Previous month:
December 2009
Next month:
February 2010

January 2010


My mind is playing a demented game of ping-pong, back and forth between terror and joy. Something happened that I thought I would never see: Test
[There have been three of these so far. Three convinced me.]

Complete TERROR and UTTER delight. This could be the best thing that ever happened to me, or the saddest. I have crossed the invisible line, an abstract longing has become a specific one, and no matter what happens (at my age the risk of miscarriage is something like 50% - [holy crap]) I'll never be quite the same again.

It is so strange to think that only two weeks ago, we decided, by a tiny sliver, not to go for IVF. Our appointment would have been on Monday the 18th. One of the reasons we cancelled was for this reason: the printouts from the fertility clinic underlined (and italicised) the need to abstain from sex for the month before the appointment, because on no account should the trial catheter be performed on a pregnant woman. On the day of that appointment, the egg must have already been fertilised. If we'd read the instructions, in timely fashion, like well-organised adults, we would have abstained, and we might been doing IVF now.

Isn't that odd? (Apart from being an incentive to be slapdash, I mean).

It's tempting to look for some kind of narrative meaning in all of this. But I have read too many heart-breaking stories on my friends' blogs, to take comfort in that, or in the idea that this was "meant". Because why for me, and not for them? They want this as much as me. They deserve it just as much.  I can't slide into any platitudes about how we'll all get there. What do I know? I can only hope.

And naturally I am far too fearful to see any hand of fate in this event. That could so easily convert itself into a boomerang which would circle around and clip me on the back of the head, painfully.

So I tread this line, between joy and fear, trying my best to stay in the present and let myself be happy.

T xx

ps. WFI, thank you for believing in me. I'm so glad I had my vita-bionics to take.

pps. I feel queasy. That's good, isn't it?

ppps. The Blearclue site at work = not a good idea. A tanned actress on it talks at you in a loud voice about how exciting it is to try to conceive. Oh, I could tell you stories, lady. 

back in the saddle again

Look! After 11 sessions of physio, an MRI, an X-ray guided steroid injection, and a manipulation under anaesthetic, I can:


but to be able to arm wrestle for my country or even, lift something that weighs more than this:

I have to do weights. (Urg?) Normally I never go to that testosterone-infused part of the gym, where the men are puffing away, and feel a bit funny about it. I might have to improvise at home instead, with cans of beans.

But you know. Good news! Shoulder is getting better. Now I am to keep an eye on the other, allegedly well-behaved one, which may, as they do in a percentage of cases, freeze up itself, out of sympathy. I have to test the range every day, a thing that always occurs to me to do in public places, before I forget. I have already hailed myself a cab by accident.

And, Smokey has been cleaned up, and is now awaiting in-betweens, and corrections to the tail, and to the volumes etc. Still, here is the work in progress:


Giddy up!


(PS. It was exhausting to watch, so I limited the loops. Refresh him by pressing F5! Oh, and it seems he doesn't run in firefox. Or only sometimes. Sorry, firefoxy people.)

The Mental Has Left

It's been an funny old infertility week. And by funny, I mean unfunny. I feel quite tired by it all, but not in a bad way, more in a floppy with relief way because the JB and I are now definitely in truce. I was glad of your comments, which made me see all this is normal, really, given the circumstances. And next time he is charging rhino-like, he advised me to tell him firmly:

JB! The Mental Has Come.

This is the magic phrase apparently. We'll see how it works.

No other news, much. I went for my medical (as per adoption process). The doctor measured me around the girth with that tape they use to deflate your ego find out if you need to lose any weight. My BMI was fine, but this tape thing was not fine. (34? whatever that is). And apparently medical professionals laugh at the BMI system. (Yes. Can't you just imagine them at cocktail parties, hooting away at BMI jokes?)

So I must keep going to gym, where I have been going, as per New Year's Resolution, but mysteriously seem to be getting less fit with time, and more like a over-heated puff fish.

The doctor ticked her way through the rest of the form, inquiring after my mental health. I tried my best to look sane. (Trying itself makes you feel a bit mad though, do you agree? The equivalent of the Policeman Syndrome, where you automatically feel all illegal in the presence of one.)  I must have passed that test, because she summed me up as having a pleasant personality and always seeming to be in a good mood.
Oh, me? Yes, yes. Good mood! Stable, not kray-ZEE at all!
You have to be careful how you word it, she told me. Inoffensive is apparently the way to go.

Still working on animating Smokey, though this week hasn't been the most productive. He needs some corrections and in-betweens. More on this later. I did do a few colour sketches in a half-arsed kind of way, too:


Next week, next week. Next week will be the one.

Till then, I wish you all a good night/evening/day, wherever you may be.

soap opera

A few streets away from here, there is a row of pleasant redbrick terraced houses. In the evening, the windows are warm lozenges of yellow, interrupted once in a while with a glimpse of one of the occupants. I walk along that way often, and feel a strong desire to walk up a path, go into a house and assume the orderly, pleasant life of someone else.

