Happy Birthday!


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Tomorrow is a very special day.

Tomorrow is your birthday!

It’s a special day for me because it marks the day you entered the world, and for that I am grateful because I treasure having you in my life.

This road we’ve walked together has not always been smooth. We’ve encountered more than our fair share of potholes, speed bumps and unexpected twists and turns. It’s been difficult and painful and at times we worried we wouldn’t make it.

And yet here we are; still travelling it, side by side, hand in hand.

We were just babies when we met! Right now, I am looking at the strip of passport photos of us mucking around that is on our fridge… My God! were we ever that young?!

We had the privilege of growing up together.

I remember the sweet, shy, insecure boy I fell head over heels for… skinny, goofy and cute beyond belief. I look at you today in awe and wonder at the self-assured, sexy, confident man you have grown into. And I was there to watch it happen, right before my very eyes.

I want to acknowledge today all the amazing things you have done for me and all the ways you have enhanced my life; so here goes…

 ❤️

You’ve seen the ugliest parts of me and you stayed despite them.

When I cried, you wiped my tears and rocked me in your arms.

When I fell, you picked me up, dusted me off and helped me move on.

When my legs were unsteady, you held my hand and guided me.

When I binged and became overweight, you loved me anyway.

When I went crazy and dropped seriously underweight, you loved me and supported me.

When I doubted myself, you reassured me.

When I hated myself, you fought to show me you loved me.

When I fucked up and hurt you, you forgave me.

 ❤️

When I laugh, you laugh along with me.

When I dance, you have learned to dance with me.

When I am silly, you join me and we are silly together.

When I am wrong, you tell me.

When I am right… you’ve learned to acknowledge it!

 ❤️

With you I feel safe, protected, important.

You put me first.

 ❤️

You are my best friend, my partner, my lover, my soulmate.

For your birthday, I wish you everything that is good…

I wish you happiness, joy, laughter, love, health, luck, success… everything.

If I could give you all that, I would.

What I give to you is me.

All of me, body, spirit, heart, mind and soul.

I give it to you to keep, forever.

Happy Birthday my love!

❤️

Now… let’s go rock out to the Foos!  (yeah… you are meant to click there babe!)

💋

(ps: sorry for the very clichéd and hackneyed road metaphor!)

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Copyright, 2015, k1kat.com

All rights reserved.

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Just The Tip…


IMG_5309 Are you a tipper?

Are you  generous tipper?

In Ireland we don’t have much of a tipping culture. It is very much a discretionary choice and it is not frowned upon to not tip at all. The OH and I have very different attitudes towards tipping. He always tips… even if the service was substandard or mediocre. When the service is good, he tips very generously… too generously in my opinion.

I don’t think I’m a mean person… I will and I do tip, but I do it when I feel it has been deserved.

I am kind of in agreement with Mr. Pink on this one…

It occurs to me, why tip a hairdresser but not dental hygienist? Why tip a waitress but not an air steward or helpful shop assistant or your aerobic instructor? Why do we select certain professions to tip whilst not tipping others? In America it is customary to tip the bartender for simply pouring you a beer, but not the cook in the kitchen. Why do we feel that we must tip someone for simply carrying out their job?

I understand that in many countries, once again America springs to mind, tipping is culturally very important. This is because typically people in the service jobs that receive tips are only paid the minimum wage, if that, so it is understood that tipping is a necessary part of their pay. In fact in America, federal law ALLOWS tips to be used to take servers’ salaries up to the minimum wage! I think it is shocking, and just plain wrong, that employers can get away with paying people as little as $2-$3 per hour.

I argue that, rather than supporting a system where the government allows employers to drastically underpay their staff, which in turn puts pressure on customers to subsidise their meagre pay cheque, why not tighten the regulations about minimum pay and treat employees with the respect they deserve and pay them according to their worth? This way, people in service jobs are paid a fair and decent wage, employers are forced to act responsibly, the government gets more tax revenue and the awkward social etiquette of tipping is eradicated.

