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December 2009

November 2009

head = MT

  • Zero inspiration today. Zippo. Have been fiddling away with one little banner all day. And still have nothing. No-thing. A non-banner.
  • It's so cold and dark out. Hibernation seems reasonable, realistic option.


  • PMS, perhaps? I do feel a bit crampy. I haven't been crime-fighting* since - emm - the neolithic era, it feels like, but was in fact September. This is only an effect of the zol@dex, and not for any other, happier reason, more's the pity.
  • On my to-do list I have written MIT HAT. I hope it's nothing important, because I certainly have no recollection of what it might mean.
{*Euphemism for PERIOD, (agree with May. Hate the word) the use of which expression causes flashbacks of the most excruciating, lying on the bathroom floor-ish moments of my teenage years.

I thought about and rejected these:
  • Playing Man U (do they play in red? I don't know. I want to hibernate.)
  • Fighting the Commies (rejected on grounds that am a bit of a pinko myself, in some ways)
  • Watching Channel 5 (no real reason for this, except that we only have 4 channels. Not because we think we are intellectual and want to spend our free time revising our Dante, I hasten to assure you, but because we cannot be trusted with the remote. We zap insanely, get sucked in and end up addicted to The Hills.
    Alright, it's me. I do.
  • Finding yourself in a conundrum. As in: I'd like to go salsa dancing tonight, but I'm in a conundrum.
  • . This, a full-stop (yes, you know what our American friends call it). Cryptic? As in: I'd like to go synchronised swimming tonight, but . }

    Thoughts welcome, as per.
    (Though if you're even still here at this point, I'm very impressed!)

The cure

This morning I stepped magically through the force-field into the inner sanctum of the illusive surgeon. He was a rather forward, twinkly older man, who wasted no time in telling me to take off my top half. (Slightly panicked moment while I hoped the vesty thing I was wearing to show shoulder off in didn't count as clothes. Was I really to stand there in broad daylight, 100% topless? No, it turned out.)
Then he made the usual comments about how young I was to have this problem! Goodness me! Young! Arthritis! (Or arthuritis as we call it in Dublin). Depends who you ask, I mutter, when they say that. And did I do a lot of sport to cause all this wear and tear? Err, no. Luckily! If I had, I'd be totally banjaxed, to use the correct medical term, and in early retirement.

[Aside: Do you ever wonder if you might have an undiscovered talent? What if you just never got a chance to shine at curling, croquet or lion-taming? Maybe you could have been a natural at the luge? I have a freakishly good sense of smell, which is the only one I can think of.

If only smelling was an Olympic sport.

Aside over.]

The long and short of it is that I have to have the manipulation under anaesthetic, where they lever your arm back and forth, and depending on how that goes, maybe a shoulder-oscopy, (the proper word escapes me now), because the improvements I have seen don't seem to register with Twinkly Mr. But this is okay, if it's really the cure. I don't want to be Twangy Pearl the Arthritic Woman.

It will happen early in December, the same week as my IVF appointment with the ChildDr. They say I'll be physically be up to seeing her on the Friday. Though I don't know if this is optimistic, from the psychological point of view. (Advice welcome). I might try to move the ChildDr forward, although this might be tricky as she is going on her holiers after that. (She is only twelve, after all.)(Hee! Sorry, Doc).


In other news, the Noddycar was subject to another attack recently. Some fecker/s kicked the door in until they could prise it open, (Typepad doesn't know the word "prise". Or "fecker". Sheltered?) and rifled through my glove compartment, where they found nothing valuable at all. This was annoying. But then Willie Horan, car bodywork fellow, workshop at Glendalough rd, Dublin 9, fixed the door for me for FREE! so now it doesn't leak anymore!
Willie Horan who restores cars and faith in humanity!

(I am spreading the word).

Luck be a laydeee

I prised the JB off his laptop yesterday and away down to take my parents out for lunch. I am in that
momentous mood, (anyone else ever feel like this?) where every moment seems gilt-edged, fleeting and full of poignancy. All that has gone on recently, with my Da's stroke, and my uncle's diagnosis, (and by the way Spike and Dazzle's other granny, whom we know well, also has had a re-occurrence of breast cancer, thankfully early-detected, so fingers crossed for her), has underlined, in quadruple, the shocking brevity of life. I am also painfully aware, that we are not a  long-lived family. Of my father's five siblings, only he and his younger sister are left (although, actually, I am not sure if The Unmentionable One, (the family Black Sheep. Have you got one in your family?) is still living. No way of knowing!

