Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday quickie

It's another beautiful morning here today: blue skies & sunshine, birds tweeting, blossoms blossoming, the works. Best of all though, it's Friday. Not just any Friday, though - it's the start of a Bank Holiday weekend here. That's right, Monday is a holiday and rumour has it the weather is planning to stay good for the whole weekend. Woo hoo! I think I can now safely say that winter is finally over for a while :-)

My li'l sister is coming to visit from London this evening for a few days. You know what that means, don't you? Too much wine, too much talking and too much shopping. Over-indulgence at it's finest.
Needless to say I won't be spending too much time on the computer this weekend.

So before I disappear into the real world for a few days, I thought I'd pop a quick post up here to keep you company in case you think I'm neglecting you. So here are today's announcements:

First I'd like to congratulate my Cousin, Del and his other half who brought a bouncing baby boy into the world this week. Can't wait to meet him, Cuz... and... Pictures! We want more pictures!

Second, if you have some time and a shortage of reading material, you may want to mosey on over to The Clarity of Night. Jason has been running a short fiction contest and the response has been fantastic. Entries closed yesterday. You can read mine here or on my terristories blog. All the entries were superb and it's interesting to see how the same picture inspires such a variety of stories.

And third, I'm outta here. Have a great weekend, wherever you are!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Just Because

I just had to share this photo with you 'cos I want to and 'cos I like it. One of these days I'm going to get soooo distracted taking photos in the morning when the sun is on our side of the building that I'm going to miss my train. I just know it. Oh well, a girl has to stop and smell the roses sometimes, eh? Yes, I know this is not a rose, but you get the idea :)

Did I ever mention that one of my 'things' in life is that I love to be surrounded by beauty? That sounds a bit silly - I'm sure everyone does - but I really mean it. I love pretty things. Scenery, clothes, flowers, furnishings, people. Does that sound terribly shallow? Well tough sh*t if it does. [Yes, I know - beautiful language is not necessarily my strong point...]

Being surrounded by beauty lifts my spirits.
So, just because I can, here's another one.

Unlocking Angel's mind

That's right people, it's time for the second interview in my list of interviewees... Angel, this is for you.

Angel is a single mom who lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. Although she's been blogging for almost a year now, I haven't, and I only discovered her blog a few months ago.
What I have learnt about Angel so far is that she's bright and artistic and has her hands full raising her 15-year old son Damien, who is as bright and artistic as she is. He also has ADD which makes single parenting just that much harder. They often clash, which results in heated arguments, but it is obvious from her posts that they love each other as much as any two people can.

Reading her "100 things about mois" post gives one enormous insight into what makes Angel the unique person she is: clever, loving... and a survivor.

Angel loves dragons and she loves cats. She has three tattoos. One of the tattoos
She posts a Flash Fiction story pretty much every week - I discovered Purgatorian's weekly FFF challenge through Angel's blog.

Angel, you volunteered to be interviewed by me (silly girl - what were you thinking?!). So take a deep breath, loosen those fingers and prepare to type, because here are your questions:

Question 1:
You have never been married, and you don't intend to get married because of some bad experiences you had when Damien was little. You made this decision selflessly because you believed it would be better for your son. Nonetheless, you collect wedding magazines and express a wish to one day be a wedding planner. You have even started another blog, Angel's Weddings, devoted to to wedding tips and bits and pieces.
Do you still want to get married yourself one day? Do you hope to meet that special someone when Damien has gotten to an age when your own relationship will be less likely to affect him?

Question 2:
I'm not really sure how you feel about Damien's father. I get the feeling you resent him, but I also get the feeling you still harbour feelings towards him, although what those feelings are exactly is a little hazy. When you fell pregnant it was not just your decision not to get married - his parents played a big role in that. How did you really feel about it all at the time, and how do you feel about it now? Do you wish a different decision had been made?

Question 3:
Your family is very close. You've lived in more or less the same area your whole life, even went to the same school as your parents did. Have you done any travelling, and would you like to? If so, where would you like to go / what sort of trip would you like to take?

Question 4:
dragonYou love dragons and everything to do with them. Your Flash Fiction stories often feature dragons or mythical science-fiction creatures. Is what we read on you blog the only writing you do? Or have you written other stories or have a desire to do other writing, perhaps have something published?

