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In no particular order.
And I don’t just mean kittens. I mean all cats – from wee bitty baby ones to fully-grown old lady kitties. My Granny had a kitty who grew to a really old age, and I loved seeing her when we went up there; we’ve had a couple of cats over the years. We were adopted by a cat in Ireland, who sometimes features on my Instagram feed when I’m at my parents house – she’s an outdoor kitty, and she loves my Dad more than she loves me! So she lives with my parents now. 🙂 – and I once convinced my Mum to bring home a Mummy cat and her five two-day-old kittens from a hardware store. We lost one of the kittens after just a day, because Momma cat had made her nest in that nasty fake moss stuff you use to line hanging baskets, and their wee paws had gotten all caught up in it. Two of their wee paws had gotten really tangled, and one of them survived – the other, that we named Littlefoot before he had to be put down, obviously didn’t survive. But Mum and Dad and I made sure he was well-loved for the day he was with us. ♥
The kittens who survived: Simon, River, Hercules and Megara. Hercules turned out to be a girl. We used the “Chandler’s a girl!” joke faaaar too many times. Simon and River are the tabbies (River’s the one with the ginger stripe on her forehead; Simon’s the one without, on the right); Hercules and Meg are the torties (like that, I can’t tell them apart!). I wanted to keep Simon so badly. He was The World’s Most Perfect Kitten™, and he loved me, and I adored him. My little sister wanted to keep River. We wanted to keep them all, but alas. We did, however, keep Bella, the mother, whom we got spayed.
Unfortunately, Bella went missing during some really bad weather in 2010 while I was looking after my big sister’s animals while she was off on her honeymoon. I’m still holding out hope that she’ll come back, but it’s three years later, so it’s not likely. Twig’s a wee old lady now, and I keep on saying she’s “forgotten the face of her mother” (me) whenever I go to my parents’ place, whenever she refuses to come to me when I meow on her. And of course, I have my own cat, Roxie, whom I adopted in January/February this year on my 1st anniversary of living on my own.
2. Reading Books
This should be a no-brainer for anyone who knows me. I’ve been a voracious reader since I was a kid. I’ve always got a book on the go, if not more than one. (Currently: The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King – I’ve been wanting to start reading this series for forever, and have only just gotten past the first few pages.) Books have, for the longest time, let me go somewhere not here. Let me, for a while, be someone not me. Pretty much my favourite book of all-time is Among Friends by Caroline B. Cooney. I’m going to re-read that book until the day I die, and I’m not ashamed of it.
It’s not just that I read for pleasure, but I’ve been reading for research since I was a teenager, too, because I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always wanted to get to know how other people write their stories. Unfortunately, this led me to read the Fifty Shades trilogy recently. *shudder* Never again.
3. Watching Movies
Again: voracious is the word I’d use. I will watch almost anything. I watch crappy horror movies, actual horror movies, those crappy movies that make fun of the crappy horror movies; I’ll watch romcoms and buddy movies and I adore disaster movies almost more than any other kind – especially the kind of disaster movies where the world actually ends. I’m the kind of person who’d adore Sharknado. I laughed all the way through Piranha 3DD and sobbed my eyes out at the end of Armageddon. Movies, like books, let me go somewhere else, and enjoy someone else’s journey, for a little while.
I don’t mean cooking, like, preparing meals and things. I mean baking.
Image by victoire_za | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
When I’m actually fixing the ingredients together, it’s sort of soothing. There’s a rhythm to it. And if it’s a recipe you’ve made a few times, you get it down easily; you’re used to it. It becomes part of you. If you’re making bread, you get to beat the crap out of the dough. There’s a nice ritual to it all.
And let’s face it: nothing really smells better than fresh cookies or fresh bread baking in the oven.
Except for my Mum’s Christmas Cake baking in mid-September/October. “Smells like Christmas!” is totally a valid smell.
Nothing much really to say about this one: I like going places! I get itchy feet easily, and there’s nothing more soothing than the sound of a jet engine next to my cheek. (Haha, I’m kidding about that. It’s only soothing if I’ve knocked myself out with some Tylenol PM before the flight!) I like not being here. I don’t care where here is, because it’s usually a place I’ve been for far too long already. If I’m travelling, it means I’m going somewhere nice.
