Photo Gallery: Trinkets

Finding Everyday Inspiration: If We Were Having Slivovitz

Finding Everyday Inspiration: If We Were Having Slivovitz

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

It’s challenging to take part in a challenge when you’ve already taken your challenged part in every challenge. In other words, I’ve already been challenged to everything. In other other words, I’ve already written about everything. This includes today’s stale prompt, which is, If we were having coffee. To exterminate any potential bacteria and fungus in the stale coffee prompt, I’ll be having slivovitz instead.

If we were having slivovitz, I’d be more annoying than usual but that wouldn’t matter because we’d be having slivovitz.

If we were having slivovitz, I’d be complaining about my shitty life and punctuate my rant with the assertion that I’m not complaining. (I am aware of the irony.)

If we were continuing having slivovitz, I’d request that you compliment my hairdo, make-up, glasses, apparel and also my being a badass smartass.

If we were still having slivovitz, I’d produce fifty most recent pictures of my cat and demand that you praise her.

If we were having more slivovitz, I’d recite by heart several poems in several languages only because I can.

If we were having our last slivovitz, I’d reminisce about the communists and cry because a democratic revolution interfered before I could become a pioneer (the communist version of girl scouts).

If we were having slivovitz, we wouldn’t have slivovitz again for a very long time.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Structure

Weekly Photo Challenge: Structure

In response to WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Structure.

Finding Everyday Inspiration: I Watch My Cat Sleep

Finding Everyday Inspiration: I Watch My Cat Sleep

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Today’s writing prompt involves going out and watching people. I’m not doing it for so many reasons.

Number one, I’m scared to out after an incident with a neighbour yesterday, which sent me spiralling down into a panic attack. I might or might not blog about it, I’m currently deciding which will be more therapeutic.

Number two, I’ve been there and done that. The same task was part of an earlier writing course I took and I already completed it. It resulted in an unexciting post.

Number three, nothing is happening. I consider that a good thing. Nothing is not a particularly suitable subject to write about though.

Instead, I’ll watch my cat sleep.

Look who’s not sleeping

My (her own) cat sleeps on her half of the double bed and I sleep on mine. That’s at least what I think. In fact, the bed and everything else is the cat’s.

The cat joins me on the bed shortly after I tuck myself in. She usually curls up at the bottom, next to my feet. Even when I’m sleeping, I’m on guard so I wouldn’t kick the poor thing when I’m tossing and turning.

When I wake up at night, I watch the cat sleep. There’s not much to be seen. In the dark, the cat is just a dark heap, which could be mistaken for a bundle of clothes. One can’t tell where the head is and where the tail.

Towards the morning, the cat often moves to the other end of the bed, next to my face. She’s there when I wake up to get up. Sometimes she’s still sleeping. She breathes fast but steadily and her furry downside is rising and falling.

She is wide awake the moment I start moving. She comes for a cuddle. She sits or crouches with her front paws tucked beneath her and presents her head for a rub. Cuddling the cat is the first thing I do in the morning and the most zen thing to do.

Finding Everyday Inspiration: When I’m Not Writing, I’m Writing

Finding Everyday Inspiration: When I’m Not Writing, I’m Writing

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Today’s challenging challenge is to describe what you’re doing when you’re not writing. I’m not sure I understand the question. It’s like asking me, the workaholic that I am, what I’m doing when I’m not working. If I’m not working, I’m busy feeling guilty that I’m not working. I’m not sure what there’s to describe about feeling guilty.

There are some additional prompts to the task though. Here are the extra questions, along with my answers: What do you do when you’re not writing? What do you need in your day-to-day life to maintain balance: Running? (No way!) Yoga? (Yes.) Gardening? (I don’t meet the having-a-garden prerequisite.) Painting? (Once a year. Poorly.) Cooking? (Hell no!)

Someone’s been writing here

When I’m not writing, I’m writing.

I write shopping lists. Frozen veggies, soy bites, tofu steak, soy milk, pineapple juice, coffee, coffee yogurt drink, crisp bread, seasoned meat, cat food, Oreos. Above all, Oreos. Also, a standing order for any amount of tissues for my all-year-round allergies.

I write to-do-lists. File my bloody nails already. Take the bloody bin out for the dustmen to collect. Brush the bloody cat’s coat finally. I fiercely hate my to-do-lists. I habitually fail to do them, so I keep writing and rewriting them. Sometimes I freak out and throw them out.

