The Ort world


Well. I think I am now sort of facing the right way and maybe even sometimes perhaps might feel the wind is behind us this time. Maaaybe.

I am dealing with paperwork for the agency while the JB cavorts in Chicago on his annual "work" trip. The medical didn't cause any problems. I like this doctor. She is kind and practical and reminds me of a woodland creature, which is a bonus. Slight snafu in that there is a requirement for a TB test and she tells me that if I have had CBG vaccine in the Byzantine era also known as Twangy's yuf, which I did, I will most likely test positive with the Tine test, and therefore must go and get a chest x-ray to confirm the non-existence of TB in my lungs. How fun. I am going there today for this unnecessary blast of radiation to my vital organs!  YAY. Actually, who cares, I feel quite whateverish about it. At this stage I would dress up like a poodle and jump though a flaming hoop in order to make this happen. The cholesterol tests might be also be a good idea given my heart-disease riddled family, too. 

I have been getting out quite a bit, in an effort to avoid losing the power of speech in the absence of the JB. Otherwise I would fully expect to be communicating exclusively in meeows at this point. (What is the proper verb of the noise cats make? I do not know.) On Tuesday, I went to a sparsely populated life-drawing class in a Georgian building. It might have been better attended except the facilitator sent an email out in the afternoon, in which he told us that the class would be a reverse one, where we'd have to strip and the model would be clothed. 


April Fool's.

It is a weird social convention, isn't it, that says public nudity is a crime and oh so shameful, except when for art, where it is perfectly okay. I am not terribly naked myself. We don't have the climate, you see, or the central heating, for what in this house is referred to as The Air Bath.

I leave you with this startling revelation.

Have a good weekend, everyone.


I have been finding myself very silly.

The first occasion of embarrassment happened like this: I applied for a show, sort of a voluntary community-ish affair, that has as its theme mental well-being and is to run in a few weeks. Time passed, the show approached, and no response was received from the curator.

Grr, I said, earlier this week, bloody curators! They don't even let you know that you haven't been selected! And it's for mental health! The irony of making people depressed by denying their application to a mental health awareness event! THE IRONY.

 All fired up and dangerously intoxicated by my own pique, feeling I was striking a blow for all artists everywhere and anyone in the world who hasn't Been Got Back To In Timely Fashion, I flamed off an email to the curator:

Dear whosit,

I didn't get an email saying my work wasn't chosen for Your Festival - I wonder did it go missing or something, as I am sure you wanted to acknowledge all entries, and the work that went into them?

Blah blah, good luck with the show anyway, etc.

And she replied immediately: The reason you have not yet received an email is because your work has been shortlisted. As an artist I completely understand the time and consideration each proposal takes...

Oh! CRINGE. And:
Our festival is run by six volunteers, we organise all events in our spare time, we appreciate your patience.

I DIED on the spot, even as I was leaping to the ground off my high horse and apologising profusely for the jumping of the gun. And then, when I met her, (of course) she turned out to be a) terribly nice and b) friends with loads of my art world friends.

The second thing: something seemed different about the front of the house on Monday morning. Like something.. lacking.
I told the JB: My bike! It's just like.. gone. It's not there, I tell you! Someone must have taken it!

Two or three days flew by. Then Sister 1 texted me: Your bike is outside the wine shop. Which made me so happy! And yet, annoyed! Because what kind of hooligan does that? A drunk one? But no, (you'll be amazed to hear) the penny didn't drop. I texted Sister 1 back: The cheeky beggers! Is the lock broken? and she: No, it's securely locked, by you? And I, (finally twigging it): OH. Oh! O-oh.

I do remember leaving it outside the shop, though, it must be said that I also remember leaving it outside the house. But what with the physical evidence to the contrary, I have to accept the reality of the situation. Which is that I am a twit.

Your ridiculous,

ps. Have a good weekend.


Love my magnets! LOVE. HFF sent me these, you know.

