I may have to fire Mystic Twangy, although seeing as life can only be understood in retrospect, who knows, maybe some of it was right.

Wednesday was not the ideal day, shall we say. The Betty head was upon me all last week, with its usual lack of focus and interest in only the most menial tasks. On Wednesday I stabbed my finger on my new food processor blade. Sure, it has CAUTION SHARP BLADE written on it, but it was submerged under the sudsy water and I grabbed the treacherous thing in an ill-fated attempt to wash up, and GAH GAH GAH. And then, as I was feebly walking to choir, feeling quite sorry for myself hampered by my throbbing finger, BAM I got the email from the agency saying Another Lady (Apologies for this, will do better in future. I don't like being called a lady, myself, after all.) had chosen another Irish family,  A WEEK AGO, and agency person had been sick and bedridden, very nearly DEAD I can only presume, and solemnly promises that such a delay in communication would not happen again. I feel annoyed by it now, but at that moment I dissolved into tears on the pavement, turned around and went home. (I hate being angry with people. I was trying to work out why yesterday, and concluded that I hate to people to disappoint me or make me angry because then I'm afraid I will have to not like them anymore, blimey this is getting increasingly whackadoodle, and I dunno, will end up friendless, alone and living under a bridge. My parents did not deal with anger very well, it has to be said. It was expressed in bursts, and then Not Mentioned, so I don't know what is supposed to happen after the bursty bit. Apparently you can get over it in a way that doesn't rankle forever more, but I wouldn't know.)

So we're back to square 53, which is I suppose better than 1. Baby is so near and yet so far. 

MOVING ON, I offer you my New Year's resolutions, which this year are vaguely philosophical in tone (and nice and hard to measure):

  1. One thing at a time. (ie no media stacking, self.)
  2. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
  3. Eat more raw food

That should cover it. Tell me yours? If you have any.
More time has passed and I am now in the co-working place. (Or space, as The Young People call everything.) It is nice to be out. I feel normal. Also YAY, lunchtime!

no news

..which I feel might be good news. Who knows? Something must be Up - the birth mother struggling with her decision or her family not helping - I don't know. It's best we don't, I think, it would only add stress (the worst sort, you have no control over) to the already tricky hurry-up-and-wait situation we find ourselves in. My heart goes out to the birth mother. What a time for her. 

I liked Adele's comment about the Acquisition of Baby Stuff. I do find it reassuring to know that The Stuff necessary for baby-minding is not that (necessarily) complicated, although no doubt you could spend a king's ransom if you really wanted to. My brother's partner will have Stuff in the Attic, I feel sure; this will fall into place, somehow. We are otherwise ready. The garden wilderness needs some work so the hawthorn does not crack and collapse on the kitchen roof one night (So very many very wet named storms. We are on H already, I think). But the house is ready - there's a single bed in the back room for whomever comes to stay with the cat while we are away, spare keys are cut, room on shelves is made. (Has anyone any experience of animal-minders by the way? I don't know whether to get one from one of the pet-minding sites, or just ask on Facebook. I do know quite a few Young People who might enjoy living here for a couple of months, being a full-time butler to the cat. Will they burn the house down though? (I don't mind if they Have Parties. As long as I am far away.) Hmm.)

 Other than that, I am having some difficulty returning to full speed at work, are you? I am between big projects, trying to gear up for a new one and kind of occupying myself with marketing and advertising, which though essential, feels like faffing. But! I have offers of work for this year, and things are looking up.

I hope you are all well, and things are looking up for you, too. A very Happy, Prosperous and Healthy New Year, full of Good Things, to all who visit here. Thank you for your company.




No adoptiony news.~

(The JB sports his aspirational University of California tee-shirt.)