Question 5:
Short and sweet and to the point: Why did you start blogging?

Well I hope you're not regretting your decision to be interviewed... seemed like a good idea at the time eh? mwahahahaha!
I (im)patiently await your responses...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A house in the Sun... well, sort of.

The time has come for us to buy a house here. After nearly 5 years in Ireland we are finally in a place where we can - and we'd better do it soon because with house prices having risen on average by about €30,000 in the first quarter of this year, if we don't do it now the market is going to move out of our reach again.

So we've started looking, in earnest. We saw one during the week that we made a tentative offer on. Tomorrow we'll go check out what we think will be that one's opposition. Things work really differently over here though.

In SA, if you want to sell your house you put it on the market and then the buyers beat the price down until you settle on the final amount.
Here, people advertise their house for sale at a minimum price, and then the bidding begins and the price keeps going up until eventually the house goes to the highest bidder. This system definitely does not favour the buyer.
Trouble is, the population here is just exploding - people are moving here in droves and there are just not enough houses to keep up. The amount of construction going on is phenomenal, and still people are queuing in their cars overnight to secure the purchase of houses not even built yet.
It's all terribly frustrating for people like us, who just want to find a home to live in. You'd think it would be easier than this, but finding a house is like hunting for hen's teeth.

But apart from the frustration, I am getting so very excited. If all goes according to plan, then within the next few months we'll be living in our OWN place, with a garden, and I will be able to hang pictures wherever I please, and paint the walls whatever colour I choose, and, and... oh boy, it will be so nice to have our own space!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Questions for BeadinggalinMS

In my enthusiasm for being interviewed I now have 3 people lined up who want the same, so I'll be posting their interview questions over the next few... posts [let's not limit ourselves with time, okay ;)]
Since Beads was first, here we go...

I don't remember the first time I wandered over to Mississippi Mud Pie. Perhaps that is because it feels like I've been visiting there my whole life.
Owned by BeadinggalinMS, the blog is like a favourite Aunt's kitchen that is always full of visitors and where everyone is welcome.
Linda is one of the warmest, most down-to-earth and likeable people I know. For those of you who don't know her, she has a twin sister, Lori, of
LoriNFlorida fame, and a younger brother, JP.
She loves chocolate and she loves where she lives - it is a secluded place where she can sit on the deck in the evening and enjoy the sights and sounds of Mother Nature in Mississippi.

Apart from being a wonderful, loving mother, she is also very creative and one of her favourite things to do is to make things out of beads, hence the name BeadinggalinMS.

I could probably write a whole essay on my friend Beads, but that's not the point of this. The point is, she has very bravely volunteered to be interviewed by me in the same way I volunteered to be interviewed by Buddess, so why don't we all settle down and prepare to get to know this bundle of fun just a little better.

U ready Beads? Here are my questions:

Question 1:
You often mention Hurricane Katrina on your blog. You were right there, in the middle of it, and your sister Lori wrote on her blog how terribly worried she was about you at the time because all communication was cut off and she didn't hear from you for ages, causing much consternation in Blogland. The next thing we knew you had made it to Lori's place and were staying there until it was safe and OK to go back home.
You have posted some pictures on your
photo blog of the devastation and you still mention the destruction caused by Katrina. And let's not even mention the trouble you have had getting your phone lines to stay up permanently since then! My question is, now that it's over and life is being rebuilt, how do you feel about the whole experience looking back, and has it affected the way you look at the future at all?

Question 2:

It is obvious to anyone who reads your blog that you adore your children. Your oldest is on the verge of getting married, but your youngest is still very much a child, if I read correctly. Considering your age, you must have married quite young, and you have devoted your life to raising and loving your children. How different do you think your life would be now if you hadn't married when you did?

Question 3:
You chose to home-school your children. Did you home-school all of them? Why did you decide to do it this way? It must be really rewarding but also quite difficult at times. I've never met anyone who home-schooled their kids - do you have a set syllabus that you follow, and do they write tests and exams same as children their age that attend regular school?

Question 4:
You and your twin, Lori, are very close. You talk on the phone all the time and have a very special bond. You are both also close with your younger brother. But there was a period when you and Lori lost touch. I know you don't like to talk about this part of your life but it's kind of a complete blank. How long did you lose touch for, and what brought you together again and where did your brother fit in in all of this?

