Question of the day.

   How do you people deal with heat? 

   My answer: 

   Thankfully, I have my AC now so that helps a lot. I would really like to be able to control it more than I can, because unfortunately its app is pretty much unusable with VoiceOver and the only thing that I can use with it is its remote, so the only thing I can do knowing what I’m doing is to turn it on and off, and even then it often likes to act up and I have to turn it both on and off repeatedly for it to actually take effect, but it’s definitely better than none. This is why I am thinking about getting myself a smart AC controller, it’s called Sensibo Air and is very accessible, you plug it in the AC, configure it with an app on your phone and it basically works like a remote. Except I’m not entirely sure yet if it’s compatible with my AC, and my Mum hasn’t really been able to help determine that, so we asked a guy who was setting it up for me to come over and check it, but so far he hasn’t. Anyway, yeah, AC is very helpful during a heatwave, and I also sporadically use it in winter to heat the room. 

   My room generally heats up really fast, so I also have blinds here, and they help somewhat as well, but not extremely much. 

   Other than that, I try to drink a lot, especially iced drinks, be it orange juice, water or Pepsi, iced coffee too but it’s not hydrating really. I really really love ice, I don’t know what it is and if it’s something about ice or something weird going on with me but I’ve always really loved ice, be it feeling it, sucking on cubes of it, hearing it, icicles, or drinking iced drinks, where you can actually feel bits of ice. When I was a kid, and even now, actually, I wanted there to be ice that wouldn’t melt, or not so easily at least, so that I could have like a whole container of it and feel it as long and often as I’d like without it melting. I know that health-conscious people like my Mum say you should actually drink hot drinks when you’re hot so that your body will start cooling itself down or something, but that doesn’t make much sense to me, and I bet that few people actually do it unless it’s somehow part of their cultural customs to do that, not even my health-conscious Mum actually does it. I typically have tea with my breakfast though no matter the season, or sometimes cocoa or I used to have coffee a lot too, because having a cold beverage with breakfast feels kind of weird to me and I don’t like cold or even iced tea, and I haven’t noticed that it would make me particularly cooler when it’s hot. Very cold kefir will also do, but iced kefir would be kind of odd I guess. 

   We are also very privileged people here because we have a river on our backyard, so while you wouldn’t necessarily want to swim in it I suppose, you can still sit by the shore and put your feet in it or even sit in the water where it’s shallow. A cold/very lukewarm shower is also something I like to take especially if I was out in the heat riding in the car or something. 

   I only tend to wear stuff like airy, breathable dresses or skirts when it’s hot, with leggings underneath if I have to people ‘cause I don’t like to show my legs if I really don’t have to, or I just wear a long enough skirt. If I go to the beach or for a trip or even out on a terrace or to sit by our river or for a walk, sunscreen is a must in summer ‘cause it’s quite ridiculous how quickly I can get sunburn, I typically use grape seed oil for that. 

   Oh yeah, and I try to limit standing for long periods of time as much as possible. This is something that has always been a bit of a problem for me ever since I was a young child, that long periods of standing in one place would make me feel faint and like extremely tired and nauseated and my pulse would   get a lot faster, and just the whole thing is really weird and awful in general, and it’s regardless of the weather, but heat is one of the things that is a particular trigger for that. Sofi has the same thing which is even weirder because unlike me her blood pressure seems to usually be normal rather than usually low like mine, we both also had cardiological assessments because our Dad has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy but there was nothing wrong  with either of us. That’s why I always dreaded school trips, which typically took place at the end of school year when it was already pretty hot and would involve visiting stuff like museums or other such where you’d be standing for ages in front of every single exhibit and listen to a lecture about it. 😀 And I have to avoid Corpus Christi processions (Corpus Christi is a Catholic holiday) which are typically in May-June and it just absolutely always has to be hot when this day comes. Walking as such is okay with my system, but when it’s a procession, you first have to stand for quite a while before it starts so you’re already starting to feel a little weird before it starts properly, and then stop regularly and go from kneeling to standing to kneeling and so on, which doesn’t help, so that I usually am not able to make it through the whole thing before I get the ringing in the ears sensation and everything starts to feel oddly distant, so I would usually ruin it for my family because one of our parents would have to take me (and often Sofi as well) home and miss the rest of the procession as well. And I hate drama like that and ruining stuff for people, so while I don’t like having to avoid it,  I just go to the morning Mass with Mum and Sofi so that when Mum wants she can go to the procession later. Anyways, while I’ve never ever fainted, I don’t fancy experiencing it, so when it’s hot, like I said I prefer to avoid  standing  for too long if I can, but normal walking is fine. 

   What are your strategies? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What are some positive things happening in the world right now that aren’t mentioned a lot? 

   My answer: 

   Misha is still alive! How can there be anything more positive than that there is happiness? Although personally, as a very selfish Bibiel, I am very happy that this isn’t mentioned a lot, because otherwise I might have ended up with my house turning into a pilgrimage destination of some sort, and neither me nor happiness would be happy, and he’d probably have stalkers galore. 

   What’s such a thing that you can think of? 

Question of the day.

   Your objective is to go back in time into the 1700’s and blow the minds of everyone there. What do you bring with yourself? 

   My answer: 

   Some giant blow-dryer, I suppose, so that I could be able to blow as many minds at once as possible as quickly as possible, lol. But seriously, I think it wouldn’t be a difficult task at all to blow the 1700’s people’s minds, except for the actually getting there bit. My first thought was to show them some audio recording equipment, as well as something that music can be stored and played on, be it  a CD or an iPod or a computer with either audio files or a streaming service or whatever really. So I’d definitely have to get myself some pretty powerful power bank, or if even that fails back then perhaps I’ll actually have to borrow my grandad’s machine that produces electricity (I can’t figure out what its actual name is in English, but the huge, noisy thing that you use when there’s a power outage and whatever you make your living off doesn’t really allow for power outages) and drag it back in time with myself, plus something to keep it in that would muffle the sound so people wouldn’t think it’s the devil roaring. And then I’d also definitely pack my iPhone – but I wouldn’t actually be showing all its features to them, like what a phone actually is and stuff like that ‘cause they would either end up having some pretty bad shock, which can’t be good for your mental health, or wouldn’t be able to take it in anyway – I’d just use it to show them that there are such things that can record your voice, or anything really, for that matter, and then you can play it back and do sound editing and what not, and I’d show them some music, probably from just normal audio files because the only other way I listen to music and I guess most people do is streaming services, and I don’t think these peeps would be ready for the idea of the Internet quite yet and how you can stream something out of nowhere, plus I don’t know how I could take the Internet with me. It wouldn’t be anything  too modern like, dunno, dubstep,  lol, just some classical music and very traditional-sounding acoustic folk tunes or something like that, I don’t want the population to extinct in one mass heart attack. Perhaps this way, it would get them to think and develop ways of recording music earlier than people actually started doing it, and we would be able to have an even clearer idea of what people listened to back then, as well as they could simply make any other random recordings that could work as sort of family heirlooms for future generations, that they’d have recordings of their family members voices, and maybe as a result they’d learn to record video sooner as well. It would also be cool because for those who were still illiterate, or just weren’t very experienced at writing, they could just keep an audio diary, which would be sooo interesting for linguists because spoken language is so different from how it’s written, just in case you’ve never heard of this phenomenon before. 

   And then I’d also want to show them ebooks somehow, at least to the more educated folks out there. So I guess I’d need to take my Mac with me, explain what the screen and keyboard is all about and how you can display text, and read stuff, and I would show them how to read a text file and how to edit text files and generally type on a keyboard. I would probably also need to borrow a Kindle or something similar from someone and show them how books can be read on something like that. This would be for very selfish reasons – so that, once they’d hopefully wrap their minds around it, they’d also be able to write their books in other ways than just physical, which would make them accessible to Bibielz, which would mean that more deliciously old books in a deliciously rusty language would be available to all the Bibielz and non-Bibielz out there. As it is, a lot of old books are digitalised by libraries, but they’re typically just image scans that haven’t been converted to text, and a lot of classics to which copyright has expired can be downloaded for free very easily in accessible formats, but these are usually very obvious, very well-known books. It’s difficult to get something deliciously old and deliciously obscure, or simply not classic, in an accessible text format. 