If this is grim, sorry, I don't intend that at all. What I want to say is that we sat together in the lovely restaurant and I just loved every minute as it passed. My parents were in great form, getting the giggles, and enjoying being there. 

(I am so sentimental. People sometimes mistake it for sarcasm but no, I actually am this soppy.)
(I am also a bracket-over-user. (Sorry about that. Must learn to punctuate)) .



One of the many curses of infertility is that it makes it impossible to consider the undoubted trials of
parenthood coolly, with a dispassionate eye. Such discussions are hard. The JB and I dare not talk about parenting styles, names or schools, out of some dark superstitious fear that somehow the considering itself will mean we'll never be parents.
(Mad, I know).

When every mention of an imaginary child compels you to perform a complicated, evil-eye repelling, genuflecting, knocking on wood, crossing digits, please God-ing (JB), saluting magpies ritual that risks leaving you with a slipped disc, at the very least, you tend to just avoid the entire thorny subject. So many things go unsaid.

And so I have invented this handy device which encompasses all the above. When I invoke the token, we can take the above ritual as read. Okay? I hope you are with me on this. It's inspired by an ancient fertility symbol, as you can see.


For instance, I'd like to:

Send our child to an non-religious school.
Make up stories and pictures for our child.


Make/knit our child clothes (Like my mother did for me. They were lovely. Of course this might be a stretch. Might be better to stick with the stories and pictures).


Play board games together.

Play dress-up, make local friends-of-family, have dinners together, have corny family jokes, have a family life, be a family.


Well, now. That is not for the faint of heart, but not bad for a start. Might have to have a sit-down now, and a stiff whiskey.

Your nervously-wrecked,

PS. On a less self-centred note, I hope none of you has been affected by the floods..?  Very worrying.

life cont.

Thank you for your lovely comments the other day. After a couple of days feeling simultaneously stressed, depressed and demotivated,  I've gone into an unsteady state of hope/despair about it. Also, it's given me reason to note, once more, that life hasn't stopped, and it is so short. We must carp the diem.
And so I bring you the latest:

Last night was Date Night the III - our effort to stay out of the Home for the Bewildered.

It's was the JB's turn to cook last night. At 7 I started getting a bit worried, not so much because he had failed to come home, as because I was really, really hungry. I was eyeing the furniture. (It reminded me of that novel by Helen Dunmore, where the people were so hungry they were reduced to boiling leather. Although, yes, obviously, their straits were slightly direr than mine. Whereas I, I am modern, and first-world-ish and therefore spoilt).

Apparently he'd been going all round town, hunting "a truffle". There was not a truffle in the whole of the city, so he got another recipe, and declared his intention to "mix and match" them, a phrase more usually associated with 1970's ladies' outfits. It wasn't particularly reassuring, since the other one was based on pistachios, but actually it turned out very edible and quite delicious.
(I've said before the JB is like a very nice Martian. He seems so at odds with the world, it's like he just landed in the spaceship half an hour ago. See: last night, he diligently brought peppercorns home, and was gazing down into the jar, as if he'd never beheld such an extraordinary thing:
Have a look at the instructions, there. One, is it?

One peppercorn. That'd be minimal.)
So that went well. Hurray!

My poor Martian JB had to go to the Wankatorium yesterday, to prove once more that that is not where the problem lies. So. E-hem. It went well, I believe, and he handed over his little container successfully. Then, (odd, this) he pocketed a few extra containers while in the Little Room, because they "might be useful".
What for, I thought it best not to ask.
(Martian, I tell you!)

And today I am down to the line as far as the piece for the Cool People. And, I have a powerpoint thing to finish for tomorrow morning. Oh dear.
I have promises to keep. Tree

This is one of the images for the show, now on the cutting room floor.

[skip if feeling low]

It's never the thing you worry about, is it? It's always some other thing, waiting to trip you up. You might think you can cover yourself, as if worry was some kind of insurance policy against pain. But that is ridiculous, it turns out.

My aunt has suffered from MS for over 20 years. Her gradual decline has entered a newly awful phase this year. She's been in and out of hospital where at one point she wouldn't eat for a few days, she was so sick of being sick. My two cousins and my uncle are her wonderful, kind-hearted, dark-humoured carers, and she is amazingly good-natured and unresentful. 

So it is particularly hard for my cousins, who are only in their twenties, to discover that it is not their mother but their father who is terminally ill now. Their father, who has been such a stalwart for all these years, who seemed indestructible, with his roar of a laugh and good heart, has bowel cancer with secondaries.