Question 5:
Beads, you have a wonderful sense of humour and you're always laughing and teasing. Visiting your blog brightens up everyone's day. Have you always been like that? Do you laugh as much in real life or is your blog an outlet for the naughty, playful woman inside you who never really stopped being a teenager? OK, let's make this a 2-part question. Do you think the people who know you in 'real life' see you the same way as we do?

OK Beads, you can breathe again. It's over - no more questions... for now, lol! You can take as much time as you like in posting your answers on your blog. As long as it's done by tomorrow, hahaha {{jokes!!}}

Me being the mushy person I am (NOT!!!) I'm only going to say one more thing:
Linda, meeting you online added a bright spot in in my life on some very dark days.
Don't ever change.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Interview with a... well, you decide.

My good friend Buddess elected to be interviewed by Reluctant Nomad recently. She'd made reference to this upcoming interview a couple of times but I had no idea what it was all about... and then the Interview happened and was posted on her blog. The honesty of her answers and the insight it gave me into someone I have known a long time prompted me to volunteer for her to interview me in the same way, even though she was uncertain if I would do so because I am a "very private" person (her words).
Perhaps it was that which made me sit up and take notice. I never really thought of myself that way. In fact, I would say "repressed" might be more accurate. I tend to be hesitant about volunteering my deepest thoughts and feelings, partly because I'm afraid of backlash, and partly because, well, I'm not really sure people are that interested in me.

But it's amazing what I'm willing to talk about when I'm asked.

So, here are the answers to Buddess's questions. The questions themselves are quite long, so if you want to take a look at them, you'll find them here.

Question 1:
Yes, I would love to write a novel, have it published, and have people who don't know me read and enjoy what I have written. In fact, last year I even considered quitting my job and taking three months or so off so I could do just that. I've actually started a novel - well, more than one, really - the trouble is in finishing it ;) But it's something that I still consider a serious possibility. Writing is something I have always enjoyed doing... no, it's more than that; it's something I have always needed to do, although when I was younger it was much more private and not something I took seriously at all. It's only recently that I realised I may have a talent there. Winning a prize in that short story competition gave me such a buzz! And it also proved to me that it is something I could do if I set my mind to it. Unfortunately, I am my harshest critic and I battle to judge if what I write is any good. Hence the blogging.
The photographs are something I do just for fun. I'm a lazy photographer - I couldn't be bothered to remember all the details about aperture and shutter speeds, etc. Most of my best shots look good because the natural light at the time is just right. So that's just a hobby, just because I like to take pretty pictures. But the writing... well, I'll keep you posted on that.

Question 2:
Buddess, this is a question I've asked myself many times. I honestly don't know how I would feel about moving back to SA. I miss my family and friends immensely, and I miss the country itself more than I ever thought I would. On the other hand, as you say, I have always wanted to travel and living here in Ireland I am getting to fulfill that dream. It is also much easier to live here than in SA - better quality of life in that there is much less crime and the earning potential is so much greater. You just get more for your salary here.
On the other hand, the weather really, really sucks! We are lucky to get two weeks of proper summer weather here in a year... and by that I mean anything over 21 degrees. It plays a bigger role in life than you would imagine.
How would I feel if Dave said we were moving back? I don't know, quite honestly. I think I'd be happy to be going home, but also sad to be leaving this life behind because I don't know if we'd get the opportunity again. But I would go, and happily, because I trust Dave to do what is right for us and I would follow him anywhere. I know as long as we're together we'll be just fine. I came here with him and that worked out fine, didn't it? It was a 5-year plan, and those 5 years are up this August. We had discussed it and decided that yes, we would stick to our plan and go home at the end of this year. His kids play a big role in that - being apart from them has been incredibly difficult and we didn't want to miss out on any more of their lives.
However, the decision has more-or-less been taken out of our hands now. When his daughter said she wanted to come over here and live with us, because she thought it would be better for her in the long run w.r.t. school and studying, we didn't even hesitate. So now she's here, and we'll be staying for at least another few years while she finishes school and goes on to study or whatever. And I'm happy with that.
I think the uncertainty was the thing that unsettled me the most. Now the decision is made and I can settle down here properly. I love my job and I'm glad I'll stay around for that a while longer. We're planning on buying a house here and everything that goes in it. So for me, the best part is that I can put down roots instead of living a 'temporary life' like we were before. And yes, I'm glad I'll be able to do more travelling before we go home for good... if we ever do.

