Tag Archives: happythings

5 Happy Things: October 2018

Happy things for October! (How the heck have we got to October?!)

Two black cats curled on the sofa, october 2018

I had a bit of a mental health blip this month…ok, a lot of a blip. It was partly due to moving house and life throwing a load of things at me, and partly due to being back on some pills that I knew wouldn’t be great. However, I didn’t think they’d be that bad….and I was wrong. But hey ho! In good news, I am surrounded by amazing people and the ones I reached out to (because that’s usually the only way I’ll accept help) were absolutely wonderful. I’m doing a lot better now – I’m off the damn pills for a start, despite the side effects of that – and I’m back to Happy Kate! I’m a bit tired but other than that, coping with everything again – so far, at least.

Despite the blip, though, there’s been a load of stuff this month that’s made me happy!

1.Being snarky at films.

As anyone who knows me may have figured, I’m not great with TV or films; I find them too intense, and really struggle to watch things (with some exceptions – I’m happy to admit I don’t entirely know how I work). But I’ve been watching more silent films with Badger, and I have been snarking my cynical little heart out – with said Badger laughing at me the entire time! It entirely suits the over-acting of the films, too; there’s just something ridiculous about the drama (although to be fair, we last watched Metropolis), and if cynical snarking means it’s bearable enough for me to watch…well, that seems to be a win.

2.Walking across the fields.

Field of grass, Oxford September 2018

My commute is now across the water meadows on the west side of Oxford, and while they’ve been a source of solace and beauty over the last six months, it was only this week when I got to show my friend Otter my walk home that I realised how much I love them.

A picture of one path is my phone background; I always turn and look at another as I reach a small rise, watching the tracks drop down across the field and into the distance, matched by the march of the pylons overhead. I get the sunrise from behind the trees and church, spilling gold across the fog that lingers on the fields and hollows; I get the sunset that dips behind the hills, lighting the sky with fire even as the track fades into dusk and shade, pooling shadows under every hedgerow. I love the line of the railway bridge as it tumbles down to skim across the lake; the abrupt change from flat stillness, only broken by the haunting calls of the birds, to the lines and edges and glints of the railway, the heaps of stones and barrier fences, the roar of the trains as they rumble past uncaring – and then back down to the tiny path that winds between the willows and ash and elder, the smooth trunks rising in turn until they’re replaced by the pylons again, soaring out of the pool of still water under the crooked causeway bridge. To hear someone else say with wonder, “I never knew this was here…” – and to be able to spread my arms and spin and say, “Yes, and now I can share it with you!”


Two cats on a cushion and a sofa, october 2018

Our two have learned that the wooden floors are great for skidding on, humans give scritches in exchange for treats, yowling doesn’t get them food any faster but it’s still worth a go, and that THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED CAKE. We had an argument, which I won – eventually. (I suspect it may be a repeated one, though.) Other than that they’re settling in to life: they just skidded around the corner into my bedroom, saw me, panicked that There Is A Human There and promptly ran off again – but they’re slowly getting used to the idea that Humans Do Move, and that the house isn’t too scary, so I think they’re pretty happy.

I also got to meet my gorgeous, arrogant poser again (I’ll ask if I’m allowed to post pictures, because he is beautiful, and also completely and utterly daft) and I’m getting cute cat pictures from another friend on a regular basis in exchange for black fluffball pics – so it’s a tough life!


I made scones! And I was bopping round the kitchen singing! It’s been really nice to feel like baking and singing again; and I got to do both while chatting about mythology (on which note, I really need to do a series of Alternative Morals For Greek Myths since my fellow-baker came up with “pack a lunch” as being the moral of Persephone…) and laughing at the cats. It was a reminder of something I loved doing, and a reminder that it is coming back. Plus, the scones were nommy!

5.And friends.

All the friends who have been playing ridiculously silly games at lunchtimes with me, texting six supportive gifs in a row and then give me a pep talk, singing karaoke very loudly in the car, telling me I’ll get through this so seriously that I have to believe them and then giving me a huge hug, randomly texting cat pictures, or checking in despite their hectic lives; all the friends that I don’t see for six months and then can catch up with in ten minutes with a hug and a laugh, and it’s like we haven’t been apart; all the friends that I can have long conversations about something completely random with, or sit with and watch something ridiculous (*cough*Metropolis*cough*) for five hours straight;  the friends I can text at stupid hours of the night to catch up with them and find out about their illuminated wardrobes (don’t ask) or their latest Arduino project; the friends who I’m just starting to get to know, and the ones I know will be there in six months or a year or two years, wherever our lives are taking us. I have some fabulous people around me, and I am absolutely blessed and grateful for them all. Thank you!

As a bonus: Peter Cat-paldi being friendly to my housemate!

