Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Well, all is sorted. Or sorted enough, at least :-)
Hope the Season is safe, snuggly and simply magical.

Merry Christmas, all :-)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pre-Christmas Miscellany

Christmas shopping is nearly done. I probably would have got more done today, but I took refuge in Peter's Pub with a friend: chilled out conversation, toasted sandwiches and hot ports left us both feeling a smidge sedated :-)

In other news, it's Day 4 of Max's absence. Knowing that cat, he's probably been adopted at Farmleigh, and is currently being fed kitty treats whilst reclining on a chaise longue. Still though, the conditions out there are severe... I hope he's okay.

Anyhoo, here's a few piccies from the weekend, when my brother and sister-in-law had us over for a scrumptious lunch. The photos make one thing clear: if you ever want to steal the show, wear a tutu :-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thicker than water

Snow snow snow... the city is transformed. Flying buttresses of cathedrals are traced out in white; wrought iron railings and slender rowan branches bear their own thickness of snow, like negative doubles laid over.

Yes, there were snowstorms to walk through, but today - before it turns to ice - the snow created a beautiful cityscape.

Yet families are kept separated, countries apart. Or kept together, but in the wrong county, figuring out how best to spend an unplanned Christmas on the spot. Plans are being made and adjusted and re-adjusted.

Thoughts of families enduring reminded me of a sculpture by the very fabulous Liam O'Neill. At the weekend I saw it dusted with snow for the first time. The white really outlined the four figures, harmoniously snuggled in together.

The sculpture is called 'Family'. Of course :-)

Monday, December 20, 2010

The darkest hour, before

For those skywatchers and solstice folk, tomorrow marks something unusual. A lunar eclipse will coincide with the winter solstice.

Over at you can see how the moon will move through the eclipse, taking on shades of coppery red for a brief time.

Apparently the solstice/eclipse has only happened once in the last two thousand years, in the seventeenth century. You'd wonder how people must have seen it thousands of years ago: coming out to witness - to capture or invoke - the sun on its shortest day, and seeing the moon turn red. Whether auspicious or not, it was probably not a sign to be ignored.

A NASA article on the eclipse is o'er yonder:

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Many Faces of Eve

Yesterday evening was a festive delight. My timing for babysitting meant that I got to decorate the Christmas tree - boxes of baubles, tinsel and hand-made decorations awaited :-)

We made a start, both of us pausing before hanging a decoration, assessing where it might best go. 'Are you strict about decorations?' the babysittee asked.

I thought of how we trimmed the tree as children. To the music of John Denver and The Muppets: A Christmas Together, we set about it with gusto. We all pointed out empty branches, baubles were shifted because they were too much, too little, the wrong colour. And at the very end, the angel hair was put on strand by strand.

Over the years I experienced other trees, other habits. The first time someone flung clumps of angel hair at the tree I had cried 'wait!' before I knew what I was doing. These days, I reckon whatever your decorating methodology might be, the tree ends up looking pretty magical.

Which was how it looked last night :-)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Away Day

I took today off work to babysit my nephew & nieces. They've grown in all kinds of ways since I was last with them. Little bundles of high-energy delights.

Which of course means, I am about to flump the Great Flump :-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Birthdays: All Wrapped Up

I was at a friend's third birthday party on Sunday - a fabulous party featuring oodles of fantastic kids, scrumptious food, very lovely adults, delightful hosts, and a glass of refreshing prosecco after my morning of meringue baking :-)

Anyhoo, my point is, the star of the day was the toilet roll.

Somewhere online, in some discussion group on party games, the game of Mummy was set out. It's a Ronseal-kinda game. We had two volunteers (in bunny ears), who assumed patient, bemused stances as we set about wrapping them up to create some Mummies.

The wrapping was only half of it. The hulk-esque breaking out was fun too, and then there was the wallowing in the debris. Which led to a game of Zombies ('') and various other hi-jinks.

When it was time to sing happy birthday, a trio magically formed (cello, violin, mandolin) to lead us in. (I realised that I hadn't heard live informal music since Baltimore - it adds so much to a gathering.) Birthday songs shifted to Christmas carols, which were going strong as I took my leave.

Singing, dancing, good conversation... but that toilet roll mayhem just stole the show. Recommended for any party!