I have heard horror stories, again mostly from America, of people being hounded and publicly shamed for not leaving a tip that the server felt was sufficient, or of people being chased out on the street by a server who was upset at the absence of a tip.

There are countries where tipping is virtually non-existent or even discouraged or forbidden. In Australia, Spain, Singapore, Switzerland and New Zealand tipping it not customary or expected. It is illegal in Argentina, considered insulting in Japan, Oman and Yemen, and is included in the price in many other countries, hence rendering it pointless.

How about the fact that not every one is in a position to tip well, if at all?

I don’t work outside the home. I am financially dependent on the OH and I don’t feel that when I go to my hairdresser, who owns and runs her own very successful business, that I should have to pay her any extra over the already high prices she charges. She is very skilled at her profession, but she earns more than I do, (seeing as I earn nothing), so it seems perfectly okay to me that I do not tip her. Instead, I always review her highly on Facebook, recommend her salon and thank her for doing such a good job whenever I visit. She has the security of knowing that she has a loyal repeat customer in me, and has had for the past 8 years.

The OH has a theory that men tip more often and more generously than women. I am not sure I agree with him on this, so I’d love it if you took my poll and let’s see who is right! Or leave me a comment answering these questions: FullSizeRender

I guess you guys think I am a mean, crotchety, parsimonious, penny-pinching, miserly Scrooge now! But honestly… I am really a nice person and generous too… just don’t expect a tip automatically from me! image1 Ciao! 💋

Copyright, 2015, k1kat.com All rights reserved.

Word for Wednesday #16


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Play along with me  here.

This week’s word is pluviophile.

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Living in Ireland, it is fortunate that I do like the rain! We get plenty of it.

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I enjoy the peace of sitting, looking out the window at rainfall, watching the droplets of water run down the glass, listening to the relaxing sound of it on the roof.

I remember walking home one time, a sudden heavy rain shower hit and I was totally unprepared. I remember feeling slightly irritated for half a second and then thinking, “Fuck it!” and raising my face up into the deluge and smiling, feeling the water wash over me. It felt great! I was walking along, drenched to the skin, smiling and laughing to myself. I probably looked like a crazy woman but I didn’t care. It felt… cleansing.

We have a special way of describing rain here in Ireland. You would often hear older people say, “Sure, it’s a grand soft day, thank god.” This refers to a type of rain we get here, more than mist but not quite a full rain shower… drizzle maybe… but even less so. Mizzle!

The poet Winifred M. Letts, although English, spent quite a bit of her childhood in Ireland and wrote this lovely poem about our ‘soft days’:

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Yes, the rain can be annoying, inconvenient and can ruin plans for days out, but without it I wouldn’t have my glorious garden. I wouldn’t live in a country that truly does have at least 40 shades of green decorating our countryside. I hail from Co. Wicklow, which is known as ‘The Garden of Ireland’, and it is simply breathtaking in it’s wild beauty… thanks to our soft days!

I encourage you all to come visit my lovely country.

The people are friendly and funny, the views are spectacular, the food is delicious and the craic is mighty!

But don’t forget to pack a raincoat!

Ciao!

💋

Copyright, 2015, k1kat.com
All rights reserved.

Words That Changed My Life…


Sometimes we can trace back how our lives have turned out to the smallest of things, like words that were spoken to you or by you.

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The OH was a shy guy when I met him, chatty once he was comfortable with you, but never the type to make the first move, (more about that later!). We made friends in second year of college.  I always tried to copy his homework because he was better at Chemistry than I was. I laughed at his jokes and stories in class and I liked him, but never really saw him as anything more than a mate.

I was walking home from the pub one night, a bit brokenhearted that my latest crush wasn’t showing me much reciprocal interest, and there he was on the bridge. We stopped to chat and, out of the blue, (and very unlike the shy guy I had come to know), he offered to walk me home… in the direction he had just come from, even though his house was just around the corner.

That moment of bravery on his part, when he uttered the words, “Can I walk you home?” was the start of something bigger than either of us could ever have imagined. I do believe, in that moment, everything I felt about him changed, just like that.

