An Oasis.

KM finally made it down for his visit. We chose to stay at a charming local hotel for a couple of nights, and I’d bought The Game of Life for us to play seen as we have rediscovered our love of board games.

I took nothing Uni related with me, which is actually quite unusual.

We enjoyed dinner together on Friday night at the hotel restaurant and I sat there feeling like a proper grownup on a proper date. You can tell it was posh as everyone was talking in hushed voices, our wine came in a wine bucket and the waiter called me madam plus it passed KM’s “fancy place test.” His hypothesis: if you pay before you eat = not so posh. Whereas if you pay after you eat then it must be classy.  I looked across the table at KM and it really hit me how much I miss just going out to dinner with him for a nice meal and some conversation. We talked about KM’s business and some projects he’s working on. We talked about our flat (where KM is still currently living) and how much we miss THE best cat ever: Benji, who is sadly no longer with us. I realised how much I miss this.  We’ve been together going on 12 years. Yes, there have been a few ups and downs along the way and even a couple of break ups, but I love the guy to bits (thankfully – seen as I’m marrying him.)  Now that we are living at other ends of the country and only seeing each other every couple of weeks, I feel sometimes like I haven’t got a clue what’s going on in his life.  I don’t mean to sound controlling, but I like coming home at the end of each day and getting a little report on the days happenings, cooking together and snuggling up in bed. When that report happens by phone or in our case more often than not by Skype text…well it’s just not the same.

Not only that, but my brain totally can’t keep track of all the things I need/want to share with him or worse: I assume I told him about something only to find out I didn’t and he has no clue what I’m talking about.

This weekend was like a little oasis in the desert – 2 precious days of time together.  It was wonderful. We didn’t do anything particularly special. There were no grand adventures or days out, in fact we didn’t even leave Salisbury. Sometimes the simple things in life can bring as much pleasure as the grandest of adventures. We enjoyed some great food together, shopped at the weekly market for my groceries and caught a film. On Sunday afternoon I found myself sat in our room knitting and enjoying my new drink of choice: peppermint tea. KM was taking a nap. During this couple of hours peaceful contemplation two strange and delightful thoughts struck me…

First I really do feel more peaceful when KM is nearby, I relax better, feel safer and happier within myself. Even when he’s not doing anything to directly affect the way I feel (at this point he was lightly snoring but I’m sure he wasn’t doing it for my benefit). This is love to me; grand romantic gestures are all well and good and I’m not going to fool anybody if I try to claim I don’t enjoy them, but it’s this calm quiet unassuming love that endures. I don’t believe in the popular analogy where two become one through marriage, it’s simple maths to me … I will not become less than I currently am through marriage, nor do I expect KM to stop wishing I would do the dishes more often, or scale down my shoe collection, I expect we will continue to have the same fiery, bickering relationship we have always had as each of us walks the line between the person we are currently and the person we wish to be. I see the union more as a bonding of a complimentary pair. Each remaining separate, but reinforced and strengthened by the presence of the other. KM’s love for me enables me to go out into the big wide scary world and be more myself knowing that I have a safe haven at home with him in our KM-ALI bubble. It’s easier to stand tall on your own two feet when you know someone is willing to catch you when you fall. We won’t always get it right, but our intentions are true. I really believe I’m marrying an amazing man, though after nearly 12 years I’m far from setting either of us on a pedestal of being perfect or even perfect for each other. It’s not inconceivable to me that on the surface of planet Earth there might not be a woman who is a better match for my KM… somewhere… (Hopefully far, far away where he will never meet her :P) But KM has given me his piece of his heart, and it’s the most valuable thing I own.

Second, it was truly odd to me to find myself mindlessly knitting for a couple of hours without once feeling guilty about the huge mountain of Uni work waiting for me when I get home (by 3 hours the guilt was back in full force) I actually found myself thinking wow this is what a real day off feels like? It was bizarre for my fried brain to realise that a day will actually come when I will actually have days off. Whole days… no guilt included… what an amazing luxury. 2 years and counting… Keep swimming, Ali, Keep swimming.

