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Family, Like Magazine, Mental Health, Motherhood, Musings

Won’t Somebody Think of the Children?

May 14, 2015

I’ve always loved referendums, it’s an exciting time to vote. Elections can be confusing and, let’s face it, a little boring. Referendums tend to get people animated, and heated debates can be overheard in the workplace, the home and the pub. May 22nd is no exception. We’re being asked to vote on marriage equality and as the date approaches things are heating up. It’s starting to feel like a fight between the insular Ireland of old and a modern Ireland encompassing many different nationalities and lifestyles .

father-ted-careful-nowThe No campaign have tried to muddy the waters on what should be a clear cut decision of marriage equality for all. They have made the argument about children and in doing so have gone for the human jugular. If it wasn’t such a serious matter I would find their posters funny in the way that Father Ted’s poster down with this sort of thing was  Children deserve a mother and a father” and “surrogacy? she needs her mother for life, not just for 9 months”. They have managed to alienate a vast number of the population asides from the LGBT community; single mothers, widowed parents; adopted kids; surrogates etc

I am doing my best to raise my kids to be as open-minded as they can be. I want them to grow up in a world where they are accepted and loved. They have each had a shaky start; My 7-year-old has aspergers. He struggles socially and I worry for his future relationships. I have never worried about the sex of his future partners, to me that is irrelevant. My only concern is that someone will find him as amazing and hilarious as I do. My middle boy has a heart condition, and I worry for his future health. I don’t worry about his love life… He will be loved wholly and completely, two minutes in his pouty, wide-eyed company and anyone would fall for him. My baby boy had major surgery at age two for craniosynostosis. He was born with a metopic ridge down the centre of his forehead that gave his face an unusual look. Faced with the difficult decision to proceed with major cranial surgery for what were primarily cosmetic reasons, we did it for him because life can be hard and cruel and we wanted him to feel acceptance and not to be judged by his appearance.

Your life changes forever when you have kids. You become almost primal in your desire to protect these helpless little beings. To flourish, they need someone batting for them. They need to feel pure love with a side order of discipline. There are many parents out there doing this alone and I take my hat off to them. With two parents you can take some time out for yourself, have some support with family decisions along with all the good bits a relationship brings.

The sex of that other person has no bearing on things whatsoever. Someone to teach them ball? My husband doesn’t play sports and the boys aren’t interested anyway. Would two men raising a daughter have difficulty preparing her for periods? My Mam didn’t have a notion about biology and my Dad explained it to me factually and it wasn’t slightly awkward.image

Raising boys I’m always conscious to keep the lines of communication open. I have a worry book that I use each night with Conall in which we draw and discuss anything making him anxious. I lie beside each one of them at night and tell them to feel free to tell me anything.I would be heartbroken if I thought that they felt they had to hide some key part of themselves- after all, statistically young men are prone to suffering from mental health issues that end tragically. Boys are taught to be self contained and can become emotionally stunted as they get older. They need to know they can disclose anything and we won’t love them any less. Well almost anything- I could accept them telling me they’re gay, bi, transgender anything but a priest. That I would struggle with – but I would find a way.

We are told by the no side to “think of the children”, and indeed we must. We must think of our own kids and the kind of world we want to raise them in. We must think of the children growing up in Ireland right now, and realising they might be gay. What will a no vote say to them? That they are less than their straight peers? We always tell our children they can be anything they want to be*. Do we want to put a small disclaimer at the bottom of that lovely sentiment? (*As long as you’re not gay and wanting equal rights.)

So, I urge you, DO think of the children and vote YES; yes to equality, yes to love and yes to being anything you want to be!

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Musings

The Scarlet Letter Syndrome

May 11, 2015

The title of this piece needs some explaining; I have not had an adulterous affair with a member of the clergy that has resulted in a baby and public shaming but that would have made for an amazing post. In a nutshell, it’s the easy street syndrome that I’ve attached myself to since early childhood. Why work hard when I can pull something together at the last minute? I’ve never been one to manage my time wisely. pop-swatch-jungle-watch-640I haven’t owned a watch since pop-swatches were tubular. I would promise myself on a Friday that I’d get a head start on my homework but spent every Sunday night unloading my school bag to the strains of Glenroe. That theme tune still makes me panicky and a bit melancholic.

Ручка-BIC-OrangeThe year of my leaving cert, I planned how I would distribute my studying over the year. There were many trips to Reids for highlighters, coloured paper, copydex etc. I spent hours making elaborate planners and feeling satisfied, would go to bed dreaming of the seven A1s I was sure to achieve. A week later I would bin said planner as I’d missed that week’s work due to a project collaging posters on my bedroom wall or a new Smash Hits. 514Wep8zAlL._SY300_And so it continued till the week before the exams when my friend Carolyn intervened and kidnapped me. Her family had gone on a holiday abroad and she stocked up on our favourite skinny Bics and Dentyne. If I tried to distract her she would reprimand me and send me back to study with my Asha hippy skirt swishing resignedly behind me. A break consisted of listening to 4 Non Blondes or the Spin Doctors. Two Princes makes me jittery still. I had a moment of terror when a friend called (on her giant house phone in the hall) and told us she’d studied ALL the poets. I’d narrowed it down to five I thought would come up (a hunch and wishful thinking). On a sidenote my poets did come up and I did really well but that’s cos I’m jammy. There was another low point when I ate coffee granules to stay awake because I saw it in Nightmare on Elm Street 3. Red bull and Jolt were still to be invented.

I actually did quite well and that’s all thanks to Carolyn who missed a career in hostage taking and I left her house with more than a little Stockholm Syndrome. I wish she’d stayed with me through college where I considered taking 8 books home from the library but not opening them study. All I learnt there was how to plagiarize from my friend Susan. When we go for drinks now she likes to recount The Scarlet Letter story. We had an essay due and I didn’t read the book but Susan had it done ages in advance. So, I swung up to her house for a “sleepover” and asked casually to see her essay. I read it, then read the blurb on the back of the book. I frantically wrote during the night piecing together her hard work and random impressive words like misogyny, comeliness and phallic (I was going through a Jackie Collins phase). We handed in our essays. She got a C and I got a B. I’m sorry Susan but you can’t keep making me buy you drinks for this… I may call on Carolyn to take care of you.

giphy (3)I think you’ve got the gist, I’m a lazy slacker with a gift for bullshitting and a bit jammy to boot.  O please someone put that in my obituary. I blame the Zeitgeist of the time, Reality Bites, Singles, Wayne’s World….motivated and ambitious people were admirable… NOT (shhhwing)! We even had a derogatory term for our industrious counterparts, yuppies. We preferred to wallow in our existential crises (watching Melrose Place and eating lots of batch loaf).

prod_marrowfat_peas_packedI’ve been a terrible employee. It really pissed me off that work would get in the way of my social life even though it would fund it. I rarely made it in on a Monday and my excuses were ridiculous. Early on I used up common excuses like tummy bugs and flus. One Monday in my early twenties, I was desperately hungover and needed to buy myself some napping time so I rang my boss to say I’d twisted my ankle and would be in after the doctors. I decided that it would be a good idea to put some pebbles in my shoe so I could determine which one I’d to limp with and be consistent. A quick scan of our immaculate, decked garden showed no stones and so in my wisdom I threw some marrowfat peas in my shoe. By the time I made it to the office, they had been ground down to powder.

