Re-home Benji!

Benji 🐢

Meet Benji!

I volunteer dog walk for The Cinnamon Trust who help out with pets when their owners who are generally old/terminally ill can no longer look after them so well, aka: walk dogs. 

I used to walk Benji 🐢 on just a Monday, but found out this week the other two volunteers had stopped because he was too “boisterous”.

πŸ™„πŸ˜ πŸ˜«. He is not boisterous. 

He’s 2/3 years young and barely getting walked because his mum is terminally ill. He just wants to walk and smell and play with ALL the other dogs, because THAT’S WHAT DOGS DO. My heart absolutely broke πŸ’” for him when I realised this, so I’m going to now try and walk him every day until he is rehomed. Fortunately, he lives pretty close to us! Apparently he is exhausted and much better behaved once he gets home from a walk – proof you just need to keep your little fur babies knackered and their behaviour improves! His Mum’s two daughters are so grateful for me doing this simple thing to help whilst their Mum is very ill – I walk him with Rufus anyway – I have this real need to help others – and this is such a simple way of doing so. I don’t understand how you could stop helping when so badly needed.

Would anyone like Benji to join their family?!

Camera shy Benji!
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LonelinessΒ 

Loneliness… it’s a real thing. Sometimes I think I struggle with that more than depression but then loneliness is probably an effect of the depression. I always thought I wanted to WFH/be a housewife/full time mum but the reality of not having a set “9-5” means I’m often super lonely and isolated and leach onto ANY social contact quite badly…! Soz all! Some days if I’ve somehow managed to not see or speak (in any form) to anyone I practically pounce on James when he gets home – you know like when you’ve been off sick for a day and then when you get to see someone you’re all crazy for conversation? That’s me… most days. Rufus probably helps… poor dog 🐢I’m not saying leaving Clarks wasn’t the right choice – it 100% was. I don’t miss the corporate BS or the fakery, and thanks to my addled brain [alongside my amazing husband] I won’t ever be going back: I find myself infuriated with myself because of the simple things I struggle to pick up as quick as I used to in the work I do for the business as it is, I honestly don’t believe I would ever get through an interview process again: I struggled as it was in the 6 months or so before I left Clarks.
So, obviously I’m not thrilled at the prospect of facing this weekend alone – James on a stag, 2 sets of cancelled and one failed set of plans for me – I don’t, of course, dispute him going – I want him to! He deserves a break (from me!!) and to have fun with his mates – plus I abandon him to go off with the girls enough – although I suspect {know} he also just enjoys the break from me and catches up on sleep πŸ™„πŸ€£. 

I just get so tired of being alone. I often make out I hate people – and general people I probably do, they’re often a pain in the ass 🀣 – but when it comes to my friends and family, I just want them around all the time (no, not you Dad.. haha love you x).
I have often found myself, when travelling or just out and about, looking at others who are alone and being super worried for them. Concerned that they aren’t happy. It’s absolutely insane and 99% of the time I suspect they are absolutely just fine. I’ve noticed it for as long as I can remember – since I was really young – a business man eating dinner alone; pretty average in the world and yet I’ve always wanted to invite them to join us (but never have… confidence lacker in being such a weirdo!) I end up just making myself feel awful in convincing myself they are sad and alone. I just seem to really FEEL and have all this emotion for others which is just seemingly totally random. I worry about June – who I dog walk for through The Cinnamon Trust – about her feeling lonely, and as such spend time attempting to make awkward conversation (I am sure I am the queen of awkward conversation, somehow) before I leave her because I’m so worried about leaving her alone. In reality she’s probably internally questioning when the weird dog walker who doesn’t seem to work is going to JUST LEAVE πŸ˜‚.
I did however read a pretty interesting blog this week on the time to change website that was written by someone else who seemed much better able than me to get her point across – I agree with having ALL THE EMOTION. I’m not just a spoilt brat (πŸ‘ΈπŸ») who strops when she doesn’t get her way (just mostly..!) but everything just seems to effect me much stronger and deeper than it seems to affect anyone else. A sad advert about dogs and I’m forcing Rufus to cuddle me whilst my paranoid brain panics about the day he’s no longer with us (we have an agreement that this will be never, we all go together… also never..!), but the simplest smile or sharing “knowing” eye contact from a stranger has me bouncing off the walls for joy. I feel it all, deeply, but particularly, I think, loneliness.
And so, with being alone I can’t really seem to adult… I’m not sure who let me solo adult.. I can’t even seem to figure out what I want to eat, but don’t worry, there’ll be no half stone weight loss this weekend because I’m so (pre-menstrually) hungry that I’m consuming EVERYTHING in site trying to placate whatever it is I really want but can’t figure out myself. Instead it’s Frosties and easy solo person meals for dinner because I have NO CLUE what I really want and can’t be bothered to cook to figure it out πŸ˜’. In positive news, I did just manage to be near a Sainsbury’s and NOT purchase jam doughnuts – mostly because at the time I wasn’t sure I wanted them… but now I think it’s a big regret…

