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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Man Called Willy Dineen


The tide is turning as I write, doing that brief wrastling little dance it does, it's magical. I do so hope we don't find creatures on the moon and blow them into democracy too for I would so miss the tides. Along with my inner tide. Apart from female lunar cycles, I often wonder about its powerful bearing on everyone else. We understand so little about the moon.

No, let me call Luna 'her'. The goddess. She who controls so much of the doings on earth. Silently, quietly. I had an ancestor who would get in his wee currach on a night of a full moon and go out into the middle of the harbour and anchor there. He would then proceed to lean on his oars, throw his head back and sing away to her. All through her slow cruise along the navy blue sky. When she dipped below the horizon he would row to shore and go home. Probably to his mammy. For I wondered who would have married him. I think I would have. For what's wrong with a man who sings to the moon?

The odd thing about this relative (I could be wrong but I think his name was Willy Dineen) my father's second cousin, twice removed or something, was that he was shared with my ex-husband's family. So we figured out we were sorta third cousins sharing Singing Willy. A bit of shame attached to Willy and the full moon, for they all thought he was cracked. I didn't. And he only came to light when both our families were sitting down around the table one night untangling the long knitted strings of Irish relationships which spreads like a blanket over the entire 32 counties. And beyond, if you're inclined. A hobby which is fully present and accounted for in Newfoundland also. I could listen for hours to this kind of talk while it uncovers long forgotten marriages, dead babies and cursed families and people buried outside the churchyard in the dead of night. For Willy paid no attention to the church at all and was buried in 'unsanctified' as befitted his pagan leanings.

Ah, there should be a Willy Dineen in everyone's family. To give it a bit of spice. To tell us all we're not as green as we're cabbage-looking. Another fine turn of an Irish phrase you may not have heard before.

If I had stronger arms and could get at a currach, you'd find me out in the bay here of a full moon night, listening to the echo of my voice all around the bay while above me Luna grins her Mona Lisa.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bears Repeating (and repeating)


~~~~~~~~~~~Libya, 2011~~~~~~~~~~~

"The truth is, they want you, you see, to be poor. If you don't know the reason, I'll tell you. It's to train you to know who your tamer is. Then, whenever he gives you a whistle and sets you against an opponent of his, you jump out and tear them to pieces."

Aristophanes: circa 422BC


Two World Wars, Vietnam, Iraq, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya.....Iran?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Can You Imagine?


Yeah, to get my mind off awful awful awful stuff in the world (another case of bombing one country into democracy and, rah-rah - freedoms, oh puhleese!), radiation ever spanning outwards from godforsaken Japan, another blasted Canadian election due to no confidence in Harper (Bush-lite) and his lackies, oceans so acidic that seals, dolphins and whales are kami-kazing on beaches everywhere, no support, study or funding by the Canadian government on alternative MS treatments (yes, I have a personal interest in that one)and our neighbour down south - I won't even go there as everybody USian is trying to go backwards into 1852 or thereabouts with ROE chipping, Union chipping, LGBT chipping, and GE, their biggest corporation with record profits paying absolutely no taxes whatsoever in 2010, I will speak of pleasant things, uplifting things, non-thinking things.

Get this. I used to sing and act in the day. Pre-emigration to Canada. Pre-marriage, pre-children. Way back. Got that?

And now on April 15th, 2011, there is a reunion of my theatre company. In Cork. A big dinner. With dancing and singing and drinking (for those who do) and tale swapping and OMG-you-haven't-changed-a-bitting. Well, we all must have. Last time we all performed together was in 1966. And quite a few of us are still vertical on this side of the daffodils.

And it was a wonderful time, those four years of intense rehearsals and the world being our oyster and how young we were and full of dreams and talent and greasepaint and flouncy costumes and breathtaking voices and youth, rosy cheeked beautiful gorgeous youth.

I can hardly wait.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sheila's Brush


Sheila's Brush

Yesterday.
And the day before.