Usually. There were those few times I went back to Ireland by choice. I definitely wouldn’t class that as somewhere nice, in hindsight, haha! (Again, just kidding: I quite liked Mullingar, but I was always coming back from much nicer places!)
Probably no shock here: I like food. I like the taste of food. I like to eat. Sometimes, however, I don’t like the textures of food, and it really puts me off. Hello, mashed potatoes! I do, however, like creamed potatoes, assuming that the potatoes are a kind of potato that I like. Not those horrid yellow ones… I blow hot and cold on some things, like peppers: one day I could eat them for every meal, and then I’ll go off them for months. Same for eggs. But overall, I generally like food! A little too much. I love fruit; I have a thing about cherries, in particular. I could probably eat no other fruit but summer-season Picota cherries for the rest of my life and never get sick of them.
Contrary to what’s probably been popular opinion for the longest time, I’ve actually grown to love exercise, and it does make me happy! I’ve even got fond memories of exercising in high school. A year of P.E. spent playing basketball with the boys, for example. Hockey team. Rugby team when it eventually came along. Walking a mile to school every day (and back).
And look at the elevation – we lived on a valley. We lived at the top; our school was down in the bottom!
If I had the chance, I’d go back and tell my 12-year-old self to ask the P.E. teachers’ permission to use the swimming pool after school, or if I could run laps at breaktime or just… hell, I don’t know. (I would tell her not to drink all the full-sugar sodas when she hits 14. That really fucks her up.)
But when I get the chance to, now, I really enjoy exercise. I like the music in my head, I like the rhythm in my body, and I like the high I get from it. And I like the fact that it makes me feel good.
This goes hand-in-hand with number 9. I can’t really dance, because I don’t actually have a decent sense of rhythm, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love to dance. I love moving to the beat. I will literally get lost in it if you let me. Take me out to a club sometime, and I will be the first one up on the dancefloor, assuming we don’t get there late, and I don’t hate the music. Zumba was the best thing that happened to me: music+dancing+exercise=best thing ever. I’m not even kidding. Even when it hurt, I loved it better than Spinning. I know I talked about Spinning more, and I went to more Spinning classes, but Spinning was easier to take, physically. 45 minutes of Zumba a week was all I could physically and mentally take, because being on my feet that long at the time was agony because of my stupid back.
But I do love to dance. I blame my big sister. She joined this street dance group thing when she was about 10 or 11 or something? And she and I started making up these little dance routines in her bedroom, and that’s when I decided I wanted to go do ballet, but alas, it wasn’t to be. I still want to do ballet. I’m planning on looking into adult ballet classes when I heal a little better, stop hurting as much, and lose a butt-tonne more weight.
I’m not kidding when I tell you that one of my earliest, non-traumatic memories, is putting a vinyl of Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell on the record player, listening to it the whole way through, and then switching it out for The War Of The Worlds by Jeff Wayne. If not that, then watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show clandestinely while my parents were out back one day and I’d found it recorded on a VHS. Or Little Shop of Horrors.
Legend has it that my Mum and Dad got a phonecall from my headmistress, asking them to get me to stop singing, “Sweet Transvestite” in the school yard, because it wasn’t at all appropriate.
Music’s pretty much my saviour. Along with hats. I listen to music to escape from people; I listen to it when I’m out for a walk, or when I need to get the bus somewhere. I listen to it when I’m doing the housework – I regularly hold the Tracy Does The Dishes Concert For The Neighbours. I love making mixtapes, although I should really start calling them mix-playlists, but it really doesn’t have the same ring to it, but none of them would fit on a tape.
Music makes me happy. If I’m lacking inspiration, I put on my “Everything I have by Meat Loaf,” playlist. If I need energy, I’ll put on what’s been called, “CHEERY AS FUCK,” which is every song I’ve been able to remember from Spinning and Zumba, as well as ABBA and Bruno Mars and a whole load of other songs that just make me want to get up and move my fat ass to the beat.
