Category Archives: Rants

Turns out, Yesterday WAS the only easy day.

Monday. Rest day. And also is the first day we bring my little boy to school. I’m reminded of the refrain in ‘Going on a Bear Day!’: “What  a beautiful day! – We’re not scared!”

Image result for going on a bear hunt

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: Michael Rosen, Helen Oxenbury: 

We head over to his school and he trots in with zero problems, especially when he sees that they have toy cars. I am not sure what to do; parents were never allowed into classrooms, so it is hard to lean on my own experience. We head away, and he’s perfectly okay to see us go. We go back after two hours and again, he’s grand. All happy. So far so good! We spend the afternoon together just hanging out, the three of us, and life is good.

Tuesday. I’m supposed to go running today, but I honestly can’t make myself. We drop little man into school, and go do errands at Dundrum Shopping Centre. We seem to buy everything, then go pick him up. Again, he’s all happy and joyous, all skipping innocence. Home, dinner, all happy joy joy.

Wednesday: So we drop him off early this morning, at 830 am and oh my god the traffic. Lots of lovely Mummies rushing in and out, parking aggressively without actually letting themselves acknowledge it. It’s hellish, and we make the mistake of trying to cross over the M50. Oh my God! How the hell does anyone get anywhere in this city?  It’s so bad I want to cry for them.

Image result for m50 gridlock

Each morning, no matter what, that is your life. 

Being at home means there is much more likelihood of eating. Trying to keep busy when in essence you’re just trying to kill time is hard. We go to pick him up and he is exhausted, he falls asleep in the car. I feel guilty, for some reason. He’s so little. He has to go to school. We’re taking a week off to focus on him, while he gets used to it. But I am here relaxing and getting annoyed at daytime radio, while he copes with it by himself. It seems uncaring and wrong; indulgent.

Thursday: – Right, look enough talk. I get up, do some gentle exercises, then we drive him over to school. He heads in all happy, then home we go. At about ten to eleven, I head out for a jog. I get about half a mile done, and the pain in my hip starts. Then it gets worse, and much worse. I figure, sure, not good, but I’ll walk it off. I try again and the pain is just awful. I walk the rest of the way home. My mood isn’t helped by a size X runner passing me by (size X is a size so small it’s theoretically possible to be less than zero), who gives me a dismissive once over. I glance at myself in a window and confirm that yes, I am all lumpy roundness. Damnit. Damn it. I go in, limp upstairs.

I check my weight. I haven’t done that for 30 days, and have kept to a diet. I have waited for this moment to cheer myself up, and not being able to run is a good time to get some good news. So on the scales I get. And I discover I have lost the grand total of FOUR POUNDS. Misery for 30 days, and now this. After grumpily briefing the other half I head into the shower.

As I begin to wash off the sulk, I get to see a spider rushing out towards me from the corner. A big, hairy spider. I’m superstitious about these, I’m convinced they mean bad news in on the way.

Image result for house spider

I am Claire’s crushing guilt. 

Nevertheless, the resulting scream was both powerful and courageous, and I was perfectly happy to be covered in soap when I got out of the shower.

I got into bed afterwards to see if a rest would improve the hip. I honestly just wanted to have a bit of a cry, was feeling low because of the pain. And that was when the phone rang.

It was the school.

Little man had managed to get out of the classroom. He’d run to the front door, and managed to nearly get out of there.

Up and out and away we go, not talking.

Friday.

So on Thursday we’d managed to get to the school, and found little man crying his eyes out on the mat in the schoolroom. We made the teacher explain herself (how the hell did he get out please?) and made him apologise for causing such worry to her. Then home, fretting, and lots of chores. Then bed, as early as I could manage. Trauma makes me exhausted, and there was nothing else for it. Friday saw me awake at 4 am, worrying. And also little man decided it was the perfect time to play, despite my ignoring him. Then up at 6 am with the alarm, breakfast, and heading over at 7.30 am.  I headed out later to get my hair cut, determined to keep myself in a permanent state of readiness. This is also the last chance for hair cuts and any real maintenance for ages; strike while the iron is working through phonetic sounds. The haircut is actually a lot of fun, and I come home looking more reasonable than I had for a while. No sign of escapism from Junior either, that seems to go okay.

We pick him up, and the teacher informs us in an appalled tone that he fell asleep in the room. This was utterly unremarkable in the creche two weeks ago. But I am now, it seems, worse than Hitler. We take him home, grateful to all the Gods that it is now Friday, and we can exhale.

Saturday: Dear friends come over, who we have not seen in far too long. Because she is a baker, and she is brilliant.

Cake

Youse all mad jealous.

