Friday, September 22, 2006

I'm still alive!

I feel like I've been missing out on life these last few weeks - the new job is great but it's really making me step up my teaching preparation. The students are all lovely, and I'm enjoying getting to know them, but it means my blog life has been put on hold a bit. I hope everyone is okay out there - sending you all lots of love... and for now, here's a photo of me and my furry babies... and Steve.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


The last two days have been very tiring. On Tuesday a trip to the doctors ended in a massive dilemma for me. I suffer from Endometriosis, which is a painful affliction that stems from the lining of the womb. Rather unfortunately I have had it for years, but was only diagnosed offically in 2001. My doctor has been working with me to manage it since then, but then dropped the bombshell that because of the migraines I've been having the course of action we were taking could put me at risk of a stroke! It all sounds very dramatic but the risk is very small. The alternative would be to either take a large injection of progesterone, which could have awful side effects and render me infertile for possibly a year, which sounds like a really unnatural thing to do to my body, or get pregnant.

The irony of this disease is that having a baby can cure you, but the disease itself can lead to infertility! I've been with Steve for over a year now but it's an awfully big thing to ask, and i'm not even sure I feel ready to have a baby, if indeed I even can get pregnant! This is driving me mad. Steve and I are completely in love, and he is supporting me in this 100%, we are talking things through, but we know we want to have children together, so do we just go for it and allow the universe to step in?

I saw this on my walk back from the hospital today, it brought a little light.

I'm so glad that my sister and mum are coming to be with me tomorrow. They are the light at the end of this dark tunnel today, i'm in need of some sisterly and motherly advice.

Monday, August 07, 2006

How can I possibly do any work...

It' so much fun having two kittens in our home. Of course they are exploring everywhere now, feeling brave and adventurous. Frida is obsessed with my fingers, so typing is a brilliant game. I can't believe they've only been here a few days, they are so at home and happy, and they've started following me around. They're so small it's ridiculous. Steve is completely in love with them too...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

My Moggies

Some good news must begin with a sad tale about a beautiful cat called Spider…

The week before Christmas Spider got really ill. It all happened so quickly. She was quiet and withdrawn for a couple of days and wouldn’t eat or drink. The vet thought it was probably just a bug. But she got worse and worse and had to go into hospital on a drip. I went in to be with her, they told me that her kidneys had failed and there was no chance of her getting any better. We tried everything but eventually I had to accept this. It was the most difficult decision I have ever had to make. I stayed there and held her for as long as I could. My partner Steve came to be with her and my ex partner came to spend time with her as well. We were all there with her.

So I told her not to be scared. That everything would be okay. She purred as I held her. She knew that we were all with her, I think she knew what was happening and she was ok. I told her I loved her, and then we looked into each other’s eyes, and then she went. I felt her leave me as we sat there, she left her little body and flew away.

My initial response was to collapse in a flood of tears and cry out ‘WHAT HAVE I DONE?’ It was so hard to accept. She was my little best friend through so many difficult times. I really miss her, especially when I am here at home. I hope she forgives me and that she still loves me. I think she does. It seems like she is around sometimes.

As the time has passed the cat shaped hole she left won’t go away. I could never replace her, she was one of a kind for sure, a feisty, no nonsense cat who kept me on my toes, and definitely gave me a reason to get up on days in darker times. She went missing once, and so distraught, I looked for her every night, street after street, for three weeks, and she came back to me, I couldn’t be without her. My wise sister said that we have pets because of our amazing ability to love. So we decided to find two little felines in need of a home, two being a completely different dynamic to having one. And in my new life it seemed like the next step forward.

So for the last few weeks I have been waiting and hoping that a family friend might have some kittens for us to adopt. Like a child waiting for Christmas I have been hopping around the house in anticipation. And finally it happened, the magical call telling us that two silver tabbies were ready to come and live with us. I am so happy to have them, and yet writing this post has brought my tears back for Spider. I think she’d be proud of me, watching from afar, my little guardian, never far from my side, leaving here when my life is finally on the right track…

So here they are... Maya and Frida

Frida is the adventurous one...

...and Maya is finding her way...

Monday, July 24, 2006

'Our Father'

I have just read my sister's most recent post for Sunday Scribblings and I feel compelled to write something of my father as well. It's always hard to think about this without it bringing that familiar lump to my throat. It amazes me how an absence can cause so much damage. But I wonder what our life would have been like with him in it.