Question 3:
Oh boy, do I ever get sentimental! Sometimes Dave and I sit at home & have a bottle of wine or whatever and reminisce about the bad ol' days for hours. Especially about biking. We haven't been to a rally here yet, but then we only got a bike again late-ish last year.
Winter here is definitely NOT good biking weather. The roads are bad at the best of times, and in winter they are icy and muddy and slippery... and OB's is great for South African cold but I'm afraid it would take a bit more than that to warm me up here in the middle of winter! However, we are planning to take a couple of weeks this summer & go across to mainland Europe on a ferry and cruise around there on the bike. I can't wait! The Blackbird was just made for the Autobahn!!!
Getting the bike was the best thing we've done here. It gives us something to do. We're bikers, we've always been bikers. It's what we do. This morning he took me to work on the bike - what a way to start the day!
But it's not the same. I miss the rallies too, and I miss the friends we had in the biking crowd. Do you remember the Hen Party you girls threw for me at The Handlebar before my wedding?

Wow! I wish I had known then how precious those times were. I had so many good woman friends there, so different from here. The people are different here. I have a friend from SA who's moved over here but is staying in Cork, a few hours away. Plus I have my sister who is living in London now. Apart from that there are 2 or 3 women at work I get along well with but I just don't have the good friends I had in SA and that's been one of the hardest things to deal with here.

Question 4:
It has been easier than I thought it would having Cinderella here. She is a very easy-going girl and I love her to bits. Although, as you quite rightly pointed out, I don't want children of my own, she and her brother have filled that part of me that might otherwise have yearned to have children. She's very self-sufficient and yes, she has slotted in really well here. When we first went to see the headmaster at her school he expressed concerns that she might battle with the standard of education here... well bah humbug to that :) OK, she has an advantage in that she is an extremely bright girl (our little over-achiever, hehe) but I think people tend to underestimate South Africa's education system. It may be classed as a 3rd-world country but in some ways it's actually ahead of this place. In fairness, though, in other ways it is way behind, but that's normally in things that are impacted by economics.
Getting back to the first part of your question, yes, it was an adjustment. But it's not like having a lodger in the house - she's family. We're a family. So in that respect, it's hardly an adjustment at all. I just need to remember not to get up & go make coffee in the nude in the mornings, hehe!

Question 5:
This question evokes a bunch of thoughts. First, it tugs at my heart a bit, as does any mention of my father. That's probably why I don't talk about him, or my early life. I was very young when he died, but believe it or not it still hurts and I still miss him. I often wonder what he would think of me now - would he be proud of me? Am I like him? It's another part of my repressed self, but one that I am trying to come to terms with.
As for my 'tomboy' tendencies... I have no idea where they come from!
I have always had male friends. I find it easier to make friends with men - much less 'issues', haha! My first serious boyfriend (actually I think you know Mac, Buddess?) taught me how to play pool - we'd go to the Marine Hotel at the beachfront on weekends and play there. They had about 6 tables, if I'm not mistaken. Misspent youth and all that ;)
Whaddaya know - turns out I have good aim.
Same with the shooting. Actually the first time I ever fired a gun was when I was working at a security company as a bookkeeper in the early '90's. Remember the riots? Well our building was right in the middle of the trouble spot, in Korsten. So my boss, who was a Kommandant in the army, decided all the ladies in the office had to learn how to shoot, just in case. Up till then I hated guns. But we went along to the shooting range and I was handed a .38 special and told how to use it.
Again - turns out I have good aim. My boss was really p*ssed off because I was shooting straighter than him... with his own revolver, haha!
Then when I met Dave it was inevitable that I would do more shooting. He belonged to a rifle club and actually shot at provincial / national level. I'm not quite as good a shot as him though
I took an interest in bikes and racing when my older sister was going out with a guy who had a bike and was mad into stock-car racing etc. when we were teenagers. The interest stuck. That's also where I realised I'm a bit of a speed-freak, hence the whole love-to-bike thing.
So there you have it. I'm afraid my unconventional interests may have been cause for worry on my Mother's part at times, but what can you do?!
Oh, and just in case you're wondering - I'm not good at everything. I can't catch a ball for love nor money, and I always sucked big-time at sports and athletics. The only thing I was good at was ballet - and as you mentioned, I do love to dance!