   Problem is, I’m not sure I’d be the most fortunate person to blow their minds with this, because obviously I use screen readers, and screen readers are even later an invention than the Internet, and also fairly abstract to explain how it works (even to IT people sometimes *sighs*) and I’m pretty sure that even a computer alone could be quite a creepy thing for someone from 1700’s, let alone a talking one, and I actually wonder what would be worse, very robotic-sounding synths or the neural ones that even many people these days can’t tell apart from a human. Not to mention that the idea of blind people being able to basically read screens is still pretty difficult for many people to take in, so I would expect it to be even more spectacularly mind-blowing back then, and they’d probably think it’s some sort of prank or something supernatural or don’t know what else. 😀 

   What would your choice be? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   How much coffee do you drink in a day? 

   My answer:

   Sadly, usually none. I used to be a very enthusiastic coffee drinker, because I tend to have pretty low blood pressure (or as  – dr Jacek, aka “probably the best dermatologist in the county” told me this year when I had a checkup with him, it’s “Unmeasurable” 😀 ) and especially in the mornings, which, coupled with weird sleep patterns and dysthymia, means that most days my brains take quite a while to boot properly, and it’s not just that I feel sleepy – in fact if I had a good night’s sleep I don’t have to feel sleepy at all – I simply have very little energy, physical and mental. – It typically gets better on its own over time, but with coffee it’s faster, which is helpful if you have or want to be more or less functional soon after you wake up. So I developed a routine of having a cuppa strong, black coffee, either before or with my breakfast and it was one of the things that motivated me to get up because I loved my coffee very much. Then, if I woke up quite early, i’d often also have another cup later in the morning or around noon, either because the previous one didn’t quite do the trick on its own or simply because I felt like it, or sometimes I’d have it later in the afternoon instead, but it never was like a fixed part of my routine or something like that first cup of coffee was. Or if my Mum or Dad were having a cuppa, I’d often have it with them cuz why not, even if I just finished my morning coffee. So I’d typically have 1-3 cups of coffee daily. Or sometimes I’d have some iced coffee or something like that, but I don’t really see it as regular coffee.

   I always thought I had strangely high tolerance to caffeine, all the more strangely that things have suddenly changed at some point. In the past, I never felt particularly affected by coffee, as in, I never noticed that having coffee later in the day would interfere with my circadian rhythm, or even when I had my daily morning coffee, despite it was always strong coffee, it had never made me jittery or make me feel somehow extremely full of beans, just to a degree that was desirable or sometimes it didn’t even do that. I was actually often quite surprised whenever I heard someone saying that they get headaches from too much coffee, or coffee in general, no matter the amount, or can’t drink it past certain hour. But I supposed I might have it after my Mum, who is also very much dependent on her coffee and it doesn’t matter for her system if she drinks it at 6 AM or 11 PM.

   But then, some two or three years later, I started noticing that I was often feeling shaky in the morning, all my muscles felt really tense and some even quite sore as a result, and I had loads of anxiety seemingly for no reason, or for some really trivial reasons that weren’t quite my normal, if we can’t speak about normal here that is. 😀 Despite I was all jittery and jumpy and hypervigilant, I would also feel really weak physically and often had nausea and stuff like that, which I’m not sure if it was the result of anxiety because I often feel nauseated when I’m anxious, or perhaps it was a totally independent thing. I often physically felt as if I was really hungry, but at the same time had no appetite due to nausea and could barely eat anything when I felt like that. I didn’t see the correlation of that and coffee for a long time, but at some point someone suggested to me that if I have an anxious brain, coffee could be making things worse and that’s what is the case with her. So I started observing it and, very unfortunately for me, it started to be clear that coffee could well be a culprit, because my weird symptoms would start soon after I drank it. If I drank it early enough during the day, they would usually dissipate over time, but if I happened to wake up late, or have another coffee in the afternoon, my whole day would be screwed and I had even less physical energy than before I drank the coffee, and all the energy I did have was used on dealing with anxiety, so that sometimes I would just lie in bed and be unable to stop shaking, with my brain racing 1000000 miles/h and every little thing felt absolutely creepifying so I felt like it was some sort of sim game of what it’s like to be Misha so that I could understand him better, because he’s a lot like that. Whenever I did not drink coffee at all in a day, I never had these symptoms. But still, I loved coffee so much that it took me some time to come to the conclusion that, hm, actually, it could be a good idea to quit it, if that’s what it’s doing to me. I really didn’t want to do that, because I didn’t have anything else to wake up my brain in the mornings (not that coffee did it properly anymore either) and I was desperately holding on to the hope that perhaps if I used to have such high tolerance to coffee and this thing has come on so suddenly, perhaps it’s just a phase and I’ll be back to normal soon. ‘Cause I’d never heard of anyone’s caffeine tolerance regressing like that, in fact I still haven’t and I think it would be interesting to know why this happens. But nothing was changing and so I eventually had to make that move and quit caffeine colld turkey. I guess I didn’t really have any particular withdrawal symptoms beyond my normal sluggishly booting brains and really missing the taste of coffee (which I still do very much), which was a nice surprise, as I was suspecting it would be quite nasty after years of daily coffeeing. 

   I was looking for some alternative and tried a lot of green teas and some even worked and weren’t as yucky as the others, but despite I tried to convince myself otherwise, I don’t really like green teas, and I didn’t like how it felt so much more like a chore compared with drinking coffee. Then I tried cocoa ‘cause my Mum read somewhere that since it also has caffeine, it can be used as a good substitute for coffee. Well, I guess if that’s true, you’d have to drink quite an impressive amount, ‘cause for me it does absolutely nothing. Still, I love to have a mug of cocoa that’s strong enough to taste almost like coffee, and it can be a great flavour substitute for coffee. I’m very envious of people who can just drink coffee no problem and whenever someone says they’ll be making coffee, I still get a bad craving, so then I drink cocoa instead. It’s not the same, but still very good. I also really like Kopiko hard candies which have some caffeine in it. I guess it wouldn’t really work on anyone unless you’re super sensitive or allergic, but it’s always something that tastes kinda like coffee. I never even tried to drink decaf ‘cause it’s  profanation. As for brain-booting alternative, I just try to take in a lot of fluids (as in actual fluids, so usually simply water, not dehydrating stuff like coffee) in the morning and will suck on a few grains of our Polish Kłodawa rock salt if I feel like it. 

   Sometimes I do give in and have a cup of coffee, but it’s very rarely, and I always have to assess beforehand what my anxiety level is to begin with, so that it doesn’t get through the roof, and make sure I don’t have to do any peopling or other stuff for which you at least need to make an impression of functioning, and if I can allow myself for that, I’ll have that cup of coffee on occasion, even if I’ll regret it half an hour later. I remember one time after I’ve already quit coffee, but my Dad was having one on a Sunday morning and I decided I can’t be worst, so I had one too, and then we went for lunch to a restaurant, but I was so anxious and shaky that I couldn’t even hold my utensils properly, and was sure that someone is going to see it and think I’d either had something a lot stronger that just coffeine, or that I’m having a seizure or something like that, which obviously didn’t make me feel any less anxious, even though theoretically I’m pretty sure that people rarely notice my shaking even if it feels really intense from my perspective. So I’ll never do coffee again unless I’m absolutely sure that I won’t be going out anywhere or dealing with people etc. 

   How about your coffee intake? Or if you don’t drink coffee at all, do you have a drink that is like a part of your routine, like coffee is to a lot of folks? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   Today’s elaborate question of the day is courtesy of my weird Mum. 

   What would you do, or what would your reaction be, in the following situation: you accidentally find an old letter addressed to your parents, in which it says that you were adopted. Or your parents sit down with you and are like: “You know, we have something to tell you. We never knew how and when to tell you this, but we think it’s about time now. So, um, well, we adopted you when you were a baby”. How would it make you feel? 

   My answer: 

   Lol well, I guess I’d feel a bit confused initially and need some time to process it and ruminate it through properly, but I guess most people would. Then I’d have to offer an apology to Sofi, because when she was little Olek and me teased her a lot that she was adopted from Russia (unless she actually were adopted too, everything’s possible now I guess 😀 ). I think I would feel a little resentful that they haven’t told me earlier about it, because, like, I think most people would like to know such things about themselves, but also I can appreciate that it surely would be a difficult thing to do for parents and why they might be tempted to wait with sharing this news for as long as possible, so I wouldn’t be really frustrated or mad or anything, this doesn’t really change a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, I guess, just would be good to know. 