I learn in quick succession:

  • A child sleeping in class would indeed be a very bad thing, and we are now those parents.
  • I can’t cut fringes for peanuts.

We eat, and laugh, and I feel my shoulders go down slightly. I stay away from the weighing scales, though.

Image result for weighing scales

Dundundunnnnnnn!

Sunday

No exercise. Is that to be gone forever, I ask myself? We play for hours in our pjs, and I realise I’ve left the Little Man’s bike out in the rain. We wheel it in, only for the electronic siren to go off again and again. Eventually I take it off the bike and hide it in the sitting room, and the child had the job of running in and turning it off at random intervals; a job not unlike being a parent. We eventually give up and smother the noise with a pillow and a stuffed hedgehog, which isn’t giving me hope for his parenting future.

Hedgehog

Hedgehog thinks of murder. ALL. DAY. LONG. 

In an effort to encourage civilising my offspring, I line up Lego figurines to convey the importance of sitting in a desk, of listening and of focus. Two rules are laid out over and over; do what the teacher says, and wait for Mummy and Daddy. He trots off to bed later that day as innocent as snow.

Exercise audit; nothing done so far. A worthy goal would be to have three exercise sessions of small duration this week. A swim during lunch and a run during the week, and a run at the weekend. If I can fit that in, and that is how I am seeing this, then I’ll have accomplished something. Wish me, and us, luck.

The only easy day is yesterday.

Monday; Back from my trip down to the sister, I found myself all exhausted, and so didn’t go for a run. Shame on me, yadayada, but I promised myself I’ll do better the next day.

Tuesday; Today was the day I had put aside to get a few errands done, and so at lunchtime I headed into town. When I was finished, I was waiting at the bus stop when a taxi pulled up. Out stepped a former colleague of mine, dressed beautifully. She was wearing what I call antler heels (where they’re so big as to make a statement). Off she went on her way, and off I went on mine. Which was on the back of a bus taking me back to work. I got through the rest of the day with a weird kind of sadness. Failure, to achieve, and failure to avoid; you imagine I’d be used to it by now.

Anyway; went for my run. I checked it out on google and in fact I was completing a mile and a half, not a mile. Hence the inability to do well. Got it done, in the same time as before. Then down to pick up beloved child, dinner, bath, bed.

Wednesday; Today was the Little man’s last day in the crèche. He’d been there since he was nine months old, and it was both a huge thing and a nothing thing. We’d got lots of presents made up, and I had special cards made for the staff as well. The other half was coming home early from work, and so we headed down together. We gave the staff lots of hugs, thank yous, and hard liquor. Then home we went, and it was only when I was there that I realised how tense I was about this. I place way too much emphasis on this sort of stuff; how well do we/I carry myself off? I can’t help it, but it does mean that I worry too much about how things look rather than how things are.

We delighted little man with a toy when we got home, the Lego Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. And I know he was delighted because he woke me up at 3am to play with it.

Thursday – Now this was a long day, involving a lot of adulting throughout the day. Maybe to compensate for that moment on Tuesday, I wore a dress and heels, trying to look like a grown up. Fate didn’t come up with any rom-com hilarities for me along the way, no ripped tights or prat falls were experienced by me. Instead it was one long day, on my feet and running around. Meetings, crying students, no lunch, more crying students, colleagues with lots to do, and so on.  I left at 4pm as usual, with the sensation of having hugged a hurricane to myself all day.

And Thursday was the other half’s birthday. I came home with a birthday cake for him, along with some other treats. Little man helped me give him all the parcels we had wrapped for presents, then we ordered takeout for dinner. Afterwards, we had birthday cake.

Birthday cake

From a place that rhymes with Thatcheral Quakery.

It was awful; the buttercream icing tasted utterly bland, more like lard than cream.  I took a disbelieving bite, but really some part of the ingredients must have been missing from it. The beloved child didn’t have a second bite, and the other half was unimpressed on it. Nice one, guys. After my long long day, I was in bed by 9.30 pm, exhausted. My stomach was in a riot because of that damn cake, and no run was had by me. I’ll go to my grave with nothing but unfinished to-do lists on my gravestone.

Friday – Right. Swim! I walked towards the gym on Friday morning so utterly uninspired I wondered if it was a good idea. But I just treated that notion like the childish whine it was, and headed in. Got changed and realised I’d forgotten my shampoo. Don’t care, I told myself, I was still going swimming. I got into the Medium lane, and it had to be said, they seemed much slower than last time. So, feeling brave, I headed into the fast lane.

