Sunday, September 26, 2010

Best Friendship is......


Something happened this weekend that made me think about what sets "best friends" apart from friends.
First I have to go back to the good old days of 1986. I had just gotten my first teaching job and was looking for a place to rent. Majella, a very good friend from secondary school, told me about a house that had two fellas and a girl who were looking for a fourth housemate. She assured me that we would all get on, especially with the girl, Genevieve, who was lovely, if very quiet and reserved. I jumped at the chance and promptly moved in.
The first night I moved in, I didn't get to meet Genevieve as she also had gotten a teaching job and had a meeting in the school. So myself and the two lads headed off to the local pub to bond.
When we arrived back later that night, every light in the house was on. The lads were panicked as that was so unlike Genevieve. When we entered the house we could hear a rhythmic "thud" from upstairs in Genevieve's bedroom. As Vincent, Gen's boyfriend of a number of years wasn't there, the lads knew it wasn't that!!!

We raced upstairs and Des knocked on Gen's door.
"Are you alright, Gen?"
"Of course...hic! Come in."
We peered around the door, like the three bears looking for Goldilocks, and saw Genevieve sitting upright in bed, her nightie on over her clothes and she was sporadically banging her head off the wall behind. It seems she had gone out with the other teachers after the meeting and had drank for the first time. She had two bottles of Satzenbrau (ah, God be with the days!) not very much mind you, but remember, she was a novice at this drinking thing. And it had blown the head off her!
She squinted at me and said
"Oh you must be the new girl. I'm so sorry. I'm not usually like this, hic.....thud!
I looked at her and thought
Someone was lying about how quiet you are....I think we are going to get on just fine!

And that was the beginning of a best friendship that has lasted for the past 25 years, and hopefully will last at least another 25, bar a major disaster!
We have been there for each other through thick and thin...and that's just the dieting phases!
There have been countless nights of crying and gnashing of teeth over failed relationships. Seeing as she met Vincent when they were 16 years old, were childhood sweethearts, got married and have two gorgeous kids, you can see that all that anguish and drama came from my side!
There have been fantastic holidays. This is from the month we spent touring France in 1989..the bicentenary of the French revolution. I can't believe that we were teachers in our 20's. We look about 14!

Vincent peers over our shoulders to see whats going on!


When Genevieve and Vincent got married in 1996, guess who was their chief bridesmaid.........me!


Vincent is still peering over our shoulders!!!

In 1999 I upped sticks and moved to Abu Dhabi. Vincent told me later that he thought that Genevieve cried more when I left than if he had told her he was leaving himself!!!

As a result I wasn't there for her when she went through her first pregnancy and birth of her first daughter Sadhbh. However her christening was held over til the summer when, guess who returned in time to be her Godmother.....yes, me again!





My favourite godmother story.

Two years ago I had the part of the wicked stepmother in Leixlip's production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Genevieve and Sadhbh were there to cheer me on. Everytime I appeared on stage, the audience of children went into the terrors, screaming, crying and booing. Some were so distraught they had to be brought out. But not Sadhbh. She was the only child who stood up, cheered, waved and clapped for me! Ah, that's what godchildren are for!

We were there for each other's milestone birthdays.ie my 40th........even if it was dangerously close to the due date of child #2!



Life changes for all of us, and of course it becomes more difficult to stay in touch with each other. But we have always made sure to ring each other regularly and to meet up at least every couple of months and have a girlie night out on the town like our young, free and single days. This weekend was to be one of those.

Genevieve abandoned hubbie and two kids for the night and came down to Mullingar. We spent the day shopping as she was looking for a pair of black boots.
Guess who ended up buying a pair, despite the fact that she wasn't looking for them/couldn't afford them......yep, me again!

We came back to my house, where we had an hour to get ready before we headed back into town for dinner, drinks and a night club.
We dropped the shopping bags and decided to have a cup of tea before the grooming began. As I was stifling a yawn, I looked at Genevieve, to see that she was doing the exact same thing. It was then that telepathy, brought about by years of friendship, came into play.

"I'm not really fussy about what we do tonight. We can go on the town or we can stay in. Whatever you want."
"No, I don't mind at all. What do you want to do?"
"It's your choice.You've came down. I'm happy to do either."
"Well, I wouldn't mind staying in, if you don't mind."
"Oh thank God. I couldn't face going out. I'm knackered."
"So am I. But I thought you wanted to go out."
"Not at all. I didn't want to disappoint you."
So, off I rushed to the village. Stocked up on pizza, chips, garlic mayonaisse......and wine!!! We plonked ourselves in front of the telly, watched The X-Factor, followed by The Xtra-Factor whilst stuffing our faces.
When we were nicely tipsy, we reminiseced about all our various adventures and escapades over the past quarter of a century (OMG! That sounds like forever) And we will have many more in the future.....just not on this particular night!
And so, back to what makes a friendship?
For me being Best Friends means not having to go out in order to have a great night out!!!
Thanks for everything Genevieve.



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Random Question #1


I am very excited about going to the Michael Bublé concert in the Aviva stadium tomorrow night. However as it is a brand new venue I've never driven there before. So I've got the "lend" of" Emma's sat. nav.

What I want to know is........

If I key in "Michael Bublé" into the sat nav, will I end up in Canada???

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Do or diet!

