Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Creating History

I realised for the first time today, that when I see a random stranger walking down the street I have a tendency to create a history for them. This afternoon as I was driving back to work from the Supermarket, I heard myself thinking about it. There were two middle-aged men walking together, one slightly in front. Neither of them were talking, but the guy walking a little behind was looking intently at his companion. There could have been a slight lull in the conversation, or a dramatic pause, but the look on his face conveyed hurt, and an impatience for the next line. So, as I do, I started to create a whole back story for the two strangers. They were both wearing suits, so they were on their lunch break walking to the nearest store for some food. For some reason they instantly became lovers, involved in an illicit affair that they had to keep secret at the office. The conversation between them had been strained for the previous part of their journey before my path crossed theirs, and just as I was passing, it had moved into an argument. The look of hurt and anticipation was caused by a comment that the leading man had made. Something spiteful and untrue, said just to cause the other man some pain, something to get back at him for the words that he had said last night. Then just as quickly they had entered my life, they are gone, probably never to be seen by me again.
Then a little later we were passing a young woman wearing an incredibly short skirt and a tight tank top. Her hair was blowing about in the blustery wind that chills the air in Derby at the minute. I didn't think she would work in an office, so she became a struggling student, walking into work at one of the nearby pub/restaurants. Earning a living in a job that she hates, but has to do if she wants to continue her studies. Dreading the afternoon turning into evening when the leering, leching men will come out in their droves to slime all over her. And just to make things worse, she was out last night, clubbing with some friends. So not only does she have to deal with unsavoury men, she has to do it with a hangover!
There were many more people that we passed on our drive back, totally oblivious to the fact they had in a small way changed my life. For without them, I would not be sitting here right now, writing this for you! It's like The Five People you Meet in Heaven, how people can touch you, and change your life without even realising they're doing it. It fascinates me.
I guess it all comes down imagination again. It surprises me how many of my posts revolve around imagination. I'm so thankful for mine! It makes life so much easier to deal with!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Time for recovery

Hi everyone! Sorry for the lack of posting for a while, I've been off sick with the Mumps! I didn't think I'd get them, as I had been vaccinated against it, but hey, who can tell what life's gonna throw at you!

Whilst I was off though, I kept a journal of all sorts of things I wanted to talk about here when I got back. Now, in typical Rachel Style, I've left the book at home, so I've forgotten most of what I wanted to write about! There are few bits and pieces that I remember though!

The weekend before last was probably one of the most stressful weekends I've had in a very long time! I didn't realise quite how much work was involved in moving house. Finally, we have moved out of our cold, dark unfriendly house, and into a much bigger, warmer, lighter one. Our friend Kim has joined us, and its just wonderful! The new place is just down the road from some parks, which are great for shooting some hoops, or playing Frisbee, or just hanging out with a picnic. The roads are much wider, which means that there is so much more light. This gives the whole area a much nicer vibe that we're all picking up on. All three of us just seem to be in a much lighter mood, that I'm hoping will continue for the summer.

I think because the move was so stressful, we all appreciate the new house so much more. We had 8 car loads and a van full of stuff altogether! There were just boxes and boxes of kitchen supplies, photos, paintings, old clothes, new clothes, lamps, bathroom stuff everywhere! I just wanted it done so that I could go to bed and start my recovery! We have some wonderful friends however, who were more than helpful, they were just amazing! They did as much as they could so that I could do as little as I could! They drove to and from the new house many times, and ensured that everything that could be done was done. Then another friend came round a little later with a picnic for us, because all of our food was still packed up, or in the trash! We were expecting a few sandwiches and maybe some crisps, but she turned up with a feast fit for kings, (or queens in our case!). There were 4 different types of sandwiches, potato salad, coleslaw, little handmade jam sandwich hearts, a myriad different crisps....And then some cakes and sweets for after! It was just what we needed after a hard day's moving. Friends are one of the most important things in life, and I appreciate mine more than words can express.

It was very strange spending the final night in our old house. Everything was packed away, apart from the few essentials that were needed for the next morning. The wardrobes were empty, the cupboards bare, the shelves were stark against the plain walls, stripped of all the posters and pictures. Our voices echoed around the rooms, and we were surrounded by that silence that only exists in empty buildings. When the morning sun rose, and woke us from our broken sleep, we were all too happy to vacate the unreceptive shell that had been our home for 6 months. When all was unpack in the new house however, we had the opposite emotions. When the sun set that night, the wardrobes were packed, the walls were covered in the faces of old and new friends, and the rooms were full of the noise of happy voices chatting away. The change was wonderful, and for the past week that we have been in our new house, things have just got better and better...Long may it continue!

Hope you're all well, and having fun!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Writing vs Blogging...

