Monday, April 27, 2009

Wasting money and saving money

Times are tough everywhere, Ireland included. And today a television channel is advertising a programme about how much money we wasted in the last decade! Really, are things not bad enough, without people making money from telling us about how our government wasted our money.
It's not as though we can actually do anything about it now. We spent 51 million Euro on electronic voting machines that don't work, plus 5 million on 25-year contracts to store these useless machines. We're now about to embark on (presumably further contracts! More millions!) a programme of disposing of said machines.
Now, do we want our noses rubbed in it by watching a tv programme tell us what fools our government have been, and by extension ourselves have been. I mean, we did elect them, didn't we? I think I'll turn off the tv and save myself 10c in electricity!
Meanwhile, my family have taken up knitting. It started with the eldest daughter- she raided my box of (unused) wool in the attic, and found some beautiful alpaca, lots of different colours, which is fast becoming a giant scarf. Today I taught her how to do purl, and dug out my collection of old knitting patterns. Some of these belonged to my dear Mum, who was a knitter supremo. She knitted "continental style"- one needle under the arm. That's how I knit also. And now the daughter has learned this method too! It's much faster, and that counts for lots in my book. Today the boy decided he'd knit too. Now, 4 years ago he knitted all our Christmas presents, and very impressive they were too. His teacher's mother came down all the way from Donegal to teach the class. We got stocking decorations to hang on the tree, the sisters got shoulder bags. So it will be an interesting few weeks till they get fed up.
There is a new movement to get grandparents to teach their grandkids these type of forgotten skills. I'm all for it. Wouldn't it be fun to learn how to churn butter, or weave. We'll save a fortune and then we can make a tv programme about it and make even more money!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Music in the park and houses in the Cape

Exciting times ahead in my life! I've been invited, in the band I play in, to play in a Mayday Concert in Marlay Park. We did it last year and it was exciting, fun and a fantastic learning experience. There will be over 100 musicians, ranging in age from 70's down to about 12 years of age. Some are very experienced, others just took up their instruments a year ago, and some, like myself, in-between.
This will involve many hours of rehearsals, which is kind of difficult at this time of year with exams looming in school, but I'll find the time, and something else will have to go on the back burner. This is too good an opportunity to miss. Last year, I will never forget the feeling of playing alongside seasoned musicians, including my teacher! I probably learned more in those few weeks than I normally would in a year, so I'm not about to miss this.
The concert will be on Sunday 10th May, at 3.30, in the open air if weather permits. If anyone is reading this and owns a Child of Prague statue (if you own it, you'll know what I'm talking about), please put it outside. If the weather doesn't hold up, the concert will be in a church nearby, but it would be so much better to play outdoors, preferably in sunshine, tho I'll settle for absence of rain.

The other exciting event is that my brother is going to South Africa in September to build homes for Habitat for Humanity. I promised to help with his fundraising, and after racking my brains, here's what I came up with. I'm making 50 jars of hand cream, which I'll sell for €10 each. I'm paying the costs, so all the €10 will go to the Habitat project. People who buy get a lovely cream, either for themselves or as a "gift that gives more". I've researched a bit on the oils I'm putting in, and come up with some that are common to both Ireland and South Africa.

I've called the cream "Dóchas", which is Irish for hope. Let's hope that the cream sells well, and that the project brings hope to those who have so little.

Friday, April 24, 2009

First Communion Day

I've been reminded of my First Communion Day.
I'm terrified of dogs, having been bitten when I was 3. On F C day, we went to visit my grandparents on their farm, as was traditional in Ireland (main aim being to show off the white dress and maybe get a present of a little money- and I mean little, nothing like the ridiculous amounts that are given to young children nowadays!)
Anyway, after a little while of being "good" inside, we were shooed out "to play". One of the farm dogs, a friendly collie I think, came running up to me, presumably to say hello, maybe to give me money too! I started to run away, the dog, thinking it was a game, ran after me, and I only stopped when I landed, face down, in a ditch.
I don't know which was worse, the mortification or the telling-off that I got for ruining the dress which had to do my sister 4 years later!
I'll never dress up in a white dress again! (my wedding dress was ivory, by the way)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Recession Fallout

Went to a concert tonight with 17year old daughter! Ulster Orchestra- they were fantastic! We both thoroughly enjoyed the music, and were delighted to be there.
Good news-we were upgraded to really good seats, Bad news- the reason for the upgrade became apparent as soon as the concert began- the hall was less than half full. We both, independently, felt that we had to "clap for two" after each piece, because it was heartbreaking to see such a good performance to a half-empty hall.
Makes you wonder, doesn't it, is there not some way that those empty seats could have been offered free or at very discounted prices to people who love music but could not afford to pay full price. Sorry, I forgot to say that full price, actually, was from only €10.
It did make us both decide to go to more concerts, funds allowing.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Merge unsuccessful

As you can see, I've tried myself to merge the 2 blogs, without success. I really admire people who can do this kind of thing, so I have to admire my son. I'll call on him for help when he has a minute to spare. At the moment, he doesn't have many of those, he's in a school drama production in 2 weeks, so there are extra rehearsale every day. And of course, a bit of homework has to be squeezed in where he can as well.
And finally, I got the results of my latest French Horn exam- I'm glad to say I passed. I got lost on the way to the exam, on a road that I know really well, so ended up being late for it, and the candidate after me very kindly swapped places. As a result, even though I was well prepared, I didn't do myself justice, and failed my scales. However, as they say on the website, success begins with a pass, and I'll move on. the most important thing is that I enjoy playing so so much, I just love it.

