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.

 

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 with 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!

 

Keep up with your Cervical Checks.

Being a woman is a complicated series of biological events. We don’t have it easy. From breast formation to the dreaded periods. After enduring the hormonal shifts every month during our child bearing years we get to top it all off with the menopause. We are so lucky. Your fanny is either sopping wet from a leaky bladder or dry and itchy from when it all shrivels up on you. The body’s polite way of telling you that your baby making days are long gone.

The vagina is a mystery to most women.  Unless you are in the healthcare profession the chances are you’ve only ever seen your own. That’s if you ever bothered to look. I wonder how many women have inspected their own vaginas? I remember growing up not knowing whether certain aspects were normal? The aroma, the discharge and the flaps were all aspects I hoped were the same on everyone else. It was not something that was discussed and remember this is pre-internet times so I had never looked at any pornography (still haven’t Mam I swear).

Once I became sexually active I remember hearing something about a smear test. I had no idea what this was. During a visit to the doctor he recommended that I pop in to the lady doc to have one after presenting with a number of infections in the area. Continue reading “Keep up with your Cervical Checks.”

Everyone Should Have a Home.

Leo our leader has come out and told the people of this country to just go borrow off their parents to get a deposit for a house. My jaw hit the floor and it hasn’t popped back into place yet. I’m not into politics so I only know what sound bites I see on tv or hear on the radio. From those titbits I always thought Leo made sense. He seemed practical and I never remember being opposed to his views. Until today.

I know what it’s like to have no home. When my relationship broke down I had to rely on the kindness of my mam to take me, two children and a baby bump into her home. As my mother there was no question for her as to where I would go. I was very lucky and extremely grateful. Not everyone has a mother to turn to. Continue reading “Everyone Should Have a Home.”

I Don’t Know How To Deal With My Physical Boys

Most of my life I’ve been drowning in female company. A young life filled with aunts, female cousins and my only sibling who was also a girl. My complete education took place in an all female environment.  This upbringing showed me that women were bloody awesome. They ruled the world.

Let’s fast forward to my first pregnancy. What would I do if I had a boy? Well I was about to find out! My eldest was pushed from his comfy home in October 2009. He presented at 8 pounds 6 ounces and well at least half of that weight was his balls. I looked at his Dad horrified. ‘Did you see his balls? What the hell is that about?’  The midwife assured us that it was all perfectly normally while I silently panicked about how I was going to rear a male of the species. Continue reading “I Don’t Know How To Deal With My Physical Boys”