   And then I’d probably do some research. A lot of research, knowing myself. It would actually be kind of funny, because I’ve just recently started playing with researching our family’s ancestry. I guess I always had a mild interest in this, but always thought it must be lots of effort and not very rewarding, plus a family tree isn’t something that is easy to show a blind person in an understandable and non-abstractive way, so I never thought I could do it even if I had more motivation. But then I became interested in praying for purgatory souls, and some time later started praying for my  great-great-grandfather (my maternal grandad’s grandad) Jacenty, because Jacenty is such a cool name, and whenever I was praying for him I was wondering what sort of person he was, but no one could tell me. And then a couple years ago, on my cousin’s 18th birthday party, my great-aunt told me how interesting it is in her opinion that I changed my name to Emilia because  her aunt (so my great-great-aunt) was called Emilia. And since then I started praying for her soul as well and kept wondering what she must have been like. And so finally a couple weeks ago my curiosity got the better of me and I thought I’d do some mini research and see where it takes me, with no high hopes because I’d heard that ancestry research apps aren’t really very accessible for the blind, and I wasn’t that determined to go searching beyond the world-wide web, so wouldn’t be running around cemeteries, visiting distant relatives or places where Jacenty and Emilia lived, just see where, if anywhere at all, my armchair research takes me.

   And it’s actually been going pretty well, because while I don’t have much of an idea about stuff like their personalities or even who my great-great-aunt was in terms of occupation (I do know that my great-great-grandad is said to be the first mayor in the country after Poland has regained its independence, yay!) I do have more of an idea about their lives now. It was going so well that I actually figured I really dig digging like that, so why not set up a proper, full-size family tree and dig some more through our ancestry as a whole? I knew my Dad would be over the moon if I had some interesting findings to share, ‘cause he likes such things too but would never do it himself. And that’s what I did, and this is going extremely well, given my meager ambitions. Like, one day I just decided to trace back the records of my paternal grandma’s mother’s ancestors, and I was able to go as far as to our one ancestress – Anna – who was born before 1742. This is one branch of my family that I know most about at the moment, and it was a very interesting and exciting experience to dig through the past and go further and further back in time and meet my old family and imagine them based on the usually very scant info on their lives that I was able to dig out.

   What was also fascinating for me to see as a name nerd is the changing name trends. I mean, obviously people used to be very repetitive with names in the past so I think it was even easier to establish which names were popular than it is when looking at birth announcements these days. I’ve heard a lot that in American baby naming, there’s such a thing called 100 year rule. This means that it usually takes about 100 years for a name to become fashionable again. Like, parents rarely name their children after their own parents, but they’re often happy to name them after their grandparents or great-grandparents, although of course there are exceptions because some names just never come back. Well, while I’m pretty sure that something like this is more or less of a pattern in many other countries as well, including Poland, I was skeptical whether here it is as pronounced as in the US, because we seem to have a lot more exceptions from this rule and new parents already start embracing some names that are still pretty normal among boomers. But looking at all these names of my ancestors, my skepticism has lessened a fair bit. We may be a bit slower with the fashion cycle (but then we also have less names because not long ago we had quite a lot of restrictions on what a child can be named), but when you look at old records, something is clearly going on. When starting my research, I was thinking I’d be seeing a lot of your typical today’s Polish granny and grandpa names, because I always had an impression that most of them must have been very common and popular for centuries and only became rusty in 1970’s or so. What was my surprise when, around the earlier half of 19th century-latter half of the 18th century, the children’s names started to have an oddly late gen X/millennial vibe. I also enjoyed seeing some interesting onomastic retro rarities. 

   So, going back to the question, well, this would feel quite frustrating now, ‘cause… shit, did I really spend so much time on this to be told that it’s not my freaking family?! 😀 I’d want to know who actually my family are then. Not because I’d want to meet them and make my hypothetical new bio mum aware that I’m her daughter (although who knows, maybe if I did some research and thought it was worth a try, why not? I just wouldn’t do the research for the sake of meeting them necessarily), but more for the sake of quenching my own insatiable curiosity, and just to have an interesting rabbit hole to go down, ’til another one appears. My Mum asked if I’d do genetic testing, and, I guess it would be a good idea. But my friend Jacek of Helsinki once did, because his mum was supposed to have some Ugrofinnic ancestry and he really wanted to find out if he had some Finnish blood in him, but then he learned that he’s no Finn, and his genes are instead Armenian to quite an impressive degree, and he wasn’t too excited. So maybe that would keep my curiosity at bay? I wouldn’t mind learning that I’m largely Armenian or whatever other ethnicity, but I might end up learning that I’ve inherited, say, Huntington’s, or other degenerative unpreventable shit. Ew, why would I want to know that already? 

   Your turn. 🙂 

Question of the day.

   Who was the worst teacher you’d ever had? 

   My answer: 

   I guess I’ve had both some teachers that were pretty damn good, as well as such that were really awful. Either at teaching or generally dealing with students. But it’s really hard to pick the ultimate worst. My class teacher at the inclusion/integration school that I went to for two years is someone whom I don’t have particularly good memories of. Thankfully she wasn’t my class teacher for those two years, only the second year. At the same time, she happened to be our math teacher. She was very weird and moodswingy, and clearly had some mental problem with my being blind, but wouldn’t show it in an explicit way ‘cause… well, inclusion school. Instead she just acted really awkward not only with me, but also with my Mum. She was very happy to throw as much of her teaching responsibility off her shoulders onto my Mum, so my Mum didn’t have the best relationship with her either. And overall she just wasn’t a particularly likeable person, creating a lot of unnecessary tension and stressful atmosphere around her. 

   I then also happened to have a math teacher as my class teacher when I came back to the blind school, and she got on my nerves all the time, but I suppose that was more because of my whole math situation rather than her being a bad teacher in general, even though a lot of other students didn’t like her either. She wasn’t a very engaging or particularly pleasant person, seemed kind of dry and emotionless to me, but I don’t think it would be fair to say that she was a bad teacher no matter how eagerly I disliked her. 

   I had some pretty bad luck with English teachers. Some of them were lovely people, but not very good teachers, while others were I guess decent teachers, but unpleasant people who could easily discourage you from liking their subject, but thankfully none managed to discourage me from liking the language itself. 

   Oh yeah, and my history teacher in high school/college, he was absolutely hilarious and annoying, I don’t know which he was more. It was a mainstream school and I don’t think he had to do with a blind individual before ‘cause he seemed to be utterly scared of me. It was really ffunny on one hand, because, huh, I didn’t know I was this creepy, and me and one of my classmates had a lot of laughs about it and wondered what would happen if I did something weird in his lesson, like started laughing like a freak or yelling in Swedish or pretended to be spectacularly sick like have a heart attack or a seizure, or whatever, how he would react, and my classmate highly encouraged me to try, but on the other hand it was really inconvenient because being a sociophobic myself, I didn’t really know how to interact with him, and I did have to occasionally. He was even absolutely terrified of my Mum. I originally thought that perhaps he also has social anxiety or something like that and felt for him, but since his interactions with everyone else other than my Mum and me were totally normal I quickly figured out that he’s just probably scared of contracting blindness.  I later on decided that I will do most of my school work from home and just send them control assignments and come for half-term exams, because my sitting in class for eight hours often felt like a total waste of time when they did some textbook-based stuff or looked at slideshows, and when I came to school with my Mum to ask the teachers if that was okay, my Mum said that he looked very visibly relieved. He still had to deal with the creepy Bibielz during exams, which you’d think would be  all the worse because it was one-on-one interaction and he couldn’t just pretend I wasn’t there, so I thought it would be very problematic, but he actually seemed to deal with that better. 

   How about your worst teacher(s)? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   Since we haven’t had one in a while, let’s have a very general question of the day today: 

   How are you holding up? 