Wild Friday nights at 30… bedtime (8.30pm: suspect I’ll be punished for that with a horribly early morning wake up!), night all x

I believe it’s called “brinner”…. “breakfast”, for dinner..

The best medicine πŸ’ŠπŸ’–

It is amazing how your mind can so easily “forget” and lie to you about how being surrounded by friends and family and love is really, truly, the best medicine. How connecting and engaging with others creates bonds and friendships, even seemingly in strangers. Last weekend, was my “secret surprise birthday weekend away” in the start of the (month long!!) “celebrations” of my turning 30. I had left the entire thing up to James to organise – because frankly, I couldn’t be bothered. I’ve dreaded birthdays for a fair few years now. Getting older isn’t cool with me. I’m like Peter Pan, except I’m not forever young, I just want/need to be. Getting older gets worse with the less I feel I achieve/the more I don’t have children, because of stupid numbers I stupidly set myself stupid years ago. So, obviously, this weekend – despite having been in the diary for months – unfortunately came upon us at quite literally one of the worst times (πŸ˜”) possible. I had been so hopeful that we would finally be pregnant that it all of a sudden made the world 100 million times worse when I wasn’t. I just couldn’t bring myself to face anything. I really didn’t want to go.
I cried the entire journey to our surprise location. At one point my husband asked me if I “wanted to do this”. I didn’t. I really didn’t. It took absolutely everything within me to answer with a nod and not the honest no; I want to go home, curl up into a ball in our bed and keep crying, alone. I didn’t know for sure but I had suspicions friends were involved and I didn’t feel like I could face anyone still. After all, I’d spent 2 days at the start of that week ignoring absolutely everyone, the rest of the week still avoiding more local friends and wondering when I’d ever feel like I could face people [friends] properly again. I had asked him a few days before, tears still pouring down my soaked face if any babies were involved in the weekend.. this included anyone pregnant or any children but I couldn’t bring myself to say those words, I couldn’t choke them out – my speech was the bare minimum I could get away with to string a sentence together. I was worried, when we pulled off the M5 onto the M4 towards Wales that my godchildren (who I knew to be on holiday in Pembrokeshire) would be there – whom I love dearly but I didn’t feel like I could face, especially when I couldn’t stop the tears.

When we pulled up the only car I instantly recognised was my brothers, but I knew there were others and the tears came again. I couldn’t walk into the cottage first, I made Rufus and James lead the way – me trailing behind clutching James’ hand like a lost child. When we walked into the kitchen and my friends jumped out yelling “surprise!” I burst into more tears and cowered into James… I am sure this was exactly the reaction my friends, some of who had spent the best part of 6 hours travelling ~ for me ~ had hoped for…!! Not! Sorry guys. I just felt super heightened in terms of anxiety. 

