My (slightly crazy) view of the world

As most bloggers know, finding inspiration to write a post is pretty hard. I often sit and think “hmm, what shall I blog about today?” and as most of my regular ‘Blogitors’ (you know, ‘Blog’ + ‘visitors’ = Blogitors. Yeah okay, I made it up and it’s lame, but it’s MY blog, so I don’t care!) will know, I’m kinda crazy, so most of my chosen ‘rants’ are a little random. But I sat today, curled on the sofa, wondering again what to write. And I drew a blank. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. No inspiration whatsoever. 

So, instead, I’m going to write a blogoem (blog + poem = Blogoem. Again, lame, but I care not!). So, here goes nothing….

I curl up on my sofa,
Trying to think up my next blog; 
Should it be about today’s events, 
Or cats, or dogs, or frogs?
I sometimes find my inspiration,
While watching crap TV,
but often subjects come to me,
When I’m alone – just little ol’ me.

If you promise to subscribe right now,
Another ‘Blogoem’ you will not suffer,
But if you leave right now, I swear to you,
The next one will be dumber!

So come on, sign up to my blog,
And read my pointless posts,
And I’ll make a vow, 
To you right now,
I’ll visit your site the most!

Ta daaaaaaaar!

Okay, it’s shit. Reeeeeally shit.
I’m shit. 
What a dumb-ass idea. 
 
Crap. Nice going, Brain. 

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Image of terrified child from the Internet

I was playing around with my friends one-year-old the other day – you know, peek-a-boo, tickling her feet, pulling silly faces… the usual. 
After a moment, the peek-a-boo thing got a little tedious for me (she was loving it, but I suspected she would still have been loving it three hours later, and there’s only so much I can hide behind my hands, remove them to show an insanely smiling face, make a stupid noise that is supposed to sound like ‘peek-a-boo’ but just sounds like a ridiculous loud noise, then start all over again, until I want to kill myself), so I switched to a different game: ‘I’ve got your nose’.

At first she didn’t really understand what the hell I was going on about, and looked at me in a way that suggested she thought I was a crazy woman, talking in a language she didn’t understand, and that she hoped I’d hurry up and leave her alone soon (ouch).
After a while though, the realisation of what I was doing seemed to dawn on her. However, instead of being met with gurgling noises of happiness, as I had expected – or at least hoped for – she looked positively terrified!

Now you’d have thought following this reaction I’d have stopped, right? Any normal person would be mortified with such a response, and abruptly change the game to one a little less scary. Well, it would seem I am not normal, as I literally couldn’t stop. I found the fear written all over her tiny, scared little face absolutely hilarious! I kept doing it, over and over again, trying to coax a little smile from her, but instead receiving the same, fearful look at having ‘stolen’ her nose, while I had tears streaming down my cheeks from laughing so hard.

I’m happy to inform you that after a few minutes of entertaining myself – and before she also burst into tears – I did stop. But it got me thinking – and I am about to share these thoughts with you lucky little so-and-so’s. 

You’re welcome 🙂

It occurred to me, we – adults – do this often. We invent games that actually scare children, but act them out in such a playful way that we convince ourselves this is acceptable. 

Case at hand: my Dad. 

When I was a child, my dad would playfully pick me up and advise me he was going to throw me away in the bin (or ‘trash’, for my American chums). I would squawk and giggle, crying “No! No!” until he put me back down again. 
To my dad, that was the end of the game. For me, it was the start of something else…

Unfortunately, I got it into my head that one day he WOULD actually throw me away into the bin. And this thought terrified me. So, in my warped, innocent and small child-mind, I decided the best way to avoid being ‘thrown away’ into the bin/trash was, well… to be nice to ‘it’. 

(oh dear lord, here comes the crazy…)

“Be nice to the bin?” I hear you ask, “How exactly would you do that?!”

Well, whenever I had to throw away any paper – envelopes, scrap, post-it’s, etc – I would, erm… well, I would write a note to it (the bin), with offerings of rubbish/trash.

