31 October 2009

It is that time of year...

The days are getting shorter, and rainier. From my kitchen bed I can here a symphony of bottle rockets, m80s and other wonderfully illegal firecrackers. The smell of burning couches, old mattresses and scrap wood from nearby bonfires gently invades the atmosphere, burning the lungs of your average environmentally friendly American. Yes folks, Halloween in Ireland has come again.

This year will be my daughter's first 'real' Halloween. I don't necessarily mean trick or treating but the first Halloween we purchased a costume for her and put up a couple decorations around the house. I had trouble deciding what to dress her up as, firstly because my mother made all of my costumes until I got to a certain age and I had always expected to make Cupcakes. But the ankle/walking situation rules that out so I had to shop online and have something delivered. The selection was fairly limited AND expensive, so I settled on a hairy spider. Mostly because I figured that it would be the only thing she would be remotely familiar with. So in preparation all week we have been singing the itsy bitsy spider while she parades around the kitchen in it. Yesterday was our test run of the costume as we dressed her up for creche. She made the most adorable spider ever! If I had some face paints I would have put a little web or a tiny spider on her cheek. I might make an attempt at dressing up as Frida Kahlo just so cupcake has some company... (Anyone can draw a unibrow right?) Watch this space for more adorable photos.

28 October 2009

Adventures in Showering

Our upstairs shower is not exactly friendly toward those with limited mobility. We have a large bathtub-shower combo. The sides of the bath are approximately 3 feet high and it is quit difficult to swing your legs over when you can't evenly distribute your weight. Thankfully I have a very inventive husband who decided it would be best to place a plastic garden chair in the tub for my showering enjoyment. What we hadn't realised before it's first use was that there were no grips on the chair legs, probably due to the fact that it was indeed, garden furniture. After several minutes of maneuvering, muttering, and a few yelps of pain I was seated in the chair. Then my weight shifted and the chair slid down to the end of the bath. I was in the most uncomfortable position of leaning back in the chair with one leg in the air. Covering my leg was the 'Limbo' devise that my darling other-half kindly purchased for me. It is a plastic cover that is water-tight and keeps the cast perfectly dry. Unfortunately the Limbo that he purchased for me was 44 inches long, one that is meant for people with a full leg cast. So after some dragging on the ground and a near face plant that almost threw me off my crutches we got the brilliant idea to roll the bottom up and clip it with a clothes pin. So resourceful! By the way I am going to have a rocking thigh muscle on my right side after all this brouhaha. Cupcake was a little confused as to what my exact purpose was in the shower but clapped with delight when the shower hose was handed to me and proceeded to wash myself. She couldn't understand why I wasn't able to invite her in (she does love showering) and soon it became evident that both of my family members were thoroughly enjoying the hilariousness of my precarious seating in the shower. I quickly sent them from the room to enjoy some soakage time without an audience. It was perhaps the most wonderful (and wonderfully uncomfortable) shower I have ever had.

Recently someone posted this picture of me on facebook and I'd love to share it with you. It is from my 5th grade trip to Jones Gulch, an environmental camp in the California Coastal mountains, one of my favourite places on earth. I am the one on the far left (your far left) wearing a red sweatshirt, pegged pants and a red bandana in my hair. Proof that even if I was a nerd as a child, at least I wasn't the biggest nerd...

21 October 2009


Cupcake has a new favourite word. We are not really sure where it came from except we do know that her father said it to her months ago when she was doing something she shouldn't have been.

Imagine this: I am newly installed on my 'kitchen bed', lazing around like Jabba the Hut in Return of the Jedi. Cupcake cautiously approaches Mama and her purple casted leg. She hands me a hair barrette to put in her hair. I am attempting to gather her hair into a neat looking style when she turns and messes up my handiwork. "Darling, you can't move otherwise you will mess up your hair." She turns to me and smacks me lightly on the arm. "Bold, Mama, bold." Husband and I turn to one another with slight incomprehension. Did she just tell Mama she was bold? Where did she learn that word? Oscar was the next target of her annoyance. He was told he was bold, and justifiably so, after he trotted over and stole whatever bread item she was waving around.