With one part of my brain I am cautiously (cautiously, you understand) mentally preparing myself for the adoption; grappling with the idea of a real actual small human present in our house. I visualise where a cot might fit, where we could stow kid clothes, get a car seat or what getting up in the middle of the night might be like. (With some dread, this one.) With the other part of my mind a child in house seems as likely as a rainbow-striped unicorn making toast in the kitchen. So, you know, some progress on that front. I am quite distracted and surprisingly not sweaty palmed about it. I feel lucky, actually, to be here at last. I am trying to practise going toward my feelings, (not running off in the opposite direction) and it does help a lot.

My mother was in hospital for a week earlier in the month. She went to the GP for a Chest Thing (Ma likes to glide vaguely over the details of her health issues. She finds them so. uninteresting.) The GP discovered her heart was racing and resolutely staring down her protests, recommended strongly she drive herself to hospital at once. There Ma stayed for the entire week, the poor woman, all hooked up and stuck with probes and blipping monitors, dreaming of escape, while she underwent every test invented.

[Aside for poignant story about my great friend AM who lives in NJ with her enormous Italian-American family (Thanksgiving get-togethers were a SEA of wavy dark brown Italian hair)(a SEA): her beloved grandmother, who finally had to go to live in a care-home at the age of 93, having been lovingly taken care of by her family in her own home for many years, used to lean in, look visitors' in the eye and rasp out: You got a car?]

We sprang her on the Saturday. She wasn't allowed to drive, which led to a little hoo-ha with me going up to get her in a taxi so as not to leave her car behind at the hospital. (Her solution to this was to get a taxi home and then go back and get her car later, unbeknownst to the hospital. That's a very bold mother, there, so sweet and yet so stubborn.) Now she seems somewhat better, although it is taking a while to get the meds right and for her to be properly hungry. 

Other events must have occurred, but for the life of me.. Oh. There was Christmas. The niece and nephew continue to delight us; now at proper kid ages of seven and ten, they can play a tune on the piano with both hands (Spike, 10) and ask for aerosol snow which which to decorate the windows. (Dazzle, 7). They  went around the table with that orange cellophane fish you get in crackers (Do you know the thing I mean? Is this specific to these islands? Like our lemonade which is the colour of orange. That's right.) to test our characters. If it curls up on your hand, you're passionate, indifferent or what I got: false. Not a real human at all, apparently. We ate too much, even my mother. It was fun.

How was yours? Did you get over the Christmas/the 25th December? I would love to hear, I'm bored of my own thoughts. Guh, help a person out.

Talk soon, in any case, kind visitors. Be well.

process in process

Let's see. The JB had a big day yesterday. He got his Fellowship (of the Ring! my brain keeps helpfully adding); preparations to leave home find other work accommodation are on-going, though we don't know yet which term he will start fellowshipping in. And, as if that weren't enough, he also passed his driving test. No more white knuckle Saturday morning drives for me, folks, that's right. I am most happy and relieved. 

No news from the US of A. 


I have some processing to do. Feel free to skim/skip, this may very well be dull.

