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 cute.....in 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 fired........as 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?


Sunday, November 7, 2010

I've found the dress, now for the man!

I have always been a huge fan of the fashion of the 50's even before its revival this year because of the success of Mad Men. It was designed with the real woman in mind, women with boobs and bums. ME!
Friends of Mum's were having their 50th Wedding Anniversary party this weekend.
Imagine being with the same person for 50 years. If I could manage 50 days, I'd be lucky!

"Sure you're the image of your mother!"

When we sat down at the table we were given the menu. I nearly shreiked with excitement. No, it wasn't over the food, which usually has that effect on me. There was a photo of Jean and Arthur on their wedding day printed on the front of it. She was wearing the most exquisite wedding dress ever. In fact its the one I want. Now I better work on getting a groom!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Did you ever feel like you were slowly falling apart piece by piece?
I woke up about a month ago to find that the sight in my left eye was very blurry. I thought I was getting a migraine as that's what usually happens to my eyesight. But after a day I knew it was more.
Headed to the optician. After looking up, down, to the left, to the right etc. etc. etc he announced that I had Keratoconus.
"It means that most people's corneas are dome shaped but yours have become cone shaped."
I immediately had a mental image of Madonna's bra circa Girlie Tour.

Can you, like, push them back into shape?

Today saw me in the Wellington Eye Clinic. You know you're in a plush waiting room when they actually have this week's magazines. No reading out-of-date stories like how Cheryl Tweedy is about to marry Ashley Cole, and how it will last forever!
The consultant was going through the procedure that he could do , when he said something that nearly had me running out the door in disbelief.
He actually said
"We are very lucky that it was found at this stage."
Yes, I thought to myself. It was caught so early when I'm still young.
He continued
"Yes. It's better that you are in your later years as it would have meant a cornea transplant if you were in your twenties."
Its the first time that I have been referred to as someone who was old!
I'm only in my forties for feck sake! And I scrub up really well.
If I have any money left after this, I'll have to look into having a face lift!!!

Or maybe not!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Time is relative.

Yesterday was a bit of a non starter. Last day of my mid-term break. Weather was dull and dreary. I just fluffed around the house all day, doing a bit of school work in preparation for the great return on Monday. Luckily I did remember to change the clocks.
Spring forward, Fall back I chanted, as I changed the time on the kitchen clock and on my phone.
I don't wear a watch when I am at home. This is a throwback to my schooldays in a convent boarding school. Life was governed by time and bells
a bell to get up
a bell to go to mass
a bell to eat breakfast
a bell to go to school
a bell for dinner
a bell for every change of class
a bell for afternoon tea
a bell for recreation
a bell for first study
a bell for tea
a bell for second study
a bell to say the rosary
a bell to shower
a bell to get ready for bed
a bell for lights out
a bell to get up.........
No wonder I have an adversity to a structured day. My guilty pleasure is to spend an entire day without looking at the time, just doing things when the mood takes me, not because a clock tells me I should.
I got up this morning thinking
"Gosh, its very bright. this time saving thing really works.
I was eating my breakfast thinking
"I wonder why its not the normal presenter on the radio. he must be sick."
I eventually got my watch to change the time.
"Why is it two hours behind? It's only 8 o'clock not nine."
It was only then that the penny dropped. I had put the hour back on my phone, but it had already done it itself. So I was an hour behind schedule!
Luckily, I had planned on being a half hour early for school to get things ready. Roxy did me proud and I ended up only being 10 minutes late.
Remember the euphoria in Primary School, when you thought teacher was absent for the day and you were going to have an easy day of it. Then she appeared and shattered your dream. You should have seen the little disappointed faces of my pupils when I opened the door to the classroom.
"Good morning, Miss," they groaned in unison!