I have to admit to feeling mentally stretched to my limit right now, between missing KM, learning to drive, trying to change my exercise and diet habits, planning a Wedding, and year 2 of my training… I’m left reminded of the women I look after in labour who are often brought to the point where they believe they can’t go on anymore only to find somewhere within themselves the strength to endure a little more… a little more… a little more … pushed to their very limits the strength of women amazes me almost daily, I find myself looking for that same power somewhere within myself, not to birth a child but to build the life I want for myself.

I could do with a compassionate midwife figure to support and guide me at times hehe

Ali xX

Happy ever after ?

30 years ago today… Gadget Guy and his girl were married.

**30 YEARS** What an achievement. No, seriously. That’s like longer than I’ve been alive! So today I find myself looking at another old photo of two smiling friends and wishing I had that time machine set to the 15 of September 1979 just so I could watch and see the people they were then, maybe so I could have a smug smile on my face because I would know this one’s a keeper. This topic has been on my mind a lot lately as me and KM contemplate the possibility of perhaps booking our wedding.  Marriage. The rest of your life.  That is a long time. How do you make these things work anyways? This is Gadget Guy we’re talking about here. He has to have the manual to successful marriage because  the pair of them sure seem to know something few people do these days. It turns out nope, no instruction book to be had :S  I personally reckon they should write one.. There are plenty of other self help books out there. I’m sure it could be a best seller.

KM, this morning after, of course, adding his congratulations turns to me with a sheeks 30 years… you reckon we will have had a good run and got over it by then?  While he was kidding, I know how the man feels.  30 years. I can’t even imagine. Ok maybe I don’t want to. I’m the girl who’s having a minor crisis about her 30th birthday coming up. I can’t see past 31 right now and I was only forced to plan ahead that far as that’s the age I hope to qualify as a midwife.

All I know is its clear to me from the short time I’ve known Mr. and Mrs. Gadget Guy is that there is hope. It can be done. What they have is working. It should be obvious to anyone who takes the time to quietly observe that these two fit together so well it’s scary. I don’t know if they would believe in soul mates but if not they are a pretty good imitation.  Now I could not comment as to what goes on behind the scenes,  but I do know this:  I have never herd either of them bitch about the other and in this day and age that’s refreshing. All I saw were giggles, shared in-jokes and a lifetime of great memories. Two people who clearly still enjoy each other and have fun as much as possible. They don’t seem to be touched by the bitterness that can sometimes be seen between two people who have been married a longtime.  Alongside the old picture,  I wish I could hold all this in a snapshot  the way they are together as I saw them 2 years ago. It’s priceless and should give all the would-be weds reason to stop and think. So that’s just what I did.  I spent the day with my other half foraging for blackberries and laughing myself silly at this grown man so frightened of spiders. He did the heebie-jeebies dance with arms and legs flailing. As he squealed like a girl i fell in love with him all over again. I don’t know if we’ll make 30 years, but I sure hope so. You have to figure some people are just worth the risk of getting hurt.

I’m a “Pretty Woman” girl. Noooo I’m not a hooker, but I certainly have a Cinderella complex. “I want the fairytale”. Today I was thinking about this too. Why is it that so few marriages are passing the 10, 25, 30, 50 year mark? What makes divorce rates these days so high?  Is it that people now feel they have the option where as in years gone by d-i-v-o-r-c-e was taboo and not the done thing? Is it that people these days are to quick to marry?  I have to say this argument is losing its credibility for me lately. The two long-time married couples I know did so in their 20’s and the couples I’ve watched marry certainly seem to have considered the commitment.

Perhaps it’s this last and all together more worrying theory: maybe popular culture is to blame. The fairytales we read, the chick flicks we watch,  the endless stories…  boy meets girl blah… blah… fireworks… champagne… rings… flowers… dresses… weddings… and a happily ever after. The end.  Happily ever after. It sounds so simple doesn’t it?   Prince Charming comes along sweeps you off your feet you get the most fantastic shoes (I told you Cinderella was my favorite :P). You marry and everything is wonderful from then on. Your stepsisters have to work in the kitchen and you get on with your love’s parents famously! HA! What a joke, right?   The idea that all you have to do is find THE guy and everything will just take care of itself. Maybe that’s the problem.  Do we in this generation expect to much and compromise to little?