Last week I got empanelled as a juror. The selection process is the most stressful tedium you can imagine; a hundred or so members of fine Dublin citizenry in a large carpeted room with television screens lining the walls. After ages of the tense boredom, the court finally appears on the screen showing the judge and a defendant in a new suit. The registrar announces the crime and starts reading out names. The sight of the defendant and everyone shaking their heads at the crime gives you a sudden chill. This is horribly real. Start praying you won't be called. When your name is called, it gives you an unpleasant jolt of recognition. Oh no. You queue up, you file in to the court,  and no one challenges you, although they throw out two grey-haired elderly gentlemen and a cool young woman.  Apparently you look reasonable; maybe you should have worn your pink runners, or a fake sleeve tattoo? You are sworn in. Your lips feel like rubber but somehow you don't fumble it.
There is some preamble from a barrister about the case and what your role is therein. You are important; you must try and test the case to the best of your ability. You are to "decide the facts" of the case. How can you decide a fact? You are grateful for the other members of the jury, you are not alone, at least. In your meeting room you exchange some nervous we're-in-this-together smiles and some of your number, a tall man in motorbike gear, makes unfortunate jokes and honks with laughter. Fantastic, I'm sequestered here with a shower of eejits, you think uncharitably. 
You're told to come back the next day when the case proper is to start. You go home, but the experience looms large in your mind all night. This is bigger than you are. The next day, there is evidence from a Guard. He has made a map of a family home. Then on a video link evidence is given by the complainant. And then from the complainant's mother. It's really complicated; you are given a large amount of information about the family circumstances. More than might seem necessary. No one says Objection, Your Honour at all, or Hearsay!; maybe that's American. Or Hollywood, but you'd like to say it. Instead you must just sit there and listen. The judge have wigs on, deliberately formal and strange. This bit takes you up to lunch, which you have in an airless dining room. You are not allowed to mix with other juries - as if you would. You only want to talk about the case, but you've been warned not to by the judge, until it is appropriate. You are getting to know your jury members, there's a sort of reluctant bonding between you, though you all keep saying how you'd prefer to be in work, to be honest. Yeah, well, you might as well be honest. You're ushered back down the corridor by your Jury Minder. There's a lot of ushering, and standing in a row beside the wall while another jury is shepherded by. There's another time when you are told to sit on the stairs while a legal moment (15 to 20 normal moments) goes by. Other juries go by, their minders point to us and say they're bold, they're sitting on the naughty step. This is court room corridor humour, apparently, so help us.
Back in there, the next day, and you hear more evidence from a guard. There are startling revelations about the mother, and how a diary came to be in evidence. Again, seemingly not pertinent and embarrassing to know. After lunch the barristers sum up the case.  The barrister for the prosecution is very restrained. He just states the facts as he sees them. But the barrister for the defence is astonishingly skilful, he weaves a case so that you have no option but to draw the conclusions he wants. It is electrifying. You may not like it, but he has placed reasonable doubt in your head 5 or 6 times already. He's staring up at you knowing in his heart that you are reasonable, decent people. He's restrained, he doesn't bully or cajole. He just makes you think things you didn't think before; there's reasonable doubt and so you can't convict. 
To your relief, when you finally come to deliberate, the others agree. Everyone has reasonable doubt. You're grateful for these strangers, they have taken great care with their task. They have thought hard, not jumped to conclusions, have considered it from both points of view. They are not a shower of eejits, as it happens; your faith in humanity is restored, even if it's not in the judicial system. No one feels good about it, but the barrister has done his job and the defendant is acquitted. If you were in no doubt about the seriousness of it all, the drama of the moment when the registrar reads out the verdict to the courtroom, with all parties present, is palpable.

You file out for the last time. You say goodbye and good luck to the other jurors. Of course, this being Ireland, it has turned out you know one of them, to see. Of course you do. A woman whom you expect never to see again, despite this, says: No disrespect, but I hope we don't meet again. You have to laugh. You go home; at least it's over.


being just and not

I have that feeling I've forgotten something. You know the one? Hmm.

No news, let me get that out of the way. On the JB's job thing, or the Adoption Front. I have, as advised by the wonderful bunny, located a hot-desk space near here full of stop-motion animators of the beardy, gentle, lurcher-at-heel variety, so I have somewhere to escape to, if/when the Company of Spouse gets A Bit Much. I feel mean complaining about him (though he wouldn't mind; it is my great luck that he still finds me entertaining despite evidence to the contrary. He never takes things personally, in fact is a walking advert for bulletproof self-esteem; the kind that makes a frank conversation so easy, the kind that makes it possible to not take yourself so seriously.) (I'm looking at me. I can be so straight-faced.)

I'm awful, in fact. For instance, in the morning, he wakes up all bright and switched ON and ready to talk, and makes puddles of coffee (he drinks 354 cups a day) and leaves piles of crumbs in his wake, and every time I pass his little study which opens onto the living room which is the main thoroughfare of the house, a course a person who needs to go to the bathroom must run, he says Hello, Bobby.*  No matter if he has just seen me five minutes before. Hello, Bobby. CAN YOU IMAGINE ANYTHING WORSE.  This is actually sweet and childlike, but see above, I did tell you I was awful: I just don't want to talk. I want to be in the workflow. 

