the wait continues

Thank you for all your lovely comments. It is so comforting to know you are still there, ready with offerings of humour and succour. Thank you, truly.

We are back in Dublin and there has been no word from the agency about the Lady. I don't know what to think about this, although looking at the Lady's profile it is not entirely surprising; it seems she has a tendency to put things off and Heaven knows it can't be easy. In the meantime, it's as if my adrenals have decided to put up a sign on the subject saying "Stress about this later". Which is working reasonably well, oddly enough. We have no power in this situation, as the JB and I were saying earlier; we might as well at least try for a modicum of good grace. 

We'll see how that works out.

The JB is already five steps ahead, sourcing documents we'll need if this time doesn't work. (The US agency requires yearly medicals, police clearances and whatnot). I can't help worrying how he'll take it if it's a no. (Must stop trying to manage his emotions, am being co-dependent. Oh, bleah. Does this working on yourself and your relationships never end? Will I ever learn?)

I have a small mountain of work waiting, but will keep you posted.
I look forward to your posts.
Till later,


Lovely patisserie photos:




Note from Kerry

A note painstakingly typed on Shiny Thing to register that we have not heard from the agency. The Lady, as the JB calls her, has not made a decision, it seems. While this is fair enough of course, the situation is provoking some Feelings. (They're odd, actually, but what else would they be? I Have To Be Different, my mother says.) I am very sleepy and nervous at the same time. I'd really like to know what the immediate future holds, though so I can calm myself with Plans. The JB is enjoying the hopefulness, a thing I'll never understand. (The Lady is due at the end of August.) (Quite soon, really.) We are in Kerry, fixing up JB's house for the imminent arrival of my cousin, husband and aunt. House was full of dust, unopened issues of Time magazine, and stopped clocks. It is now satisfyingly fairly habitable. Good enough, anyway. The JB has gone off on his bike and I have discovered an actual patisserie in town. That's where you'll find me. T


Screwit unto the very ends of the earth, I knew there was a reason for updating more often, otherwise, you don't know where to start. Also such not able articulate to do.

I had the Betty-head a lot in the last few weeks. The usual weird veil over my vision and weird sleep-walking sensations and weird feeling like someone else. For instance, I have no anxiety at all when in Betty mode. Zero. I am unflusterable. Betty is. I am not in my body. Weirdness. So last Wednesday I overcame my deep aversion to doctors long enough to give mine a potted version of this. ("I don't feel myself" being the acceptable version of "I am Betty", in case you wondered; the latter might attract a undesirable diagnosis of Dissociative Personality Disorder or whatnot.) The doctor took some blood for testing for food allergies and iron.

As so often, I felt instantly better. Asking for help is good, it turns out, it opens things up. Doctors don't mock you or tell you you are a moaning minnie; I don't know why I thought they would, mind you.

And then on Sunday morning we got a email from the agency in the US. Would we like to show our profile to a birth mother due end of August along with some other couples? Yes we would. Yes, yes. Yesness. It was a straight-forward decision; the circumstances the birthmother finds herself in are sad, but not otherwise dramatic or complicated.

It's really hard not to let your mind go skittering torturously ahead, it transpires. It's such a uniquely, drastically on/off situation, a thing we are all well acquainted with from TTC days. But one attempts to stay in this here and now. I have a lot of plans for September/October, for instance, which I am  seeing as a good thing.
Road 1: BABY! Plans out of window! Book me on a flight immmmediately!
Road 2: No baby. But nice distracting plans? Yes, those. Oh, okay.

No-one will die either way. It simply means this is not our baby. (Still, though! BABY!)

Oh! The BP explosion of universes has now been canceled until further notice. I am almost disappointed, and yet, on the other hand, OH! HAPPY! DAY! It seems the Non Trembler must now make it his business to scour the United States of America for a house that meet his rather stringent purchasing criteria.

Ah. I've run out of time.  I see I am hitting a not impressive average posting rate of ONE a month, so I will publish.

I hope all is well with everyone. Your status update is always of interest.


