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October 2008

September 2008

My Brush With The Law

You know how we decided to adopt a child?
We-ell. It turned out that massive thrilling step we took entails many other small tedious bureaucratic ones, amongst  which is the need to get Police Clearance from any country one may have lived in for longer than 6 months. And for some reason in the past I wasn't one to stay at home with my Mammy (although that sounds rather pleasant now). Oh. No. Not. Me. From '89 to '94 I languished in Pavia - which is an ancient university town set into the rice fields on the Lombardy plain in Italy - pretending to be a TEFL teacher to well-dressed Pavesi ladies, but in reality, decorating the local discos on a twice-weekly and semi-professional basis, and going out every other night too to visit the numerous cafes and bars around town. So there's that.
Then there was New Jersey, which was graced with my presence for four years, between 98 and 2003. Lucky, lucky it. That time, I had found my true calling as an animator, and was working in a studio in a seaside town there, run by a nutty millionaire. The studio had been an optician's shop with big shop windows where we'd work away on our drawings, making an unusual window display. Well, after numerous dead-end letters and confusing phone calls I discovered part of my duties in clearing My Good Name was to provide a fingerprint card to the NJ State Police so that they could (presumably) run it through a matching system with all the fingerprints found in unsolved crimes in the States, and try to find a match. One must hope that no such match will be found, for I am an innocent (wo)man! (Irish joke). I was advised that this service could be provided by my local copshop. And so it was I turned myself in last week, after a last, hearty meal with my colleague and friend, GoodFriend L. As I stepped behind the counter in the dusty Victorian institutional building that is the local Garda Station, you know, to where the PRISONERS go, I was surprised by the utter lack of any air of authority or even competence. Oh dear. I mean, they were all perfectly friendly, quite funny, and all that, but the atmosphere was more akin to tea-time at the bowling club, than anything else. It took the poor feller whose job it was to copy out my fairly bog-standard name from my passport quite a bit longer than one might have expected, for instance. And there was a moment of confusion as the young girl who had gripped my fingers one by one and rolled them in ink, sent me back to wash my hands and then looked at the back of the card and had to re-ink them all again. (She looked about 18, seriously. What is that they say about policemen/women getting younger? I feel sorry for her if she has to print all the prisoners who come in to be thrown in the slammer. REAL criminals, as opposed to gently-bred middle-aged women who'd like to adopt a child). The two trips to the bathroom were quite entertaining - we had to skirt the cells. I banged on the doors as I went. No, not really. In fact though it's true the whole experience had the effect of making me slightly giddy and inclined swing between over-deference and hysteria, as the sight of uniformed guards is wont to do, no mad acts were forthcoming.


It felt good to do something concrete towards our adoption. Next Italy, and knowing the bureaucracy that the country is famed for, no doubt it will be even funner.

this Sunday


After this brisk sprint in the barley, (accompanied by manic squealing) Spike and I on his initiative had ourselves a walk in up the hill around the back of my parents' field. The hill grows into a sharpish incline after a hundred yards or so. Spike was lagging a bit, until a brilliant idea struck him:
"CARRY" he intoned, raising his arms expectantly. And so it was that I lugged him bodily up the hill, around the bend and down the other side, while he gave me helpful instructions, like: Go over there. And: Let's go. If I stopped for a second to rest.


Smokey is getting his winter coat once more. He looks well at the moment, despite his impressive years (28). My parents are building him up for the cold season with vast quantities of beet pulp and nuts.

And the little bundle of sweetness herself, Dazzle. How I love them all.
(Her mother Flossy got a cancellation at the paediatrician, so her MRI is tomorrow. Fingers very crossed).

Marking time

My latest proposal to be sent off into the world, in this case to the curator of a show in NYC in February. Wouldn't that be exciting, to be in a show in NYC? Oooh, how I hope it will be accepted (especially after my This Am*rican Life design didn't even get into the faves. Humph. On the other hand, it took me only one day to rationalise my non-success and forgive Ira and the boys. After they do know radio! and I still love them.)

limbo (cont.)