Okay, hold on! Don’t go running off just yet! Hear me out!

I genuinely believed that any day now my dad would be THROWING ME AWAY! I had to do something, right?! So I decided to get ‘Bin’ on my side. If I managed that, it wouldn’t ‘eat’ me. You see?

C’mon, I was young. This logic worked in my tiny mind.

The notes generally consisted of:

Dear Bin,
I hope you enjoy this present.
Love, Belle. 

And of course, once the paper was folded a couple of times, I addressed the ‘note’ to the bin:
To Bin, Love Belle xx

This went on for AGES! It got to the stage where if – heaven forbid – I forgot to address the rubbish to the bin, I was sure ‘it’ would never forgive me, and the very next time the (apparently) funny game of ‘Put Belle In The Bin’ ensued, I was bound to be eaten alive. 

Now I realise you will all be thinking, “Who the hell IS this girl?! She’s actually insane!” and frankly, I wouldn’t blame you. But if it wasn’t for the (terrifying) ‘game’ of throwing me away, this fear would never have emerged, and the subsequent ‘notes’ would never have existed!
So really, it wasn’t actually my fault. 

Thankfully, the older I got (which was still pretty young), the more I realised this was ridiculous and abruptly stopped addressing my rubbish/trash to the Bin (it also has a little to do with the fact my younger sister ‘discovered’ (aka spied on me to find out why I was always behaving rather strangely whenever I had to throw anything away) this note-to-bin thing, and let’s just say it become her bribery tool for many, many, maaaaaaany years…).
But it makes me wonder how many other ‘games’ were invented by our parents/aunts/uncles, etc, that entertained them to the point they almost threw-up with laughter, but terrified us as children, and maybe even then led to fears/phobias in adulthood that we haven’t even made the connection with yet…

So I ask you to consider this, big, scary adults: if you find it roll-on-the-floor-and-wet-yourself-funny, the chances are it’s scaring your poor child shitless!

I will not be ‘stealing’ any noses for the foreseeable future. 

Urgh! Get ‘Em Off Me!!

I read a blog not too long ago that got me thinking – and thinking and thinking…
I can’t seem to get it out of my head, and frankly, it’s annoying me. So, given the sharing kinda person I am, I’ve decided to pass this thought onto all of you, my loyal blog visitors 🙂

Germs. 
This is what has been in my head, bouncing around until I can’t seem to think of anything else (I’d like to highlight here, it is the THOUGHT of germs bouncing around, not ACTUAL germs in my head – that would just be weird).

The comment I read that sparked this new ‘obsession’ was about public toilets (public bathrooms, for my American visitors), and the certain ‘do’s and don’ts’ that are regularly broken by the grubbier members of our society. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking: she’s referring to those who don’t wash their hands following their visit to the public toilet/bathroom. 
Well, yes, and no. 
Yes, that IS disgusting, and I regularly find myself watching those dirty little wotsits in the reflection of the (grime covered) mirrors as I wash my hands, while they walk straight from the cubicle and right passed the sinks to the exit (gross!), but no, this act is not the act that has been playing on my mind recently.  

It is the floors of these places, and, oddly enough, our handbags. 

Now, picture this, ladies: we walk into the public toilets and do what we need to do. The less grubbier of us then go to the sink, wash our hands with soap and water, straighten ourselves in the mirror, then leave the bathroom with little more thought of our visit. 
We washed our hands, right? We’re clean and germ free. 
Right?

Well, hang on a second. Think back to when you were in the cubicle. What did you do with your handbag?

Sometimes (though in my experience, rarely) there is a hook on the inside of the door, so naturally, we place our handbag and coat on this until we are ready to leave. 
But what about the times when there isn’t a hook provided?

That’s right: we place our handbags ON THE DIRTY, GERM INFESTED, DRIED-PEE COVERED (I often wonder how this happens in a ladies toilet/bathroom – I mean, really girls?!) FLOOR!
We pick up our bags, do what we need to at the sink, then leave. 