Thanks to K & K for being such sparkling, gracious & thoughtful hosts. And to the darling Birthday Boy - thank you for a wonderful afternoon :-)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Inching back to Catching up

Well, it's been a while since regular contact. Settling into Dublin took a while, and the last few weeks have been pretty full-on, but it looks like I have a reasonably predictable schedule now, and I reckon I'm ready to be back on the air :-)

So, I'll pick up back at the RDS Craftey Fair, for all those Craftey Folk of Ireland. Which of course involves the lovely Sharon Rose, her ever-inquisitive daughter and her multitude of creations. Even without the weather, it was an exhausting timetable (10am-10pm). It was a week of Nosey Rosie, being snowed in/out, rearranging the stand, and hosting hot ports for the West Cork contingent of the Fair :-)

The weather was, needless to say, against us, but people made it through the ice and snow. Adults came to chat about wool, try on hats and shrugs (mine was almost bought off my back), ooh over wellies and ask if the fleece dresses came in adult sizes. Zillions of hats sold. And the children, fascinated by textures and colours and magnifying glasses, kept us on our toes :-) Tonnes of good feedback, for the Ladies Knitwear and for the Nosey Rosie range.

All of which left us very very tired. The hot ports helped, as did fabulous contraband coffee and savage sausage rolls. We took occasional breaks, scoping out things to buy or swap (I spent my time coveting a blue glass mobile, hung from a gorgeous curved piece of wood from a 9th century graveyard). The weekend went by in a blink, and Sunday night we packed up the stall, tidied up the remnants of felted wool, hoped against hope that we might get our cars out of the car park...

And then there was a gorgeous meal (thanks, Sharon!) and home, and rest for us both.

Just reading that back, I can feel the tiredness again! However, I'm into a new week, with a new To Do list, which is gradually shrinking.

Yep, at the moment it's all about baby steps. Nice to be back :-)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Weathering the weekend

I made a pun!! Chuckle chuckle...

Photos begin on Friday night, when I volunteered at the Food & Wine show. I was working on a charity stall when - amid the purveryors of artisan delights - Mr Tayto himself processed through the RDS :-)

Pretty manky conditions leaving Dublin: sloooow, snowy drive. Beautiful skies though. Once arriving in (a sunshiney) West Cork, it was Catch Up Central. Long conversation with my lovely host - all warmed by firelight - then out for pizza & beers with friends. At one point during the archetypal evening I said 'I feel like I never left!' and a friend said, 'Sure you never really did'. Little sigh. Gorgeous evening.

(Hope the photo selection is okay, Bushes Folk: I went for blurry-but-atmospheric...)

Anyhoo, Sunday began with the perfect porridge, and visitors over breakfast (thanks for the treaty delivery, G&Co.!), then on for more visits and coffees and more treaty things. From wood-turning to knitwear to copperwork - the place is chock-full of talented folk working marvels in their studios!

And then, with one final coffee, it was time to say goodbye to the village. On to Clon, to spend the day with friends, one of whom was appearing in the final night of 'Hairspray'. Lovely day, brilliant night - the young cast had us in tears with their thanks. Then a late glass of wine, as we contemplated the snow that was falling fast, and sticking...

'I should be in work by early afternoon,' I had said. Maybe that was true, in Krayzee Optimistic Land...

Monday morning, with schools closed and buses cancelled, it looked like we'd be snowed in for the day. I figured I'd give it a go, and cautiously set off (thanks for excavating the car, Imy!).

Not the most pleasant of drives, but do-able.

Thanks to my fabulous hosts this weekend X

And now, life is all about the Flumping :-)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Soul Food

A sisterly evening: my sis and I had a cinema to ourselves. It was like being in Madeira! Man, did we laugh loudly.

Ah, I do love the indulgence of popcorn for dinner. Okay just kidding - the *nachos* were for dinner; the popcorn was just a snack...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just dropping in

Work done, kitties snuggled, jigsaw progressed (I bought a jigsaw to show faith that someday my table would be cleared: Klimt's The Kiss - eight pieces down, about a buhzillion to go...), salsa salsa-ed (*without* punching anyone in the eye, I might add), and now I'm preparing a little pre-bedtime flump and wondering: Is there such a thing as too many wasabi peas?