I know this theme is dull but it works on all devices. Anything for your convenience, reader!

stuff happens

That huge BPD collision is scheduled for the August Bank Holiday, on which day, keep eyes trained on the relevant horizon, where we might expect a mad puff of smoke to appear. In the meantime, some stuff happened:

  • I meant to follow up: do you remember Meet-up Friend? I did write to her, as you suggested, back in February, but heard no more until she came to our event a couple of weeks ago. She seemed quite well..? Hard to tell of course, and really just functioning at all after such a trauma is itself a fecking walking, talking miracle. People are truly extraordinary, and yet, of course, what choice has she? It was so good to see her surrounded by her friends, working away. I was glad she felt comfortable to be with us. 

  • The JB has failed his driving test. It transpires this centre has a failure rate of 60%, so this was to be expected, though this did not prevent his feeling offended by it. And thus I am condemned to be his practice partner for another few weeks. I hate to whine ( - well, actually, I enjoy the whining, but I prefer to delude myself that I am not a whiner. It's a conundrum.) I mean, I realise I am not going down the mine or anything, It's Not That Bad, but this supervisory stuff brings out the worst most picky, bossy and impatient side of me which I find deeply unflattering. I remind myself (cue thunder and lightning sound effects) of MY FATHER. Of all people! URG. Apparently I also have to admit I am very vain about these things, which is another uncomfortable truth I could have done without uncovering. Bleah. 

  • If he gets his licence next time, it would be excellent. If he doesn't, screw it, I think we should get an automatic. Those things are so wonderfully easy, it's basically a bumper car, as far as I can see.

  • Or we could wait until Google brings out a driverless car. Where is the future, Google? Come on, hand it over.

  • Other than this, I feel sort of scrambled, today, and in general, sort of inept and thick. I can't sleep, can you? If there is the slightest deviation from the regular bed at 11, up at 7 schedule, I am reduced to a quivering wreck.

  • Quivering, I tell you.

  • On the other hand, things aren't so bad. There are sparrow nests in the garden. (Luckily cat is an inept hunter, only catching very few small and ancient or possibly suicidal creatures). Some sweet rocket came out. I glow with pride when I consider I planted it two years ago. How mature of me! See that, deferred pleasure. No need to dwell on the rest of the garden which looks like it's been abandoned some years ago.
  • I babysat the niece and nephew last week. Babysat is the wrong word. I sat with them in the kitchen drawing pictures with my niece while the nephew misspent his youth on minecraft. 


  • And! Our little country isn't so backward after all. We have a lot more work to do, of course, but 62.07% in favour of marriage equality is good. It was a beautiful day; the sun shone, actual rainbows came out as if a sign of approval from the universe, and we were so happy and proud to be us.

Hope you are well, folks. What stuff is happening with you? Stuff, anyone?

*dusts off blog in perfunctory manner, pounds keyboard*

Ooof. I wish I never invited Aunt and cousin to Kerry, now. I say to my mother, one Sunday. I know with my rational mind that it will be fine, but at 4am I am assailed by dire doubts.

Last year, in a restaurant, filled with bonhomie and excitement, I unwisely told my (lovely) cousin from London that she and her husband, the genius, were always welcome to spend a few days in the JB's family home in Remote Kerry. It is very majestic and beautiful there, I said. And it might not rain the whole time! I declared.

In January I get a fb message to say they'd take up the invitation. Oh, well, great. I thought. We'll go down beforehand and dust and fix frantically (house has been unoccupied for years now), Lovely Cousin and Genius Husband will like it, I think determinedly. They'll have a nice, quiet time. They can read! Have a rest! Go to the beach! This is what someone who lives in Central London actually needs. It'll be fine! I read on: The plan is to bring Mum and Dog and come in the car.

Oh. The aunt. The person who inspires me to make infuriated searches for Borderline Personality Disorder whenever she visits. Still! That's okay. There won't be room for us to visit too, but this is fine. The JB is quite nervous of dogs, anyway, and Dog is a over-protective rescue who makes runs at people. Fine, fine. 