Because life in my own house has not been very easy, at the moment. I love the JB (etc etc. No, really. I do.), he is a sweetheart, he's lovely, he really is, but he has all the tact of:Charge_s

Last week, we came to the difficult decision that we would not pursue IVF. My chances were quoted at a puny 10% or so, and it didn't seem to make sense, because our chances "on our own" are not that much less, though hard to quantify. (To say nothing of the over e4,000 a throw). I presume I have the same chance as any healthy post 40 year old woman, now, post-lap & cystectomy. He was very disappointed and saddened by the slenderness of our chances.

So I could see where he was coming from yesterday morning he woke me up (BAD timing. 4 years of cohabitation have taught him nothing.) with the bright suggestion that egg donation might be the solution to all our problems. Marvellous! Eggs! Stick them in and hey presto! And when I started trying to put the brakes on, he had an answer for everything, and it was like our decision on how to have our family was more about who won this legalistic debate, than a question of arriving at a decision together, with our welfare as a family at the centre of it.

This made me resentful and inclined to tell him to feck off, and the whole thing escalated to the point where I said I might go away to stay with my friend in Carlow for a couple of days so I could calm down, and he kept saying, sadly, if you move out, that could be the end of us. I never said move out. ARGGGGGG! [Tearing out of hair. Sighing.]

A melodramatic rhino, did I mention?

Lucky he's pretty, as I often tell him. (Aside: Have completely lost faith in BMI system. The JB who goes to the gym three days a week and is the fittest person I know (if a little overfond of fried pig products), is 26.1 and should lose half a stone (7 pounds)? EH? He did his medical yesterday. They don't take into account someone's build or fat/muscle ratio at all. It's looney).

It took a lot of backtracking and rethinking and making of great efforts to understand to get back here, to where I can say when I am ready, we can think about that. Not before and never because I think it is a choice between that and our marriage.

Last night was surprisingly okay. Neither of us likes conflict and by default we are fairly buoyant - almost despite myself, I can feel the old spirits bobbing cork-like up to the surface again, and the old optimism re-emerging. There were lots of apologies and gentleness, and the quiet companionable watching of rubbish TV. There was the JB and there was Twangy, and the idea of our not being together began to seem ridiculous.

I'm afraid Smokey has taken a back seat for the moment, my home life having become a full-time job. Normal service will be restored asap. I want to clean up the gallop cycle and maybe make a storyboard for the sequence. Your opinion will be sought, as ever.

Till then, friends, I remain,

the past is another country

Our adoption application has been "activated", after two years of languishing on the list.

And so I've ploughed through the plethora of forms to fill in. They want, for instance, to know every single address I have ever lived at in my life, but provide only 4 lines on which to write them. I will need a bit more than that, I can tell you, (What are nomads supposed to do? Rhetorical question.) if I can even remember where I have lived. My mind is addled, you know. Quite addled. For instance, I just remembered now that we lived (my family and I, as is often the custom, when you are a small child) in Berkshire (the English one) for two and a half years.

But is there even a record of my family having lived there in the seventies? And why in the name of the living Hokey do they need child protection clearance for when I was four? These are the questions.

Perusing a list of old addresses is disconcerting, don't you think? A dip in the sometimes not-balmy past.
Ireland. England. Ireland. Italy. Ireland. USA. Ireland.

Years go by, assigned to different places. Decades of adulthood somehow vanish. I lived in a student flat-share in Pavia, in Italy, for 4 years, in a flat the temperature of which alternated between freezing and boiling according to the season, with an old scarred bathtub, aggregate marble floors, a roaring gas water heater, and malodorous heirloom furniture. There was an inch gap in my flatmate's window, I remember, now fondly. Our neighbour opposite used to curse us darkly as we came and went, in the local dialect. My mattress was stuffed with straw.
Ah yes.
I remember it well sort of, mistily.

Then there were the animator years, whiled away in a draughty and probably structurally unsound flat above a shop and across from a Chinese take-away, in a small town on the Jersey Coast, shared with some bright, demotivated members of the slacker generation, who liked nothing more than to stay up all night talking.

And now I live in a terraced house on the Northside of Dublin, with the JB. It goes back quite a bit, which you would not guess from its modest front:House And has not so much the wow factor so much as the oh!  (in mild surprise) factor. I love it, with its bumpy walls, ancient floorboards and layers of history. We can call this place home.

I'd love to hear about where you have lived.

Thank you for your encouragement on the descent artistic endeavour, everyone. You'll never know how much I appreciate this outlet, or how much it helps me to narrativise my life. (Well. Of course you will, really, for you are doing the same with your own blogs). It has become a kind of lock-up for my stuff, so it doesn't have to clutter up my head. That you are there to listen and respond, with all your enthusiasm, intelligence and kindness, is a wonderful thing.

reminder to self on how to animate:


  • Clothes should be ancient collection of mismatched fabrics. Try to look like a lunatic.

