Monday, August 31, 2009
I know, I know..it's yellow AND red, but I found it irresistible.
Seen on a shop on Grafton Street, Dublin.
I didn't go in as I'm sworn off clothes shopping for a year.
Click on the link below and pop over to Drowsy Monkey if you can for more lovely photos!
Summer's over, the evenings are getting dark and cold, and, to be honest, a melancholy has descended upon me. I can't settle to anything, I'm doing a bit of this and a bit of that. I'm cranky as hell, which is not like me at all.
"The summer's gone and all the flowers are dying, 'tis you 'tis you must go and I must bide".
Those words from the song Danny Boy keep going round in my head, like a funeral lament. And I feel like crying, for no good reason. I actually feel as though someone is going from me - maybe that's it, the carefree, no-time-constraints Mimi is being replaced by a busy, not-enough-time-for-everything, hassled person. I am also feeling the loss that I know will be there of not being able to blog or read other's blogs, as regularly as I do now. Things in this house are hectic during term-time, and there's no way I'll be able to spend hours on the computer.
School is back tomorrow, and tonight is probably my least favourite of the year. I love my job, love teaching, but I just hate the going back. I'm fussing around the daughters and son, making sure all their uniform stuff for the entire week is ready, hanging in their wardrobes. They've labelled all their books and got their bags ready. There is something of an air of anticipation with them, that thing of moving on and being in a more senior year.
But the feeling I have is more like foreboding. There is no reason to feel this way, and I know that once I walk in the door and see my friends, colleagues, everything will be fine. I know that I should be glad to have a job, in a school where I'm very happy. The students will come back from their long summer holiday, refreshed, ready to start a new year's work, delighted to see their friends again.And I'll be delighted to see them again, tomorrow.
And by tomorrow night all will be well again... I think. But for tonight, I'll put it in poetry:
"Time makes its relentless march
Like sand being pulled by an outgoing tide.
I stand helpless at the shore,
watching it move away from me,
knowing that stillness is not the way of the sea of life,
that seasons and years are the ebb and flow
that without movement there is no life.
But still I do not want it,
resist it in my heart at first,
then submit in the end to its power
shake off the resistance
and move with the flow, the endless flow".
Friday, August 28, 2009
W 1: “I saw this 13 year-old girl outside the hospital and her 6 year-old sister had just died. She lay down on the ground and wailed “I want her back, I want my sister back!”. I kept saying “Will someone sedate that child?”, but nobody would act.
W2: “I knew a family whose daughter was dying and they asked the nurses to keep their daughter’s hope alive. That night this nurse got a book and showed her exactly, picture by picture, what was happening to her lungs, and told her that she only had 4 months to live. I’d have took that book and beat her stupit wit it. After them telling the staff to keep the worst from her!”
The grammatical and spelling errors in W2 are actually Dublinisms that I didn’t want to change.
But seriously, it made me think about how we react to death and dying, in particular when it relates to a child, or maybe more accurately, a minor.
We don’t, obviously, know the full story in either case, but in W1, maybe the girl didn’t have enough time or information beforehand to come to terms with the idea of her sister dying. And doesn't she have the right to express her emotions? Certainly the idea, to me, of sedating somebody who is expressing a very normal emotion, is bizarre. Who wouldn’t want to howl “I want my sister back!"?
In W2, perhaps the child had asked, or indicated that she knew she was going to die; in that case, what is the nurse to do- lie to her? Does that child have a right to know what is happening to her?
I don’t have any answers to these questions, but I certainly found the conversation thought-provoking.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Daughter and son went to Les Miserables, which they loved!
It doesn't look much in this photo, but it has some genuinely beautiful houses, and hadn't changed at all since 1976, when I received my first proposal of marriage as we walked down this road on a warm summer's evening. I can still picture the poor guy's hurt expression when I laughed it off, thinking he couldn't possibly be serious, as I had no intention of ever settling down then.
Now my own daughter is 17, I have a very different perspective on London summer jobs!
Edit- I'm absolutely thrilled to have got a Post of The Day mention over at David McMahon's amazing blog! If you've come here via that mention, welcome. If not, please pay him a visit to see his wonderful photography and other very interesting stuff.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Tonight/tomorrow morning you'll be 3 years dead. I can't believe it, and I don't want to believe it. It's like being suspended in a time bubble, with time passing by and no matter how much you want it to stop, it won't.I know that come tomorrow, it will be your 3rd aniversary. I don't want that, any more than I wanted what happened that night. I just want it all to have been a bad dream, and I want you back. But I know that can't be- I can't hug you again, or see you or talk to you. I can't sit in the kitchen or study of our cosy home. It's just not to be.
