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August 2009

fight the good fight, finish the race

So there I am yesterday morning at nine, skidding across town in the NoddyCar, to my niece's Baptism. The roads are empty, and although the weather is strangely damp and tropical, there's a satisfying back-to-school, new book, new page feel to the air, and I feel momentous and alive-alive-oh. (This has been going on a while, the good mood. I just feel happy, despite some reasons to the contrary. It's almost a physical feeling of optimism, like that tickle you get in your belly when you're excited. Is it possible that I know something I don't know? Or am I just ding-batty? Rhetorical question.)
And then everyone is in the church and we're all smiling indulgently at our lovely girl, Dazzle, who at one and a half has blossomed into the most charming and lovely person. She has a way of pointing out every dog and bird she sees, with great urgency, as if she knows you've been waiting all day to see them.
Daug! (dog) she says. And Bah! (bird). She can put her finger on her nose and your nose and identify people in photos. She looks meditatively at her shoes, when you ask her where they are. She carries a red cotton handbag with a plush Andrex puppy-daug in it. She puts the bag on her head for her entertainment and looks like a Russian. She's amazingly sweet-tempered, even when some people (ehem) jostle her, or take things from her.
And there she is, getting christened at the font, by the nice lady rector.
Fight the good fight, finish the race, says the Rector to Dazzle.
Bah! says Dazzle to the Rector.
(She fears the Rector may have missed that bird outside).
Afterwards, we all go to Brother's for a wonderful spread put on by Dazzle's mother, Flossie. It's really good. My father is there, he looks so happy and even (having got all-clear from the doctor yesterday on his swallow) has a glass of champagne and gets minutely tipsy after his 3 months involuntary detox. My mother looks tanned and well, Brother too. Flossie's cousins tell me Dazzle looks most like me, and I bask warmly in this compliment. We eat, drink and talk. Dazzle is duly and rightly celebrated.

Be as happy as you can be, Dazzle. Grow up strong and healthy. I hope mightily for the best for you.



Today on the tram coming back from picking up the clocks, I saw two identically dressed twins, all decked out in denim jeans and matching jackets. They got on at Hueston and wanted to know if the tram would bring them to Jervis St. They were at least 35.

Then, also out of the LU.AS window, I saw a bike locked to a lamp post, with handcuffs. I don't know what it might have done to deserve this.

The JB has pushed off to his home town for a few days to see KDiddy, as we call his father. I do hope he comes back feeling calmer, because recently he has been rather gloomy. I dread to think what he might be like if something really bad happened, like if I had a miscarriage or something. DREAD. The wailing, the gnashing of teeth. It seems odd to me because when I met him, he seemed so happy-go-lucky, like nothing would get him down, and I seemed like the depressive “artistic” type, but now he's a bit of a prophet of doom and I'm all perversely cheery. If he was a action figure with a pull string, he'd say: "It's a disaster!"
Artist's impression of such, for the greater understanding of the JB Disaster [This image is brought to you with the approval of the JB]

He says it too. We joke about my theory based on something someone once told me, that in rural Ireland long ago, it was the practice to employ professional mourners to come to funerals. You'd pay these people to keen and weep theatrically, with the intention, I suppose, of impressing upon the funeral-goers their terrible loss, (although if they weren't getting it on their own..?).
Am wondering if maybe the JB comes from a line of them?
Just a thought.

Your answer-seeking,

ps. Thanks for the comments. It was really fun to get them, it was like finding that little men really do live in the TV.

Darling, we've got VISITORS!

This blog has always been a combination of cheap therapy and a way of documenting things that otherwise Time Would Have Forgot(ten). Until I read the encouraging words of the lovely Wifey last week, it never occured to me, in my wildest dreams, that people, you know, actual human visitors (as opposed to trained monkeys) might drop in and care to spend whole minutes that they'd never get back reading my strange therapy/documentation combo. But then for the first time, I checked my stats, and lo! The visitors, they are coming, in their double figures!


