Monday, January 31, 2011

The stork has landed.......

The next generation of our family tree has sprouted thanks to my niece Lauren and her husband Glenn.
The last few weeks were spent in trepidation waiting for Baby Ayres to arrive. In order to add to the excitement the family had taken bets on the sex and weight of the baby.
The parents hadn't wanted to know the sex beforehand.
Lauren was carefully scrutinised and the odds were in favour of a big bouncing boy.
Saturday morning the text went around, Lauren had gone into hospital early that morning. The next couple of hours were spent checking our phones every few minutes. I was working backstage at the panto in Leixlip and almost missed a few scene changes as I was so preoccupied.
Finally the phone call came through from my sister Geraldine.
"Yes?" I gasped after the first ring.
"Great news. She has had the baby. All doing well."
"What is it?"
"A little girl and..."
"What? But I guessed a boy......"
And so Baby Megan Ayres had arrived.

I remember being fascinated and horrified in equal measure by the story of Florence Nightengale when I was at school. I couldn't comprehend how it was actually dangerous to be sent to hospital in those times as you were more likely to go in fairly healthy, contract a disease there and die.
Thank God we live in the 21st century and due to modern medicine, nothing like that could possibly happen nowadays..........WRONG! Ah, God bless the HSE

Because of the threat of
a)bringing in Swine Flu
b)coming out with MRSA,
no visitors, apart from the Dad, are allowed into our hospitals.
And so we haven't seen Lauren or Megan yet...and won't for the next few days.
So much for advancement.

At least we have photos on mobile phones and Facebook to keep us updated until we can actually hold her.

Is this why we had Tamagatchies (those annoying Japanese virtual pets) to train us for situations like these???

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Out of the mouth of babes......

I was very brave this morning and set the task of writing a poem entitled
"Ten Things found in Teacher's Pocket".
You have to be feeling very at ease with yourself and ready for criticism to be able to handle the brutal honesty of children. And boy can they be brutal!.
This is a compilation of my favourite images/observations/pearls of wisdom.

Ten Things Found in Teacher's Pocket.
Innocent smiles of children
A Maths test (Yikees)
A bad child from 1791 that was passed down to her by her Great Grandfather
Anglo Irish Bank
A wig made entirely of pupils' hair
A prince she has captured on holidays
A massage chair to forget the stress
Sweets to eat in front of us
A pair of Christian Louboutin's most expensive shoes
And the nicest words a teacher can say "Now you can go out for a break."

Yep, there is no need to go for psychoanalysis in this job. They have me down to a tee!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The most important lesson I will ever teach!

English lesson was a story about a princess who was being married off. She was actually quite a bitch and was turning her nose up at every prince that arrived on the scene. One of the words was eligible which we looked up in our dictionaries. We discovered
eligible: A man who is deemed suitable for marriage.
B thought for a moment and then said
"Miss, does that not mean that any man who is not married is eligible?"
"No, the word you are looking for there is available. Every unmarried man is available."
"Now girls. What I am going to say next is very important as it may save you years of misery and heartache. If you remember nothing else from today, remember this...
Just because a man is available does not mean he is eligible!
I wish someone had pointed this out to me when I was 12. The years/tears I would have saved!

Monday, January 17, 2011

If I were on Mastermind......

If I were on Mastermind, my specialist subject would be......
Classic chat-up lines of the Twentieth Century.

Many years ago, back in the last century I was in Majella's home place for a night out. Majella and her husband Brian own a pub in Mountmellick, called Dempsey's.
Now lads, could you not come up with something more original than that?
After a couple of glasses of vino in the house we decided to go to the pub. A strange phenomenon occurred. All the locals sent over a round of drink for us. I don't get it. It was her bar, so not only was she getting a free drink, but she was also getting the money that they paid for it! But far be it from me to complain or send back a free drink!

The night was coming to a close. And as usually happens to me, I attracted the attention of the strangest man in the place! He was definitely a lot older than me, was wearing what appeared to be his (very wrinkled Confirmation suit) and his remaining hair was meticulously combed over his bald patch, every rib doing its job.
He sidled up to me, gave a conspiritious wink and said
"Howaya. Do ya fancy comin' badger-baitin' with me tomorra?
I was struck dumb, very unusual for me.
Even now I fail to comprehend how he thought watching a defenceless animal being torn to shreds by dogs would put me in the mood for romance!!!
Talking to Majella at the weekend I discovered that he is still single.
"Why am I not surprised at that?" I sneered. Then it struck me
Who am I to talk? I'm still single myself!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I'll arm-wrestle you for him!

