sareini: "Things I am not allowed to do at Hogwarts, No.61" (Cats and Dragons)
I got back from seeing my niece and spending too much on yarn on Sunday evening, but I was absolutely exhausted until this afternoon. The train journey back shouldn't have been too bad, but both trains were packed to nearly standing-room only and the sheer amount of people pushed me to my limits. I then got a very talkative taxi driver heading to Ross' place (because I started off the weekend by forgetting my keys, so Ross grabbed them for me so I could pick them up from him when I got back) so I had to stop off at his house for a bit to calm down. Got to meet some of the rattie commune though, and discovered that boy rats grow very big indeed. Most of them were pretty chilled with me and I got to pet them, but Neville the rat got freaked out when he smelled me because by that time I had the scent of four cats on me. Sorry Neville.

So, how was my weekend?

Cats! )

Of course, the other big reason I was visiting this weekend was for the Popup Wool Show. I went last year and got some good yarns, so of course I wanted to go again this year. Plus it's the closest thing I get to a summer holiday. I was quite proud of myself this year - despite having that credit card and all the yarn tempting me at very turn, I managed to stay within my budget.

Pictures of yarn! )

As well as my keys, I also managed to forget to take my niece's cardigan up with me, but I did remember my brother's birthday present, the Rock A-Z cross stitch. Rachael helped me frame it, since my skills are a little lacking in that area.

Cross stitch! )

For the most part my brain didn't short-circuit too much while I was up there. There was the crowds on the trains back to Stoke, of course, and the additional problem that the Virgin Trains' Pendulino train always makes me motion sick, so I step off it in a cold sweat and looking like a wax dummy. The Popup Wool Show was more crowded this year than it was last year, which was somewhat upsetting, but I was with my niece and so I was able to get through it with the only outward symptom being a bad case of aphasia (Every fifth word became "thingy.") Ross sent me regular updates about the cats being fine which also helped (Lily is making me mildly worried by repeatedly climbing into the cat carrier but I'm sure there's nothing actually wrong and it's just me seeing things where there's nothing again). I am however avoiding actual face-to-face or physical contact with other people for the rest of the week now as I recover my strength though.
sareini: The Mountains of Madness have many little plateaus of sanity - Discworld (Mountains of Madness)
Tomorrow I'm heading up to spend the weekend with my niece (my brother having managed to plan a week in Wales at the same time so he and the dog won't be there), where we will be going to the Popup Wool Show. I did this last year and everything was fine; we had a great time, I spent far too much on yarn, and my neighbours checked in on the cats. This year Ross is doing the catsitting, which is even better as Lily loves Ross (she sits on his lap, which she won't even do for me), and even though Callie still mostly flees from the sight of him, she does that for everyone and last time she actually came out and sniffed him, and so everything should be fine.

So of course yesterday I had two massive panic attacks over leaving Lily which left me physically sick and nearly fainting, and all because Lily meowed at me once, which to my broken brain apparently translated into, "Lily is going to die this weekend". I'm at least calmer today because I've managed to cram some sense into myself, but I've still got a headache from making myself so worked up yesterday.

I hate the utter randomness that my panic attacks follow, because I can't do anything to counter or prepare for them. Ideas and intrusive thoughts just enter my head out of nowhere and make themselves at home, and the next thing I know I'm lying in bed thinking that the floor is going to collapse under me, or that someone is preparing to break into the house right this very moment - or that the cats will drop dead if I leave the house for more than an hour. And with the current state of my local authority's mental health services, the chances of me getting any sort of treatment (CBT or otherwise) before 2018 at the earliest are slim to none. So I mainly have to figure out coping methods on my own.

One method (technically two) is to distract myself with knitting or crochet. Right now I have a 10-stitch blanket on hand for random panic attacks (I'm making it with a ball of Sirdar Colorwheel because I think the long colour changes of the yarn will work well with the pattern, and it feels really soft), and last night I finally found with a pattern for a skein of yarn I got at last year's Popup Wool Show that's 55% Bluefaced Leicester Superwash and 45% silk - Persephone. I'm probably going to take this one with me this weekend as the pattern is incredibly easy to memorise (and the ball is smaller than the Colorwheel).

Headache

Jul. 7th, 2017 05:01 pm
sareini: (hiding)
I think Howling VII: New Moon Rising broke my brain. That's about the only reason I can come up with as to why I developed a headache after watching and reviewing it.

Well, it could also be a thunderstorm headache, but that doesn't bring across quite how bad Howling VII is, so let me hyperbolise for a bit.

30 Days of Music Meme - Day 4! )
sareini: default (Default)
I just got a call from my brother. It's never good when he calls in the daytime so I braced myself. Didn't help.

Sammy, my niece's cat who I just saw at the weekend, got run over by a car this morning. To make things even more perfectly timed, it was her birthday yesterday.

