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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.

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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

Have you had the conversation?

Tonight I have no words. It’s all in the video.
If you watch it you will see those who have lived, because of organ donors, and you will see the pictures and families of those who gave the ultimate gift to save a life.

Unintentional Hero is a beautiful song, written by Pa Curran to honour his friend Taidhg Burke Neff, but this video makes that song even more poignant and powerful.
Among those families featured, is our own local unintentional hero, six year old Ben.

The song can be ordered from itunes here for just 99c.

Please have the conversation. Organ donation saves lives. Tell someone today if you wish to be an organ donor.

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If I could…

If you had three wishes, what would you wish?
Today’s daily prompt asks, Who do you give your three wishes to, and why?

By coincidence earlier today I had written a post titled… If I could.

Imagine if you had three wishes, what would you do? As a child I can remember thinking I was very clever when I was asked this question. My answer was, to use the first wish to ask for more wishes.small_5093998704
Now as an adult I wonder what indeed I would do with such a power?

As I sit typing today, I must admit that my fingers are a little slower than normal, my head a little foggy, and my body feels like that of a much older person. Before you feel too sorry for me, let me reassure you. Yes I am suffering, but not from an illness. I am feeling the side effects of a really good night out last night. I am tempted to use one of those wishes for selfish reasons, to eliminate those side effects, but no I will not waste them.

So what would I do?

Anyone who follows this blog would probably be able to answer that, and know exactly where I’d send those wishes.

The first wish I would hand deliver to a young boy no longer with us. I’d bring him back and watch his Mom and Dad, brother and sisters, family photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/dm3photography/6780867981/">Matt Preston</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">cc</a>and friends gather to greet him. As he would burst in the door, I would ensure he had his gear bag back with him. In it would be new gear. His club GAA jersey, shorts and boots, and his basketball and soccer kits, in the bigger size, as a year and a half has passed since he last played. His gear would of course be dirty, and he would just dump it on the kitchen floor. Wearing a cheeky smile I can only imagine the reception he would get. The awful sad memories of the past year would be wiped away, and the memory of his leaving would be forgotten forever.

I would quickly move on with my next wish. This would be for another small boy. His Dads “little buddy”, an unintentional hero, who is also no longer with us. He would be easy to find. I would only need to find his Mom, Dad and sister and he would be right beside them. I would take great delight in seeing him play again with his toys, and I’d quietly leave, as his family hold him close once more.

Then finally the third wish. This one I’m afraid I’d keep for my own use. It would be for my Dad.
I would close my eyes and call softly for him to come home once more. I would not have to shout as I know, he is always close by.

I would then hurriedly make my way to Dublin. As I’d enter my childhood home, it would feel different. Complete. I’d watch through tears my parents reunion, and see the years fall from my mom, as she and Dad hugged once more. I’d then come forward for my own reunion. So many years of sadness would melt away in that one hug. I can imagine wanting to stay in his arms forever. When eventually I would tear myself away, I’d stand proudly beside him and introduce my Dad to my children. Four grandchildren he never got to meet. A grandfather, father and husband back home where he should be, in a house which has missed him for a very long time.

So there they are, my three wishes. Because anyone who has experienced loss will know that given a choice there is only one wish you would make.
If you could.

What would you wish for?
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This was written in response to the Daily Prompt. Why not check out the other posts.

photo credit: Neal. via photopin cc
photo credit: Matt Preston via photopin cc

photo credit: Designhuone.net via photopin cc

Second chance repost #13

Todays second chance repost comes from the blog Dr Hows Science Wows.  The writer of this blog is a fellow Irish blogger, and her blog is without doubt one of the snazziest I know. If ever you thought of going self hosted her site would tempt you.  It truly “wows”, and is well worth checking out just to show you what can be done with your blog.

Thought of the day… “the passing of the seasons”

Well it is official… Spring is here for sure… the Cuckoo was heard from our garden yesterday, not by me I’m afraid, not yet anyway, but it definitely marks the ticking of nature’s clock, the passing of the seasons.  The cuckoo is calling, tick that box, all is well with the world!

I have to admit I love the anticipation of each seasonal landmark.  The first snowdrop, the arrival of the golden daffodils, the synchronous timing of the budding of each tree, like a perfectly tuned orchestra, each player patiently awaiting it’s moment and joining the symphony at exactly the correct point in time.

photo credit: zenera via photopin cc

My children have lived in this house all their young lives and I am charmed to see them remarking on these  natural milestones too.  They begin to remember their own landmarks of the passing of the seasons and ask me when a certain one will arrive.  These things they have learned on their own… or more precisely, Mother Nature has taught them, tapping them gently on the shoulder to anchor the arrival of each new marvel.

We are lucky to live in the country where nature so beautifully illustrates the passage of the seasons.  The hedgerow by our house, each plant revealing another milestone.  A natural metronome tapping out the appearance of each… the colts foot, lesser celandine, cowslips, dandelions, herb roberts, speed-well, the flowering gorse, bird’s foot trefoil, angelica, meadow sweet, valerian.  As one disappears another arrives and there is a feeling of familiarity and contentment in seeing an old friend emerging once again.  Each a lovely reminder of our early years in this house, before we had children, when my husband and I would walk the lane together and he would point out the arrival of each new plant, teaching me it’s name.  Now every time I see a familiar arrival I remember that special time.

….just a thought!

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If you have an old post you would like to give a second chance to just use the contact me link or check out my sticky post here.