Tonight is like the day before your funeral- just waiting and knowing that the dreaded hour will come. I feel a bit like this is 29th October 1987 and I know that tonight you're going to die and there's nothing I can do to stop it.
Ma, there's an emptiness inside, like losing a limb. You never get over it, you never stop missing it, you never replace it- you just learn to live with it.I get a pain in my chest and throat with the grief, and I just long for you, to hug you and tell you that I love you.
Your memorial card says "pray, smile, think of me, pray for me".
Of course I think of you Ma: so many things remind me of you. I picture you standing at the Aga making toast, as in a photo I took the morning of sister's wedding. I picture you sitting in the study knitting, or I picture you walking along the street carrying bags of shopping. I think of the last few moments we were together, 4 days before you died. It seemed no different to any other parting, but it was the last.I told you I loved you, and meant it. You told me that you loved me too.
Sometimes I think I am you.
"Pray for me"- I don't know if I do that enough. Sometimes when I think of you I do say a prayer, but then I don't like to think of you as needing my prayers. I feel guilty that I don't pray for you more often. I'm afraid to talk to people about these things in case they won't understand or in case it'll take the pain away.
I don't want to believe that you've been gone from us for 3 years, and that every day that goes by is one day more. No, I want time to go in the opposite direction and for there to be some hope of getting you back. And yet I know that won't happen, and even if it could, I'd hate to put you through all the pain you suffered here on earth again.
I believe you're happy in Heaven now, and God knows you deserve that. I don't want to take that from you, even if I could. But I feel the pain of missing you. I would be dishonest if I said it wasn't getting easier- time does help to heal the wound, but it's still not easy. At times like today/ tomorrow the wound is still very raw, but that's the way I want it- I don't want the wound to ever heal.
With these wintry evenings, I think of you a lot. Right now, I think of you at home this night 3 years ago, the fire lit, the room cosy, you sitting knitting. Little did you know the night that was ahead of you, any more than we did. Or did you? I think about it a lot, as though by finding out I can put right what went wrong, turn back the clock. Had you any premonition as you packed up to go to bed that it was the last time you'd ever do it? I hope not, cos I know that you were prepared anyway- you always prayed and you did your best in life. What more could God ask?
I feel guilty for the lack of understanding we had of what your life was like caring for K. I hate the pain and worry he caused you, and the way you died. But most of all, I hate that still nothing has changed with him. At least, when you died, you still had hope that he would take the help available. Now, we have given up hope for him.
Last night, I didn't want to go to sleep till after 3.15am, as a kind of vigil. I nodded off before then but I wish I hadn't, when I think of your loneliness and fear this time 3 years ago.
You had even made tea bracks that day- we gave them to people who called to the house- imagine, you cooked so much all your life, and you also cooked for your own funeral.
I've realised since your death that we must make time for people. I still feel so guilty that I didn't make time to ring you the last week of your life. Now it's too late- nothing, no person can bring you back. Nothing can be as it was before you died- things have changed and it's something I have no control over- the next page has been turned and there's no way to get back to the page we were on before 30th October 1987.
I wonder are you lonely for us the way we are for you? Or is there no loneliness in the place you've gone to? Or do you see and hear us even though we don't see or hear you? Like a one-way mirror? That would be nice.
Ma, I'll go now, but before I do I want to say thanks for all the nice memories, the care and attention, and most of all , for the love you gave me. You gave me gifts that nothing and nobody can take away- memories I can treasure for all of my life. We had a fabulous mother-daughter relationship. Nobody can take that away from me the way God took you. I hope he's looking after you, and keeping you safe for the day when we meet again. When things are bad and I read that bit on your memorial card, it keeps me going- I couldn't go on if I didn't believe that we will meet again."
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Thank you for your sensitive comments.
It was a big decision to share that letter, and I don't know why but I felt such relief when I clicked the "publish post" button. I had written the letters (there are lots of them) on bits of paper, as a way of expressing my feelings of overwhelming grief at the time. Then later, I wrote them into a notebook, and now have begun to put some of them online.
But then you start to think "what if they think I'm mad, writing letters to a dead person?" And then publishing them 21 years later?
But this is the wonderful thing about blogging, that you can connect with people who connect with you. And I've realised that for all of us, however long ago and whatever age we were when we lost our mother, it is a huge loss. Our mother is the only person on this earth who we've been physically bonded to and depended on for our survival.
I really do appreciate your sensitivity and your friendship.Thanks again.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I suppose it's because I teach, and the school year becomes your measurement of time.
Each August, I subconsciously look at how time is passing by, what I've done, what's left undone, and so on.