The JB is persuaded to run this plan by his brother, the Non-Trembler (ultra-touchy resident of Boston, remember him? The only OTHER person in the world who ALSO inspires in me BPD related googling (the one that threw out the fridge and ranted like a madman at the JB on the phone, then cut him off for a year) out of politeness. Might possibly BPD Non-Trembler be in Ireland at that time, surely not?

YES, actually he does have plans to come home at that time but after the "state the house was left in the last time", he wouldn't risk it. (OUTRAGE. The JB spent ages cleaning and painting! Weeks! There was however some mould in the fridge. So he threw. It. Out.) He'll stay in a hotel in town, or with a friend. The JB can lend the house to whomever. Non-Trembler will not be staying there. 

And so.

Now I lie awake at 4am with lurid scenarios running through my head. Frosty meetings on the doorstep of the house! The BPD Aunt's dog biting the BPD Non-Trembler in a global BPD collision outside the local shop! BPD Non-Trembler barges in on BPD Aunt while in the bathroom! 

And from there a mere step or two to THE END OF CIVILISATION, IN WHICH WE ALL DIE OF THIRST.

I don't know whether to be amused or terrified. Oh fer feck's sake, it's just too perfect. 

Ah, I feel better. Thanks for the therapy, internet. Maybe I can make a comic about it.

How are you? 

for posterity



  • My niece has given up FISH and WALKING for Lent
  • Not sure how much of a sacrifice is involved in this. (She can still run and jump, I hear.)
  • My nephew is TEN. 
  • Every time I see him, his proportions have lengthened and his features are at once the same and different. His face gets longer, and his legs, he has large adult teeth. I see him only once a month or so; it's like seeing a very slow stop-motion film. He has reached whatever developmental stage is the one where you are intrigued by adult conversation, and everyone has to be careful to be 10-year old appropriate. 
  • He's still a kid, though. We have invented a complicated game in which the carpet is sea, furniture and cushions are islands, and the object is to retrieve objects from across the room without getting "wet". Add stop watches and sharks as required. Also required: fairly big rooms and patient, non-house proud host.


  • My mother and I finished this magnificent 2000 piecer. Sample of cheery conversation during which: 
    Me, referring to an article in the paper: Those wicker coffins look nice. 
    Ma: Yes, don't they? They seem a bit nice for me though. Cardboard will do me fine.
    Me: Really, Ma. I think we can stretch to wicker.

    This from the woman who also wants Rachmaninov and black horses with plumes. 
    (This was not a gloomy conversation, by the way, although I have very little interest in my own funeral beyond the wicker. I mean, I won't be there to enjoy it, will I.)

  • Work is very worky. I am preparing some books for another exercise in excruciating embarrassment comic fair next month, which involves long, tedious hours cleaning pages of specks in Photoshop. Bah. Sometimes I wonder why I am doing this. Can I not just get a-job-like-normal-people?

  • The JB continues to be a super-nervous (albeit paradoxically a technically competent) driver. This is a pain. Skills you can teach, but confidence? Urg. We have had some moments, shall we say. Some are funny. 
    The JB: You're right, I'm using second gear as a crotch!

  • That's between you and the gearbox, pet. 

  • "Our" (my parents') two paddocks are empty for the first time in 25 years. Our final equine, Jenny the jennet, has departed, to be a companion to a big horse. She's a 11h (runty, some would say) mule (mother: Shetland pony; father: rogue jack donkey) who has been with us for 20 years. And what a twenty! So many Jenny adventures. The time she got out in the barley field, and all you could see were the big ears, gleefully roving. All the times she'd search your pockets for carrots and make mean faces at you when she'd eaten them. Ah yes. She is a strange animal, with her donkey feet and her pony head, her half-whinny, half-bray. She didn't like people, other animals, or other horses; indeed, was a cranky rogue in many ways, but you had to admire her spirit. So wily, such a survivor, and when my horse died, she stood over his body for hours:

    She loaded bravely into the trailer today and went off with not even a backward glance. Go forth and pester, Jenny. 