Shock! Horror! I've just discovered that my niece Emma, and I share the exact same taste in men. This could be the cause of a lot of bitch-fighting in the near future.
Our ideal man is
(a) fact bordering on the illegal!
(b) clean shaven. Emma suffers dreadfully from beard rash, especially if it is from a millionaire farmer from the West.
(c) musical
and most importantly
(d) cardboard!

Lauren, Emma and I were at the cinema. Coming out, the conversation went something like this.
Me: Oh look. Justin Bieber. Quick, take a photo.
Lauren: OMG! But there are loads of people around. I'm mortified.
Emma: Oh I'll get in. Since hanging around with Noeleen my embarrassment threshold has gone way up!
I'll train them all in yet!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Who did shoot J.R?

Went out for a "Sex and the City"-esque night out with Genevieve, Rose and Majella. It was actually our Christmas night out, but due to recent adverse weather conditions it could only take place now. It's quite complicated how we all know each other. Majella and I met in 1979 when we were best friends in Secondary school. Then many years later when I was looking for a place to rent, Majella told me about an available house, sharing with....Genevieve. Genevieve got a job teaching in Lucan school. Rose was also on the staff. A few years later Rose went back to college to do her Masters degree and who was in her group but Majella! They became good friends. And so we are all interconnected in several ways.
When I heard at age 12 that I was going to boarding school I was so excited about the idea. At the time I was into Enid Blyton's Malory Towers series of books. I had visions of midnight feasts and dormitory pillow fights.

I soon learned a valuable lesson.....Life does not always imitate art!

Catholic education institutes have been in the news recently as horrific cases of abuse have been exposed. When people hear that I attended boarding school they ask me if I ever witnessed any such atrocities. Thank God I can say "No".
The harshest punishment we had for talking in the dormitories after lights out was not being allowed to see "Top of the Pops" on a Thursday night.
Chrissie was the cook. I was always intrigued by her story. She`had been orphaned at a very early age and was taken in by the nuns. When she got older she started working in the convent and then the boarding school. When I was there she must have been in her sixties.
Majella and I were in Sixth Year when the phenomenon that was "Dallas" erupted onto our TV screens. There wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that we would have been allowed to watch such debauchery!
Majella and I used to sneak into Chrissie's room late at night and watch it. I don't think she was remotely interested in it but she just wanted some company. One particular night we were huddled up watching it. J.R was in bed with someone....
It might have been Sue Ellen, but then again knowing JR, chances were it wasn't!
There he was, doing the dirty deed! Suddenly the door of the room creaked slowly open and there in a beam of light stood Sr. Geraldine.
My heart stopped. I don't think I have experienced such a moment of absolute terror since. My academic life flashed before my eyes. I could see my parents being summoned and me being expelled. Panic.
Worse was to come. Sr Geraldine turned to the TV screen at just the wrong moment.
Think back to a time when you were younger, watching a programme with your parents......and a remotely raunchy scene comes on. Take the mortification you felt and multiply it by a hundred! That gives you some idea of how I felt!
She looked to us and uttered the immortal words
"I think Bobby is much better looking."
She turned on her heels and walked out.
The three of us never said a word but just stared blankly at the screen. When it finished Majella and I left silently.
Sr Geraldine never mentioned it to us again. Yet we never went back to Chrissie's room. It wasn't that we were afraid for ourselves, but were aware that Chrissie would get into more trouble than we would.

Majella (looking very unimpressed) and I -circa 1979

Majella and I -2011 (I think time has been very kind!!!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Groundhog Day

I was in hospital as a day-patient today for a little "procedure." Fascinating word!
I was lying on the bed in the theater and the nurses were explaining what would happen.
"A needle will be placed in your hand and you will receive a strong sedative. You will begin to feel very drowsy and your whole body will relax. You will still be able to follow instructions but you won't be able to remember everything."
Hold on a minute. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, being hypnotised by Keith Barry last week.
I must have said it out loud because the two nurses were fascinated. They sat on the edge of the bed and I told them all about it. I had just finished the hand shaking/multiple orgasm part when in walks Mr. Mooney, my doctor. The nurses jumped up and stood behind him.
"Good afternoon Noeleen. This won't take a moment".........and he held out his hand to shake mine.
The two nurses' eyes went out on sticks and they were in a hoop trying not to laugh.
and just for the record.....he was no Keith Barry!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

He's behind you.......