What do we then do with our handbag? Well, if we head to a bar or restaurant, we put our bags on the table next to us; if we’re shopping and go into a changing room, we again put it on the floor; if we head home, we put our handbags on the table. 
We are basically shifting the toilet floor germs stuck to the bottom of our handbags onto every surface we encounter! We then touch these surfaces, fooled into a false sense of safety (they look clean, right? It’s a restaurant/bar/our home – we know they’ve been wiped clean with the appropriate cleaning agents) and transport the germs to everything we touch – like our face and mouths!

How often do you actually wipe the bottom of your hangbag clean?

Myself? NEVER! The thought of wiping the bottom of my handbag has never, ever, occurred to me (unless of course it has touched something I can actually see, like it’s got wet or something).

And this thought has now led me onto other things. Like, when you buy something in a shop and place your hands on the counter, waiting for the assistant to ring up your purchase, whose handbag has previously been there, and what did it last touch? When was it last wiped clean?!

I have become completely obsessed with this. Seriously. Obsessed!
How many peoples’ dried wee has inadvertently ended up on my lips?! How many toilet-floor germs have I put into my mouth?!
Oh and it gets worse, ladies: how many of our boyfriends/husbands have used a public toilet, thrown their coat on the floor, picked it up with their hands, put those same hands to their mouths, then KISSED US?!

Eurgh! It’s disgusting! 

So I now fear I have an OCD developing – and with good reason! 
Am I ever going to be able to revert back to the time handbag germs didn’t control my life? Will I ever be able to touch another flat surface again without being dominated by the thought of whose toilet ‘stuff’ I am accidentally smothering over my lips?

So I leave this OCD thought with you, and ask you to consider how many surfaces your handbags have touched, how many times you have cleaned it after, and how many germs have been spread to your home, and how many of these you have spread all over your mouth…!

Welcome to the dark side…

Some Men Are Idiots. 

I live with two men.  Both late thirties,  but do you think their actual age changes their thought process from that of a mischievous teenage boy?

Answer: No. It doesn’t. 

I walk into the kitchen and see my flatmate watching my cat thoughtfully.

Flatmate: “Shall we get your cat stoned?”

Me: “No.”

Flatmate: “Oh, go on!”

Me: “No.”

Flatmate: “Go on. I promise it will be funny. My mate knows someone you could buy it from. We could sprinkle it on his food?”

Me: “No. Shut up.”

Boyfriend walks into room. 

Flatmate: “Hey. Shall we get your cat stoned?”

Boyfriend: Thinks for a moment. “Yeah sure. That could be funny.”

Me: Picks cat up and walks away with him.

Men are dicks. 

It’s A Twin Thing

Being one half of a set of twins (yep, that’s us above. And yes, in clothes that look like they were intended for children half our age – Mum? Really? What was going on here? The jumper cuffs don’t even reach our wrists, and are our trousers REALLY tucked into our socks?! Oh, the shame…), people often ask, “What does it (being a twin) feel like? Is it strange? How do you feel about it?”

Hmmm. Well, if you really want to know: we have telepathic powers when in the same room, send messages to each other when apart via the secret ‘Twin Pigeon’ – the existence of which only real twins have any knowledge – and if you look really carefully, you’ll see our backs are actually blue, scaly and slimy. Our tongues are forked, too…

I’m kidding, silly!

(‘Twin Pigeon’. Honestly.)

Seriously, though: “How do I feel about it?” Is it me, or is that just a really odd question? I don’t think I have ever approached someone and said, “You have a sister? How do you feeeeel about that?”

That aside, I have decided to answer this question on my blog, for all you curious non-twin individuals to read.

‘Cos I’m nice like that 😉

So, being a twin. It’s pretty cool, I guess. We’re not identical, my twin is male, and I – as you know – am female. So we never actually had the opportunity to do the whole ‘freak people out’ thing. Which is a shame. I reckon that would have been really entertaining (for us, not so much our ‘victims’ – cue evil laugh). Imagine if my employer wasn’t aware I had an identical twin; we could have worked half the working week each 😉 (I realise this wouldn’t be a particularly viable option, what with two people living off one salary, etc, but oh, imagine the fun!)