And the day before that.
Liquid yellow touching blue.

Jaunty me.
Coatless, hatless, gloveless.
Ha-ha said the old fisherman
Patrick's not done with you yet.

For Sheila's not here.
Until she comes don't
Put any of the gear away.
Or 'twill be the death of you.

And today
Sure enough there's a roar
Down the chimney and the waves
Mount high and the snow

Oh the sharp snow cutting through
The sky and the trees and the
Birds all shivering from it
And me inside looking out at it

And looking around
For the gloves and the hat and
The scarf and the great winter
Coat and the boots. Brush on.

For more information on Sheila's Brush.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Invisible


It's official. I'm finally invisible. It took a while. Some tell me it happened to them when they turned some rancid corner in their mid-fifties. Some complain of it even when they're in their forties.

Well it happened to me yesterday. And it was painful. And I fought it every damn inch of the way. I'll refresh your memory of this dark and hopeless day in November. Yes, November 2010. It has taken over 4 months for the mess on my head to sort itself out. The scrabble of kinda hair at the back of my head lengthened once again (it was traumatized) and the black started to fade and I decided to let my grey or whatevers start rolling in. Au naturel pour moi. I chopped the side burns (long, dangly) at the side of my face a few times and twisted the other bits into things at the back of my head. I know, I speak like my hair was a rather large forest of mixed plantings but that's what it felt like.

So I toddle off to a new hair-stylist yesterday and let the whole mess down off my head, it is a little bit of a shock. I expected commiseration, laughter, even a snicker. But nothing from the bored gum-snapping ten year old hairdresser behind me.

"I have a bit of a mess here?" I say, smiling.

"What do you want done?"

"Well, I normally wear it like so, I hate it on my face, so if you could clean it up, even it out and recommend some sort of transition rinse while I let my natural colour roll in?"

"Don't know nothin' about that trans word. You want colour or not."

"No, no colour, but a rinse to harmonize...."

"Don't do what you call rinse," she snaps gum 2,000 times in irritation.

"Okay then. Just don't cut the back, it's growing in after 4 months, but cut everything else to match it, shame you don't have a rinse. I must be the only senior in Newfoundland, ha-ha?"

Silence, snip, clip, snip, clip. Snap gum.

"I like your hair colour, reminds me of my granddaughter's hair."

Silence.

"Is it natural?"

"No."

"It's a really nice colour."

Silence. She measures my hair carefully. Never meets my eyes in the mirror.

"I can hardly wait to have you fix up the terrible cut and colour I got the last time. Oh right, I'm stuck with piebald."

"You're not bald."

"I meant I'm stuck with the two-colour grow out."

"So now you want it coloured?" appalled silence, gum snapping ceases.

"No."

She dries my hair, I ask her to replace the barrette at the back. She sighs and deliberately twists it very tight. I know this as I see her face in the mirror as she does it.

She charges me too much. I tell her to give me the senior price. Huge, earth shaking, my-boyfriend-just-broke-up-with-me sigh as she redoes the bill.

I give her a $2.00 tip - a bit on the smallish side for me.

And you know why?

It's one of the best haircuts I ever had.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Molly's Mother


If she could have some kind of choice in all of this she'd make a far different one, but it wasn't up to her. It was, as always, up to the power in the family. The power that lay with their two brothers.
She and Rosie had nothing to say, you live with this for long enough and there's no point in fighting it, you give up. Jasper and Gordon made all the decisions, and had since they graduated from university. It was then that Mother had the stroke and chose an unfortunate time to have it. There was Daddy, proud as punch with his twin boys on each arm, both in their mortar boards and gowns getting the photos taken.
“Just me and the boys now, now, no, we don't need none of the girls in this one, right fellows? Stand back there Molly and take a whole pile of pictures!”
