Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I've been having digestive problems of late.
It started with acid, which then turned into reflux and became very painful.
I've had some time off work to relax, which has been really nice, and has helped a lot. And I'm on this medication that reduces the amount of acid my stomach produces.

All in all, it's well settled, but not 100%.
I go back to work next week, and 2 weeks later I come off this medication, see what happens. If it flares up again, I've to have a scope down into my stomach to see what's going on. Doctor thinks it could be hiatal hernia.

The good news is he's confident it's not anything serious, the bad news is that I'm a dreadful patient, and I mean dreadful. I hate, hate, hate having to rest. I dread the thought of having to go near a hospital. I dread that this scope might introduce infection to my body e.g. mrsa, swine flu . I refuse to give these things capital letters, cos I detest them. And finally, I dread the thought that I might be on some medication for life.

Then, just to be really helpful, spoke to brother on the phone last night, and he tells me I've to be really careful if it's a hernia that it doesn't rupture- if it does, I could die! How the heck can I make sure it doesn't rupture? Don't eat? Don't exercise? I don't know!

Now, I know that seems trivial to some of you, and in reality it is- some people deal with much much worse.
But if anybody had any advice that might help, please send it this way.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

Ok, I posted another picture of this Dublin pub for Ruby Tuesday a while back, but I missed the best bit. I didn't look properly when taking that photo, and missed this at the right hand side of the picture that I took.

I actually prefer this, mostly because it has history in it. And stained glass, which, as you know, I love.
For more Ruby Tuesday pictures, or to take part, click on the link below.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday

Ok, so I've just had my first photoshop lesson, and it went really well. I learned how to crop photos.

Then, went to post for MYM, and what do you know, the pic. that I want to post doesn't need to be cropped, or at least I don't want to cut out any of it. I'd love to say that I made all these cupcakes, but the truth is that they were on display in a kitchenware shop in Dublin, and I couldn't resist sneaking a pic.

Which one is your favourite? Mine is the yellow with brown chocolate stars!

Drowsy Monkey hosts MYM, click on the link below for more photos.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Middle daughter came home yesterday with this teapot stand for me- she hand-made it in woodwork class. Isn't it just beautiful?

She has only been doing woodwork for 3 weeks, as one of her Transition Year options. Hubby thinks that she has inherited my Dad's talent- he was a cabinet-maker who became a farmer at age 65!

I'm looking forward to making a big pot of tea at the weekend, and parking it on this stand, just like this.
It will be a 3-generation thing: the teapot belonged to my mother, tea made by me, and stand made by my daughter.
And the other task I've set myself for the weekend is to learn how to crop photos- I really wanted to cut out that bright light reflection in the first photo, but anyone who could show me is gone to bed. Tomorrow, though, I will do it. I have to now, cos I said it here!
Have a nice weekend everybody.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

Ok, it's not exactly ruby red, but here's the thing..

Having given up its ruby red berries, this wild strawberry plant then delights with this fabulous display of fading autumn glory. Only when the berries are gone do I notice the beautiful leaf shape and the variegation in its foliage.

And as soon as winter's frosts have cleared, it will start all over again.

For more Ruby Tuesday pictures, click on the link below.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thought I'd treat you to a selection of what adorns our lamp posts and traffic lights these days.

The country is voting (for the second time) on the Lisbon Treaty.

I'm not going into politics here, but those pink hearts really catch your attention., and make you nearly crash the car, reading the text to see if it's a new version. I don't know whether the EU loves low wages, but I do know that many of the rights that workers here now have, are thanks to the EU.

There is one that makes my blood boil. The 3 men pictured below signed the 1916 Proclamation. All three were executed- from left Padraig Pearse, Thomas Clarke and James Connolly. Pearse was a writer and a gifted educator with extraordinary vision; the letter that he wrote to his mother on the eve of his execution is an incredible document. Connolly was too badly injured to stand, so he was tied to a chair and executed thus.

I think it disgraceful for their image to be used, 93 years later, to push one agenda.

Who knows how they would view the Lisbon Treaty if they were alive today?

This final one seems to be saying that if we vote yes, we can be either construction workers or graduates.

And finally, this evening someone dropped a booklet in our door. I grabbed it,ran out to the road and gave it back. We already have the information booklet distributed by the Referendum Commission. I asked her "When has someone ever decided how to vote based on a booklet?" She replied that she's only distributing them as a favour to a friend.
I asked her to pass on this message " people are fed up of money being wasted on posters and booklets.
If you want me to vote, yes or no, call to my door and ask for my vote!"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Oops, caught in the act!