The thing about being a twin is, you never feel like you’re alone in the world; no matter where you are, there is always the other ‘half’ of you somewhere. It’s pretty difficult to explain to someone who isn’t a twin (pretty crappy idea for a post then, Belle…), but together you’re a whole – apart, you’re a half.

Does that make sense? Nah, thought not :-/

The same people who say to me, “I can’t imagine being a twin,” are the people I tell, “I can’t imagine NOT being a twin.” To wake up on your birthday as a child, and not be excited to rush into the other bedroom and say “Happy Birthday!” before your twin sibling can – or indeed as an adult, to beat each other to the birthday phone call; to not go through your first years of school in the same classes, copy each others homework, or share the feeling of freedom on the final day of school.
To me, that seems really, well, quite lonely.

Don’t get me wrong though, we had our spats – oh, did we just. And given I have three sisters (two older, one younger – our ‘baby’ of the family – spare a thought for my poor brother here, please; with his only siblings being four females, you can imagine who got/gets picked on the most) I found I spent more time with them than my brother, but that’s not to say we aren’t close. We are. But where I speak with my sisters on a daily basis, my brother and I can go weeks without a phone call, then pick right up where we left off.
There were also the moments of being referred to as ‘The Twins’, as though our individual names were no longer necessary: “’The Twins’ like that film”, “Would ‘The Twins’ like to come round our house?”, “Can you tell ‘The Twins’ that dinner is ready?”…
And the matching outfits! Oooh, the matching outfits… (and here come the flashbacks)

Looking at us, you’d never believe we are twins – we couldn’t look more opposite if we tried – I am a short-arse, he is 6 feet tall, I have blue eyes, he has…hmm… I’m not too sure what he has, actually (whoops!), but I know they aren’t blue!
He is caring, quiet and thoughtful; I am loud, excitable, and at times, a little brash.
But our similarities lie within our love for creativity (writing for me, art and design for him), our need to be the very best at everything we do, our desire to ensure everyone we love are as happy as possible, and our personalities – quite simply, we are both fun loving, energetic, craaaazy people 🙂

So yeah, being a twin. Not much different to having a brother or sister, really, but with that extra sprinkling of ‘special’.

Prior to getting my two utterly gorgeous, beautiful, and darn-right purrrrfect (oh dear lord, I actually just did that, didnt I? I hang my head in shame) cats a year and a half ago, I wasn’t much of a ‘cat girl’, to be honest. They just didn’t really interest me. Dog? Sure. Cat? Meh.

I am sure we are all aware of at least one of ‘those’ sort of people – you know, the one who idolises his/her cat(s) and treats them as though they are in fact their biological child(ren)? Who go to work with camera phones filled to full capacity with photos of their ‘babies’, ready to thrust in the face of anyone demonstrating even the slightest bit of interest in cats (it doesn’t really take much – just using the word ‘cat’ in a sentence will usually reward you with an hours worth of ‘kitty pic’s’ – “And heres one of Fluffy with a sock! And here’s one of Fluffy with a ball! And here’s one of Fluffy licking his own arse! And here’s …” yawn yawn yawn).

I couldn’t think of anything worse, to be honest. An animal that comes home having spent most of the day roaming the streets, demanding food in a manner that might make one wonder who, exactly, is the owner, and who the pet? An animal that spends most of its time (once food has been demanded and ‘served’) in the house fast asleep, before leaving again for hours on end (having left wonderful ‘presents’ of yacked-up fur on your sofa) on its quest to roam some more, maybe attempt to carelessly shag around, and unabashedly poo wherever might take it’s fancy?

