Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

I can't believe that my year is up! I started this blog last Jan 1st as it was the first little "project" that I had to do for the book "A girl for all Seasons". I had nooooooo idea how it was going to go or even what I was going to blog about. It was impossible to do many of the tasks mentioned in the book due to geographical reasons.
I was supposed to attend Ascot but ended up at Kilbeggan Races instead....and had a mighty fine day there.
To be honest, the book kinda got left out halfway through the year, and I found myself blogging about my day-to-day escapades with a few memories thrown in for good measure.

Now the year has come to an end. But I had so much pleasure from writing this blog that I'm going to keep going!!!!
So now I'm heading out to Mullingar (Rubberbandits, take note!) in search of my first adventure/blog material of the new year.
Bring on 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dam those New Year's Eve superstitions!

Many years ago in Abu Dhabi my friend Alexa told me about a Greek New Year's Eve superstition. There should be no washing or ironing left to be done in your house by New Year. If there was even a dirty knickers lying around then a whole year of doom, gloom and bad luck would follow.
If that's the case, then the whole of Ireland must have neglected their laundry last December. What else could possibly explain the year we've just had!
I can easily walk under ladders, spill salt and can never remember whether a black cat crossing my path is meant to bring good or bad luck. But for some inexplicable reason this superstition struck a nerve. Every New Year's Day saw my wardrobes fully loaded, my laundry bin empty....and my bedroom floor clear for once!
Then came the Big Freeze of 2010! This resulted in a frozen washing machine, lack of water and mounds of clothes forming on the floor.
Whites pile, lights pile, brights pile, dark pile.....and undies pile!
Life as we know it has only returned to normal in the past few days. Panic has set it.
I have to get all washing and ironing done!
Today I had to admit that I couldn't fully look after my offspring and reluctantly I fostered some of my little bundles of joy out to my mother's and my sister-in-law's washing machines, as I knew I was fighting a losing battle against the New Year's Eve deadline. So now my kitchen looks like a Chinese laundry with mounds of ironing waiting to be done.
The ironic thing is that come the 2nd, 3rd, 4th........Jan I don't give a fiddlers @*!? about how overflowing the laundry basket is. But just for tomorrow night it will be barren!
I figure we need all the help we can get in the "Good Luck" department for 2011!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The thaw- The return of things that I once took for granted #1

This morning brought the mesmerising sound of water dripping from the gutters. The long awaited thaw had begun. Its amazing how the little things that you once did automatically can now bring you out in yelps of euphoria.
Today I put my rubbish outside in my bins. Halleluia!
Yes you heard me correctly.
This may not seem like a big deal. But let me assure you. When your bins have been welded shut by ice for the past week and your Christmas excess is building up in the kitchen, then you will be over the moon when that wheelie bin lid cracks slowly open.

Ice free bins YESSSSSSSS

And if you think I'm overreacting now, just wait til I get a toilet that flushes automatically rather that having to manually fill the cistern with water from a bucket circa 1930!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

An apple for teacher

One of the most bizarre stories that I have encountered in the past week is that the INTO have banned the giving of Christmas presents to teachers from pupils.
Not content with landing us with a 17% paycut in the past year, pouring our pensions down the IMF black hole, they are now doing the unthinkable....taking away our yearly supply of smelly soaps and scented candles!!!
According to this article (I know I was squinting at it, trying to read it with one eye, but I'm pretty sure I got it right) parents are presenting their child's teacher with bribery gifts such as cashmere jumpers, champagne, holiday vouchers etc. I have a wide circle of teachery friends and I have yet to encounter one that was the recipient of such a gift.....we wish!!!
I am very grateful for any token that assures me I have not totally wasted my time and energy throughout the year.
I must admit that I sometimes worry, as I open my 18th box of bubble bath that maybe I have a body odour problem and my pupils are trying to subtly tell me something!

Now Abu Dhabi was a different story!
There was a policy in my school that if a teacher received a gift worth more than 200 dirhams (about 50 euro), it had to be handed into the admin staff in the office. I very much doubted that the parent ever got it back from there, so I never handed anything in...oops!
At the end-of-term in my final year, the mother of one of my pupils gave a necklace to myself, the Arabic teacher, the Islamic teacher and the PE teacher. She did the same for a younger daughter's teachers.
Ms Nehaya, the Arabic teacher, came to me, quite distraught.
"Oh, Ms Noeleen. I do not think I can accept this necklace."
"Why not? I don't think its worth more than not having a clue what it was worth, but I was damed if I was going to see the secretary walking around with MY necklace next week!!
"No that's not the problem. I don't think my God will allow me to accept such a gift."
That's the great thing about being an Irish catholic...
"My God has NO problem with me accepting gifts. Maybe you should convert, if only for a day!"
After a good old giggle I realised that she didn't want me to agree with her, she just needed someone to convince her that she was doing the right thing by keeping the necklace. She came to the right woman for that job!
"Look. Ms Nehaya. If Allah didn't want you to have that necklace, then He wouldn't have put it into that mother's mind to give it to you."
"Oh Ms Noeleen. You are so right. Thank you!"
And she ran off clutching the box tightly to her chest.
The next day I passed her on the corridor as she was bringing her class for prayers to the Mosque. She casually adjusted her veil, to reveal the glitter of gold. Go girl!

