Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Here I am!!!

Well, the first leg of my US sojourn this year is coming to an end, and I've just checked emails ready to re-enter the real world after a weekend of retreat with new SoulCollage facilitators at the beautiful Land of Medicine Buddha in Soquel, Northern California. Bliss. So hello to all my new SoulCollage sisters (30 participants - all women!), to all my friends, in Blogland and the real world! Will catch up later when I can.

I am happy - watching hummingbirds, listening to hawk's cry in the morning, and meeting wonderful people.

Amber... email me, so I'll be able to contact you, please!
Deirdre... did you get my emails? Would you just email me a phone number if not?


Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm going back...

My appearances here are likely to be even more sporadic than normal from now until August. I'm packing for my trip to the US, and am e-x-c-i-t-e-d!!! I do hope to be able to catch up now and again with what's going on in Blogland, but can't be sure about that - and part of me wants to stay in the Real World while I'm there as much as possible, so I may choose to stay at a remove from Blogs for that reason.

Hope everyone has a wonderful summer!


Monday, June 16, 2008

The Truth

I've learnt a lot about myself and about life since my marriage ended more than 5 years ago. I've learnt to accept a lot about myself, and one of those things is that I have my own timing on certain tasks, and it's not right or wrong. It just is how it is. In my own good time, I become ready to do something that last week, last month or last year I wasn't ready to do. Why? Dunno.

And the mystery is that some of the things I put off don't seem to be particularly hard tasks. Some of the things I've accomplished were monumental (to me, at least). One of the things I've been really slow at dealing with was the change of my name from my married name back to my single name. I've been doing it by degrees. First (and fairly quickly), in common usage, I reverted to my name. It was easily done, as during my marriage I'd gone by a double-barrelled surname (Myname-Hisname), so I only had to drop the Hisname part, and I introduced myself in that way immediately after we'd parted.

Not so very long ago, I had the phone and electricity company change the billing-name to mine. I'd anticipated "Oh... we have to close the account and open a new one. That will be a €€€€€ connection fee..." But no. They were very human. "Yes, Madam. We can do that for you."

When I set about opening bank-accounts in my name, I ran into the difficulty of all my ID being in my married name, so I had to still use that, but I was able to revert my signature to the single name.

And the ID - my passport, my driving licence... well, they'd come up for renewal, wouldn't they? Sometime ... The passport did come up for renewal this spring, and I did it. I got my new passport - and it had its maiden voyage when we went to Paris for the May weekend.

So... Driving licence. Well, you know, it's not due to be renewed for another 2 years. But maybe, since I'm now travelling on a passport in the name of Ms Myname, a Driving licence in the name of Ms Myname-Hisname might be queried in the USA - being as they're especially vigilant about documentation and all that these days, so maybe, maybe I should change it?

That's what I was thinking. And then, today, when I went to pay my car-tax, I found myself in the same office as the driving-licence desk. I almost left. And then, I thought... go ask about it.

Me: My driving licence isn't due for renewal, but I've changed my name. It's not possible to just do that, is it?

Lady at desk: Oh, yes, if you bring in photo ID like your passport showing the new name.

Me: I suppose I'd have to go get photos taken, though.

Lady at desk: No. We can use the photo that's on your current licence.

Me: Oh. Ok.

Lady at desk: So, if you come back with your passport...

Me: I have it here.

Lady at desk: Right. You just sign this slip of paper in your name, give me your licence, let me take a copy of your passport, and that's that.

Me: So, how much will that cost then?

Lady at desk: Nothing. You're not renewing your licence. We're just making a little change. That will be in the post to you on Wednesday.


It only took five-and-a-half years ..... and three minutes!

Oh... and the bank tell me they can change my name now any time I want. That's the last frontier, and I will cross it before the summer's out!

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday Scribblings: Guide

The prompt suggested at Sunday Scribblings today is "Guide". I've been tossing a couple of ideas for posts around, but this morning, as I begin to write, I'm thinking too about the fact that today is Fathers' Day, and about what kind of a guide my father has been in my life.

My Dad will be 86 next Saturday. He was born at the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. He was raised on a little piece of bogland called Hawkfield - in a tiny cottage with the most basic of comforts. He lost his mother when he was 10, and the children - three boys and three girls - were thereafter cared for by a large gaggle of aunts, each of which took care of one child or other.

