Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 - the literary highlights

Ummm, ok, so this year is a bit sparse from my end, but I still think it is only right that I should keep this list going, if only because next years will have to look amazingly good compared to this, so in no particular order, my literary highlights are

1.  Launch of Last Kiss - by Louise Phillips, which I was lucky enough to get to attend, it was a great read, and she deservedly made the popular short list for the Bord Gais book awards again!
2.  Listening to a story by Helen Kahn in my writers group in Midleton on the first of May - Monkey Boots was overdue by a week and a half, I was very uncomfortable what with her limbs pushing my organs all round the place for fun, but I forgot all about that for a half hour with a really well told tale of emigration in the 60's, what it meant then - how it felt.  Helen is a great writer, I don't think she half realises how good, and I found it very moving.
3.  So moving in fact that Monkey Boots was born the very next day.  I wrote an amazing wise and wonderful poem shortly after her arrival about the wonder of life, (probably and most possibly also containing the very meaning of life) on the inside of a brochure for baby jaundice, I safely stowed it in my bag of cotton wool for baby changing and then promptly lost it.
4. My fave literary aunt and fairy godmother came for a visit and we wrote a bit together.
5.  Other friends and me variously tried to kick start each other's creativity with supportive mails and texts.
6.  This year is a Davy Byrnes year, which means I have a full 5 years to come up with a story to win the 25K, should be a doddle if I start now.
7. The creative way - a book I started early this year with weekly exercises to help your creativity - I bailed the week that you had to stop watching tv - I might pick it up again next year
8. The good wife -I managed to watch all 4 seasons in about 4 weeks.  This was relaxation for my brain and eyes, which can only go to help me in future writing endeavours.
9. Niamh Boyce's book The Herbalist got nominated for an Impac award, it's a brilliant book, so I was very happy for her, but also her name is almost the same as mine so it almost feels like I won it.
10. This blog is still alive, though it's definitely an endangered specimen I'm happy to report the vital signals are still present if a bit weak.

XX 2015 can only get better (though maybe not)

Friday, December 26, 2014

How much Vitamin C in a chocolate orange?

I love how confectionary companies have made it so much easier to be healthy these days - what could be better than all the goodness of a real orange without any of the mess or fuss of opening the real deal - the wrapping on the chocolate version is beautiful to look at too, and recyclable - an eco bonus - I'm sure my sinussy flu will be right as rain in no time.
Also Fruit Pastilles!!  How easy is it now to get 5 a day (or if you live in a less lazy and healthier part of the world your 8 a day) - again no muss no fuss. (ok a tiny little bit of muss when the sugar gets everywhere but that's the price you gotta pay to be healthy)
As I ponder all the health benefits of xmas goodies - I am also beginning to understand why so many people have migrated to twitter and facebook, lands where you can just keep up the cleverness for 140 characters, you are not expected to keep going for several paragraphs like some kind of genius, and not some flu slain person.
I hope Terry's bring out Chocolate pomegranate next year, but if they do i also hope they leave out the seeds, which were the bane of my life twenty minutes ago, until they do I'll stick to natural confectionary remedies for my cold.
hope you all had a nice time for non IPYPIASM month, and wishing you all the best for next year if I'm not talking to you

Monday, December 15, 2014

Wilde and Silent

That's what I've been watching, instead of going back to TV land, I've been watching youtube classics, there was a good version of "The Importance of being Earnest" from the 60's, but others of his have been harder to find... well apart from the Am Dram versions.  So now I've moved on to Silent movies - it just occured to me, I've a lot of catching up to do on my "Silent Movies" front, so now I'm enjoying that particular artform, when time to myself rears its head.
I'm currently watching Russian 1930 film "Earth" on the split screen, I think they mean Earth in the kind of Fieldy sense, as opposed to the planet.  There's lots of angry looking farmers and a minute ago there was a very meaningful looking horse, plenty of slow eating too.  The worst thing about silent movies though is that if your attention meanders at the wrong split second you miss the dialogue... which can be crucial.  "Sunrise: a song of two humans" would've been pretty hard to figure out without the line "Maybe she could get drowned" as the mistress said to the husband, while they were talking about his wife.  There was loads of sky in Russia in 1930, did  you know that?  Continental style sky - everything's better on continents.
No other news here really, just thought I'd share my cultural meanderings with you for a minute.  hope the build up to the HAP HAPiest time is working well for you wherever you are.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

So now I have time

I've concluded watching the last episode of the fourth series of the good wife.  I enjoyed it hugely.  Still no cleaning or cooking tips, but enjoyment was had.  So now I have informed Netflix that it's over again, the trial hasn't hooked me in, they only had a finite quantity of the Good Wife to offer, so now that I'm through that - I'm through with them.