The following day I was rushing through Abu Dhabi mall, getting last minute stuff before returning home. As I passed Damas Jeweller's window I espied my necklace on display. There was no price tag so I decided to go in and check. I pushed open the door and almost sank to my knees in luscious carpet.
You know that scene in "Pretty Woman" when the shop staff in the boutique on Rodeo Drive look down their noses at Julia Roberts because she is a hooker.....well I was getting a similar vibe here!
"Can I help you, Madam?"
"Yes, please. Can I see that gold necklace from the window?"
He took it from the display, and placed it lovingly on a velvet cloth on the counter.
"Emm. Very nice. How much is it?"
"It costs 10,000 dirhams Madam."
Quick arithmetic in my head.....2,500 euro!
"Well it is white gold with real diamonds."
I was out that door, into a taxi and back to my apartment like a shot. The reason apartment was full of boxes and crates as I was moving back home and I had no idea where I had put the presents I had gotten from the kids....including that necklace!!!
Phew, I found it!
Every time I wear it I think of Ms. Nehaya. I hope that where ever she is now that she is sparkling under her abaya. I never told her how much it was really worth. She is such a good and moral person she would feel obliged to give it back. Luckily I don't have that many morals!
Back to Ireland.
Last year I was teaching the phrase
"Is maith liom X ach is fearr liom Y."
Translation: I like X but I prefer Y.
So I said
"Is maith liom The X-Factor ach is fearr liom Strictly Come Dancing."
Christmas holidays came and I was opening my presents from the kids. (Ssh. Don't tell the INTO). I opened C's gift to find.... the Strictly Come Dancing annual. I was absolutely thrilled with it, not because of the book, but because it showed that at least one fella listened to me, understood what I said and remembered it!
That was the best gift ever.
Okay, let's be realistic here. Of course it wasn't! The diamond necklace was the best gift ever...but that book was a close-ish second!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Panic, panic, panic.

M50 December 2010

And so the Arctic conditions continue. My nephew Damien works in Dundrum Shopping centre. It usually takes him about 20 minutes to drive home. Last night it took him five hours due to the fact that no traffic was moving. It would be heart-warming to think that this news concerned me only because of my auntie affiliations. However I was more concerned because of how it would affect me! Sorry Damien!
Reason to panic #1
My post op visit was due today...and it was in that very area.I was stressed out, worrying that I wouldn't get back there today and so I would be left with this cursed bandage contact in my eye all over Christmas, and it'd be in so long it'd get infected and then I'd lose my eye...
Okay, so I'm a major drama queen!
Thanks to my FABULOUS sister Jacqueline for driving me there through the blinding snow. In fact we were an hour early! The fact that no one made it through the blizzard (or was mad enough to even try!) meant I was taken straight away.
My doctor told me I had fabulous healing powers
Maybe I can get a job as a psychic healer, if they keep cutting my teacher's wages!
He peeled off my contact with a tweezers (ouch) and off we set home.
You would think my worrying would be over...but no.
Reason to panic #2
Roxy has been parked outside my sister's house for the past five nights. She has never been idle for that length of time. What if she was frozen over and would never budge again???
You do realise that I am talking about my car ....and not my aforementioned FABULOUS sister!!
She purred into life with the first turn of the key. She is obviously in much better physical condition than I am!!
So off we set for home. You would think at this stage I'd be ecstatic at returning home. But no.
Reason to panic #3
I haven't been in my house for the past five nights. During that time there have been record low temperatures of -15 degrees. Even though I had my heating on a timer I began to panic that pipes had burst, water tank had come crashing from the attic and a glacier of ice would meet me on my return at the front door.
Thankfully none of these happened.
This time two weeks ago I was climbing the walls because I was stuck in my house because of the bad weather and couldn't wait to get out of my humble abode. Tonight I am sprawled on the couch inn front of a blazing fire, ever so thankful for my gorgeous, fully-functioning house. I think I deserve a Baileys-on-ice seeing as I had no birthday celebrations.