This night's entertainment was Jack and The Beanstalk panto in The Helix. I went along with a gang of fellow members from Leixlip Musical and Variety Group, who shall henceforth be referred to as LMVGers. The writer,director,producer and a lot of the cast and crew cut their panto teeth treading the boards in Leixlip's panto and so we are like proud parents going to our offsprings' graduations! I didn't make the mistake of going along on my own like I did I few years ago!
Its not that they went off on the sly without telling me. It's just that they were going during Christmas and I was in Abu Dhabi for a little holiday.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
So I set off to see it just as the run had started. I figured I'd had no problem getting tickets. I went up to the girl at the desk.
"Can I get a ticket for the panto please?"
"Sure. Would you like one in the centre?"
Cool. Perfect view.
What she failed to tell me was that there was no one sitting in the seats immediately beside, in front or behind me! Great, so now it was blatantly obvious to the rest of the audience that I was on my own.
Hey, I'm a big girl now. I can cope by myself!
I threw myself into the show. I am perfect panto-audience material; I sang along, danced,booed and cheered at all the appropriate moments. The show was coming to a close when Paul and Aidan say hello to members of the audience. Paul finished off with the announcement.
"And finally a very special mention for birthday girl Noeleen who is celebrating her four......ty fourth birthday today. Round of applause!"
People looked at me pityingly and gave me a sympathetic round of applause.
Bloody brilliant. Not only did they think I had to come on my own as I had no friends.....but even sadder, it was my birthday and I couldn't even round up someone to celebrate with me!!!
I felt like shouting
"No, listen. It's not my birthday and I do have some friends. they just happen to be all up on that stage. HONEST!
Back to this year's Jack and the Beanstalk. This time I had partners-in-crime. It was absolutely A-MA-ZING! It was the cleverest, slickest panto production I have ever seen. You know you've had a good time when your hands are sore from clapping and your stomach hurts from laughing.
There was one magical moment when Jack (hero) and Jill (princess) sing a love song to each other. This is what is affectionately known as the "crisp song". The moment there is a lull in the action, the principals get a bit soppy, the bags of crisps come out. The sound of munching and the smell of cheese and onion waft backstage.

Jack and Jill were giving a touching, heart-wrenching performance when a 7 year old boy who was sitting behind us turned to his mother and said
"Ma, she's gaggin' for it!!!"
Ah the innocence of childhood. How long does it last now..........10 months???

Friday, January 7, 2011

Top cat

I just love this picture of Tom.
Tom is my sister-in-law's cat. I don't actually have any pets of my own. They would die! I'd head off for a week, forget all about them and on my return I'd find their corpses stinking up my house! So I don't do pets. When I feel the need to bond with either children or animals I go to Marese's, get my fix......and go home!
Tom is legend. I remember when my friend Mohammed from Abu Dhabi (where else) visited Ireland and first encountered Tom.
A bit of background. In Abu Dhabi cats were not kept as pets, they were feral. As a result they were quite skinney. Tom weighs 1 stone last time he was weighed!
When Moh'd saw him, he exclaimed
"Sh'addah,that is a cow!"
My Dad (Tommy) used to say
"I can't believe that they have named a cat after me."
Now we are glad they did. A little bit of Dad is still with us.
When I see this photo I think of the programme "The Apprentice". I think Tom is about to point and say
"You're Fired."
Love it!.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Look deeply into my eyes....

Last night I went to the Asylum. Before you have visions of me being carted away by the men in white coats I hasten to explain that I went to Keith Barry's show in Mullingar Arts Centre. I am fascinated by all things connected to the power of the mind, especially our subconscious. We only use about 20% of our brain (less, after a good night out!)
His show is based on research that he has done into the asylums of the 1800s. Its damn scary in parts. The first half concentrates on mind reading/subliminal messages/body language or however he does it! Absolutely AMAZING.
The second half was the entertainment one. When he asked for volunteers to be hypnotised I was up like a shot. I do meditation and was soooo curious to see what it would feel like. Of course there were far too many volunteers so we had to be whittled down like in the X-factor. I made it through the auditions, bootcamp and judges houses and ended up as one of the finalists! Yipee.
He put us through the relaxation technique. Being a fan of Paul McKenna I often listen to his mind-programming cd. It was practically the same which was a bit of a problem for me. I could hear both Keith's and Paul's voices in my head, competing for control of my mind. Became totally relaxed, lots of rapid-eye-movement but I was still aware of where I was.
I remember being told that we were in an orchestra and to begin playing an instrument when the music started. I was aware I was on stage in the Arts Centre...yet I found myself picking up my violin and searching around for my bow. I then began to play....and play....and play! I knew where I was but I didn't care. My arm got really tired and I wanted to stop but I couldn't. My arm refused to listen to my brain. Then I got scared. Eventually Keith tapped me to stop and I heard tumultuous applause. It was afterwards that my friends told me that there had been a competition between each " musician" and I had won! I have it on reliable source that I was brilliant.....despite the fact that I never picked up a violin before in my life!