To say we are all upset is an understatement. I'm sitting here crying my eyes out and fighting an onset of magical thinking that this was somehow my fault. When I was 10 I went on a Girl Guide weekend camp. When I came back my father had been taken into hospital and he was dead from cancer a week later. Ever since then I've been terrified of going away anywhere in case it happens again. And each time I think I've gotten over it, something happens to start it up again. And I can't tell them that, especially right now, because things are bad enough without my insanity leaking into everything.

And I feel so bad for my niece. She loved that cat; she'd had him from a tiny kitten and he was a brilliant cat, and the worst thing is that, if she wanted to get another one a few months down the line, she probably won't be able to because of the Rottweiler.

Today is a failure of a day.
sareini: (tired)
Aaaannnnd I'm back. I didn't take my laptop in the end, because I couldn't fit it in my messenger bag and I couldn't find the charger.

The journey to Merseyside wasn't that bad - there was the part where we had to stop in Crewe, of course - the most depressing train station in existence, where if the architecture doesn't get you the prices will, at £1.99 for a single bottle of Ribena - but I've grown somewhat immune to that over the years and I brought my own water. No, the only problem came when I reached Liverpool, where there was a rail replacement service due to them completely refitting the Wirral Line. So I get off the train, and go ask the nearest staff member where the replacement bus service is picking up. "Oh, just down there," he points, in the general direction of outside. "You'll see a man in a yellow tabard."

Did I fuck.

After wandering around for 20 minutes and not seeing a single yellow tabard (or tabard of any other colour) I admitted defeat and changed my plans. Thankfully I spent years going to and from Liverpool on the buses, so I at least knew my way around to the bus stops that would get me under the river anyway, so I headed there and called my brother to pick me up at a different bus stop than we had planned. Gods only know what would have happened if I hadn't known my way around; I'd probably still be making laps of the station, weakly calling out for aid.

It amused me that, while the basics of Liverpool Lime Street and the bus station hadn't changed much in 20 years, the immediate surrounding area had. I walked past a 5 Guys Burger and Fries joint there, right next to a Nando's and a casino... yet all three were no more than 150 meters from a Poundstretcher. Pretty sure you wouldn't see that anywhere but Liverpool. And they've got sightseeing buses now - the topless kind you usually see in London. My brother pointed out that Liverpool's a major tourist destination now (yet you can only buy London souvenirs in the station shop), so I guess that growing up in the area has just made me unaware of the tourist potential. I just spent my time looking around and going, "Aww, they closed that shop? But I loved that place!"

At my brother's I got to meet his Rottweiler, Rogue. Rogue is about 15 months old and my brother's had him a little over a month. He's a good dog, most of the time... except when he sees other dogs, which he wants to play with, or cyclists, which he wants to chase, and then he shoots off like a rocket and won't come when he's called. They're working on training him out of it. He also likes to lick feet, and desperately wants to be friends with my niece's cat. Said cat is less keen on the idea.

Sammy is the cat, and my niece has had him for a little over a year. A friend of hers found him as a small kitten wandering the streets and took him in, but then asked Rachael to foster him as she already had cat food (for her hedgehog, which died this week). She did so, then fell in love with him and decided to keep him. He's a champion mouser and herds and protects the rabbits in the garden, but so far he's not at all happy with the big dog in his house, and has scratched poor Rogue's nose several times.

Cat standing on sofa with tail in air

Rottweiler sitting on rug

On the Saturday evening Rachael's boyfriend came round and we had a Eurovision mini-party, with cold pizza slices, cheese-and-pineapple/pickled onion sticks, pigs in blankets and traffic light jellies. Eurovision was... interesting this year, what with dancing gorillas, Epic Sax Man, rap and yodeling and a band apparently fronted by that masked guy from Watch Dogs 2. As for Portugal winning... well, I missed the start of the entry because my catsitter called, and when I came back in I thought the singer was female at first and had to be corrected. The song made little to no impression on me, but apparently the rest of Europe liked it so there you go. Personally I would have voted for Hungary or Croatia. Oh, and "Celebrate Diversity!" screams the event that was bursting at the seams with young white men. Well done. /sarcastic clap

We also played Risk: Godstorm, which is a version where you're an ancient civilisation with the associated gods, and your goal is to take over as much of the known world with your gods; help. So a lot like regular Risk, but with far more complicated rules involving faith and miracles and godsbattles. I got put in charge of reading and keeping track of the rules, which might have seemed a good idea, but... I'd had two bottles of raspberry cider by that point, and I'm on medication which shouldn't really be mixed with alcohol. So I was maybe a little drunk at this point, and so it was a rather... confused game at best. But fun.

(Rachael's boyfriend won, and created Party Valhalla, where defeated warriors who defended well got given a Beer Hat.)

And now I'm back home. Lily was waiting for me in the window, and has not left my side since I came back. Callie needed to check I was who I appeared to be, ran around for a bit, then got bored and wandered off. I had a good weekend, but I'm glad to be home. Also tired.
sareini: A quote from the book Good Omens (Good Omens)
I'm setting off to my brother's in about an hour or so, for my niece's birthday/Eurovision party (and to see them, of course). I haven't managed to finish the cardigan, of course, but I'm still taking it with me to (a) prove it exists; and (b) work on it a bit more while I'm there.