Well that's it, I think.
Thank you, Buddess, for the lovely things you said about me on your blog. I'm really glad that we are able to keep in touch via blogging.
And thank you for these questions. I really enjoyed answering them.
One of the things I'm trying to do is be more open with people - repression only leads to problems, as I have found out in a big way over the last few years.
So if there's anything else you - or anyone else, for that matter - want to ask me, fire away.
I won't bite.
I may bark occasionally, but no, I don't bite

And now for the technicalities. Since this is a 'meme' of sorts, it has rules, and the rules are as follows:

For those of you who may want to be interviewed in this fashion, here are the Official Interview Games Rules:

If you want to participate, leave a comment below saying, "interview me".

I will respond by asking you five questions - each person's will be different.

You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions.

You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.

When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

bureaucracy rules


We had this wonderful idea of booking a week's holiday somewhere sunny for next week while Cinderella is on her Easter break. There are always holidays available at the last minute for next-to-no-cost if you're not too fussy about where you're going. And right now we aren't, as long as it's somewhere sunny. Spain or the Canary Islands are favourites at this time of year.

Only... we had to get young Cinderella a visa. Hah!

First off, this particular wicked stepmother may be just a tad hormonal at the moment, if the vicious cravings for chocolate and high levels of irrational irritation are anything to go by. Not a good place to start.
Second, I'm working a slightly later shift this week, which means I only have to wake up at 8am. I love this; I resent mornings and I hate getting out of bed at the best of times, so these little sleep-ins are very much appreciated. Only... we had to go to the embassy early today, so I was up at 6.
Thirdly, the embassy in question is oh, maybe 20 - 25km away (what's that, about 18miles or something? I don't know, but you get the idea.) We left home at 7am. We arrived at the embassy at 8:30am. An hour and a half of sitting in traffic jams. AAARGH!!!! That, people, is why I choose to take the train to work, when hubby drives in and we work 2 blocks away from each other.
Today, somewhere along the road, a crane had overturned, which of course didn't help matters. I thought my normally slightly-low blood pressure was going to go through the roof and my head would explode...
But, it didn't, although I must apologise to Hubby for the beating I gave his shoulder at one point. I suppose it was a little unfair, considering his only crime was teasing me a little. But really, he should've known better ;)

Anyway, we got there only to find that we didn't have everything we needed. So, no visa = no holiday. The document we need has now been ordered from SA via the embassy here. Apparently we can expect to see it in about 6 to 9 months time.
What, are they giving birth to it?!

I give up.
Ya move halfway across the world to escape things like the delightful South African Home Affairs office, only to find that it's still gonna get you!

At the risk of repeating myself.
.. AAaaaarrgh!!!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Oh hello!

You still here? Ja, um, I haven't been the most diligent blogger the last week or two, have I? Sorry 'bout that. I'm here now though. What's that? My excuse? Ah, well.... don't really have one. You know, work and such... although, it's not that I've been working late or anything. Heh, shouldn't have told you that - I could've just lied & given you some sob story about being slave-driven at work. Hmf, well, actually I'm a terrible liar.

Truth is, I've been trying to stay off the computer in the evenings. My little family was beginning to think I didn't like them anymore, I was spending so much time with you guys. We couldn't let that happen now, could we? So I've made a concerted effort to not even turn the computer on when I get home in the evenings. Not even to check email. And unfortunately my work environment is such that I don't really get too much time to blog from there, although I do sneak in the occasional read and comment. I mean, I have to keep up with what's going on in everyone's life, don't I? And then of course there's the other problem - has anyone else been battling to leave comments? Bah humbug (yes I know that's unseasonal but pfft!, that's how I feel).

Today being Saturday hubby suggested we go shopping. Yes, you read that right, he suggested we shop. Understand, my husband is an extremely reluctant shopper, so Cinderella and I weren't about to argue. We were out to the car in no time, hehe. We drove to a shopping center miles away from where we live, partly because we felt like a change of scenery, and partly because they have a restaurant there called The Spur. The Spur is a chain of restaurants that is HUGE in South Africa, and when we moved to Dublin almost 5 years ago we were thrilled to find a little piece of home here. So that was our main motivation for going so far today - the Spur's Cheddamelt Steak. Mmmmmmmm, yummy!!! That fortified us for the shopping that was to follow. Well, colour me surprised: Cinderella and I each got a pair of jeans (about which I'm very excited 'cos I love jeans and these ones fit really well) and she got a jacket. Hubby, on the other hand, really went to town, coming home with six new shirts. Six!!! Boy, when he shops, he shops properly! ;) But then he'd had enough so we came home and he's been happily ensconced on the couch watching rugby ever since.