His schooling - which ended at age 12 - took place in a two-teacher country school. The husband-and-wife teachers taught everything. Every child who came out of that school had a beautiful writing hand, and an idea of what special talent or skill they had. My uncle Joe became a fluent Irish speaker. My Dad took to music (although he didn't stay with it, but that is another story).

I did not set out to tell you his life story, and I don't intend to. What I wanted to say really was that he has lived his life, raised his five children, seen us into adulthood, and our own lives as parents without ever telling us what to do. Maybe my perception isn't entirely accurate, but I seem to remember times when I asked for his advice, and he would always turn the question around, and say "What do you think you want to do?" When I made choices that he would not have made for me, he still accepted that. He didn't want to have any input into our choice of spouses, wanted to allow us each to make up our own minds in the choice of partner. When it came to college or career, where to live - in all of these things, he has steadfastly welcomed the choices and decisions we have made, and he has been proud of all of us.

Even when I told him that I had decided to leave the Church to which he was so devoted, his response was that we each have to do what our own conscience dictates, and that if I'd really given it careful thought, then he wouldn't object to my decision. I have to tell you that from an Irish man of his generation, that is an attitude of openness and acceptance that is rare indeed.

He had - and has - his own strong views on politics, religion and morality but he has never tried to insist that we follow on his path. His guidance has been that we should seek to discover our own truth and follow our own path with integrity. That is guidance worth gold in abundance.

His goal in life was to raise a good family, and he feels content that he has succeeded. He's never travelled, never experienced many of the things in life of which he has read, and yet, he can say that he has done what he wanted in this world.

I feel very blessed in my father. He has been for me, in his own special way, my most valuable guide.

Happy Fathers' Day!
Go on over to Sunday Scribblings to see what other Guides are being described

And if (totally unrelated to this post) you would like to celebrate my sister as a bride, check out yesterday's post HERE You're more than welcome!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, June 14, 2008

June Honeymoon - Celebrating a special Bride

Terri, at her Tinker Art blog is hosting a special gathering today - a celebration of brides. The past two years have seen three special weddings in my family. My neice ,Nicola, married John in September 2006. My nephew, Glenn, married Claire in July of last year, but I know they will all forgive me if I tell you the most special bride in my life has to be my sister Aileen. She married Mike in September last year.

Just after Nicola's September 2006 wedding , Aileen and I went off to spend a week in the south of France. It was a wonderful holiday, but we had an unexpected third party along on the trip. - The man she'd been introduced to quite recently (at a performance of John B. Keane's play, The Matchmaker!) was in constant touch by text-message. There I was, driving along unfamiliar routes, relying on my sister to spot roadsigns, and when I'd ask "Is it the next exit?", I'd glance over to see her simpering and smiling at her phone, oblivious to our location, caught up in the sweet nothings being exchanged.

Fast forward six months, and on her 48th birthday, on a trip to Paris, Mike presented her with a pretty opal engagement ring, and plans were made. Their wedding last September was a wonderful day for our two families. Aileen gained not just a husband, but each of his five children has taken a special place in her heart too, and she has been warmly welcomed by his beautiful mother and his siblings.

When my sister stood up to speak at the reception, there were tears in many eyes, she spoke from such a deep place in her heart - very briefly, (and against the advice of our older sister, she spoke without notes or practice). She reminded those of us who have known her for a long time how she had often wished for someone special in her life; that, although she had not been unhappy with her life, she had felt the absence; and that she hadn't realised that the wait was because she was waiting for the time to be right for Mike to come into her life. "I just love him to bits!" she told us. We know.

And he loves her. The tenderness of their love is a sweet thing to witness. Will you celebrate with me the happiness that has come into my sister's life?

It was a day of solemn vows, of meeting new family, of sharing good food together in celebration. It was a day of great joy, and a day of moments of utter fun: See the bride returning from her outdoor photo-shoot with the aforementioned older sister?

Congratulations and a wish for long lives of happiness to any June brides out there!
Join the receiving line to meet the other brides at Tinker's Blog!

Labels: ,

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday's Feast #193

Do you consider yourself to be an optimist or a pessimist?
I consider myself very much an optimist. Usually. Unless I'm afraid something's going to go wrong. No... seriously... I'm an optimist, and luckily, I'm usually right!

What is your favorite color of ink to write with?
I love purple pens, but I don't always write with them. When I buy a refill for one of my Cross pens, it's a fine black refill usually. So Favourite is purple. Usual is black. What's wrong with this picture?