I’m certainly guilty of  fretting about the small stuff,  seeing all the ways in which me and KM differ and worrying that he’s not the perfect guy… that the grass could be greener…  that commitment is too permanent too much like… commitment. Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself that he’s only human.  He’s not Prince Charming . And anyways Prince Charming always seemed a little metrosexual to be my type 😛   We need a new kind of fairytale… where the ending is not about never having any obstacles in your life  but about how couples work together to get through them.  We should spend less time looking for imperfections in our partners but rather trying to fix them in ourselves. Happily ever after shouldn’t be about castles, crowns and fancy dresses but about a girl and a boy living a mundane mid life together with their bunny somewhere outside Chicago and spending a day at the zoo on their pearl wedding anniversary.

It looks pretty good to me.

Ali xX

Rings & things.

Fasting is no fun. I woke up too late today to really have proper meals before my fast began.  As a result, I only actually ate a yogurt and two slices of toast before embarking on my 14 HOURS food free. OK ok make that 1 raspberry flavored yogurt, 2 slices of toast  and as many M&M’S as I could crunch up and swallow in the 5 minute count down to zero hour – a number which is lower than you might think seen as I was laughing the whole time which makes actually chewing kind of hard.  It only actually registered after it was pointed out to me that actually this is food and drink free.  Water is my only option which really sucks because I find it so hard to drink water.  I really don’t like it; couple that with the fact that I’m the most stubborn and contrary person I know. As soon as you tell me I can’t so something of course it’s the only thing I can think about.  I never realized until this evening how much FOOD is advertised on TV AND it all looks GREAT… even the stuff I never would have considered eating… if it hadn’t been for the fact that the activity is prohibited. Each advert had me lusting Homer Simpson style:  Mmmm popcorn… mmm cream cheese…  oooo pasta…  marmite… wait I HATE marmite…  actually that looks good (its not the smell alone makes me gag )…  meat… chocolate… awwwww chocolate… such fond memories you’d have though I was never going to eat the stuff again. The only thing that failed to inspire my deprived taste buds was the Arby’s advert.  I don’t know what it is about that place but their food SCARES ME… and usually it has to be said advert food is way more appetizing than the actual object in reality, so Arby’s…. I’m thinking no…. the cheese on these things looks unnatural.  It’s the food of my nightmares. Just thinking about it I’m starting to break a sweat.. Yeah I’m an Arby’sophobe can you get therapy for that?!

My stomach won’t stop growling at me. I think it’s angry. The noise I don’t mind so much but the ache of I’m hungry feed me… FEED ME… that just takes the piss. Where are you every other day when I struggle to eat my meals or just plain forget to eat altogether?  Hunger – you never show up then do ya!? Bastard.

Moving quickly on to good news… no, GREAT news.  I found out tonight that one of my friends got ENGAGED last Tuesday. We’ll call her Musical Miss because of her crazy violin-piano-singing passion and talent. Now usually I’d be all cynical.  I’m not a great advocate for the institution of marriage it has to be said. Well, OK, that’s not quite true. I’m a hopeless romantic in theory. I’d like to believe that everybody has a soul mate out there and I do believe in true love. Its just I have some issues with the whole idea of monogamy, which lets face it, is kind of key to the traditional marriage service.  Yes yes I KNOW… this view is going to make me REALLY unpopular and may even lead to some name calling or unfavorable judgments about me and my morals or standards. So be it. Live and let live, I say I’m not saying a monogamous relationship is wrong for anyone else at all.  At the end of the day, be in the relationship that makes you happy. That’s most important.

Musical Miss and her man are utterly happy and what’s more they are so well matched and cute together. It has cynical people like me calling for a bucket and grinning from ear to ear.  My friend has been there for me the whole time as I was growing up.  I totally admire her pragmatic practical attitude. The amount of different passions and commitments she juggles is staggering and she’s had more then her fair share of heart ache too. I’m so so thrilled that she has found a sweet, caring and funny guy who recognizes her for the amazing woman she is. From what I’ve seen, being with him only makes her stronger. I wish them every blinking happiness in the whole world. To me, they are the real deal and so I find myself in rather unusual position of being thrilled and excited by the prospect of a wedding. Actually its pretty damn awesome that I’ve had to add a congratulations card to my shopping list.

Ali xX

K.S.: My girlfriends getting married … bring on the hen night woohoo!