   My answer: 

   Not too bad at all. I’ve been spending a lot of time with Misha lately. He’s no longer on Fluoxetine – that’s beyond my Mum’s and my mental capacity to have him on it longer than a couple weeks, he gets so out of touch with the world that we were seriously afraid he’d lose it completely one day and we’d find him dead under a bed one day, and it wasn’t getting much better. – Plus, after he stopped taking it, I have discovered that the dose Misha was prescribed (10 mg) was  too high for him, because from what I’ve read almost everywhere it seems that a dose of Fluoxetine for a cat is 1 mg/1 kg body mass, and it totally spooked me out that not only was Misha on this dose for over a month, but the vet actually suggested that we could give him twice as much throughout the day, which would be enough for five Mishas. . Only one website I found claimed that cats can take 2 to 5 mg, not mentioning that it should be based on a particular cat’s weight, but that would still mean Misha’s dose was too high. Not toxic or anything, but why take a high dose and sleep your whole life away if you can potentially take a normal dose and feel like yourself minus constant sadness? I’m obviously not a vet, but Misha’s symptoms plus the fact that it says so in every single source I’ve read sounds really alarming to me and my Mum was scared too when I told her that. At the beginning of June, Misha has started to totally refuse his pills and when Mum gave him one and think he must have swallowed it, she’d give him something yummy right away and then she’d find the pill spat out next to his bowl. Finally one day when he spat out three pills and was drooling like crazy, Mum called the vet and said that she cannot give them to him, and then he was like: “Well, if he’s so much against it, then indeed it’s better not to”. I’d think that was quite apparent from the beginning that his whole being was very much against it from the beginning. He hasn’t been taking it since about two weeks and, yes, it’s back to crying, but I also have to say that we grew even closer after he has stopped taking it. While taking Prozac, Misha had a lot less interest in food, I guess not because his appetite as such had decreased as is apparently the case with many animals on it, but simply because his dominant interest had become sleep and there was little time for anything else. My Mum doesn’t have scales, but everyone in my family says Misha looks like he must lost a bit of weight during May – which he never had much to begin with. – So now that he no longer takes it, he seems to enjoy food even more than he did before and his pleasure out of it is very evident whenever he eats something yummy, so I take every opportunity to buy him something very special that he likes or give Mum my card to buy him something and I enjoy giving him his Mish ice cream. He has also really fallen in love with the regular people fat cream (which we now always have because my Mum is on keto currently), he always liked it but now I guess it’s one of his top foods and he seems so happy whenever he gets it. Instead of doing it the normal, civilised way and give him the cream in his bowl, I much prefer to smear my fingers in the cream and let him lick it off, as it’s a lot more fun, I think for us both but certainly for me. He now spends most of the time in my room and is still more sleepy than he was before he started taking the Prozac, but he’s also a lot more engaging than he was on it and seems to not only enjoy lying on my bed but also spending time with me and cuddling and playing together and is more affectionate and not quite so apparently unhappy all the time. I’m not sure what has changed him so much, but probably at least part of it could be the leftover Prozac, plus maybe having gotten used to the routine of constant sleeping and chilling out. Which makes it seem like perhaps if Misha was to be put on the right dose, it would work very well for him, but we don’t want to try it again, if only because Misha clearly doesn’t do pills. I guess we’ll just continue as we did, trying to make sure that he doesn’t escape and trying to survive the wailing on sunny days, there doesn’t seem to be a better option. After Misha stopped taking Prozac, I tried to research synthetic feromones, about which I learned from one of my pen pals. But it seems like most of it is a placebo thing, if not a downright scam. The most popular feromone diffuser seems to be Feliway, which is quite pricey to begin with, and of course they encourage you to buy a diffuser for every room in which your cat spends a lot of time, plus obviously an adequate supply of bottles with feromones in them. THen you turn on the difuser and… well, apparently it starts working, although you can only know that because you’ve plugged it in and turned it on, because obviously it’s the cat feromones so you won’t feel anything, and you have to wait for the magic to kick in. And it doesn’t seem to be a frequent occurrence, because the only research that claims Feliway’s efficacy has been that funded by Feliway or related companies. I’ve also looked at a lot of other feromone diffusers, but they don’t look convincing to me either as they claim to work on all sorts of pets, and the whole thing reminds me too much of the essential oils thing, which I have nothing against, they’re really nice – I even have a diffuser myself that I got from my Mum on Christmas even though I don’t feel scents but I like how it makes sounds similar to Misha grooming himself so that even if Misha isn’t here, I can run the difuser and think it’s Misha and it’s a cool background noise – but I have a hard time believing that it can work in any other way than placebo, and I guess placebo is not a thing with cats. 

   Generally, ever since Misha has stopped taking his happy pills, I’ve been researching all sorts of non-pharmacological “cat therapies” hoping that there might be something that could make Misha’s (and our) life easier, but the more I look into it, the stronger feeling I have that the whole pets thing is just one huge business, and treating pets often seems like a total guessing game and feeling around in the dark until, who knows, maybe something will work. So is the case with a lot of human treatments, but with animals it’s a lot more apparent. 

   Anyway, I like how Misha is now and how cuddly he is, and this makes me feel better too, by extension. Often, if I have nothing better or pressing to do, I’ll just lie on my bed next to Misha and listen to his breath for hours, it’s so beautiful and soothing and also kind of hilarious at the same time, I’m not sure why it’s so hilarious. 

   So yeah, it’s been very Mishful around here lately. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What are some things you do to cope with stress that aren’t really productive, but not really unhealthy either? 

   My answer: 

   I guess one such thing that comes to my mind and that fulfills these criteria is sleep. If I feel really stressed, or depressed, for that matter, or anything shitty like that, and can sleep, I will usually happily jump at the chance to shut my brain down even for a little while. Sleep is one of the best methods of escapism, imo, but it sure isn’t particularly productive. Unless you happen to have a dream that gives you a solution to whatever is stressing you out, or the stress is only a matter of time and when you sleep some time through, you’ll wake up in a better, less stressful world. I’ve heard that too much sleep can be similarly unhealthy as too little sleep (I’m actually really curious why, because with too little sleep it’s obvious, but I’d like to know what exactly goes wrong when you sleep too much and why) but I suppose that compared to various other maladaptive ways in which people, including myself, try to cope with stress, oversleeping is probably relatively harmless. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What’s a question we should never ask? 

   My answer: 

   My Dad has developed a really weird and kind of annoying habit over the last couple of years. If he’s gone for some longer time and only sees me when he comes back home, like after work or something, he’ll often come into my room and ask: “Are you alive?”, or if Misha is with me he’ll ask about both of us. I mean, obviously not. Which is often how I respond to that, or say that I’m just trying to figure that out myself or that I never was alive to begin with, he’s been just hallucinating, or that I’ve already started rotting so he’s extremely perceptive, but I’m starting to run out of ideas. And this has been, like, every single time for several years, like some weird, obligatory script! 😀 And it’s only something that he says to me/me and Misha, thankfully it’s not like it’s his standard, general way of greeting people, just a privilege for Bibiel. So that sometimes I start to feel suspicious. Perhaps he puts some mini doses of various poisons in my food and testing which one will finally do its job effectively but not too dramatically. 😀 

   What’s such question in your opinion? 🙂 

Question of the day (23rd May).

   Hi people! 🙂 

   Here’s your question of the day that I was actually planning to post yesterday, so today we’ll hae two questions again. 🙂 

   What is the most fucked up thing a person you know has done? 

   My answer: 

   The first thing that comes to my mind is something that my two later to become boarding school roommates did when we were in nursery/preschool. There was one boy who, aside from obviously being blind like all of us, also had some intellectual disability and I guess something wrong with his face, a cleft palate or something. And one time when he was in the loo, they went in there and started banging his head on the walls from side to side, just as he was sitting on the loo. Thankfully someone has noticed and they got punished by it in some way. I only learned about it from them years later, and it struck me as really odd and quite hardcore cruel, because they’re normally not like that at all, and it didn’t seem like they had any clear motivation behind that, just that one of themm got such an idea and the other followed. 

   You? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What’s something you never want to do again? 