I once walked out of a job in Georgia on my J1. I was working a till in A&P and I hated it. One of the supervisors started counting my float and when she turned her back I inched my way to the door and ran. It was a large empty car park so she would have seen me running frantically for a good 5 minutes. After many unreturned calls I eventually lied and said I had the scuts, hence the Usain Bolting.giphy (4)

If I was an employer reviewing CVs for the position of mother, mine would have been binned straight away. Although I could’ve bluffed the interview and made it through a week before walking.

In my role as president of the Ozdemir Corporation, I’m woken early each day and should start setting the day up straight away, if not the night before but I prefer to have tea and check my mail for a half hour. There’s then a frantic rush to get to the car for 8.35. More often than not, my son is late and I throw the principal a skyward eyes look that I hope places the blame on the kid and not his flaky mother. The rest of the day is just as disorganised. I don’t have a specific shopping/ laundry/ batch cooking day. I just wing it. I can’t call in sick or feign injury, believe me I’ve tried.

cat20in20the20hat20jugglingWeekends are fraught with difficulty as I try to balance working and being a mother. Kudos to all you women out there working full-time as it requires many skill sets. You have to find someone to look after your precious babies. Preferably someone who will do all the things you wish you did like bake, long walks and origami but not enough stuff that you resent them and your kids cry when they leave. You need to negotiate a payment that doesn’t negate the small wage you earn or invite a Donal McIntyre investigation into urban slave labour. Most of all you need to be able to time manage. I have to shower, dress, do my hair, put on make-up, make a syn-free lunch; all while being interrupted to clean a bum, get juice, scratch someone’s ear or charge something. Rebecca, my beautiful child-minder will arrive and I’ll brief her on poos, breakfasts, snotty noses etc while getting my bag ready. Cue many kisses and teary goodbyes (Rebecca is a bit needy) and I’m off. The bliss of turning the key in the ignition, putting on my lovely, boring Newstalk and zipping off to work. I am human, eating an undisturbed lunch (syn-free got binned for a Spar roll), not spelling but actually swearing out loud(in the canteen not on the shop floor) and doing a productive job that gets noticed. People will comment that I look well and how do I do it etc but they have not seen the behind the scenes stuff that got me to work. I return home tired and hungry but my babies have been starved of mammy time and I spend hours tucking them in and kissing them; It does us all good to miss each other. I may have continued my fly-by-the -seat of my pants ethic to parenting but on the flip side I take my job more seriously. I can’t randomly miss days as little folk depend on me and having 3 little slackers living with me, I know know just how irritating and deluded the self entitled can be.

Monday arrives and we’re late and I’m frantic and disorganised. I think tonight I’ll sit down with coloured markers, pipe-cleaners and some crepe paper and make a schedule.

Musings, Women's Issues

Fendi Number Two

April 30, 2015

I promised a follow up to fendi fanny so here it is; warts and all (bad choice of words)…

The vaginal cliffhanger left off when I was two days from hospital release.

Hospitals are obsessed with bowel movements; I first encountered this on baby number 1. The nurses had me tormented asking if my bowels had opened… a phrase I find way too graphic and that’s coming from someone who owns a book called I ♥ poo106100142199

The same happened on day 3 after my pelvic floor and vaginal rejuvenation surgery. I was ensconced in my hospital bed making my way through episode after episode of Orange is the New Black when a nurse asked if I’d gone yet? I answered no and made a sheepish face feeling ashamed that I’d failed a test I didn’t know I had to take. That evening I got given some Senokot.  After dinner, I had some visitors and they had to open a window as the gas I was omitting became toxic. One visitor who will not be named took the opportunity to unload in my private toilet. An alarm must have sounded because a nurse came in all excited, scrunched up her nose and asked if I’d gone. “No“, I said, “it was her”… pointing at the scarlet perpetrator.

Kelkin-landing-Prune-JuiceThe next day the nurses got more persistent and told me I should start to walk..Duphalac made an appearance at this point and prune juice was called for. I walked and walked but nothing. At this point I was getting messages of support, even my friend Orla in Australia wished a torpedo-style poo on me. It worked; a pain free missile. I left the bathroom delighted with myself only to be struck with a shooting pain all down my right side, particularly in my neck. I pushed the buzzer and a nurse called for someone to do an echo. They also took blood… a few times. I was put on oxygen and at that point my friend Aine decided to visit. I laughed at her shocked face, she almost dropped the grapes and all she could say was “babes…? babes?“. I had to explain that it wasn’t the operation but the poo; she’s known me 35 years so that seemed normal enough to her and we got on with organising our elusive night out that’s been in the planning stages for five years as my oxygen machine gurgled in the background.

The next day was Friday the 13th and instead of being discharged, I was moved from the sanctuary of my lovely private room to a semi one that had 4 elderly ladies sharing with me. They were all hooked up to crazy machines and I was told this was the cardiology ward. My gynae came to visit and asked why I was misbehaving in his twinkly almost sexy way and I cried. A young flirty guy came with a wheelchair and said he was bringing me for tests. I was brought to a room with a scary machine and told they were going to inject me with some blue dye to check my lungs. It was explained that it would feel weird, I’d have a metallic taste in my mouth and I’d feel like I peed my pants… fab. That was done and when they took me out of the machine I asked if my arm should hurt so much? The technicians looked confused and felt it, then explained that the dye had leaked. For fuck sake, I now had one arm that looked like a body builders. Back to my bed and I bonded with the ladies only for a doctor to arrive and tell me he was going to have to take some arterial blood gases… golden_girlsIt was only as he closed the curtain and I saw Blanche glance nervously at Rose that I started to fret. As the needle entered a vein in my wrist I started to sweat… my jaysus the pain.. I soaked my clothes.. with sweat, pelvic floor was behaving. When he left I laughed hysterically until I cried. The reason for the laughter was that as the doctor was about to inject me he said “this will just be a little prick“.. I answered as anyone would “that that was what got me in the mess I was in”. Unbeknownst to me, I said it quite loudly (I have volume control issues) as Sophia and Dorothy were receiving communion. I had a nice night eating digestives and shooting the breeze with those incredibly brave women and when it was my time to go the next day, I cried.. again!