(but now with more laughs, I hope.) It was a beautiful warm September day today, although even as I write that, I hear a suspect rat-a-tat on the velux over my head. I love this time of year, though, that chill in the air, the excuse to pull on socks and jumpers, the golden light, the darkening skies, the yellow-lit windows. Its wistful intimation of mortality. Yes, it's limbo (cont.), but I feel so much better. Something shifted and I am aware of a dawning optimism, and once more, I can see the point of simple pleasures. Brother came over during the week and dug himself a piece of polystyrene out of the shed where he had clocked it months before. (The man has radar embedded in his brain, I swear it). He was in such good form, I thought, if he is not paralysed by worry about Dazzle, then neither shall I be. Away from me, fear! Get thee hence!
I came down to see my parents today. My poor mother turned up at my house in Dublin on Wed, her face strained with pain. She'd done her back in again and came up to see GoodFriend, among whose many talents is NeuroMuscular Therapy. I went for lunch with Father, and did (despite expectations to contrary) manage to sit with him and even converse genially over our panino and soup in Ander.sons deli. So here I am under the eaves, in the crow's nest, as they watch a cook-off reality show. Tomorrow I am going to give a hand at the Riding for the Dis.abled, which is always nice. My Ma is getting slowly better - but slowly. GoodFriend says there's a chance there's a bone out of line - if so the recovery will be more complicated and a matter of x-rays and whatnot. Poor Magser. (She was telling us how it took her ages to hobble Hunchback-like to the parking metre down at the doctor - for some reason her characterisation of herself tickled her and she started one of the giggling fits she is endearingly prone to. She laughed till she wept. )
So. In conclusion - as I raise my head (Oh dear. There's some really appallingly bad writing going on here. Just as well no one reads this bilge. Or do they? Hrmmmm ;) from the funk, I realise I must Take Steps to make sure my life doesn't contract to the size of a pea, now I have finished my Masters. So, self, take this under advisement.
Every day:
GET EXERCISE (have started yoga again - it's in an old seminary in D9. Wonderfully creepy and gothic. Fantastic, and covers two points in one, since there are HUMANS there, and I can see them).
Also, self, every day do at least one of these:
DO FUN STUFF WITH JB (alongside our current OBSESSION, that is. West Wing, soo good. I like Toby. So wonderfully CRANKY).
Well, self, I believe I have addressed you loudly in capitals long enough. Be about your business, self. And take it easy.
I remain, your faithful superego,


I've been avoiding writing recently. There's been some upset and although as everyone says, it's therapy to write it all down, let's face it, it's painful too.
But, to make a start:
Dazzle, my sweet little 5-month niece, has to go for an MRI. At a routine check-up, the doctor found the fontanelle (if that's how you spell it - I am afraid to google it) has already closed over. They are concerned that this will affect the normal growing and development of her brain.
I am finding that my own brain is responding to this with a kind of pingpong of hope and fear - it's possible to rationalise, and say, yes, but that was just a GP looking for signs, not a specialist, and she'll be fiiiiiiine, and years ago, these tests didn't even exist and we're all fiiiiiiine, but there's that other voice, the fearful one, that can't bear the thought of little Dazzle being tested or having her soft skin pierced, and it doesn't take much for it to become catastrophistic (a word?) and start asking what will happen to her if the worse happens (bear in mind I don't even know what that might be. We are truly in demented imagination territory here). Back and forth, the pingpong game. And the thing is, there was no appointment for 3 weeks, so we are all stuck in this limbo until then.
We'll see.
As for this bind JB and I find ourselves in, it all came to a head when he came back from Boston. The pressure and fear became too much when I saw his dear face again, and I melted down like a nuclear reactor. There were many tears and admissions of fear. But he listened to me and he knows now how scared I am - fearful I will get pregnant, fearful I won't. He understands better about this bind I find myself to be in, he's going to try to relieve the pressure on me, and I think he is trying to come to terms with the fact that we may not have a biological child. So it's better.
But the basic situation - our problem, this bind, so to speak, is still there.
We'll see. Life will move on, and things will shift, and the things I thought to worry about, might not be anything, and things I didn't think to worry about, will be something. That is simply the way of it.