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 :-)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Questions, asked and answered

First up: it's ask a curator day on twitter. Museums around the world are open for questions from around the world. Things are buzzing so far (in the woken-up time zones), with questions ranging from "What parts of the job do curators hate?" to "Could the heist from the Thomas Crown affair really happen?" Their main site is at and their twitter stream is at #askacurator

In other news, I've been meaning to post these lovely images from 'Eleven Heavy Things,' a sculpture exhibition by Miranda July. It was set up this summer at Union Square Park in New York; I love the fabulous contrast between weight and play.

The NY Times pointed out that the art will take on a life of its own beyond the exhibition, as messages and experiences spread through photographs taken and shown to other people, parents, friends.

Delightful, thought-provoking; would love to see that in the flesh :-)