Today was also productive in that, this morning we drove to a freezing cold car park to collect little stones.  We then went to a garden centre, where Danger located some spare bits of christmas tree that they didn't really need.  So now we've a pine scented house.  We built a bridge with the stones and some kitchen sealant.

And yes, there's a road we built to lead up to the bridge as well, what good would a bridge be without a road?

So now I have to do something else with my life, and I am actually tempted to swear off tv for a while - I've managed now almost a month without fair city - it might be time to make the move.

Will keep you posted on how that goes... I think for now slightly more sleep will be had and that won't be a terribly bad thing

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Good Wife Bad Influence & the irony of the broken computer

I wrote this originally in longhand as the computer was broken.  I wanted to watch "the good wife".  I've seen 13 X 40 minute episodes in the last 6 days and can now be probably diagnosed as clinically obsessed.  The old romantics at netflix, after two years apart, not a word, not a wink passed between us in the meantime, well they want us to try again, and have given me a month's free trial - (they'll want me to pay for it after that, I ask you!?), so I have a very limited time to catch up on ALL of "the Good Wife", and this is in fact my very serious goal for the month of November.  Yes, I'm still on maternity leave, unpaid at this stage though, so don't worry, your taxes aren't supporting my habit, so yes, I need projects (apart from the baby & toddler mentoring) to fill the time.  I thought I'd write, the next great novel or at least a collection of short stories in the remaining time off, since danger cushions is now in preschool 6 hours a week, but no, alas and alack, all attempts to write have resulted in little - it seems my writing muscles have turned to flab - but I have just enough energy and imagination to watch "the good wife" so goddamit I'm going to do the best job of watching it that I can.  Yes, perhaps I am secretly hoping I will discover the meaning of life through this endeavour, or at the very least I expect to pick up some decent cleaning tips or a few recipes, so far it's just been lots of court cases, sassy workmates and quick thinking phone calls but I'm sure they'll focus on the other important areas of performance in wifehood in later series, ie not just the day job.  Sadly I am now wasting time not watching it (clarification, I am now watching it, since the computer is now back up and running, but I wasn't watching it then, when this was originally written, I'm just transcribing now).  The irony is, if this goes on much longer I might actually be tempted to get up and do some cleaning, or perhaps I should read up on some case law instead, can't be too prepared.  Monkey boots doesn't mind as long as she gets to sit on my lap and pull my hair.  Good parenting is having long hair to play with and an available (and more than comfortable) lap.  Good wifing is looking cool under pressure and knowing your lines.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

She's insane about.....

plastic bags.

I mean of course Monkey boots.  She loves all kinds of plastic bags.  At 6 months, they are the equivalent of a good night out in my hey day, or a quiet cup of coffee with a coffee (that's what I typed though I meant to say with a book, but I think the coffee with a coffee tells you more) nowadays.  Plastic bags are noisy, sometimes you can see into them, sometime they have cold things inside.  She gets insanely upset for example when I won't let her hold a bag of raw sausages.  First world baby problems.

She also loves books, which means she'll no longer tolerate me reading while holding her, (her love of books is not limited to the ones for her age group - she loves ALL books) or writing for that matter, as she urgently needs to have all books in her mouth at all times.

She also loves TV.  She is a bit talented.  When a tv is on, or similar device, she has an ability to rotate her head (sometimes up to 360 degrees or even further), in order to get a view.