I was told to take an aspirin a day and to attend the hermitage the following week for further tests as my blood was showing something weird for a girl of my age. I spent the next week in my mams being spoilt (for details.. click here)and attended the hospital the following week.

d7014fa9c7d6dea7ac258fdd54ee7948I had a panic attack before I had to go in and threw up… what if something was wrong with me? Who would raise my kids? Would I ever see all of Breaking Bad? Who Killed Lucy? I managed to calm down and was put in a changing/ waiting booth while they prepped another woman for her scan. I could hear the doctor telling her that her veins were like curly wurlys and he apologised about twenty times. A nurse was was asked to mop up all the blood. I could hear bandages being ripped open and quiet weeping. By the time the nurse got to me I was begging for a sedative. She inserted a cannula and promised to ask the doctor but blessed drugs didn’t appear. I got the vibe that she thought I was an hysterical bitch so I waited till she went for a smoke and asked her replacement. I used every trick in the book to bond with her and she filled a hypodermic with something lovely. I was brought to a room with one of those long coffin things and asked to lie down. A weighted thingy was put on my chest and the machine swallowed me. The girl in my earphones asked me to inhale, exhale etc… after 20 mins the machine spat me out and nurse Ratched was back. She had a needle and I asked hopefully if it was my sedative.”No” said she… too late for that now, this is something that will make your heart speed up but don’t panic and zzzipppppp I was back in the depths of the machine.. having a panic attack in a tomb and being told to hold my breath zzzzipppp out again and more blue dye. Eventually the nightmare ended and the cardiologist came over and said “nothing wrong with you… go home”

My prognosis is a poo almost killed me.

I’m almost 12 weeks over the operation now and it has proved to be a complete success. I am Tena free and able to cough and sneeze without crossing my legs. I don’t want to go into detail about the rejuvenation but suffice to say all is as it should be and I have some of my pre-baby body back.Attractive Woman Jumping

 

 

Family, Motherhood, Musings

My So Called Social Life

April 27, 2015

I think if I squint my eyes, spray some Elnett and put on a bit of the Immaculate Collection; I can vaguely recall a social life.2015-04-27 09.20.31 I have photos to prove it;  me in a variety of expensive outfits with beautiful hair and a smiling, line-free face, arms around girlfriends all similarly attired (jeans and a fancy top was the go-to outfit du jour). When I say photos, there aren’t many as this was pre-social media and camera phones (thank christ). Although in 2003 I did purchase a Sharp camera phone. It cost me a fortune (2 weeks wages) and was my pride and joy until one fateful night when it slipped into my vodka in Buck Whaleys. That phone once got me and some friends into Lille’s Bordello when it was nigh on impossible to get in. I flashed it about and made us look “money”. It also took an amazing selfie (I was a trailblazer) at a Counting Crows concert that I’ve included to the left. It’s like one of those magic eye pictures, cross your eyes and you may make it out. People were nudging each other and whispering “look at yer wan and her fancy phone that takes pictures! she must be famous!” In a previous life I worked as an office administrator and earned a decent wage, I lived at home and to my shame barely compensated my parents for that. They had the pleasure of my company and sure what else would my Mam be doing other than making my bed and cooking dinners that I would invariably turn my nose up at? Friday, I got paid and I would withdraw the money from the bank machine and spend half it on that night’s outfit, makeup and pre-drinks. There would always be some thing that had caught my eye in that week’s Sex and the City that i’d be after and I’d walk the length and breadth of town (not the southside..nooooo) in search of a blue liquid eyeliner or a pink blouse (true stories). I would spend hours getting ready, face-mask, cucumber on my eyes, mani-pedi. article-2711491-20247EBB00000578-976_634x897Friends would call and we’d pour a few vodkas and totter about with wads of cotton wool between our toes, blasting Madonna and lighting candles. My mam was always nervous of the candle situation and would blow them out when passing, probably wise what with the elnett and all. We’d arrive down the stairs in a haze of glitter (hair mascara, remember?), cleavage on show (hello boys) and already a bit tipsy. When my Mam was done critiquing our look (rightly so) she would always say “O to be young again”. I’d look at my friends and roll my eyes “whatevs… drop us into town would ya?” My Mam would keep asking “have you eaten?” on the way “yeah, yeah “ I’d answer as my tummy rumbled… no time for food! We’d hit the bar and make our way through the cocktail menu and normally end up on vodka and red bull with the occasional shot. I’d arrive home Saturday in a state after an all night party; spend the day in bed ordering take away and popping painkillers, only to do it all again on Sunday. I could never quite put my hands on my keys and would ring the door bell till my Dad opened it like Walter White in his Y fronts. I always wondered what if it was the police?

 

Fifteen years later and I would like to detail a night out now. I harbour thoughts of a new outfit but I’m afraid of what size I might be and can’t deal with finding out. Also Navigating a shop with 3 small kids is near impossible and don’t I have to pay for the boys swimming this month… ? article-1133142-0340B5D8000005DC-378_233x423If I do manage to find a precious 20 minutes to zoom around New Look, I’ll end up grabbing a load of black clothes that when I try them on I resemble Jo Brand doing stand up. 500px-Basic_Instinct_The_Leg_CrossOn a recent night out I decided to rectify the post-baby, chocolate and wine loving belly problem with a pair of control pants. I ended up so uncomfortable during dinner that I had to go to the toilet to remove them. That proved very difficult and I was gone so long my Mam came in to check on me (yes a night out now can sometimes involve Mrs. Kelly). I contemplated asking for a scissors or at least some talc but managed in the end and spent the rest of the night trying to avoid doing a Sharon Stone.

Arranging childcare requires numerous phone calls and some begging. I always promise to have them in bed before I go. I’m afraid the younger ones will figure I’m abandoning them for a few hours so I have to leave getting ready till they’re in bed at 8 and the electric shower is so noisy it would wake them so I may have to clean up with wipes and dry shampoo. Forget nail varnish… odds are someone will definitely need comforting and they’ll smudge. I opt for the Jo Brand ensemble and hunt for some jewellery to jazz it up, realising the kids used my jewellery box as a treasure chest in a game of pirates a few weeks ago. I should wear heels but I’ve been on my feet all day so opt for comfy boots. Red lipstick, perfume and a nice handbag help the self-esteem. No more cleavage showing tops, three breastfed babies destroyed my once proud knockers and I am left with two deflated balloons.

20150310_213635My idea of a great night out is a meal; I’ll have booked ahead for myself and my husband or friend, depending on the night. Fifty-50 is our  regular haunt. We will appreciate every second of our precious time and pore over the menu. We’ll listen intently to the waiter’s recitation of the specials, unnerving him with our rapt attention. A bottle of wine will gleefully be ordered and we will remind each other after every glass to take it easy as we’ll have an early start.

