The Things/People I like



And finally, it occurred to me that I need not brave the chilly studio at the end of the "garden" but use the laptop in the house in order to blog, and so it is.

Well! How did we get over The Christmas? Ours went quite well, I think. We had it at home, and some friends came over, which I thought was amazingly grown-up and together of us. We provided! We cooked brussel sprouts! And gluten-free puddings! I do like hosting in principle. But it is a lot of work and induces neurosis about whether the house smells funny to other people. (Remember when you'd go to a strange house when you were a child? And it smelled funny?) I used to worry about the level of tidiness until I read what Swistle had to say about it. What a sensible woman; I love the quotidianity of her writing. I love the details of other people's lives; the way she captures all that so nicely. I can't find the exact page, (though I rootled for it for ages, enjoying rereading her posts and comments as I went), but the upshot was that to open your house to guests and let them see how you live in reality, not in a humblebrag I-just-knocked-out-these-croissants-this-morning-after-finishing-my-novel way, is a sort of compliment to your friendship, so I just knocked down some abandoned spiderwebs in a perfunctory way, and concentrated on the desserts.

(The cat has now padded in and, purring loudly, has forced herself into the gap between my torso and the laptop, hampering my ability to type. And breathe, come to think of it. I am trappppppeeed. Ah, my little stinky-breathed companion.)

The driving supervision thing continues to be "interesting" though I'd venture to say we might be over the hump. The JB has improved, and I have conditioned myself not to bark instructions. Actually, I find myself talking to him now as if he were a nervy horse. Whoa! I keep saying, and Steady! There is still some florid Kerry-style cursing, mind you, and the distinct impression that it could all go south at any moment. But still, I am cautiously optimistic that we might survive this. The other day he drove us north into the countryside, and I was able to take in the scenery, admiring the bare elephantine trees in the flat fields with their sides all gilded with the winter sun.

So here we are, folks, in this strange no man's land between The Christmas and The New Year.
How are you? I hope you had time to relax?


entertainment part II

An anti-cyclone hangs over the Emerald Isle this week, inspiring us Irish to emerge and toast ourselves till the colour of frankfurters. I am in my studio which is nearly south-facing, and so must be exited before 1pm when the sun turns it into a furnace. Yesterday I had the bad idea of complaining thusly to my workmate, flatmate of yesteryear and friend, the ultra-cool madrileña, Maria, and she replied:

it is 38 degrees here so don't complain Twangy about the heat or I send you some degrees...

[Feel free to complain about the heat below. I want to be simultaneously sympathetic and horrified.] [Speaking of which, it's nearly one! I must get my wimpy self out of here. It's like 26 degrees!]

Tomorrow, the JB and I must return to the House of Adoption and go through a nodding and smiling session with our social worker, the detective - all part of the process of changing country, apparently. We are going for the USA, as we have FINALLY agreed. Good to have clarity AT LAST.

Thanks for the encouragement for the comic about nothing, friends. Here's another one, this time about Luther. Luther, for those who don't know, is a seductive if somewhat ludicrous cop drama set in London, starring IDRIS ELBA, he of The Wire fame. The plot is a bit barmy and visuals a bit gruesome, but IDRIS ELBA.

Well, I think the point is made.

Till soon, so.

party piece

So. I attended a 60th birthday party on Saturday night, in Leopardstown (the deep Southside) and stayed up till 3 am. Yesterday I was still recovering. This is the final proof, if any were needed, (which it wasn't), that I am Utterly Pathetic.

The invite to the party contained the words designed to strike terror into the heart of an introvert: Bring your party piece. It was, sure enough, a bit - you know - character-building. The place was full of cool, international couples (including a real French woman who spoke English with a Yorkshire accent) who knew how to entertain - actually hold the floor - sing, play the cello, or piano, as in parties of old. Not like us, who sandwiched between the X-factor generation and the self-sufficient, party piece one, are basically useless. We need to be entertained. We do not do the entertaining. No, no.

Thoughts arising from the afore-mentioned Experience/Party:

  • It is possibly time I learnt how to sing a song. (Like on my own, not with the entire choir, which luckily was present to lurk within thereby escaping the Taking of my Turn).  Singing solo may not cause instant fatality, I am led to believe?
  • Or, maybe I could polish my caricature skillz, instead. Not everyone can Take It, though. It would be generally preferable to avoid making people wail because their hair/waistline is not like that. (Aside: I read once that Gerald Scarfe, tired of hearing the protests of his subjects, drew himself and reported that yes, he was offended. He hurt his own feelings.)
  • Hanging with The People in their Sixties was lovely and brilliant. They have tons of life experience, but are still healthy and strong enough to squeeze the life out of every moment - like, staying up till 2am in the morning, apparently effortlessly? Like. Adopt as Role Models. Emulate.
  • Alcohol gives some people Performance Fever, a syndrome where they keep saying: Ooh! I know! And burst into song. This can go on for a long, long time.
  • Some other people go really quiet.
  • Related arising need: a good listening expression to arrange my features into: genial, responsive, not facetious, neither a rictus of despair, envy, embarrassment or boredom. As it was, I cycled manically through these:


Now, my dear, let's all turn and look at you, expectantly. What is your piece going to be?




