full moon though it probably contributes.   Hubbys family is coming today, and no matter how nice they are as people, for me it is always fraught and highly stressful. It means ridiculously long and late nights, not enough of and poor quality sleep, guilt over needing apparently twice as much sleep as everyone else, and general frustration.  Creative projects and writing gets put away until they leave.

For days the frustrations of feeling required to behave to fit the extroverted social norm, with the fake smiles and pretending everything is just fine. All while at the same time being bored to tears by the same old drama, but too well brought up to pick up a book and zone out the way others play with their smart-phones, play games or fb. Of hours of waiting around for nothing.  Of concentrating like crazy to try to understand and follow the conversation, until my head feels like it’s going to explode.

Sick of the glib jibes pointing out that I have not learnt spanish yet even though I live here. How I should go out and practice with everyone any opportunity, how I should take the opportunities and practice here and now. How I must be sooo lazy because I still can’t speak. Learning a language when immersed in it is sooo EASY…

And noone has any understanding how hard I have tried to learn, how much I have studied and how f-ckin’ impossible it feels by now. How deeply embarrassed and frustrated I am about this.

Nor does it stop there.  I’m not Buddha or Jeshua; if you poke me repeatedly I get hacked off. If one more shower of unsolicited ”helpful” hints as how I should live my life; not scratch at the hundreds of insect bites on my legs and feet, what to buy and use (same sh-t I have tried and then some) and how terrible the scars on my legs look, I WILL loose it and SCREAM. They may not understand the words but I’m sure as hell the meaning will be perfectly clear. You’ve trod on my boundaries one time too many so back off!

Am I mirroring their own suppressed anger and frustration if I let mine show? The fear that this is all there is (so let’s keep on dancing) ?

I’m so damned polite and unwilling to offend, but I’m also so darn tired of the same old dance. I ”behave” as is expected of me, in a grown-up friendly manner. Even if it feels more like a parody at times. How much I despise the same old ”well-meaning” small-talk and would love to be able to have a meaningful conversation.

I want to be my usual quirky inner self and for that to translate and come across as the loving and affable me my friends know and love.

But right now I feel none of those things, or rather I feel anger and frustration as well and those voices are so much louder right now.

I can just imagine the unspoken words. Leave that english bitch and and get a nice mexican girl who will be up to date on soaps and drama, is a good catholic instead of a bad influence and who will cherish his children. Unlike me.

And you know what? He had 40 years looking for one of those and he chose me! For who I am, for how we get eachother, for the spiritual bond and love we share that makes the struggles worth working our way through.

Underneath that lurks my fear that whatever I do will reflect badly on my husband. I don’t want to come between him and his family. He gets frustrated too but is hell bent on ”fixing” it, fixing it here meaning waking everyone up and get where he is coming from. I gave that up long ago. Everyone does their own journey following their own divine timing.

How do you ”interact” with unconscious extroverted people, when you are a conscious, highly sensitive introvert? When there is no common ground and no common language?

My personal answer was to step away and find friends to fill those spaces traditionally held by family. People who like me for who I am, and who’s company I enjoy.

It is like being 16, 17, 18 or 19 etc and going to visit my parents for the weekend. This time it will be different. This time we will get on. This time will be the new beginning of a new relationship between us.

Every time with an open mind and the best of intentions, ready to forgive, forget and let bygones be bygones. Let the crap slide and not raise to the bait. To ignore the put-downs and criticism and focus on… what exactly? What I wanted to have; mutual respect and appreciation. If you treated your friends like you treat me you’d soon find yourself lonely indeed. Yet, it’s me who’s finding her self alone here. What irony.

Creative by nature, crafty by choice

I think it’s been established I am ridiculously (not to say compulsively) creative. There aren’t many crafts I haven’t at some point at least tried, picked up, learnt and got bored with.
I re-purpose and recycle everything that crosses my path,  just because I can. Some I simply put out on the wall by the roadside for anyone to pick up when I run out of space…

Resident muse and quality control

I can not enter a fabric shop without my minds eye starting a virtual avalanche of what I could do with any and all in front of me. I re-use and recycle. When it comes to fabric I am my own magic wand, and there’s very little I can’t do (though plenty of stuff I choose not to do again…)

I grew up on the mantra that if it is worth doing, it is worth doing well. I do quality or not at all.