Affection? Only if it wants to be stroked. Loyalty? I can pretty much guarantee if you were stood in one corner of a room, a stranger (to the cat, not you, silly) in another corner, but armed with a palm full of some nice little kitty treats, I am sure – almost certain (in fact, I would go as far as betting my…erm… (hmm, there is a chance I could lose here..).. Aha! My ‘funky’ wrapping paper collection – what? Its good!) – they would abandon you – their lovely, loyal, caring owner – and head straight to the arms of the treat-offering stranger. Traitor.

So imagine my surprise, upon deciding to get two (yes, not one, but two) cats for company (my partner spends a lot of his spare time fishing, and, rather pathetically, I started to whine like a small toddler that I felt lonely, and disliked being “so alone I could cry!” Yeah, a few glasses of wine had been consumed that night), that the solution offered to me was cats. And that I too became one of ‘those’ people. I am ‘that’ person now. Oh dear lord…

I am a crazy ‘cat girl’.

Hmph.

I fell I love with my boys the very moment I saw them, and upon arriving home with my two bundles of grey fluff, found my entire world began to slowly pivot around them.
If I happened to pop to the pub for a post-work beer (yes, I must confess, I am a pint kinda girl), I would ensure one eye was always on the clock, conscious that the ‘babies’ would need feeding very soon. Down the pint would go, good-byes were hollered to those closest (anyone not in hearing range just didn’t get one), boyfriend was grabbed by the sleave, into the van and full steam ahead to home.

The funny thing was, I really didn’t notice the transformation from Belle to ‘crazy cat lady’ at all.

I’d arrive at work, happy at the thought of my two kittens getting up to mischief at home while “Mummy and Daddy” (oooh yes, it really is that bad) were away for the day, and without meaning to, find that no matter the conversation I was having with people, it always seemed to swerve back to my ‘babies’.

Hmmm. How did we get here? I’d think. I didn’t dwell for too long, though; out came the phone and out flowed the many explanations to the pictures: “And here’s one with Ralphie drinking some water, and here’s one of Oscar playing with some string, oh and here’s one…”

Yet it STILL didn’t dawn on me!

The moment of my clarity came when I was sat at home, reading a book, and suddenly heard a loud, distressed noise coming from my kitchen.

Now, first I must explain that my kitchen door leads to my garden, and the majority of this door is glass. Top to bottom, clear glass.

So I got up to investigate, and found both my cats with their back fur up, and trying to hide from the door. On the other side of this door was the meanest, most bad-ass looking tabby cat I have ever seen! Battle wounds all over its face. And he was glaring – yes, glaring! – at my boys!

I was so mad! How DARE he stare like that and upset my cats!

I threw the door open, chased the cat away, and came back into my kitchen where I bundled both boys up into my arms and made – wait for it – shushing, calming noises at them!

Yes! I was trying to console my cats from the ‘mean old neighbour cat’!

Forget the fact both of them forgot all about the ‘meanie’ the second he was out of sight, I was enraged! Filled with a maternal feeling of protection!

(I realise I am using far too many exclamation marks here, but really! I was furious!)

So there you have it. My moment of clarity. I, Belle Medland, am officially a crazy cat lady on a quest to protect my boys from any harm life tries to throw at them.

They say talking about the problem is the first step to a solution, right?
Well, here’s hoping.

Having been signed off work since September (2010 – although it feels like since 2005!), I find one good way of elevating the boredom from – what feels like – house arrest, is shopping online.
I live for books, usually (when working) I devour around one a week, but given I have more time on my hands (and am still, for some reason, shying away from writing my own book – see Scaredy Cat Writer and All Subsequent Excuses ) this has increased to around two a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. 