 *

Fast forward a month or so, during which time the OH and I spent a lot more time together. I loved being with him, but we were still just buddies, even though I knew I wanted more. I was always around him, finding excuses to hang out. I even fell asleep on his sofa with him one night and when I woke in the morning I angled my face up so our lips were almost meeting and waited for him to wake up and accidentally kiss me. It didn’t work… he woke up and nearly fell off the sofa with shock!

[Sidenote: it sounds as if he wasn’t interested which is not true. Years later I asked about how we got together and he told me he had seen me on the very first day of college, a year prior to us ever talking, and he remembered what I was wearing and where I sat in class. He just never thought, (his words), he had a shot with me.]

As the weeks went on, and he remained as gentlemanly as ever, I became more and more frustrated, but with the cocky confidence of youth on my side, I was not going to admit defeat. I wanted this guy and I intended to get him.

After a half-term break we all returned to college and on the Sunday night before class hit the nightclub. We danced as a large group, no one-on-one dancing at all, we drank and had a laugh. Once the ‘slow set’ came on my friend Linda pushed the two of us out onto the dance floor, (as we had planned!), and we did the slow dance shuffle thing awkwardly. I kept my face very available for any kisses he might have wanted to plant but sadly the set ended and my lips remained untouched.

Linda took me aside, “WTF?!” and I decided it was time for me to ‘man up’ and take charge of this situation.

Slow set number two began and I gave him the “Are you dancin?” eyebrow raise and nod towards the floor and he got up.

We danced for all of a minute, my heart beating out of my chest with nerves, when I looked up at him and said the line, “If I do something, will we still be friends tomorrow?” He smiled down at me, (I think he knew what was about to happen), and said “Of course!” I leaned up and planted a very chaste kiss on his lips and as I pulled away he wrapped his arms around me and drew me in for a very deep kiss. We kissed all night and he walked me home.

 *

In Ireland, certainly back in 1991, people didn’t ‘date’. We ‘went out’ with people, we would “go” with someone. If you liked someone you were exclusive from day one until you broke up. As we stood at my door, arms around each other, I said, “So…” and waited to see what would happen.

“So…” he replied smiling, I repeated, “So…” and then he said the next couple of words that changed my life.

“So, do ya wanna go with me or what?”

Romantic huh? Of course, I said yes!

*

Fast forward seven years. We lived together practically from day one, he bought me a toothbrush and a hairbrush for his flat and I basically moved in one piece of clothes at a time.

One day we both had to get formally dressed to get headshots done for some CVs we were sending out to find work. We were lying on our double bed after we got home, me wearing my little business skirt, nylons, a bra and his necktie, (there’s an image!), and him in his open collared shirt trousers.

My parents had both died and I had a bit of inheritance. I was telling him about a chat I’d had with my older brother at the weekend about spending it and that life is short, see the world etc. etc.

We started fantasising about places we would like to holiday in, safari in Africa, the Caribbean, the Seychelles, The Maldives and I said, “Jesus, they are like… not just holidays! Those are serious honeymoon type places,” and he looked down at me and said, “Well let’s do that,” to which I replied something along the lines of “Yeah right, feck off!”

He looked at me and said it… “So, you wanna marry me or what?”, (the romantic devil).

He did have to ask me a few more times before I believed he was deadly serious. I said yes and then proceeded to get the shakes, trembling uncontrollably. So, he took my hand, brought me downstairs, made me beans on toast and fed me until I stopped shaking. (Even back then the guy knew how to give aftercare!)

 *

I look back at my life, and at how I got here, and the four most important lines that were ever said to me or that I ever said are imprinted on my memory:

“Can I walk you home?”

“If I do something will we still be friends tomorrow?”

“Wanna go with me or what?”

“Wanna marry me or what?”

 *

Such small little sentences that made such a difference. 53f5b35c2fa1d41015025c2a0c19fb21

I hold them in my heart always.

Ciao!

💋

Copyright, 2015, k1kat.com

All rights reserved.

Word for Wednesday #15


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Play along here.