This is the end of my road by day.

The other night, I was coming home from a walk and, as I rounded the corner turning onto my road, I saw a shadow facing into these bushes.

This is what it looked like by night. Yes, dark, quite dark.

I assumed it was just a couple kissing, and thought to myself "Gosh, she's really pushed right into those bushes" but just as I reached that spot, the guy turned round to face me (there was no couple!) and I realised he'd just finished peeing into the gap in the bushes. I don't know which of us was more embarassed, neither of us spoke, and all I could think was "thank God I don't know him, or his mother"!

Do guys in other countries do this? And what do you think of it? I find it quite disgusting, and don't see why they can't do what women have to do, and find a toilet.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

I thought of adding this to yesterday's MYM post, and then realised the red in it would cover Ruby Tuesday also!

I wanted you to see the rest of the stained glass in the door.

If you look just above the brown handle on the left, you see a circular thing- that's our doorbell, which has to be pushed really hard from the outside, as it's a really old manual one. I couldn't part with it.
You can see more Ruby Tuesday pictures by clicking on the link below:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday

This is a close-up of the stained glass in our front door.

A few years ago, we had to get a new door, and rather than get a custom-made, expensive one, I searched until I found one at a reasonable price, thinking that we'd spend the difference on getting nice stained glass.

And what a good investment that was. In the evening time, the sun shines in through it, and I've lost count of the number of times I just look and think "it's beautiful, a work of art". The man who made it is a craftsman, who does it painstakingly, litttle piece by little piece.

He also collects old glass, and very generously added this circular centrepiece. It came from a church. It's 150 years old. I hope I look this good after half that time!

For more Mellow Yellow Monday pics, click on the link below. Drowsy Monkey hosts MYM.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The cemetery

I said I would write more about the cemetery in this post so here goes..
That cemetery is where my sister, Eileen, is buried.
Eileen’s date of birth (and death) was 28th December 1963.

After my mother died,in 1987, I wondered and regretted that I didn’t know Eileen’s date of birth- My own sister, and I only knew the month and year of her birth. I dug around, found out what Dublin hospital she had been born in. It was not difficult as there are only 3 maternity hospitals in the city. I then wrote to that hospital, asking for details.

When the letter came back, my hands shook as I opened it. I knew, as I quickly scanned the page, by the quantity of print on it, that it wasn’t a “sorry we can’t help you” letter. I was so excited that I was about to uncover the treasure of information about my sister. The letter was sensitively written, and Eileen’s name was used several times throughout. This made an incredible difference to me as I read that letter- it was confirmation that my sister had existed, that she was a real person, valued as a real person, not just another “stillborn statistic”.

The letter gave her date of birth, and also her weight. Again, simple though it may sound, that made a difference too, in the sense of confirming her status as a real person. At that time, it was not possible to register the birth of a baby who was stillborn. And from a religious viewpoint, those un-baptised babies, according to the Catholic Church, went to “limbo”. Talk about twisting the knife in the wound of those poor, grieving parents!

The hospital did not have any photos of Eileen, which was a disappointment, though not unexpected. And the final important detail in the letter was the cemetery and plot number where she had been buried.

I knew that Eileen had been buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, because my mother often spoke of this, and of her regret at not bringing her home to our local cemetery

We (my other sister and I) decided to visit the grave, a few days later, on Eileen’s 36th birthday. We brought our own daughters, four in all. C, the eldest of the four at age 7, went to great bother painting a flowerpot with the date and “Happy 36th Birthday Eileen” on it. The girls couldn’t understand why she didn’t have a headstone, or how we didn’t know the exact spot. However, it would have been a group burial, and it was impossible to pinpoint the exact spot. Both my sister and I were independently drawn to one particular spot- it was close to the other 1960 markings, and although we walked around many times, we were always drawn back to that same spot.

There is so much that we don’t know- did anybody go to the funeral, or was there a funeral as such? Was her name written on the coffin? Was there a coffin? Was it white? All the arrangements were handled by the hospital- that was the practice for most stillborn babies at the time, sparing the parents the emotional upset of having to arrange their baby’s funeral.

I felt so emotional: I found it difficult to believe that it took so long for all of this to surface, that none of us ever had the curiosity before to find out the full details. I wondered was it, to some extent, a “taboo” subject. Certainly my father never talked about Eileen, he just prayed and prayed. My mother talked frequently about her, how perfect she was, how she had beautiful red hair, but we weren’t all that interested. To us, it was history, she was gone, nothing would bring her back. We hadn’t known her, so we weren’t bothered to find out more…

And yet, there is some sort of bond, even with a sister whom you haven’t met in the flesh. She has shared the same womb that some of us occupied prior to her incubation, and some others subsequent to it. We are a family of 8, including Eileen, so it was a womb that got a lot of occupancy.