These are the passions of the littlest cushion these days.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Open letter to the nosy fairy

There's a fairy that puts away my rubbish bin every week.  She does it mostly when I'm not looking, though once she even went to do it when I was there putting children into the car.  I can't think of any other reason, why a person would compulsively walk around the estate every Wednesday just to put someone else's bin away, than nosiness.  I overheard the fairy in action today, from the kitchen at the back of the house.
I do feel sorry for the nosy fairy, as there's nothing of very much interest at the side of my house, just a couple of trees.  So - I have an idea.  Nosy Fairy - I hope you are reading this, I am trusting in your research capabilities and hoping that you have found this blog in your intense study of my life, therefore I am giving you an open invitation into my house.
You are a good fairy after all, and this will mean you will get clear and free access to all the juicy details of our home.  You will of course be expected to do more good deeds while here - but I expect you wouldn't mind that - as the gossip / smaoineadh fodder should be more than enough payment.  Just leave a comment with details of when you can be here and I'll leave the side gate open for you.
Thanking you in advance.
The Cushions clan

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

First Storm & the alien in the library

Lightening whitened the clouds for a second.  Thunder almost woke the baby and shook the dog in her bed.  My first born is still getting used to playschool and this lunch time storm has arrived to annoy us both.  Well I’m annoyed anyway.  We’ve watched youtube videos together of thunder and lightening storms.  The real thing is a different experience.  I’m annoyed not to get to hold him, to tell him it’s ok.  It’s the first storm he’ll have seen and he’s seen it with others – without his immediate family to reassure him.  He was probably worried about me, out in the car waiting for him – where I have repeatedly had to promise him I’d be.   I panicked for a second, remembering there’s a river between us, what if it overflows, and I can’t reach the place and he finds out I was lying about being outside waiting for him?  The storm wasn’t nearly wild enough to cause a concern though, and has finished up for the moment anyway.

He’ll face other scary things in his life.  Sometimes I’ll be able to help, most times I guess I won’t, except whatever help we give our kids by being who we are and by having been there for them when we could.  I hope it’s enough.

On a lighter note.  There was an alien in the library today.  That's the only feasible explanation for this girl that has started coming to the story time that we go to every week.  She has 3 kids.  Two of them only slightly older than "Monkey Boots" my latest arrival (you can thank Bug for the fact of her having a name), and one around the same go as Danger.  So to recap - two babies, and a preschooler.  She shows up - it's happened twice now - her hair and the little girls hair appear to have been brushed (this is 10am in the morning by the way), the babies are dressed to match - being twins and all, but dressed like kids from a magazine.  They are all immaculately dressed and immaculately behaved. They actually look like an ad - they even had matching bibs and tiny matching baby hats. (Monkey boots is lucky to have a hood to put up on a cold day or one of Danger's old hats sometimes, if I actually bring a proper hat on purpose for her I'm sure to forget something else vital such as a nappy bag - there's always a trade off...)  Now, I'm pretty sure she is either from another planet where they need no sleep and secretly have 10 arms perhaps.  Or the kids are all actually robots that she just takes out from time to time.  Or she has a team of 200 people working for her as part of an evil plot to make ordinary parents or the world despair...  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

On 3 year olds being creepy

Living with 3 year olds can be very creepy sometimes.  Here are 3 examples

No 1.  We live beside the green - i think I've mentioned this before - it means we get a ot of knocks on the front door with people looking for their lost balls, anything from small little kids to preteen lads about town...  I got the other night featured a trip to the bin, where I found inside the wheelie, everything from Danger's sneakers which had been drying on the windowsill, to all the toys from his sand table, his spiderman scooter, and even my jeans that had been hanging on the line.  It was a surreal act of vandalism.  The only explanation my head could make up was that some one of the preteens was severely disgruntled when we couldn't find his sliotar, or when his nike ball turned out to have been slightly punctured by our ever fun loving hound.  I thought it was extremely creepy, scary even, and I was angry too that someone would invade our personal space like that, and throw prized possessions of a three year old in with rotting food/ dirty nappies etc. The first thing I did was to close the front door - it being a fine evening Danger had been pottering in and out, but I no longer felt safe.  I decided to empty the bin.  As he watched me, Danger began picking up the things I was lifting out and trying to get them back in.  He quickly admitted to being the culprit and even pointed out that the recycling bin too had gained in content.

No 2. A few weeks back he asked if I remembered the time the two of us were walking in the woods and then my head fell off and I had no eyes and we weren't friends any more.

