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Listen carefully, as I’ll not be repeating this.

Tonight I’m breaking with tradition. I’m writing about yer man who I live with, and I might even be saying something nice about him!

We met when I was still a teenager, a fiercely independent girl, who knew her own mind. Life at the time was far from easy and in many ways I was fighting my way through it. You looked beyond the surface and changed my life forever.

You were tall, dark haired and handsome. Gentle, funny and kind. I can still remember those heady early days of first love, and they make me smile. I fell for you hard, despite the fact you were not from Dublin. You were what we called a Culchie, a redneck, and worse than that you came from Cork!

The years have rolled by and time has not parted us. These days instead of that rush of love and passion, when you arrived home, you are lucky to get the faintest of kisses, or in fact sometimes to even be acknowledged, as I rush out of the house to work or play.

You have frequently featured on this blog, and not always in a kindly post. I have written titles such as “I’m married twenty years and I still hate being a wife”, “My husband bores me”, and “My husband is so lucky he married me”. On occasions my friend has wondered did I go too far? Do you mind?

Thankfully I am comfortable writing about you, as one of your greatest attributes is your wicked sense of humour and your ability not to take yourself too seriously, ( or me for that matter).  However since I began to write this blog I hope you have also noted the many “nice” posts I have written about you. If not I can go dust the cobwebs off them.

So some may wonder why am I being so nice to you today? Have I crashed your car again? Have I booked another night away with the girls?

None of those this time. No today I am writing a post especially for your birthday.

Myself and the four brats all hope you have enjoyed your birthday evening, and being put first for a change.  As you know I love to write, but somehow tonight my fingers slowed. What words could I use that would tell you what an enormous difference you have made in my life? How could I express all that you mean to me? As I continued to write I realised there are not enough hours in the day to write a post about you that I’d be happy with.photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ashleyrosex/2460768232/">ashley rose,</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

So instead I’ll keep it very simple.

My greatest companion, I  hope we get the chance to celebrate many, many more birthdays together, and that we continue to laugh as much as we do each and every day.

Táim i nGrá leat. xxxx

Oh by the way I have kept the receipts for all your presents you fussy fecker!

 

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Does she know?

I have been given many gifts in my life, but there is one above all I treasure.
It was gifted to me many years ago.

I was pregnant with my third child. At the time life was hectic with four children under six in the house, as I was minding two little girls as well as my own two. I was also very sick, morning, noon and night. One of my closest friends, (who I may have written about here), was also pregnant. We were due a few weeks apart but she was due first. I adore babies and couldn’t wait for her to have her little one so I could hold it, and smell that beautiful new born smell.

Out of the blue one afternoon, my friends young daughter, then aged six, said her mom wanted to ask me if I would be God mother to this new little one when it arrived.

I was overwhelmed. This babies Dad was one of eleven children. Being chosen ahead of many others was a huge honour, and yes I admit it I cried.

That little bundle arrived in August. I remember rushing in to see her less than an hour after she was born, lying shamelessly to the nurse at the door saying I was her aunt.

From that very first day this little lady captured my heart. I cannot begin to describe all the wonderful memories I have of her growing up. Watching her learn to walk, collecting her from playschool, minding her when her aunt and grandmother were sick, and reading her and my own little one stories at night when she decided she didn’t want to go home.photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/knittedpainting/8530202999/">Petra Senders</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

I was thinking about her today as her birthday approaches, and I was reminded how quickly time has passed. She is almost grown up now,taller than myself, and bears no resemblance to the little bundle I first held all those years ago. I wondered how many of those memories, which flooded my brain today, did she remember. The many hugs and kisses, cuddles and smiles?

Did she remember me trying to brush her hair, because she wouldn’t let her mom? Did she remember sharing my lap with my own daughter every day while I sang “I love you” at the end of Barney? Did she remember me telling her her birth mark was special, because that’s where holy God kissed her? Did she remember how special she was to me?

Yes I wondered today, did she remember?
And as I thought it I wondered, does she still know?

photo credit: porschelinn via photopin cc
photo credit: Petra Senders via photopin cc

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I am not posting tonight!

I can do this. I’m not addicted.
I can go a night without posting.
Of course I can.

Fingers begin to twitch.

I am not posting tonight.
No writing for me.
I’ve nothing to write about anyway.

Feet begin to tap.

I’m not addicted.
I will just read other blogs and not write anything tonight.
I can do this.

Begin to bite lip.

If I did post I wonder what I’d write?
A bit of humour wouldn’t go amiss on this blog.
With a catchy title and a good photo.