And she did, of course. She and Rosie were always the wallpaper to the events in the family. They were older but seniority meant nothing. Not when you came from Clifden, Connemara in 1951. And then as she, Molly, was following Daddy's instructions, Mother slid to the perfect green grass of the University of Galway grounds and lay there as if dead. Daddy was exasperated, came storming over, muttering “ah, gwan outta dat, gwan outta dat,” taking it all as a personal affront to the enjoyment of his day, his pride in his sons. She was the one to race over to the phonebox at the edge of the quad and call 999, as her mother lay there all grey and still.
Her own marriage didn't take in any sense of the word, her husband took off after a few years calling her barren on top of being frigid, so after Mother's stroke she moved back in with Daddy, it was as if she was never away. Mother had been mildly useless even before the stroke, went around mute most of the time so even though the stroke had taken away her speech along with the right side of her body, it was all more of the same old. Rosie's marriage had taken, in spite of Daddy making what he called a ball-hopper of an after-dinner speech at the wedding telling his new son-in-law to watch out as the girls in his family had some bad habits that couldn't keep husbands and it was a shame he was again wasting his, Daddy's money, on this one. Molly thought she'd die as Cormac had left her only the month before and she was still sore from it all. It seemed to her that in the whoops of laughter that went up and the banging of the glasses on the table that everyone was looking at her and mocking her.
Mother was like a doll, so light and airy it was easy to take care of her. She'd always been delicate, and had spent a lot of her time in bed when they were growing up. It wasn't like she ever had a personality that was submerged after the stroke. It wasn't like you could miss her.
So when Daddy keeled over dead with the heart attack on top of his Sunday roast a year later, it was a huge shock. The boys came down from Dublin, it seemed like the will made provision for them as joint executors with an amount set aside for their deemed incompetent mother. Deemed incompetent was the word used alongside the word wife throughout the will. She wondered why she and Rosie had showed up in the solicitor's office at all. The boys just made their choice as if she didn't exist, she wasn't even given the patronizing courtesy of an opinion.
“We'll sell the house, of course,” said one of the twins, “And put Mother in a home or in the hospital.”
She had made a habit of talking to Mother every night over the evening meal since Daddy died and now showed her the will and what the twins were about to do, sell the house and fob her, Mother, off into a home. She said to her mother she didn't know what to do with herself now, she'd like to stay, maybe make a B&B out of the big old house and of course Mother would be guaranteed a home with her till the day she died.
Her mother's reaction was violent, everything dormant within her seemed to explode, her head bobbed up and down, her mouth frothed, her good leg banged on the floor and she made a writing gesture with her good left arm and laboriously wrote out the solicitor's name but with an adjective that made Molly laugh: Bloody. She didn't think Mother had it in her.
When Bloody Declan Kielly showed up at the house the following Monday, mother had her notes all ready for him. She demanded a medical assessment of her competence, and said she was ready to inherit her dead husband's estate and well she had earned it. Also she was prepared to write a will in the event of her own death. It all took a few weeks but she was deemed fully competent and stated to be compos mentis by a court appointed psychiatrist who had never met her before.
Her will was drawn up wherein she left two thirds of the estate to her daughter Molly and one third to her married daughter Rosie and absolutely zero to her twin sons, whom she said in black and white in her statement that was attached to the will, had already inherited all of the privileges inherent to their gender and none of the compassion and kindness of their sisters.
She insisted on taking therapy and within a few months there was a remarkable improvement in her communication skills and in her mobility.
She lived for another twenty years, taking enormous pleasure in greeting and registering the tourists who flocked to the now famous B&B: "Molly's Mother's".

Friday, March 18, 2011

This happens to everyone, right?


Do you ever think to yourself why does everything have to happen at once? So many events in the one time period that the head wants to burst with the decision making process and the BP soars with the stress of making the right one.

Next month is when my particular world is having numerous celebrations.

First of all there is a family wedding which is in Argentina. If I was going to Argentina, I would have to visit my brother in Santiago in Chile. If I was going to Chile I'd have to go to Peru, Machu Picchu has never been taken off the bucket list. The big trip to South America would happen - and that doesn't come cheap, and would have to do me for oh, say, the next 10 years of vacations.