Oh Damien,by the way I hope you got less than five hours

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy eye!

Friday saw me in The Wellington Eye clinic for my "procedure"! The plan was that I would have it done two weeks ago and all would be healed up in time for major birthday and Christmas celebrations.
How do you make God laugh?
Tell him your plans!
Because of the Arctic conditions, I couldn't get to Dublin on the appointed date and the only other available date before the crimbo was the 17th....just before my birthday. But somethings have to be done as soon as possible and it went ahead.

I won't go into the gorey details. My doctor and the nurses were FABULOUS! But no amount of fabulousness can eradicate the feeling of someone scraping your eye with a hook while you are fully conscience. ENOUGH SAID.

I then got a list of all the things that I can't do.
Boxing 6 weeks
Bungee jumping 6 weeks
Parachute jumping 4 weeks
Scuaba diving 3 months
Ski-diving 2 weeks
Dam, so all the things I had planned for my birthday have to be scraped!
But even more worrying were things like
Driving after 1st post-up
Face make-up 1 week
Hairwash 2 days
Pub 2 days (who would want to go to the pub with no make-up and greasy hair )

Well there was no mention of sex on that list!

So I am here in my mum's house on my birthday, with a thumping headache and looking like I've done three rounds with Mike Tyson . I was feeling very sorry for myself...until I got lots of birthday wishes by phone and on facebook, So I feel very loved.......despite looking like crap!! Thanks to everyone.
Roll on the New Year celebrations!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The best opening line of The Nativity Story.....EVER

My class were doing a creative writing lesson based on the story of the Nativity.
How "creative" of me!
The story had to be written from the viewpoint of one of the animals in the stable. I tried to stress that as an animal you would not understand what was going an. Also, if you were a smaller creature you would be looking at things from a completely different angle. So to help us, we took a moment to place ourselves in our animal's body and imagine the sights, sounds and smells that we would experience.
R took his assignment very seriously. He imagined that he was a little mouse, peering out from under the straw.
His opening line was
"Push, Mary, Push!"
Classic. I didn't have to read any further to award him an A+ for his work!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!

The thaw has set in!!! THANK GOD.
I got out and about without taking my life in my hands. I headed up to my sister-in-law's house. She was busy making the Christmas pudding. Tradition meant that I just had to make a wish while giving it a stir!

Mmm, let me think, what shall I wish for??? A handsome man that won't answer back or run away!

Later that night we had our traditional Christmas night out. As I said before, out family is very loaded towards the female side. So my mum and her three sisters, their daughters and now it includes the next generation of daughters, all meet up for a good old night out. Unfortunately this year because of the appalling weather conditions, not everyone could make it. The stalwarts braved the elements.

We met up in The Greville Arms. It being X-Factor final night, there was a great buzz around the place, seeing as Niall Horan from One Direction is a Mullingar boy! It's incredible that this time last year he was taking part in Mullingar's Stars in their Eyes, but this year he is in the final of the largest TV show on the planet, under Simon Cowell's influential wings.

And that was when I met my perfect man.....

1. Handsome.....check!
2. Won't run away....Check. Well, he doesn't appear to have legs!
3. Won't talk back.....check. Someone seems to have gagged him. Wasn't me, honest!

Confession Time:

Many, many years ago when we were teenagers, I had a crush on.......Niall's dad! I swear! Same cheeky grin.

This is SO wrong on SO many levels. I guess it's back to the pudding bowl for another wish!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Back when it all began.....

People have been asking me when I began to write. I've always loved reading and writing. I remember that I used to do extra essays when I was in sixth class and get my teacher to correct them!
Being a teacher now, I realise that he probably said "What a nerd!"
Seeing as I have nothing to do these days only clean and tidy my house, I have made lots of interesting discoveries. I found this piece of writing that I did back in 1977 when I was thirteen. I used to write about things that happened to me during a normal day and then send them to the local paper where they were published.
Something is beginning to sound very familiar!
For my 40th birthday my nephew Damien went to the library archives to look up "my work". This is one of those pieces.
What has amazed me is that my style of writing has not changed one whit since then. It reads like something I could have written yesterday.