How often do you get a manicure or pedicure? Do you do them yourself or go to a salon and pay for them?
I never ever get a pedicure because I'm ashamed of my feet and don't display them in public.
However, I'm very proud of the fact that the fingernails that I once used to bite and nibble are now decent length and fairly shapely, so I treat myself to a French manicure every now and then. Maybe 6 times in the year? I keep buying polish but never get around to doing it myself.

Main Course
Have you ever won anything online? If so, what was it?
When One World One Heart ran in February, I was extremely lucky and scooped a bunch of lovely prizes. My house is adorned with art from Bloggers from around the globe (and a few pieces I'm waiting for the right display spot to present itself still!) You can see the whole bunch HERE. It was so thrilling to win, and so wonderful over the next few weeks to come home every couple of days to packages in the post. I can't wait for next year!

In which room in your house do you keep your home computer?
I have a study, which is very untidy at the moment. There is a PC there which hasn't been switched on since I got my laptop (18 months ago at least!). The laptop is usually in the living-room. I sit on the long couch with my feet up, and slip the laptop onto my.... lap. I move to the study to link to the printer or scanner if I'm doing those kind of things, and if there is a project underway involving typing letters, etc. For blogging, I'm in the living-room; for work in the study.

Want to join in on Friday's Feast? The kitchen is HERE


Thursday, June 12, 2008


Do you know about this Mother's project? Jillian Curtis is a home-schooling mother who wants her children to know and to play a part in ensuring that others do not forget about the Holocaust.
There was a recent email campaign claiming that the subject of the Holocaust would be removed from UK schools' curriculum. These emails were false, but they did bring home to many the importance of teaching our children the lessons of history.

Jillian and her sons invite you to create a star to send to them. They plan to include all the stars they receive in a memorial in their garden. If you have children, you might like to have them make stars. I've just packed mine to post. It's not fancy, but it is a heartfelt remembrance especially of the children who died.

I will never forget the impact on me of coming face-to-face unexpectedly with an exhibit of artefacts from Auschwitz. I saw shoes. Children's shoes were the first things I saw. My own son was still young enough at that time to need help with fastening his shoes, and many of these shoes were smaller than his. I was haunted by the thought of the mothers who chose those shoes, paying so much attention to leaving room for growth, and that those children never got to grow into their shoes, or to learn to tie them.

I believe we have a duty to remember, and to teach the next generation so they will not be forgotten.


Why I Write

Becca, of Becca's Byline, has kicked-off her summer series on writing with a question and an invitation to post our answers on our own blogs, linking back to her "Write on Wednesday" feature.

Her question this week is "Why in the world do you come to the page?"

I've never answered that question in any way that I haven't found someone else had already done more eloquently already. It seems that it is the same impulse in most of us that impels us to grab a pen or to start pounding a keyboard, and we express it in various phrases, but it boils down to this for me: If I don't, my brain will explode. Or implode. There will be consequences. That's all I know.

I can go for many weeks at a time without writing anything of much consequence. But that doesn't mean I'm not writing. I jot notes. I write lists. I've even been found transcribing passages from favourite books, just for the joy of writing those words, those words, over and over again.

What I want to write is sometimes a search for an answer to a question. I may be journalling a dialogue between parts of myself - asking and answering a series of questions, teasing out what it means to say any one thing, what are the implications, and how, how, how can I marry up the inconsistencies and confusions between my various ways of looking at things?

And then I may not be writing at all about my own internal process, my psychological battles, but of something or someone out there... a person entirely imaginary in their origin, a place I'm concocting as I write, a situation entirely divorced from the reality of my life. I may be writing a poem that simply attempts to be a word-sketch of some scene I've witnessed that has struck me as interesting, noteworthy, poignant, amusing, or so ordinary that we would all recognise it as part of our lives, if I can only find the way to convey it as I've seen it. And that's the impulse - to try to convey a reality - my reality - in a way that someone else can understand it. I never gained much facility with paintbrush or pencil in drawing what I see, but when I write, I leave a picture that will remind me later what it was I wanted to note, what I was moved by, what touched me in some way.

Because I love to read, I have to write. Because others' words move me, I have to write. Because I cannot always be talking, I have to write. Because there are so many words, because there are so many words, so many words....

If you choose to share your thoughts on the matter, do let me know, and especially, let Becca know please!

My previous Sunday Scribbling post about Writing is HERE.