Peter cat Oct 18

5 Happy Things: September 2018

It’s been a bit of an anxiety-filled month for one reason and another, but even with that, I’m still loving work, loving Oxford, and I’ve managed to still be ridiculously social! Even with all the stress, it’s still been fairly easy to come up with five things that have made me happy.

1.Kites and hawks, grass-fields and walking!

I’ve been spending quite a few lunchtimes walking  in the fields behind work, exploring and working out where the paths go; I’ve already got my favourite routes, and one of them is across the grass-fields. They’d cut them this week, and while scouting for snacks the kites decided to pick an argument with the hawk, a magpie, the crows, two bunches of seagulls, the hawk (again) and then each other…and I was able to just sit on a gate and watch. The flying’s been fantastic, and it was so windy for a couple of days that they could just hover – I absolutely adore the way kites can fly with nothing but their tails, swooping so effortlessly. It’s been wonderful.


I’ve finally got my own copy of the game and I’ve taken it into work this week to play with my ultra-competitive gaming group. We played on Monday and it was hilarious – the Serious Gamer complained that it was too damn NICE (aka. he only won one game), one person didn’t get on with it (too silly + sushi names), and the other two enjoyed it! So I count that as a success – plus, it’s always fun to collect happy little sushi.

3.Mental health.

The sheer relief that comes from both being able to be honest about how I’m feeling and having amazing people around me that get it. It’s being able to say to someone, “I’m not coping too well with the noise in the pub, I’m going to have to head off,” and they just give me a nod of understanding; it’s being able to say “I’m a bit shaky today” at work and getting the occasional quiet check-in throughout the day just to make sure I’m ok. It’s having a friend who reassures me I’m not leaving you alone when I’m screaming at the voices in my head,  too deep in an anxiety whirl to even know which thoughts are the ones I need or should be listening to. It’s knowing that people around me have my back, and I am both absolutely humbled and so, so grateful for every single one of them.

4.And as a sort-of-similar point; friends in general!

All glory to the hypnotoad

I’ve been blues dancing (which was brilliant fun even if I did run out of energy at the end, and I seriously need some practise – dancing with a partner is a whole new skill!), out for dinner with new people, out for burgers with old friends, out with someone I manage to surprise continuously (sorry, Remy – I’m sure I will manage to tell you everything I can do at some point!) – and I’ve had a couple of fun evenings this week, too. I’m still really enjoying the bonus energy, and I’ve got to do some amazing new things with amazing people in addition to what I’d class as Known Fun Stuff, which on this occasion was watching three entire seasons of Futurama in a wonderfully lazy day. Hey, if it ain’t broke then it doesn’t need fixing!

5.And finally: fog on the river.

It’s been absolutely gorgeous.

Fog on the Thames, september 2018

5 Happy Things: July & August 2018

Well, I totally missed July!! So, happy things for last month?

1. London, coffee and pancakes.

I had a visit to London for a work thing, and while I was there I had a peanut butter & banana waffle and iced Vietnamese coffee at Black Sheep Coffee – it was amazing. I also got lunch at the Blue Fin building, which has a wonderful view!

2. Visits out!

I went to the Ashmolean and got to squeak about Romans with a friend, plus there was an acoustic guitarist in the basement lobby which resonated throughout the building! Some other friends and I went to an open mic night (not performing, no way!) and then got ice cream too, which was lovely.

3. Weekends out

I ended up down in Lymington, painting a wall (as you do) and got an accompaniment of a brass band and some pop tunes!

Lymington bandstand

4. Hot tubs.

They ROCK.

5. And the heatwave.

Annoying, but also lovely! I spent quite a few moments on various walks home just sitting by the river.

So, how about August?

1. Unexpected karaoke!

Or singing, at least. We had the Rebellion Summer BBQ, which (despite a few nerves) was very fun: I got to chat to people, ate good food, and unexpectedly ended up singing sea shanties and Disney songs – and a rendition of Country Road! I still don’t sing in public very often, but it wasn’t alcohol-fuelled courage, so even though I’ve still got a lot of anxiety over my voice and singing I had fun and enjoyed it, damnit.

2. Interesting people!

I got to watch a whole bunch of Buster Keaton films with a friend recently (future edit: Badger!), and we’ve got a stack more on the list, which is awesome.


It’s a very different experience to watch silent films (although obviously they have – and had – music, so it’s not exactly as described) and really interesting to find out some of the background and random trivia as my friend squeaked about it all. I watched some Chaplin films as a child, which I’d mostly forgotten about, so they’ve gone on the watching-next list (after the rest of the Keaton and a bunch of other silent ones like Metropolis) so I’m likely to get a lot more trivia to come! 😀

3. Confidence.

I had coffee with a friend recently, and they were talking about my job, and submissions, and writing…and damnit, I GAVE MY OPINION. I AM AN EDITOR AND I AM A GOOD EDITOR AND DAMNIT, I HAVE OPINIONS THAT ARE WORTH SOMETHING! And I now have all the things to read… but hey, if I can use my l33t editing skillz to help friends, then I will.