One night, or should I say early morning, I was awakened by the sound of my two elder sisters talking.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"Sshh there's a mouse in the room," whispered Jacqueline.
"A MOUSE!" I screamed.
"Oh Jacqueline, get out and turn on the light",pleaded Geraldine.
"I'm not getting out in the dark,"said Jacqueline in disgust. "I might hit him in the dark."
Jacqueline then decided to throw her shoes in the direction from where the noise came, but the mouse still kept on scraping. Finally Jacqueline decided to get out and turn on the light. After stumbling over shoes she managed to reach the light switch. No mouse could be seen. Jacqueline raced back into bed. The noise stopped and we all stayed quiet.
"I'm thirsty. I'm going to the kitchen," said Jacqueline at last.
"Hey wait for me," said Geraldine.
"I'm going too," I said and we all jumped out of bed.
When we were all back in bed, the light off and me nearly asleep, the mouse started scratching again. Jacqueline lost her temper (I should know as she often does with me - and as she is four years older, guess who wins?)
Well as I was saying, she lost her temper, grabbed a shoe, walked over to the skirting board, banged on it as hard as she could until the noise stopped.
Methinks the mouse was stunned!
We at last managed to get some sleep.
P.S. it's lucky you received this at all as Geraldine, when she read it was going to tear it up. I suppose a woman twenty years old does have her pride to think about!!!
By Noeleen Lynam
Topic Newspaper
1st September 1977

Monday, December 6, 2010

Couch potato

Just entered Week 2 of house internment.
I have gotten worried about myself and my mental/physical health. This is because I have spent the weekend plonked in front of the telly watching "Strictly I'm a Celebrity with the X-Factor Dancing on Ice All-Ireland Talent Show Get Me Out of Here". I suddenly had a flashback to an episode of Nip/Tuck, where an obese woman couldn't move from her couch. She spent her time watching tv and being fed by her family.
Ringing any bells yet?

Eventually her skin actually merged with the cloth of her couch and she effectively GREW into it.
They had to knock down a wall, use a forklift to bring herself and her couch to the hospital and surgically separate them.
I was really worried until I realised
Hey, my couch is leather. I'm safe!!!
It did give me a bit of a kick. I haven't been able to go for a swim or walk in the past week. So I resurrected a fitness DVD that I got free in a newspaper eons ago. I managed the warm-up section before collapsing......on the couch.
This time last year I was spending two and a half hours a night dancing about on stage in panto. Once this snow clears it's Operation Fitness.
But in the meantime..............

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cats and Dogs

I had the weirdest dream last night. I dreamt I had eventually made it out in the snow. When I returned I discovered my back door open and my dog Patch was missing! I was really worried because Patch is used to the creature comforts and would not be able to cope in the Arctic conditions outside.
I got a bowl of his food ready. Suddenly I saw something white with two black patches over his eyes, running across the snow in the back lawn.
I know, I know, his name is not very original, but what was I going to call him........Tiger????
I chased him, snow ploughing up behind me. When I eventually caught up with him I discovered that it wasn't actually Patch. Dejectedly I returned to my discover seven cats crowded around his bowl, eating his food.
I woke up in a panic, thinking that I'd never see my dog again.
There was a moment of intense relief when I thought
Phew, he's not really missing, it was only a dream.
And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

What are you talking about? Patch died over 35 years ago!

Patch was the family's very first.....and last, dog. We were so upset when he died we never got another one.
When I realised this morning that he actually was dead, I got the same wrenching feeling in my stomach as I did when I heard the first time.
As a result today, despite it being 35 years later, I am missing Patch.
This snow better thaw soon before I lose it completely!

Friday, December 3, 2010

And there was light......

It's amazing how one's priorities change according to one's circumstances.
This time last week my main concerns were (in no particular order) the economic bailout, my pending eye surgery and who would be kicked off the X-Factor.
Now that I am on Day 4 of snow-induced imprisonment my outlook on life has changed.
1. No point worrying about the IMF. Hey, there's a budget next week. Then its time to panic!
2. My reality TV viewing now consists of watching people eat vile things like eyeballs and kangaroo penis.
How many times have I felt like screaming "I'm not a Celebrity, but get me out of here anyway!"
3. My eye will have to wait for two weeks to be fixed. Another casualty of the snow.

Today I couldn't take it anymore so Roxy and I ventured out on the ice. We made it as far as my Mum who lives on the other side of the village. It was great to have face-to-face contact with another human being, as opposed to Facebook contact.
Seeing as we made it that far, we ventured as far as Tesco's in Kinnegad.
You would think that food would be my main priority but as I said, things have changed.
The main concern in my life has become Christmas tree lights. Sitting looking at my naked tree was driving me mad.
God, I definitely need to get out more often!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Mystery of the Missing Lights.

