After yesterday’s melodrama I think we need a bit of fluffy light relief 🙂

My old cat Twigglet who I still miss – the biggest, soppiest, fluffiest fluff-ball of a spotted tabby cat you’d ever met. The biggest flirt in feline form as well!

Evil landlord for not letting me get a fluffy kitten to replace her 🙁

The Secret Heart

Originally uploaded by romanlily

Lately I’ve been experiencing the urge to sit down and write. Not because I have something to say but because there are things I’m avoiding saying. I’ve had one post in particular on my mind since the start of September. To be true the post in question contains things I’ve wanted to say for a lot longer, but September 2006 seemed like an appropriate time to publish for many reasons.

I didn’t publish it however. Instead I write about everything BUT what’s really on my mind.

The problem was I am not going to enjoy actually writing this post – the bits I have written so far have had me in tears and tromping round the flat in a fit of rage for half the day. I remember one poem by Seamus Heaney where he likens writing to digging at scabs with a pen. The image stayed with me – one of the few bits of poetry that has – and digging at scabs can only be the best way to describe the process of writing this post which has been sitting in the forefront of my brain for the past five or six months.

Pulling at scabs to get underneath is never a very pleasant experience. Actually viewing what’s underneath is oftentimes even worse.

I also have to face the possibility that once I write this mythic beast of a post I will never want to write anything again. Bright Meadow will have served its purpose and we can all go back to our lives.

And let’s not forget that the end result might be absolutely pants. Meaningful to me and no one else. Not that I write expressly for my audience but, you know, it would be nice if you had fun too.

I am brought to mind of another quote. Stephen King this time:

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them – words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than life size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that. The important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dear only to have people not understanding what you said or why you almost cried when you said it”.

So why do I want to share this with you all, my anonymous and not-so-anonymous readers? Why do I struggle to put into words thoughts and feelings that perhaps should remain private? Why do I feel compelled to tell all on the Internet when I can barely tell the same details to my closest loves and family?

Because of the end of the quote I just missed off on purpose:

“That’s the worst – when the secret stays locked not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear”.

I don’t want to be secret any more. I don’t want the pain to stay buried inside. I’ve born it, lived it, hated it for a decade now and i. want. to. share.

I’m just not quite sure how long it’s going to take me to put the words into coherent form. Or how I’m going to look you all in the eye when I’m done.

I always found writing easy before. This time around I’m pulling each word from the darkness and I know the patterns they are forming on the page do not do just to what I really want to say. I’m just not that good a writer. So you’ll just have to read between the lines and be patient with me. I’ve held your attention this long. I beg your indulgence to stay around just a little bit longer. You’re reading my life here and I think it’s nearly time to tell you some of the not-so-pretty bits along with the smiles.

Because in truth it’s the crappy bits that have really made me into the Cas whose words you are reading – I’ve just chosen to only really tell you the happy stuff up till now.

Quote of the Day

Ok, when you’re making West Wing analogies you need to stop and take a long hard look at yourself!
~ Moose

We never went to Salsa…


For one reason and another I’ve been thinking lately about the men in my life (and, just occasionally, the lack there of). Because my brain is just a weird and wacky place that never wants to give me a break, I keep circling back round to Mr T (some might know him as shanks – and yes, the lowercase is important).

Yup, that’s him posing in the picture at the head of this post – true story? He crashed that bike before he ever even got a license to ride it on the road. Yes, I have wonderful taste.

Another true story? Shortly after dumping me by text (I did mention about my taste, didn’t I?) he ended up getting engaged to my brother’s ex-girlfriend. If I had to put blame to the moment that made me realise my life was more than just a little bit weird and deserving of being shared on the internet, that was it.

I look back on my time with Mr T now with a kind of misty, warm glow and a wry smile for my silliness. Whilst remembering my complete naivety does make me shudder – and memories of spending three hours driving round Guilford still strike terror in my heart – I still have a certain fond attachment to those four/five months. I miss the Bambi-esque Cas I was then. There is something to be said for the way I just ran headlong into the situation like there was a Cas-shaped hole in the wall. Everyone told me “NOOOOOOO!!!!! Don’t trust the red-headed Physics student!” I just got stubborn, dug my heels in, and – I have to admit it – had an absolute blast.

I talked once about how I’m kinked to respond to smiles. Oooooh… that smile. Even looking back that smile gives me the tingles and reason to get a very private smirk. It wasn’t the kind of smile you relied on to bring you cups of tea and hold your hair back when you’re feeling sick. It was the kind of smile that took you out dancing and didn’t bring you home till the sun was just starting to come up. Two days later.

Last time I went back to the Homestead I got chatting with Curly Durly and, for reasons I can’t even remember now, I happened to mention Mr T. Boy do they tell it true when they say hell hath no fury like a mother getting protective over her little girl! When forced to explain her vitriol because as previously discussed, I look back on that incident with no real regrets and surely it should be me who’s still putting pins in the voodoo doll, she came out with “he broke my baby’s heart – of course I don’t like him!”

Ah, the moment where you have to reveal to your mother that despite her long-cherished beliefs your heart was NOT broken by the red-headed Physics student back in 2003. Followed swiftly by having to also disabuse her of the notion that he’d been your first true love…


Anyway, back to the post because, though it looks like I’m just pootling around with the words because they want to get said, I do have a sort-of-point I want to make.

And the point is this – no matter what happened with shanks, I am able to look back with a grin in my heart (and a feisty twinkle in my eye) because I have no regrets. The wise thing would have not to gotten into the situation in the first place. Or backed out at the first opportunity (there were several). I should have listened to what everyone was saying from friends to family to random internet people who were clearly under the impression I’d lost what little I had left of my sanity.