Have great weekends, all. Animal stories and all comments welcome, folks.
(Or just have a nice rest, that is fine too.)


[Insert inevitable lamenting on subject of own poor blog-keeping skills. Aime, alack and alas, etc.]

Here's another reason, as if there weren't already very many, to love Lucy Knisley - her lovely piece on the subject of her miscarriage. Just in case you happen this way, Lucy, I am very sorry for your loss. Thank you for being so open about it.

It seems this winter will never end, doesn't it? [Applicable only to readers in northern hemisphere.] It snowed yesterday; big sudsy shapes of snow came down and melted messily on the ground. Let's move on, shall we, winter? You're putting me in a mood, full of self-doubt and riddled with introspection. Yawn. This is dull; I'm boring myself. Maybe I need to get out more; maybe I need to do some voluntary work or something. Maybe the sun needs to come out. 

4AM would seem to be Pointless Introspection o'clock, though I do it during the day, too. The other day I was wondering what sort of parent I could possibly be. I was doing an image search for ponies on Friday (This is part of a proposal I am doing. Nice job, eh. Ponies!) as I introspected gloomily about my ruination of our future child. At that moment, this image popped up in my feed, like magic: 


I don't pretend to understand the image, in which I presume I would be the imperfectly perfect grinning monster dressed in a cardboard box feeding my child a cake of solid gold, but it cheered me up, anyway. 


Valery and family were over.. a month ago (see above, poor blog-keeping). It was so nice to see them with little Suzy. I love that age; so spirited, utterly trusting, and mysterious. Ah, so sweet.


I feel much less rutty, since I wrote this post two days ago. It seems it was hormonal. You would think I would know this after so. many. years. but no. One of the less appealing parts of the human condition is this inability while in the rut to recognise it for the rut it is, and that it will end and the other mood will begin. Every rut seems to be an endless proposition, doesn't it? We're such odd creatures, all fear and unhelpful jumpiness designed for the jungle; no sharp teeth and only our wits to live on. We're social, and we need each other to survive, yet we're rivals for the limited resources available. It's all very conflicting.

Well, now, my dears. I think I'll just press post now, as I doubt this post will stand up to a re-read. You poor lovely people, worry not your heads with commenting, really. 

Hope life is treating you well.

not posterity either

Thanks for your help last week, everyone. A card has been sent. I will follow up with emails and texts later on. Other members of the meet-up have been in touch with our friend. There's support for her there, which is something. 


Now that walks in the woods are no longer possible, my mother and I amuse ourselves with jigsaws and desultory conversation on Sunday afternoons, over endless cups of Darjeeling and almond cake. We were talking about our first memories; hers was of her first banana. It was wartime and her uncle, on leave from the Maritime Marine, brought a bunch home. He and his family lived upstairs from hers; she remembers him leaning over the banisters and calling down to her. She remembers the exotic sweetness of the banana. Then she told us how her uncle's ship, like 16 other neutral Irish ships, was "lost in unprovoked actions" some time after that, having been bombed by the Germans, and he was lost at sea. 

We did a little research on the interweb and discovered her uncle's ship was lost in September '41 and so, even if he was on leave weeks before returning to his ship, my mother, born in November 1939, was at most 21 months old when she tasted that banana, possibly even younger. 

She has always had a really far-reaching, clear memory, but this is surely outside the ordinary? Or not. You tell me. My first memory is some foggy thing to do with a paddling pool, I must have been over two. Pfft, pathetic. What's yours?


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not posterity

*This is an unburdening post with horrible, shocking information, so, really, please do feel free to skip it. I don't want to know these facts, so I totally understand if you don't either. I will go back to posting normal stuff after this. I hope. I love normal.*

I have been planning a post on the subject: Posterity, what did it ever do for us? As much as this blog is not proof of it, I do like to use it as a place to document not just momentous, dramatic stuff, but also the minutiae. I love details. I wallow in them. This alternative me would record the price of bus tickets, the type of scones they have in the local cafes, (cakey or rubbery?) the dinners I make, the things my nephew and niece are up to, what they say, the games they like, our dopey running jokes. This stuff seems so mundane in the moment, but years later so poignant and fascinating. In reality, however, I am too lazy to be that obsessive. (Collective sigh of relief.) But. But. Some events have to be recorded here, not so much so they can be processed, but because otherwise they get in the way; I can't write anything at all. And the whole thing becomes pointless and grinds to a halt. 