Anyhoo, I may have a TeenyTinyBeer while I ponder that one...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Load-bearing Walls

The Genocide Prevention folk at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum recently travelled to Sudan to 'bear witness'; there's a major referendum coming in January 2011 which could mean, well, just about anything for the ravaged country.

Anyhoo, the trip itself and its findings are well documented over here. The Museum also organised a night-time exhibition of photos taken in Sudan. They projected the images onto the exterior walls of the museum, which had a striking effect: this centre for genocide prevention becomes demarcated by the people of Sudan.

You can see the photographs in two online galleries:
Our Walls Bear Witness: Sudan at the Crossroads, Part I

Our Walls Bear Witness: Sudan at the Crossroads, Part II

And see a snippet of the evening here:

Potent, and timely :-)

And speaking of timely...

Back to birthday wishes on the blog... a sure sign of life returning to normal! :-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Saturday at ExchangeDublin

Unpack, flatpack, snoozarama...

Anyhoo, here's a couple of pics from a charity event I helped with on Saturday. My sister had loaned us a beautiful painting, which added a certain numinous quality to the space.

Among the attendees was Dr Lydia Foy, who's the LGBT person of the year. She won a landmark case earlier this year when the High Court found that one of Ireland's laws was 'incompatible' with the European Convention on Human Rights. Well, technically, the High Court's finding dates from 2007, but the government finally dropped its appeal this year, and set up an inter-departmental committee on the legal recognition of transsexuals.

Lydia brought her case in 1997; it was a long, long road. (Link to the breaking news article in the Irish Times).

Anyhoo, the laydee has a great energy. And she plays a mean harmonica :-)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Back on the air - new home

Well, the Getting Settled process has kind of stopped and started, as charity work took priority for a bit. I'm nearly there now (apart from finding a perfect sofa - my big task for this week). Kitties are gradually getting used to the place (I think a sofa will help restore their curled-up-cosy routine).

Having lived in a big suburban-type house while in teeny Baltimore, I'm now in a teeny cottage in the midst of Dublin. I was looking out at the cityscape getting a sense of the area, and noticed a big building close by.

Which, it turns out, is the place where I was born :-)

And life here is feeling very snuggley indeed.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Art of the Dead

On this Day of the Dead, a short film of an art exhibition in the Oakland Museum of California. Interesting range of approaches, from organic and earthy to glossy plastic.

Both charity and writing work went well today. And there were conversations with friends that warmed the soul :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A room of one's own

Viewing prospective homes has begun in earnest. As a past-time, it can be a smidge... shall we say, bleak? However, gotta figure the right place for me is out there...

In Writing News, I'm back in front of the laptop. Phew - it's been way too long. And I shall be frequenting the Irish Writers' Centre in the coming weeks. I've been given a place on Dermot Bolger's novel writing workshop (which the IWC is hosting tomorrow), *and* I'll be one of the Centre's in-house writers for the month of November (which is National Novel Writing Month - all very appropriate). Excellent news. Feeling very grateful indeed :-)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Security canvas

You just don't realise the various hazards: gusty erratic wind; people walking, moving, gesturing; umbrellas held at awkward angles; treacherous wet leaves; polluting emissions from vehicles...

Walking home with my new painting was quite the stress rollercoaster.

But it's safe, and all beautiful. Happy sigh.

Well, the Bank Holiday weekend zipped by. Babysitting on Sunday, and the rest was a mix of home-hunting, dharma talks, yoga, shopping, sunshiney walks and a seasonal horror movie or two.

PS - I guest-blogged on visitlondon: one of those ambling conversations over the summer that a friend listened to with a gleam in her eye before saying 'Can you write that down for me?' :-)

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I get occasional bouts of indecisiveness these days. Maybe it's because I'm in an inbetweeney phase, but I second- and third-guess choices, wondering if I should wait until I've [insert random act here: found new home/job etc.]. I noticed I was in the midst of a bout today as I stood staring at a selection of bed linen, humming and hawing.

All of the linen was white. That's the seriousness of the dithering I'm describing here. It drives me kray-zee...

Anyhoo, I walked away, and on the way home, I noticed a little gallery/craftey shop in a basement, and down I went. There were lovely glass pieces in the window that I spent some time admiring in silence, then wandered through the other two rooms. In the second room was a very beautiful painting. I went to ask the Nice Shop Lady about the artist, and she smiled, "It's the same lady who does the glass that you like..."