One major disadvantage of Turkey is the abundance of food and drink.
How can that be a drawback, I hear you cry?
Well it is, when you step back on the weighing scales. How come it takes weeks, nay months, to lose the pounds, and they will slap back onto your hips and arse in a matter of minutes? One of life's great mysteries.
And so it was with heavy heart (and various other even heavier body parts) that I rejoined Weight-Watchers this week.
Let me hasten to add that I am not being sponsored by WW, but if they want to............
I really do love their programme. As I suffer from PSTS ( primary school teacher syndrome) I am only happy when I am filling out little graphs, ticking boxes, planning meals and juggling with points. So I am in my element with WW. I only ever cook and bake when I am following their programme. Then I see other recipies that have full fat everything in them and I promise myself
"I'll cook that when I'm off the programme".
But when I fall off the wagon I never cook and only stuff my face with take-aways and stodge.
So why don't you stick to it if its so good, I hear you cry?
If I knew the answer to that I'd set up my own weight-loss club and make millions.


This morning, as I had time to spare, I took out all my old WW paraphernalia. I was stunned to see the array of material I had.
1. The 1-2-3 success programme
2. The Time to Eat programme
3. Switch Programme
and now
4. Discovery Programme
It is all beautifully packaged and very alluring. I have a rainbow coloured folder for one, a pink carrier bag for another and a "I-mean-business" filofax for another. I have weightloss graphs, goals, silver sevens and even a series of photos of myself that I took every week in '97 to document my weight loss. When I looked at them I thought
Jayus, look at the state of my hair. Who let me go out like that? Had I no friends?
Anyway, here I go again.
As I stepped on the scales last week I said to Jenny, my leader
"This is definitely the last time I rejoin Weightwatchers!"
"That's brilliant, Noeleen, to be so determined to reach your goal this time."
Eh, I just meant that if it doesn't work this time, I'm not going to bother anymore!!!
But I'm not defeatist!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Lord is my shepherd.

One night in Turkey Emma and I went to Murat's Place as they were holding a Turkish night. After a particularly energic dance routine which I was dragged into, I headed off to the Ladies to freshen up. I went down a corridor, around a corner and then I was stopped in my tracks.......by a painting. Suddenly I was five years old again and in my Granny Lynam's bedroom.

That's where I had originally seen this painting (ok so its not an actual painting but a copy of one). In fact it was my childhood favourite. Granny Lynam told me that it was Jesus as a child and that he was practising being a shepherd for when he grew up.

Years later after Granny and Grandad died the house was boarded up and the painting was lost.

Now forty years later I was looking at an identical one, hanging outside a loo in Turkey.
So is it really Jesus???
It was surreal and so wrong. If my handbag had been bigger, I'd have taken it off the wall and whisked it home, like you do with a nice glass you get in a pub!
Anyway, as the old Irish saying goes

It's strange the pot you find a lobster.
Please excuse the flash. I don't have a great camera.......and I may have had a few Long Island Iced teas!

Friday, September 3, 2010

A close shave


As a primary school teacher you spend all day, every school day, with your pupils for a full year. You share in all their experiences, be they birthdays, football finals, death of a pet/grandparent. By the end of the year you know your pupils inside and out and visa-versa. In fact they can tell your mood the minute you walk in the door by the type of handbag you are carrying....and adjust their behavior accordingly!
Its amazing how astute children can be.
Then come the end of June they leave Primary school, many of them never to be seen again. And you suffer a sense of loss.

And so the cycle continues. September arrives with its classroom of new eager faces. As I stand in front of them they are saying
"Oh I wonder what she is like. Will I get on with her?"
I look at them and say
"Oh I wonder what they are like. Will I get on with them?"
I have just survived my first week of a new school year with my group of 10-12year olds. The first few days were spent being on our best behaviour. When they didn't do things the way I like them done, the voice in my head felt like shouting
That's not the way I taught you how to do it......oops, I haven't taught you how to do it yet!

We were studying the possessive adjectives in Irish.
For those of you who don't speak Irish, bear with me. Its a good story.....honest!

I was explaining
Mine = Mo + h in the following noun
Your = Do + h
His = a + h
Hers = a + nothing

To help the remember the difference between "his" and "hers" I said
"The old Irish word for "h" is séimhiú ( pronounced shave-eu)
So he gets a shave and she..........pause for the collective response "doesn't"

"Miss, my mam waxes."

Whan I managed to stop laughing, I thought
"Bless. A class with my sense of humour. I know we are going to get on!"
Bring on the new school year.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hair Raising Experience

As I sat in front of the mirror this morning getting ready for a new term in school, I wondered why I was finding it such a chore to blowdry my hair. Then it struck me.

I haven't washed my hair in a fortnight.

Oops, let me quickly rephrase that. I haven't washed my own hair in a fortnight.I have gotten so used to popping across the road to Ibrahim's hairdressers where my biggest decision was

"What mod-el would you like this evening?"

I had gone for the up, the down, the flicked out, the curly and the turned under look. I was running out of ideas.

So one fateful evening I said to Ibrahim to "surprise" me. He was delighted to have free reign. He back-combed, clipped and sprayed with extra stronghold spray. When I went back to the apartment Emma tried to supress a titter and said

"You look like you're going to your Debs!"

I thought about washing it again and then said

"Feck it. I didn't have a Debs myself, so why not have one now!"

The reason for the non-existant Debs was that the year of my Leaving Cert the nuns decided that there were too many starving people in the world and that we shouldn't have a Debs!!!

I never saw the logic in that. It's not that we sent the money we would have squandered on a night out over to Africa. So it didn't benefit anyone.

So I finally had my Debs in Turkey........27 years later.

This is a photo of my hair when we came home at stupid o'clock in the morning. I had taken out the 72 clips.....and it still never budged an inch!!!!