Saturday, June 07, 2008


My friend Kate is a yarn addict, and I am an enabler. She loves the variety of types of yarn that you can get in the US. People there still enjoy knitting with fine, fine yarns. Here, it's much easier to buy chunkier types of yarn, not so easy to find what she likes to play with - lace-weight, sock-weight. People in the US enjoy knitting socks. Not so much here. So, my mission last year was to buy yarn. Hurrah. I did.

My mission this year is to buy even more yarn. I will. I will so enjoy visiting yarn shops. I was reminded today, when I saw This Wonderful Post on Caroline's Crayons blog. (***) My knitting and crochet activity has been limited over the past few years because I developed a skin condition on my hands meaning it's only when my skin isn't flaky and scaly that I can bear to handle yarn. I never know when that's going to be, so I tend not to start projects. I did make a sweet little shrug for my younger neice to wear at my older neice's wedding a couple of years ago. And I work on patches for afghans now and again. These are two I've made that I particularly like (only one of them is made in patches, obviously!). I thought while I was showing you those, I'd let you see some of the things I've knit in years gone by:
A very ancient aran cardigan
A lace-and-cable patterned cotton jumper
A jumper knit in entrelacs (that's interlacing, for those of you who don't knit... very complicated!)... And yes, I like rainbows! Even though I knit so little these days, I always enjoy visiting knitters' blogs, and as I said, yarn shops. Here are pictures from a couple I visited last year. The yarn below was "hot off the spindle". Wow!

(I was SO impressed!) This year, I plan to purchase yarn for socks, and, even if I have to knit them at a rate of only one row a day. I'm determined to knit me a pair of socks. Once upon a time, I had a pair I knit in stripes, with little Aztec people and patterns in the stripes. I loved them. The moths came, and I was so disappointed, I threw them out. This time, nothing as complicated. Just socks. In soft yarn, in a nice colour. What do you think?

(***) About Caroline's blog. Once upon a time, Caroline had another blog, which I visited and enoyed so much. She draws beautiful cartoon-stories. She has an eye for the detail that makes a story of something ordinary in her life special, so special, and she shares them beautifully. Somehow, in the transition from her old blog to the new, I managed to lose track of her, and when I would see her name on my blogroll, I would bemoan her disapearrance. Then, quite recently, I found her again! Hurrah! Go visit her lovely blog! Enjoy!

Labels: ,

Friday, June 06, 2008

Sunday Scribblings: My Nights

My nights are short at this time of year. When the sun rises, I often stir and come to life. I might take myself to the bathroom, and climb the stairs again usually, to slip back in between the sheets, to turn a pillow sideways, to claim another half-hour or hour in my precious bed. Sometimes, if the morning is really fresh and bright, if there is birdsong to be heard and a silvering of dew to be seen through the kitchen window, or morning mist rising, I might turn the key in the back-door and step outside for a few moments, to breathe in some of that cool air. I might begin my day early.

And if the day has begun early, I am all the more likely to allow my night to begin earlier than normal at the other end of the day. Since I find myself watching less and less television during the past few weeks, I am less often watching a program that will run on until 11.30 or midnight, so I might begin to move towards bed any time after 10.30. There's a routine, or the elements of a routine, which can be performed in different orders. There are nights I'm ironing something to wear the next day. There are nights I know I'll need to have my files prepared and packed for the next morning's work. There are nights where neither of those tasks need to be performed, and I just have to move through the rooms locking up and switching off, then spend a few minutes at the teeth-brushing, etc, before I go upstairs to my attic room and settle in for the night. I read a little scripture, write my gratitudes, and snuggle down into my bed with a "Thank you" to God for the day just passed.

I count myself as very lucky in that I seldom have difficulty getting to sleep. There have been a few times in my life when insomnia has reared its head, but I dealt with it without battling, rather with acceptance. I was lucky in that it was during times when I didn't have work commitments during the day, and I knew I could make up for lost sleep by resting next day. I passed those nights drinking cocoa, with a notebook on my lap, watching for dawn. It's a strange feeling, sitting awake when everyone else in the world seems to be sleeping. Those were probably some of the loneliest times in my life - those nights.

I sometimes have weekend nights where I stay up really late. - Watch a late, late movie or skip from blog to blog into the small hours. This isn't the same as insomnia. I think I do that because there are times where I just really like the feeling of being exhausted going to bed. It's a throw-back from teenage years, when my rebellion was to stay up later than I should. I'm a natural night-owl, although the routine of my days has caused me to modify that nature now. Maybe it's the time of my life that makes it harder for me to sleep on in the morning.