Guess where I've been




Clue: I met up with my by now lovely friend of some years (!), Valery for a hot chocolate, (thank you, inventor of the internet, for my internet friends) and made the bonus meeting of her DP, who was very kind to us. It was excellent fun. I walked around the town with my mother, and went to see the Rembrandts and the markets, and drank mint tea in hotel foyers.

The morning we had to leave, Valery's DP made us a very good coffee, on which I got a bit drunk, we ate chocolate sprinkles and biscuits in their lovely kitchen, and then we walked through the charming streets to Centraal Station and we were back in Dublin and the resumption of normal life just. like. that.

I would be afflicted with anti-climax, but it happened so fast, it all seems like a series of brightly lit snapshots in my head. City breaks, folks. Love the compressed quality thereof.

Normal life resumes, as it does. I did some sock-sorting last night, for instance, and I almost managed to throw away the single ones who have been waiting for their partners to show up lo these many months. Tune in soon for more of this thrill-a-minute stuff.



..croak.. I couldn't find any clean bras this morning so ventured to encase my modest bosom in a jogging bra. Gasp. Can hardly.. breathe. Like having a very lonely boa constrictor wrapped .. around .. chest

With my last breath, can I be recommendy? Let me pass on this useful link from David Allen (Thank you Pale). I have not read them all but the succinct and simple Finding your inside time (don't be put off by the brand-iness) enlightened me hugely. I core-dumped (no tittering in the cheap seats please) as advised, and it was like a weight fell off my poor over-revved Nissan Micra-style psyche. There is now room in there. And calm. At last.

Also, I loved this woman's perspective. Worth every minute of the twenty. Thanks to the lovely DoctorMama, whom I don't even know, or even "know", but I still really like.

I had fun today with this, as inspired by Overheard in the Office.  I don't know why exactly, but I found this exchange very funny, and thought it'd do me good to do something purely for the gas:

And I did some life-drawing last night, in a ricketty back room over a pub in Dublin 2. I love this town, sometimes.


It is spring, suddenly.

Let us indeed be happy for today. Even as we keep our fingers crossed for tomorrow.


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).

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.



this post is brought to you by "net.gear"-

an unsecured network! Hurray.
I am back from Kerry. Allow me to list the wild thoughts that are batting around my head like demented moths.
Like Caesar, "Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf." Well, not so much deaf as quietly buzzing static. I have found though, that like extreme heat and irritating relatives, it is better not to fight it but to accept it in a calm dignified manner. Otherwise, a madness/heat exhaustion/bloody murder could easily ensue, I suspect. (More on this simplified pseudo-Buddhist-ic philosophy later.)
The first class ticket was lovely. Well-mannered ladies spoke in hushed voices at a pleasant distance, a sweet little girl called Daddy! once in a while in a low voice, and all was spacious and carpeted.

Until, that is, we got to Mallow, where I passed an hour or so walking up the main street of the town, trying my best to lengthen my right arm by lugging my bag around. The town was a last minute bustle of farmer types and busy women, punctuated with the occasional Big Issues salesperson or concertina player saying "Hello, lady".
Then it transpired that there was "no driver" (seriously. I Quoth) for the train to Killarney so we had to risk life and limb in a bus to Killarney with a Lunatic Yun Fella from Cork who drove as if to beat the land speed record. There was an older man with a white comb-over on the bus who was casting around rather desperately for a conversation. You know, the type who has to involve everyone in his personal arrangements?

BIG loud voice:
Sorry to disturb you, but what town was that now?
(Yunfella, tolerantly, for a sub-contracted racerboy): Ah, not at all, sure I'm used to it. That was [insert Cork/Kerry town]
Lonely Older Man, in loud voice, leaning over Yunfella:

It turned out he was staying in the Gre*t Southern for a Christmas Special, on his own.
Poor crater.

All this made bearable by the wonderful This Americ*n Life. Speaking of which, I obeyed the irresistible call of the lovely Ira, and donated some $$ to it to keep the broadband free. I got this email back from him, the old charmer:

Dear TwangyPearl,

Thanks for helping Chicago Public Radio pay for the

This American Life

podcast and web streaming! They cost the station more than $100,000 a year, and you’re a big sweetheart to help them cover that huge expense.

If you chose a premium, we’ll send it out in a few weeks. And if you have any questions about it, email Chicago Public Radio

Listener Services

at, or call them at 312.948.4855.Also, if you didn’t check the box requesting “periodic updates and communications from Chicago Public Radio,” you won’t be put on mailing lists of any sort.

Thanks, again! Your friend, Ira Glass

I am a sweetheart. Isn't that great? He's my friend, Ira. I love him. He is creeping, modestly, with his Ira charm, up my list of boyz (move over Jerry Seinfeld, Clive Owen, and Paul Weller, you old newses, you. (Although I still love you all.) (I must also confess to being won over somewhat more recently by the wild but funny and charming Russell Brand)). The word National Treasure when attached to Ira is not entirely inappropriate. He did keep me going during those long lonely Sundays in New Jersey.

And for that I am eternally grateful.

Moths seem to have deserted me momentarily.
Normal service will be restored ASAP.