I felt a huge pain and loss in the cemetery that day, for the sister I never got to chase around the garden, or dress up with, or have as a bridesmaid. I was only 6 when she was born, but I do have a vague recollection of my mother being in bed (a rarity) and my father telling us “don’t be annoying your mother” when we asked what happened to the baby. I never remember her being prayed for in person during our family Rosary, I only remember my mother talking about her when my father wasn’t around. Now, I wonder, what was that like? I can only guess how huge the pain and the loss was, for both of them, and how terrible it was for them to be unable to talk about it.

Most people at the time thought it was better to “get on with things” and that “you’ll forget about it when you have another”. I know that my mother never forgot about Eileen, not for one single day. And, on some level, neither did I. In that cemetery, I felt happy that I had finally found her spot, and that I had visited her. I felt that Eileen was happy too, to finally have some visitors. I was shocked when my sister told me that Eileen’s bones would still be there- I hadn’t thought of that.

I couldn’t understand, for a long time, why my mother never asked me to bring her to Glasnevin Cemetery. We visited lots of places during summer holidays, as I’ve written before. However, that day, standing in the cemetery, I finally understood. Knowing that there was no marker on the grave, and knowing how much she regretted not bringing her home to be buried, I understood some more.

Seeing a huge plot, and realising it’s full of unknown babies bodies, one of whom is your sister, is mindboggling.

That night, as I pictured my mother holding that little, 6lbs 12 ozs, still warm, lifeless but adorable bundle, I cried for her and for myself. Then I remembered that they were now reunited, and I gave thanks that the other remaining females of our family, my sister and I, could at least console ourselves that we didn’t lose them both at that time.

And I wrote this little poem:

A poem for you, Eileen

You were my sister,
Yet I never met you,
I found your burial place
on your 36th birthday.
There’s a bond between us,
nothing can break it,
DNA can prove it.
I feel a loss
That we never met,
Yet today there’s a peace
With that loss,
that I
Know where your body
Burying bodies is necessary,
Burying emotions doesn’t work.
They surface, even a child’s,
Even 36 years later.

You were my sister
Nothing will change that.
I know you and love you
Even though I never met you.
You were real, a real person.
You existed in my life,
Even though the walls of a womb separated us.
Eileen, I do love you.
Rest in peace.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday

This is an old knitting pattern that belonged to my Mum.

I've always loved the term "fuzzy wuzzy" to describe angora wool, it just seems word-perfect.

The shop stamp on it is The Knitting Pin, Prospect Road, Glasnevin (near cemetery).

More on that in the next post.

Drowsy Monkey hosts Mellow Yellow Monday- you can see more images by clicking below. Have fun!

Brighter day

Just want to say thanks to fellow bloggers for the lovely comments on yesterday's post.
Each one really did help.

Today is a brighter day, in every respect. I've settled at work, now got the mindset to just get on with it- kind of "change what I can and forget what I cannot" type of attitude.

And guess what? the sun came out today too!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

suffer little children

I'm finding it hard to post these days. I hate publishing a depressing post, but that's the reality so look away now if you're seeking upbeat.

It's depressing being back at work, our school lost 5 teachers this year, and they are not being replaced. The reality of this is classes are bigger, and students who were getting much-needed attention in small groups can't get that now. All our teachers are timetabled to the maximum hours, and extra duties will have to be done outside that time.

I know that the country is in a desperate state, and that we have to cut our spending. We are already overspending by something like 22billion euro.

What gets me is that so much money was wasted over the last few years, and that the "topdogs" are still not feeling the pinch- for instance, a levy was put on public servants' pay last November, which should have included judges. But, because of a loophole in the legislation, designed to keep the judiciary independent of the government, the pay of a judge can't be interfered with, so they were asked to voluntarily pay that levy. Very few of them have done so. At the same time, 4 year olds are now in classes of 35, children with special needs are not getting the attention they need, despite the government having lured them out of special schools for the last 10 years with the promise of support.

Our government holds onto the jet, ministers hold onto pensions and expenses, judges don't pay the levy, banks have been bailed out...

And all the time, it's suffer the little children.

And it's rained every day this week.

Rant over. I'll try to do a more upbeat post next time.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Scent, glorious scent

Today's post of the day at Authorblog winner is Suzanne with How We Label Ourselves. Her post inspired me to put a few quick thoughts down..