I eagerly log onto Play.com most mornings, filled with the same excitement one gets when doing something they know they shouldn’t (I am well aware this is my guilty conscience reminding that me that a) I am not getting paid by work right now and therefore have no money to be spending on online shopping, and b) my boyfriend is working his fingers to the bone (quite literally – he is a builder, and is often coming home with scrapes and scratches, cuts and roughened skin on his hands – I shall refrain from going into detail on my dislike of ‘working hands’ and their sandpaper-like effect…well, maybe some other time, on another blog, on another day…perhaps) and should therefore not be frittering our/his money away on books, etc) and peruse the ‘sale’ section and ‘deal of the week’ section and, well, pretty much the whole of the book section, in a happy, mischievous way, tucked in a corner of my lounge (which, by the way, is so tiny I’m not too sure how it manages to actually have corners).

It is, quite frankly, an addiction. I’m serious! I am actually addicted to buying books, and since the ingenious invention of the internet, my obsession has only increased over time. My tiny flat is filled to bursting point with books, and to be honest, I’m running out of space! 
And yet, I just can’t stop. Every spare penny I have (and I’m pleased to be able to advise this is after all bills are paid – things haven’t quite become that bad) goes towards nice, new, shiny books – yummy 🙂
But it’s not just the buying, it’s the reading, too. If I find myself in the unfortunate position of not having a new book to read, I become irritable, bored, short tempered and unable to fully relax. It is quite literally as though I am suffering from actual, physical withdrawal systems! (Thankfully there has been no rocking in the corner with my knees hunched up to my chest and my arms wrapped around my legs. Yet.)

But whats this about a sexy postman, I hear you ask. Well, stick with it, I’m getting there…

So I continue to buy books on Play.com and wait anxiously for Mr Postie to knock on my door, brandishing gifts in little brown boxes as though it is Christmas morning. Which is how it feels – the same excitable butterflies bounce off the walls of my tummy as I anxiously await that knock at the door, as the ones on a Christmas morning.
Pathetic, huh? It’s not like I don’t know what the little brown packaging contains, yet I still rip it apart to get to my ‘post present’ in under 2.5 seconds.

So anyway, today, while munching my cornflakes covered in pouring yoghurt (the cornflakes, not me…) (incidentally, have you tried that – cereal with pouring yoghurt? It’s to DIE for! You simply must!), I heard the familiar knock of my local postman. Now I know it’s the same postman everyday, as it is always the same voice. You see, although I always answer my door to him within seconds of his knock (nope, I shall refrain from admitting I sit by the window biting my nails as I await his arrival…) I am usually still in my dressing gown (authentic Christmas morning feel) with hair like a birds nest, unbrushed teeth, and last nights facial cream smeared across my face, ensuring my skin is as shiny (if not more!) than a sheet of ice. 
Because of this (and my desperation to get my grubby, guilt covered mitts on my ‘post present’), I rarely – well, actually never – look up at his face, staring eagerly at the package in his hands instead. Until this morning, I had never seen the face of my postman. Seriously. 

So imagine my horror, following the handover of my two new books (‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ and ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven’ – in case you were curious) when I began to look up and make light that he must assume I practically live in my dressing gown and pj’s, only to discover that this postman – my postman – is the spitting image of a Greek God! 
I kid you not, the words that had been about to pass my lips literally got stuck in my throat, and I was left opening and closing my mouth in complete and utter silence!

After an awkward moment of demonstrating my best fish impression (and presumably covering him in morning breath), the Greek God finally allowed my misery to end and backed away from my door – with, I might add, a little god-like chuckle (yes, it actually tinkled like music) and walked away down my road.

I was speechless. This is the guy I have allowed to see me in my very worst state (and believe me, it’s baaaad) every single morning!

So there you have it. Proof, if it was ever needed, that there is absolutley no good addiction. Even with something as harmless as books (ha!), an addiction will still manage to bite you on the arse. Sure I’m not burgling houses to feed my habit, sweating in a corner with only one thing on my mind, severing all relationships for the only love of my life – books, but yet I have still felt the wrath of my ‘addiction’ this morning; to my lush Postie, I shall be forever remembered as ‘the crazy woman with the scary hair, shiny face and morning breath that could kill a passing dog’. Brilliant.

My advice to anyone suffering an addiction such as my own (advice I too am going to have to follow now)? Ebooks.