Wednesday, July 29, 2015

today's good things


  • Got told I was a special teacher by my sweet Argentinian student who lives in Italy. She translates things on her phone and comes and holds them up for me to see. She's so sweet. 


Also told by Mauro the Italian winemaker, 'You are very good. You're like an actor'.

I love teaching elementary level, I have decided. More on the Argentinians later when I charge my camera.


  • I swam energetically, and mostly, there was no-one else in the pool. That always feels like a great luxury, and cinematic, like I'm a trophy wife in a film. Then went into the sauna, made the two old gents who gestured for me to sit in between them move up so I wouldn't interrupt their conversation (or sit in between them in the tiny sauna) and then joined in complaining about the govt a little over-enthusiastically.

  • Booked tickets for the Alabama Shakes in November without looking at bank account. FuckYeah.

  • It has stopped raining for the moment, so I'm off to walk the dog. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

things nice people indulge in that the world would be better without

smoking
gossip
bitching
sugar
sloth (would the world be better without this? Or just more stressed? I suspect it's a first world indulgence)
buying things
complaining (apparently)
victim-blaming (though this is shading out of nice person territory)
judgy pants wearing
look-ism
unsolicited criticism


I'm guilty of lots of these. Hypocrisy is big on the list. What's your pet-hate/guilty indulgence?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

short review

Inside Out is great (and I think, very important) - though if you're the parents of a twelve year old girl whose emotions and brain-workings are all turned inside out and who's struggling, it's going to make you cry.



Thursday, July 23, 2015

fingers crossed, prayers welcome

I just bought Knotty Boy Emergency Dreadlock Removal Kit in the hopes that it will help me undo my daughter's birdsnest hair as soon as she lets me. Whenever that will be.

It comes from England, via Amazon, and costs over forty quid... let's hope this one actually helps. I looked up detangling dreads' and got some  hopeful advice - I figure if people can take out their two year old ones, I can untangle her mats of a few months. I hope. We'll see.

If any of you like a little pray, I'd be greatful if you'd tilt the universe into a position whereby Olivia would welcome cleanliness into her life again. Each time I look at her hair it's like being stabbed in the heart. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

my unpleasant adventure in pukiness

I don't get sick much. As a fat person, I guess I have to be unhealthy in terms of unfitness and  cacner risk etc., but my immune system still seems to be ok.

Today was weird - headache started early on, and I felt awful when I got to work. But then I usually do on a Monday morning. Late night last night, as always. But the headache got worse and worse and I started feeling seriously nauseous in my second class. I went and got a pain killer as I couldn't concentrate with the headache, but I hadn't eaten, and that tipped me over the edge - cue hot and  cold sweats and nausea that made me call my director in the last 15 mins of class and get someone sent over to cover for me. Then I had to excuse myself and head for the bathroom - 'you've gone white!' my student informed me, as I was leaving.

I struggled for the car, with that dreaded 'it's not over yet' feeling, and yep, had to pull over and get sick in an Aldi bag. I hate vomiting! This could have been worse, as it was only water and Paracetemol flavour, so none of the dreaded chunks and yuk it usually entails. Had a further sweat and shake at the side of the road, then struggled home to bed with a basin. I've slept for 4 and a half hours and the nausea's gone, thank god, but the headache is still lingering and threatening to flare up.

I'm not sure if this is because I didn't take my anti-depressant properly (I thought I had!) or if it's a mystery bug - I haven't been round anyone who might have infected me.

I would like a lavendar infused head massage now, please, and some minions to walk my dog and so on. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

confessions of a not completely Irish woman

I do feel that I indentify as Irish, certainly more than anything else. I recognise the Americanness in myself, answer to calls from that country and culture often, with a comfort that belongs to childhood familiarity. But it's not a place I'd belong.

Ireland isn't quite either, maybe. So much here is aggravating, frustrating, counter-intuitive. I can boggle with the best of them at the greasy-fingered till operators we elect to govern us; pencil pushers who disregard the value of culture at best, sneer at it at worst. Local, individual gain is what they see value in.

The people-in-the-comments who sneer at women, at the concept of feminism, while displaying the most ignorant casual sexism and an utter lack of understanding of themselves, their culture, anything. It's hard not to be enraged or disgusted when you know that this mentality makes up an enormous part of society at large, and seeing it stamped with the mores of your own land makes it all the more personal.

If I had the choice of a super-power, it might well be to grab people by the head and make them see, see what they're saying, what they're failing to understand, how they're making others feel. Make them feel it all, the effects of the bigger picture. Empathy. Conceptual thinking. Seeing past your own social upbringing. Perhaps this is what bothers me most.