I conferred with Nana, who incidentally was similarly puzzled at the appearance of this new word. She had notice Cupcake shouting at the couch in an authoritative fashion, waving her arms and squawking away when she identified she was shouting "Bold, bold!"

Now everything is bold- Mama, Dada, Lulu, Oscar, the table, Mama's bed, the floor, toys, etc. But the worst part is I think it is hysterically funny. Especially when she pairs it with her narrowed eyes "Grandma-Marge-I'll-get-you-later" glare. I do tell her not to hit when she says it and then I ask her why (fill in the blank) is/has been bold. She doesn't really answer that but rather just keeps repeating it like a little parrot.

Now confession time: I have been bold. This broken ankle really got me down last week. I laid around on my kitchen bed with my leg elevated feeling sorry for myself. This week I am trying to change my attitude, after all I have a ton of work to do. Yes this is a weird, random, freak thing that happened to me. And yes I will be spending the bulk of my time at home with my leg elevated. And finally yes it is painful and I have some physio ahead of me. But if I don't stop feeling sorry for myself I will let that attitude infect my whole outlook. I keep saying that when life knocks me down I pick myself back up. Now I have to do just that. I guess cupcake was right, I have been bold!

10 October 2009

You are not going to believe this...

So I know you think that I am terribly patchy with my posting lately but I have a brilliant excuse. I have just been discharged from St. Vincent's Hospital after 3 days with a wonderfully painful broken ankle. I was rushed to ER on Wednesday at noon after breaking my ankle at UCD. It was broken in three places and dislocated. Oh the horrors of it all. I have never broken anything before and this was surely a freak accident. I was simply walking down some stairs and stepped onto my left leg, I then shifted my weight onto my right and stepped on that leg. While standing I heard a crack and I realised, "Oh my God, I just broke my ankle". I then realised it was probably in my best interest to fall to the ground screaming. My ankle was contained by my boots and was at a 70 degree angle from my body (now this is not my foot but actually slightly above my ankle). To make a long story short I had a metal plate and several pins inserted permanently into my ankle and have one big screw to be removed after 8 weeks. Until that time I am not allowed to put any weight on that leg. So I am in effect house bound because my job entails an hour commute on 2 buses in each direction. There is no way I can manage that. I am even tired just coming in from the front room. My new command post has been installed in the corner of the kitchen. Now I can dine and then roll over and sleep. All in one! Ok will fill you in more later, I am in pain now and have to rest.

05 October 2009

My work is never done

On Saturday himself and I were in the Stillorgan Bicycle shop looking at a new bike. I was wandering around with my little pumpkin when I happened across some horrible little car air fresheners, you know the kind with nude women on them. Now I am not a prude, but as a feminist I am fighting for gender equality. So I approached one of the sales associates. "Excuse me but do you actually sell a lot of these? Because as a customer in your store I find them offensive." He didn't really know what to say and mumbled something along the lines of oh yeah well it is the boss that stocks those. "Well tell your boss that this is offensive." I then held up the male counterpart, who was clothed appropriately in baggy swim trunks with a jacket flung over his shoulder. "How come this guy isn't naked?" He looked at me like I had two heads. "I think it is only fair if you are going to have naked women that you have a naked man. Maybe women want to see a penis." At this point the 13 year old assistant fixing a bike in the background laughed and rolled his eyes. "Ha I don't think you would be laughing if this was your mom." Wow that sure shut that kid up.

Later, himself gave out to me because he was slightly embarrassed about the whole thing seeing as he was buying a bicycle. What happened to the customer is always right? Seriously though if we don't continue to challenge these kind of things how is anything ever going to change? Well despite what my other half might have thought I am glad I spoke up, I wasn't embarrassed to point out something that I thought was wrong. Furthermore what kind of role model would I be for my daughter if I didn't practice what I preach?