For my mother, too. She is 9 years older than her brother, and when he was little, was the one to get him up in the morning, to dress him in his knitted jumpers and shorts, probably, and play with him.

I am shocked. I am shaken, and it's not even my story. It's so sad.
Words fail me.

some things of very little consequence

No bon mots have been forthcoming from JB, unfortunately, though he is going through an entertaining/annoying phase [delete as applicable] of Playing the Martyr.

I'm just a fooool who loooves you!
he proclaims, at the drop of a hat, in an industrial strength Kerry accent.
Also: SADNESS, said in robotic manner, in response to anything that doesn't particularly please him.

Sorry there's no bread left, JB, someone might say.

It looks like rain.

Working late again, JB?
I'm just a fooool who loooves you!

Marge Simpson-like: Hrmmmmmmm.

My mother is 70 as of yesterday. What do you get someone who says she wants nothing, and needs nothing and maybe even genuinely wants nothing?

Dare I say: something?
Something, it has to be! To give nothing is a metaphysical impossibility, isn't it? Not to mention a bit of a social faux-pas.
It's quite a conundrum, as you can see.

*(If metaphysical is the thing I mean, clever readers?)

I have it on good authority (JB's colleague's wife/partner told me) that cats don't meow at each other, they only meow at people. So, in fact, according to the good authority, meowing is a cat's attempt to speak Human. Isn't that charming and clever of them? Like tourists in Spain, trying to communicate with the taxi-drivers, only instead of asking for a hotel, el aeropuerto or the station, what do you think they want to share with us? We should know, we're the ones with the big, fancy, supposedly evolved brains. (Whereas theirs are the size of a bean).

Maybe this:
Insights from people who know these things are welcome.

I wish we had a cat or dog, but the JB seems to have mixed up the Mean Parent Handbook with the Good Husband Handbook and keeps saying: We'll see.



on the dotted line

So, the shoulder is improving, but at such a slow pace, it's like watching trees grow. Day to day, you don't notice it, but somehow it happens. (Or so I hope).

The last time I went to the sports physician in the fancy, metal-scaled, Frank-Gehry-rip-off clinic, she referred me to a surgeon, whose specialty is The Shoulder, so he could tell me if it needs an operation.
But every means of communication has failed in the attempt to communicate with this illusive man - post, fax, email, smoke signals, thought transfer and most recently, hand-delivery, in person, to his pigeon hole - all these only resulted in his secretary denying all knowledge. I don't know how many times I rang the various secretaries trying to just make the letter go through. It seemed really, really extra mad because his "suite" is only upstairs from the referring physician's room.
That's right, it's in the same building.
Strange, I know:


I am only theoretically annoyed about this because, in a way, I don't really want be "seen" by him. Maybe this is unfair, but I fear surgeons see a problem and want to carve cut you up slice and dice solve it with surgery, rather than any other kind of intervention. Is this how he'll "see" me, as a floating, disembodied shoulder?

If anyone has any insight to offer on this (or any other matter), please pass it on.

[Aside: do you think surgeons are secretly embittered because their title is Mister, instead of Doctor? I always wonder about that. All those years of study, operating on and explaining things pointlessly to semi-conscious people, with none of that instant reverential respect that the Dr prefix inspires? I would be a bit miffed, I think].

This morning though, the stars must have been arranged in the pattern of a sub-scapularis, or maybe the moon was in the House of Surgery,  for finally I got my appointment to see Mr ShoulderMan, for later in the month. Unless I myself am repelled from his door, of course!

Time will tell.

*the cool

The clan met at my parents' house yesterday, and I borrowed a jigsaw from Brother to make a wooden box for a show. He showed me its functions and buttons while Spike (4.5 years of age) quizzed us with urgent, unanswerable questions, like:

But what shapes can you really make with it?
Any shape you like, Spike.
But where are the shapes?
Brother strongly recommended safety goggles (he has accidentally embedded various shards and pieces of DIY shrapnel in his eyes, over the years) for sawing. I don't have any goggles, but oh! now I think of it, I do have some prescription swimming goggles, which I bought recently in an effort not to miss anything in the pool. I can wear those. I'll be like Bono, but with a jigsaw instead of a microphone and without the fans.

(note haughty killer-like expression).