Well, my darlings! I'm in that awkward state of mind for which there should be a long composite German word - I have left it so long, that I don't know where to start, and the longer I leave it, the more I feel I have omitted Vital Stuff, and go into a further state of avoidance. And yet, I sincerely love my long-cherished blog-comrades and miss the interaction I find through this blog. I feel like the lovely Belgian Waffle, whose first paragraph here says it so much better than I could. That happens to me a lot. People expressing my thoughts better than I can. Thank Gawd for 'em.

Let's barge ahead, here. Nothing else for it:

  • I've been singing, in the choir. Every night this goes on, for the season, including one bizzarro combo performance with Another Choir, composed of undergraduates, this time. On one occasion, I was late. I disapprove greatly of myself for this, not least because I had missed by minutes the meeting at the gate, where we were to be ushered to the appropriate room in the college to rehearse, and had a frantic Indiana Jones-like run-and-search down long lino-ed corridors, under arches, through courtyards, trying doors and stopping to listen intently for choir sounds. I needn't have worried, when I finally burst in to the room, there was a kindly Robert Hardy-look-a-like banging away at the piano, and the room was filled with The Young People all whispering, giggling, and singing, just a little. Robert Hardy looked at me over his glasses and said "Welcome" and the whole thing was like a three way cross between a seminary musical, a boarding school and a Harry Potter book, all set in the 1960's.

  • I've teaching unemployed people with the State Training Body. This happens, weirdly, in a hotel in a peripheral suburb of west Dublin. It's all very Sign of the Times. I sit for an hour on a tram to be launched into this alternative reality, where you must travel on lifts and know codes and finally be delivered into an abandoned office building, where we occupy the one heated room on the fifth floor, to light a fire under the unemployed people, or at least offer them some hope, or so I hope. They are, so far, a dream to teach, getting on with their work, and only stopping to ask me intelligent questions.

  • Also, steady money! Hurray.

  • Which reminds me, I made a wonderful discovery out there yesterday. Near the hotel, there is a large 1990's style shopping centre, through which one can take a shortcut on the way back to the tram. There was a line of unlikely looking wooden huts in a line at the back of the centre, full of Christmas gift "ideas", personalised mouse pads and slippers, each presided over by a frozen but hopeful retail hutter, the type you feel sorry for. But then! A hut of The Most Beautiful Etchings, like a gleaming jewel amongst the dross. Like this! My eyes nearly fell out of my head:

    As thus it was that the problem of five Christmas gifts was solved on the spot. Well, I thought to myself, Suchandsuch should like this, and frankly, if he/she doesn't, I have no truck with him/her!
    (This is the artist/hut retailer: Jan Goede.)

  • Ermmmm.

  • Oh. Yes. Many applications for Art Stuff have been made, including a frightening one, which (life being like that) I might get. The application process is itself an art, I am realising. If I get that one, it'll be shown for an entire month in a public place on a huge wall. No pressure then. Gulp.

  • I have been making art with a group of Other Young People, this time ones affected to varying degrees by cerebral palsy. They are great fun. I have discovered exactly how bad I am (appallingly) at boccia with them, and made some stop-motion animation with them as actors. It's cool.

  • Kittaloo, who has been living here for what seems like a century, continues to hold us in her thrall, stroll inconveniently on my keyboard and hog the nearest source of heat. She is exactly as clever as she needs to be, the little maggot. When she feels slightly peckish/bored/cold, her latest thing is to sit beside me and put her heavy paw coercively on my arm, as if to whisper, threateningly: I will not allow you to forget me. Feline mafia tactics! Chilling.

  • The spa was salutary, mostly because of the redemptive presence of my dear friend R, with whom I had a long debriefing session on the subject of the JB. She recommended counselling, and is going to get me the name of Someone. At least I can go, and the JB may feel encouraged to go at a later stage if I break the ice, so to speak.
    Other than that, the spa was as if conceived by the people who made those Philadelphia ads set in Heaven, all muted colours and nice candles - deliberately unstimulating and cocoon-like. Which was lovely for a day. After that, it started to feel a tiny bit like a psychiatric hospital, what with everyone being reduced to a white uniform and floating about. Just a bit edgeless and suffocating. However, no doubt this is me, and my Methodist background, again, making me uncomfortable with .. er.. comfort.

I've gone on, haven't I? Better stop now, before you lose the will to live entirely.

I have missed this.