   My answer: 

   Have another cat. Not because I regret having Misha, but for a whole bunch of other reasons, First, I feel so attached to Misha that it would be unfair on that other cat, because I’d always want him to be like Misha and probably even if he was “better” than Misha in some respects, like being more cuddly, I wouldn’t be satisfied because I’d want him to be  Misha. Also it would feel similar to as if I decided to get myself another mum or another sister if Mum or Sofi died. A new cat would definitely be out of question if I no loonger lived with my parents, as I don’t think I’d be capable to take good enough care of it. Even if I’d move out of here and live more independently while Misha would still be alive, as much as that would be sad and heart-breaking and despite he’s officially my cat, I wouldn’t take him with me. I can’t imagine giving him his eye drops when he gets his eye problems, or locating and successfully cleaning his vomit, or keeping track of where he is so that he doesn’t go out. I know blind people who are so keen on having a cat that they hang a bell around their neck so that they can know their whereabouts, but sheesh, if it were you, would you really like to hear a ringing sound every time you move? I wouldn’t feel good torturing someone like that, just because I WANT a cat. And my other reasons are consistent with those of my family’s, who also feel the same about having another cat. While knowing Misha has been one of the best things that happened in my life, I think we all feel a sense of guilt towards him at the same time. Because, well, let’s just say it out loud, in the grand scheme of things, he’s quite clearly not happy with his life. A cat who cries like Misha does when he wants out can’t possibly be happy. He thinks he’d be happy if he was an outdoor cat, which, practically, is not the most viable option for a Russian blue who has no idea about outdoor life and has always been mollycoddled, spoilt and taken care of, not to mention has had very little contact with other animals and is very anxious by nature. He can act very courageous sometimes when interacting with seagulls through the window, but that’s as far as his courage goes. He’s not even used to dealing with as much stimuli of all sorts that are out there in the world, so it’s a bit as if you kept someone in isolation and sensory deprivation for years and then you just let him out free and expect to act sane and calm and know what he’s supposed to do. 

   It’s also not a viable option for a pure-bred cat owner. You don’t buy an expensive, pure-bred cat to let him roam around freely so that someone can steal him or a fellow feline can annihilate him. So why do you buy a cat? Good question. Well yeah, ‘cause I WANT! I’m no better than those people who hang a bell round their cats’ necks. I have quite conservative views on animals, at least for today’s standards. I am not a vegan, animal rights activist, ecologist or other  selfless tree hugger. Same about the rest of my family. But the longer we live with Misha, the more we feel like we’re not fair to him. Sure, if not us, someone else would have bought him and he’d still suffer. It’s difficult to think of a life scenario for him where he wouldn’t. But if we didn’t get him, we wouldn’t be contributing to it.

   If you don’t let him out, he cries his lungs out and everyone is sad, stressed out and frustrated to no end. If you do let him go in and out as he pleases, he isn’t safe. If you try to control it and let him out at a certain time, keep an eye on him and make sure nothing bad happens, he’ll stilll cry as soon as you get him back home. Autumns and winters are very much bearable – if you don’t go out too much and if it’s not too sunny – but springs and summers are more of a nightmare each year. Especially for my Mum who has to keep an eye on the door constantly so that no one leaves them open while going out. Misha wakes up with the sun and starts roaming around the house, stopping by every window and serenading it – the sun – mournfully at the top of his lungs. He doesn’t even get much sleep, because every opening of a window or door, every sound of someone going in and out, of a bird calling, of Jocky barking, of people talking outside, every breeze or sun warmth coming through the window wakes him up, so he’s constantly undersleeped and cranky and properly hyperactive. It’s impossible not to feel pity for him, but also his constant meowing and howling and crying drives people nuts so it’s also pretty much impossible not to snap out at him at some point, especially if you’re someone like my Dad, which doesn’t help him at all. Sometimes my Mum gives in to him and lets him out on a terrace, or is just so resigned and desperate for a bit of peace and quiet that she lets him go wherever and for how long he wants, and every single day he’d go further, until at some point he’d go so far that it would start to feel really dangerous and my parents wouldn’t be able to find him, until finally at some point it’s usually one of our neighbours who would call worried that they saw Misha’s fur gleaming somewhere in the distance and give us a hint of where more or less he might be. We suppose that, if nothing bad would happen to him in the meantime, he’d always come back at some poiint, but taking such high risk and waiting when we know that he’s two houses away and could go further feels very silly and irresponsible. Every time he comes back – regardless of whether he wants it himself or someone has to bring him home – as soon as the door closes behind him, the crying starts all over again, except it’s more obnoxious. At some point my Mum realises that letting him out only makes him feel more upset and doesn’t help anything, so again the strict rules are put in place for Misha. 

   I know not every cat is like this. Perhaps even the majority are not. My aunt also has a Russian blue cat who is as laid back as it gets, in fact he seems to me like he’s on the opposite extreme to Misha, he can happily sleep on a rug and even when you pass him by and almost step on him he won’t move an inch. Sasha (the kitten we got on a whim a year after Misha and had to rehome after a few months because Misha didn’t tolerate company of his own species well at all) was a very cheerful kitten  who didn’t seem to need much at all to be happy, just a bit of attention and play, and some food that doesn’t need to be as sophisticated as Misha’s, anything edible and nice-smelling is good. Sasha did have a problem with pooping in every place possible except not where he should, the causes of which we couldn’t establish for a long time and which seemed to be emotional in nature, but eventually it turned out that it was Misha who must have scared him away from the litter box and that’s why he didn’t want to poop there but would rather do it anywhere else. I have no idea why Misha’s like this. I guess it’s just like with people and many just are born with weird brains for no apparent reason. I remember once reading an article about some study that claims that cats have a tendency to be anxious if their owners are anxious too, and vice versa. We’ve always thought it interesting how Misha and me are so similar in many ways, and same about Sofi and Jocky, and earlier Sofi and Sasha. And there’s such Polish saying that I guess could be roughly translated as like the stallholder, like the stall, which basically means that what is yours is like you, and my Mum always says that whenever the topic of Misha and Jocky being like me and Sofi respectively pops up. 😀 So perhaps it’s me who is responsible for Misha being “weird”. Misha’s mummy, with the very original name of Hansa Luft, had some problem giving birth to her offspring and so Misha was born through a C-section, and we’ve heard from a vet that used to be Misha’s vet that cats born via C-section apparently are more likely to be “weird”. Misha’s behaviour has always reminded me more of a severely traumatised shelter cat, so that sometimes I was wondering whether something awful might have happened to him at his breeder’s. He’s always been very fearful, wary of touch and closeness with people, easily upset by things – I mean even things like  slight, unexpected movements, a minor furniture rearrangement or something laying on the floor that wasn’t there whenn he looked previously. – He’s always overgroomed himself, though thankfully it never led to some more serious complications like I’ve heard it does in many cats who do. He doesn’t purr like normal. I have absolutely no problem with that, I love his quiet, soft purr which is more palpable than audible unless you literally  put your ear to his chest or face, but the truth is that it just isn’t a normal purr. 

   Last year, as you perhaps remember if you’ve been around on here back then, Mum took Misha to a behaviourist and he said that the only viable option he sees is to medicate Misha and he gave him fluoxetine/Prozac, which really shocked me initially but, like, what else can you do, I guess there’s no talk therapy for pets that you could try first. 😀 So my Mum gave him that Prozac, which wasn’t easy to administer at all because it was pills and it must be a nightmare giving pills to a cat judging from their struggles. Mum had to wrap Misha up in a blanket so he couldn’t move and scratch her or run away, force open his mouth, give him the pill, close his mouth and hold his face till he swallowed so that he wouldn’t spit it out. Not fun. It wasn’t long until Misha started to recognise the signs that it was pill time and would run away and hide. Moreover, the fluoxetine was making him very drowsy and he wasn’t quite himself. His crying had reduced a lot, indeed, but not because he felt calmer or happier, just because he slept through pretty much all day long. When he was awake, he continued to cry. Mostly though, it felt like there was no Misha anymore, just a little ball of fur with no Misha inside. He mostly hid under beds and didn’t want to interact with us almost at all. Sometimes I would find him somewhere and cuddle him and he’d seem to fall asleep in my arms but that was very clearly simply because he was totally indifferent rather than was in a more cuddly mood. I might’ve as well been cuddling a lifeless teddybear. At some point both my Mum and Sofi started realising that he doesn’t even actually sleep when he is under those beds, just lies there on his belly staring emptily into space with his eyes wide open. He ate very little. When he was awake and you’d call him, he’d just look at you and continue sitting like a statue where he was, a bit like he was too weak to carry out the complicated activity of motivating himself to stand up, standing up, moving his paws and walking to wherever the calling was coming from. Not even Mish ice cream did the trick. So finally, with all the pill troubles getting worse and Misha clearly not feeling well, Mum said she was worried that he could just die one day while laying sleeplessly like that, and we decided it’s best to stop giving him the Prozac, because we wanted Misha back and it was starting to feel rather creepy. He gradually did come back, and his crying wasn’t so much of an issue anymore, so we were hoping that perhaps it will just get better. 

