The Main

hunger games

 Ah. I didn't mean to leave it so long. I've taken up worky reins again in a small way and while this is most helpful to the mental health and feeling a part of things again, it takes up the very few free hours I have available, so that taking time for something else (blogging, gardening, getting haircuts) feels uncomfortably like robbing Peter to pay Paul. Some juicy projects have landed on my desk, beautiful, perfect beasts of projects which I must fit into 3 or 4 hours a day; the rest of the time I'm thinking how much I relish getting back into them. 

I am actually not complaining, I must add. It's nothing new, is it, and my situation of being one of two mostly free adults to one easy baby is ideal, rare and wonderful. I have lots of energy and happiness to give to Jay when I come back from work, and I appreciate keenly all my extraordinary luck, I do. The universe is smiling on me, the sun is shining, it's been a golden time. I feel I am where I've been going to all these years. 

Jay is in fine fettle, too. He's enjoying his cot, kicking his way all over it, waking me with a surprised cry when he finds himself up against the bars. He's doing a lot of babbling; when he cries it is much more communicative of simple needs and less of existential angst (or colic as the less poetic of us call it). Aaaahoooo, aaddooo, aiya, he says. You know? Ayyyooh? His field of vision must have expanded; now he can take in his feet, leaves, the tiles in the bathroom. Everything is interesting.

The other day the JB pointed out black circles you could see through the end of the bottle he'd been feeding out of for at least 10 minutes. Mould, people. MOULD. It seems I, the person who has been sterilising All The Things with neurotic care, inadvertently grabbed a dirty one that had been in the bag since the previous week, growing black fur. Well. I felt awful. I watched Jay tensely for the next day or two as if he was a ticking bomb. But no. No explosion, rather, even finer fettle. Totally, totally fine. Finer than fine. I am still sterilising but, you know. Colour me skeptical. I am similarly Fed Up with Aptamil and their constantly changing, arbitrary guidelines for making up formula, written on the side of their packets in their tut-tutting, fear-mongering tone, which at the same time contradict themselves, and make not even pseudo-scientific sense. It all smacks loudly of ligitious arse-covering, instead of giving real information and explanations people can understand. Boil exactly one litre of water, they say. Leave for exactly one half hour. Then I dunno, dance backwards in a circle, reciting the Greek alphabet. Bah. Just tell us why, you twits. What temperature should it be when you are adding the powder, exactly. That's all we need to know. It's not a flipping magic spell. And are we to not mention the fact that on the previous packet you advised pouring the boiling water into the bottle and capping it and then waiting 30 mins? (No matter the amount of water, by the way, always the magic 30). (Grr.)

Ah. Deep breathing. What is it about babies that attracts all the finger-wagging? A woman in the park hissed at me the other day: Don't you feel those raindrops? Dangerous! I was 3 minutes from home, and his buggy closes up to keep him dry. If that's what she meant, I don't even know. Maybe people make themselves feel good by styling themselves self-righteous Baby Protectors? Is that it? Perhaps a cape and tights would complete the look. They could hold meetings and discuss the failings of local parents and how their child did x because they did y and he's an engineer/doctor now. Bah.

Meanwhile though, actual friend parents have been MARVELLOUS with their honest and hilarious stories. So helpful. SO helpful. My friend E, whose child had finally slept through the night after weeks of shrieking the house awake told me one. He must be dead, her exhausted brain reasoned when she woke. But he'll still be dead if I sleep another 2o minutes, it won't make any difference really she thought as she rolled over. LOVE. (That child is now nearly five). Making babies by Anne Enright, in which she says it will occur to any parent to leave at some point but this would be like leaving your own arm. HOW FANTASTIC is that? VERY fantastic. VERY VERY. A neighbour with young daughter I never met before emerged and told me she knows how it can be, and they're great, beautiful, magical and relentless, but it gets better. I mean, let me be in that club.

Oh my, I must go to sleep soon, or I'll be banjaxed tomorrow. He is not, unlike our afore-mentioned caped crusadors' babies, Sleeping Through The Night. He's just too hungry at the moment, and when your baby has been in hospital with a feeding tube, it makes you more indulgent, I suppose. I don't mind at all. He is all magic and beauty. 