Discover laptop on my lap.

I’ll just draft one post  for tomorrow.
There’s no harm in that.
Afterall I’m not addicted.

I can do this…..

Ah feck it I can’t!

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Thank you, I’m chuffed.

Just a quick late night post to pass on my thank you to anyone who took the time to nominate me for this years Irish Blog Awards. I am thrilled to have my nomination accepted, even if I shamelessly pointed you in that direction.

Last year I managed to make the finals, but being new to blogging ignorance was bliss and I’d no idea what an achievement that was, whereas this year I would be more than happy to make the shortlist.

I have had a busy few days and hadn’t the time to go online to check my nomination, but when I did I discovered I’d been nominated in not one but two categories. I am in the ‘Best personal blog’ category, which was what I would have expected, however I also made it into another category, which was a bit of a surprise. In truth I’m convinced it’s a mistake or a typo.

Yesterday we were all sitting having dinner when I shared this news with my kids. I then asked them could they guess what the category was. Without hesitation four voices laughed and said, “Not beauty Mom”. Well as it turns out they were right it is not beauty, but not because I’m not gorgeous, but the strange category I’m nominated in is ‘health and well being’.

So I am sure you will all celebrate with me, as it must surely mean that at last the health benefits of drinking copious amounts of wine are being recognised!

But seriously  thank you all again. I’m delighted to be nominated, but more so to see the numbers reading and enjoying my writing growing, and I even have a growing number of facebook ‘likes’ and followers which is a new thing for me. In the past eighteen months I’ve loved writing here, and getting to “know” so many of you online. Your encouragement and support have been invaluable over the past difficult time in my life.

So once again, thank you, thank you, thank you.

photo credit: Rennett Stowe via photopin cc

Today is not a good day.

 

Today I have cleaned the house, including the bathrooms,
I have chatted with my children,
and made lunch, done laundry, and cleaned the house some more.

Externally I have smiled,
and gone about all I have to do as normal.
But today, inside I weep.

It is just over a year ago since young Daniels transplant.
As we holidayed last week in Spain, I laughed,
and played in the sea and pool.
But when sitting in our bedroom alone,
I was haunted.

Last year as I sat there I had got regular updates.
The bone marrow transplant was a great success,
and Dan had not even spiked a temperature.
He was in wonderful form,
and feeling strong.

Just two weeks later that all changed.

Recently I was walking with his mom,
and we were chatting.
Feeling his loss, she turned to me and said,
“Grief is the one thing in life you must do alone”.

She explained that as a married couple,
throughout your life together you come across difficulties.
Sharing them helps enormously.
However with grief she said, it makes no difference,
because no one else can lessen it.

Today as I sit here writing this,
my heart is breaking for my friend.
I know how hard I have found the past couple of weeks,
how many times I have raged,
how many tears I have shed.
I cannot begin to imagine her pain.

As she says, she must carry her grief alone.
All we, her friends and family, can do,
is walk beside her,
offering a shoulder to lean on,
or a hand to hold.

For despite our love and support,
none of us can lessen her pain.
None of us can understand her loss,
and none of us can heal her wound.

Today I am sad for my friend,
I hurt, I rage and I cry.
But at the end of the day what good does it do.
My friend still grieves,
and Daniel is still gone.

Today is just one of those days.

Have you seen one yet?

I have returned from a holiday in Spain during which I spotted one or two of these.  I am just wondering if anyone else has had the pleasure?

He is a Northern European male, who tends to fly during the months of July/August to a Mediterranean climate.

It’s believed he does so to follow his mate and watch over his brood. In recent decades his brood numbers have dropped significantly from a past average of seven, to todays average of two to three.

This male can be spotted relatively easily without the need for binoculars. On a Spanish beach among the many hairless, buff, bronzed and oiled males they tend to stand out. A beacon of white.small_3887183129

They sport a “farmers tan” of freckled face, coated in a layer of white barely rubbed in sun cream, red neck, and arms three quarter coloured a reddish brown.
The body of this male is rarely buff or hairless and no matter how expensive the clothing they wear it never matches the look achieved by its mediteranian brother.

Perhaps in an attempt to disguise themselves, this species can also be spotted wearing T-shirts in the sea and sporting towels on their heads and shoulders.

Unlike the Mediterranean species, this white, freckled, non buff male is rarely seen lying in the sun. Instead they can usually be observed standing in the sea holding the hand of one of their brood while carrying another, or playing ball. They may also be endlessly filling buckets of water to pour into moats that disappear within seconds around sandcastles, or just generally doing all that their children ask of them.