Judgement impaired, we will have a nightcap or two in a local pub and then return home to hand over a wad of cash to the babysitter (when did babysitting get so expensive? I’d earn a fiver for an all nighter back in the day). The next morning with 3 kids quite literally bouncing on my head, I’ll be glad we didn’t get those shots. A deal has normally been put into place the night before between myself and my husband on who should do the first shift (he picked rock, I picked scissors). So I arise at 7 and grapple with the baby’s fragrant nappy and I dream a dream of times gone by.anne-hathaway-les-miserables-dreamed-a-dream

Guest Post, Jen's Movie Musings

“I Didn’t Invite You This Time Renesmee”

April 23, 2015

10806429_10205250478121448_1080073800692734934_nAs far back as I can remember my cousin Aisling has been getting me jobs (well, this guest post and one other time when she got me a job in Pizza Hut). Isn’t nepotism great? But I am not the almost-old woman who lives in a shoe (Doc Marten) like Aisling as I am new to the child-rearing game so I have to fall back on my only area of expertise: Movies. And I thought I could delight you with my ramblings of one of my favourite genres, Vampires.

I remember many years ago, sometime in the  late 80s, watching Salem’s Lot on our portablewhere-are-these-creepy-horror-movie-kids-now-75175339-aug-13-2013-1-600x500 colour (this was a time when you had to clarify black & white or colour) TV with my brother and cousin. The movie lolled along for some time during which my co-watchers succumbed to sleep then all of a sudden a dead boy was floating outside his friend’s bedroom window tapping on the glass in that eerie way anyone who’s seen it will remember. I was frozen with fear, unable to get up to turn it off (no remote) or wake up my peaceful non afraid relatives. And that was my introduction to the world of Vampires.

the-lost-boys-originalA couple of years later I had another run in with these nightcrawlers, less scary and more starry eyed, with the 1987 classic The Lost Boys (it was probably more like 1990 by the time it had reached our video shop shelves). This was life-changing stuff. Cool vampires in leather jackets and long hair living in a sunken night club eating chinese food to a soundtrack of The Doors and INXS. (Whenever I get sad about how Joel Schumacher almost ruined the Batman franchise, I think of how right he got vampires). This introduced a new generation to Vampires, how they turn you (drinking the head vampire’s blood), the rules (sunlight, garlic, holy water) and how to kill them (stake to the heart, death by stereo). A re-teaming by the Corey’s (Haim and Feldman) with addition of the smoking hot Jason Patric and 80s fav Kiefer Sutherland cemented this film as a classic in and out of its genre. It has charm, humour, a couple of decent scares and plenty of blood and gore which is really worth revisiting if you haven’t for awhile.

burns

winonakeanurdracula1Although there were some efforts over the next few years, nothing really hit big in the vampire world until Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Here was a serious movie with a serious director (Francis Ford Coppola) and serious actors like Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins. Maybe it went over my head at the time, but I thought it took all the fun and glamour out of the vampire genre and was very loosely based on the book. As creepy as Oldman’s Dracula was, there was something comical about his bouffant hair and slide-across-the-floor movement (a bit of “Old Time Rock and Roll” in his socks and undies would have been great) .  But I think it generally comes down to the dreadful casting of Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves trying on their best proper British accents. Nontheless Bram Stoker is the father of Vampires and being from just down the road from me means he’s practically family.


The next big vampire on the block was one I could really get my teeth into. Enter Interview with the Vampire, old worldly, beautiful, no leather jackets but long hair and my personal fave Tom Cruise (alright I’ve heard all the arguments, you won’t change my mind). interview-with-a-vampire-after-dark-21959716-852-480Interview-with-the-vampire-vampires-29834424-2560-1810Vampires who adhered to the strict rules we’ve come to love, no sun, no ageing, no pulse. But this story was about a new vampire Louis (Brad Pitt), made by Cruise’s Lestat, who finds it hard to come to terms with his new persona as a blood-sucking monster. Instead of praying on human victims, Louis sucked dry the rats and pigeons of 18th Century New Orleans until he stumbled upon a young girl with the plague that he couldn’t resist. Lestat finishes the job and turns little Claudia into a vampire (you have to drain your fledgling vampire and then feed them your immortal blood) creating a very modern day two dad family. But it’s not all a bed of roses and Claudia struggles being trapped in her childs body as her mind matures. Anyway it’s not long until, blaming Lestat for all this, she rebels against him and crazy vampire adventure ensue. I got sucked into this world in a big way and read all (maybe not the last) of The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice which had some really juicy insights as to how the whole vampire business began in Ancient Egypt. Alas, as with most sequels, the follow up to Interview, The Queen of the Damned was cheesey and lacking the same dark Neil Jordan vibes of its forerunner (plus Stuart Townsend does not hold an ounce of the screen presence of Monsieur Cruise).

twlightbeastialitynecrophiliaThis brings me to the current state of affairs with our friends the Vampires.  They have been robbed of their mystery and sex appeal and turned into pre-pubescent moody monosyllabic douchebags that glitter in the sunlight! That’s right, Twilight, the vampire saga that has taken the pre-teen/teen world by storm. For all it’s faults, and there are a multitude, it fails on the most basic characteristic of vampirism, they can go out in the daylight. It’s ridiculous. Part of the whole danger and allure surrounding vampires is that they’re creatures of the night, as soon as the sun goes down, you’re helpless, vulnerable, doomed. But when your whole premise is a thinly masked metaphor for abstinence and your protagonist meets  her true love in science class in highschool, I guess you have to bend (smash into smithereens) the rules.  I have actually watched all 23 twilight installments (what, there weren’t that many?) at first very annoyed but by the end actually chuckling away at the hilarity of it all.  Jacob turning up constantly with his shirt off and if it’s not off how quickly it comes off.  Kristen Stewart’s constantly grumpy face, how her wedding night nearly killed her and the comical CGI baby/vampire (that again nearly kills her again) which they laughably name Renesmee after both their mothers. Yes you guessed it, Renee and Esme.  When it comes down to it, I know I’m not the target audience of these books or movies and hopefully those Twihards out there will eventually stumble upon some real vampires who can’t go out in daylight.

 

shadows-2Bstill_46639Recently I watched a comedic addition to the vampire genre. What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary by the same New Zealand team behind Flight of the Conchords. Four vampires from different periods share a house together and have to deal with mundane decisions on whose turn it is to wash the dishes, what to wear on a night out and how to get victims. One of the flatmates is a Nosferatu type ancient who isn’t all that interested in attending flatmate meetings. They have more than a few nods to the genre such as giving their guests spaghetti-os and making them think they’re worms and a feud with a gang of werewolves. If you’ve watched a bit too much Twilight recently this will bring you back to a world that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

 

Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer_by_mitchie_vI’m not forgetting television and the world of vampires it homes, but that could be a whole other post. Vampire Diaries, True Blood, etc. But I can’t finish up without mentioning the wonderful Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It took the premise of the movie and ran off with it in so many directions. It was funny, romantic, sad, action-packed and as cheesy as it could be it will always have a special place in my heart. It had a plethora of fantastically likeable characters over its seven year run and some real mind-bender episodes (Buffy in the insane asylum, Dawn’s appearance, the singing one). It rarely disappointed, dealt an explosive ending and I still find it hard to pass by if I come across one.