So, now you see. Rather than be thrown together out by circumstances, it behooves me to find an alternative workspace and then be actually glad to be together in the evening. This will be a way of feeling less awful, for one thing. Avoidance of Conflict for Better Living. The round-the-clock immersion therapy that is marriage continues to be a wonderful, terrible, humbling thing, to sum up. 

Beautiful Tony, our social worker, visited us here for the millionth time, for a home visit, to check the usual: do we have live wires hanging exposed from the ceiling, fizzing intermittently? Are we safe-housing a criminal on the run? Are we selling eightballs of coke out of the back lane? No, Beautiful Tony, we are not. He didn't even go upstairs, in fact, and I had spent ages cleaning and tidying up there. He just told us about his holidays in Portugal, we complained about the poor planning skills of the government, the apathy of the JB's students, he drank a cup of tea, and off he went. 

I did forget to tell you my conscience got to me and so I am going for jury duty this week. As you probably know you can't talk about fight club jury duty so a curtain of silence will now descend upon the whole event. Probably. No, it will.  I suppose.

I hope all is well, folks. Have a good week, wherever you are. I'll be Upholding Justice; spare me a thought.

*I am known as Bobby to some of the family. My nephew got me confused with Bob the Builder when he was 2.


There is no news about or from Another Lady. Plenty of time in hand, of course. About the JB's interview, there has been a whisper along the long corridors of his institution that he might have got it. (Who knows though in that vortex of favouritism, nepotism, cronyism and backhanders. Things can turn on a dime.) Which would be both pleasing and a bit alarming. I am going to find some co-working space in the interest of marital harmony.

And now for a little first world whining. Hark the little tiny violins sing:

I screwed up my time management and had to do a marathon 12 hours work on Monday and another 6 on Tuesday, colouring a comic. This sounds like fun. It was a bit fun for the first 2 hours, and then not. The tiny precise movements of the wrist on the drawing tablet? After a while make you feel like jumping out of the window, I now know. And the fact that this was self-inflicted made it all the worse. Why did I lie around on Friday when I could so easily have been chipping away? WHY. 

I have cleaned and cooked, vacuumed, baked and polished. Am I experiencing some sort of belated spring-cleaning drive? No. It is tax season, you understand, a time that makes me feel like this:


Reverted to childhood - an adult Calvin - and sort of explosive. Arg.

Speaking of which, I cannot deny it any longer, it's time. See you after, all, have good weekends.



in fairness

I was locked out of my blog for a while due to password resetting incompetence (mine) and I was on a trip to the UK on more comic business. Apologies nonetheless for being a fair weather blogger. (Or dramatic weather, I suppose, would be more accurate.)

However! Here we go again. A birth mother has approached our agency looking to make an adoption plan for her baby (to be born mid-December) and we are among the profiles to be shown. So. Yay? Something? Nothing? I am philosophical. She is an African-American so (possible) TICK on the Mystic Twangy front, but, while I don't know what age she is, she sounds young (She is a first time mother whose family support her decision to make an adoption plan for her baby. Does that sound young to you? Probably, right?) and that would be no problem in itself, the head of our agency did tell us that first-time mothers are more likely to change their minds, and that in fact, the freaked-out teen-aged first time mother is not the typical demographic, but rather the overwhelmed mother of more than one. So, you know. Things to keep in mind. 

In other news, I have been called for jury duty. Have you ever? Thoughts welcome. Should, for instance, I try to wriggle out of it? I actually do have lots of jobs on these days, and sitting in a court for an indefinite amount of days would indeed make it impossible to do them. Also, see above, re baby? What if I got caught up in a big long murder trial or something and in the middle just sort of stand up and say: I declare a mistrial! Yeah, sorry, but Another Lady (really I have got to do better in the pseudonym department) has chosen me to parent her baby, got to skedaddle! On other hand, it is My Civic Duty.