And yet... Ireland is a country where strangers chat at bus stops. Where they take in waifs and strays more often than not. Where my mother got embraced by the man from the ESB who came to cut off her electricity and told there, there - he came down off the ladder when he heard her story and put his arms around her, and left the power on. That was a long time ago, and wouldn't happen now, but there are still pockets of perfection left in the midst of burgeoning bureaucracy.

Yesterday I went to  visit a friend in her new house, which is in the midst of refurbishment. She was camping there and awaiting a delivery of a fridge and chest freezer. Two guys popped the fridge in and then joined her in working out how to get the chest freezer in the twisting garden gate and through the too small other gate to the back of the house. One young guy (with fabulous beard and hair do) and a slightly greyer older guy, both with classic Dublin working class accents, friendly, helpful - my friend was taking the gate off its hinges, they deliberated about just hefting it over the six foot wall... we removed the gate, they dismantled her rotting pergola for her (delighted to find a use for the saw they had in the truck), and joked and laughed, all good natured. I watched one of them knock the nails down into the planks of wood he'd removed, so no one would hurt themselves on it. In the end, the squeeze was still too tight, so they lifted it in the air and carried it over the gate, past the tree... put it in place, unwrapped it, took away the packaging and were shocked when she gave them a twenty as a tip.

Her mother had warned her to let them do the gate if it was necessary, 'it's their job'. It so isn't! My husband's had delivery men dump a giant, heavy tv at the front door and fuck off in surly fashion. These guys rose to the challenge with delight and humour. They were blessed. My friend and I discussed how much we would have liked to take them for a drink and be friends with them - she lamented that doing things like asking your lovely driving instructor and his wife over for dinner would be inappropriate.

I don't think it is, though - my friend knows my gynaecologist because when  her father in law was a young taxi driver, her picked an American family up from the airport, drove them to Dublin, and then when they asked for advice on where to rent a house, gave them a wee tour of likely areas. My gynae was a child in the back of the car with her brother - and now she and my friend's husband are still friends, as are their own kids. How cool is that? This is how we made friends in the past. Why not now?

Anyway, my hat is off to those guys, who deliver for DHL, btw. They were just excellent human beings. And sort of supermen in their own right, to be honest! I'm going to rob the photo she sneaked, as it's pretty anonymous, in terms of house and delivery men. But it helps if you see the context!


These men made my day, I have to admit. With their maleness, their strength, their generositity. And their Irishness. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

It's been a hormonal and emotional week. It's not easy to hear people suggest in patient care for your child, and shrug kindly when you question the degree of trauma such a thing would cause them.

I wish we didn't have Autism in our family.

I know 'I wish' is no use. I am embarrassed at how often I wish things. Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be'. Mine is long in place, though.

I just wonder what we could have been without it. 'You used to be such a lovely mother', as my mother in law once said to me, after Bodhi was born and things had started getting really difficult. I wish I could be that lovely mother and be proud of both my children and not overwhelmed by fear and worry and uncertainty all the time. I wish I could go back to taking simple things for granted and having my mother's death be the worst thing that had happened in my life.

I wish I didn't find it all so hard. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I bought a mangosteen

Except I didn't pay for it, because they didn't know what it was in the supermarket, so they couldn't price it and didn't know how to charge me :)


I mostly bought it because it's completely adorable. It looks and feels like it's made of deep purple wood. On the underside is a little flower shaped, eh,  woody thing. It looks like a stamp. I suggested to my friend that it looked like a stamp for a fairy night club and made her put her head on the table laughing.

I just googled what it looks like inside. Olivia was disgusted and upset... 'Don't show me that sort of thing, you know I hate that!' What?? What, white fruit? Jesus, I just can win,. Child has harshed my mangosteen buzz. 

conor mcgregor

I am weirdly interested in the UFC fight from last night. Dublin has produced an ultimate fighting super hero - instead of hanging around street corners and robbing people (which he sounds like he was born to do, accent and attitude-wise) Conor McGregor's become this unbeatable pillar of self confidence and swag. And monster physical ability. It's suggested he's talked his way into being a champion - he has unimaginable self-belief. I don't know - I've long been of the opinon that boxing is incredibly exploitative of the boxers - kids from poor areas who have no other out and who end up making money for others by having the crap kicked out of them, and kicking it out of others.

I don't know that mixed martial arts could possibly be any better but it does still beat having them doing it to others on the street on Friday nights outside the chipper. And this guy is strangely compelling.




People from his culture can be full of quick humour, affection, and canniness, but it can also go the other way - violence, lack of education, compassion and empathy smacked out of them at an early age. You can imagine this guy using his powers for evil instead of sport - not a pleasant prospect. I'm sure he has his stories to tell.

The whole thing kind of fascinates me.