I looked at the painting some more; took it outside to see it in natural light. Explained to the Nice Shop Lady that I didn't have a new home yet, so I didn't know what kind of space it might go in...

And realised, I could care less. Blew most of my week's wages on the painting *and* two glass pieces (one is a present), then spent the remainder on a bunch of Thich Nhat Hanh books and a supersturdy meditation cushion.

All without a second thought :-)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Marking the day

Today was the last day of the major stint of childminding. There'll be a couple of more days required, but my sister is in super form, and life is returning to normal for her family.

It was also Dress-Up Day: Minnie Mouse, Cinderella and Luke Skywalker (from Star Wars, when he's disguised as a stormtrooper to infiltrate the enemy base and rescue Leia) had a little disco before we left the house. They even found us some spare ears for me and my sister (Minnie and Bunny respectively) so we could share in the fun.

We arrived to a school teeming with witches, Darth Vaders, vampires, Spider- & Batfolk. Lovely start to the day :-)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I bring you sad tidings

RIP Sniffy the Dwarf Hamster, who passed away peacefully this week of natural causes.

And by 'natural causes', let me be clear: my cats did not eat him.

(I know, because it was the first question that I asked.)

So, our household is a little smaller, but coping. Taking it day by day...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Morning travels

Each walk to school is a new frontier. Many mornings, we have the path to ourselves, free to roam and zoom about and laugh too loudly. The trip fosters a conversation between our little group: whether walking, running or scootering, we come back together for bursts of talking.

Stories or dreams recounted, fairies and animals glimpsed or imagined as we journey through the dark woods...

And at the edge of the forest - sometimes - sunshine awaits.

Out in the open, nothing can stop them. Lily (age 2) calls out a warning if she feels the distance between us is too great.

Once inside the school gates, their attention is swallowed up by a zillion distractions: friends and teachers and the school day ahead. And the distance becomes too great to overcome.

But the short, shared journey there is precious :-)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Don't believe your eyes

There was a Book Fair at school today. Jack & Molly's classes were both milling around the Hall, and among the adults were my sister and myself. I was on a teeny bench, reading to Moll + Onlookers, and Tara was catching up with some of the other parents.

One of Jack's friends ran up to our little reading group and stopped dead, staring at me.
"There's two of you!"
He looked behind him - to my sister - then turned back to me.
"Which one is the real Tara?"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

News Roundup

Before I launch into next week, a few pics from recent days, featuring:

A boy and his new schoolbag. His new, beloved schoolbag.

A young laydee testdriving trains and costumes.

The mood at the very lovely Farmleigh House (in the Phoenix Park) on Friday night. I was given tickets for an evening with RTE's Drivetime Diarists (Joseph O'Connor, Olivia O'Leary and Fergus Finlay): nourishment for the soul, filled with laughter and a few blinking tears.

For the latter part of the week, I overhauled an office for a friend (while its regular occupants were away). A complete revamp (vs tidying) is always fun, though there's always the anxiety that someone will return and say "Great job! But you didn't throw away my lucky rubber band, did you? It was red, and broken..."

Anyhoo, the office is not finished, but it's getting there. Baby steps... as in so many other aspects of life at the moment :-)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Snuffles have intensified. Have increased prescribed dose of red wine to compensate accordingly. That's all the news for now :-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bouncing Queen

There's something about a trampoline that's guaranteed to bring out unfettered exuberance in one :-)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Floral Passage

A moment from last Friday, when the Ha'penny Bridge was bedecked as part of a charity drive. Always a bridge with character, but the roses gave it a fairytale quality - fleeting and quirky :-)

Life, if I had time to file it, would be found under Very Busy Indeed. The weekend was a lovely mix of being out with friends & family (and bumping into friends and family), and getting to spend some time with nothing in particular to do (once I'd done the Particular Things, that is).

In Kitty News, they've taken to entering/leaving via my bedroom window. If you've seen Salem's Lot, the original Buffy movie, or any Hammer Horror, you'll understand that hearing a scritchy noise from the darkness has certain connotations...


Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Couple of photos from the walled garden at the Phoenix Park on Sunday - it's a lovely place to stroll around and enjoy an autumnal sunshiney day.

