I Had My Heart Broken Today

Life is a cruel mistress and I found that out the hard way today. I often get friend requests on Facebook and 90 percent of the time I accept. Not a very wise move I hear you cry. Well I like to live on the edge.

A handsome fella popped into my inbox and my initial thoughts were, that maybe I knew him. I have dipped my toe into the cesspit of internet dating so it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibilities that an admirer found me on social media.

1

There was a sense of familiarity already because he was ignoring what I said, just like the children do. Well how wrong was I? He didn’t know me, he had just come across my beautiful name.

My name? Ellen Brophy? Not exactly up there with exotic titles but I’ll take it. I decided I had nothing to lose and I’d go in for the kill. You don’t hang around when you get to my age. If any man and I mean any man shows any interest, you have to lay your cards on the table and fast.  So I asked him. Are you looking for a wife?

2

Well slap me on the arse and call it true love because he only went and said that he was! How could I be this lucky? I’ve been single for a long time and I had an inkling that I wouldn’t meet my husband in a conventional way. This was just an amazing turn of fate.

3

When I confessed to my secret career as a topless model he didn’t even bat an eyelid. In fact he just continued on as if it didn’t matter what occupation I had. This man had a big accepting heart and he wants to marry me!

4

He didn’t even care if I already had a husband. That’s how much he loved me. And they say they world isn’t a good place? Again I wasn’t going to beat around the bush. I invited my David to come live with me here. I know, I know, I only have three children. I shouldn’t really be deceitful towards the man I love but I needed to know that he’d accept me no matter what obstacles life threw at us.

5

There’s always a ‘but’ and I was expecting it. The course of true love never runs smoothly.  David would need some money so that we could he could join me in Ireland. What’s money between two souls destined to be together?

Then like all good relationships, there was a hiccup. Maybe I rushed him, I don’t know but his love seemed to dwindle. Well we had know each other four hours so what was I expecting? I thought maybe coming to Ireland was too much and I’d offer to travel. Then it hit me, NO ELLEN, you are worth more than that. Any man that wants me is going to have to prove to me that I’m the most important thing in his life and David just didn’t seem to have read that memo. Times up Buddy.

9

I was going to have to cut David lose. I’ve had my heart broken before and do you know what? I survived and I’ll survive this. I know my worth.

Even his last ditch attempt to buy my love was not going to sway my decision. So let this be a lesson to you men. I’m no fool. I’ll not have the wool pulled over my eyes with promises of money and other stuff. If you want me you better work hard. I’m sure I’ll remember David with fondness in years to come but I know I made the right decision today, or at least I hope I did.

A Verse for Repeal

This has happened,
But no one can see,
I only know,
from the stick covered in pee.

We did it right,
We used protection,
I cant believe,
My life took this direction.

I’m beyond afraid,
I want to die,
I’m looking for answers,
No explanation as to why?

This is real,
Not a case study,
It’s not neat and clean,
It’s raw and it’s bloody.

I make my choice,
This pregnancy will end,
I don’t do it lightly,
This is not a cool trend.

I feel no joy,
There is no elation,
I’m on a flight,
This is not a vacation.

I did what I had to,
For a life that is mine,
It’s not for everyone,
And that’s perfectly fine.

But allow the freedom,
The option to choose,
You don’t have to use it,
So you’ve nothing to lose.

Talking about Money with the Kids

Money makes the world go round.

Money can’t buy you love.

 Money doesn’t grow on trees.

We’ve heard them all before. The fact being that none of us can survive without money.  I’m not a big fan of the stuff. I hate focusing on it but as an adult it’s unavoidable. Due to many, many, many, life circumstances, I’m not in the best financial position. This has no direct correlation to the level of happiness that I experience. I’m happier now than I ever was when I was earning more. That being said good money sense is something I want to instil in my children.

So how does one do such a thing? I was cautious because I didn’t want them to think in monetary terms about everything like grownups inevitably do. I do want them to be aware than things aren’t free so there’s a bit of a balancing act that needs to happen.

I’ll often have them make a choice to keep in line with my budget.  The options could be something like this.

Option one: a trip to the local park (free!) and food afterwards (not free!).

Option two: a cinema trip (not free!) but we have to eat at home (more cost effective!).