No 3.  The art - weird things happen when a 3 year old demands entertaining and they insist on putting all the art up, all the time.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Unfriendly Fathers

I'm not one to generalise, but in general I find fathers unfriendly.  Specifically I would have to say my own father, and my husband the father of my children are both very friendly - but generally fathers out there in the world are unfriendly.
I am a full time mum at the moment.  It's not the most rewarding (oh except it is the most rewarding job in terms of reason for living/ continuation of the species yadda yadda)/ glamourous (oh except on those days when your child insists on picking your clothes for you so that you actually decide not to leave the house) of jobs - no one has ever sent me a mail after I folded the washing to say it was particularly well done, nor has anyone high fived me if I manage to get the sitting room tidied up while 3 year old is doing something non mess creating, (or at least no bigger than the mess in the sitting room prior to my tidying) - ok well no ones ever high fived me for anything in a real job either thankfully (though there was that door to door job in america that I had for two days where everyone clicked their fingers as a kind of applause for each other and we had to tell people to give money to our cause or suffer polluted air forever - it was actually a bit creepy really - I think maybe it was a cult - though there was supposed to be free pizza the third day, but they fired me on day 2 as I wasn't bringing in enough funds)... the point is - I am doing this job of minding/ feeding/ guarding from all danger/ empowering/ educating/ loving/ hanging around with and enjoying my kids and it's great.  And one of the nicest things about it is the colleagues actually.  I meet other mammies all over the place - at playgrounds mostly, or just out on walks, and we usually chat - and I'm not a chatter - I'm actually pretty shy, but for some reason the mammies are great, they chat, I chat - we're just like the people in the "wheels on the bus" song going chatter chatter chatter, in fact I've never talked so much to my co-workers in any job ever.  We have so much to talk about you see - how old are they, how big a gap between them, did you find they did this at this stage, are they more like daddy or mammy, what school are you thinking of, what's your favourite cartoon etc etc etc  But - and here's where it gets really weird. - the daddies - not so much.  Why is that?
There are lots of daddies out there - doing the same job as me - minding - and they don't chat, ever.  I don't get it. Today I was in a beautiful playground by some water, baby was asleep and there were no other kids, so I had to be a stand in kid for my 3 year old to play with, I was climbing up the slides, walking the rope bridges, even dragging myself through the tunnels, and woe of woes allowing him to spin me on those roundabouty things until I almost remembered what it was like to drink way back in 2010....  Anyway we were nearly ready to go when a daddy and a little boy arrived - yay I said to myself, and said we'd have another 10 mins, just to let my little fella socialise. If the daddy had been a mammy we'd have been there chatting like old friends in no time, but nope.  This guy was following his child around dutifully, but actually kept his phone held out in front of him like a shield as if in actual fear of his life that I'd talk to him.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fear Beans!

No - not another health warning, just struck me as funny that Fear is the Irish word for Man, and Bean is the Irish for Woman.  The man or "Fear" in the middle of Louise Phillip's latest novel has plenty to fear from the Bean in his life though - as in this, her third crime novel in the Kate Pearson series, the murderer is a woman.  It's a great read, it's called Last Kiss, I've known it since it was a short story, and feel almost like I've seen it grow up, the novel that is, and Louise's style in this book is enviable - I was so glad to finally make it to one of her launches last week, where someone fainted, it was that packed out.  The book is dark but brilliant.  I've even had some shaky moments regarding lipstick in the days since. (ok, I'll tell you so will I?  I had a really creepy dream if you must know, that a lipstick had suddenly managed to go through the computer on a skype call - a killer lipstick perhaps, I don't know why it was so horrifying)
If you fancy listening to the award winning short story that started it all (and shocked some of Lucan's local radio listeners a little) - you can go to the below link and take a trip down memory lane.

As for me, the summer has been good to us, hope it's been good to you good people of blogworld, I do miss your company, but so rarely get to be alone with a computer these days...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

she's here

So, new baba has arrived safe and sound and is now just over a week old.

She is great.  I'm not just saying that as her mother... everyone I've met in the last week has also confirmed it. Big brother, Danger cushions, is proving a great help, though his expectations of her are quite stretching, he was hoping she'd have learned to talk by now...
Anyone with advice on how to cope with having two bosses, please let me know!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Did you ever have a

colour coded shopping list?  with weekly, fortnightly, top up, monthly and less frequent purchases all on a page?

I think I've mentioned before how fond I am of planning, especially when there's work to be done, it has always provided me with a safe haven, somewhere to hide away and avoid doing any actual work in reality.