I don’t know if it was because I’d actually bothered taking my mild dosed citalopram for two days in a row rather than the erratic form I had been taking it in the months previously. I remember when I first took it all those months ago, feeling a difference far quicker than I thought possible – but this could also have been aided by the decent weather, marathon, therapy, IUI progress (πŸ™„ irony), holidays, friends etc. I wouldn’t have believed it again having such a rapid affect until I properly read Deborah Orr‘s article last week of her heightened levels of disassociation almost immediately after beginning citalopram.
I have noticed myself on occasion – particularly looking back now – clinging to James like some sort of leach, unable to interact, engage or begin new friendships without him for support. I suspect it’s why a lot of his (old) “friends” don’t like me – anxiety winning yet again in making me socially unable to engage. Somehow, sometimes though I do manage on my own? I can certainly think of a few friends I have made in Somerset on my own.. but I appear to have developed a strong sense of separation anxiety to James.. and Rufus.. and we have the cheek to laugh at Rufus having separation anxiety – quite literally gets that one from his Mumma… as though I’ve passed it on within the air that we breathe and share.
A tangent – after all the tears, eventually followed by a lot of wonderful, supportive hugs from my [initially shocked!] friends I found myself quickly settling down. Tears stopping, an extent of happiness resuming within me. Despite my mind wanting to hide away from the world, what I really needed was exactly what I got – to be surrounded by loved ones, to be distracted and to have fun. 
It’s funny how easily you can “forget” this is what you need. How easy it is to withdraw and isolate yourself – only resulting in making you feel worse. In writing this, it reminds me of another friends 30th earlier in the year.. I hope she doesn’t mind me (and I think this is the second time I’ve done this to her!) referencing her – but she wasn’t in a good place at all. She had overdosed a few days prior to the weekend all her friends were due to descend for celebrations, and I remember thinking then – exactly what she needed was everyone around her to perk her up and show in plain sight how much she was – is – loved and needed. And yet I couldn’t see that for myself just last week. I couldn’t allow myself to have the support and love and care, the fun and distraction of friends and family to get me through how low I truly felt. And that is precisely what mental illness does to you. It shuts you down and locks you within yourself to make you feel dark and alone. And it is so, so impossible to pull yourself out of it.. so for those of you that have friends struggling – surprise them. Don’t stop loving and caring and being supportive and funny – even if it is endless funny texts that go seemingly ignored. Be prepared for melt downs and tears, for pain and for hopelessness; but your love does, eventually, make that difference.
Thank you, friends and family xx (ps. Pink glitter lipstick solves everything πŸ’„πŸ’‹)

Touchy subject of politics..

ULTRACREPIDATE – to critisise beyond your scope of knowledge. (Basically what I am about to do/talk about doing… πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ‘πŸΎ)