 

Some honourable mentions if you feel the need for a blood transfusion: From Dusk til Dawn, Shadow of the Vampire, Let the Right One In (Swedish), Let Me In (it’s American counterpart), Fright Night (2011 Colin Farrell version), Dark Shadows. I realise there’s a whole spate of vampire slayer movies, Blade, John Carpenter’s Vampires, etc but they never really appealed to me.  Now go forth and watch, but keep your curtains and windows closed.

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Motherhood, Musings

How My Kid’s Are Like Little Stoners

April 23, 2015
  • They constantly have the munchies for sugary, calorie-laden food and their favourite meals are pizza, hotdogs and burgers. Each day begins with a hopeful mantra, “ sweeties, sweeties sweeties” and I can’t get petrol in the garage without anarchy in the back of the car as the smell of possible goodies inflames their nostrils and has them salivating. Am I the only one who hears the distant chimes of popeye the sailor man and goes straight to damage control? The TV gets put to maximum volume and I sing at the top of my voice hoping to distract them from looking out the window to see every mother’s nemesis… the ice -cream man.
  • They nap when they need it or when the sugar rush wears off and in all kinds of positions and places. They can be lazy as hell, demanding blankets and snacks from their cocoon of comfort while I their enabler, look on in jealous resentment.
  • They can be philosophical at times: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why do elephants not have corners on their eyes?Acotilletta2--Red_Hulk_composite442Their answers can be profound: I’m the Hulk (the red one); I came out of a box of cereal; Cos their eyeballs get in the way. I can ask them questions and get the most random of answers: Q:What would you like for dinner? A: Do you know there’s a golden bonnie?
  • The world holds limitless possibilities. My two year old son told me he’d like to go on a rocket ship to the moon.. today!
  • 5723627-Rocket-ship-leaves-Earth-and-travels-to-the-Moon-Stock-Vector-astronautI draw on my college days, when obviously I didn’t inhale, and had to talk friends with the greenies/ whities down: I end up placating them to keep them calm. Of course we’ll go on a rocket later as mammy’s a little busy right now. Yes, I can see that you’re red hulk, check out the muscles and No, you didn’t come out of Mammy’s bum, that’d be gross…. you came out of her vagina love.
  • You can have the most amazing and literal conversations with them, stuff that I’d like to have embroidered on a cushion. Conall once said everything’s worth a try except jumping in a volcano or crashing on the motorway. That is genius right there and I have patented it in case you try putting it on a cushion.
  • They have very poor motor skills… (not the car, I haven’t finished training them to be my designated driver just yet, damn short legs). I have the bare minimum of glassware and crockery as they have managed to break most breakable items although I have managed many’s the last minute save proving a career in sport may not be an unattainable nightmare.
  • They are very emotional beings. The word fart could set one of them laughing till he literally pees. The next moment they could be crying uncontrollably for the simplest of reasons. They tell me they love me ALOT and shower me with kisses. This is lovely but can make simple tasks like packing your shopping difficult as 3 little people compete in hugging you to the point of suffocation.
  • Their clothes are normally stained five minutes after dressing them. I haven’t noticed any hot rock burns but they’ve yet to enter a pyromaniac phase.
  • They suffer with memory loss although that’s more convenient than anything else. I will have to repeat basic instructions such as put on your socks 12-15 times and at a graduating volume. PUT ON YOUR (MOTHERFUCKING (unsaid but thought))SOCKS!!!!
  • giphy (1)Their language is peculiar and peppered with profanity. Thanks to youtube and bad parenting they have adopted a lot of adult phraseology that is unique to say the least. Conall in particular can be pedantic and embellishes his conversation with some humdingers like… emmm humdingers. They swear and when done appropriately, it’s endearing.. like Koray (4) saying “o shit” when he loses at Xbox or Rian (2) who told me this morning “Koray said fuck off, murder him.. get the police”  See there’s another one… fear of the police! Conall has also taken to using air quotes frequently. He said the other night that everyone in the house loved me except Dad who was (cue air-quotes and voice dripping with sarcasm) “in love with me”.
  • They have boundless ingenuity if all the dishes are in the dishwasher; they will fill a vase or a jug with juice if needed, although this may be learnt from their ingenious dad.figaro-flyer
  • They get shows like Spongebob and the Regular Show. There’s also a cool little Netflix cartoon called Figaro Pho that has got to be written by someone high or insane..they laugh hysterically at all of the above while Disney PC stuff bores the hell out of them, thank Christ.

 

Disclaimer: my kids are not stoners and if they ever become stoners I’ll post embarrassing stories about them on social media.. o wait I’ve already done that; screw it I’ll be an old lady, I’ll probably join them for all that arthritic pain etc.

 

 

Musings, Women's Issues

Full Stop

April 20, 2015

It was trending on Twitter recently that periods were the last taboo. It shocked me as I work in a pharmacy where the majority of staff are women and we talk openly about ours. It’s a conversation starter.. “Hey, what time is your lunch?” “Twelve, God I feel shite I’m hemorrhaging and I want to kill someone. Do you have any feminex, ibuprofen, crystal meth?”. Any man who works with us learns quickly to put his head in a book at lunchtime and not to make eye contact. There are no taboos in a chemist where the family planning section has grown to include a variety of flavoured condoms and lubes, along with vibrating yokes and just recently an array of serums and cooling gels for your vag. I’m not sure if this was the “family planning” the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council educated us on in school. They came to chat to us when we were in 5th year and our unspoken agenda was to embarrass the shit out of them. It was all the more uncomfortable for me as it was a neighbour of mine. There was a section where everyone wrote down an anonymous question on a piece of paper and put it in a box. A memorable one was “what is a rainbow kiss?”  There was no google back then and I have no idea where the question came from but in googling it now, that’s hardcore.

are-you-there-god-its-me-margaretWhen we were in first year, our class tutor taught us the mechanics of menstruation and showed us how tampons worked. She put one into a glass of water and there were a couple of guys from the boys school watching at the window who got more than they bargained for, probably still scarred for life. I had read “Are you there God it’s me Margaret” tons of times and I was prepared to go shopping for Dr. Whites.62162205_tp (1) That book was written in the 1970s and I thought you had to wear a belt and hook a big hammock of a pad onto it. I also thought that if I exercised my arms chanting “I must, I must, I must increase my bust” that I may stop having the body of a 9 year old boy. Talking about periods was exciting; something the girls whispered about since primary school. One girl told how her sister had to be rushed to hospital once a month for a blood transfusion. There was a scandal in primary when a couple of girls were caught throwing pads around in the toilet if I remember correctly. Some rebellious ones in the class bought some tampons from a machine in the toilets at the concert hall on one of our excruciating trips there. She had them in her pocket and if you asked, she’d give you a glimpse.