My nights these days are peaceful; my bed comfortable. My dreams are pleasant and interesting (to me!).

I've written so much about night, peace and sleep, I'm getting tired. Think it's time for bed!
Go on over to Sunday Scribblings to see who else has written about their nights.

I wrote in February for a Sunday Scribbling prompt on Sleep: Before I sleep I suppose it is a companion-piece to this, too.

Labels: ,

Friday's Feast #192

When you drink soda/pop/coke, do you prefer to drink it from the bottle, a can, or after pouring it into a cup?
I pour it into a glass. Don't like drinking from cans or bottles - although a plastic bottle I could cope with if I'm on the road.

What television show are you willing to stay up late to watch?
I'm very proud of myself for having broken my every-night television habit a couple of months ago. I've gone weeks without watching any TV. I gave up watching Lost. But I did watch Desperate Housewives right up to the end of the series. And this week, when Grey's Anatomy returned with a double episode, I was right there. So the short answer is, even if it's on late, both of those shows, and ER. Big Brother started last night, and because my internet connection was down, and I'd just finished my book, I watched the launch show, but I will not, will not get sucked in to watching that this year.

Name one person, place, or thing you think of as brilliant.
I think of too many people, places and things as brilliant to choose just one. But just now, the ones that strike me: My sister A, whose life has become so multi-faceted since her job became part-time a couple of months ago. She's writing the most amazing short-stories and is just brilliant. A brilliant place is anywhere on the coast in Co. Clare, but specifically, around Liscannor. A brilliant thing: Cumin. The flavour it adds to so many dishes. Brilliant.

Main Course
Would you be willing to work 4 10-hour days instead of 5 8-hour days in order to save gas?
I work part-time as it is (4-hour days), and given the nature of my work, 10-hour days would be impossible (I'm counselling in schools). No. Couldn't do it, and stay properly present for my clients.

If you were a superhero, what would you call yourself?
GreenishLady, of course!

If you'd like to join in the fun, go HERE to get the questions and let them know you're playing.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Magical SoulCollage Slipper and the Weekend just past.

Would you like to see some of what I've been doing this weekend? Go look at my SoulFragments blog to see one thing! I'll be back this evening to fill you in more fully!


Now it's late, late Tuesday night in fact (Grey's Anatomy new season - (probably WAY behind wherever it's at on the other side of the Atlantic) started with a double episode and even though I've been watching very, very little TV over the past 6 weeks or so, that's one I had to watch). So... the weekend past was a weekend with family. I drove the 6-hour drive (taking the slow, coast-road through the Burren) on Friday afternoon to go spend that evening with my two sisters at M's seaside house. We had a great dinner together, and a late-night walk by the sea, and caught up. I slept the best sleep with the sound of the sea lulling me, and woke to glorious sunshine and birdsong.

On Saturday, I spent the day at my other sister, A's house, offering a SoulCollage(R) workshop to seven friends and family-members. Aged from fourteen to fifty, they all enjoyed the day, snipping images from magazines, piecing together something new, something that reflected an aspect of the individual's life or personality, some interest or energy. We had a great lunch out on the deck, and wound up the day by each introducing one of the cards we'd made. Plans were made to form a group that will continue meeting to make cards together and work with the process. That thills me.

That evening, I got to visit my mother, and stayed with my Dad. They're 85 and almost-86. There is no communication possible any more with my Mum. Of course, we talk to her, but she isn't able to respond. She seldom seems to be aware of our presence. I miss her.

On Sunday, I saw my brother and spent time with my younger niece and nephew, and their new puppy. Isn't she a cutie? That's Chloe.
On Monday, it was time to head for home again, but I got to go visit my other brother en route, to see his two boys too (and get cuddles!), to catch up with visiting friends, to share a good lunch and have a laugh.

That's what it was about. Family. I got to see everyone (except the big nephew who's in Spain for the summer, and the bigger nephew who lives there all the time, and the grown niece who was away on holidays with her husband). I mean I saw my parents and all my siblings, and the young people. I love where I live, but I hate that it's so far away from my family. But then, when I see them, it really delights me.

So, it was a good weekend. No movies, no concerts, no garden visits. Family. A good weekend.

Labels: ,