   But this year, spring came again and finally it seemed like my Mum has reached her limit and was at witts end for what to do, as she and Misha basically kept repeating the same cycle with this whole going out thing every year, as if hoping that finally there will be a time when it’ll work and everyone will live happily everafter, whatever “happily” might mean for poor little Misha. And she said that perhaps he should try Prozac again, maybe if she stuck to it for longer than last year, which was only about a week, he’d start tolerating it better and get back to his normal self. And so she started giving him the pills again. She has even been to the vet, asking if there perhaps is another medication that Misha could take, that he’d perhaps tolerate better, or a different form of fluoxetine like liquid, but, surprisingly to me, he said that no. I did some research beforehand and there clearly are people out there who give their cats fluoxetine in liquid form or even topical, or use feromones to deal with emotional problems with cats, so I wonder if he’s just opposed to anything else or what. Instead, he actually said that Mum could even give Misha one whole pill rather than just a half as last year – one half in the morning and one in the evening – and if it’s a problem she could hide the pill in a bit of food. He clearly doesn’t know Misha. I honestly don’t even understand how other cats are so gullible that they can eat a pill with food just fine. Mum tried it first thing last year, but Misha would spit it out as soon as he’d taste the pill in the food. I sometimes feel like veterinarians underappreciate animals’ intelligence. Like when Misha once had to have a urine test, he was supposed to pee into some fake litter, and, much as we expected, he didn’t, because it wasn’t his litter. Is Misha really in a minority who is too smart/hypersensitive? I kind of doubt it, though I know nothing about other cats.

   Also there didn’t seem to be much point in upping his dose if the lowest one zonks him out so effectively. It’s not like he’s aggressive or something. I don’t think I even realised before that SSRI’s can be sleepifying like that, but perhaps it’s just different with cats’ brains than people’s. 

   He’s started taking it at the beginning of May and it’s clearly going better this time than last time because he’s a bit more social and lively than he was then in that he doesn’t hide so much and even plays a bit when he’s awake and is a lot more cuddly and a bit more relaxed than he normally is which doesn’t seem to be just a result of indifference, but he still sleeps through most of the day and night. It always used to be so that Misha woke up first, now he’s often still asleep when I wake up, and I’ve been rarely waking up before 9 this month, most of the time around 11. He yawns literally AAAAALLLLLL the time, and despite he sleeps so much his sleep seems to be very shallow, so perhaps that’s exactly why he sleeps so much more to compensate for it. He also seems very weak, or tired or I don’t know how else to call it. Just acts as if he had very little energy and reacts to everything very slowly. The pill administering hasn’t been easy for my Mum, because it’s so unpleasant for them all and my Mum is worried that he’ll develop bad associations with her, or will at some point totally refuse to take the pills, but we always try to give him something yummy right after he swallows it so he can forget about everything as soon as possible. I also firmly believe that, as much as Misha is very anxious, he also has some really impressive amounts of patience and gentleness for people, I’m not exactly sure how to describe it. I know that Mum actually realises it herself too, because he showed this virtuous trait of his very much during and right after Sasha’s stay with us, and Mum herself called it that Misha has a very “noble character”. So that even if people have to do something unpleasant to him, or do it thoughtlessly or accidentally, even if it affects him a lot he keeps being gentle-mannered, as classy as ever and good-naturedly understanding and forgiving of his peeps’ countless weaknesses. I think he might just understand in his little brain that Mum’s new whim is to give him this yucky pill every day, and he really doesn’t like it but, oh well… he still loves Mum. Today it actually went very smoothly and Misha didn’t even protest at all, so there’s hope that it’ll continue to go in this direction.

   But the biggest concern for me is that he has almost stopped pooping. I mean it’s really getting serious, because yesterday he cried so loudly and pitifully whenn he was in the loo, and was there for so long but nothing came out. Normally you could almost set the clock by his pooping, he would poop every day at pretty much the same hour, unless his breakfast was a lot later than typically, but now it’s good if he poops every three days. Unfortunately Mum wasn’t home when Misha cried yesterday in his loo so she could hear it, only Sofi and me did and told her about it, oh yeah and Misha very clearly tried too but Mum can’t speak his language. He ran to her as soon as she came back (he doesn’t really run much ever since he’s been on fluoxetine) and made a wailing sound which made us laugh because it sounded as if he was saying “Muuuuuummmmmmmyyyyyy!” And then kept following her and crying. She wasn’t particularly concerned. Probably because she didn’t hear how awful it sounded when he was in the loo. I’ve given her my card already when Misha first started to seem constipated and have been telling her for a long time to buy him some Miralax and she keeps saying that she will but she still hasn’t despite going to town almost every day. 

   So yeah, really, I most definitely wouldn’t want to make another cat feel unhappy like that. 

   What is such a thing for you?  🙂 

Question of the day.

   If you could move to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? 

   My answer: 

   I would most likely stay where I am. I like it here, and moves are very stressful. But if I HAD to move, and could choose anywhere I wanted, and it would be doable logistically, I’d move to Wales, preferably to North Wales, most happily somewhere in Gwynedd close to the sea, and I’d establish my little hermitage in there. 😀 

   You? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What is the least stressful job there is? 

   My answer: 

   I guess it’s really hard to say without having worked in a given profession, and also that while what you do as part of your job is very important, it also matters in what sort of environment you work and other circumstances. My job at my Dad’s is probably as low-stress as it gets, but I’m sure that there are many office worker/secretary people who can’t say the same about their job. I don’t know how this thing is called in English, or even if it is a thing at all, but I’d think the sort of small, manual jobs  that one can do at home here, which are usually a source of additional income but for some people who are otherwise unemployable for any reason it might be their only job or especially it used to be the case in the past, like assembling pens, or cartboard boxes, packing up leaflets etc. Shouldn’t be particularly stressful. But I have a feeling that most people who decide to take on such jobs may already have lives that are stressful enough at least in the financial sphere, if not any others. Besides, they can’t be particularly interesting or even mildly challenging, and I think long-term boredom/lack of real purpose can be experienced as kind of stressful in a way too. 

   What are your ideas? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   Which part of the stereotypical teenager experience did you not relate to? 

   My answer: 

   Probably more than what I did relate to, and more than what I can think of right now. I guess most people think of teenagers as being rebellious, loud, having an attitude (this is such a weird, vague-sounding expression, everyone has some sort of attitude) and stuff like that. I wouldn’t say I was those things. I never really felt the need to rebel in some ostentatious way. Well, I guess you may say that I sort of did in my late teens when I turned away from Christianity and pretended mostly for my own sake that I was an atheist or agnostic, then later tried playing with Wicca, because my school was Catholic and I wanted to reject everything to do with it. I also identified and liked to present myself as a Goth, and I think there was also a sort of rebellious element to it because it doesn’t really get along very well with Christian values. I would also do stuff like I-dosing (using such binaural beats which work sort of like drugs and simulate various mental states) or lucid dreaming, which was primarily a way of escapism for me, but in a way I think a sort of rebellion as well. But while I really regret all of that now and have not only got a chance from God to re-convert but also found my place in the traditional Catholic community and now attend exclusively traditional Latin Mass, which is kind of funny when I think of it more, I don’t think people around me perceived me as particularly rebellious in a typical teenager way. 

   I definitely wasn’t impulsive or into risk. I certainly was emotional like a proper teenager, but I was a huge fan of bottling things up and apparently very good at it so I came across as the opposite of that to many people.

   I’ve always felt that most fictional teenagers – and most of the real ones that I knew while being a teenager myself, for that matter – seem to have a lot of friends, or at the very least one best friend that they share stuff with and are really close to each other. This is also not really an experience I had. As I wrote on here before, I think I was liked at school and unlike your stereotypical friendless teenager I didn’t have any enemies either and was never bullied or anything like that. I got along well with most people and had some common ground with a handful, I even called some of them friends, but wasn’t particularly close with anyone. The girls I particularly enjoyed hanging out with were already a very tightly-knit circle of friends to each other, and while I think they liked me and my company and we had a lot of common ground, they clearly didn’t see me as part of that circle and were most happy to spend time without additional people, as they had their insider things that they liked to do together and that they weren’t keen on introducing to anyone else, so I spent most of the time alone. I mostly didn’t mind that, though I often felt that life would be a lot easier in a lot of ways for me at school if I had someone that I could be closer with and with whom we could be best friends for each other, and while I wasn’t desperate for a friendship, the lack thereof contributed to my already strong feelings of inadequacy. There were also two girls that I met online about whom I really liked to think as my best friends, we met in a blind online network that was a thing back then. We had a lot of fun times and one of them introduced me to my first two faza people which she also had fazas on. But we only talked online, and I only had access to the Internet when I was at home, which was only either when there was some school break, or on an occasional weekend, or when I was sick or something so not too often, which doesn’t help with maintaining a relationship. Later on, when I was still deep in my teens, I met my now late friend Jacek from Helsinki which was quite a close yet also very turbulent friendship, but I don’t think it fits in with your stereotypical teenage friendships because I didn’t meet him at school, except on a forum for translators where I shared my Vreeswijk’s translations. 