Yes, that's it:

Litter liberally with provisions, including:

  • a caffeine-delivery system (coffee, tea, JOLT etc) in bottomless mug.
    (No risk of dipping brushes in it by accident, nor poisoning yourself with a draught of white spirits, unlike when painting. So easy!)
  • paper with funny holes in it, and pencils, sharpened to weapon-like points
  • an animation wheel
  • music



  • Don't forget to adjust perception of time. A second is a long long time, like 12 drawings long.
  • Act fast (Har. Silly reference to a film there). In animation college you could witness rows and rows of students acting out goofy swinging a bucket and sitting in a chair, for one of their tests. That is, I mean, acting out Goofy, goofily. If this means alarming the neighbours by galloping around the garden, being Smokey, so be it.
  • And, GO! Animate, animate like the wind!

I haven't just been talking/thinking about it, surprisingly enough, tempting though that is. (Here are the knotty drawings for you, Valery!) I squeezed in some ruffs (as they say in the biz) of a gallop cycle:

And then I put the roughs in a sequence. This is the exciting bit - even very rough thumbnails like these can create the illusion of life:


One final thing:
  • Remember this: how you love this stuff.

instincts, sights and inspiration

Hundreds of Barnacle Geese flew over snowy Walsh road  in V-formation yesterday, splattering it with a hail of goose-manure, and honking as they went. It was a cheering sight. For one thing, they really seemed to know where they were going. I like that about animals. They always seem to know what they are doing. They just know, without faffing about with how-to guides, compasses, or travel books. We humans seem to have mostly lost touch with our instincts.
(Do you rely on yours, much? One time, when I was a young wan, I felt I absolutely must get up in the middle of the night, and decamp to the spare room, thus avoiding being flattened by the heavy old-fashioned plaster and lathe boarding which fell off the ceiling on to the bed that night. That's it though - that is the height of my mystical powers.)

Yesterday I literally bumped into Stephen, the self-confessed "most talented 25 year old in the country", and runner-up in The Apprentice (Irish version thereof), in Tesco. At first, I could not watch the programme, such was the terrible toe-curling cringe-iosity of the whole thing, but after seeing the review show with Brendan O'Connor, (wherein he talks to the most recently fired candidate, and they have a laugh at the show), I realised what a completely orchestrated performance it was. After that I felt free to enjoy the mortifying spectacle, heartlessly, along with the JB. It was so unintentionally funny.

I have been struck on the bonce by the muse with the inspiration to make a short drawn animated piece about an old horse we had, Smokey. He lived a long and happy life, unburdened, for the many years of his retirement, by the need to work, with only feed-time to interrupt his days. But last May, at the age of 29 (!!29), he finally lay down for the last time, and died. I have decided to subject you to the descent into madness share the creative process with you, lovely readers, if you're on for it.

It'll be fun! (Sort of, maybe.)

The piece will be a magic, dream-like vision of the old horse, with him galloping, ceaselessly, painlessly, like a youngster. I like the idea of a white horse galloping through the city, that could have a certain symbolic potential. I am feeling really inspired, like not for quite a while. 'Ray!

More on this soon.

Your animated,

Another HURRAY! I never win but now I realise how much fun it is.
Oh the sweet, sweet smell of success...

Twenty ten

There I am, a dot in the distance, bringing up the rear. Happy New Year, one and all.

The JB stayed in Kerry due to arctic conditions, so as to give KDiddy a hand, and I am "enjoying" a strange bachelorette existence at home in Dublin. It's a strange kind of limbo, frozen both in time and in fact, in which to make resolutions and slide around the roads in ungainly fashion.

So! Taps microphone. Order! order! Here are my resolutions:

(You will notice they are liberally peppered with disclaimers. I think I have covered all bases).

  • Get fit(ish/er) and run (or walk. Walking is nice too!) in the Women's Mini-marathon in June. I have done in before, albeit in a younger incarnation of Twangy. I think it was '96. (Gee. I am old.) Hard to believe, I know, if you aren't into it, but it makes you feel great to run, when you manage to get beyond the first horrible few times.

Oh yeah.
  • Make more animation. I aspire to making an animated art piece - (maybe) to a piece of music. I did actually go to animation college (Tests on squash and stretch, lip sync and follow-through! Life-drawing till it becomes an automatic activity, like blinking! Great stuff.) and though in some ways it is indeed an addictive, obsessive, labour-intensive madness, it is utter pure magic when it works.I could put bits up here and maybe get some feedback from you, lovely readers, (if you like).
  • And under Calming the Hay-ull Down, we have Go To Meditation Class with the JB. And be more present and in the moment, and less demented bluebottle fly with palpitations. I used to love meditation at the end of yoga, but that is out, at least for the present, because of the shoulder thing.
  • Continue to avoid landing marriage on rocks, (however narrowly. Scrapes are okay.) Steer for the metaphorical horizon on metaphorical sleek yacht, hair ruffled in the warm breeze, hand on tiller, like those couples you see in TV ads for Imodium or something.
So there we have it! In black and white, so to speak. I can see a theme here. I really need to strive for something - something I can control. Keeping in touch with the old passions will sustain me and remind me of the old carefree Twangy, during this 2010 of which you speak. At least, that's the plan.

Thoughts, related or otherwise, anyone?


May asked if the moment in which the JB wore blusher had been immortalised in pixels. Sadly not. However this is as I remember him. So pretty! And coy! (I seriously do envy his black lashes):