Now, err, just let me tidy up a bit, make the place respectable, there, that dust can be swept under the sofa, and if I just move that lamp, no one will notice the broken links in the mid-noughties - there! Now, just put out the welcome mat. I may even add links!


a brush with the medical

Artist's impression of my doctor at the clinic.

I don't know what I expected but the most high-achieving and competent 12 year old in the world wasn't it. I looked her up on the web, and there she is, getting her qualifications in South Africa in '95, and therefore, despite all appearances, not 12, but rather in her thirties. Yet, she is TINY, like a preteen dressed up as a adult in black tights and a dress, I tell you.
The child Doctor told me that my tests are looking good, apart from the scan which shows my Whoppers, (the Monster-endo-cysts). She recommends a lap and then IVF, given my advanced age. (I, at any rate, am not 12, more's the pity).
So there's that to digest. I think I'll have the cysts out anyway, to improve "the environment", as she called it. (I felt like suggesting putting a few trees and a recycling centre in there, but resisted the urge).
 IVF, I don't know. I am afeared of it, still, but, there you are in the clinic, and there they are telling you what they can do for you, the momentum alone is liable to carry you along.

I had a blood test then, after a quick crossant with the JB, and trotted over to the GP where I waved my arm up and down as much as that is possible. She agreed that it is "bad", and on the road to being a frozen shoulder altogether, and referred me to a Sports Surgery Clinic in my neighbourhood, where apparently they are all state of the art and whatnot, (although  the word "surgery" in their name is not filling me with confidence).
Thus endeth the update.
(I do this for posterity, you know.)

Your duly examined,

back on ould sod

Yesterday, while we were on a train to Munich, the Fertility Clinic rang and rescheduled our first appointment to Friday, that is, tomorrow, which means: Gaaaah! My blood pressure is climbing even as I type this. As is my custom though, I am determinedly hanging a sign up in my head which says: THINK ABOUT THIS LATER. Combined with some loud interior la la la singing in there, this strategy helps me to survive all manner of embarrassing Dr's appointments/ interviews/exams.
It is hard to hear over the la-la-LA-ing, though. I have loads to do in the house, and catching up with work, and making lists of all the Fantastic Things I planned to do when I got home. (Coming home from holidays is the equivalent of New Year's Eve because as I leave, the thought that I may never see home again never fails to enter my head, uninvited. So when I get home, I am all new and full of vim, because, surprisingly enough, I AM ALIVE! I make all kinds of resolutions. I am reborn! Hurray!).

Before I forget all about Zell, here is a quick tour of our photos:

PICT0180 Wonderfully repressive sign on carriage of train. The grumpy old woman in me loves this.

PICT0184 Cake-like building in Innsbruck, with icing window frames. (Photo does not convey wilting heat).

I am a giant framing device. I am massive, bigger than Alps! I AM A COLOSSUS.

PICT0214 Day of big long walk down mountain. In the battle between fear (avoiding chairlift, but walking all the way down to the town) and laziness (taking the frightening, frightening chairlift but avoiding big long walk), I fear that fear won.

PICT0223 Far far distant town of Zell, and no way to get there except Shank's Pony. Hrmm.

Your cowardly

International relations

As  we prepare to leave Austria tomorrow, and return to our regularly scheduled lives, I have the following insight to share:

Some Austrians I have encountered have this funny way of frankly staring at one. While I see that this is probably cultural, and not meant to mean anything, it is deeply disconcerting for an Irish person. In Ireland, you see, the routine tends to be:

  • Accidentally catch someone’s eye as he/she is thinking about his dinner, or having other private thoughts, and thus has face in neutral or straight position.
  •  Immediately switch to charm-defensive, don’t-hurt-me, I am nice, Nervous Smile.
  • Receive corresponding, I won’t hurt you, I am nice, and you are nice, disarming smile from Other Irish person.
  • Go about business, reassured that all is well with world.