I have very few happy memories of our father, sad really that when I look back I cannot recall a solid memory to convince myself that even though he abandoned us, he really did love us. It is hard to believe that he is out there somewhere living his life, being a father and a husband. He feels fictitious to me now, a myth, a character I have made up. It is hard to believe that he hasn’t tried to write or phone or visit his two daughters in the last 21 years. It is also hard to believe that talking or thinking about him still makes me cry.

Once he had left for good we never spoke of him, and it is only in recent years that I actually found out some of the details of what he did and what he was really like. I still feel uncomfortable when people ask me about him, I feel ashamed that he treated my mother the way he did, that I share his DNA and that I pined for a father that didn’t love me enough.

He used to carry me on his shoulders when I was little, a rare treat that let me see the world from this giant’s viewpoint. I’ve always worried what characteristics of his would come out in my personality, that I would suddenly become angry, sullen and a liar. I have been angry, I have been withdrawn, I have even embroidered on the truth a little, but these are not the characteristics that define me. His genes made me the tallest girl in my school, and that about covers it.

I pity him now, that he will never know us or see our success or watch us get married or hold his first grandchild (things I keep my fingers crossed for, for Susannah and myself). But I can’t forget what a predicament he put us in, and what a struggle it has been. So I thank my lucky stars that we have a mother who despite all of this has loved us more than anything our entire lives. It is so rare that his absence upsets me anymore, and the nine-year-old girl has started to play again.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Sprinkle of Confidence

I did it... I got the job. I had an interview on Tuesday for some new teaching work. It is at a very good university, the one I graduated from nearly ten years ago in fact. I went along with a porfolio of my work and some examples of the kind of briefs I set and a few butterflies in my stomach.

It couldn't have gone better. All my fears went as we chatted about illustration and teaching. My confidence and enthusiasm shone through and I was offered the job on the spot. In fact I was offered a much more significant position than I expected and am excited about getting started. It was such a thrill to finally have someone recognise my potential and abilities as a teacher. The college I have been working for over the last nine years has never done this. Though I have the best immediate boss on one of the courses, Louise is a lovely friend and full of the enthusiasm and imagination that could make the course great.

It's always worth working hard for something, and what we learn in the struggle can make us stronger. I am glad to finally make some progress. For the first time in my life I believe that I am truly happy. I am myself, warts and all, I am not trying to be anyone else, to live my life through stories, through my family, through a man. I am full of joy in work and friendship and love, and I send some out into the universe. Make a wish... Believe...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Summer Days

What a week it's been. It's funny how you can have a string of difficult times to deal with and your levels of positivity go right down. Then just around the corner the universe sorts you out and reminds you how lovely life can be. My lovely friend Biddy got married on friday to Jon and I was lucky enough to share the day with them. Biddy, Bridget, looked beautiful in a dress that was originally made and hand printed by her mother in the sixties when she was at art college! Everyone cried when they exchanged vows, but my tears came later as I saw how happy Biddy looked. She has had some tough times in the past, and really deserves to be finally happy, and so in love. Jon is great, and not afraid to tell us all how much he loves her. It was a beautiful day with boat trips and bbqs.

The photos show my lovely friends, who are all very loud and lovely and refuse to let me back in my shell.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I am grateful

I have been feeling like I never have any time, feeling stressed and rushed, feeling thin, stretched and tired. I have been hoping for good news at work, that finally someone will realise what I could bring to the illustration course if given more responsibility and hours. I am still in the dark about what will happen after the summer, lots of promises and 'don't worry you'll be fine' but money and time is running out. The weather seemed fitting, after days of sunshine today was rainy and humid. I got home late and not my usual springy self.

But really what do I have to feel down about? My life is actually pretty great, and I should make the most of every moment. So inspired by Penelope I have decided to recognise the things that I am grateful for each day. Hopefully in the form of some experiments with media!

Five things I am grateful for:
1. The coolness of the rain after sleepless nights.
2. My big sis who can make the most impossible or painful times seem manageable, my light in the dark...
3. The phone call offering me an interview for some new teaching work.
4. My home, unfinished, untidy but all mine.
5. The smiling face that i wake up to every day, who can make me laugh even when i'm crying.