My Mam gave me a book called “Have you started yet?” about the facts of life when I was 12 as she didn’t want me to be as clueless and frightened as she had been. Her older sister had tried putting plasters on her vagina thinking she had cut herself.84028

I was terrified that my sister, Fiona who was 2 years younger would start before me. She already had boobs I’d be proud of now.

Diary entry 27-January-1990: Got my period!!!!!! Went to the bathroom to go to the toilet when I saw a stain. Ran down and told my Mam and she told me where to find the STs. No pain-nothing. Only the pad feels like I’m wearing a nappy.”

So 1990 a great year for Irish football and my introduction to the joys of womanhood. I could talk about that Summer for ever.. it’s my Summer of ‘69. I had my first slow dance and kiss. Sleepovers with friends where we’d watch Nightmare on Elm St or something by John Hughes and smoke cigarette butts from the fireplace. The posters of St Jason Donovon were being replaced by Michael Hutchence.. the same was going on in Kylie’s bedroom but replace the word poster with penis.  Double-Decker-Wrapper-Small

Twenty-five years of periods later what have I learnt? It’s taken me this long to document what goes on with my body but that’s helped by having an app on my phone to log symptoms etc. Nine days before they’re due I’m a homicidal psychopath. I go on a complete rampage and it’s only that night when I’m in bed that it dawns on me why. If my husband decides to ask when my period is due mid- rant well may god have mercy on his soul. This phase will give way to emotion. Around this time I will normally ring my Mam crying that I can’t cope and she’ll have to come and take one of the kids for a few hours. She’ll do this and then I’ll cry cos I feel like a bitch and I miss my child so I’ll compensate with a Double Decker binge. Two days before my period I’m euphoric, awww look at my gorgeous babies, let’s read stories and do puzzles; then the backache kicks in and I’ll want to crawl into bed with a hot water bottle and cry, not because I’m sad but I’d enjoy a bit of a wallow into my pillow. Then.. period, just a little warning for the first day and Niagara the second. It’s a game of roulette changing pads on the Niagara day as it can end up like a scene from Carrie. Every month I realise at the last minute I’ve no supplies and will do a trip to the chemist where i’ll buy a mixture of regular, super and night time pads (without wings; only stick to places they shouldn’t)  feminax, Femfresh wipes, wash and spray. Then it’ll taper off and these items will be nowhere to be found for the next months episode.

The reason pregnancy wasn’t enjoyable for me was that it was like having a 10 month period. I was unstable emotionally and prone to anger. My back ached, my boobs were a no-go-zone. I ate rings around me and would have been happy to hibernate. On the plus size, the bloating is concealed by the baby bump.

I enjoy the sympathy and probably lay it on a bit thick but apart from all the biological reasons women have periods, I like to use them as a break… from kids, sex and life in general. I want to lie in bed for one day (preferably that 2nd horrible one) and have tea brought to me while I re-read Mallory Towers.

cr1xkvteebuthmjr8zobPeriods have been depicted in a handful of movies.. the most memorable for me is Superbad; that scene where a girl is grinding on Jonah Hill’s leg and “periods on him”  and also Carrie in the shower scene when she gets her period and the other girls throw pads at her and tell her to “plug it up”. I’ve debated the existence of this scene with a few friends because in some showings that scene is cut.. is it more offensive than when she has a bucket of pig’s blood thrown over her? If you would like to catch up on some menstruation movies.. here’s a list     

I hope I’ve done my bit in de-tabooing; feel free to share your stories about transfusions and if the person responsible for Concerthallgate would like to own up and share if they’re still rebelling against society or just have a compulsion to buy stuff from bathroom dispensers, inquiring minds wanna know.

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Family, Musings

This Has Nothing To Do With Jason Donovan Being A Saint

April 13, 2015

I was born in the 70s in Dublin; Odds were I’d be Catholic. It was predetermined and if I was born in Pakistan I would have been Muslim or a Scientologist if born in L.A. (not factually correct I’m sure but you get the gist).  Bear in mind I am not an expert on world matters even though I do hold a Bachelor of Arts degree and can name most celebrities babies (it’s a gift).

I’ve been told by many people in my life not to write about religion for fear of alienating readers but nobody puts baby in a corner.

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The world is gone politically correct mad and that’s fine in some respects but it can be very limiting and if you get a chance read George Orwell’s 1984, if only to see the first reference to Big Brother. When freedom of speech and belief are prohibited, there is a tendency for things to go to shit. Look what happened when dancing was banned in Footloose, it’s a cautionary tale folks.

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Some subjects can be highly emotive. My mother always told me never to get involved in arguments regarding politics or religion. Good advice, but after a few drinks in the pub, things inevitably head that way; although I have to blag talking about politics from bits I’ve gleaned from newstalk or facebook feeds.

Religion, however, I am passionate about. As a kid, I never thought to question anything… Santa, having to watch the Late Late Show on a Friday night or God. Why would I? Adults made all my decisions and I assumed they knew best. Primary school had brainwashing down to a fine art. We learned prayers by rote and had the literal fear of god put into us, particularly in the run up to our first confession. We were 7 and had to confess our “sins” in a dark and scary box to a man of questionable morals. My son is 7 and there is no way I would ever put him through that, even if he didn’t have autism. I don’t care how much they have gussied it up these days.

When the teachers weren’t around I remember a game we would play at lunch where we’d all stare at a picture of Mary for 60 seconds and then stare at the wall and gasp as she appeared to us. The same would have happened if we’d stared at a picture of Jason Donovan for long enough (I know I did).

Our school tours were normally a pilgrimage of some sort, none of your trips to Tayto Park that they have now.

ireland-4Saint_Oliver_PlunkettOne particularly cheery trip involved visiting Oliver Plunkett’s decapitated head in Drogheda. Basically a head pickled in vinegar (a miracle)… extremely appropriate for 9 year olds. Strangely enough it’s the picture on the left of Oliver that bothers me most. My nanny had it hanging on one of the bedroom walls and when I discovered what hung, drawn and quartered meant , I had many the sleepless night.

Mass was something to be dreaded as a child. Somehow my parents found out about a 25 minute mass at 1PM in St. Brendans in Coolock. The priest would play to  huge crowds; standing room only and added the extra incentive of a couple of labradors on stage. We would try our best to delay them with a lost shoe or a pretend illness to cut it down to about 15 minutes. When I was 13 or 14 I was allowed to go to Saturday night mass with my friends. We felt really grown up and would stand at the back chatting. To this day I don’t know why we went; surely our time would have been better served having a few cans of Ritz in a field and playing with a Ouija board. Although, I think we were asked to bring the missalettes home as proof.