I plan buildings, houses, storage space in my head where others play with wet serviettes or tear apart their damp beer-mats in the pub.

I love the organic look of new sustainable building materials such as hemp-crete, solar panels, recycled materials. Earth ships and cob houses intrigue me. Nifty energy/resource saving devices thrill me like you have no idea

I’m a sucker for textures rather than patterns with everything.

As a former graphic designer and jeweller I have a very active inner vision. I volunteered to designed flyers, magazines in the days you used cardboard, scissors and glue – and later dtp.

Growing up I took every opportunity to watch and learn and together with my ex renovated a couple of places. A close friend who is passionate about soft furnishing and runs her own business, gave me a few pointers for interesting curtain designs. (Fabrication, http://www.lldesignclients.co.uk/clients/linksites/fabrication/index.asp)

Exif_JPEG_422

Poor photo of our old bed, taken with my phone

Something I love but do not get the chance to indulge in very often is furniture restoration. Apart from financial and spacial restraints (you really need a studio or at least a well lit garage) and once you’ve filled your own small living space with hand picked pieces that’s usually pretty much it. I adore the French shabby chic look, and there’s really nothing shabby about making real (as opposed to mfi and other mass-produced modern) furniture look rustic or antiquey unique.

I like to think of it as relaxed, functional, everyday antiques…

Just acquired, just scrubbed clean.

Just acquired, only scrubbed clean.

Oh the thrill of finding an inspiring piece of furniture in a junk-shop or at a car-boot sale, bringing it home and restoring it to a beautiful piece of art! I love pouring tlc into an old piece and see it come back to life under my hands. Second life and glory restored. I enjoy the whisperings of my soul saying hmmm, try this or what about doing it this way? 

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I love being hands on creative with fabric, furniture, walls, space, curtains, old chairs and sofas, even lamp-shades. Once they’ve been de-spidered that is. Being freaked out by anything with more than 6 legs is a bit of a drawback in this line. I even love the oh shize have I got in over my head or is this going to be the f-up moment and then pulling it all together in the end. 

Finished piece

Finished piece

Finding ”play-material” in England was relatively easy. In Mexico very little is thrown out or given a proper makeover (meaning sanding, filling in scratches and cracks where needed, base-coat, paint, top-coat or whatever is appropriate). There are no second hand or house clearance shops to spend rainy afternoons looking for treasures for your craft or perhaps inspiration. Things generally get handed down or passed on among family and friends.

Grill Bar

For the Grill Bar/ Steak house

For the waiter at Pirates Bar

For the waiter at Pirates Bar

Isla Mujeres where I now live is a bit like the Isle of Wight; full of creative and artistic types, and like the Wight needs tourists and Londoners with money to fall in love with our creations, the Islenos too depend on the tourists to buy what they -in common with the English city dwellers- do not have time or inclination to make for them selves. A little piece of handmade uniqueness to adorn their home or person or gift a loved one.

 

 

I would like to be able to live of my creativity. Few things would give me greater pleasure than for my creations to fly off their proverbial shelves into the hands of delighted buyers!

Next Sunday if at all possible I’m going to get hubby to take us to a rumored flea-market on the mainland if the weather is ok, bring a couple of bottles of water, flask of coffee and my camera and just browse until my heart’s content.

Below are a few of my bags project.

Black & white Karen bag with purple silk lining

Black & white Karen bag with purple silk lining

Recycling fun!  shoulderbag made from ripped jeans with nifty pockets.

Recycling fun! shoulderbag made from ripped jeans with nifty pockets.

Work in progress

Work in progress

Work in progress

Work in progress

Coming together, tapestry outer, lined with red silk, inner lining to make shower proof.

Coming together, tapestry outer, lined with red silk, inner lining to make shower proof.