I, on the other hand, have been on a technological adventure. Yep, for the very first time today I did my grocery shopping online. It's scheduled for delivery tomorrow afternoon. What a pleasure! No queues, no screaming children... marvellous idea. I'll still get my fresh veg and meat at the local supermarket here, probably tomorrow, because, well, just because. But the rest of the mundane stuff will be delivered to my door. Don't you just love the internet?!

OK I think I've now given you enough thrills, telling you all about the exciting time I've been having, so I'm outta here. For now. My writing skills are a bit rusty so hopefully I'll be back soon with something a little more interesting.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

thoughts of the day

Pink Sunset Before we begin, I invite you to take a moment to enjoy the pink sunset we had yesterday. In between cloudbursts, the sun broke through as it was setting and this was the result.
Allow the tranquility of this moment to seep into your busy mind; Relax, take a breather.
Feeling nice and calm yet?
Let us begin.

I don't know if it's because the weather has suddenly improved - and by that I mean temperatures have at last reached double figures and there's a possibility they might actually stay that way for the foreseeable future - or if it is something else, but today is my third good day in a row.

By that I mean I have been able to get out of bed without a feeling of dread for what the reality of the day might bring. I was scheduled to work late both Thursday and Friday, and my boss was kind enough to suggest I come in an hour or two late on both days to make up for it. I did. I woke up after 9am on both days. I took my time getting ready, had two seats to myself and read the newspaper on the train, with sun streaming in the window to warm me up. Spring was in the air - the distinct aroma that comes from wet earth drying in warm sun, mingled with twittering and chirping of birds that have found their way home after a winter away.
I don't think that's all it is - surely it can't be that simple? - but I have been infused with a feeling of well-being that has been distinctly lacking in my demeanour for... well, a while.

As if woken from a dream, I have been working hard but happily. Today I had so much energy that I have cleaned the kitchen, scrubbed the toilet, polished the tables and looked after a sick husband, fetched my stepdaughter from her friend's house, topped up the water in the car which is leaking like a seive, done the shopping, disposed of the garbage... and all of it with a smile on my face. I have been chirpy and alert. It feels good. I hope it lasts a while because my batteries are in serious need of a recharge.

With this resurgence of energy my mind has opened up. I have been reminded of thoughts and memories outside of the whirlpool that lives inside my head. Leaving work last night, I walked past a pub I used to go to with a bunch of people from work, and some of those people were there. One of them was a guy who left about a year ago. He was my first gay friend, and on those nights when we'd all go out we would have so much fun together. I stopped to say hello but I had to leave in a hurry or miss the train... it was just so nice to see him. It was nice to see that he was as pleased to see me as I was him. I haven't gone out with those people in a very long time, but in those few moments last night a flood of good memories came back of the times I've had with them. Good times, lots of laughs... the Craic for which the Irish are famous.

And this morning I remembered the person my husband married. She was so much fun! She didn't care what she wore and was quite happy to be seen in public in a pair of ancient jeans and a non-trendy jacket. She used to love being in big crowds of people and would talk to anyone and everyone. We haven't seen her in a while, and I'd forgotten what she was like. This morning I remembered and I really hope I can hold onto that memory. Maybe, that way, she'll come back sometime. We miss her.

I've also been remembering my home. My South African home, that is. The bright blue of the sky, the warm wind that blows from inland, the smell and sound of heat and the crackle of dry grass as it breaks underfoot when there hasn't been any rain for months. Things I have tried to forget, rather than coping with the ache in my heart they cause when I remember them because I'm not there anymore and I don't know when I will be again.

I know this all sounds terribly morbid but that's not how I feel today. Today I feel good, because I do feel. Something, anything, other than numbness. It's what makes me remember I'm alive, not just existing.
I don't know why I feel different now, but I'll take what I can get and enjoy it while it lasts.