Yesterday evening, after that, we had a meeting in the exhibition "space". (It's always a space, with artists, as you probably know). The meeting was populated with a lot of desperately cool, twenty-something artists in a freezing warehouse in a dodgy part of the inner-city. All the exhibiting artists sat there - a beardy one, some long-haired girls, some pierced ones and one performance artist with the most fantastic facepaint (I didn't dare ask if she had just come from a performance or if this was her usual get-up, if so, very impressed) - as the one of the cool ones explained how the show is going to work. I sat there quietly, glad no one knew The Archers were on my mp3 player.

One of the Young People complained about the cold in there (it's true, there was that bone-chilling concrete dampness) and another one pulled up his top, to show us his vest, and said:
One euro in Guineys! (an inexpensive, nearby clothing/bric-a-brac shop, kind of a Dublin institution).
And they all laughed inordinately. I smiled benevolently to show I was friendly. Inside I was thinking, middle-agedly:
Yes, thermal vests. They are not really all that funny, they keep older people (like me) nice and warm.

It was exciting, in a way being twenty-something. But the effort! The endless grooming to appear casually tousled, the fake ennui, the desperate trying to appear experienced!

I prefer being older, on the whole. I think I've been waiting all my life to be middle-aged. And now I am! (Hurray! What an achievement.)

Which was your favourite/least favourite life-era, so far, I'd like to know?

{*oops forgot to title. }


(Oh dear. The thing is, I can't seem to stop blogging. It's become a displacement activity. There are so many things I should be doing instead, like working on my show, or quoting for a job, laundry, house-work, such-like. We have instituted Date Night on Wednesday evenings, in an effort to avoid the Home for the Bewildered, so I should probably be plucking my eyebrows or something. You know, real world stuff. 

But never mind that, on with the blogging!)


People are funny. 

I was inspired to do a bit of weeding in the front, last week, before Kerry. (Though, in truth, part of me feels this is discriminating against the weeds. I mean, you know, just because a plant isn't as pretty as the other plants, and is good at growing, must it really be executed by strangulation? After all, I suffered an unattractive, gawky phase in my childhood, where I was the tallest in the class, by at least 6 inches. I was 5 foot tall when I was 8. Very weedy, but no one even attempted my execution. I was thinking about this, as I weeded, in my conflicted way.)

A grey-haired woman came along and we exchanged a "hello!" all friendly-like. She paused.

"Now, please say no, if you don't want to", she said, "but I was wondering if you'd like to collect for the church."

In my new-found honesty, I felt compelled to confide in her as follows:
"Oh! Well, you see, I am not actually a member of it."
And she was all nice and reasonable and said:
"Oh that's fine, even if you were, you still wouldn't have to! I just thought I'd ask as I saw you there."

Beguiled by this lovely respectful way of going about things that the nice lady had, I gaily confessed:
"Actually I'm not even a Catholic!" (not forgetting to slip in, perfidiously) "Though my husband is." (Har! Poor JB)

"Oh well," she said. "Great day for weeding!"

"Indeed!" I agreed, (a word that only ever comes out of my mouth when conversing with vicars and older people) and I go back to the weeds, thinking what a beautiful thing ecumenical relations really are, how we join together in a peaceful reconciliation, each respecting the other, living in harmony.

But as my new friend moved off, her parting shot across the bows was:

"And you have plenty of them!"


hello estrogen my old friend

Zol@dex-days are over. Hurray! Although I can hardly complain, it didn't seem to bother me too much, apart from the insomnia.

(Well. Honesty compels me to make it a matter of public record that Zol@dex-sex is not as - ehem - "interesting" as the usual kind. For me at least. And now, let's draw a veil over that whole thing.

Quick, where's the veil? The veil..? 



Well, as I say, technically, the zola-days are over, and yet, I still can't sleep the whole night through, and I am having mildish hot flushes. (Which have the unexpected benefit of cutting down on central heating costs, incidentally).

Maybe my system is trying to reset itself. Who knows? It's such an intricate, fragile thing, this hormonal system. This whole gynaecological set-up. It makes my head hurt to think about it. When I grapple with the idea of it, sometimes I get this odd and alienated sensation, as if I am shooting backward through space, till everything in the world is tiny and ludicrous-looking, and I think:
Seriously, this is the apparatus we humans are to use to reproduce?

This is The Plan?

Am I the only one to feel like this? Feel free to jump in any time.
Aaaanytime at all!

My mother used to look at me sometimes when I was a child, being crackers in a world of my own creative, and say, not meanly at all, but as if she was telling me there was some pie left in the fridge:

I sometimes wonder if you are all there.

I think now might count as one of those moments.