Paul Reubens, Pee wee HermanIn secondary school, I joined an after school club called R.A.Y. I think it stood for Renewal Action Youth and we had to take a pledge renouncing alcohol. Much fun was to be had as we played badminton and watched movies in a freezing hall. The only movie I remember watching was Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure, need I say more? I continued in this vein till my late teens. I would pray for ages at night before sleeping although it was more of an OCD thing and I had to say the prayers in a certain order or something really bad would happen.

It was a late night chat with a friend that first opened my eyes. We were having a sleepover and I was about 18 and we were discussing our virginity and how we absolutely couldn’t reach 20 with it still in tact (I blame Pee Wee Herman).  When we were done talking I began muttering and she asked what I was doing. I explained praying and she was incredulous. She asked me so many questions but she wasn’t looking for answers, she wanted me to question myself and find my own answers. I lay awake all night, terrified… but if there was no god.. what would happen if I died? What did it all mean? but by the morning I realised that what she had guided me towards made sense.

JohnLocke-orange-2One of the first things that attracted me to my husband, apart from the fact that he’s an absolute babe was that he felt the same about religion. He was born and raised a Muslim and had drawn his own conclusions as a teenager. He’s whip smart and I really admire the conviction of his beliefs. He cast off the shackles of his youth and looked to Darwin, Tesla and Attenborough (David, not Richard; although he really enjoyed Jurassic Park) for answers. We married in a civil ceremony in Turkey in 2007 and celebrated with a fry and a Lost marathon after.

When we had kids we didn’t make a conscious decision to raise them atheist, it was a given. However when we started sourcing schools for our oldest, they looked for a baptism cert. This concerned me and so we decided to christen him on his first birthday to ensure he got the school of our choice. I know I should’ve sent him to the local Educate Together but I couldn’t get my head around the fact that you called the teacher by their first name and there was no uniform. I was dealing with an undiagnosed child and thought he was just very badly behaved and needed the discipline of an established and structured school. I had my own rebellion by dressing him in jeans and mumbled all the rejecting satan shite. He got into a really good school and last year I asked the principal if I needed to christen my youngest two. He said he it didn’t really matter but they wouldn’t be able to make their communion or confirmation. Fine! But now I was raging about Conall and wished I could rescind his. I suppose I’m lucky I have boys as communion won’t be as big a deal for them but I don’t want them to feel left out. We can have a meal and nice clothes if they want it. Conall’s aspergers  reinforces our beliefs. He sees things logically!  Consider the reasons why people believe in God or have at least some affiliation with a religious tradition. In previous centuries religion served the purpose of explaining the world,  and giving humans a sense of purpose and a moral compass.  With the rise of scientific explanations, religious traditions are expected to dwindle and ultimately vanish. Still, many people continue to have some spiritual beliefs.

My Dad always says he believes in God but not the Church and my Mam lets on she’s religious but always seems to miss mass accidentally on purpose. I think that that generation were brainwashed to within an inch of their lives and it’s much more difficult to let go. I will still say “please god” or “bless you” ; I think these have become colloquialisms and not a declaration of faith. As I said before it’s an emotive and personal life choice and it would be nice to have these conversations logically. Religious people have been known to get mad at adversity; let’s not cite examples. Atheists are crap at sticking together as they are free thinkers and act accordingly.

I know for some that religion is a medium through which they can contact their dead loved ones and if it gives them comfort and solace then that’s a good thing. To me, too much emphasis is put on the “hereafter” and not on the now. When I die, I want to be remembered through funny anecdotes and laughter and certainly not at a grave or in a cold church. I don’t believe we will see our loved ones again… but we can keep them alive in our hearts. When my Aunty Pat died, we had a night in The Goblet and lit a candle in front of her picture. We got pretty pissed and told hilarious stories about her and I know she would’ve loved the night. I have not lost a parent or god forbid (see, see?) a child and I cannot imagine the unbearable pain and heartache. I would want to blame someone or at least believe in that old chestnut “everything happens for a reason”. Frankly, it’s absolutely horrific and I can’t let my mind wander to those dark places or I’d be snorting Lexapro.

So if Gay Byrne were to ask me what I would do if I died and was at the pearly gates of heaven I would probably be completely inarticulate so I’ll let Stephen Fry answer that one…… Stephen Fry on God

 Sometimes it feels like Ireland is stuck in some kind of right wing rut with regards to our disgraceful abortion laws and people’s inability to think outside of the “catholic box” (that sounds like very specialised porn) But maybe change is coming… look at the issue of marriage equality and all the positivity that surrounds it right now, it’s a step in the right direction and hopefully the Ireland my kids will grow up in will be diverse and fun and not including fear of blindness or visions of decapitated saints.

In the meantime.. gaze at this for 60 seconds and then stare at the wall:767663-jason-donovan                                                                           It’s a freakin’ miracle!

Musings

Gonna Dress You Up in Pop-socks

April 6, 2015

Forty is approaching and I can’t believe it, in fact I feel like I’m lying right now. I’m not hiding it from anyone, I’m not ashamed or embarrassed… it just doesn’t fit. When those survey guys ring the house phone I still expect them to say “is your mammy there?” What happened?

It seems like just a couple of years ago that I lay on my bed, surrounded by posters of River Phoenix and Corey Haim daydreaming about adult me. (Christ am I at that age where I say “he’s dead now” about all the actors I loved?). I wondered about my future job/ husband and house. As much as I railed against the suburban 2.4 kids thing to my family and friends, deep down it was what I craved. There is so much advice I would love to impart to my sixteen year old self but then I’m  faced with that age-old time-travel conundrum.. would it change my life now? Would my kids start to disappear from a photo? But, if I were to impart some advice it would be..work on your career! It certainly will not come knocking on your door like you thought it would. I should have done a masters, and if I’d put half as much effort into studying and ladder-climbing as I did looking for a man, I’d be Marian Keyes or Jen Stevens now. I’d have a lovely lunchtime gig on Midday shooting the breeze with the girls. But, no, I took the road more travelled and got a weekend gig in Pizza Hut that led on to retail.

11072153_10152867901008138_1015295019_nNineteen seemed a year full of potential. I’d a boyfriend who drove a motor bike, a wardrobe full of clothes from Eager Beaver and Sé Sí (I could’ve written that Macklemore song although instead of smelling like R. Kelly’s sheets I smelt of mothballs and Walter Matthau). I travelled with two friends on a J1 visa to Atlanta and then Ocean City. It was an amazing experience and we had to make real life choices like do we use our last few dollars to buy a pack of cigarettes or food? We were 19 and we poisoned our bodies and our bodies didn’t mind. We weren’t punished with flabby bits, black circles under our eyes or 48 hour hangovers.