The week is zipping by amidst children and play-dates and sleep [*after* babysitting is finished :-)]. I got an entire short story read last night, which felt like a major accomplishment.

In other news, introducing Kitty Sheen: this no-streak product effortlessly buffs leather and cats to a glossy finish :-)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weekend Round-Up

Okay, the Bedtime Countdown Timer is a'running, so this'll be quick (and without photos) :-)

Weekend was a lovely mix of chilled-ness and super-social. I got to catch up with friends yesterday and:
(1) see their new house
(2) experience lovely day out in Phoenix Park (where a child is *the* must-have accessory. Actually - ideally it would be partner plus child. I was kind of a Tagger-Along in that environment...)
(3) enjoy a gorgeous meal & general catch-up
(4) visit my house plants. My (bunny-ears) "home" is a smidge spread out at the moment, and getting to see my orchids alive and well (one of which was a treasured present that Me-In-Madeira posted to Me-In-Ireland) was surreal and most lovely.

Meanwhile, The Home Search continues, having been tweaked by good advice. And the Kitties now feature on the Mostly Well Behaved gauge. About time...

Okay must sleep :-)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Slug with Two Brains

First off: I am behind this week on, well, just about every form of communication. However, with my DAY OFF tomorrow and the weekend tantalisingly close, order shall be restored in due course.

In the meanwhile, let's talk slugs.

Once upon a time, there was a Two-Headed Slug Monster, who had nothing in particular to do on a particular day. And there was also a Sleeping Princess.

Did I mention that the Slug Monster had poison? Well, it did.

It all worked out okay in the end, but that was mostly down to kissing some form of royalty or other. Just a regular afternoon in these here parts...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Checking in

Another evening, another FlumpFest...

Family is thriving; days are packed with soaring imaginations and energies. And I get to see the dawn each morning, which is a treasured time.

Uncharacteristically early nights are a welcome treat!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Learning to fit in

Lovely weekend: music, art, conversation and fine cocktails on Culture Night, followed by a reasonably lazy couple of days.

The kitties are settling in: there's a lovely stone sunspot-seat in the garden (aka Pear Land), which Max takes full advantage of in the afternoons.

And they're both enjoying the evocation of tetris afforded by the building work going on nearby :-)

Trying not to clock-watch, yet thinking there's time for a bit of reading *and* eight hours of sleep if I'm quick about it...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Almost Snuffed It

Well, this week shall be filed under 'Things that Zip on by'...

Operations are over (most successfully - yippee yippee); I've caught up with nearly all my family, and my bags are properly unpacked (i.e. the coffee machine and my Wonder Woman mug). The kitties are being Very Naughty Indeed in their adjustment period. All I'll say is:
(a) I think I can patch up those lovely sheer curtains
(b) Sniffy the adorable dwarf hamster lives. We should focus on the positive...


Dublin City is recovering from last night's Guinness-a-thon, and Culture Night is about to kick off - a veritable smorgasbord of delightful treaty things.

Have a lovely weekend, folks X

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Colouring Life

Okay, yesterday disappeared without broadband + energy co-existing in the same time-space continuum.

I'm learning the ropes of Life as it Currently Stands for my nephew & nieces: school pick-ups and schedules and preferences of films and food and toys. Although Malahide has grown exponentially over the years, there are zillions of familiar school/work folk who have stayed/returned here to raise their own families; catch-up conversation tends to be peppered with "No, no, these aren't my children..."

Today was manky rainy day here: after walking the twins to school (and spotting a squirrel en route), Lily & I spent the morning in the local library (all hail Carnegie and his legacy). Then there was lego a-go-go: turns out Indiana Jones & Star Wars are the new black, so I was well within my comfort zone. Touch-and-go moment when Princess Leia got kidnapped and held in Colouring Land, but it all worked out okay.

Then back through flooded roads and more manky weather to reasonably well-behaved kitties, dinner and flumpydom :-)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Living with Sleepies

Yawwwwwwwn... peaceful and quiet first day in Dublin. Halcyon moment when I sat out in the lovely sunshiney garden, surrounded by pear trees laden with fruit, watching the kitties eagerly exploring their new world.