I'm only staying the night because I get way too anxious about being away from home and the cats for more than a night. This is despite knowing that the cats will be fine for a day or two as long as they have enough food and water, and having my friend Ross come round this evening to refill food and water bowls and provide medication. Lily absolutely loves Ross and thinks he's the best thing since Brian Kendrick. Callie is far less confident around him because he comes from Outside and is not me, so she will probably just stay upstairs lying flat on the bed.

My train tickets are already booked and ready to be picked up, my journey is planned out and I even selected window seats so I can be in my comfort zone. The only real problem is that the final part of my journey will be by replacement bus service, as Merseyrail are in the middle of a huge track upgrade. I'm not very fond of rail replacement buses as they're usually dirty and cramped and not that reliable, but my choices are limited so I'll have to take deep breaths and get through it.

I am taking my laptop with me so I can at least try to blog and chat about Eurovision while I'm there, but my niece wants to play Rift: Godstorm with us all during the show (she does not understand the seriousness of the most camp show in all of Europe). I'll also get to meet Rogue the Rottweiler and give him his pig's ear and dog beer, and see my niece's cat Sammy and let him complain to me about the dog that's taken up residence in his house. I'm also going to take a writing book and pen with me in case I get the time to try to dash something off roughly, but between family, cats, dogs, rabbits and Eurovision I'm not sure that will be too likely.

Otherwise I'll be back tomorrow evening.
sareini: default ("bad century")
Six years. It's been a while. Stuff's happened, obviously, since I was last here.

Nick died. November 17 2015 - so exactly 4 months ago. I got woken up at 4am by the cats biting my elbow (well, Lily was biting as Cracker has no teeth), heard the silence of the house and realised it was not a good silence, went to his room and found him dead in bed. Bronchopneumonia and sepsis, it turned out to be. He'd had a cough for several weeks but we'd thought nothing of it, mainly because of an advert that had been on TV a couple of years previously that went, "Had a cough for more than a few weeks? It could be CANCER!" and so whenever I mentioned the cough we'd laugh about that and he'd tell me it was nothing serious. All the other symptoms were masked by the ridiculous amount of painkillers Nick needed to take on a daily basis to do things like get out of bed and move about - he was on 40mg of morphine at the end because of the state of his knees and back. So neither of us knew anything until it was way too late for anything to be done.

It was very odd, telling his friends and family that he had died and then immediately following it up with, "He didn't kill himself." Because for the last few years, Nick's mental problems had been getting the better of him as well. I'd been his full-time carer for several years at that point, and it's pretty safe to say that looking after him was really the only thing that was keeping me going day-to-day. Because after his death I more or less had a complete mental breakdown myself and am now quite nearly as crazy as he was, albeit with my own spin on things. I don't leave the house very much any more, talk to anyone or do very much, because the outside world is really just too big and scary and overwhelming to deal with now. And it has far too many people.

So it's just me and the cats now. And it's two new cats too. Sandy sadly died in 2011 of stomach cancer, and Suki followed him 3 months later of old age and just being lonely. So now I have Lily, who's a ginger flump who barely makes a sound except when she's playing, but who loves to climb up onto the sofa or bed with me and snuggle and lick my nose (and occasionally nip it as a game). She's 12 now, but she neither looks it nor acts like it, which is a good thing as I don't think I could cope with losing anyone else for a good while. The other cat is Cracker, who we got about 6 months after Lily because she was getting a little bit too flump-y and we hoped that a playmate might help her lose some weight. Cracker is a skinny black cat with no teeth and inflammatory bowel disease, which means she uses the litter box a lot- hence her full title sometimes being Cracker the Amazing Pooping Cat. She came from a house with 21 other cats after being rescued from the streets, which made her the friendliest cat in the world, albeit with a lack of understanding about personal space that's remarkable, even for cats, and also one of the most anxious. She doesn't like being on her own - even more so now that it's just the three of us, and howls her displeasure if she finds herself alone in a room for more than 1o minutes.

I'm at university again, this time studying Creative Writing part-time. Well, that's the theory anyway, as I'm currently more or less on extenuating circumstances leave while I try to get myself back on my feet. My tutors are all very understanding, actually, as apparently I'm quite good at my course and they want to keep me on, but it's still difficult to get into classes when I can't face going out and I've got no money to do so anyway. Because of course, with being completely snooker loopy comes the fun of being unable to work and having to claim disability benefits... but we'll go into the fun and games of that in another post. Just rest assured that it's not really possible to live on £73 a week when £50 of that goes on heating and electricity, and that if it wasn't for the help of others I wouldn't have lasted this long.

I decided to start posting here again because I need somewhere to put my thoughts down, and because this is, in theory at least, a way in which I can reach out to other people in some semblance of socialisation. Because most days, other than the cats and my brother who calls every day, I don't talk to anyone at all, and that's probably not helping my mental state. I'm going to try to post something every day, even if it comes down to, "Still here, still not doing much but watching twitch.tv on the sofa." because at least I'm trying then.

Also, I can play with all my icons.

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