You don’t move into the fast lane unless you are sure you’re not going to be an inconvenience to someone else. I was only going to be swimming twenty minutes but I had to be sure I was going to stick to the pace. So off I went, pushing off from the wall.

And it was fantastic. It was a lovely, wonderful swim, an absolute dream and it saw me feel so much like my old self the years dripped away. I was swift, I was clean, the lines and everything else was perfect. I had walked towards the building feeling like I had nothing to contribute and no good would come of it, but it was fantastically pleasant and I was so happy. Happy! Finally! I met someone on the way into work who told me that I looked all happy and fit and everything was good. I got through work and the excitement of dinner, bath and bed with a good mood. Home, dinner, and finally the weekend.

Saturday; rest day.  I felt so good after the swim I know I could have gone running. But when I said it on Saturday morning, the little man looked so sad at the idea I couldn’t do that. Maybe Sunday?  We spent the day getting him ready for school; lunch boxes, juice bottles, new shoes, extra clothes, and all the rest.

Sunday:  No more excuses. Up, out, and away I went. Not one but two circuits this morning, of three miles in total. I feel wonderful and tired at the same time. I can confirm that there is no pain in my left hip, but there is now a pain in my right hip. Ah bless.

barbie flipped

But, it’s done. I’m pleased that I did it, that I added to my music running playlist, that I can rest tomorrow. I’m pleased that this rambling blog is done for this week, and that now I can go to bed. So on that note, good night sisters.

Image result for nell mccafferty good night sisters

Imagine a TV station that would have this kind of activist on nowadays. We were lucky.

 

Right. Max the envelope, and so forth

New Readers start here.

So, the saga continues. I know I said that this was going to start on Tuesday, but Sunday rolled around and I decided that there really was no point in waiting. So on went the shoes, and the tracksuit, and off I went.

See, that happened at about 5pm. And if you go to Met.ie, and look up the daily data for Dublin Airport at that time, you’ll see that 1mm of rain fell at that time.

All at once.

On my head.

About half way through the first mile I realised this was not going to level off. I kept going, because I had to; there was no way I was giving up on the first mile of the first run. But ye gods! Everything was soaking wet; the hair, the leggings, all of it. I was honestly worried the phone was going to go with all that water.  I saw a kid out there in shorts and a jacket and wondered where the hell were his parents…

I will say that the number of joggers-nods increased. This is a phenomenon whereby joggers/runners show their mutual respect by giving a solemn nod to each other as they pass. No words, just a nod, implying that we are all in a special club, and everyone else is just running because they’re late somewhere. I got several nods on Sunday, even from the wiry ‘I haven’t stopped running since Gay Byrne was on the Late Late show’ types, and I felt very special. I made it home and had the most amazing shower ever. That evening I looked out and saw the same kid, still wondering around the estate. What the hell was going on?

 

Monday – Rest day. Ambrosia from the Gods day.

 

Tuesday– Swimming day. Packed up my dust-covered (not kidding) swim suit and headed over to the pool at work. I swam for twenty minutes, with no headaches, dizziness or trouble. I was as slow as a mule, which, if you picture one in a pool is pretty much what we have here.

Weeeeeee!

Swim, in short, was fine. Getting myself ready to be productive at my desk took me forever (shower, dress, hair, makeup, and go). I need one of these, me thinks.

 

Wednesday; felt that pleasant ache in my muscles. All good.

 

Thursday; Right, when to go for a run? Couldn’t do it during lunch hour, so instead pulled on the runners before I went to pick up the child. And oh my God the difference. Running after a day’s work, even desk work, is much much harder on the body and soul. Firstly, lots of lovely people about, to comment and smile that smile, the smile that is both smug and amused at the same time. Bless ‘em in their ear.

Secondly, it is harder. I was more tired, and much slower than I had any right to be. I should have improved since last Sunday, but instead was much worse. I got into bed like a zombie, and honestly fell asleep as fast as I sank into the mattress.

 

Friday: (Today) Rest day. Three sessions down, and the schedule getting closer to figured out. The great thing about fitness is that it only needs brute endurance. If you keep going, you cannot but get better.

Good luck sisters.

Related image

Their sound of silence

See this image?

Image result for TUAM BABIES

It is level. Quiet. Undisturbed. The ground is even and smooth. Its very marginal nature is intended. It makes me think back to the marriage referendum, when person after person  after person in our society came forward to disclose that they were gay. These people were not deviants, strangers or outside the mainstream; instead they were establishment figures well within the status quo, and who had operated and achieved much within our communities. And yet, they had lived a life somewhere both within and without our world. where they were made to feel different and excluded, because they were. They were people who were not part of how society views itself. Instead, they lived lives that were at least in terms of its dialogue, silent and unfree. The silence was imposed both within and without; Ursula Halligan says she never spoke of her sexuality to her family, in her need to avoid exclusion. Pat Neary was never out either; years and years of not being able to be himself without fear in our country.