Back soon.



Words cannot describe how much I detest drawing myself. I find the scrutiny of myself clenchingly, toe-curlingly mortifying. In animation college, we used to have to draw ourselves grimacing in mirrors to catch expressions, and striking attitudes in front of mirrors and it always caused me great irk. (Animators do a lot of acting Goofy. I mean that literally, acting like Goofy, Bugs et al. You couldn't get up the corridors in animation college without falling over students acting out their scenes. One of the second year projects was the Fat Skip and there they'd be, jumping imaginary ropes, as hammily as possible, being Poo-Bear or Baloo. It is a bit of a strange profession.)
The theory being, to draw it, you've got to feel it.

I've never been able to pull that off, when applied to myself. But as the residency approaches I really have to raise my game a bit, (hence previous post) to allow me to include autobiography in my mad creative plans. Nearly all the half-baked ideas I have in my head for book ideas are all about things that happened to me, and I need to be able to represent myself somehow.

Oh man. Cringe.
[I am amused to see that I have made myself thinner than in real life.]

As in art, so in life.
I am going through some stuff. Due date related stuff (it's not for weeks - tell that to my subconscious), mostly, also marital stuff and sundry other arising neuroses - I don't know where to start with it, it's all a dust storm, but I have to make some kind of sense of it all. Some clarity, or at least less grit in my eyes, would be very welcome. The ground feels shaky, all is weird - not all bad, oddly enough - but uncertain and I really want to be more normal, at some point.

So I am looking at local therapists names online, as encouraged by bunny. We do have some Find a therapist tools for Ireland, but these foolish people have not included IF as a specialty. I mean, really!
These people don't come with reviews, more is the pity. That would be so handy. Say a star system, like hotels? I'd like a good-ish one, nice and clean and with good views (groan). Three stars would be fine.

Even the wonderfully gossipy doesn't allow names to be mentioned. (You have to wonder if some of these threads are real. Some take on an Onionesque quality: Dublin Ghost Hunter claims he was attacked by a spirit (?).)
Back later, less moaningly, I hope. (I've been working on Smokey, the film again. It's turning into something - not sure what - but it's a thrill.)



Well now. Where to begin? Gal.way Arts Fest. That was good. The show was in a thatched cottage in town, with tiny crooked rooms. The curator was one of Those People. You know? Those People. Who can do everything - she curates, shows, organises everyone and did I mention she does it all with calm and good grace? and is only about 25? Very impressive. We stayed in the Radisson which was a slightly futuristic and dehumanising experience. I mean, they didn't make us feel particularly special as they took our e150. And since we got back, I seem to have morphed back into Twangy The Housewife. Many many domestic and gardening chores ave been completed this week - including the installation of a gardening chest, and potting of a ton of plants and tidying and cleaning. I mean, not that there's anything wrong with that, but I want to be out, in the world, moving and shaking. On the other hand, I don't, I like being at home with my plants and slugs, making art and freelancing on the side.
The constant dilemma.
Speaking of Those People, my Friend, OldFriend, she of the eight children, was on this week. In addition to her 8 CHILDREN, (three of whom are on the autism spectrum) her part-time DEGREE in PSYCHOLOGY, she and her husband are making a business proposal the ambition of which would make your head twist off with awe. They want to start a farm/riding centre for special needs children/young people. AMAZING. I am going to help her with graphics, logo and whatnot.
On the Da front, things are looking better all the time. We are cleared to take him home for lunch on Sunday. I feel like a first-time parent bringing a new-born home. He is excited to get out. As well he might be.. He talks a lot about "good behaviour" and what he can get away with, with the screws. (Okay, not that bit). I mean, he really seems to hold the view he is in rehab prison.
So things are ticking along. I feel a sense of reprieve - Bad Things happened and we survived. I am happy in a relieved way. I went for my Day 3 blood tests, and that was fine. It required some suspension of the thought process during it - you know, when you just float through, and engage the brain after? All is okay.
Your well if voluntarily brain dead,