I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that I was in my school choir from when I was in Primary School, right until I left High School. And in High School, I was in the choir again, but I also played a viola, and I passed Standard Grade music with a 2, and Higher Grade with a B. Music’s just… Music makes me happy. I didn’t take music as a class in High School because I wanted to go on to be a musician or to teach it or anything. I took music in high school, because I wanted a class where I felt comfortable, peaceful, and happy.
10. Family and Fambly
No shock here. And no, they don’t come last. They come first. They always come first. I believe that I have the best family (and fambly; there’s really no distinction, but since I’m not technically related to the latter…) under the sun.
At my big sister’s wedding in October 2010. L-R: Mum, Lorna (little sis), Linda (Bride; big sis), Greg (brother-in-law; Groom); moi; Daddy.
We’re all a little bit nuts in the best of way. Y’all already know I’m nuts. You don’t quite know the full extent, but I’m sure if you follow me on Twitter, you get an idea. If you just read the blog, you’ll have an inkling. The rest of my family’s the same. My brother-in-law, Greg’s actually quite sane. He married into a family of oddballs, and he puts up with my sister. I can’t ask for more than that.
My little sister, Lorna, and her (Canadian, eh?) husband, Matt, on their wedding day in May 2011. I thought I had a photo of all of us, including Matt, on Linda’s wedding day, but I couldn’t find it?! So bonus picture with Lorna and Matt.
Matt’s awesome. He’s kinda quiet, but he’s this awesome guy who loves video games, and he’s doing a journalism degree, and he moved across the ocean and lived in a tiny wee room for my sister. And now they’re in Canada! And I miss her. 🙁 She’s the awesomest wee Squirt anyone could ask for.
Mum and Dad are both just plain nuts. I call Dad “the gayest straight man in the world” (all in fun: his taste in music is queerer than mine at times! :D) and Mum taught me how to knit and crochet and doesn’t complain when I won’t eat potatoes. She just buys me a butternut squash, or sweet potatoes instead. ♥
And my family have stuck by me through some really, really shitty things. I’ve put them through the ringer – through no fault of mine, of course – and Mum’s lost more than I could have ever asked her to, and I’m sorry about that, Mum. Hope I’m worth it. ♥
I talked about fambly, too. I shouldn’t make a distinction, because there’s a whole thing about the family you’re born with and the family you choose, but I feel sort of like I was born to be part of both families here, so. Anyway.
My best friend Cola and I, 2008
I met my best friend in a writer’s forum in 2001. She wanted some input/help on a story she was writing; I offered to help. We got talking. We got distracted. We never actually got the story written. We’ve been inseparable since.
Cola is an absolute rock in my life. I’ve known her for longer now than anyone I met in high school – assuming we don’t include people on Facebook. I mean real, live, “talk to them everyday” kind of friends. (I count you, Alison, don’t worry. I’ve known you since Primary.) I’ve told her stuff I’ve never told anyone – I’ve told her stuff I’ve never even written in my diary. She knows my stupid crushes and when I lost my virginity – and how. She’s the first person I turn to when I’m having relationship problems (sorry, bb. :|). I actually believe that we’re psychically connected to an extent. We’re called Teh One Brane. She’s my BFF. My biffle. My bb.
Oh, and we’re on the same wavelength as Eddie Izzard. No joke.
And I’ve been adopted by Cola’s family, too. I’ve got Mom (Kathie), Jim, Nana, Barb, Jess, the boys (TJ and Billy), Roger, Poppop, Beks, and Jenn whom I’ve not even met yet :(. A whole other family. It feels kinda wonderful.
At Walt Disney World with Jess and Cola (Cola’s behind the camera), and Kathie and Barb (who are not with us at the time!) in 2009; this was the last time I saw them in person! I NEED TO GO BACK.
My family make me happy, because it’s someplace I feel like I belong. I don’t really feel like I belong out in the world. People out there scare me. They shout things at me and they judge me.
Family is unconditional. Ohana.
I’m fully aware I haven’t listed my boyfriend! He’s… my boyfriend. 🙂 That’s a separate thing. And he would have needed an entire entry all to himself. I would have probably given each of my family members and Cola a whole entry to themselves, too, but I think almost 3,000 words is quite enough…