Watching them with their brood you cannot help but see past the lack of Adonis like features and observe the gentle touch they have with their young, the endless patience they show, and the ability they have to make their children laugh out loud in obvious joy.photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/pnoldan/7884847670/">Pami N</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a

Yes they may not be in peak physical condition, but having spent time with one of them, I would have to concur that they are an exceptional species.

The broad term for them would be “Fathers”. However these are not ordinary fathers, but world class. To give them their correct title they are “Irish Fathers”. A species unlike any other.

So keep an eye out this Summer, there could be one coming to a beach near you.

Oh and another point of interest about this species… They always without exception pair up with stunning looking women. Fact!

photo credit: alobos Life via photopin cc
photo credit: Pami N via photopin cc

‘Til death us do part’

 

My mom rarely reads my blog, but regardless today I would like to write a special post for her, and for my Dad.
Today is their fifty ninth wedding anniversary.

In our house there are many photos of our Mom and Dad. However there is one in particular which for me sums up the life they shared. It is a photo taken over sixty years ago in London, of a very young looking man, yet to become my Dad, and a strikingly beautiful young woman. As I looked at that photo as a child, I formed a clear opinion of what I thought true love looked like.

Today as I remembered their anniversary I was travelling home from holidays with my own family. As I looked at my husband I thought about my Mom and Dad and all the special days they had shared over the years. The early days they spent together in London, their journey home to Ireland with their first baby, and the subsequent births of four more children.

I remember the many happy days of our childhood. The holidays we spent in Donegal, and all the fun times we shared as a family. Together my Mom and Dad were a wonderful team, a real partnership.photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/leo-gruebler/6347903993/">LeonArts.at</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

Before their happy ever after was taken from them.

It is indeed sad to think how long they have lived without each other, but today is not a day to reflect on that. Today is a special day. A reminder of the day they said “I do”.

As they spoke their vows that day I can imagine the happiness they share.  The excitement of the prospect of their future together. My mom is not the most serious of characters, but I can imagine her sincerity as she spoke her wedding vows that day.

However on reflection I now believe, that there is one vow I know my mother did not keep, and anyone who knows her will readily agree with me.

‘Til death us do part’.

For even though death did indeed part them way before their time, my mother has remained my fathers wife, his beautiful bride of fifty nine years.

So Mum, today as memories of that most special of days sweep over you, as they surely must have done,  I remind you of the words of the song you first danced to as man and wife,

‘Cos I’ll always love you
Wherever you go
And though we are parted
I want you to know

That if things go wrong, dear
And fate is unkind
Look over your shoulder
I’m walking behind

Because I have no doubt that Dad did not keep that vow either, and he too continues to be your husband, who loves you still.

*************
Hi everyone. Yes I’m back from holidays. We came home late last night and I raced to post this, as yesterday was my Mom and Dads anniversary. However it was not to be as my computer crashed and I missed the midnight deadline. Ah well “Better late than never”.

Happy Anniversary Mum and Dad. xxx

photo credit: LeonArts.at via photopin cc

I’m taking a blogging break. So long. Farewell.

For over a year now, bar a few days I have posted a post.
Some of my posts were even popular, and I have enjoyed a growing following.
However brace yourselves, because all is about to go quiet.photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/latente/274852368/">Lisandro M. Enrique</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>

Come Saturday there will be no My thoughts on a page post.
I will be thoughtless so to speak.
Sunday will see none either, nor any day next week.

I am writing here to warn you in advance,
as I am sure at least a couple of you may miss me.
Some may even become concerned,
and wonder what the blazes happened that Irish one.

Well let me reassure you that this break is only temporary,
I will be back.
I am heading away on holidays.
My nearest and dearest and myself.

My idea of a fantastic holiday is to pack up the car,
and family and drive to West Cork.
I enjoy the lack of heat and have no problem with a couple of rainy days.
So answer me then, why in the name of goodness am I taking a plane and leaving the country?

I suppose it’s because that is what my family wish to do,
and who am I to disagree with them.

Anyway here’s a little video I posted last year.
We have decided to risk the “cheap flights” once more,
but I’m holding my breath we don’t end up regretting it!

I wanted to leave you laughing and this video will definitely do that.

photo credit: Lisandro M. Enrique via photopin cc

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Do you remember this time last year?

Do you know what you were doing this time last year? Can you remember the days, hours, minutes and moments?

I can. For this time last year was the beginning of the long goodbye.small__9141239481

This time last year, here in Ireland, the weather was beautiful. A young boy was in the best form he had been in, since discovering six months earlier he had leukemia. We were filled with hope and, along with the good weather, spirits were high.