We hate. We hate well in this country, with passion, history and layers. Right now, as I type, the Citizens Assembly listens to testimony regarding the need to repeal the 8th Amendment. It invites Churches, but will not hear from TFMR people, an oversight that is outrageous. But lets go back to that field; that quiet, lonely, smooth field. That silence is what is wanted. Shut up.  You need to shut up. It is the same silence one finds on battle fields and in cemeteries. It is the silence of rooms empty of the living and loved. Those horrible people who destroy the doctrines of hate are silenced and are no more.

The last entry of Anne Frank’s diary is the 1st of August, and after that there is a white, silent, page. That silence is the desire here. We can be compounded, capitalised and calcified into nothings, ground like pestle and mortar by the greed of them that will have us for their pleasure or their worth, and then we will be made silent and uncomplaining by the deeds of their ways. They will destroy us, make us silent, and let the sweet calm pastures left after us testify that there is no loss or damage to be noted. We were not here. The loss of us is no loss at all. Let that which was here be not here from now on. Let our words be silent, and not heard. Let the wind alone be heard as our voices.

These people have been free to kill us; there are people not here who should be here today. They will continue to act in this way if allowed. For the sake of overly silent rooms, this must not continue.

Image result for empty room

Family

We usually come from one, we usually plan to make one, and one way or another, we build one. Some of us come from the type of family we all want to have; a close and loving one. Some of us come from the  type of family that you’d see on PSAs; the type that gets titles like ‘disfunctional’ and who get a lot of callers from social welfare and the like.

I don’t come from the second type of family. Instead, I come from a very long line of people, we go all the way back to the time of Nelson on my Dad’s side. Still, you can never be sure if what is written on paper matches what is the reality. I know myself that ink will tell lies that would make you pale. So for me, I’m going to try out that new service ’23&Me’, which allows you to create a DNA profile for yourself based on your heritage. I don’t know what it will reveal, but it will be a creation based on science rather than on the needs and illusions that have gone on before.

Someone told me recently that you cannot escape your family. Perhaps not. But there is ‘escape’ and then there is eluding. It is possible to elude the conclusion that others can write for you. It is possible, and very necessary at times, to decide for yourself the conclusion you wish to reach. Thus, I’ll go and find out things for myself, based on the reality, rather than on the necessity of others to create, recreate, and un-create their own desired reality.

As for the actual results? I’ll keep you posted. Watch this space, that I create, if you wish. Have a good week.

Final Furlong

[Bored, Received Pronunciation Commentator]

We’re under starters’ orders… and we’re off! Leading the pack is Good Idea, following up is Intriguing Plotline, and close behind is Convincing Theme. Setting a good pace for the pack is Hard Work, always necessary to see in the field and also from the same stable, Long Hours. They’re making good time now and we see the field go around the first corner.

[Bit surprised, becomes alert] But what’s this? Lagging in the Middle and Loose Thread are suddenly leading, followed up by Self Doubt and Inner Confusion, making this a race anyone can still win. It seems Good Idea has lost their rider, and that’s now confirmed by the steward, Good Idea has lost their rider.  

[Utterly excited, yelling at the top of his voice] But as we come around to the final sprint, all horses straining now with the effort, and the sheer weight of the course behind them, we find that it is neck and neck, with Not Giving Up Now and Sheer Bloodymindedness looking likely to lead. And as we come to the photo finish, we see Sheer Bloodymindedness winning the race, with a photo finish, and making us all very proud. Well done. Hopefully that will see them to the winners’ enclosure. 

“Aha ha, yes.”

It is Dangerous to go alone.

As a kid and young adult I would fantasise about finding some place where I see and hear nobody. I would get from one end of the year to another with no sight of anyone, and I would, I would tell myself, be free. From what, I’m not sure, but I would be free of it.

The point of that, though, is that we grow up. We realise that both the best and the worst of us is brought about by other people. When we’re alone, we’re never ourselves, we’re always a mere potential of ourselves. Instead, when we’re among others, we grow, change and stretch into the people we can be, often whether we want to or not.

“Well, fuck.”

Being alone seems like a treat, an ease of the demands of life. But instead, it means that you’re never free of yourself and the life that you lead. When you are with the others you want to be with, then you find both life and yourself easier.

Don’t go it alone. Just.. trust me on this one.

Go Fuck Yourself, 43.