I got my love of reading and indeed writing from Enid Blyton's books, in particular The Famous Five series. I was hooked on their adventures involving underground tunnels, smugglers and deserted islands. Of course poor old Enid has fallen out of favour, as she was not exactly politically correct. One of her girls, Anne, was an absolute wimp and had to depend on the boys to rescue her at every turn. The other girl, George (hello!) only got things done because she insisited on being treated as a boy.
Not good role models for todays girls.
Also her choice of names would raise more than a snigger in a modern day classroom. There was Dick (whose surname should have been Head!) and if I recall correctly, there was an Aunt Fanny in there somewhere! I certainly wouldn't attempt to read that aloud in class.
I was faced with my own mystery today and could have done with their help.
I am on Day 3 of being snowbound in my house and slowly going mad due to cabin fever. What does one do when there is nothing left to clean?
Ah ha! Christmas tree decorating time!
I braved the elements and went up to the attic. When I opened the door, the artic conditions nearly took my breath away.
First down were Santa and Rudolf.

It only seems like last month I was blogging about them disappearing up into my attic for another year.......and here they are again.
That is scary!
Next I set about decorating my tree. I was almost finished, when I realised that something vital was missing....the lights. I went back up in the attic, searched all the boxes. Nowhere to be found! I'm flumoxed. I didn't throw them out last year. I keep all the christmas gear together (Primary School Teacher Syndrome) No one else could have moved them. So where the hell are they???
A mystery!

When I was finished decorating the sitting room, I put on a CD of Josh Groban singing Christmas carols, poured myself a Baileys and ice, sat back and gazed at my (lightless) Christmas tree.
I sipped slowly, contemplated deeply and came to the realisation that
If this fecking snow doesn't disappear soon, I'll go mad.
I can't help it if I'm not a Christmas person!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dancing on Ice- the Irish version

I am on day 2 of being snowed in. Roxy and I tried to make it to school yesterday. I knew it was a lost cause when we took three attempts to even get out the gate, as you can see from the tyre tracks.
We got as far as Raharney where we tried to negotiate the hill. We got so far and slid down again. Enough was enough. We cautiously turned around and skated off home again. Luckily the school was closed today so neither of us has moved.

So what to do when snowed in? My house is now gleaming from top to bottom. The only problem is there is no-one to see it in its pristine state. By the time another person can make it through the blizzard conditions to my humble abode it'll probably be back to its usual state of disarray. I've just gotten the text to say we have another snow day tomorrow. Nothing left to clean.....I even washed my make-up brushes today. I now know the significance of this saying

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What a difference a year makes....

Readers of my blog will be aware of Mullingar's favourite son, Joe Dolan.
Though, if Niall Horan of One Direction continues to do so well in The X-Factor, he may take over.
His statue (Joe's not Niall's) took pride of place in the Market Square. It was quite the tourist attraction, on a par with the Eiffel Tower in Paris! One just had to get one's photo taken on the podium with him.

Joe and I in July!

Therein lies the problem. So many people stood on the podium it started to subside. It wasn't just me that caused it. honest. As a result, barricades were put around it to prevent further photos being taken. When Gwen and Jenny came to visit in October they didn't let a little thing like a baricade stop them, especially at three in the morning when no one was around!

Soon after the statue was removed altogether. Now, I'm not saying there was any connection between these two events!
The podium remained empty .....until this week. Joe, in his signature white suit, mysteriously reappeared overnight, taking his rightful place on his podium.

In a week that brought us to the brink of economic ruin (and we damn well nearly brought the rest of the world with us) it's heartening to see that as a nation we haven't lost our sense of humour!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Top o' the mornin' to ya.

I headed off to County Clare this weekend (despite the artic conditions warning) to catch up with a good friend of mine, Sinéad. We worked together in Choueifat International school in Abu Dhabi for a year. Neither of us was happy there. When we heard that Sheik Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan was opening a new state of the art school, we decided to apply for it.
They said that they were only looking for American teachers, but we didn't like a little thing like that stop us!
After a few gruelling interviews we were successful. As we were the only two on the new staff, including the director and principals, who had lived in the Middle East before, we did the meet-and-greeting with the new teachers and tried to help them settle into their new life.
Just before the grand opening, Dr. LaRae, our principal, was chairing a meeting for the whole staff, when she said
"I'd like to especially thank my two little Irish leprechauns for all their help."
When she saw our two horrified little Irish faces, she knew she had said something wrong.
She called us into her office straight away to see what faux paux she had made.
"In America we view leprechauns as cute friendly little creatures that everyone loves."
We tried to explain that in Ireland leprechauns are viewed as figments of the tourist industry. We see them as being very patronising and add to the "stupid Irish" stereotype. In fact, we probably would have taken less offence if she had said
"I'd like to especially thank my two little IRA terrorists."
I mean, I've no idea where people get that image of Ireland. It's not like we dress up as leprechauns on St.Patrick's Day,eat green vodka jelly from St. Patrick's well, make everyone wear green /dye their hair and force them to do Riverdance.