In Austria this everyday exchange is more on the lines of:

  • Receive frank stare from Frank Starer
  • Try Nervous, Disarming Smile
  • Receive further frank stare
  • try Nervous, Disarming smile, harder this time, for surely, this time, it’ll take
  • Receive further frank stare
  • Now unable to fake any more smiling, as face is in rictus, turn and run like rabbit from Frank Starer and whole nerve-wracking situation.

Yesterday, while up a mountain, and thus, in Glad to Be Alive At All as Have Survived Cable Car Mode, a woman in black tights and ballet shoes* caught me twice in her Frank Stare. I shot down the mountain path with JB hot on my heels, saying she’s after us! GAHHH!
In Ireland, the Frank Stare signifies Deep Disapproval and is to be used only in cases of excessive sweet package rattling in the cinema, or cycling on the pavement, or similar.  To live in Austria, as an Irish person, would thus mean a life of feeling one is being disapproved of, and is thus sadly struck off the list of countries where I’d like to live.**
More insightful observations soon! We leave Land of the Frank Starers tomorrow. As home and all that means approaches, and this delightful alpine parenthesis ends, I confess to a little nervousness re my various test and proddings I am to receive at the hands of the Dr at the clinic. Also my father is to be allowed spend a night at home next week, which is good, and everything, but just slightly alarming too.
Your rabbit-like

*which only added to the menace

**although who knows really why they stare, possibly they are thinking: Ah so, sehr gut, wilkommen in Osterrich, Shy Little Foreigner! I mean, for all I know.

Twangy goes to Zell am See


Austria. It's pretty, you know.


Twangy is feeling jolly by the lake.

PICT0153 Twangy is feeling less jolly, now that she's hanging by a thread over far-below ravines and gorges. (And, since she is now discovering that her husband is petrified of heights, and has reverted to hardcore pre-Vatican II Catholicism, and is invoking every saint in the canons.) PICT0129 Still, at least he's pretty.


And funny.


Like all the best turns,  it came quite out of the blue. I have a number of tests to do before I meet the doc in the Fertility Clinic in September, so as to expedite the reading of the runes vis-a-vis my chances of getting knocked up. There was one, an ultrasound, that had to  be arranged on the first day of the cycle, that needed to be ticked off the list. So I thought I'd be all efficient this week and get it done.
I thought it'd be like the others, ie, with a technician who would just record the scan and let me scarper, in a way that allowed me to do the whole thing in a kind of absent-minded dream state.
But no. The technician who for some reason preferred to remain nameless, and did not introduce herself, put her wand up my Khyber pass and announced I had 2 big cysts, which she thought were endometrial. As in, associated with endometriosis.
It does all fit, now I think about it. I don't have any of the symptoms for PCOS, and all my hormone levels are tickety-boo. I have had some symptoms of endometriosis (but nothing like the excruciating pain women with it complain about and in fact, now I think an eminent gynaecologist once told me that if I had it, it was very mild) but these cysts, which by the way, are freakishly big (6cms across! I am almost proud. I should give them names.) are full of what looks like chocolate, (this slightly disturbing description on Wikipedia) are hard to overlook. So it could fit.
So. After the initial shock, I feel kind of.. fine about it, honestly. For some reason, (probably all the drinking I did in my early 20s), I have to concentrate very hard to work up a state of worry about it. For at least this particular phase of things is over, and we know what the problem is, and even if I have to have a lap, so what, at least something can be done.
So I am oddly relieved and now I have told JB, and he was all lovely and sweet about it, I am happy.
Which is probably the final proof, if any were needed, that I am a nut.
(I typed nit the first time, which fits pretty well too).
If I had an Indian name, it would be Denies Reality, but really, who cares, if I have learnt anything at all over this process, it's that you have to take comfort where you can, not go borrowing trouble, let it unfold, and generally BE HERE NOW.
I leave you with this stirring piece of homespun philosophy.
Your nutty,
PS Taking monster cysts to Austria on Monday. Doc says ok to bring them over borders, no need to declare them in customs or book extra seats for them. Hurrah. Badly in need of rechargery of batteries.