Not gonna lie… this little word vomit blog came to me whilst procrastinating about the epic blog of all blogs that I’d been mid-way through writing for about a week… [eventually posted the other week :-)]
I keep seeing little things here and there on the internet that do my head in around politics. It’s the main reason I don’t really LπŸ‘€K at Facebook any more – I’m tired of all the general sh!t let alone the politics of it. Having said that – this post is inspired by something I saw on Facebook – a friend of a friends status and thread because friend had commented (see why I don’t like Facebook?! Don’t even know the person who’s status it is; so why am I seeing what friend has commented on?! I want to see friend, not friends friends I don’t know!!!) – I’ve gone into more detail in aforementioned epic blog but basically I had a good 40 mins or so 8am and 8pm where it is best if I just lay down with my butt raised (and no, I wasn’t “getting lucky”: James leaves for work at 6.30am..) so I had a LOT of boredom time on my hands, because as per, there is jack all on the TV… πŸ˜’
I feel like, in most part, few of us are really qualified to comment and know what’s right or wrong or get SO extremely opinionated and (in some cases) downright rude about politics. Myself included. Frankly – I don’t think there is any right or wrong way to vote. Voting itself is almost pointless because I think to be honest politicians and all the political parties are largely consisting of lying scum bags (ok, ok maybe a little OTT 🀣), so no matter what you vote (and, particularly as a woman, I will always vote) its effectively pointless. I don’t pay a vast amount of attention to what party wants what and what their manifestos say; I just don’t really understand, nor need the stress right now! To be honest, I think they all have a mish mash of good ideas and things which should and shouldn’t be done to make our country perfect (ok I’ll settle for “better”) [probably with the exception of UKIP (etc)..!] – why one party can’t figure that all out I’ll never know.. perhaps one day I will head up the unicorn party and be done with it… πŸ¦„
I’m not afraid to say that I vote Conservative, with the exception of my local councillor because frankly, he’s brilliant (lib dem). I always have and probably always will vote like that – unless I ever take the actual plunge and go back to uni: but frankly there is a lot I want to study and be an expert at, but in reality don’t have the brain function, energy or concentration levels at the best of times [its taken me over a year and I’m still only 6 chapters into “The Chimp Paradox”]. My parents vote Tory, so I do. Laziness on my part to explore or understand anything else, if you like. It’s kind of all I’ve known and what feels right for me. I don’t think that will come as a surprise to those who know me! I also suspect many others, particularly my age-ish, do the same: either vote or don’t vote however their parents do. I’m not going to get in argument about it, I’m not going to disown friends who vote differently to me, but I am going to raise some questions.. [or, like, question..later]
I don’t believe the Tories make the rich richer and the poor poorer. Frankly it pisses me off when I hear that said; how on earth do people come to that conclusion?! Higher earners are already hit with a higher % rate of tax!!?! To be honest I don’t see why we don’t all pay the same % tax rates – why should those earning more have to pay more? I’m not saying not everyone works hard, (though I’m also not saying everyone does, coz let’s be honest, some people are just lazy and seem to be born with this unaccounted-for sense of entitlement that the world owes them something. Note to those people: it doesn’t.) but there generally tends to be a reason why some people are earning more… I like to use my Dad as an example here. He was a high earner for most of his working life. All of my childhood, and my brother’s. But he paid for it in other ways – he was often away from his family and worked ridiculously long hours. When we were super little and still eager to wake at the crack of dawn, we used to wave him off to work at 6am; often not seeing him at bedtime. As we got older and mornings became harder, but bedtimes still existed, we might not see him for days even when he was in the country. I have a vague recollection of him being hospitalised unable to move due to a pain in his chest when I was around 13 – I can’t remember why but I suspect stress (I expect he will correct me once he’s read this, if he can remember!! … this is making me (sort of, because that seems wrong too?!) hope it’s not another one of those things my mental brain has just made up but never happened..!). Now, I know this was his choice. He thought it was the right thing to do to financially support our family. I’m not saying it wasn’t – my brother and I had a great childhood and never missed out, we didn’t “want for nothing”, and we know still now that our parents will support us [in any way, not just financially] if need be. We have never felt financially insecure, and although money doesn’t make the world go round; it’s nice not to worry about it, because sadly, it kinda does make the world go round. But – why should he have been taxed a higher rate for this? Why isn’t someone earning Β£20k and someone earning Β£100k taxed the same % rate? Why does one pay 20% and the other 40% (or whatever it is these days!) – and, as far as I’m aware, the Tories aren’t planning to reduce that as part of their manifesto – so how are they making the rich richer?! (We’ll ignore probable backhanders and bribes etc from the super rich for now..)
Having said this, I am my own hypocrite because I also think some people earn absurd amounts for literally jack all… namely footballers… Phillip Green (coz I worked for Arcadia for too long and hate him/them πŸ˜‚ plus; BHS pensiongate πŸ’πŸ½) but again… I guess they (footballers) just got lucky with their talent and it isn’t their fault people willingly (although stupidly πŸ™„) pay them Β£250k+ a week…
Anyway, the post that caused this over-spill of thoughts, mentioned that the Tories had voted against emergency service workers receiving a pay rise. Now, I’d firstly like to point out that I do NOT, for a single second agree with this. I don’t know what emergency service workers earn – I don’t know what anyone earns really, but I strongly suspect they do deserve a pay rise. However I strongly suspect there is a billion (or, like 65 million…!!) people out there in the UK (leaving the rest of the world out of this for now) who also think they deserve a pay rise (some probably do, some probably don’t). The post and its various comments went off on one about Tories making the “rich richer and the poor poorer” and how “well done anyone that voted them in” blah blah blah – making out like anyone who votes Tory is an idiot. You aren’t. Because – sorry, but who is paying for all this? I don’t know much, but I know this country is in insane debt. I don’t know how it got that bad or which muppet let it – don’t spend what you don’t have, right?! Don’t live beyond your means?! But that’s what Labour always seem to want to do.. a billion things that cost a fortune.. and, well…who’s paying for it?! 

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Oh yeah – those higher earning, higher taxed Tory voters. But apparently that’s ok…!!!

DesiderataΒ 

Not my words at all. Only seen because my beautiful friend had a print of these beautiful, wise words on her wall this weekend. Couldn’t photograph it very well so instead I’ve retyped it and added it to my own image.

Hubby asked me if that was how I lived/want to live my life. I said yes. He then said I don’t because I don’t give time to the ignorant. πŸ’πŸ½ Guess you can’t win them all! Or perhaps Max was just a little too forgiving… 


Desiderata 🌷

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant β€’ They too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 

Keep interested in your own career, however humble β€’ It is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is, many persons strive for high ideals and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself β€’ Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings β€’ Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. 

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. 

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. 