And he permitted scritches! He’s the biggest poser and he absolutely knows that he’s gorgeous, too – but I got kitty kisses and he permitted scritches and I am now his Favourite Person Ever (or was for about five minutes) because I gave him food. Cats are the best – and worst, and most annoying, and adorably fluffy.

5. Travel!

I’m randomly going to Amsterdam at the end of the month, off to Hadrian’s Wall this winter (I know, I’m crazy, but the place I’m staying has a log fire so if it’s horrible then I just catch up on my reading) and I’m thinking about trips to Japan, Ireland and New Zealand! It’s really amazing to be able to cope with thinking about it, and be excited about all the possibilities – I’m going to have to save up a stack of money (particularly for Japan…) but it’d be so good to do. I’ve wanted to for years, and realised that actually I CAN. So fuck it. I’m going to.

So that’s it for August so far…and I’ve got more chaos to come for the next two weeks, so it’s all fun!

5 Happy Things: June 2018

What’s going on this month? Stuff. Things. Swans being f***ers (seriously, those things are absolute gits!) A lot of walking around Oxford. Friends. Being tired. It’s been a pretty good month so far, even if I have been exhausted for some of it… so, best bits?

Revenant Gun cover1.Reading sequels to awesome books.

I love my job! (Ps. Yoon Ha Lee’s Revenant Gun is out this week! My colleague and I may have been fangirling over Ninefox fanart…)


I’m currently looking for a place of my own with a couple of friends (as I’m currently in a friend’s spare room) and it’s been fun to see bits of Oxford I might not otherwise have gone to! I’ve been doing a lot of walking, and it is adding to my anxiety levels (phone calls, timing issues, more phone calls…) but it’s exciting as well.

3.And we might be getting a cat!

I miss my furball (despite the fact he regularly woke me up at 3am for breakfast when there was food in his bowl, and his favourite sleeping spot is obviously on whatever you’re currently trying to do…) so a potential new furball is great! We don’t know if it’ll actually come off, but it’s a nice dream. My housemate has been looking at cats…I’m currently trying to persuade him that kittens are adorable bundles of squeaky fluff, but they are also FUCKING HARD WORK.

4.It’s weird, but “coping mechanisms” have been a good thing!

I broke last week; I was completely exhausted, and had a couple of days where I really could have used my walking stick (and not just to hit people with…) but actually, I feel quite optimistic about it. There wasn’t a specific trigger so I don’t know exactly what I could have avoided to prevent it, but once I realised what was happening, it felt like a routine – I knew what I needed to do, I did it, and I looked after myself as best I could. I was still able to get into work, and even though I was tired, I didn’t burn myself out. So – it sucked, but actually, I got this. I can cope with it.

5.And a little thing…Revels.

I used to eat them a lot in school and I’ve rediscovered them. My favourites are the orange and coffee, and I’ll reluctantly eat the raisins. I guess they’re better than Bertie Bott’s, at least – no vomit or dog poo!

So that’s halfway through June…now I’ve got several books to read, several things to edit, and general chaos to administer – so back to work!

5 Happy Things: May 2018

*happy Groot dance*

Things wot are making me happy this month?

1.My Dresden Files writing

I’m finally getting onto some of the longer stories! I admittedly love the shorter ones (Winter + Troll vs Dini is possibly my favourite Dini-solution to a problem) but the one I’m currently putting up, and one of the later ones in, ooh, about three stories’ time, are both contenders for my favourite longer one.

2. Bento boxes!

I now have a cute stacking bear one and a tropical one made of bamboo (which, incidentally, feels lovely – almost slightly rough, and a nice weight!) I’m looking forward to being able to take a random assortment of stuff for lunches.

3. My job is still making me happy 😀

I’ve just been in London for an InDesign course which was pretty good (I learned a lot of new shortcuts, as well as confirming that what I taught myself is correct). I’ve also been moving heaps of stuff (technical term, honestly), reading awesome books, chatting to people who know so much random stuff….I’ve now been there a month, and it definitely doesn’t feel like it!

4. The seaside – and, actually, being on my own.

I’m down in Lymington for a few days’ holiday and it’s lovely: I don’t have to worry about anyone else! I’ve seen some of my family which has been grand, but mostly I’m just enjoying the solitude. It’s not always good for me and does depend on my brain-mood, but at the moment, I’m definitely adapting well to doing my own thing.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy

I have finally seen all the way through and really want to see the next one now! I haven’t dared try Infinity War yet (I’m still very behind on most of the rest of that canon) but I’ve decided I’m going to start watching more films that I want to see. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is first on that list!