This week’s word is…

Abundance

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I love this word! Say it aloud and feel it on your tongue, how much your lips need to move to utter it… it feels full doesn’t it? it feels like what it describes…

In a world where it is all too easy to focus on the negative, on what we are lacking, on what we want but do not have, I think we perhaps need to focus on what we DO have.

I have love in abundance in my life. I have the OH who loves me. My dogs and I are crazily in love with each other. I have family that, although I do not see them often, I love and that love me. I have amazing friends who I can laugh with and lean on when I need to. Yes, I have love in abundance.

I have an abundance of laughter in my life also. I laugh every day, (unless I am in a depression phase), and I love to make other people laugh too. Nothing makes me happier than knowing I’ve entertained someone and brightened their day.

I look out onto my garden and see abundance in my beautiful lilac, which is overflowing with blooms, the branches weighed down under the burden of them. My other plants are not yet as developed but I know I can look forward to next month where they will be gloriously full and generously decorating my outside space.

I tend to plant scented flowers; lilac, daphne, stock, alyssum, roses, herbs… so, not only are my eyes filled with beauty but there is a heady abundance of complimentary fragrances that linger in different parts of the garden. A gentle breeze can result in a different concoction of them, every time creating a new, original perfume to enjoy.

I have two beautiful little blue tits nesting in my bird house, and I suspect they are raising their new family. I make sure to leave out plenty of fat balls and peanuts to help them. I want them to think of my garden as a well stocked pantry for them. Abundant with food for them and their little babies.

The abundance of beauty in my garden is something I am truly grateful for.

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As regular readers know, I am prone to bad days where the black dog comes back to sit heavily on my chest, weighing down on me and making it hard to breathe. On those dark days I try to remember the abundance of good things I have in my life. The love and laughter and beauty that is around me.

If you are having a hard time right now, maybe try to stop and mentally check in for the good things you have. It might be very hard to see them, almost impossible sometimes, but you know what? If you look, you will see there is love and light and, one day, you will feel better and when you do, recognise the abundance of the good things, file it away to brighten the darker days when they come along.

Here’s to plenty, to abundance!

Ciao!

💋

Copyright, 2015, k1kat.com
All rights reserved.

Show, Don’t Tell


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I have not been very active on my blogs lately for a number of reasons… depression, lack of energy, lack of motivation, lack of words!

I have had several ideas fermenting in the dark and dingy recesses of my mind though, images and pictures prompting me to come up with stories to match them.

One image in particular I simply couldn’t shake off was of a woman, sitting at a mirror, removing her make up. There was a heavy feeling of sadness and hopelessness around her and I wondered why. I felt she was wearing a mask, hiding behind the mascara and lipstick, the way so many of us do. But more so, she was hiding from herself. She could not face herself in the mirror. There was a deep sense of self loathing about her.

So today, on a whim, I sat down and opened my MacBook and just started to write. Her story developed as I wrote and it was completed in less than ten minutes.

I hesitated about whether to post it or not. It felt very unpolished, (well, ten minute stories usually are!), and I felt I hadn’t quite fulfilled the very wise brief issued by Anton Chekov above.

I wonder how other writers work? I would love to hear about your process.

Do you write fast or slow? Edit heavily or, like me, barely at all? Plan your story or just let it flow? How do you cope with blocks? What aspects of writing are most challenging for you?

Do you, like me, struggle sometimes to show and not tell? I think it is the mark of truly good writing and I aspire to it, although I do not always succeed.

I wonder too if you are like me. I don’t write at all for days, maybe for up to an entire week and then I have a day like today where I have churned out 4, (yes 4! Go me!), blog posts.

It is probably about having the time, or maybe it’s simply a headspace thing, I don’t know. I wonder as I write this how long it will be before I write again? I never write over the weekends because the OH is here and I think it is important to spend time away from the blogs and focus on us.

So I will wait to see if next week brings inspiration or not.

I hope it does. The days when I write are the best days!

Thanks for reading and please do comment about your writing process, I am all ears!

If you want the story and today’s other posts here they are!

The Mask

My ABCs

Wall of Tears

Ciao!

💋

Copyright, 2015, k1kat.com
All rights reserved.