This way they can see that you can’t always have it all. You need to cut your cloth to suit your measure.

One of the things that I wanted to teach them was the importance of saving money. It’s a life skill that will stand to them. We went and bought little piggy banks and painted them their own colours and this is where they save. The painting gave them real ownership over their savings and is one of the best activities I’ve ever done with them. My middle lad is like a magpie; he’ll spot silver from miles away and often finds a coin on the street.  His little piggy is quite heavy.

They each have accounts in the credit union for windfalls like birthdays and Christmas. If I can’t make it down straight away ‘cause you know, morning tv has me hooked, my mother holds onto the cash so I’m not tempted to spend it. I know, I know, I’m worse than any child.

The credit union had great tips on Facebook this week for their GR8 Savers week. Its practical advice and each tip is very achievable. A good one that I read was to have a savings goal. We do that without over thinking it. The boys will want a new game for the Nintendo switch so we will save for it. This also teaches them that you should consider all purchases and not just buy on a whim. Something I am guilty of more than I’d care to admit.

Another good tip on the credit union site is to reward the kids for saving. I do this by meeting them some of the way for their targets. I know this is not something that’s going to happen for them as adults but they just need a sliver of reality not a full portion. The act of balancing is going well for now. I’m rapidly heading into the stage of pocket money and labelled clothes. Lets hope the work I’m putting in now will benefit us as a family. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to buy myself a piggy bank and take my own advice.

Aslan You Have a New Fan

I love live music. There is something about the experience that feeds my soul. Unfortunately my concert attendance has taken a downturn with the introduction of children into my life. It’s just another thing they have stolen from me along with my sanity and my waist line. All is not lost and I am planning resurgence even if it means one child has to wear flip flops well into the winter. We all have to sacrifice from time to time.

There’s always a bucket list of acts that you might not be a huge fan of but that everyone should see perform at least once. I think Aslan tops that list for the people of Ireland. 30 years in existence they have toured the country extensively yet I’ve never felt the urge to go see them. I only know their big songs and what would I do for the rest of the concert? I’d be bored out of my tree. I was wrong. Yes it’s been known to happen. I went Friday night and I had a ball.

From start to finish I was entertained and impressed. People who have been supporting the band for years will be rolling their eyes but they were fantastic. I felt like I had bought a new album and I loved every song on it with the exception of one. Every song felt familiar and welcoming and sounded just like a recording.

Christy’s voice is powerful and smooth tinged with the right amount of grain when he pushes the notes to the limit. He uses his hands to tell the story along with the lyrics. These theatrics reminded me of a preacher giving a sermon. Each gesture marked an important word that we should all pay attention to. He had the congregation at his feet.

To sing songs that are 30 years old and still feel them in your heart is unique. I’ve been at concerts where popular artists looked like they would rather be anywhere else. Christy’s smile after applause felt like it was the first time anyone had ever congratulated him for his talent. Humble and gracious. I’m glad I went and there’s been a few new tracks added to my playlist that are going to be firm favourites for a long time. It took me a while Aslan but I got there in the end.

The Oscars; Leave the Politics at Home

I love to see glamour and you’ll never see as much under one roof as you will the night of the Academy Awards. Critiquing the outfits is like a sport for me, not to mention the hair and makeup. It’s fascinating to see the individuals express themselves. We are so used to seeing them in their acting rolls and this night of extravagance gives you a small bit of insight into the actual person. It’s so trivial but very entertaining. That’s always how I’ve viewed it, as an entertainment show.

Lately I don’t feel that entertainment is the word that I’d use to describe what used to be one of my favourite nights of the year. Maybe it was always the case and I was a little less sensitive to it but politics is ruining the Oscars. I know people have often used their speeches to get a message out there but it wasn’t the overriding theme. It was perhaps one person out of all the acceptances of the night.

Now I watch the show and I feel like I’m being preached at from every angle. It began with the #Ask Her More. The female contingencies were bemused by being asked about their outfits and jewels and demanded that on the red carpet to be asked about other things. They objected to the camera panning from head to toe to get in the whole ensemble and all of a sudden the dresses weren’t what the night is about. Now in the majority of cases the dresses and jewels are worth more than what I earn in a year so if you don’t place importance on the outfit then why not head to the high street for your gown.