First and only Post from old blog, now extinct

skip to main skip to sidebar
beginner musician etc
Thursday, September 6, 2007

first week back
Thank God this week is almost over. I'm exhausted, and the activities haven't even started up fully yet. You forget how lovely the summer is, how free of runs to piano lessons, trumpet lessons, school, band...I picked up my french horn to do a bit of practice tonight; I haven't played for about 2 months. I'm kicking myself, because last year, in an effort to learn quickly, I devoted an hour a day to practising. That was an hour I did not have- some days it was robbed from housework, sometimes from walking time, and sometimes from sleep.Tonight I sounded like a foghorn with laryngitis, gingivitis and God knows what else.I just hope that reaching the point where I left off is quicker than it was to get to that point originally. Why, oh why, didn't I just do ten minutes a few times a week during the holidays?My band will resume in a few weeks and I don't want to disgrace myself, again.
Posted by mimi at 2:59 PM
Labels: ,

wife in the north said...
hi mimi, let me know if you keep up the blog and I will blogroll you.(She was ill by the way and now she is on holiday.)
September 6, 2007 3:30 PM
Swearing Mother said...
Watcha Mike's Mum or Mimi as we can now call you! Glad you've got your own account now, will look forward to reading you!Very best wishes.
September 7, 2007 10:46 AM
Post a Comment
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
Blog Archive
2007 (1)
September (1)
first week back

About Me
mimi View my complete profile

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My friend Catherine

It's 11 years today since my friend Catherine passed away, aged 41, so today's post is for her.
Catherine was the first person I spoke to on the day I started teaching. I was very nervous, especially as I knew that I would have a Leaving Cert class, and I was only 20! I was worried about maintaining control in the classroom, but Catherine put my mind at rest, assuring me that all would be well. And it was.
We both wanted to get fit, so we joined a squash club. The club had a good coffee shop, so instead of playing squash and losing weight after school, more often than not I persuaded her to go for coffee (first, just to give us energy) and apple tart -with cream, of course, as we were about to burn off huge amounts of calories. Then we'd start chatting, and before we knew it, a couple of hours had passed and we needed to go home. Catherine taught a number of night classes, so staying late for the game was not an option.
When Catherine got married, she catered, with the help of close friends, for 75 guests herself. We stayed at her home place for a week before the wedding, and the day before was such fun - balling melons (does anyone remember the popularity of melon balls in creme de menthe?) and peeling mushrooms. I have never since peeled a mushroom , but that week I did it for her.
When Catherine learned that she had a brain tumour, she took the news with her characteristic courage and no-nonsense attitude. She would fight this battle with natural methods, and she would win. There was very little "natural" treatment available, so in the end she resigned to radiotherapy.
She continued to teach up to the Easter holidays,the last school day before she died. She was a gifted teacher, and her pupils loved her and admired her, as did her colleagues and friends.
Her grave is in Co. Meath, on a beautiful hillside beside a field where lambs run around in springtime.
We were priveleged to have known her. Ar dheis Dhé go raibh a hanam (may her soul be a God's side)

Personality tests

The kids persuaded me to do an online personality test the other day. They have all done them, and keep quoting to me "I'm a wxyz, that's why I behave this way". So, I decided it might be fun to see what personality type I am. Of course, they had their own predictions, and all 3 claimed to have predicted the end result.
Turns out that I'm extrovert.. and I forget the rest. Now, the funny thing is that in reality I'm not really extrovert at all, in the sense I understand that word. I like going out, I enjoy meeting people and talking to them, but a lot of the time it's a real struggle to motivate myself not to just sit in front of the fire, or catch up with house stuff.
The other thing about this is that as a child/teenager/young adult, I was extremely shy. So much so that I used to make lists of things to talk to people about when going out or on a date. And I brought the list with me on dates! My kids can't believe this, but it is true!
Funny how your confidence improves as you get older! Well, at least it's some compensation for all the things that deteriorate.
So, have you ever taken a personality test, and what type are you? Were you surprised with the results?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Birthday Girl

Absolutely knackered tonight- 17 years ago, our eldest daughter was born. We celebrated today with iced cupcakes, no candles, no singing, one photo- those were the instructions! And we obeyed. At least I got to make the cupcakes. and then himself and myself went to the gym. It's great exercise and all that, and I had a sauna and jacuzzi after, which is a lovely treat, but does anybody else think that people exercising in gyms look a bit like robots?

So now tonight I feel pretty much as wrecked and wracked as I did that night, but I look back on the many many joys of those 17 years, and how she has transformed our lives in ways that we could never have imagined. And a part of me deep down makes a silent prayer that all will be well for the next 17, and the 17 after that...

Anyway, we're well and truly into birthday season now, the Boy turns 13 in 5.5 weeks time, and the other Girl will be 16 three days later.
The mere thought of it makes me even more tired! But at least they've gone past the stage of those parties, with up to 20 young kids running around etc. And because we don't have any family nearby, it's always been just myself and HeofInfinitePatience overseeing the whole thing. Enough of that, I'm nearly getting palpitations thinking about it!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

After reading a comment on another blog re how easy it is to create one, here I am!
This will be a short post, as it's now 1.30 am, and even though I love to stay up late during the Easter holidays, this is just a tad too late. Especially as I have a birthday to celebrate tomorrow- my eldest "baby" turns 17!

I remember as clear as day this night 17 years ago, in the hospital, waters having broken earlier in the day, waiting, excited, apprehensive. We had been told that if labour didn't begin by the 14th, I would be induced, so I lay in bed, unable to sleep, and contemplated names.

By 3am I had developed a "system". Let's name this baby beginning with the letter N, 14th letter of the alphabet. Made out a list, and when HeofInfinitePatience arrived next morning, I laid before him the new way of naming babies!

Surprisingly, he didn't send for the men in white coats, and so was born not just our baby but our system.

to be continued..