Oh dear, I forgot about that particular Abu Dhabi party!!!

Those were the days. Looking through my old photos has brought back lots of fabulous memories. A big "Hello" to anyone who recognises themselves in the photos. I wonder where everyone is now?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Perfect boyfriend material.

During Maths class I espied R passing a note to C, the girl who was sitting beside him. Being quite sure that it wasn't about their school work, I demanded
"C, bring that note up here please."
Bless her. She looked horrified
Sure enough there were numbers on the paper but they had nothing to do with equivalent fractions!
"What is this?"
"R was giving me his phone number."
It was R's turn to look horrified and his mouth opened and closed like a goldfish chewing a chili.
Ah, a first crush.
"Now R do you really think it appropriate to dish out your phone number to girls during Maths class?"
I was having a Sue Sylvester moment.
There was a collective Woooo-weee from the rest of the class.
At home time D, a classmate, was teasing R. I decided it was time to stand up for him.
"Now D, are you jealous that you didn't give out your number?"
D flashed me a Justin Beiberesque grin and said
"No Miss. I don't give out my number, I get numbers!!"
And I bet the little fecker does!!!
D has it all.
1. He is top of the class in all subjects, without even trying.
2. He is oozing confidence.
3. He has a brilliant sense of humour (well he has My sense of humour, so Ithink he's hilarious). He is the life and soul of every drama class.
4. He is ultra a One Direction sort of way.
So I want to send out some advice to all the future girls/women (depending on how far into the future we're talking) who will be crying into their cokes/vodkas and diet cokes over him.
Listen up. The reason he has not returned your text/call is not because
A. He is out of credit. He'll be in his 30's. He have Bill-Pay by then!
B. He is waiting for you to call him.....AGAIN.
C. He has lost his dialling finger in a shark-diving accident.
It's because he's just not-that-into-you!
And I apologise in advance that I did not manage to mould him into perfect caring, sensitive boyfriend material.
But in my defense, he did not come under my influence until he was 11 years old. By which time it was too late!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Are you smarter than a 10 year old?

After the weekend that was in it I was happy to get back to school to get away from all the depressing talk of IMF and bailouts. We usually start on Monday morning discussing the weekend's news. Not this week! I worry about the affect that all this doom and gloom is having on the kids. They soak it all up and become very anxious about it all.
So we launched into all the reality TV gossip.
The X-Factor: Why is "Put the V back in" Wagner still there?
Strictly Come dancing: Who was that mad woman in the canary outfit?
I'm a celebrity get me out of here: Quick get the oxygen . Gillian McKeith has touched a leaf.
The All-Ireland talent Show: Eh, none of us watched it!
But of course we couldn't keep real reality out of the classroom.
A opened a new topic.
"Miss, France and Germany bought Ireland at the weekend."
"Not exactly. It's just that........"
I was lost for words. How do you explain to children that their future is going down the drain and that even if they work really hard and get all their spellings right, they might never get a job.
Luckily S came to my rescue and bailed me out ( pardon the pun)
"Miss, I know how it is. Even though its still our country, now we are renting it off them!
OMG! Its the best summing up of our economic/political disaster that I've heard.
It made me think
If we are a country of astute, articulate, far-seeing children.....
where the hell did all the adult gobshites come from?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Random Question #3


How do you know when its the right time to change your facebook status from "single" to "in a relationship"?

Charlie and I met through my sister Jacqueline. Being perfectly honest I didn't find him at all attractive at first. But then his caring and loyal ways won me over. It's the little things, like the way he will fetch things for me, that make him stand out from all the others. He's not one for pubs or nightclubs, preferring long autumnal walks along the canal. He is my best friend. There is only one drawback in our otherwise perfect relationship.

He's a lousy kisser.............


What's a girl to do???????

Friday, November 19, 2010

Operation Devious Bitches

It's so hard to keep a secret, even a nice one!
My sister Jacqueline's milestone birthday is coming up.
I won't spill the beans, but I'm the youngest in the family and I've already had my 40th.
Jacqueline didn't want a party and decided to head to the sun for a holiday instead. I can appreciate that. However the occasion couldn't go unmarked.
Her friend Janet set about planning a surprise birthday dinner. The furtive phone calls started flying back and forth.
When all your friends and family are avoiding you and won't answer or return your phone calls, it probably is because they are planning a surprise party for you and are afraid they will inadvertly spill the beans.
Or it might be because you really are a Norma Naymates. Live with it!
B-Day arrived. I headed off to my hairdressers with a cut-out picture from a magazine in one hand and a clump of hair in the other.
"Can you make me look like that?"
The woman is a miracle worker.