I've just been reading Jeckles Geek Blog, which has become one of my favourite places to visit recently, and he has a post up about the best kind of writing. I totally agree with everything he writes. The best posts are those that just come to you as you're writing them. Don't get me wrong, the posts that are thought out and scrutinized can also be very good, but I think it can get to a stage where they no longer come from the heart, but from the head instead. I much prefer to read and write stuff that comes from the heart.
However, I do know how it feels to have something in your head that you are desperate to tell people, and try to get the words out so that they sound just right. It's very difficult, so your brain starts to take over, and then things become over analysed, and you ask yourself, "does that sarcastic?" or "does does that sound really mean?", because to you, it's ok, you can hear the intonation in your phrases, but when other people are reading them...They're just words on a page. Things can become misinterpreted very easily which then causes problems. But I guess the same can be said of any form of writing really.
Jeckles also points out that he is not a writer, but a blogger. I feel the same way...I do not consider myself a writer, but more of a journal-keeper on-line! I don't consider myself (at this stage) good enough to be a writer. I'm hoping that will come with time, and practice. In the mean time I intend to keep reading the amazing blogs that I read regularly, and Lorianne, you'll be please to know, I took your advice, and I'm now writing at least something every day in a journal at home. Even when I come back slightly worse for ware from the pub...I'll put a little snippet in there! Thanks for the advice!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The strangeness of School...Pt 2

Since I wrote the first part of this story, my brain has just been overloaded with snippets of memories from school. Trying to remember the names of some of those Scary 6th Formers, or minor flashbacks to getting in trouble for the silliest of things. So once again, I thought I'd delight you all(!!!) and write some more of them down!

One of the fastest things you have learn while at boarding school, is how to get on with people. When you live in a dorm with as many as 7 other people, who might also happen to be in the same form as you, you would be living with them pretty much 24 hours a day. That's why you need to learn to get on! Of course we all had petty arguments over who's stuff was in who's 'area', and who had borrowed who's pencil and not given it back. You had to have a certain about of tolerance in order to survive, but when you're 8, you can't spell the word tolerance, let alone know what it meant! However, on the whole most of us got on fairly well. There was the odd exception of course. I remember when I was about 10, there was a girl in the year above me (who I would love to catch up with now, to see what she's up to) who was very much a fiery red head...And wow, was she FIERY!!! Not only that, but she was huge! She was well over 5'5 and quite broad at the age of 12, which gave her a towering presence. I'm fairly sure she could meet eye to eye with some of the teachers! Tanya had a temper unlike anyone I knew. When she was in a good mood, she was lovely, and we got on really well, but then at times, something would flick, and she would become a Ginger Hulk! One afternoon for reasons that have left me now, Tanya was in one of her moods. In these situations, you had to really watch what you said, or where you went, in order to avoid serious injury! As she went redder and redder in the face with anger, we got paler and paler in fear. I don't think she would let us leave our dorm, and we weren't going to anything to stop her! My friend Louise, bless her heart, was only trying to help the situation by finding out the reason for Tanya's frightful mood, when before we all knew it, she had Louise pinned up against the wall screaming at her! We were all so stunned at what was going on that nobody could move. I think there was throwing of coathangers, and maybe even shoes in the whole Fracas that followed! It was one of the biggest fights I think I've been in even to this day! Looking back on it now, it was so much fun! We got to throw stuff without the supervision of adults! We all got into trouble of course, none of us worse than Tanya though. She was put into 'isolation', she had to eat alone, sleep in the Sick Bay alone, sit alone in lessons...We all felt a bit sorry for her, but when she got into her tempers we were all thankful of the isolation!
Another quite handy thing that you learn to do, is sleep through ANYTHING!!!! Again, it comes down to living in a dorm with many people in. When they're all chatting away, and you want to sleep, you have to learn to live with it, and block it out. It's a good talent to have (if I can call it a talent), because in later life, you can sleep through the annoying blackbirds that sing at 4am in the morning, or the jet planes that fly over your house at midnight!
A further strange regulation they enforced during all my time at St Christopher's School, was that you had to have your dressing gown over the end of your bed, and your slippers at the side, in case of an emergency in the night. At the time my dressing gown was quite a heavy duty toweling one, which weighed quite a lot. It felt a bit odd at first having this great weight on my feet, but after a while it became a comfort. When I went home for breaks, I would still put my dressing gown at the end of my bed, and even when I started at my next school, where we had actual pegs to hang them from, it would always be there where it belonged. In fact, even to this day, 5 years after finishing school, if I don't have some sort of weight at my feet, be in a quilt, or even just a folded towel, I find it very difficult to get to sleep. Yes, I know, I probably shouldn't be admitting this to the world, but hey...I am! Isn't it strange what silly traditions can install into our brains.....