Adding decorative stitches to map bag

Adding decorative stitches to map bag

Another bag ready to meet it's new owner

Another bag ready to meet it’s new owner

Hmmm, yea, good question

We’re sitting peacefully in the kitchen, me and Miao Cat. I’m writing and she’s snoozing on the chair next to mine.

I’m about to break for coffee when I hear

– Why do you not like parts of your body? It’s your body. It’d make sense if you didn’t like parts of your mind.
– Where did That one come from Kit-Kit?
– Just wondered.

I make the coffee and sit back down.

– Are you happy here, Miao-Cat?
– Are you? Happy enough. I have a job to do. Teaching you.

While we were talking my phone rang.
– Ugh. Why do you have to use those to talk to one another?
– Because it is quicker and easier.
– Really? But you are talking to me now!?!
– When humans are stressed and in a hurry, we don’t trust telepathy.
Miao does the stare that is her cat equivalent of rolling her eyes.
– Yes. It’s complicated.
– Obviously. Humans. Say no more.

Made me chuckle. I’ve learnt more from our cats and especially Miao than I ever thought possible. I love this precious soul sharing our house and our lives. She is so wise, so remarkably astute it sometimes blows me away. She IS me at times; the better part of me…

Beautiful furball x x x

 

16 October 2012

Blessed Samhain to you all

”ONCE, we commemorated the dead, left out offerings to feed them and lamps to guide them home. These days, Halloween has drifted far from its roots in pagan and Catholic festivals, and the spirits we appease are no longer those of the dead: needy ghosts have been replaced by costumed children demanding treats.”  (Bess Lovejoy)

 

Samhain is the name of the pagan celebration marking the beginning of winter. Samhain was seen as a time when the veil separating our world from the Otherworlds opened enough for the souls of the dead, and other beings, to to pass through. Feasts were had where the souls of dead kinsfolk were beckoned to attend and a place set at the table for them.

In much of the once Gaelic world, bonfires (or bone-fires) were lit and there were rituals where people and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual, and the bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames.

People also took steps to protect themselves from harmful spirits, which included the custom of wearing costumes and masks as a way to confuse and ward-off (or possibly represent) the harmful spirits. This being particularly appropriate on a night upon which supernatural beings were said to be afoot.

Over the last century or so Europeans and North Americans have (rather successfully) pushed death and dying away from everyday life. Not so in Mexico. I’ve been here for some 6 years now and lately I’ve become fascinated with Mexico’s Grand Dame of Death, La Catrina or La Calavera Catrina.

It could quite possibly have something to do with a friend introducing me to The Order of the Good Death and that I find Caitlin Doughtys enthusiasm contagious (and the fact that I share her rather morbid sense of humor), but it’s more than that. Maybe it’s the right time, the end of one era and the beckoning of a new one. A symbolic gesture small enough to grasp though representing something infinitely much larger.

Here in Mexico, as opposed to every other place I’ve lived, death is part of life. It can be tragedy but it’s rarely grand drama. Although there are undertakers and funeral homes etc here too, the family is very much part of the process of dying. People nurse their sick and elderly at home (or sometimes in hospital), they wash and dress them.

At the wake, often held at home with an open coffin, family and friends come to spend time with the deceased and support the family members (and each other). You talk, cry, comfort and support one another, sharing memories and food, keeping the deceased company through the night, until the funeral ceremony and burial/cremation the following day.

Mexicans honor their dead all year round, which is probably the reason why I encounter far fewer ”ghosts” here (than for example in the UK). Dia de los Muertos is one of the biggest holidays in Mexico, where families and friends celebrate and honor those that have passed. Most visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and clean and decorate their graves with offerings to the dead which often include orange Mexican Marigolds, sometimes called flower of the dead, thought to attract the souls of the dead to the offerings. Toys are brought for dead children.

In Pre-hispanic times the dead were buried close to family homes and there was great emphasis on maintaining ties with deceased ancestors, who were believed to continue to exist on a different plane. With the arrival of the Spaniards and Catholicism, All Souls’ and All Saints’ Day practices were incorporated into Pre-hispanic beliefs and customs and Day of the Dead came to be celebrated.