There were a few bouts of the Sleepies, and it shall certainly be an early night. But apart from unloading/unpacking/napping, I got to catch up with family & friends, which was restorative in itself. Hopefully a good sleep will have me ready for Kidlet Duty bright and early :-)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Final Friday

There's an autumnal nip in the air; the Summer has waned... I'm Dublin bound this weekend - driving through Sunday evening (with kitties) to get an early morning ferry from Holyhead.

Deep breath.

But back to today (trying not to have daily life be about the next transition). Some editing this afternoon, before heading to Pineapple Studios for my last belly dance class with our lovely little group and our spectacularly graceful teacher Azahara.

Then meeting friends, and on to the V&A for its Louis Armstrong (a la High Society) evening. (The photograph below was taken on the movie set.) I find it utterly impossible to hear his playing without smiling.

Have a lovely weekend, all :-)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fishy Relationships

A few weeks back, having been enticed to The Deep Sea exhibition, we beat a hasty retreat from the crowds at the Natural History Museum. And conversation turned to angler fish.

Sara explained to me that the iconic image of an angler fish (scary ginormous-mouthed creature with translucent pointy teeth and bioluminescent rod bait-ey thing) is always drawn from the female fisshies. The boys, it turns out, are teeny in comparison, and look quite different.

They resemble tumours, as it turns out. Here's the science bit from National Geographic:

"In lieu of continually seeking the vast abyss for a female, [the male] has evolved into a permanent parasitic mate. When a young, free-swimming male angler encounters a female, he latches onto her with his sharp teeth. Over time, the male physically fuses with the female, connecting to her skin and bloodstream and losing his eyes and all his internal organs except the testes. A female will carry six or more males on her body."

The weird growths on the Lady Angler were once thought to be proto-fins; turns out they're a selection of her mates, all permanently squodged in and living off her.

Off the scale on the Wacky-Meter...

Tum de dum, back to work now :-)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Seeing the light

Some great images (and words) in this NY Times piece on the photographers who documented the US military atomic tests from 1945-62. The short narration is by George Yoshitake, one of the few surviving camerafolk (they worked closely enough to feel the heat of the blasts). He speaks frankly about how he thought of the work as 'just another job' until he witnessed the devastation from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.

This image is from a 1951 test in the South Pacific; an atomic flash highlighting its VIP spectators...

Staggering to think on.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Should you choose to accept it...

Autumnal day here. I'm gathering my belongings into little piles, sorting clothes, preparing for the next steps.

And in parallel news, Inspector Squirrel has been burying nuts around the garden, when he thinks no-one is looking.

He's like a one-squirrel Mission: Impossible :-)

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Sunshiney Wedding of Sharon Rose and John

A weekend of two halves :-) I travelled over to Cork early Saturday morning, stopping in Clon for a lovely breakfastey catch up with the Fabulous Baking Lady (left camera in the car - doh!), then on further west. After a few days of disasterous weather and much checking of forecast, the sun had come out; the puddles were drying as I approached Baltimore.

First stop was with my very lovely hosts, featuring the warmest of welcomes (and more coffee). It was a pretty tight schedule for the day, and the choice was (a) Pamper Central to get ready for wedding (including, you know, showering) (b) Lunch at The Glebe, allowing 20 mins for change/hair/make-up.

Lunch it was :-)  Sunshiney Glebe with friends - does life get better?

Then the Twenty Minute Prep, plus photos in the back garden before I headed off - it felt kinda like I was off to the Debs!

At the church, I got to catch up with both familes: much happiness all around. The groom was ready; the bride was stunning... it was a gorgeous service with a beautiful sermon. Blink blinkey tears. Saoirse (daughter of Bride & Groom) woke in time to make a grand entrance at the end of the ceremony, and got her own round of applause from the congregation. Then photos photos photos.

The party retired to the Square, where I ducked out of the wedding group proper to have a pint in Bushes with friends. I ended up minding Saoirse's shoes (as you do), and it appears that photos were devoted to the shoes rather than Aisling, Tom G, Petra & Allie (sorrr-eeeeee).

And then on to Casey's: gorgeous meal, fabulous speeches and kick-loose Afters. And after-Afters, featuring a traditional Baltimore-esque late-night conversation. Left Casey's, taking a moment to take in the starry night sky. A day to be treasured.