Night all



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?


Ug, I've been meaning, I've been meaning. [Insert rambling commentary on how I get so tired of myself and the way I go back and forth between perfectionism and half-arsed-ism, in relation to this blog and, indeed, everything else too.] Same old, same old.

I was away at the weekend. It has been busy. I always say that. It is always so. YAWN, me.
And while with one part of my brain I did know it was the end of August, I still managed to be surprised to see the big kids in their school uniforms, navy and plum, in their squeaky new shoes, walking home from school. It's really September.

Neither do I have any clue what has gone on with The Lady and nor has the agency, as of the last time we were in touch, anyway. (I do trust them to let us know.) The Lady was due on the 22nd August, so presumably she has had the baby, and perhaps has decided not to go forward with her adoption plan? Her choice, after all. I just hope that all is well for them both and her circumstances have changed in a way that makes life easier for her, because it has not been so far, from the little I know. Maybe things have improved somehow for her - this would be wonderful.

You know, I do see it's strange how I am not at all depressed about this. Here's the thing of it: sometimes I get feelings about the future. [Insert lightning and thunder sound effects.] Do you? I just get the feeling that things will work out in a certain way, and they do. This feeling has been missing for oh. So. Long. Years. But now I feel it again; like the old me, I feel becalmed and ready. Maybe it's hope? Or optimism? Blind faith? I don't know, but I feel more like myself than for a long, long time. I feel brave, friends. Me! The ostrich. Maybe all this embracing of my emotions lately has helped, my life has certainly expanded. Maybe I have simply moved on out of the rut. Can it be?

Also, while I am sticking my ostrich neck out, over the parapet, in the interest of having a record and to test if my psychic abilities are in fact hogwash, let me also say that the vision that always leapt unbidden to mind of our child, for oh ten years, was of a little black boy. I can see him now, sitting on our kitchen floor. And the Lady's child is white. So, for what it's worth, eh. Let's see what happens; what will be, will be. 

The JB in the meantime, has gone off to San Francisco, the lucky divil, so I am in solitary mode, lord of the remote control, occupier of the middle of the bed, alone but for the cat (my familiar, you understand) and my psychic visions. 

I hope you're well, all.


the wait continues

Thank you for all your lovely comments. It is so comforting to know you are still there, ready with offerings of humour and succour. Thank you, truly.

We are back in Dublin and there has been no word from the agency about the Lady. I don't know what to think about this, although looking at the Lady's profile it is not entirely surprising; it seems she has a tendency to put things off and Heaven knows it can't be easy. In the meantime, it's as if my adrenals have decided to put up a sign on the subject saying "Stress about this later". Which is working reasonably well, oddly enough. We have no power in this situation, as the JB and I were saying earlier; we might as well at least try for a modicum of good grace. 

We'll see how that works out.

The JB is already five steps ahead, sourcing documents we'll need if this time doesn't work. (The US agency requires yearly medicals, police clearances and whatnot). I can't help worrying how he'll take it if it's a no. (Must stop trying to manage his emotions, am being co-dependent. Oh, bleah. Does this working on yourself and your relationships never end? Will I ever learn?)

I have a small mountain of work waiting, but will keep you posted.
I look forward to your posts.
Till later,


Lovely patisserie photos:





Screwit unto the very ends of the earth, I knew there was a reason for updating more often, otherwise, you don't know where to start. Also such not able articulate to do.

I had the Betty-head a lot in the last few weeks. The usual weird veil over my vision and weird sleep-walking sensations and weird feeling like someone else. For instance, I have no anxiety at all when in Betty mode. Zero. I am unflusterable. Betty is. I am not in my body. Weirdness. So last Wednesday I overcame my deep aversion to doctors long enough to give mine a potted version of this. ("I don't feel myself" being the acceptable version of "I am Betty", in case you wondered; the latter might attract a undesirable diagnosis of Dissociative Personality Disorder or whatnot.) The doctor took some blood for testing for food allergies and iron.

