Sunday, 24 March 2013

Blonder, beers, and baring all

More blonde; more bangs.
This weekend has been a pleasant one. I'm currently sat in bed (at 1:24PM!) listening to the snuffling snores of my little black dog, the slow sleepy breathing of my bigger brindle pup, and the sound of the incessant rain outside. Both cats are curled up with us too; Taboo on my legs, and Wash at the end of the bed. Ben is, sadly, at work all day (although we got the morning together), but other than that, I think it's going to be a perfect lazy day.

Yesterday morning was spent at Vervé getting my hair sorted out. I try to leave it as long as possible between cuts/colours simply to save money, but it was getting very long and very, err, rooty (which is now a word), so it had to be done. It's always a pleasure going to see Johnny, not least because he is what I have decided to call 'Hair Jesus' being as talented as he is (miraculous, one might say), but also because he's just so much fun to be around. That certainly makes the 3+ hours it takes to colour and condition my hair pass very quickly, and with lots of giggling.  This time we kept the blonde but changed the style up a bit, adding some more body/levels at the back and some gentle bangs (a fringe, Brits) at the front. I love it, and it made me feel really great to spoil myself a little!
One we bought earlier

I then went to meet my lovely friend Nico at a pub just down the street from Vervé, called Tyber Creek. It's what I would call a 'proper' pub (not a pretend English pub, or just a bar that uses the word 'pub' when it quite clearly has too many windows and not enough draught beer), and it's got a great atmosphere and a fantastic menu. We spent about four hours putting the world to rights, laughing, and generally catching up. It was one of the best afternoons I've had in a while, and it's always a pleasure to spend time with her. Queso also happened, which is never a problem for me, and we had a few beers. My current beer of choice is Copper, a delicious 'Altbier' made by Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. It's a myth that America doesn't do good beer: it's entirely true that the internationally sold brands like Bud, Bud Light, Coors and so on are pretty terrible to a British palate, but locally brewed lagers and beers are delicious, varied and plentiful.

One interesting thing that did happen while we were there (related to beer) is something that has never happened to me before. We were quite happily nattering away when the barman came back over to us and told us the the gentlemen at the end of the bar (a good 6 or 8 stools away and with people in between us) wanted to buy us another round, and asked us if that was okay. Now, don't get me wrong, I have had people ask to buy me a drink in the past, but they usually ask me, and we've usually been talking for a while beforehand. It just threw me a bit, as I didn't know whether to consider it as a Brit or an American, so I was momentarily lost as to how to act! I was thoroughly impressed by the barman's civil and respectful way of dealing with the request (checking that we were okay with it and acting as a go-between of sorts) and, after discussing with the barman and Nico whether it would be the appropriate thing to do to accept such an offer with no intent of following it up with anything else, and because I am married (not that Ben would have been/was bothered; he was just pleased by the idea of a free pint!), we said 'yes' and toasted to the guys at the end of the bar with our next round. And that was it. They didn't come over, they didn't bother us, and they just smiled and toasted us back when we said thank you. I'm not sure if that was just because they were nice gentlemen or that they thought we would go over to them after we'd finished our drinks, but I don't suppose it matters. It was quite lovely!

The last thing I did before crashing for the day was to visit my beautiful friends Cassie and Lesley in their new home. They've been moving all week, and have got to a point in the new place where they have the ability to cook food, sit down, and sleep on various things made for such purposes. They've also had the fun of moving while coping with two dogs: one funny, handsome older man Beagle mix Copper, and one tiny puppy Husky mix Finlay - so they've really had their work cut out for them! I was a tad useless and simply crashed on one of their comfy new chairs, drank coffee, and cuddled the pups rather than actually helping with anything important (although even I would say I was pretty damn beefy when it came to moving the foosball table), but it was a delight to see them together in their new place and spend some time with them there.

Finally, a proper night's sleep!
So that's two personal posts in one week, and a distinct absence of any kind of 'week 2' or 'week 3' post as per my 2013 schedule, which so far I've been pretty good at sticking to. Not this month, though. I have to admit to not feeling like myself right now, and so I think writing is one outlet that helps. Trying to stay focused on the positive rather than dwell on or get lost in the (possible) negative is currently a conscious effort, and it's hard not to want to just hide all the time. I don't think this is so much an expat thing, though, just a funny time in my head at the moment. I am aware that there are so many positives in life, and in my life in particular, and that when it comes to contextual happiness and comparative fortune, my cup overflows.

But I recognise that, for now, I am not feeling joy in the usual way I feel it: fully, daily, and without doubt. (Although I know this is unusual for most people, I know what my norm is, and it's currently not right.) I feel as though I am watching my life happen to someone else, or that I am playing at being me when on the inside I am somewhat numb and disengaged. Ten or so days of acute terminal insomnia have, of course, not been helpful to my perspective or my health, and last night was the first night I slept through a whole night without waking at 2, 3, or 4AM. I am also making sure that I continue to run five times a week and eat well, in addition to taking time for myself and things that are important to me (Ben, family, friends, and pets), and tackling any anxiety-antagonising issues promptly and explicitly. But any efforts I make to 'take care' or to proactively improve still feel halfhearted and a little futile.

I am (mostly) sure it will pass quickly enough, but I've learned from past experiences with this kind of dull, lost feeling that it's best to get it out there, to admit it and work through it, rather than be afraid of it and hide from it. So there it is. There is one black dog that I love with all my heart, but this one I need to chase away.

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