Then to bed briefly, and on the road again. Along the journey to the airport I chanted 'Tiredness kills. Tiredness kills...' which kept me wide awake. Home was Flump Central, featuring naps, lovely catch up with Sara, and fourteen hours of sleep.

And now to start sorting things here: last things to see, stuff to pack, little sigh...

To Sharon Rose and John: wishing you both a lifetime of happiness. It was a privilege to share the day :-)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

As I'm pulling out to go shopping, the nice man who spearheads the residents' association waves for me to stop.

"I have something for you. Cat collar."

Did one of my cats lose theirs? No - he's giving me one from his cat. A cat who is no more.

I park the car.

We go from specifics - the story of his recent cat - to a general conversation about cats, dogs, having to put animals down. It transpires that the general is only a surface conversation; what we're really talking about is human quality of life, the self-governing right to end our own lives and what circumstances might necessitate that. He's clear on what is non-negotiable for him. And we talk about it until he feels that his point has been made, and has been heard.

"I'm not ready yet though!" he adds, waving me on my way.

It was a very Gladiator moment: "Not today".

Have a lovely weekend, folks :-)

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I read this story from recently, and found it lingered with me. Though I love love love the idea that any negative experience can be overcome, the imagery is potent:


Once upon a time there was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he should hammer a nail in the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. But gradually, the number of daily nails dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the first day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He proudly told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

'You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out, it won't matter how many times you say 'I'm sorry', the wound is still there.'"

I wondered if it might be more useful to imagine a tree rather than a fence, where the wood can grow over the holes in time...

Anyhoo, any meandering through buddhist sites will of course end at, where the welcome greeting from Thich Nhat Hanh is:


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Adequate Supervision

There are three squirrels who frequent the garden here. One is the size of a wildebeest; one is a mangey stringey thing, and there's this one: Inspector Squirrel, who tends to sit on the hedge on sunny days and peer in, overseeing writing work :-)

He gives the place a wide berth on days like today: the cats are in residence, and wandering lazily around the garden just looking for something to pounce on. Hope the frogs are safely at the bottom of the pond.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rainy day games

Dark rainy day. The perfect day, I thought, for digging out a treaty bag given to me by Molly the Birthday Girl. Equipped with tiara, pencils, hair clips, ladybird stamp and a teeny pack of love hearts.

I turned my back for a moment, and Dubh was sitting there, all "Love hearts? There were no love hearts..."


With tiara donned (me that is, not the cat), let the editing commence :-)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Me Time

Way back when, friends of mine were getting married, and I was making the wedding cake for them. We had agreed on a two-tiers-plus-one-extra plan, and I took a couple of days off work and got baking (day 1) and icing/decorating (day 2). The idea was to have slabs of white chocolate layered around the tiers, decorated with chocolate hearts in white, dark and milk chocolate. And a heart painted gold, I seem to recall.

Day 2 was the hottest day of the year. While all the fecky hearts went okay, trying to ease 40 or 50 slabs of chocolate off a warm surface was... challenging. And the decoration vision needed to be tweaked. In the end the slabs became triangles, so the cake looked kinda like an enormous crown - very Alice in Wonderland (and the bride was called Alice, so it all worked out fine).

Anyhoo, something about this weekend felt similar, though the decorating was housey not cakey. Taking time off work; racing against the heat; anxiously hoping that it's okay for the intended recipient, that it's good enough for them. And through it, the sense of... offering. There's something very satisfying about spending a batch of time in effort for another. Sometimes, the inclination is to consider it not 'your own' time, but the time this weekend - and the Wedding Cake-a-thon - felt all mine. Treasured, solitary, devoted-to-another time.

I still have furniture to shimmy back into place, and curtains to hang, and general tidying, but it's pretty much done. And it refreshed me. Back to writing now :-)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fire and sharp objects

Along with the Notting Hill pigeon ad, this makes two marketing-type things that I've enjoyed this year. That's some kind of record :-)

The Frankenstein Monstering is over, and writing is firmly at the editing stage, which makes me feel all Marx Brothers-esque. Dr Hacken-a-bush, hacking away from 180k words down to 100k. Slice and dice...

Have a lovely weekend, folks X

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Garden's a buzzing today: songbirds are a'tweeting; squirrels are gathering supplies; The Lady of the House is in residence in the flower pot; and Dubh is all 'So many fish, so little time...'

Back to work for me :-)