Water water

12.00AM SMS to Twangy's mobile from JB:
drink some water
13.00PM A little more water
14.00PM Have a little sup
15.00PM A little boiled water
And so on. I don't know why, it must be one of those blessed mysteries that make marriage work, but I find this very sweet. You see, last night I had a bout of cystitis (horrors! dreads!) but it seems that with all these helpful hourly reminders to imbue enough H2O to sink a Mediterranean cruiser, I may yet have dodged that burning bullet.
That is the JB. The problem, but also the solution. My heart nearly failed me last week - he'd gone away for a few days for St Patrick's Day to see his father at the Edge of the World (aka remotest Kerry) - and I was left to brood over our situation. While others pirouetted and cavorted their way down O'Connell St, painted green, I was weeping quietly into my keyboard. I don't know why it hit me so. (I mean, obviously, I'd like to blame St Patrick, but I'm finding it tricky to find the thread of responsibility that joins a shamrock-loving medieval saint to my marital problems). I feel as if I am grieving for the happy calm early years of marriage I had so arrogantly envisaged. I feel I am making an adjustment to the reality of what and where we are, and it's hard, sometimes. But it's so strange too, it's like a wave breaking over me and then it's over, and I am - not fine exactly - but peaceful enough and able to look forward to things.
I went to have water torture this week a la pelvic ultrasound. It seems that I have some little fibroids and a little cyst. Nothing to worry about, really, but as the doctor explained, there could be some "polycystic element" going on there, which could be an explanation for our non-up-the-spout-ness, if the JB's test turns out to be normal. Indeed, I did have some cysts in the past. And though my tests were all fine, and dandy, when I looked at the list of symptoms, I thought I recognised the moodiness and acne. (Blooming Nora, what a syndrome. Talk about insult and injury. Infertility, weight gain AND depression. And if that wasn't enough, have some painful volcano-like spots too). He is going for that on Wednesday, poor feller.
In the meantime, I am working away on my shows, and I had precisely 3 weeks to turn out a ton of animated scenes. Yikes. The clocks are driving me flipping crazy. (Another witty clock joke! I slay myself).
It seems that somehow there is however time to go to Eindhoven to see my college friend Joa.nie in Str.p. She is in a show with A.phex Twin and Laurie Ander.son! Oh the reflected glory! and the reflected reflected glory! for yes, I helped her make her performance machine, wherein she will lurk for the 10 days of the festival ("err" I said, "are you sure you really want it to be that small?") albeit in that slightly nay-saying way. I am so looking forward to it. OH WOW! Give me a change of scene and I am all excited.
In the meantime, hand me down a glass of water. I'll need to be in good shape for all this.

~I saw a man in the supermarket with a entire trolley full of full fat and light dairy spread and nothing else. The expiry date was August, I noticed. I wonder if he was going to make a art piece with it? After all, only last week in college, for the degree show, a colleague of mine got into a bath of coke lying belly-down and made humping movements that alluded to the sexu*l act. So why not, I suppose.
[Incidentally I was interested to hear that C*ke turned down the opportunity to sponsor him. Shortsighted of them, I thought, not to want to be associated with a bearded art student humping their product. Could have made a great new campaign. Move over, The C*ke Side of Life. You are so yesterday!].

~Am still a cleaning lady. We put up the curtain rail yesterday, and yes, by me, I mean JB.

~It's surprisingly obsessively fun though, cleaning. Strangely satisfying.

~Have begun to chart my cycle, in the spirit of have a go. It's quite a novelty so far.

Time will tell.

For now I remain, your charting cleaning lady,

power down

Last week was hectic to put it mildly. We installed our work in the old warehouse that for 2 weeks every year doubles as the exhibition space for the Masters students. And my. Oh my. It was quite the monument to Sisyphus (if that's how you spell him). One student built A SMALL HUT in there, seriously, a real hut, in block and render, in which she and a friend/actor now lurk waiting for people to step in so that they can glare intimidatingly at them from above. The interview, it's called. Someone else for reasons best known to himself, has built a small (admittedly shallow) swimming pool with a toilet in the middle. Yet another lined her space with stainless steel tiles and a shower which is really a microphone. The whole place is like a demented and non-functional movie set, with pallid students running about muttering obscenities under their breath like so many clapper boys.