I write emails. Replying to requests. Sending price quotes. Delivering completed orders. Penning polite payment reminders. Worrying that I won’t get paid. Worrying that I’ll type the Facebook message meant for my mother in the body of the email instead. Worrying that I forgot to attach the attachment. Worrying that I sent the wrong attachment. Worrying in general in case something goes wrong.

When I’m not writing, I’m worrying.

Photo Gallery: Catholic Church

Photo Gallery: Catholic Church

I’ve been to the local church. It’s a small country church really, but as I examined it, I was surprised by the abundance of marble, the heavily gilded statues and the stained glass windows. It’s a Catholic church, hence the amount of decorations—now I quite get the Protestants.

As I stealthily slipped in with my camera, I half-expected to be kicked out for desecrating the property. Instead, I found there two surveyors with their equipment, going about their business. I don’t have a very clear idea what the business of surveyors is—maybe there’s a meridian or something running through the building?

In order to acknowledge the sanctity of the place, I was thinking about dipping my finger in the holy water at the entrance and crossing myself—that’s the standard ritual—but then I remembered that I’m a bloody Buddhist and also, there was no water.


What I Hated the Least Today 261/365: MS Paint and the Practice of Ensō

What I Hated the Least Today 261/365: MS Paint and the Practice of Ensō

Recently I noticed a huge discussion sparkled about MS Paint, which was announced to be retired but the decision was promptly withdrawn because people are sentimental about it and not ready to let it go yet. I’m pretty unsentimental and don’t give a shit.

But—this was the first app (then called programme) that I ever used on a computer. I was in my early teens and among the first at school who got a computer at home and later, dial-up internet. I was allowed an hour of computer time per day and spent it drawing wildly coloured zig-zags in Paint because I couldn’t draw a straight line if the life of my dog depended on it (yes, I was a dog person as a kid).

For the sake of reminiscing, for the sake of trying something new (something so old that it is new again) and just for the kick out of it, I opened Paint today on my laptop. I selected a thick painting brush and started to draw circles. My mouse movements, though I thought them quite precise, translated into very shaky and jagged  lines.

I’ve always been attracted to warm colours and to the shape of the circle. I find warm colours soothing and the circle is the only shape that doesn’t have edges. I feel edges as threatening. Whenever I attempt anything with a brush or a colour pencil (which is rarely), I do circles, semi-circles or waves. I am aware that I suck at being creative and I can’t produce anything even approaching a realistic depiction, so I always do abstract crap.

Drawing ensō (no, these are not onion rings)

Since I started doing yoga a few years ago or so, and especially since I started meditating, I became a bit interested in the philosophy of the whole thing. It’s not that there is any unified philosophy, and I’m not really looking for one either. However, I came across a number of concepts which appeal to me and to which I can relate. It’s best described as a personal eclectic selection from Zen Buddhism.

The traditional symbol of zen is ensō, a circle which is hand-drawn in one stroke and not corrected once it’s complete. I prefer an open circle, whose openness implies development, movement and is associated with the beauty of imperfection. The practise of drawing ensō is a self-expression of the creator at one particular moment, which is transient. It allows for the release of the mind, letting go of the need to be in control, allowing oneself to be imperfect. This is obviously helpful for anyone with mental health issues.

During my yoga practice, I have been experimenting with mantras, which is like positive affirmations, but more specifically, it’s an idea you keep in mind while doing things on the yoga mat and, perhaps, off the mat too. At first it sounded like mambo jumbo to me. Then, I had to admit that for your mindset, it is more beneficial to be telling yourself something positive than to be imprinting on your mind that you’re a loser (the latter of which is what I’m naturally inclined to do).

What I have ultimately learned from yoga are some generally applicable values which I’m trying to cultivate. I’m not saying I’m any successful at it, just that I have discovered and pinned down the words for some values that are important to me. I’ve never been religious or spiritual, and I still keep it pretty secular, but it’s a new experience all the same. In case you wonder, among the things I’m working on are: generosity, patience, gratitude, acceptance, fearlessness, focus, flow and others. Also, I’m practising creativity—I mean, I just made a connection between MS Paint and Zen Buddhism.