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful word β€’ Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

~ Max Ehrmann

#smileloveandbekind πŸ’• 

Worrying world of filters and edits…

Original image
Two things. Can we just 😍😍😍 how beautiful are these flowers?! πŸŒΊπŸ’

πŸ’–

But, importantly, this (yet another – spoilt this week!!) little blog, is about the situation with filters/no filters/edits/no edits which I noticed when posting “Cute Cottage” picture on Instagram earlier.. [see below] because it was something I had never really noticed before, and it alarmed me to see such a contrast on my camera roll from an “unfiltered” photo… I couldn’t help thinking to myself – no wonder we have generations of people desperate to change what they look like if others are constantly hash tagging “no filter” but editing TF out of their lives….

Original image…
#nofilter … but a tonne of “edits”!

So, with each picture here, the first one is unedited, the second swipe shows me playing around with the brightness/contrast/structure/warmth/colour/saturation/fade/highlights/shadows/vignette/tiltshift/sharpen… yet still enabling me to #nofilter … I used a few different images to “get the gist” across as such, although, ironically, the one with me in – which was my main point and worry about how people’s looks could be edited so far away from the truth – I think doesn’t actually look as dramatically altered (but it is!).

So this all got me thinking about how frequently we hear about boys and girls, men and women having {body} dysmorphic issues.. and I can’t help but feel, suddenly how obvious it is for some as to why.. I am willing to bet there are millions of people out there uploading seemingly perfect images to the internet every day, hashtagging them as “unfiltered” when in reality, all the filters or edit options have been applied. Now don’t get me wrong; I know I am not the only one noticing this lately, and there is definitely a lot of body empowerment and “owning” who you are going on with the use of the World Wide Web (you just gotta look for it, and once you’ve found one, you’ll find a load more) but I just kind of felt the need to write down a quick little blog for anyone out there thinking that their lives aren’t as perfect as “blah and blah” to say: noones life is perfect. Filters and edits exist, and sometimes – often – people only disclose what they want to disclose… I know I can be a bit of an oversharer at times (#understatement 😝) but, as with the main title of my page here – honesty is what you’ll get from me.. because I’m tired of fighting my perfectly unperfect life, mind, infertility, etc, on my own.. here you’ll find me: open, honest, filtered or unfiltered, edited or unedited – I’ll let you know – Karen. 😘 

Dear everyone – please bare in mind that what you see in an image may not be real life. Smile, love and be kind; that’s what makes you beautiful. πŸ’•

Original image

#nofilter … edited!!

P.S… I only discovered the “edit” options because I wanted a bluer sky behind the cottage like there’d been last week when I was too lazy to take the picture… πŸ€¦πŸ½β€β™€οΈ

#nofilter but lots of edits!

Rufus 🐢

I love how he sits and watches me, or gives me his paw as the universal sign of “I want that food” or “I want to go for a walk” or “play with me and this toy but you can’t have the toy”. His dad is clearly sat right there, but it’s always me he comes to first for everything. I’m “only” a furbaby mum yet it’s much like having a real child. Dad works all day so mum appears to be the provider of everything.I love how, if he isn’t distracted enough with a good enough treat, he will go ballistic when you try to leave the house without him. Sometimes he’ll greet you excitedly when you return, others he will maintain a grump at you for leaving him.. for a while at least. In particular he seems to know if I’ve said I’m just “running 3 miles, will be back within half an hour” and then I run 5,7,9 or more and am gone longer. That tends to be when he gives off that sense of “you lied” grump. I love how he doesn’t realise how funny I find that.

I love how he somehow knows when it’s nearly time for dad to be home. In the summer he will wait for him by the back gate and sniff expectantly. Always ready and waiting and wagging his tail for James to walk through the front door once he’s parked on the driveway.

I love his sheer excitement for a dentastix each evening.

I love how he licks me when I’m back from a run and my legs are obviously a yummy taste of salty sweat. Or how he randomly just licks me as a sign of affection. I love how he cocks and tilts his head at me, and I love how he has just run up to me hearing this video playing, cocking and tilting his head once more trying to figure out where the squeak is coming from. Or when we FaceTime my Mum and Dad and he appears completely unable to even see the phone, let alone the faces of my parents or Rory his cousin (cockapoo) when they talk to him, but continuing to cock his head at me with a frown on his face.

I love how he is crazy, wild and affectionate. I love how “he” gets me out the door and walking (or at the very least gives me the excuse to, even if he is walked too much!), talking to strangers and getting me through the day(s).

I love how he will never know how much he makes me laugh, even when I’m down and crying. I love how he will never know how he’s a big reason for me to stay alive. I love him, my little-big white ball of furry fluffness. 🐾

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#rufus #labradoodle #furbaby #ReasonsToStayAlive