The belief behind Dia de los Muertos/Dia de los Angelitos (or Inocentes)/Dia de los Difuntos practices is that spirits return to the Earth for one day of the year to be with their families. It is said that the spirits of babies and children who have died (called angelitos, “little angels”) arrive on October 31st at midnight, spend an entire day (Nov 1st) with their families and then leave. Adults come the following day (2nd Nov).

Earth is the region of the fleeting moment. (Pre-hispanic Nahuatl saying)

Growing up, we just went to church, then cleaned the graves of grandparents and great grandparents before decorating them with candle cans or lanterns that then burned through the night (and sometimes the weekend).

There are many other stories I’ve heard over the years talking about this time of year, one of my favorites being one told by my grandpa. He said noone was to hunt on this day (and night) because the spirits of the dead protected the animals and would play tricks on those who didn’t refrain from doing so. Depending on their degree of disrespect and intent there would be either just a fright, a taunt or really sending them over the edge and the ”nut-house”. A keen hunter himself he’d never known anyone who disregarded this advice to shoot anything apart from on a couple of occasions an other hunter…

Grandpa was a great storyteller and you never quite knew how much was added in for the benefit of his young audience, but my gut-feeling tells me most of it did indeed have it’s roots in reality. He had lived quite a life and had many a story to tell on a rainy day.

I don’t celebrate Halloween, it is not something I grew up with. (My most memorable introduction to Halloween was watching the movie The E.T.) I’m far to introverted to enjoy donning a fancy costume that will draw the kind of attention I generally avoid and head out among large groups of people making merry… I do however celebrate Samhain in my own way.

But I’ll admire the often lavish decorations of the downtown restaurants and the costumes of their staff when I drop Mario off at work. Then I’ll go back home, lock the door, place a few white roses on my altar, light candles and incense and later put the old year to rest like the pagan I am. I will remember and honor those no longer among us in physical form, raise a mug of steaming coffee in a well met. Recite the Druids Prayer and play with the cat/s as a celebration of life.

 

Grant us O God thy protection and

in protection strength and

in strength understanding and

in understanding knowledge and

in knowledge the knowledge of justice

and in the knowledge of justice

the love of it

and in that love the love of all existences

and in the love of all existences

Love of God

The Love of the Goddess

and all goodness.

So mote it be.

(as taught to me by Septimus Bron)

Blessed be

as blessed is

and blessed

may we all be.

All pictures from Google, without any information to give credits.

Dreams and other Worlds

I think my husband probably knows me better than anyone else.  He is my best friend as well as my beloved  and one thing that stood out from the beginning was that I felt completely at ease with him.  I know I described this to my friends  as feeling safe, but time has refined it to at ease.

With him there’s no pretense, I am myself wholly and unreservedly and that was a first in a romantic relationship for me.  My spiritual life, my introverted self and my crazy nutty side are all seen and accepted, as is the dreamer, the writer and the psychic.  The person who starts a lot of projects but finishes few, sometimes because I get bored, other times out of fear of failure.  The woman who talks to discarnates, animals and sometimes even plants but not very many humans.  The one who wants to help so much and cries sometimes because nobody wants what she has to offer.   The me who loves a quiet coffee with the cat upon rising while my body slowly wakes up too…

One (of my two) best friends growing up was Cathie (not her real name).  Our dads were best friends from their school days and about once a month (or sometimes more often) we’d get together for the weekend and a lot of fun was had over the years.  In the summer our families would sometimes go caravanning together for a couple of weeks too.  When we were old enough to write Cathie and I would exchange letters on a weekly basis and when I got a bit older I’d spend a week with their family during the summer holidays.

Cathie was the pretty and popular girl at her school ( a Piscean) while I was the odd one out  at mine; awkward, self-conscious, wise waaaay beyond my years, forever making things and writing.  We both loved reading, horses,  and dancing.  In a sense I recognize the two of us in the girls in the novel Beaches (made into a movie starring Bette Midler) but who was who is debatable!