Next up there is a major high school reunion which should be poignant and wonderful as many of our graduating class are dead: a more than average percentage to breast cancer. Our gorgeous old school is on an island in the middle of the River Lee and perhaps the effluvia from Murphy's Brewery up the road had something to do with it. No environmental watchguards in those days and the only fish in the river which made us all 'ew' were big ugly dirty mullets. With encrusted whiskers on them.

Then there is the 95th birthday party for an uncle, the uncle who was married to my absolutely favourite aunt in the whole wide world and his scattered family are all coming home for that.

Then there is the annual picnic of my mother's family which takes place on Irish Mother's Day (different from the North American) and English cousins are coming home for that along with my only living aunt who is well over ninety.

Then there is the final few weeks of rehearsals for the play I've written and am directing and which is exciting the hell out of all of those involved in it.

All of these events are happening in the same 3 week span of time and I simply can't wrap my head around any decisions at all. I had heard there was a direct St. John's to Paris flight which would make my life a whole lot easier but now I can't find a trace of it on the interwebz so will have to track down an old fashioned travel agent.

These are good choices, I remind myself. All validations of life and forward thinking in this oh so fragile little planet of ours.

So what the hell am I to do?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit



An oldie but goodie. And remember - don't be too rough on the vehicular traffic, try and avoid rolling underneath them, their undercarriages get right messy so they do.

A Happy St. Patrick's Day to us all and a special imprecation for those who take a day off from the severe deprivations of the six weeks of Lent:

May your stomachs not be pumped
From all the drinkin'
Nor your teeth go green and rotten
From all the sweeties.


And I give you my favourite Irish joke of all time:

An Irish professor of Literature was at a conference in Spain. As a conversational ice breaker, his Spanish host asked if the Irish had a Gaelic word similar in meaning to the Spanish - mañana. Sure, said the professor, we have five words similar to mañana, but none of them have quite the same sense of urgency.

Perception



(Photo is of the view from the sink by my kitchen window during a brief rainstorm the other day. Transfixed as I wash up the pots? What do you think?)

I mentioned that I had two family members on business in Tokyo during the catastrophic events there.

One has now left to go back home and one has stayed and today I get an email from the one who stayed (but who is leaving this week) and this is what he said, and I quote directly from it:

I will now be leaving on Friday- I delayed my departure to finish off
something here in Tokyo. There does appear to be more panic in other
parts of the world more that here, particularly in connection with
radioactive fallout. My Japanese friends do keep me fully informed and
while I do not like the earthquakes (we had a few in the last few
minutes) I feel quite safe here.


He is an architect and was involved in some new projects in Tokyo so I can only assume there are continuing forward plans in motion for construction.

I feel a glimmer of hope for Japan.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gross National Product



Photo from the deck today: Spring, she be happenin'.

I don't know where I read this and I'm too tired to go web search but the gist of the essay was that we are measuring all the wrong stuff when we give out GNP numbers. What we should be measuring is the happiness of our citizens.

Oh boy. Right on, I say. There is a pall of unhappiness in the world that is tangible. Disasters, nuclear (or truly as I prefer the linguist Dubya's pronunciation: Nukular)power failures and non-containment: a personal worry as two of my family members were in Tokyo at the time of the tsunami - I can never quite get used to that word, we would call it 'Tidal Wave' in the old days. They are shaken and stirred but fine, praise be Gaia. One is hoping to get out today. As to the tragedies of so many uncountable deaths continuing to unfold there - it must be unbearable.

Economic meltdowns continue to domino, country by country and does anyone know what is happening in the world of our neighbour down south apart from multiple Charlie Sheehans? Big stuff afoot I hear. Here we are playing hopscotch with maybe an election, maybe not, as our prime minister Harper crowns himself king of all Da Canadian and Canadien and First Nations Peebles, officially like, with a replacement of Government of Canada notepaper with, I kid you not, The Harper Government headlining all official government communications from what used to be a democracy. Sort of. Laws? Schplaws. The king has spoken, long live, etc. But I think we would all take him down physically and exile him on an icepan off Labrador if he so much as touched our universal health care.