This time last year we were all waiting. Waiting for the day Daniel would have his bone marrow transplant. The day which would see the end of his leukemia. The day which would signal a new beginning. We were fearful, yes, but also excited. He would soon be well again.

This time last year I shared a final walk with my great friend, Dans mom. We walked and talked as usual, although inside the pain was enormous. I was saying Goodbye to my pal for up to three months, as it was anticipated that it could be that long before they got home again. As we walked along we didn’t speak of our fears, only of our dreams of success. The thought that this would not work was unimaginable, and somewhere we were not willing to go.

After our walk I briefly popped in to say Good luck to Daniel. I wanted to cry and hug him, but that would have been cruel and inappropriate. Instead I strolled in to him, and said  a quick “See ya Sweetheart, best of luck”, and off I went. No hug, no fuss.

Outside, at my car, I hugged my friend and couldn’t help it as tears briefly overflowed. Then as quick as they began I stopped them.  I smiled in apology and she laughed, then I said, “See you later”.  A blatant lie, but a necessary one. Neither of us could cope with this being our final moment.

That night there was a family gathering for Daniel and his family in his aunts house. Everyone was wondering when would be the next time they would gather together like this, but no one would say it aloud.

When it was time to leave, Dan and his family drove away, hands waving, smiles all around.  It was only after he left that those who were waving goodbye crumbled. Yet sad as they were, no one gathered together that night could have guessed, that this really was Goodbye.

This time last year Daniels clock was ticking. As the days and weeks went by we all began to hear it tick louder and louder.

Yes I clearly remember this time last year.  Every single day of it.

Thinking of Daniel, and his family this week. xx

photo credit: Rick Payette via photopin cc

photo credit: armadillo444 via photopin cc

An open letter to Garth Brooks.

Stand well back reading this as there is steam coming out of my laptop!

Dear Garth.
Well that’s a lie for starters, because Garth Brooks you are certainly not “Dear” to me.
In fact let me begin again.

Poxy Garth Brooks,

You told us your heart was in Ireland… We smiled.
You told us we were special… we cheered.
You told us you were going to begin your world tour here…. we were honoured.
You told us you were coming for three nights… not enough we shouted.
You told us there were two extra concerts… we went crazy.

400,000 celebrated. Cowboy hats at the ready. Hotel rooms booked. Holidays sorted.
It was to be the event of the Summer, and so many of us were part of it.
“What night are you going?”, was a common question. 70,000 were coming from overseas.

We brushed up on your lyrics,
“If tomorrow never comes”, “I didn’t mean to cause a big scene”.
And downloaded any old favourites we’d forgotten.

Then the news broke. There were only licences for three concerts, not five.

Were we worried? Not at all. Sure this is Ireland, don’t be worrying about licences. Did they not know it’s Garth Brooks. Everyone wants to come see him? Couldn’t they just do what they always do? Get the licence after!

No one worried.

We read the headlines. Yes we hear you, the residents were upset. We felt for them, but we had tickets. They’d get over it. This happens all the time.

Wrong.

This time the residents were determined. This time they said no and they meant no. To our horror we discovered two nights were cancelled. Feck. Who’d have believed it?

We all said things like, “Aw that’s awful”, and “God love them”, but secretly 240,000 were not bothered. They still had tickets.

I still had a ticket. A valid ticket.

Phew! Yes, yes, poor you who missed out, but Nahnahnahnah, I didn’t really care. Garth Brooks here I come.

But wait. Garth is speaking.

He loves us… Awwwphoto credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/shandilee/5022057355/">Shandi-lee</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a
He is devastated…. Wow!

He has made a decision… Five nights or none.

WTF? NO. No. No. Surely not?

What are you thinking Garth poxy Brooks?
Were you bad at maths at school?

You tell us you don’t want to disappoint anyone…. I get that…
But your decision means you disappoint 400,000 instead of 160.000

Seriously Garth you need a calculator.

So Garth feckin Brooks, be warned. We Irish are a dangerous breed. You think we are laid back, relaxed and up for the craic, which we are, but beneath our smiling eyes and easy talk is 800 years of a fighting nature. We do not forget easily. Just ask England.

Unless of course you change your mind?

Yours, crying into my wine,
A lost fan.

PS. I couldn’t fit this in anywhere, but Garth Brooks I think you are a right fecker, and what’s more..
you have been deleted off my ipod forever!

photo credit: armadillo444 via photopin ccphoto credit: Shandi-lee via photopin cc