   As regulars ón here know, I didn’t fall in love, date, or have sex either. Still, for some reason, some girls really liked to come to me for relationship advice. It sometimes felt a little awkward being practically the only one not going out with someone, except for those girls who had some mild intellectual deficits, but I didn’t really have any desire to that just because that was what everyone else was doing, and, more importantly, there was just absolutely no one sufficiently interesting that I could go out with, and just the mere idea felt slightly intimidating. 

   I didn’t go to parties. Well, I did, if I had to, but these were mostly stuff like school balls/proms or people’s birthday parties also held at school, and obviously parties within my family. No teen house parties, discos or clubbing or whatever else people might do. I never had any desire to do that sort of thing either. I hated even the school balls and always dreaded them and did whatever I could to avoid them. 

   I didn’t have much of an interest in make-up, doing my nails and stuff like that. Which I suppose is the typical teenage girl thing because it is very much Sofi’s thing and Sofi is, for the most, very typical of her age group. It just seemed like a lot of hassle to deal with being blind, and I had very little motivation. I became more interested in it once I became a Goth, but it was still rather half-hearted. 

   I was lucky enough that I almost didn’t have acne. I did get some occasional  pimple, especially before Jack the Ripper’s visits whenn he started coming, but for the most part I don’t seem to have a particularly oily skin. My Mum says that it also could be because I usually didn’t pop the pimples unless the more gross-looking or painful ones in more visible locations. 

   I didn’t try to desperately follow my peers in what I did or was interested in. Sometimes like I’ve already said it contributed to me feeling more inadequate, but even so I wasn’t interested in fitting in more. On the other hand though, I also liked not being into everything that happened to be trendy at the moment either worldwide or in my immediate surroundings and having my own taste in things and thinking a bit more independently rather than blending in with the crowd for all costs. Sure, there were things that the majority did that I did as well, it wasn’t like I would reject something just because everyone else did it so I wanted to be different for all means. I just took what I liked from what they did. 

   I didn’t look up to my peers more than my parents and I didn’t have any major generational issues with my parents. If I did, they never led to any huge conflicts or arguments or anything like that. A huge part of that was definitely the fact that I spent most of the time in the boarding school and I really didn’t like it and didn’t want it to have any influence on me, I also missed my Mum a lot so she was the strongest authority figure for me. But also my Mum is a very flexible-minded person so it’s easy to get along with her and make a compromise if needed even if we have different ideas about something, she’s also very loyal so even if my siblings or I did something wrong at school or anywhere else outside of home or were in trouble or something, she would always be on our side rather than, say, the teacher’s or whoever was accusing us, while at the same time acknowledging that what we did was wrong and not being happy about it, but she just thinks that if you’re a parent, you should be in your child’s corner so that they’re not alone even if they did something bad or stupid. She was also always very interested in our lives and we knew we could talkk to her about anything freely if we wanted, unlike what seems to be the case with many teenagers and their parents. In fact, as a teenager, often when I was witnessing a class- or groupmate having some trouble I’d be surprised when they didn’t think of talking about it with their parents first so that they could help, but instead tried to unsuccessfully deal with it on their own or talked to the staff who were often rather biased, or other kids who could often comiserate but not necessarily always help in a real way. I also didn’t understand regular teenagers living with their parents on a daily basis how they could be often so rude to their parents or argue with them all the time or almost not talk with them at all. So whenever I needed some advice, had some questions of vital importance, or decided to let a little bit of that bottled up stuff out, I would most often call my Mum. And I think I must have achieved some school record in calling my family , as from what I could observe, no one did it as often as I did, which was often multiple times during the day. 

   I guess it’s also a common stereotype among people that teenagers really want to become adults so that they can finally do what they want. Well, I didn’t. I always dreaded adulthood, even at preschool age, which I’m pretty sure I’ve already written about here how I had some sort of dream or vision or whatever that was of myself being an adult surrounded by little kids and having totally no idea what I’m supposed to do. If anything, when I was a teenager, I often felt a very strong sense of a sort of emotional/mental weariness, probably due to depression, and I sometimes thought how cool it would be to be a baby again and not have much of an idea about anything. That probably says something about my emotional maturity. 😀 I also often felt really confused when facing various life responsibilities. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What irritates you the most? 

   My answer: 

   People who are so extremely touchy that almost whatever you tell or ask them is considered attacking, stupid, or otherwise inappropriate or whatever and react in a way that feels aggressive or oozes with huffiness. It’s hard not to get irritated in response to something like that so it can start a vicious cycle. Both my Dad and Sofi, for all their virtues, are like that. Sofi in particular. Like, when it’s the “wrong day” you can’t tell or ask her about pretty much anything at all ‘cause everything will be interpreted as personal attack and she’ll respond with an eyeroll and almost yell at you in a very unpleasant tone, or with emphatic silence. If you don’t know Sofi well, you may be tempted to try and be even nicer to her, thinking that perhaps she’s just had a bad day at school and, you know, puberty and all. But the nicer you’ll try to be, paradoxically the worse it gets. My Mum is a huge people pleaser by nature, so am I I suppose but I guess to a lesser extent, so even though we know about it, we often try to make her feel better anyway, but that just never helps. And no, unfortunately it is not something that has come up now that she’s a teenager, she’s always been touchy and moody and easily irritated like this even as a toddler. We can only hope that it changes as she gets older, because overall Sofi is a very cool and likeable girl if she’s in a good mood or if she wants something from you, with a lot of good traits, but this particular trait makes her quite a difficult person and potentially even toxic, especially over time if she doesn’t grow out of it, because such stuff can get worse with age. My Dad is a bit different in that it doesn’t always take so little to set him off, but once you do succeed (which usually happens to my poor Mum), it can even end up almost like a proper tantrum. And it’s always everyone else who is to blame for everything, never him, and the whole family and everyone at work and their dog is plotting and siding against him. I dunno, I’m also quite easily irritated, and most definitely touchy (thanks, AVPD), but what I don’t understand is spilling it out so much on the other people. For me it would kind of feel humiliating if I just broke down like that and started yelling at someone just because they dared say “Hi Bibiel” and I have a feeling that they hate me and are laughing at me inside their brain. If it wasn’t true, I would only make someone feel awful, and if it was, it certainly wouldn’t make them hate me less or would give them more of a reason to laugh at what a freak Bibiel is. 😀 

   You? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   If your life would’ve been a book, what would you name that book? 

   My answer: 

   Well, I’ve been thinking about it for a while now and the idea that sounds best to me out of those I’ve come up with is: “Bibielle’s Brain Bubble. A story of parallel worlds”. But if I really was to do something like write my autobiography I’m sure I’d be thinking very long about a good title and would probably only decide for one when I’d have the whole book or at least a detailed draft ready. I don’t like coming up with titles. So if my entire life was a book, I should probably wait til the end of the story to be able to give it an adequate name, haha. 

   What would your title be? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   Why do you think cats are so fluffy? 

   My answer: 

   ! A lot of people seem to think that cats are as cute as they are – not just fluffy but also make all those cute little sounds and purrs and do almost everything in a cute way – because it’s their way of manipulating people into loving them so that then they can use it to their advantage however they want. And that’s certainly very plausible and wouldn’t surprise me at all if it was the case. I also think that a fluffy cat can be used instead of a hot water bottle and work just as well, if not better.