I still wasn't convinced that I was totally hypnotised but I had no idea how I should be feeling. Next we were given a carrot and told it was a joint! Again I knew it was only a carrot but could I stop myself from smoking it....hell, no! Was really enjoying it when Keith told us he was a cop. Immediately we all tried to hide the evidence. I could still see it as a carrot but I had to get rid of it. I tried to hide it behind the back of the girl sitting beside me. What sort of bitch am I!
But I could feel myself coming around. Keith realised that and after a bow to the audience I could go back to my seat. And boy am I glad I did! The final act was when he shook your hand you had an instant orgasm....on Mullingar! Now he had warned us before we volunteered that this would happen but in the rush to volunteer we had kinda forgotten that part.
Best night out I had all year, even without the big O!
Keith was signing autographs in the foyer afterwards.

"Eh, would you mind shaking my hand now???"

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Random Question #4

OMG! How sad am I? This is my collection of self-help/improve your life books. I've reinvented myself so many times I think I'm back to where I started!

This New Year sees me reading Paul McKenna's masterpiece "Change your life in 7 days."
Well, I am back to school on Monday, so I haven't time to delay!
Today I was to answer the question
What would you do if the world was going to end one week from today?
Eh, panic of course . What would any normal person do?
But I realised it required a more thoughtful answer than that.
So I thought.....and thought....and thought. But I couldn't come up with an answer.

Travel? I know of lots of places I would love to see in the world. But if I only have one week I don't want to waste any time hanging around airports. I'm sure loads of other people would have the same idea and so there would be travel chaos.

A big party and seisiún? Maybe, but then the resulting hangover the next day would be a dreadful waste of precious hours.

Meet up with friends I haven't seen in ages? We'd probably sit around crying about the fate about to befall us. Depressing. Anyway, we'll probably be together in hell for eternity next week and need to keep something to talk about.
I don't really want to go to Heaven as I won't know anybody there!!!!

A trip in a hot air balloon? Yep., that would be good. But after googling it, I've discovered that that is in everyone's bucket list. Nothing original there.
So I'm in a quandary. Any suggestions???

Monday, January 3, 2011

What's another year?

I have thoroughly enjoyed this Christmas, but enough already! I can emphasise with Daisy's feelings in this photo. Someone asked if she was smiling or snarling.
If you ever met Daisy you would know that she doesn't do smiling!

I felt like baring my teeth at my Christmas tree this morning. Time for the decorations to come down. They went up a week early due to being snowbound with nothing else to do. So I figure they can come down a week early. I know it's supposed to be unlucky to take any decorations down before January 6th, but I figure that due to my marathon laundry session before New Year's Day I have so much good luck in storage that I can risk a little bit of bad!
Today I put them away. As Santa and Rudolf said goodbye before retreating to the attic for another year, I thought
Is it really a year since I took a similar photo? Where does the time go?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Child Swap

I've tuned into the TV show "Wife Swap" a couple of times. I must admit I thought it was an ENTIRELY different type of show than its title suggests! Very interesting to see how diverse people's approach to family life is.
I was pounding the roads out of it today.
New year's Resolution #1: Get some exercise before your a*%@ meets your knees!
Heading towards me on a similar mission was Helen, my neighbour. Stopped for a chat, which was inevitably about the recent arctic weather conditions.
I thought I was bad being snowed in with just myself for company. But as Helen expounded on about the torture of being stuck in a testosterone-laden house with her husband and her twin 15 year old sons, I realised that I had had it easy! Her house was also without hot water for a few days. When her sons complained about not being able to shower, she handed them the kettle and explained they had to wash in the sink!
Mom! That's GROSS!
They became unbearable. Then Helen's sister rang her from the other side of Raharney village, ranting about how her two teenage girls were driving her up the walls.
So they hit on a plan. They SWAPPED kids for two days. The boys walked up to their aunts house and the girls did likewise!
Helen said it was the best decision they ever made. Firstly, they got to see different faces. Secondly, the teenagers didn't dare whinge as much to their aunts as they would to their mothers!
Stroke of genius.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wardrobe malfunction

I got ready to head out on New Year's Eve. I put on a dress that I bought a few weeks ago. When I spotted it in the shop I immediately fell in love with its floaty sleeves and the 70's inspired pattern.
I was channelling my inner Sandy Shaw.
I tried it on in the changing room and did the whole turning this way and that to get a proper look at it from all angles. I was obviously very pleased with what I saw as I bought it.
Later that night I got ready to go out. As I looked at my reflection in the wardrobe mirror I thought
Hold on a minute, I don't remember it being this low in the front.
I pulled and tugged at it but I just didn't feel comfortable in it. I couldn't understand how I could have liked it in the shop.
Forget Sandy Shaw. It was more like Jordan!
I decided that I didn't want to spend the night readjusting myself. When I took the dress off I noticed the label.
I had the dress on backwards!

The right way!

Imagine it the other way!