As so often, I felt instantly better. Asking for help is good, it turns out, it opens things up. Doctors don't mock you or tell you you are a moaning minnie; I don't know why I thought they would, mind you.

And then on Sunday morning we got a email from the agency in the US. Would we like to show our profile to a birth mother due end of August along with some other couples? Yes we would. Yes, yes. Yesness. It was a straight-forward decision; the circumstances the birthmother finds herself in are sad, but not otherwise dramatic or complicated.

It's really hard not to let your mind go skittering torturously ahead, it transpires. It's such a uniquely, drastically on/off situation, a thing we are all well acquainted with from TTC days. But one attempts to stay in this here and now. I have a lot of plans for September/October, for instance, which I am  seeing as a good thing.
Road 1: BABY! Plans out of window! Book me on a flight immmmediately!
Road 2: No baby. But nice distracting plans? Yes, those. Oh, okay.

No-one will die either way. It simply means this is not our baby. (Still, though! BABY!)

Oh! The BP explosion of universes has now been canceled until further notice. I am almost disappointed, and yet, on the other hand, OH! HAPPY! DAY! It seems the Non Trembler must now make it his business to scour the United States of America for a house that meet his rather stringent purchasing criteria.

Ah. I've run out of time.  I see I am hitting a not impressive average posting rate of ONE a month, so I will publish.

I hope all is well with everyone. Your status update is always of interest.


I know this theme is dull but it works on all devices. Anything for your convenience, reader!

stuff happens

That huge BPD collision is scheduled for the August Bank Holiday, on which day, keep eyes trained on the relevant horizon, where we might expect a mad puff of smoke to appear. In the meantime, some stuff happened:

  • I meant to follow up: do you remember Meet-up Friend? I did write to her, as you suggested, back in February, but heard no more until she came to our event a couple of weeks ago. She seemed quite well..? Hard to tell of course, and really just functioning at all after such a trauma is itself a fecking walking, talking miracle. People are truly extraordinary, and yet, of course, what choice has she? It was so good to see her surrounded by her friends, working away. I was glad she felt comfortable to be with us. 

  • The JB has failed his driving test. It transpires this centre has a failure rate of 60%, so this was to be expected, though this did not prevent his feeling offended by it. And thus I am condemned to be his practice partner for another few weeks. I hate to whine ( - well, actually, I enjoy the whining, but I prefer to delude myself that I am not a whiner. It's a conundrum.) I mean, I realise I am not going down the mine or anything, It's Not That Bad, but this supervisory stuff brings out the worst most picky, bossy and impatient side of me which I find deeply unflattering. I remind myself (cue thunder and lightning sound effects) of MY FATHER. Of all people! URG. Apparently I also have to admit I am very vain about these things, which is another uncomfortable truth I could have done without uncovering. Bleah. 

  • If he gets his licence next time, it would be excellent. If he doesn't, screw it, I think we should get an automatic. Those things are so wonderfully easy, it's basically a bumper car, as far as I can see.

  • Or we could wait until Google brings out a driverless car. Where is the future, Google? Come on, hand it over.

  • Other than this, I feel sort of scrambled, today, and in general, sort of inept and thick. I can't sleep, can you? If there is the slightest deviation from the regular bed at 11, up at 7 schedule, I am reduced to a quivering wreck.

  • Quivering, I tell you.

  • On the other hand, things aren't so bad. There are sparrow nests in the garden. (Luckily cat is an inept hunter, only catching very few small and ancient or possibly suicidal creatures). Some sweet rocket came out. I glow with pride when I consider I planted it two years ago. How mature of me! See that, deferred pleasure. No need to dwell on the rest of the garden which looks like it's been abandoned some years ago.
  • I babysat the niece and nephew last week. Babysat is the wrong word. I sat with them in the kitchen drawing pictures with my niece while the nephew misspent his youth on minecraft. 


  • And! Our little country isn't so backward after all. We have a lot more work to do, of course, but 62.07% in favour of marriage equality is good. It was a beautiful day; the sun shone, actual rainbows came out as if a sign of approval from the universe, and we were so happy and proud to be us.

Hope you are well, folks. What stuff is happening with you? Stuff, anyone?