I think of the director or actress who has worked their whole life to reach this level in their career.

 An Oscar is it!

Ten years ago I would wake the morning after to sound bytes of the winners and by noon everyone was talking about who won or lost. Now the sound bytes are of cutting remarks about inequality or lack of diversity. It’s vital that these issues are worked on at ground level but do you need to ruin what is arguably the best night of this person’s life to fulfill an agenda. I couldn’t tell you who won this year but I have seen many clips of snide remarks highlighting the gender imbalance. The director or actress who has worked their whole life towards this night is ignored in lieu of social commentary.

The, me too and time’s up, hashtags are this year’s mantra, not only on Oscar night but across all the awards ceremonies. I’m not for one second taking away from the harrowing experiences that sexual assault victims go through but is this really the time and place? I cannot identify with these women that stand on that stage. They are not the same as me. When a lady is on stage complaining that she gets paid 4 million when her male counterpart get’s paid 6, it just sticks in my gut.  It goes without saying that gender parity is something we should all be striving for but these people are in a position to protest. The average employee is not.

You could argue that these people at the pinnacle of success are fighting the good fight and that this will trickle down to the rest of us. It won’t. I do not have the luxury of millions in my bank account to allow me to stand up against bad behaviour. I couldn’t risk my job to tell my employer that I want more money. These women that are standing didn’t do it at the beginning of their careers. Who would?

So when I watch the Oscars I just want to see the gowns and the glam and I don’t want to hear about the latest campaign. I’m happy to read about that in a different capacity and will always support those who are trying to make the world a better place for all. But every which way we turn we are assaulted by the harsh realities of life. So maybe this one night of the year you could just lighten up and give us a twirl and be entertaining. It is called show business after all.

 

 

 

 

 

A Letter to an American Mammy

Dear American Mammy,

I feel like I know so much about what life is like in America. Every evening my screen is flooded with portrayals of what it’s like to live in the good old U S of A. From idyllic sitcoms, where everyone is beautiful and successful, to reality tv showcasing teenage mothers who live in the suburbs, we see it all. I do realise that its television but I have more of an understanding of American culture than any other place on earth.

Your children call you Mom, mine call me Mam.  I drive on the left hand side of the road and you drive on the wrong side! I’m not quite sure what a skillet is but I’m pretty sure that I have one I just call it something else. My daughter has a fringe and your daughter has bangs. We don’t have such a thing as a carpool lane and I don’t know what Twinkies are but I really want one!

I think if you were to sit opposite me and we were to chat over a cup of tea you’d tell me that it’s not very accurate. That everything is a little exaggerated for the entertainment of the masses and that our lives are not much different. We are neighbours separated by an ocean but in many ways life is the same for us all.

We get up each day and do our best for your children.

There is one distinction between you and me. I will never know the fear of sending my children to school to wonder if they will return home safe? I worry that they won’t work hard that they might not finish their lunch but it has never once crossed my mind that they won’t come back home once that school bell rings. I cannot imagine and if I’m honest I don’t really want to.

Since the beginning of 2018 there have been 3 shootings a week in schools in the United States of America. The fear of sending your children to school and something fatal happening to them is not that of irrational nightmares. It’s a very distinct possibility.

I read this week a circular that came home from a school in your country advising children to run in a zig zag line to minimise the chances of being shot. I can’t even digest that sentence:

run in a zig zag pattern to avoid being shot.

Children are equipped with vocabulary like lock-down, Kevlar and code red as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. It is not normal. It is not right.

This cannot be the norm for your children. Now is the time to put an end to this. An outdated aspect of the law cannot and must not overrule the lives of innocent children. Whatever you decide to do to take a stand know that every mother is the world is right behind you. I hope the next time I write it will be to congratulate you on change.

Until then stay safe,

An Irish Mammy.

Monday Stumble Linky

 

My First Internet Rendezvous

If a pile of pancakes hasn’t clouded your memory you may realise that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. First to all you non subscribers to the holiday of love….. baaaahhhh to ye. Yes I get that it’s commercialism at its best but sure our whole existence is commercialised. Our education, our health our homes are all exercises in someone making money somewhere. Valentines is a bit of craic and I love it.