Then I left home around 16 and for reasons unknown at least to me, we lost contact.  I invited her to come and stay with me in the big city for a weekend, to go shopping and to the cinema etc, but she always declined and stopped writing too.  We met once more, a family get together at their home and had a good time with some of her friends and boyfriend, but the connection between us was no longer there.  Soon the birthday and Xmas cards fizzled out too.

Their whole family was invited to my first wedding in 1995, but only her dad showed.  A few years later I heard via my dad that she was thinking about meeting up for a day in London, but by then I was simply not interested.  If she could not even contact me herself, why should I blow 2 months savings from my underpaid job for a couple of hours?  I declined and told my dad that after over 20 years of nothing she could start by writing (or phone) me herself.  Not a word, which was fine with me.

To me that incident  felt similar to when I first went to college and the in-crowd (who had ignored me for years and never even acknowledged my presence with a simple hello) suddenly wanted to be ‘’friends’’ and come and visit.  They all got politely turned down.  If I wasn’t cool enough to be friends with before, it was certainly not me they were suddenly interested in, just a place to crash for free on their shopping and clubbing outing.  My friends were always welcome.

Then last night, in a different time, world and space… with a different past, we met again for a weekend at some retreat with people we both knew.  We’d just turned 31 and 32 respectively.  I was married to my now husband (who I met when I was 40 btw).  Cathie and I were two of few people who were practically sober.  Some had gone to their chalets/cabanas, others were falling asleep in the common on the rattan sofas and beanbags.  We were sat on the back of her truck (?)  flicking through an old photo album with pictures from our youth, laughing and remembering.  Kodak instamatic days…  Once again we were long lost sisters catching up.  We’d been walking and talking for hours while the others had been larking around.

We picked up drinks and snacks from the open palapa style self serve ’’kitchen’’, and as I looked at the breaded chicken mini burgers,  said out loud that if I wasn’t already a vegetarian, after seeing those I’d probably consider becoming one, and  she laughed and said I was so funny.

She’d picked up her laptop (which was the same as mine but a different colour) and said she just wanted to check coz she’d posted a blog entry earlier on.  I was delighted that she had started writing and looked forward  to reading it.  As we walked up a path towards one of many curious little nooks around the estate to sit down and have our snack, we talked about consciousness and our blogs.  It was a very relaxed and easy conversation, a very joyous feeling of re-discovering who we’d become in the years apart rather than just telling our ‘’stories’’.

That’s when I woke up, still feeling that warm and fuzzy feeling that only a best  friend relationship with an other woman can bring.  Basking in the close feeling of it I kept my eyes closed for a few minutes.

It had felt as real as this life (of course), but in reflection it was interesting to observe the differences  too.  This Cathie had been an inch or two taller than me.  It was peculiar how the elements all came together in one place; the temperate climate, the midnight if not exactly sun so at least far from dark, the past and the present, 3 continents, the gentle supportive atmosphere, my husband and our friends.

It had felt peculiar to experience having a different set of memories and a different past, and how we’d both knew our way around the place we were staying.  Of course, the photo album does not exist in this lifetime, and I don’t know in what language we spoke.

For me, it’s the complete set of memories and a past quite different to my waking one that gives it away that this was no ordinary dream.  Like in a regression or spontaneous download of another incarnation, but with greater freedom to access the information of that other me.  Unusual also in it’s ordinariness perhaps, the absence of bizarre and crazy happenings and the rich sensory feast of real life.

I was not left with any residual desire to contact Cathie, nor any animosity which given the lack of closure I could almost have expected from myself.  I don’t like loose ends but I’ve come to accept them.  Our parts in each others lives had obviously played themselves out, given that it has been almost 30 yrs now of no contact.   Let the past stay in the past rather than try to resuscitate a relationship just because we have ‘’history’’.

It did however highlight how much I would enjoy having a close (female) friend living nearby again.  It’s been almost 5 years since I moved here.

So, whoever you are, wherever you’ve been [raises the iced coffee], cheers and know you are welcome.

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