In other news, the JB has an interview for a research scholarship thing on Friday. If he's successful this will allow him to stay at home watching car reviews devoting every waking moment of his time to research FOR TWO YEARS. What would that be like? What, indeed. Well, clearly, if there was BABY, that would be most excellent. We could take equal turns trying not to break the baby.  A ratio of incompetent but full-time parents to one little baby makes things seem very manageable.  If no baby happens for a few months, it might be a.. tiny bit challenging what with the constant talking, the messy coffee-making, the mess, the distraction? I love all that between the hours of 6pm and 8am, you understand. Love it. On the third hand, we did manage to do the driving practice together, and no one was harmed. (His third test looms at beginning of November.)

All still to play for, my friends.
How are you?

finally news

The Lady has chosen another couple. I am informed she liked our profile a lot, but was "unable" to choose us. (?) Heaven help her, it can't be easy.

I did have a bit of a cry last evening when I got the email, a deliberate attempt to process The Feelings head-on. I lay there clutching the kitty as she purred steadily in my arms, the little dear. And when the JB came home, we commiserated for a while and then cheered ourselves with the thought that Agency is now going to show our profile more, (we seem to be at the top of the list at last) and "hopes to see us soon" in American City. Then I dislodged a bag of cat treats from a high shelf as I was reaching for them, and they rained down like manna from cat heaven and bounced around the floor while the kitty ran around after them beside herself with pleasure, and we laughed inordinately and gathered them up.

And now I am:
20% See I Knew That Wasn't Our Baby, Our Baby Has Brown Skin*
10% Glum
10% Things Never Work Out For Me
15% Look Around, You Are Sitting in Your Own Studio, You Have So Much - Please, They Really Do
20% Is It Lunchtime Yet
15% I think I'll take the rest of the day off
20% And maybe take in a film

Onward! Thanks for sticking with me, everyone. 

(*Not stating a preference, by the way. This is just how the image forms in my head.)

still no news

Thanks for all the support, folks; you're the nicest, it's a fact. As you may have guessed, there has been NO NEWS. I understand the reluctance on the part of the agency to update us on the birth and the gender of the baby; I do see that there really could be too much information at this stage. The more you know, the more the abstract idea of a baby becomes a particular baby and the more you might become attached - so I trust that while there must be news, it may well be best that we don't know anything until a decision is made. What's the point, really? They'll tell us when it's time. I can't imagine what the Lady is feeling, after all and I don't think it would serve anyone to have a minute by minute update of her state of mind, until a definitive decision is reached. 

So! I have five more mins to blog. Life is ridiculous; I am so BUSY. ("Busty" I typed, ha, the first time, definitely not so, in my case.) It feels to me as if there are more people doing more and more for less, but maybe this is a pessimistic view of things. In any case, I am off to another trade fair type thing, in the north of the country. It is not far, the country is small, but it's so far! Four hours on the bus. How can it be so long? Is the bus on a treadmill?

In other news, we got some more adoption-requirement medicals this week. The poor JB, who is the fittest person in the world, he really is, and has a resting heartbeat of something very good* got himself into such a state that he would screw up the form with his huge blood pressure reading, that yes indeed, he did get a bit of a high one (not sure what exactly, see below). So I ask you once again, as I have so many times: isn't it weird being human? Isn't it though?** We're so screwed if our confidence fails. Confident people, do sail through life, won't you? SO FECKING WEIRD. 

Well! I think I have implored you enough for one session. 
Be well, all. Think of me, won't you, on the bus. Forever and ever. 

[Note to self: go to toilet before embarking.]



*Don't ask me for numbers. I don't know numbers. I know some letters and pictures, but not numbers.
** I thank you for your patience. But it had to be said! SO WEIRD.

Ah, but! turns out the due date was really not accurate and the Lady is to be induced on the 6th. It seems she hasn't been in touch with the agency, (they heard this through the doctor they arranged, I believe) so it's hard to know what her plan is. 

Sending her good thoughts. Do what is right for you, Lady.