Oh, once again, I could go on and on, but I think that's about enough of that. I hope I haven't bored you to sleep with this one! I think there will probably be more to come too, I just keep remember more and more occurrences, that, more than anything, I want to get down 'on paper'.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Just a bit of FUN!

This comes with thanks to Debi whose Blog I found through Wil Wheaton's site.
It's all a bit of fun!!!

The object is simple: Put an x next to the things you've done:

(x) smoked a cigarette
(x ) smoked a cigar
( ) made out with a member of the same sex
(x) been in love
(x ) been dumped
() stolen
() been fired
( ) been in a fight
() snuck out of my parent's house
(x) had feelings for someone who didn't have them back
( ) been arrested
( x) made out with a stranger
() gone on a blind date
(x) lied to a friend
(x) had a crush on a teacher
(x) skipped school
( ) slept with a coworker
() seen someone die
( ) had a crush on one of your blogging friends
(x) been to Canada
(x) been to Mexico
(x) been on a plane
( ) thrown up in a bar
( ) purposely set a part of myself on fire
(x) eaten Sushi
( ) been snowboarding
( ) met someone in person from the blogosphere
( ) been hxc dancing at a show (hxc? I have no idea what that means!)
( ) been in an abusive relationship
(x) taken painkillers
(x) love someone or miss someone right now
(x) laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by
(x) made a snow angel
(x) had a tea party
(x) flown a kite
(x) built a sand castle
(x) gone puddle jumping
(x) played dress up
(x) jumped into a pile of leaves
(x) gone sledding
(x) cheated while playing a game
(x) been lonely
(x) fallen asleep at work/school
( ) used a fake id
(x) watched the sun set
() felt an earthquake
(x) touched a snake
(x) slept beneath the stars
(x) been tickled
() been robbed
(x) been misunderstood
(x) pet a reindeer/goat
(x) won a contest
() run a red light
( ) been suspended from school
() been in a car accident
( ) had braces
(x) felt like an outcast
(x) eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night - Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Cake baby!! mmm
(x) had deja vu
(x) danced in the moonlight
(x) hated the way you look
( ) witnessed a crime
( ) pole danced
(x) questioned your heart
(x) been obsessed with post-it notes
(x) squished barefoot through the mud - In Georgia Hostel in the Forest - one of the best weeks of my life!
(x) been lost
(x) been to the opposite side of the country - does the other side of the world count on this one? I've been to Australia, and both sides of the USA, but to be honest, I don't think I've been to that many places in my home country of the UK!!!!!
(x) swam in the ocean
(x) felt like dying
(x) cried yourself to sleep
( x) played cops and robbers
(x) recently colored with crayons/colored pencils/markers
(x ) sung karaoke
(x) paid for something with only coins
(x) done something you told yourself you wouldn't
() made prank phone calls
(x) laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
(x) caught a snowflake on your tongue
(x) danced in the rain
(x) written a letter to Santa Claus
( x) been kissed under a mistletoe
( x) watched the sun set with someone you care about
(x) blown bubbles
( x) made a bonfire
(x) crashed a party
(x) gone roller-skating
(x) had a wish come true
( ) humped a monkey
() worn pearls
( ) jumped off a bridge
( ) screamed penis in class
( ) ate dog/cat food
( ) told a complete stranger you loved them
( ) kissed a mirror
(x) sang in the shower
() have a little black dress
( x) had a dream that you married someone - Tom Cruise to be precise!!!
( ) glued your hand to something
( ) got your tongue stuck to a flag pole
( x) kissed a fish - hahahahaha - well, kissed someone who kissed like you'd imagine a fish to kiss like - It was GROSS!!!!
(x) worn the opposite sexes clothes
( ) been a cheerleader
(x) sat on a roof top
(x) screamed at the top of your lungs
( ) done a one-handed cartwheel
(x) talked on the phone for more than 6 hours
(x) stayed up all night
( /) didn't take a shower for a week - I've given myself half a cross for that was more like 5 days...we went to the Glastonbury Music Festival, where there were no showers! It was amazing!!!! (not the no showering part...the festival part!!!)
(x ) pick and ate an apple right off the tree
(x) climbed a tree
( ) had a tree house
(x) are too scared to watch scary movies alone
(x) believe in ghosts
() have more then 30 pairs of shoes
( ) worn a really ugly outfit to school just to see what others say
( ) gone streaking
() played ding-dong-ditch
( ) played chicken [in the pool]
(x) been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on
( ) been told you're hot by a complete stranger
(x) broken a bone
(x) been easily amused - it's what gets me through life :) - Me TOO!!!!!
() caught a fish then ate it
( ) made porn
() caught a butterfly
(x) laughed so hard you cried
(x) cried so hard you laughed
() mooned/flashed someone
(x) had someone moon/flash you
(x) cheated on a test
( ) have a Britney Spears CD
(x) forgotten someone's name
(x) slept naked
(x ) French braided someone's hair
(x) gone skinny dippin in a pool - It was a lake actually....
( ) been kicked out of your house
(x) ridden a horse bareback
( ) eaten a lobster you caught yourself
( ) killed another human being

Copy and paste to your own journal and adjust the x's accordingly.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The strangeness of school...