Oh sod off. So yes, I am facing into another spin around the solar system, meaning that the planet I was born on has successfully completed another cycle around the sun (being married to the other half means I have to get that one right or I will never hear the end of it). You know what that means, youngster? It means another cluster of grey hairs, that’s what it means. It means making sure the insurance is paid and that the heating is on and oh my god the end is nigh.

Yes, that’s what it means. It means the inevitable physical and mental collapse of the rather marvellous thing called Claire and that it is getting less and less likely that I will ever really have a ticker tape parade to celebrate how fantastic I am (oh, look it up if you don’t know what that is!).

This is long overdue, people!!

So last night, after visiting my home town and tying the child up so that he would in fact finally go to sleep, I was getting myself into a tizzy about the fact that I was getting another year old.  I was, in that surreal way that can happen when you are so tired you don’t know your name, I remembered the Chorus Singers Jon Stewart would use to convey his message to Fox News;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE2UD6jnh4U

 

 

So I pictured the following, complete with my own chorus singers;

I am so old

You’re very old!

43 is old.

That’s really old!

And I should just give up, nothing to left to do…

Don’t give up yet!

I mean, don’t want to give up yet!

Can’t give up yet!

I’ve about forty years left to me, at this rate…

That’s a long time!

And I could still do a lot with it…

Could do a lot!

So I may as well keep trying…

Nothing to lose!

In fact, being mature might be a lucky privilege…

Ain’t done yet!

Maturity could be the best thing yet.

That’s what they say!

Compost.

…You’ve lost us there!

Compost. Makes soil better, but it takes time. Mature soil grows more.

Still don’t follow!

Maturity might be the best thing.

Let’s go with that!

So let’s not write me off just yet.

You’ve got it made!

All right, let’s bring it home!

“She’s 43! She’s 43! She’s 43!”

Any of you got anything to say, don’t want to hear it. And I probably wouldn’t, anyway, going deaf. Young people and their music….

Well, feck.

Evening, fellow readers. Hope you’re all well and tucked up nice and cosy by the fire. It is Sunday night, the night before the day my people call Monday, and I … I am not happy about that.

Tomorrow morning, you see, I have to get up and go to work. Not so bad in of itself, but what is horrible is that I have to leave my son without me. I am going to leave my son without me for the day, and go about my business like some Dickensian witch who doesn’t care and who ignores a breaking heart of a tiny mite. And I will do it again the day after, and the day after that, over and over again.

Tried the lotto, didn’t work. Tried wishing, didn’t work. Tried denial, discovered it is not just a river in Egypt, didn’t work. So I have to do this. I just do not know how. I’ve had two weeks of being woken by his hands on my face, delighted to find me still under the same roof as him, and his company is a luxury always.

See, I’ll be fine. I’m the adult. He is the little person here, the one that doesn’t understand where I am or why I am not there, and when I will be back. The moment of that realisation is a knife within me, over and over. How on earth can I be doing this to him? Can you, reading this, explain it to me? How can I be doing this to him?

Somewhere inside of me is a gallery of paintings, made up of the important moments of my heart. And this moment is in there, for all to see, with all the condemnation I can muster. I am a wretch, and nothing I can do seems able to change it.

Paul Kerr The Family

‘The Family’  by Paul Kerr.

Sunday Night feelings.

So, it is Sunday. Sunday night, to be exact. I would love to give you a blog full of wisdom and good cheer, that extols the virtues and raises you up to inspiring heights. Or rather, create a funny, cheeky blog, full of wacky adventures that make you grateful for your own ordinary life, your own ways and mannerisms.

Instead, though, I’m just tired. I’m really tired, the kind of tired that is uninspired, unwise, and a bit whiny. I want to stop, stop writing, stop working, stop trying. I want to have my hard work acknowledged by all around me and my goals to come down and meet me half way. I want to be recognised as a good person without any flaws and to have those who seem blind to this fact beg me, just beg me for forgiveness. I want to be the only car on the road, the only voice in my ear, the only paradigm of success for others. I want to be rich, thin, pretty, smart and content.

All this. I’m ungrateful for my lot in life, my son, my husband, my work, my writing, my home, my happiness. There are people out there who would love my problems.

Doesn’t mean they don’t still feel like problems, though. Is it the time of year, do you think? The darkness just goes on and on, and we all get restless and discontent and hunt for things to make us sad? Don’t know. Don’t really care, either. Just wish I could get five more hours sleep per night and more time at work and everything and everything… Anyways. The writing is continuing. The work is all. We’ll get there. And we’ll use the whines as inspiration.

A Tired Seamstress

A Tired Seamstress Angelo Trezzini