04 October 2009


Many thanks to Mammydiaries and Irish Mammy on the Run. Both of these inspiring women have kindly passed on awards to me. Mammydiaries, my favourite Canadian transplant mom in Cork has her hands full with two feisty little daughters, although from reading her posts closely for the 9 months it is clear to see where they get their spirit from. MD has given me the "I love your blog award' which I am to pass on to 15 (er do I read 15 blogs) other bloggers. Let's see how far we get...

1. I am counting Mammydiaries as 1. (For reasons above) but also because I always loved all of her posts on the Rollercoaster discussion board which I am no longer on because it took up too much of my time. And finally because MD is editing a book and has put huge effort into writing, compiling and putting the finishing touches on women's birthing experiences in Ireland. It has been a monumental task that she has dedicated herself to because she feels that there should be more transparency surrounding birthing and early parenthood experiences. (Wait seriously are you telling me it is not all a bed of roses?)

2. Jen's Rantings - Another Cork-based Mama with two little daughters (I am sensing a trend here), her eldest is the same age as my cupcake and I love reading all their exploits. Jen is both thoughtful and intelligent and pretty hilarious.

3. Irish Mammy - A wonderful mother who has actually managed to get mainly apathetic Irish parents off their asses and into the street to rally around the potential cut to the child benefit. Also I love that she is one half of an Irish/'Foreign' pair and I can see several similarities between my own relationship and experiences of living abroad.

4. Sorry, wrong blog - A blogger near and dear to my heart who hasn't blogged in AGES and I want to hear her witty take on the current state of American politics - so Midge get back on your soap box.

5. Yummy Mammy- how can this woman be so damn witty, sassy and have all of this drama? Well she just can and she manages it with a cool calm that amazes me.

Hmmm... I think that exhausts my lists of blogs that I read regularly. Otherwise I am a bit of a lurker....

Irish Mammy has given me a Meme Award and I am to describe 7 of my personality traits and then pass on to 7 other bloggers.

1. Strong-mindedness : I think this is the single most important thing that I as a mother and feminist can draw upon in my day to day life. It is something that allows me to hold firm in the face of adversity.

2. Strong-mindedness: part two. Or maybe that is stubbornness. This is also my downfall - sometimes I really like being right and I will not listen to others even if I am clearly wrong. Ok well by others I mean my husband.

3. I am crafty: I love making things from scratch. I might not be the best at sewing, knitting, etc but I gain a huge amount of satisfaction when I complete a project. And I love making things for my daughter and my niece. I have always cherished things that people made for me as a child and I really want to pass that tradition on.

4. Disorganised: Oh the clutter. I just can't seem to declutter things and I hate HATE cleaning up. I always make excuses when people come over and see my house but I am telling you now world that I am really and truly a mess.

5. An awesome cook: A shameless plug for my 'chefing' abilities but I am actually really good at this. I chalk it up to two things: 1. My Italian grandmother, Marcelina, spent quite some time teaching me the ropes and 2. My hungry husband - seriously eats like a horse and is the most appreciative eater I know. I call him my best customer.

6. A great talker: Sometimes I will admit, I talk to fill silences - especially in my tutorials. God do I talk. No wonder himself stops listening to me sometimes. Really my family has honed this to an art form. As we say here... I could talk for Ireland.

7. Commitment. I have the best intentions but... I lose interest in things very quickly. I get really excited about ideas but if things are moving fast enough for me or I am just not willing to make a huge effort I will quit or drop out. Examples: Pilates, boring printmaking course, meditation, that course I took at California College of Arts my senior year of college, being sophmore class historian (I mean give me a break what did I really do?), my garden (this comes and goes), my card making endeavours, selling things on ebay... seriously I could go on.

I am probably not going to pass this on... I am so bad about this (see number 7).

01 October 2009

To the world's most wonderful best friend

Today you celebrate your 32nd birthday and I can proudly say that for 30 1/2 years we have been best friends.