I thank Red Dwarf for the philosophy, I read a book based on the tv series years ago and one of the characters loved doing plans for study, and by the time the plan was perfected a few weeks would have gone out of the start of it, so a new plan would be needed... I read this back in my school days and have always found it a helpful method....

I also love "course on a page" fitting everything you possibly can about a subject onto one page in teeny tiny writing, it's an art form I perfected in college, and still have the beautifully highlighted, complete with tiny diagrams sheets of knowledge. BC3001 - 20 hours of lectures and 15 pieces of homework summarised on one originally clean A4 sheet.

I don't know what all this says about me, but I suppose it may act as an excuse for being interested in writing all my life and still not having published anything major... ie a book, like maybe I should just try and fit a whole novel on a page, (of course only having meticulously planned how I would go about planning it - on a colour coded spreadsheet perhaps) - I have some time off work now, what with adding to the human race soon etc, so maybe if I get my domestic goddessness planned right, I'll have my writing self sorted too... or I'll just be a drool soaked zombie with dread locks at the back of my neck from the constant sling wearing, a glazed fuzzy view of the world from the sleep deprivation etc etc

Will be sure to keep you posted either way - I know, you can hardly wait, I can't either.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bob the Builder v's Cinderella

This morning's philosophical statement from Danger on looking at his pyjamas, was "Bob the Builder's the same as Cinderella, because they both work hard...."
Oh dear... It's hard to know when to introduce the concept of exploitation and unfairness to a person, when they live in a happy bubble of fairness, with their innate sense of justice etc etc.  I told him Cinderella wasn't paid for the work she did, never got breaks, or holidays, and didn't really enjoy the work she did. He was puzzled - the first of the dreaded "17 Why's" came along.
Have you heard of the "5 why's" by the way? they're a management technique for getting to the truth of a situation.  The "17 why's" are a toddler technique for exposing the futility of trying to explain anything, and for proving that no matter how patient and all knowing you are feeling, you will eventually say "that's the why" or change the subject.  This morning's conversation didn't quite get that far, and I didn't have to break down and explain my real feeling of "Cinderella was a sucker working for evil sisters and had to rely on her looks and a makeover to get her out of there rather than actually just taking the initiative and leaving on her own merits, while Bob is a happy and valued member of society who probably never really does a day's work because he is so bloody delighted with his role and status in the community that it always feels like a pleasure" - not because I found a better way to explain it, but because little fella found a distraction of his own, I can't remember what it was now, that's the nature of distractions sometimes, sometimes you're so glad of them, you instantly forget what they are...
Anyway - hope your Sunday is going well.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Departures and Arrivals

Transport is something that both of my grandfathers were involved in - one a bus conductor, one mended planes.  I didn't meet either of them in person.
One person I did meet was my Grandmother, who departed life just over a month ago.  A people addict - her house made the best toasted cheese sandwiches, said once to me she always had "lots of luck" in her life, I have lots of lovely memories of her flower heavy garden, bees and butterflies, dogs, and eternal welcome in her company.  Met several new cousins in the process of saying goodbye to her, and wished as ever that I was better at keeping in touch.
Speaking of new - there's someone else I haven't met in person, scheduled according to the medical profession to arrive some time in the next 10 to 24 days.  This pregnancy has flown in, so much so that I don't feel half ready to meet Danger Cushions' little sibling.  I took a year I think, to get used to the idea of Danger himself.
Anyway, am enjoying being off, the sun is shining, weather is sweet.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It's usually in the past

At quarter to six in the evening, I was driving home from work, average traffic, wet night I think, can't even remember the weather fully, and this was only yesterday.
On the radio there was a man talking from the square in Kiev, quarter to eight local time.  The protesters had been given till eight to clear where they'd been encamped or else.  9 people had already died in the day.
So by the time I'd reach Midleton, it'd be happening, whatever it was.
It turned out another 17 people who were doing whatever they were doing while I drove - were no longer doing anything by the time I got in my car again this morning.
I know people die all the time but it's usually in the past, so maybe that's why it felt eerie - to be continuing my normal life and knowing...

Other than than all's well with me, hope you are keeping good.  Toddler beside me right now wants more cartoons but it's time for bed.