Meanwhile in my little neck of the woods I am reminded over and over and over again of what happiness is when I go out and about. One never leaves Newfoundland. People ache when they leave here, they cry (I do) when they leave, they cry when they come back (I do).

I'd say we have the highest GNP (based on happiness) in the whole world. Seriously. You'd have to get to a community dance here, or be at the theatre where I was on Friday night at Jake's Gift
and after the show the actor comes out and says she had to say, and she breaks down and cries, and says that she had toured all of Canada, more tears, and she had not been prepared for the people of Newfoundland who were a nation all to themselves with the welcome and their openheartedness and love.

And I was reminded of that at a BBQ dinner dance I was at on Saturday night where the band, ZOMG the band, played my kind of rock 'n roll and we danced and we danced.

And people talked of all the fund raising going on lately, to help out the local families with cancer issues and housefires and sick children. You get an overall community population of 1,000, max, who can raise $5,000, $8,000, $17,000 for some needy neighbour. I don't know about you, but I hide myself in the bathroom and cry sometimes. I am that overwhelmed by the generosity.

There is something about knowing the community will take care of you, should the need arise, that generates great peace of mind. You will not go hungry, your house will be rebuilt, your accommodation at the hotel will be paid near the big city hospital where your child is so sick. And hell if you need to be buried, that will be taken care of too.

It is a dying way of life, I am very well aware of that. But there is a lot to be learned here in these outport communities about a GNP that can't be measured, it is so completely off the charts.

I have never in my life been surrounded by so much happiness. It has nothing to do with material wealth or possessions but everything to do with contentment and a certainty that no finer place on earth exists.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

No Expectations


Awareness it has been said, is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. Looking at what is around us with fresh eyes, but most of all looking at our internal selves. Not obsessively but with the same keen eye. Particularly when we are uncomfortable or dissatisfied or feeling downright whingey. Which I was last week. Because I forgot not to be surprised at all the mallarkey around me.

I try and stay away from the news these days. It is all rather rotten as depicted by the newspapers and websites I browse. I don't have teevee which is an enormous gift I gave myself over 20 years ago now as when I visit other houses with their housegod CNN, it is all about disasters and crime and drugs and rapes. Which is not the real news anyway, is it? Ne'er a one of those talking heads addresses the doomed economy, our oil addicted culture, and our consumerist lifestyles which has turned around and bitten us savagely in the nether regions.

Meanwhile the pols lie and scheme and more-lie and more-scheme to get the largest slices of the ever diminishing pie for their corporate overlords before their subjugated masses all go arse over teakettle. And I realize I am one of the 1% who are thoroughly ZOMG awake and see it so painfully clearly.

So I made a resolution to myself a few months ago. That I would no longer place any positive expectation on a person, a place or a thing in public life. When political patronage takes place I would just roll my eyes and say "Well, no surprises there, is there?" When the Gulf Oil so-called spill's (tsunami actually)aftermath is now resulting in horrific human health issues along with the fish, wildlife and mammal massacres, I am not shocked, I do not react, I didn't expect it to be better or fixed or cured or confessed. Or even for other insane drilling (and fracking, sweet Jaybuzz) to be stopped. It is just as I predicted. The world is being pillaged and despoiled and destroyed. And American Idol and their Survivory clones keep most sedated.

And maybe that's a good thing.

For who wants to be wide awake for the coming death throes of our once beautiful planet?

Call me a hardcore realist. Or cynical curmudgeon.

And quote of the day, added after original posting:

The place where optimism most flourishes is the lunatic asylum.
- Havelock Ellis

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Inspiration


We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.