To think it'll all be gone in 2 weeks.

My work was easy to install, so I left it to the last minute and then arrived in a taxi with 9 folded cardboard boxes under my arm. My stuff is different to the others, rather than being installation per se was more of a frame for my content, which I have been chipping away at these past months at home. I'm fairly happy with it, I like the narrative layers, the stories and cross-references. I (mostly) loved making it, the process of making it was far more the point than this goal of the show. (This might possibly be a good thing about being 40 - rather than being caught up in ideas about being discovered and catapulted to stardom, like I was in my early 30's, I am more interested in my ordinary dreams, like having a family, someone to love, and a nice house to come home to. To live for a humble cause, as the saying goes).

Being that humble dream as it may, the exams are next week, and I will somehow have to find a way of waking Sleeping Beauty-like from the comatose state I seem to have fallen into. I feel so sluggish and dull-witted today. Like I've been drugged or something - all the adrenaline has drained out of my body leaving me like a pale weak ghost. I slept till 9.30am (!) and then had the nerve to fall asleep again while "watching" 7th Heaven (btw, what wonderful drivel! fantastically bad). Spike was over today too, and going great guns until he fell on a sharp stone and was suddenly tired and disconsolate and had to be carried home by Bobby and yes, that would be me, and yes, he would be a ton weight.

However, tomorrow is, mercifully, a bank holiday, as well as being, you know, another day.


At a show last week, with my friends from the MA programme:

Oh, how I'll miss them.

On Monday of this week, JB texted me to tell me he was leaving for Kerry at once. He'd spoken to his father whose health seemed to have deteriorated suddenly - he seemed "shook" and poorly. We hoped that a bit of JB's magic TLC would do the trick, and get him back on his feet, but over the week the cold turned into a chest infection and from there it was a small increment to breathlessness in the middle of the night and thereon, in quick succession, to pneumonia and a call for emergency medical help. My poor J. He had to see his father being taken off in an ambulance at 4am that night. It's so hard for him, because he saw his mother be taken away too, in 2001, and she never came home.
I feel a lucky dope. My parents are alive and well and living in (their, Protest*nt, idea of) comfort, nearby. They have each other. They are (let's face it) not short of a few bob. So I really don't understand the fear that's in the JB. I mean, I try but I don't, not REALLY. Not sharply. I am stranded on another misty shore. It's like my imagination is stunted. I can't see clearly through it, it's like an immature organ or a damaged lens. 

In his absence, life has taken on a different shape. Without his normalising influence, I have departed slightly from my usual self, mentally. I feel strangely exposed and a-hum with internal drama - I am buzzing around like a bluebottle trying to get out of an open window, but by going through the pane. If some unfortunate psychology PhD student was assigned the task of tracking my thoughts, they'd get something like this:

- which symbolises the whole week really.
Trips up to see house: 2
Trips to see tiles: 2
(one of which with Lithuanian builder, in a van. Funny scene in Outh*us, the tiling place.  He got chatting to the guy behind the desk in Russian - and the guy very frankly told him the place was outrageously expensive. But then he'd revert to English and be all salesman of the year. Please, look at these samples and Yes, I can check for you, etc. He was the double-sided salesman).
Trips around head, chasing thoughts: innumerable
Trips from desk to kitchen to table to bathroom: 5 million (at a conservative estimate)

At one point, I found my set square on the breadboard. Was I thinking of making a sandwich with it? With nice 90 degree corners?

(They are finding the next Oliver on the telly. I can hear them belting it out in the other room, desperate to be a star. It worries me a bit that this time they are children. I mean even the big Josephs were having weekly emotional breakdowns. Hmm. Can this be good?)

Today we finished the purgatory that was Etching. I came through with an unexpected burst of (caffeine-fueled) energy at the end, and produced some stuff that might go into the degree show. As ever, I warmed to the other classmates over the 6 weeks after a slightly unenthusiastic start and was sorry to see them go in their different directions at the end. Ah, parting.. is such sweet and sour sorrow.

And so I end the week that was with tired feet but hope in my heart. Kdid (JB's Dad) is perking up and has enough strength to be giving out. A good sign, we all agree. And we must be happy with that.