I’ve been single for an age so I haven’t had that someone special to buy something tacky for. Despite my best efforts I have a foot hold on the shelf and the more accustomed I become to the view the less likely it is that I’ll ever leave. That’s alright though, I have more than enough love in my life. Continue reading “My First Internet Rendezvous”

My First Visit to The National Design and Craft Gallery

On the rare occasion that I get to visit another city I would always look up the various attractions on offer. The selection can vary from restaurants and landmarks to museums and parks. I have rarely afforded my own city the same courtesy. There are so many aspects of Kilkenny that I have just never bothered with.  I tend to eat in the same places and not bother with what could be classed as tourist attractions.

A dear friend of mine asked me to be her plus one at the opening of an exhibition. So many thoughts flooded my brain. What does one wear to an exhibition? I’m not sure my Blush Belly and Babies hoody would cut it.  What if someone talks to me and realises that I’m not an exhibit type of person, the only art I own has been rescued from the bottom of a school bag. Will I stand out like a sore thumb and it was a school night to top it all off. Continue reading “My First Visit to The National Design and Craft Gallery”

Birthday Parties, They Are Not How I Imagined.

I’m just throwing it out there. Children’s birthday parties are stressful. Pre-child in my oblivious haze it was one of the aspects of parenthood that I’d imagined I would thoroughly enjoy. My fantasies stretched to colour co-ordinated table ware and decorations. There would be a theme and organised games.  The children would play in perfect harmony while the mothers sipped on tea and nibbled on crust free sandwiches. My pre-child day dreams are a great source of amusement to me now.  It’s nothing like I’ve described.

The table ware that I dreamed of is expensive and it’s all disposable. The table cloths don’t cover the tables at your chosen venue so you need 15 of them. I think they cover them in some sort of varnish to take the cheap look off them and this means they don’t stay on the table.  6 year old Billy will go through cups like he’s going to get a medal at the end. Calm down Billy I need some of them for the next party. Continue reading “Birthday Parties, They Are Not How I Imagined.”

Please Don’t Tell Me I’m Not Fat

I do understand that generally the people you surround yourself with in life don’t want to hurt your feelings. For the most part difficult subjects will either be avoided or treated with great tact. If a difficult issue has to be broached it would still be with your best interests at heart. With that in mind I’m asking for a favour.

 Don’t tell me I’m not fat.

I’m not sure why people feel the need to disagree. Some are being kind. Some are so used to seeing bigger people that maybe they don’t consider me to be fat and that in itself is a problem. Men are trying to flatter me. That’s unnecessary because fat doesn’t mean unattractive.

I’m a serial dieter and perpetual failure. I have never actively managed to lose any more than 7 pounds. I’ve been steadily gaining weight since I was 19. I now stand 5 foot 6 inches tall and weigh 17 stone.

I’d like to tell you that I don’t know how I got to this point. It would be a lie. I remember all the times I ate to excess. I remember the greed that took over. I remember the gorging to the point of throwing up. I long for food all day every day and that’s my affliction.  I feel the guilt, I ignore it, I continue to eat.

Each step of the way I’ve vowed to change my ways. Oh I’m not interested in diets or fads I want to change my lifestyle!! I’ll just have the final supper. O I’m starting Monday or the first of the month or the New Year or never. Take your pick.

I’m vocal about my weight often getting the joke in before anyone else would get the chance. I would refer to it often because it’s always on my mind. You’d think I would do something about it if that was the case but I just don’t seem to be able to master my demons.  So when I reference my weight the usual response is sure you are not fat will you stop.

Well I’m sorry if 7 stone overweight is not fat I don’t know what is? I get that you are trying to not hurt my feelings but saying nothing at all would be better than a fallacy.

I’m not talking about fat shaming by any stretch or means I’m merely asking you not to disagree with me. I’m also not asking you to solve my fatness by telling me the offer on in the local gym. I haven’t solved the problem in over 20 years of trying you are not gonna solve it with one motivational sentence.

I think the lesson I need to take from my frustrations with people telling me that I’m not fat is that I need to reduce the amount of time that I spend talking about it. It’s not fair to burden people with not knowing what to say. It’s not their problem, it’s mine. But just remember this Don’t Tell Me I’m Not Fat because I clearly am!