I was twenty-one yesterday, at my joint birthday party with the fabulous and always classy Orla. I, meanwhile was going through a Ginger Spice phase and had blond streaks at the front of my red hair. I wore a turquoise mini with fishnet tights and knee high boots. We got hammered as only 21 year olds can and the party lasted 2 days. The only glitch in the night were the amount of relatives involved in the 21 kisses, including my Granda, the shame. The world was waiting for us… well for me it would stagnate for about 6 more years in fast food and wasted potential.

I’ve changed a lot in the last 20 years. Some good, some not so good. Physically, I haven’t done too badly due to a good metabolism and nothing else. I have no time (literally) for gyms or exercise (that’s my go to excuse). I always have that extra stone to lose in weight but I get in the zone when it’s bordering on obesity and go to Slimming World. If you read my post, Fendi Fanny, you’ll see I’ve dealt with the downstairs area. The only really bothersome physical sign of ageing is all the grey hair! It’s sprouting out everywhere. I have to dye my hair bi-monthly. My eyebrow hair is insane. I’ve these random white ones that grow horizontally and every now and then a black, coarse chin hair will appear; normally when I’m driving and I catch a glimpse of it in the rear view mirror and almost mount the curb trying to remove it. The boobs are pretty bad but a good bra can do a lot.

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I’ve started to dress for comfort I’m ashamed to admit. I found these baggy MC Hammer trousers in Penneys that I’m in love with and I may need to bulk buy. Jeans are slowly making an exit from my wardrobe as they make me feel fat, pinching my muffin top. I’m on a slippery slope. Recently someone, who shall remain nameless introduced me to tan pop socks. “Go on , she said, it makes your shoes more comfortable and keeps your feet warm” . “Can I? Should I? … I mean, they’re so ugly… hang on though, they are very comfy”. I’m dreading my husband copping on to what’s on my feet. I recently bought a long, grey cardigan with pockets in H&M and am wearing it to death. It was only when I was in my Mam’s house and was slagging her over her red cardigan that she has had as long as I remember and wears like a uniform that I realised my progression into middle age had begun.

I’ve also become a creature of habit. I like one particular style of knickers, Penney’s bikini briefs in black and I stock up on them when I’m there. My underwear drawer offers me no alternative, thongs and the like made an early and painful exit from my life. I like Paris by Yves St Laurent and tend to be monogamous to this. I pick shoes based on comfort; I actually googled best shoes for bunions before buying my Doc Martens.. although I should have googled best shoes for not feeling like you have cement blocks on your feet.

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So my body isn’t what it used to be and my dress-sense certainly isn’t but there are many positives to approaching 40. I am more sure of myself than I ever was and have less of a threshold for bullshit. I have absolutely no problem in returning items to a shop if they don’t live up to my expectations, a thing I would never have done in my teens or twenties. With this certainty comes a confidence to like what I like (hat tip to Carolyn Moore). As a teenager I professed a love for Nirvana and grunge while secretly listening to the Carpenters and Diana Ross. Now, I couldn’t give a crap and sing away to One Direction in the car as my kids roll their eyes. I have never been the “cool kid” and it was exhausting trying.

I am not in the least bit frightened of getting old. I will embrace the fact that my kids are getting older and will be happy to see the back of nappies and the naughty step. People get hung up on it and freak out .. it’s a cliche but getting older is a luxury denied to many and we should see each birthday in with relief and happiness. Charlize Theron, Kate Winslett and Drew Barrymore are all set to turn 40 this year and sure they’re in the prime of their career and hot to boot! I’m not 40 till February but I plan to celebrate in all my non-cool glory. A Madonna themed party has been discussed where I will make a grand entrance a la Dress You up and I would also like a synchronised dance routine to Pat Benatar’s We Are Young. I’ve started practising in my in my tan pop socks and elasticated pants.

we are young
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Musings

Soapless

March 12, 2015
Test Screen

I have done something shocking and life-changing. I have cast aside a fifty year old family legacy. How do I put this? Maybe pour something strong into a mug and sit down. Comfy? Ok, I cancelled my Sky subscription, not to change to one of their competitors but to go cold turkey from Coronation Street and Fair City. I’m afraid to tell my Mam, she won’t understand. What is the reason for this madness? Like most Irish households I grew up on a diet of soaps and marmalade sandwiches.

You set your day by them. Neighbours on; Lunchtime. Home and Away; Dinner and homework. Coronation Street; settling in for your last couple of hours before bed, probably included tea and the biscuit tin.

Eastenders came along in 1985 (I was 9) and had the impact that Breaking Bad has these days. They covered topics such as teenage pregnancy and homosexuality which shocked our parents so much that it was banned for many of us. I was forced to listen from the stairs. My diary from 1987 contains nothing of my life but plots and times of soaps. Thursday was the best day ever as Top of the Pops was on along with Eastenders. I can’t help but think of all I could have achieved without TV. Definitely not in the realm of sport as anyone who knows me will testify. Maybe, I’d have had more friends, nope I was the shyest kid ever and would blush on eye-contact.

Could I have read more? I don’t think that would have been possible. Allow me to quote my 13 year old self and I do this with an old school redner: “Speaking of books, will you remind me Mabel (my diary’s name) to try to get a book out of the library on the Tudors as I find them fascinating. I brought an orange and a packet of Burger Bites up to bed with me. I really love that, snuggling down under my warm quilt on a cold night with some food and a good book”                                                                                                          

That diary is pure gold and if for some insane reason it was published (I become an underworld crime figure or people have become so brain dead from Facebook and the Kardashians that this is all their jellified brains can handle and it becomes a modern day Crime and Punishment) , readers would think it was satirical, along the lines of Adrian Mole or Ross O Carroll Kelly.

Burger BitesTo my shame, I haven’t changed much, still like a bed/food combo and in hindsight perhaps I did need TV. Teenage Aisling seemed to live her life like Gale Boetticher without the mass meth production. The few social skills I possessed were probably learnt from the soaps. Is that why I love pubs? Always a disappointment though that no faces get slapped or secrets spilt. Also any wedding I’ve ever been to have run smoothly. Nobody bursts through the doors at the last minute to disclose the groom has a second family of little people living in a cave or the bride has a fetish for coddle. I tried my best at my cousin’s wedding by making a speech about how she once peed herself when I drunkenly couldn’t find the key to the hall door in time but sadly the groom found it endearing.

I have been 4 weeks soap free. I miss them… Orla and Wayne; Paul and Niamh; Steve and Michelle… I’m still grieving. I’m not starving myself entirely, I do have Netflix and I’m catching up on some really good TV. I will use my soap-free time wisely… to read, to write, to shout at the kids and possibly all from my bed while I eat Burger Bites.

Musings

Welcome to Fazed and Confused!

February 16, 2015
David Wooderson

My husband says that when I talk on the phone, I do 80% of the talking so I figure it’s kinder for me to blog my monologue than subject my friends and family to it. You’re welcome!