Mam, Marese and I headed off in plenty of time. Everyone was to be in situ in plenty of time to avoid bumping into Sis as she was lured into the restaurant under some false pretences. Of course Murphy's Law came into play. We were on the way to Kinnegad when we met a car who flashed us to stop. It was Glenn, our niece's husband. The road was closed up further near the railway crossing due to an accident. Quick handbrake turn a la The Dukes of Hazzards. On the alternative route we were stopped in a line of traffic at another railway crossing. Had a horrible thought that there was a problem on the line.
I know, I know, it would have been devastating if there had been a train crash, but all we were worried about was getting to the party on time.
Aside: There wasn't.
Mam hopped out of the back of the car before we could stop her, checking if she could hear a train in the distance. She went back to the car behind us and started chatting to them. Suddenly the barriers went up and the cars took off. No sign of Mother to come back. There was a brief moment when Marese and I were tempted to speed off too......but we did wait for her return!
We got there on time.
Twenty two women were gathered to await the birthday girl. The following plans confirm just how good liars women can be.
Operation Devious Bitches.
1.Thursday night is Jacqueline's bingo night so she thought she was going there as usual with Betty.
2. Jacqueline was due to get her hair done on Wednesday. Her hairdresser was contacted and told to tell her that the only appointment available was on Thursday, so at least her hair would be done.
3. Her daughter Michelle had to raid her mother's wardrobe and bring a change of clothes for her to the restaurant, just in case she rushed out in a pair of paint-splashed tracksuit bottoms!
4. Betty said that her daughter had been in the Italian restaurant that day, had left her appointment book behind her and they had to pop in to collect it.
5.Meanwhile Betty's husband was primed to ring her exactly 12 minutes after they had left the house. This coincided with them pulling up outside the restaurant.
6. Betty pretended it was her son calling from Australia. Jacqueline, being such a thoughtful friend, didn't want to interrupt such a touching moment, said
"I'll go in for it."
Everything went like a dream. Then disaster almost struck.
Us twenty two women were so excited inside, we were chatting and not passing any remarks on the reception area. Jacqueline had come in and was at the reception desk.
"Good evening. I've come to collect an appointment book."
The man looked very perturbed. He wasn't in on that part of the surprise.
"I'm sorry. I don't know what you are talking about."
"An appointment book was left here today. I was told it would be here."
The man looked all around the desk.
"I'm really sorry. There is nothing here."
Jac was beginning to get annoyed, thinking that she would miss her bingo!
Luckily Janet spotted her and went running out.
"Hi Jacqueline. I'm here with a few friends. Come in for a quick drink."
She grabbed her arm and pulled her towards the dining area.
"Janet don't be silly. I can't. I'll be late for bin.........."

To say that she got a shock is an understatement!

An hour later, still shocked!

At one stage I honestly thought she was going to have a heart attack.......and all that planning would have been in vain!
There were tears (of happiness, I hope).

Jacqueline and other sister Geraldine

A brilliant night was had by all.

Jacqueline and Mam

Happy birthday Jacqueline. Can't wait for the next one xxx

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Whacky Inventions

We were doing a lesson about weird gadgets that had been invented. The children then had to come up with ideas of their own. There were some great ones like
an alarm clock that pours water on you or
one that tosses you out of bed.
S came up with my favourite
" Miss, chocolate that has no calories."
"Fantastic. Can you get working on that as quickly as possible, please!"
Then A came up with the following
"Miss. How about something that causes your bed to vibrate and that would comfort you and lull you to sleep."
Ah, bless her. I hadn't the heart to tell her that it has already been invented......yipee!

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's so hard to get good staff these days!

One of my fondest TV memories is Upstairs Downstairs. It was a BBC drama which aired from 1970-1975. (I was obviously very young, so young in fact I shouldn't have been watching it. It was a bit risque for its time, though very tame by today's standards!)
The series followed the lives of both family and servants that lived in 165 Eaton Place, London in the years 1903-1930. The head of the house was an MP, Richard Bellamy and his aristocratic wife Elizabeth . But the real ruler of the house was the butler, Mr. Hudson who kept the whole place running smoothly. He tried to guide and direct the rest of the staff about their tasks and their proper conduct....often failing miserably.
I was reminded of this programme this week, as we worked backstage on the play Viv and Tom. It is set in roughly the same era. As backstage crew we had to dress as servants.
Note: I even got a costume change! Now that's success. Obviously star quality shines through!!!!
Gwen and I looked the epitome of subservience!