- Frank Tibolt


I often grab one of these little quotes that slide into my mailbox every day and print it and study it and maybe spend a bit of time with it.

Like today's. I often say: I'll wait till the notion takes me, which is something my granny, my own personal hero, would say. I loved her casual approach to life and its necessities and requirements. Enormous fun for a child to be around. But not so much fun when you're an adult and waiting for the whatevers to strike.

They don't is my conclusion. Or rarely do.

I find that the action does precede the creative thought, the light bulb going off is nearly always preceded by the effort of getting up and going to the switch on the wall and actually flipping it.

I find the best writing or photographing or knitting I do is when I take the time to doodle around first. To play with a sentence, to take my hands and frame out a shot. To troll through a host of old knitting patterns and actually knit a swatch. To actually do the legwork, the painstaking setups.

I remember getting into some walking a long time ago. It started by walking 10 minutes around the block in the dead of night. Then into some long range walking on the weekends. I never could have even imagined where it would eventually take me: marathon running. I would have laughed at anyone who would have even suggested it.

Action steps are all important for it is all in the journey. The destination is never that important. But it is such a mind blower when it turns out to be something of a blind-siding gobsmack.

Tiny first steps, yeah?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Dreamscape


(The best dream song ever from Gilbert & Sullivan's Iolanthe in which I played a part, many, many moons ago.)

Some say they never dream. But they do. They just can't remember them when they wake up. It is through our dreams we get to work out the problems of our lives, or attempt to understand our pasts.

I'm one of those who has dreams that are better than movies. And sometimes when I'm truly lucky, I get to fly in them, over houses and mountains and oceans. I write them down when the mood strikes me. Like now. I've alway dreamed in full spectrum technicolour (some dream in black and white, I understand)and there is always an interesting plotline.

For instance, last night I dreamed I was in this ancient marketplace in France but the entrances and exits were designed for dwarves so if you wanted to leave the market you had to starve yourself if you were in anyway plump so you could slide under the doorways on your back to get out. I found myself comforting some of the tourists who were there including French people from the town itself (who should have known better, n'est pas?)who didn't have any English but understood mine when I told them to diet so they could get out.

Once you got outside into this mediaeval town all the roads were very narrow and populated by carts pulled by tiny men going at outrageous speeds so that one had to press oneself into doorways to avoid being mowed down.

It turned out I was selling silk ribbons, sold by the foot (I had explicit instructions)and in between selling them I was to go to my brother's house and weave mats out of them for a bathroom which was 100 yards long and could take me a lifetime.

I didn't seem to mind this onerous task as he told me I was also his bathroom tester to make sure the showerheads and jacuzzis worked properly, also a big job as when we counted up his bathrooms he had 52. Yeah, one for every week of the year.

I had a dear friend, a Jungian analyst, who moved to Scotland some years ago. He would analyze my dreams and always revealed a startling insight into my psyche.

I wonder what he'd make of the latest one.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Yackity Yack


Some bills are really, really good. I look at my telephone bill for last month and I laugh. One of the long distance calls shows:

Toronto......280 minutes.

Who was this person you chatted to for ZOMG - 4 hours and 40 minutes on the telephone?

Did you take a pee break? (no, but I could have if I wanted to)

Did you skip a meal? (yes, I completely forgot to eat)

And in case you think I busted the bank: I get a global rate (I call Ireland frequently) of 5 cents a minute.

I don't particularly like the telephone.

So it makes this length of call both astonishing and hilarious.

And this endless conversation happens with my daughter.

What do we talk about?

Politics, feminism, art projects, writing, teaching, partnerships, entrepreneurship, her beloved daughter, now 16-1/2 - my grandgirl, cooking, growing, ideas, dreams.

She called today, it was another marathon. I only know this when I got off the phone and looked at the clock and realize lunch was skipped. Again.