What I Hated the Least Today 260/365: The Lexaurin Effect

What I Hated the Least Today 260/365: The Lexaurin Effect

Pills. Also, here’s the bloody tin foil I was looking for the other day!

I was doing more poorly than usual today, mental-health-wise. I took measures accordingly. First, against my better reasonable judgement, I took a day off. I am workoholic and I feel shitty, as in guilty, when I don’t work. Second, I did my usual natural anti-anxiety techniques: yoga, meditation and breathing exercises, relaxation music. Didn’t work well this time.

It wasn’t as much anxiety itself as the psychosomatic pain that accompanies it that bothered me most. My shoulder and neck were killing me. So, the last resort: I look Lexaurin. I only do this once or twice a month. It’s an addictive first-and-last-aid pill from the benzodiazepine family. You don’t want to overdo it with it.

The Lexaurin effect is funny:

  • After 5 mins:  Fuck, it’s not working, when will it work, I knew it, I’m getting addicted to it, and now it doesn’t work anymore, bloody hell.
  • After 15 mins: Hmm. The pain is actually better. So nice. It’s weird that I’m still shaking though, but okay, I take the deal.
  • After 30 mins. Aww. So fuzzy and warm and soft and mellow and slightly unreal. I mean, I feel no pain whatsoever. How awesome is it? I just want to lie down, dissolve and die from happiness.

Also, don’t mind me. I’m typing this intoxicated (after 2 hours from Lexaurin). And, since it’s my day off, I’m spending it blogging. Sorry about the flood of shitty posts. Oh, and sorry about the language.


Finding Everyday Inspiration: A Letter from Myself to Myself

Finding Everyday Inspiration: A Letter from Myself to Myself

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Today’s prompt is a cliche which knows it’s cliche but pretends to convince people it’s not. The task is to write a letter(!). That’s not only an analog anachronism but also a subject whose inspiring potential has already been mined out.

In a stroke of genius, however, I remembered I had a letter among my very few relics from the past which I had written for my future self. It’s more of a questionnaire, actually. It was written on 13 May 1996 at 2:55 PM (I see I was meticulous about meta details as a kid already) at the tender age of almost thirteen. (I can’t believe I ever was thirteen.) The instructions on the sealed envelope say to open it when I’m fifteen. (I can’t believe I ever was fifteen either.) Here’s the authentic artefact.

Yep, that’s actual wax seal.

The questionnaire contained in the sealed envelope is cringeworthy, idiotic and hilarious, all at the same time. I had some important questions for my future self, such as:

  • Do you like a boy?
  • Have you been kissed by a boy?
  • Do you go to discos?

The bonus is that the envelope also contains my answers to these and other questions written when I was eighteen. (Yes, I can’t believe I ever was eighteen.) Being a teenager is a mental diagnosis on its own. The bloody things (I mean, young people) believe that they know everything, that they are special and that the world is for them. They are the triumph of positive psychology, in some ways.

Teenagers (at least my teenage self) also believe that everything is for ever and that neither they nor other things will change yet. They might admit it as a theoretical option but they don’t really believe that. On the other hand, there are things to be learned from your young self. Such as, Don’t be that person!

I’m kidding. Now, seriously, I have discovered at least one curious finding about my young self. Already as a dumb teenager, I manifested surprising drive, determination and diligence. (I deduce this from the way I was talking about my study efforts.) I also see I was interested in psychology back then already. (Little did I know that I wouldn’t become a psychologist but a psychiatric patient instead.)

For the sake of entertainment and education, here are a few questions that amused me the most:

  • Do you still study at the grammar school? (Duh. I’ve graduated from a doctoral programme.)
  • Do you still have long hair? (Ha. Since you’re asking, I have half my head shaved and the other half shortish-to-shoulder-length. In case there is any doubt, it is a deliberate design.)
  • Are you still scared of people? (Dear silly young self, it’s called social anxiety and it’s not something you grow out of. Don’t worry though, there will be advances in psychology and you’ll learn a bunch of management techniques in the nut house. Also, you’ll be prescribed Lexaurin for emergencies.)
All the Same, All the Time

All the Same, All the Time

Loosely inspired by a recent somewhat heart-breaking post by Cardinal Guzman, I decided that the world needs more bad poetry.

At peace,
At home.
Quiet, but not quite.
The kettle boiling,
Coffee brewing—
Another day, another night.