Being an aromatherapist, I'm big into scent. Putting it simply, the area in our brain that recognises scent is located next to our memory area, so scent is intricately linked with memory. Just think about scents that you remember from your childhood, and there's your proof.

The first wedding I attended was when I was about 18. The bride was a sister of a priest who lived in a house beside us. My mother was asked to cater for the wedding, which had about 15 guests. I was the assistant cook and waitress.
It was the most intimate and beautiful wedding I've ever been to. The food was very simple- good quality, fresh ingredients, simply cooked with love. The bride wore a simple, white summer dress. Her hair was newly washed. The shampoo was Sunsilk, and for years afterwards, every time I smelled that smell, I was immediately transported back to that lovely day. I think the simplicity and absence of "showing off" was what impressed me.

Every time I smell freshly-cut grass, I'm immediately transported to my childhood. We had a large garden at the back of our house, but as my father was a self-employed businessman, he never had time to cut the grass (he barely had time to eat his meals!). So the grass grew long, and every August, Bill arrived on his bike with a sythe on the back, cut the grass and made it into 2 haycocks. We were warned not to play on top of them, or knock them down, as he would return a few weeks later to collect the hay. Of course we didn't obey- we'd climb up to the top, skid or jump down, make tunnels through at the bottom and we generally treated the haycock as a toy. This is what I remember when I smell freshly-cut grass!

When I had my 50th birthday party at home almost 2 years ago, I made up a mix of essential oils that I call "Ready to Party"- namely Geranium,Ylang Ylang, Orange and Rose. I was aware that all of these oils arouse a feel-good factor, but I swear, everyone there had a fantastic night, and some people who are normally quiet were surprised at how much they enjoyed themselves. I will probably forever associate this mixture with that night, and what a wonderful birthday I had.

So, what are your scent-memories?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009



Have now got my head around the award, so here goes:
Nominate & link up to 9 blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you.
I will, with great pleasure, pass it on to:

Stephanie V at Hookin’, Knittin’ & Livin’ – she introduced me to Mellow Yellow Monday and Ruby Tuesday, she’s great at giving comments, she has the most amazing photos of her trip with Anne to Ireland, and I enjoyed meeting up with them in Dublin. Is that enough reasons, Stephanie my friend?

Valerie at Val’s Ramblings- I enjoy reading your stories, with an inevitable twist at the end. Your comments at mine are always very welcome.

Devon Rene at The Mikels Family- you’re one brave lady, and I’m praying that you little girl stays put for another little while.

Eternally Distracted- you make me laugh so much. Please share this award with Mec.

David Mc Mahon at authorblog- for awesome photography and for introducing me to some lovely blogs through POTD.

Pinkerbell at Ripples in a Small Pond- you’ve had a really tough time, you’re very brave, and I love your writing.

New England Girl- really interesting accounts and photos of a place I will visit some day! Wait for her “tons” of fall pictures! You promised, NEG!

Pig in the Kitchen- delicious recipes that have kept me tied to the kitchen (sometimes), and each recipe had a beautifully-written piece with it. My favourite is the Christmas Cake story. I’m so glad you’re back blogging again.

Gaelikka- Out of Ireland- you tell a great story, and I’m delighted to have found a fellow Irish blogger, but one who lives a very interesting non-Irish life.

Helena Frith Powell- for persistence in a new life and for entertaining and interesting stories from all over the place!

And last but not least…
Wife in the North- hers was the first blog I ever read, and it is so good that she hooked me for life! Her book is fabulous too, I’ve bought it as a gift on a few occasions, and all recipients have been happy. Thank you, Judith.

I hope you all get the same thrill that I got when I received Pastor Sharon's message! I know I've gone over the 9, but who's counting!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My First Award!

I've been given an award!
Sharon over at Dances With God very kindly gave me this. I'm not sure how exactly this award thing goes, so please give me a day to get my head round it.
In the meantime, thanks for the kind messages about the whole back-to-school thing. 2 days down, it has gone ok, just ok. More on that tomorrow..

Ruby Tuesday

This was the room service menu in Monart, and the minute I saw it I thought"Ruby Tuesday"! Isn't it pretty? The food list inside was good too- not a "Hang Sandwich" in sight! The photo was taken on the balcony-unfortunately my "point and click" photography doesn't really do the forest background justice, but I did my best.

So take a bow, Mary at Work of the Poet, and fellow bloggers,you're affecting how I view the world!

For more wonderful Ruby Tuesday pictures, click the link below.