I think she is one of the most interesting people I have ever met. I've thought that since the day she was born. She has never ceased to fascinate me. Even when she painted our front steps bright blue when she was four. And dug out under our backyard fence and escaped when she was three. And registered herself for swimming classes when she was four (they phoned me as my forged signature was printed in poorly executed CAPS - "MOMY")and showed up four months early for JK school and refused to leave so that the principal called me and I had to physically pry her out of there as she screamed and then put a calendar on her bedroom wall so she could mark the days until she could legitimately be at school. She was already reading and writing at the age of 4. So far ahead of herself she had to skip Grade 4 or she would have died of boredom.

She still has the capacity to surprise me all the time. I learn from her.

I remember the writer Isabel Allende being asked one time about the relationship she had with her mother. She responded that it was the longest love affair of her life.

I could say the same about my daughter.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Walter & Dolly


Portrait of Dolly. February 2011

I was born under the sign of The Cat - Leo.

I would have told you I am not much of a cat lover being partial to dogs.

But there have been cats that I have loved and ones who have loved me.

There was the king himself, Walter (named for the actor Walter Matthau of the sideways lurch) who was more canine than feline and came walking with me and the dogs every night, just about causing car pileups as the four of us would navigate pedestrian crossings, Walter in the vanguard.

Walter's best friend was not one of our dogs but a dog two doors down by the name of Bear who was a German Shepherd. They would roll over and around and under each other on the lawn in complete ecstasy. Walter was a big boy. Jet black. From a long line of genuine barn cats. By big I mean he looked like a panther and weighed close to 30 lbs. The vet and I would put him on diets. On one of the more extreme diets (we were concerned about his blood sugars) I was shocked when he was gaining rather than losing weight.

Until my neighbours dropped in on me one night and said, "You've got to see this, you won't believe it!"

I trotted down to their place where I was led down to their basement. There was Walter with Bear lying beside him licking him. Walter was chowing down on Bear's food. Bear was fed in the basement and had managed to slide open the basement window, put his paw through the screen and let Walter in. Walter had been coming in every day to top himself up on Bear food.

After that, I gave up on Weight Watchers for Walter.

I loved Walter dearly and miss him to this day.

And I'm also partial to Dolly pictured above who has her favourite spot on the back of a chair in a friend's house. And participates in all the conversations. A gorgeous and gregarious girl.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Tempuffin Fugit


(Picture of the clock in my office – a touch of cabin fever, yeah?)

And fugit, it certainly does.

Today is a better day. Not great but better than yesterday. These forced stalls in life give one time to reflect.

For oh how time flies particularly as we get older. My father had warned me. The Da had cautioned us all of this speeding up thing. And accelerate it does. I can't even imagine what it must be like if one hits 80 when a year must seem like a day. Right now in this AD year of 2011, I misplaced February along the way and January seems like it never happened.

I recall with clarity the summer days of childhood, mostly on a strand in West Cork when it seems like our time there went by in slow motion. I can still smell the salt in the air and hear the slap of the make-do cricket bats (we used hurleys and sliotars) as we played endless games of rounders – a form of cricket. I could never get enough of it. In between we would practise the crawl in the ocean which was freezing cold, always, but we never complained. The one big expense my mother had in summer was making (she was a great hand at sewing) multiple togs (swimsuits) for each of her children as we lived on the strand and in the water for the summer.

Rainy days would last forever. The Da had to invent a game to keep us from going off our rockers. There was an oilcloth with a checkered pattern on the table in the kitchen and we would play push-the-penny as avidly as we played rounders. If you pushed the penny from the edge (using only one finger) into the centre of a square you kept it. These were the big old pennies and it had to land right in the centre of a square - which wasn't much bigger than the penny itself – for you to keep it.

In those dear dead days a penny was a fortune. It would buy 5 conversation pieces or a gob-stopper which lasted all day and we were forbidden to buy them as they could choke you. So we snuck them. All the time. 3 pennies would be a roll of gum drops or pastilles or a liquorice pipe.

Now ask me what I did yesterday.