August also reminds me so much of time spent with my mother. In my 20's I usually went home for several weeks during the summer holidays. My mother would have lots of outings planned, we'd take off in my little Ford Fiesta and do some of these things she wanted - shopping, being tourists, visiting relatives, more shopping, having coffee. We'd also do lots of cooking, preserving, knitting, and house decorating. It was as though we were trying to pack a year's activities into a few short weeks, knowing that a long winter lay ahead, when there would be little time.
Looking at the sky this evening was one of those times, as I saw a plane go by- it's in this photo.
I've been thinking for some time of sharing some letters that I wrote to my mother after she died so suddenly, age 65, and the time seems right now. The reference to sad world is that for 2 years before she died, my mother was taking care of my brother who had become mentally ill..very difficult job for her..So here goes:
Do you know how much I miss you? I'd love to have you back but this world we live in is a sad old place and you're better off where you are.
Ma, all we have is memories. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't write to you now and again. The pain is as bad today as it was the first day. I was just thinking "will I ever forget that it was on a Friday that you died?" I don't think so- I think there are still a lot of Thursday nights when I feel a sense of sadness (sometimes subconsciously) - like a retrospective foreboding.
I was thinking this evening about Christmas Day 1987- the first Christmas after you died, and Dad's last Christmas. I was thinking of how sister and myself cooked his last Christmas dinner-then it was also the last Christmas dinner in Rocklands. I know as we sat down to dinner everyone was thinking of you and I wanted so much to say "Here's to Ma and all the lovely Christmas dinners that she cooked for us", but I didn't think I'd be able to say it without crying so I stayed silent.
I'm sorry now that I didn't say it anyway, and to hell with crying or not.
I hope that you know anyway what was on our minds. One thing I am glad about is that we all went home that Christmas and had that first one without you and last one with Dad.
Bye for now, Ma, and thanks for the good times and the memories,
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
So I bagged myself an internet bargain, and went off for a little break to http://www.monart.ie/
Monday, August 17, 2009
I wonder what they're doing to celebrate Guinness 250 next month?
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Last year, we had this plant growing in the flower bed, and a friend asked something about our potatoes..the first we knew of potatoes. You've worked it out- the sprouting potatoes that I throw in the compost bin had grown when the compost was spread on the flower bed. And we had a neat little crop of approx 6 small potatoes.
This might not impress those gardeners or farmers among you, but I was thrilled, and relished every bite. Daughter tells me my "inner farmer" is coming out! This year's crop is much more substantial at about 30 potatoes.
We've already made some potato salad, and I'm planning to bake some at the weekend in a fabulous Remoska oven that turns out the most amazing ones.
I might also try a recipe I have for chocolate potato cake- used to make it years ago and it is delicious.
Then again, I have to start my coffee shop tour tomorrow, camera in hand, so I may not have time. We'll just wait and see what happens.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Second daughter has an attic bedroom and we bought a new wardrobe for her in Ikea. We knew it was slightly too tall for the area, but I decided that builder guy would easily slice a bit off the top with his slicing saw.
So he arrived on Tuesday, and all was going smoothly till I discovered that there's a radiator in the way. Plumber guy came yesterday and moved the radiator, but we then discovered that there are 2 ceiling lights in the way.
Builder guy will be able to move them, and was supposed to do it this evening. But he has now got involved in another job, so says he'll have to postpone till tomorrow.
In the meantime, the house is like a tip. There's no point in cleaning, because they will come with dusty, building-site boots and dirty it all again.
I think the only thing I can do is spend the time out and about, drinking coffee in nice, clean, organised coffee shops.
This may well prove to be a very expensive wardrobe!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Garage phoned to tell us it needs a new gearbox and a new clutch.
Now, this car is 10 years old, and, although it had been going fine, there was an additional problem.
Daughter got a new tuba, which is ENORMOUS. It doesn't fit in the boot.
So we decided to look for a new (2nd hand) car, and have spent the last week going around garages trying to get one to fit our criteria. We want the engine no bigger than 1.4, and the boot has to take this new tuba case.To be sure, we've hauled the (empty) tuba case with us, trying it out in every boot. The reaction of salesmen is very funny, from "what on earth is that?" to "could you not get her to play a mouth organ instead?"
So far, we've found 3 cars that fit the bill- Renault Megane, Ford Focus and Peugeot 307, but now we need to find one of those at the right price.
The saga continues... I'm getting tired of it. Maybe we can buy either a yellow or a red one, and a picture of it will fill my Yellow Mellow Monday or Ruby Tuesday. There's a deadline!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Well, he presented me with a piece that himself and two others co-wrote early on in the camp.