But don't let that fool you. Just as the servants got up to no good when their Master wasn't around, so did we backstage when no one was looking..........

Pretending to be laydees........

Having a wee tipple from the whiskey decanter............

Sleeping on the job........

Being "rogered" by the son of the house........

And having a quick spin in Master's wheelchair...............

If the servants had been caught they would have been would we! I hope our director doesn't read my blog or we won't be asked to do the festival circuit with them next year!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hi, I'm Noeleen and I'm a shopaholic.

I've been really good since September and I haven't made any major purchases.
Groceries don't count, do they?
My tactic in this war against temptation is to avoid shops, simple as! I thought I had it sorted for this weekend. The school football team had reached the Primary school football final which was held on Saturday afternoon.
Sorted. I'll be on the sideline of a freezing pitch, screaming my little lungs out, far away from any nasty shops. Safe for another week.
I drove to Navan and parked my car in the multi-storied carpark.
Ok, so there were were only three stories. It was Navan after all!
I have a confession to make. I started to go up the wrong lane to the second story! Luckily I saw a car coming down so did a quick reverse manoeuvre. Oops. the sooner I get my eyes sorted out the better!
Headed off towards the pitch. Unfortunately that involved passing several enticing shops. I managed to resist most of them.....but crumbled at the last hurdle. One shop front had glittery party dresses in the window.
I'll just have a quick peek. After all I need a new Christmas frock! I'd like to go for red this year.
I looked through the railings and was thrilled that nothing caught my eye. I was heading confidently for the door when the shop assistant stopped me.
"Hello there. Are you looking for a dress for a Christmas Party?"
Say no, say no. Make your escape. Quick.
"Yes, I am actually. I was looking for a red one but I see you don't have any."
Ha ha. Gottya.
"True. But I have just got in a new collection. There is one that I think would really suit you."
She pointed to a sad little dress on a hanger. It was sooooo what I didn't want. It was a mixture of black, cream, gold and silver. Even worse. It was a sort of crinkly, scrunched material.
Not me!
"Em. Not sure. Its not what I was looking for." Thank God.
Then I made the mistake. I always try to please, so I said
"Sure I'll give it a try."
I disappeared into the dressing room. I slipped it on.......and wow! It was love at first sight. And I have warmed to stretchy material. It means you can pig out on dinner and it will grow with you!
I bought it..sob! I know it looks nothing now, but wait til you see it on!!!

Headed to the pitch with my little wicked purchase in my hand. The game started. I know I'm biased, but our school team were AMAZING! They took the lead in the opening minutes and held on for the first half. I can take no credit for their training (That's Ms. Murphy!) but I did my little bit to spur them on. I sent a message to the dugout at halftime. "Listen lads. If you win, there is no homework for the next week."
I think this is a ploy that all premier managers should adopt.
They came out in the second half and they would have thrown themselves in front of a moving truck if it meant getting the ball.

We won by four goals!
I went home a very happy little bunny. A championship cup......and a new dress!!! Now that's what I call a good day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tom and Viv

Vivienne Haigh Wood on left

I am working backstage on the play Tom and Viv which is being performed by Bradán Players in Leixlip. It describes the turbulent marriage between T.S. Eliot and Vivienne Haigh-Wood.We studied the poetry of Eliot for our Leaving Cert in secondary school. I liked his work

Well, "liked" in so far as you can, when you are forced into studying something in order to pass an exam.
We were told that he was unhappily married, his wife was mentally insane and ended up in an asylum. I remember being sorry for him.

Well, not anymore.

It seems that there was a very good reason for Vivienne's strange and erratic behaviour. Good old menstrual problems. She suffered from very heavy, irregular problems and severe premenstrual tension. This resulted in mood swings, fainting spells and migraines. Her family hired the top doctors of the day, who put her on a cocktail of drugs. One of these drugs contained 90% alcohol! So, no wonder she acted bizarrely at times....she was p*****!

One of the behaviours that was used as a reason for her internment in the asylum, was the fact that she changed her bed linen twice a day and that when she stayed in hotels, she insisted in having the sheets washed herself.

Bless her, she was too embarrassed to let anyone else see them.

Eliott and her family had her put away. And there she stayed for the rest of her life. Eliot never visited her. He filed for separation, but not before he took control of all her money and trust funds.

She died of a heart attack in 1947 (though some sources claim it was an overdose). Eliot received his Nobel prize the following year.

Good Lord. Who hasn't suffered a bit of PMT in their lives? Imagine being locked away because of it!

Old Joke:

What is the difference between a pitbull terrier and a woman with PMT?