Whilst driving home to my parents house for the weekend, my older sister and I started to reminisce about our first Boarding School. She was 8 when she started and then I joined her 3 years later when I was 7. When I tell people that, they almost always seem aghast that we were 'sent away' so young. I really don't see it like that. For me, at least, it was this huge adventure. My sister would come home at the end of each term with some wonderful stories about what they had been up to. Midnight Feasts, Playing in the small wood at the end of the Field, being in trouble for talking after 'Lights Out'. I just wanted to get there and join her too. Also, a friend of my mom's daughter was starting at the same time as me, so I at least knew somebody my own age.

My time at
St Christopher's School, (when I think back on it now, 10 years later) was amazing. I made some wonderful friends, who I am still in touch with now, and the memories I have from there will be with me forever! So, as my sister and I were talking, we decided that all our memories should be written down, so that we'll always have a 'hard copy' of them...So that's what I'm going to do. Forgive me if this post doesn't flow so well, I'm just going to type as I remember, then sort it later!

I don't know where to start really, so I guess I'll just go with whatever comes to me.

Being 7 years old and away from home was quite difficult. I was lucky in the fact that my sister was already there, so if I ever felt upset, I could just go and find her, and she'd give me a hug. At that age I was terrified of Thunder storms. I never really knew what it was exactly that scared me, I just didn't like them at all, the bright flashes, followed by the low grumble of thunder, that nobody ever really explained to me. I have distinct memories of sneaking out of my dorm into the corridor, lit only by the security light outside the window, and creeping past the Matron's room at the end, just as scared of her as I was of the thunder. Everytime the lightening flashed I would freeze in terror just waiting for that rumble of thunder to consume all logical thoughts in my head. Eventually I made it to my sisters dorm, which seemed to be about a million miles away, I knocked lightly on the door, to be greeted by a whole bunch of smiling faces as they were watching the storm out of the window. My sisters friends were all really nice to me, as I was 'Lizzie's little Sister', and they all took my under their wings. She came over and gave me one of those hugs that only big sisters can give. Then I went and crawled into her bed, with the covers tight over my ears, trying to block out the terrible noise, while they all sat captivated by the storm. I think I might have got into a LOT of trouble the next morning for being out of my dorm, but I didn't care. For those hours in the middle of the night when I was so scared, my sister and her friends were all there to look out for me!
We had so many strange rules at this school, which only seem odd to me now. At the time, it was just the normal thing to do. At meal times we had a 6th Former at the head of the table. Now, you have to understand that when you're 7 years old, and the 6th Formers are 13, they are SCARY! When they walk down the corridor, you move out of the way. Unless they talk to you, you don't even look at them! They just had this air about them...They were...Well....OLD! Well, that's what it felt like. Anyway, I digress...At dinner they would serve out the food, and you have to have at least a small amount of everything; even if you didn't like it. You could request a small portion if there was something you didn't like, but you HAD to eat it (even the grossest of foods like peas and Frankfurter Sausages and tinned tomatoes). Once all the food was eaten, and it was time to clear the table, the Kitchen Manager, Miss Brent - who herself was incredibly scary - would ring a hand bell, and that was it...No talking...At...All. Complete Silence. Quite why, I'm still not sure about, but that's the way it was. None of us were ever daring enough to test out what would happen if you got caught trying to have a sneaky conversation! The silence didn't really achieve anything, I don't think, it's not as if we were too busy talking to get on with things...I don't know.
I think my most vivid memory of this school is the smell. When we arrived back after vacations, having been away for about 1/2 months, the first thing that hit you when you walked in the door was the smell of floor polish mixed with something else that I don't think I would be able to describe even if I had smelled it only yesterday. Nobody knew what this mystery smell was, but it was school. The dread that had been building up in the 1 1/2 hour car journey there was suddenly whisked away with that smell, replaced by the excitement of seeing friends again, finding out which dorm you were in, then running up the stairs to 'bag' your bed before anyone else, finding out which meal table you were on, and which form teacher you would have for that year. Even just thinking about it now, 10 years later, brings a smile to my face and the same butterflies in my stomach. Oh to have those days back....Just for a little while.
There is so much more I want to say here, but I think that's probably enough for the time being. This post is probably more for my benefit than anyone else's, as it won't mean much to them...But I've enjoyed writing it, and I hope you enjoyed reading it.