But I didn’t. For possibly the first time in my life up to that point I listened to what my heart was telling me over my doubts and low self-esteme. So it ended as it ended; C’est la vie. No lasting damage was done, in fact my reputation around campus went from “she’s an up-tight, frigid cow” to “oh, so she is human after all!” more or less over night. Fun was had by the important parties. Even my friends got something out of it all because there were some mammoth bitching sessions held in the aftermath. You could make the argument that my evil step-gran got something out of the relationship because she could finally hold her head high at Bridge Evenings and say “no, my grandaughter isn’t a lesbian, she has had a boyfriend!” Every cloud and all that. (Bless my family!) So he ended up engaged to my brother’s ex-girlfriend; it gives me stories to tell and sure breaks the ice at dinner parties.

Regret rien. Try it.

So I lied just then – I do have one small regret. We never went properly dancing. I can live with that though I think. It’s an odd thing to feel proud of, but for a few months that smile was for little old ordinary me, and that makes me feel good.

Rain drops keep falling on my head

originally posted by stefman75

How do I go about appeasing the Rain Gods? What is an acceptable offering to them?

I ask this because regardless of the weather when I leave the house, it invariably rains on me at some point during my excursion. Especially on the weekend – I can’t remember the last time I made a trip to the supermarket and back without getting rained on.

It’s gotten so bad that Moose was driven to ask when I came back from Waitrose today “what have you DONE to make the Rain Gods hate you so much?”

I don’t know, but I wish I could make it better. The sun was shining when I left the house and the sun is shining now – it is a glorious day – but for the entire walk to and from the supermarket it was sleeting on me 🙁

Sunday Roast: is parsley scarier than nutmeg?

My thanks go to Josh for kicking off this week’s Sunday Roast: Little Penguins are being fitted with blue shoes at a New Zealand zoo to protect their feet.

There have been recent calls in the UK for a voluntary code of practice for blogs. Is such a code needed? Should all blogs really adhere to the journalistic model? Will it stifle free speech or engender more honest writing? Discuss…

Not sure what to do with those Moo cards you couldn’t resist ordering? Or, like me, are you having to carry them round in a business-card case that doesn’t do the job OR show them off to their best? Why not make some moo tins. (I’d love to make some Moo tins, but I can’t find the UK equivalent of the necessary containers 🙁 )

Quebec is now a nation within a united Canada. Woot?

Have you asked yourself lately how’s your online IQ? I know we’re all guilty here – there’s so many egos running round the Internet I’m surprised there’s room in the comments for all of us 😉

I keep saying this, but I do that because it is true – I love photos and old albums because of the stories they can tell us, even of complete strangers.

Work these last couple of weeks has suddenly gone from ‘very busy’ to ‘totally and utterly insane’ and is looking like it won’t stop till it reaches ‘go have a nervous breakdown because you’re never going to get everything done’. Ok, so I do my best work when I’m under pressure. I actually enjoy tight deadlines because it means I can justifiably have a little grumble and feel hard done too, but I haven’t had a holiday since April and even that was just a week. Right now I’m running on empty and literally counting the days till Christmas not because of the holiday/presents/seeing family but because I will be able to sleep for a week. All of which makes me think that David has the right idea with three tasks a day…

Still wondering what to get me for Christmas, I think this FooBar poster would look mighty fine on my wall 😉

Sir Rod Eddington has proposed that motorists pay road tolls to use the nation’s road network. I’m sorry, but isn’t that what I am paying my road tax for already?

This is gleefully nicked from Jay: how to make a 3d snowflake.

And finally, because I feel that these things are best shared, I bring you The Order of the Stick comic. Neko just introduced me to it last week and, thanks to her, I’ve been consistently nearly missing my bus all week because I’ve got reading it in the morning. Grrr! (It’s very funny though, especially if you’ve got even a smidgeon of a D&D background).

We write because we have to

(I’ve been doing some tidying on the desk, sorting through the mountain of paper erroneously referred to as my ‘filing’ and came across a scrappy notebook with a few pieces written down in it. I wrote this one with a mind to blog it but, well, it got ‘filed’ hence you not seeing it till now four months later. This is by way of explanation for the screwy time references as the party in question was actually back in August).

I’m not sure why, but this weekend talking to family and friends of the family at E’s party made me realize quite why I like writing so much. Perhaps it is because I had to explain my choice of publishing about ten times (once to a drunken Punjabi physiologist who’s determined to get me to India to find me a husband – long story).

This is going to sound trite and I’m not sure if I would have come up with it if I hadn’t been two sheets to the wind on some very fine chardonnay myself, but my reasoning was as follows –

I love the power of the written word. I love how two people with nothing in common can read something and it build a bridge between them. I love how twenty people can read something and each one take away a uniquely personal and different reading. I love how it can get people talking.

At the very root, perhaps this is most important to me, Good writing can start dialogue. I’d much rather people sat down and talked through differences than need to solve them at the point of a gun. Violence is abhorent to me – conversation really is the best solution.

I’m not saying every written thing does this – but the potential is there. People have been trying to persuade others with letters and writing since the beginning. One (or quite likely more) of the apostles wrote letters to assorted people to persuade them to be nice to each other. *1* People write to their MP and they write letters to the Editor. They sign petitions.

Books can carry information to those who didn’t initially have it. Writing can set you free. You learn about new ways of looking at things. You break down barriers.

That potential, that power for good and for connection, that’s why I want to work with the written word.

A quote from W. Somerset Maugham I came across recently seems an appropriate way of finishing off:

We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.

*1* Yes, I know I’m being vague. But it’s been a long time since Sunday School and I don’t keep a copy of the Bible on my bookshelves any more.