And, with his permission, that is today's post. I think it's fab. Please let me know which is your favourite verse, and I'll pass on the message.
"Amy and Jack were playing one day
They found a chest hidden away
Inside the chest, there was a map
They jumped around and clapped and clapped
"A map, a map!" Amy squealed
"And look, and look, it's for this field"
"Let's go, let's go!" Jack then said
"The start is at this flowerbed"
They followed the map, round and round
And they found an X marked on the ground
"This must be it!" Amy cried
They dug a hole and looked inside
Inside the hole was another chest
They had reached the end of their quest
On the chest, there was a name
"It must belong to Mr. Shane!"
"Do you think we should bring it back?
Or can we open it just a crack?"
"No!" said Jack "That would be bold!
Even if it's full of gold!"
"Let's bring it back to Mr. Shane,
Who lives down the old brick lane."
They asked their mother if they could go
She didn't say yes, but she didn't say no.
"Ask your father, I don't care!
Just get out of my hair!"
They took that as a yes and went
Down the lane that was so bent
They found him in his yard
His dog, Trixie, was standing guard
He took back his chest with glee
"Thank you for bringing this back to me!"
"It's very precious, it was my Dad's
I thought it was lost and I was sad".
As a reward he let them choose
A cute little puppy from Trixie's brood
"Isn't this great!" Jack said with pleasure,
"A puppy's better than any treasure!"
Amy and Jack were happy that time
Because they didn't commit a crime.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Add some drops of Lemon (Citrus Limonum) pure essential oil to your bottle of washing-up liquid. I usually add about 15 or 20 drops to a 500ml bottle.
It's good for killing bacteria and germs, and gives a nice scent also.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
On Saturday, my teenagers had some friends over. They are teenage children of my Brussels friend, but she had gone back to Brussels. When they were living in Dublin, 8 years ago, the kids were all good friends. It was lovely to see how well they got on together on Saturday. I invited them for lunch i.e. a few hours, but they reluctantly left at 9pm to go back to their grandmother's, where they were staying until their Dad got here Sunday.
My own 2 seemed genuinely sad to see them go, and they had made an arrangement for the 5 of them to go to the cinema on Monday. There was a bit of friendly teasing going on between them, especially trying to pair off my boy with one of the twins (all 13 year olds!). My daughter and the older sister of the twins were joking about being sisters-in-law!
Anyway, today I was going off shopping, and asked daughter had she made contact re the cinema outing- "no". I urged her, out of politeness, to do so, and she promised she would take care of it. I returned a few hours later to find she had done nothing, and to be told there was no need for me to be involved, that it wasn't anything to do with me - though she wasn't especially rude in saying this.
Now my problem is this- I think it's rude to make arrangements and not follow through. In fairness, they didn't contact us either. And I'm trying to let them make their own arrangements as far as possible- maturity, responsibility and all that. And I don't know how much of the arrangement was a joke "date" between my boy and the twin.
Do I keep out of it, just let them at it, or attempt contact myself tomorrow???
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Went to the hardware shop yesterday, and my very knowledgeable hardware guy sold me a heavy-duty sensitive trap that he assured me would work.
It worked, and while I hate killing anything, the relief is everwhelming. I've gone from "bright red" alert re droppings and movements to kind of "russet/amber".
Now, what I can't figure out is how I got to this state. When I was a student, all our flats had mice, many many mice. In one place, they used to peep out at us from the Aeroboard ceiling while we ate our breakfast, presumably getting a preview of that day's menu, to be sampled as soon as we went off to our lectures.
In another flat, I clearly remember my mother coming to stay overnight, and giving her my bed. She was shocked that I'd sleep on the floor, knowing that lots of mice were rampaging around. It didn't bother me in the least.
So how is it that now I am, as eldest daughter puts it, "completely paranoid about rodents". Answer: "I don't know." I just have the horrors at them being in my house, and all that goes with that. I visualise the situation getting completely out of control, and them being everywhere. And with teenagers around, it's impossible to keep track of "no food in bedrooms" issues. So I'm really hoping that it's a final goodbye to this issue, and that future chocolate posts will be more upbeat.
On a brighter note, son has returned from the summer writing camp. 12 noon on Friday was the deadline for picking him up, but I texted first, not wanting to arrive too early or too late.
Me: "What time would you like me to collect you tomorrow?"
Me: "I'll be there between 11.30 and 12. I'll text when I arrive"
Minimalist or what! I had a quick meeting with the course teachers, who assure me that he had a ball, and that his imitation of Shakespeare had everyone doubled in two. Now I know what I've been missing.
It's good to have him back.