You know how people talk about the spiral when a tragic thing happens, whether it's an illness, a crime or an accident? At the very centre of it is the person immediately affected, surrounded by her family and close friends, then come less close friends, distant family, work colleagues, acquaintances, old school friends you don't see much, people you know to say hello to and finally, on the outer edge, people who know some of the affected family, say, through a meet-up group. That's me, in this case, on the edge. It's not at all even remotely about me, but I am still thrown by it. I feel like I have to reconfigure my ideas about our safety in our society, about alertness to danger and the presumed benignity of the universe. It cannot be rationalised. And if I feel like this, I dread to think what it is like at the centre of the spiral. 

At the centre is a mother who was recently killed by her son, my friend's brother. And this is where words fail me, it's just so awful. That our gentle and lovely meet-up friend should have experienced such a thing, and should have to live with that reality for ever now, and have lost such a central part of her life, is unthinkable. 

Sorry for unburdening, everyone. I agonized over telling another meet-up friend I see quite often, but in the end I felt I had to. I couldn't meet her and not say it. It is simply the truth, sadly. We planned how we'd reach out to our friend in a while. [Advice welcome btw. Hard to know exactly what the right thing to do is, but we definitely don't want her to feel abandoned by us.]

Thank you for listening. I love my blog. [*Embraces keyboard and monitor, somewhat awkwardly.*]
Okay! I am going into the house to have lunch and maybe do some yoga. This online yoga is always very cheering: they say things like: Ground your thighs enthusiastically  and Spread your toes joyfully into the earth intoned in the manner of a hack actor playing Moses, but so sweetly and sincerely, that it is also genuinely hopeful and endearing.

Talk soon, I hope on a less sombre matter. 

Be well, all. 



And finally, it occurred to me that I need not brave the chilly studio at the end of the "garden" but use the laptop in the house in order to blog, and so it is.

Well! How did we get over The Christmas? Ours went quite well, I think. We had it at home, and some friends came over, which I thought was amazingly grown-up and together of us. We provided! We cooked brussel sprouts! And gluten-free puddings! I do like hosting in principle. But it is a lot of work and induces neurosis about whether the house smells funny to other people. (Remember when you'd go to a strange house when you were a child? And it smelled funny?) I used to worry about the level of tidiness until I read what Swistle had to say about it. What a sensible woman; I love the quotidianity of her writing. I love the details of other people's lives; the way she captures all that so nicely. I can't find the exact page, (though I rootled for it for ages, enjoying rereading her posts and comments as I went), but the upshot was that to open your house to guests and let them see how you live in reality, not in a humblebrag I-just-knocked-out-these-croissants-this-morning-after-finishing-my-novel way, is a sort of compliment to your friendship, so I just knocked down some abandoned spiderwebs in a perfunctory way, and concentrated on the desserts.

(The cat has now padded in and, purring loudly, has forced herself into the gap between my torso and the laptop, hampering my ability to type. And breathe, come to think of it. I am trappppppeeed. Ah, my little stinky-breathed companion.)

The driving supervision thing continues to be "interesting" though I'd venture to say we might be over the hump. The JB has improved, and I have conditioned myself not to bark instructions. Actually, I find myself talking to him now as if he were a nervy horse. Whoa! I keep saying, and Steady! There is still some florid Kerry-style cursing, mind you, and the distinct impression that it could all go south at any moment. But still, I am cautiously optimistic that we might survive this. The other day he drove us north into the countryside, and I was able to take in the scenery, admiring the bare elephantine trees in the flat fields with their sides all gilded with the winter sun.

So here we are, folks, in this strange no man's land between The Christmas and The New Year.
How are you? I hope you had time to relax?