   But, actually, what I find a lot more interesting than why, is from where. Oh, how I wish I knew it! I ask Misha about it so often, “Where does one buy such elegant, luxurious furs? Is it somewhere in Arkhangelsk”, but he’s so unyielding. I guess most cats would have already answered me for their own peace of mind so I’d stop asking the same damn thing over and over, but not Misha! This is so awful, because I really, really want to know it, so that in case I ever lose Misha, I could buy an identical fur to remind me of him, and I would buy enough that I would be able to wear it as a coat in winter and have a muff to go with it, and everyone who’d see me would be jealous, and I’d sleep under it as well and use the muff as a pillow. But of course I wouldn’t want to use Misha’s own fur like that, ‘cause it’s his fur and he has every right to be buried in it and I would hate for him to be skinned posthumously just because of my whim, and that would be too little fur for a proper coat, my Mum says it would only be enough for a hat. I’d probably have to get a HUGE loan if he ever tells me where’s that mysterious fur shop, but I wouldn’t mind paying it back for the rest of my life. 

   You? 🙂 

Question of the day (13th May).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   I meant to post some question for you all yesterday, but since I didn’t, after all, we’ll have two today, yay! 😀 

   You have fifteen minutes to prepare a lecture to 5000 people about anything. What would your topic be? Why? 

   My answer: 

   Goodness me, I have lots of ideas for what I could give a lecture to people about that I guess could be of decent enough quality, but, fifteen minutes… that probably wouldn’t go to well, whatever topic I’d choose, and I wouldn’t even be able to think of all the things that could go wrong to prepare for them as well! 😀 What I know for sure is that I would make people aware that someone organising this whole lecture thing is a very realistic thinker because I’ve only learned fifteen minutes ago that I’m supposed to be giving this lecture, so it’s not me who’s to blame if it’ll end up sounding like I prepared it last minute, the more that I’ve never given a real lecture, let alone to this many people. Oh yeah, and that I am no expert or authority on anything, just some random Bibiel who’s into a lot of weird things. 

   But, let’s think… well, I think the idea I like most out of those I’ve come up with so far is a very ranty lecture about all the shortcomings of the education system, because everyone who knows me knows I love to rant about this topic and find all things possible that are wrong with it ‘cause it’s just evil. But I’d try to make this lecture something productive rather than just ranting for the sake of it as it usually is, hoping that it would give people some food for thought. I’d really like to see a wise, carefully thought through, maybe even radical reform of how schooling works, I think such an investment in people’s minds would be really worth it and I guess I don’t have to convince anyone why. But because I am just one little Bibiel who has no experience working in the field of education, parenting or the like, I wouldn’t feel competent talking on my own about how the changes would exactly need to be made, just share some ideas and  raise some issues due to which I think changes would be worth considering by those who actually have more of an idea about it. I chose this topic over all the others that came to my brain when thinking of this question because, unlike the others, it’s based on my opinions rather than facts, which would be less demanding to prepare for in fifteen minutes and so more likely to be successful.

   I’d try to keep it as unniversal as possible because I think a lot of these shortcomings are a thing regardless of which country we’re speaking about, but of course I myself only have first-hand experience of schooling in Poland and more second-hand idea about it than about other countries so I’d refer to that a lot. I would probably go with the flow and get a lot of stuff covered spontaneously depending on how much time I’d have for this lecture, but some things I’d like to put some particular emphasis on would be the following: 

   individual approach (or lack thereof) to students in schools. Even in schools with small-sized classes where a teacher may have a closer contact with their students and be able to devote more time to each of them, there’s rarely any real focus on a specific individual’s particular needs, strengths and difficulties, academical first and foremost but also social, physical, emotional etc. Since everyone says that school is not just about academic learning. Special schools, inclusion schools, schools for gifted children and other such are probably a bit better at this than the rest, as they have IEP’s and all that, but still as someone who’s actually been in a special school, an inclusion school and then individual education for a while, I feel it’s largely just theoretical. I think what most smaller schools really do better than large/public schools is put more effort in making every student fit somehow into the curriculum, if not vertically, then horizontally, if not horizontally,  then whatever way goes so that they can finish school, pass what they have to and who cares if they actually retain any of the knowledge well enough that they’ll be able to recall and use it in practice in daily life, if they even know what they want to do with their life after school or if what they’d learned is all useful and valuable stuff. I’m sure it’s not because of anyone’s bad intentions, but we seem to forget that things (like schools, curricula (or is it curriculums? The more I think on either the weirder it sounds and looks 😀 ) grading systems etc. ) are for people, not people for things. Then there’s the problem with slower-learning children vs gifted children and how their potential is usually measured compared with the class overall, so if a kid does all he can to do well at school but is not doing as well as the class does on average, he’s being stretched beyond his limits and his self-esteem is being systematically ruined. Or if a kid is so-called gifted and does better than the class, he’s  bored to death at school seeing how his peers painstakingly deal with something he’s figured out on his own two years ago, which may be just as discouraging in the end. Let alone a child who, for whatever reason, whether “special” in any way or not, doesn’t develop very evenly and is exceptionally brilliant at some subject(s), but just as exceptionally lame at some others. Yeah, there are gifted schools, extra tutoring for struggling students, and all sorts of extra-curricular activities/interest-based clubs or however they’re called in English for those who are very good at some specific things. But not all schools have that, and not everyone can send their child to a school that does. So I think there really should be a lot more focus on working individually with each child by default, in that the teachers would actually take the time to sit one on one with a student and work on their individual skills, or at least we should have some better system of assigning children to specific classes rather than just based on their age. 

   Second language education. I’ve written a lot about that here already so won’t be repeating myself. Thankfully I believe it’s not an ever-present problem, I can clearly see for myself that the quality of language education is mostly very low here, but it doesn’t seem to be the case everywhere. 

   And last, but not least… yeah, homeschooling! Have I told you guys that when I was a kid it was my biggest dream to be homeschooled ever since I first heard of it? Sadly it never came true (it would be a huge thing if it did given my disability, the fact that my Mum doesn’t read Braille etc.), but I did get to sort of homeschool myself when going to the mainstream high school/college for adults as it made more sense for me than to sit in class while they were looking at slideshows and working with textbooks which I didn’t have in an accessible format so I only went there for term exams and emailed assignments to them. I’m still a big fan of homeschooling. But at the same time I realise that it is something really, really, REALLy difficult and daring and not every parent is able to do it for all sorts of reasons. I guess we all can think of some reasons for why it is so difficult and, as it is, not doable for many people, even if they really want it and even if their kids would really benefit from it. But one of the problems I see here is that homeschooling is seenn as some sort of last resort, when all else fails, and there’s very little support for parents who are brave enough to decide to do it. If someone does it even if nothing has failed in their child’s case, or there could be other options to explore, they’re seen as kind of eccentric. So I guess many parents may not even know that it’s a possibility, or if they know and are willing and theoretically could be able to do it, they don’t know how to go about it, because it’s not something you hear a lot about. I think it should just be one of the default options. You can send your children to school, or you can homeschool them, or flexi-school them (do some days at school and some days at home/somewhere outside like a museum), and there should be resources or places widely available that would give people all the info and help that they might need to make either of those three things happen. My Mum has really wanted to homeschool Sofi, which obviously didn’t work out, and that was one of her difficulties as well, that she didn’t know how one actually makes it happen. Like, can you just pull your kid out of school and say “I’m teaching her at home now?” I think it would be a lot easier if there was some sort of department at schools or separate places that would be there to help parents to make it easier to coordinate it all – helping the parents to make a plan of children’s education that they would stick to, make sure that the parents have all the materials they’ll need, assess the progress of the children with exams and what not organise time for children to  spend  together and socialise and have group activities, organising additional tutoring for children who are struggling in some subjects and whose parents aren’t able to help them adequately, just generally support such families. Perhaps they even should get some sort of benefits or however you’d call that in English, for homeschooling, so that one parent wouldn’t need to work and could stay with the children and teach them. I’ve heard that such families often stick together a lot because it’s naturally a lot easier for them to homeschool if they help each other out. Not every parent is good at every single subject, not every parent will find the motivation for taking their children for educational trips on a regular basis, but it’s easier when there’s a group of families who goes together so they don’t have to be alone with coming up with and preparing everything, so such parents share the responsibilities, plus the kids get to spend a lot of time with their peers, unlike what a lot of people think is the case with homeschooled children. There’s also flexi-schooling. Someone may want their children to develop their particular talents first and foremost, but obviously they also want them to learn everything and anything else that might be useful, except they don’t have a clue about physics, so the kid goes to school for physics. Or someone wants their child to be homeschooled but realistically can only take certain days of the week off work, and the rest of the week the child would go to school. 

   That’s, more or less, what I would give my lecture about. 

   How about you? 🙂