Some of your funniest/best moments:

1. Kicking Stacy RPB (I couldn't spell her last name in my diary so I had to improvise) out of your house and our lives for good.

2. Convincing me to run over Judy L's newly planted flowers with my bike.

3. Your flashlight code when we could have just picked up the phone.

4. 'Stop Dancing Duffy' Messing with that painter Puffy Duffy over the intercom system.

5. 'Don't say much'... 'Don't got much to say' Your witty repartee with 'Slim' in Tahoe.

6. Throwing ice cubes in the Midgley's pool and harassing Kelson from your balcony.

7. Raiding the midnight buffet and throwing stolen rolls and biscuits at the people in the hot tub in Alaska on that cruise. (Throwing seems to be a theme here...)

8. Forgiving me for making an ass of myself when I went through that rough time my first year in college. You knew I wasn't myself and you didn't give up on me.

9. All your fun college parties - including doing crazy tequila body shots at some lecturer's house and your great apartment near the pie place in Davis. I loved visiting you there.

10. Always being on the other end of the phone/email when I need to pour my heart out to you. You have never let me down. I wish we lived in the same place, I miss you so much.

OK one more...

11. Seriously for being the smartest, funniest, most beautiful person I know. Oh thanks for having a daughter the same age as mine who will 100% without a doubt be my daughter's best friend because we will make them.

Just Say NO to the Misappropriation of the Female Body

Tomorrow is D Day. At least that is what yes and no campaigners to the Lisbon Treaty would have us believe. As I am not a European citizen I can't vote in European elections. Even so I am continuously bombarded on my way to college by these in your face posters. Let's discuss my most despised at the moment: The Libertas 'Irish Democracy 1916-2009?'. Sorry Declan Ganley but some of us who might know a thing or two about Ireland will agree that Irish democracy didn't start in 1916... But what I really object whole-heartly to the allegorical use of the female child with tears running down her face. Many literary critics have pointed to the blatant use of the female figure in colonial and postcolonial cartoons, literature, etc to symbolise the union of woman and nation. The Punch cartoons in the mid-1800s depicted Hibernian as a helpless young woman in need of saving from Fenians by her older sister, Britannia. Alternatively, W.B. Yeat's play 'Cathleen ni Houlihan' posited Ireland in the guise of an old mother who called her sons to sacrifice their lives for her. And the 'Irish Citizen' a newspaper run by certain members of the women's group Inghinidhe na hÈireann (Daughters of Erin - Maud Gonne was a well known member) represented women gaining their freedom (equality and the right to vote) as Ireland gained its freedom.

So why then am I so enraged at the depiction of this young girl on this poster you may ask? Because I think it smacks of the same patriarchal marlarky that posits woman as passive and helpless. Furthermore I think it underhandly draws upon the no campaign's (as espoused by COIR - rotten to the coir?) beliefs that ratifying Lisbon would cause Ireland to lose the right to life which is enshrined in its Constitution. This poster blatantly uses the body of a young girl and the image of a cloudy sky to depict that our future (and the future of our daughters) might be hazy. (Roland Barthes 'Rhetoric of the Image' anyone?) You know how I feel about that pro-life tripe. After all, let's not let women make decisions for themselves, let's have our Constitution make decisions for them. I wonder whatever happened to the idea of bodily integrity, you know that thing that was ruled as a Constitutional unalienable right. Don't we as women have a right not to have our bodies (or those of our children) used in some political battle? - And seriously shame on the parents of the girl who willing let her be a poster child for a campaign like this. But you want to know what really REALLY bothers me about this poster - is the accusation that the Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan made about Libertas' only known financial backer being a London hedge fund. DISTURBING. I think that just brings the image of the woman rendered powerless and misappropriated by different political and patriarchal ideologies full circle. On a similar note has anyone noticed how most of the debates that have taken place have been between male representatives? Where are all the women?

Now stepping off my soap box.