Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The perfect role model

I was visiting my best friend Genevieve at the weekend. Her daughter (and my god daughter) came up to me and asked
"Would you be my sponsor for my Confirmation?"
I was absolutely delighted and honoured to be asked and agreed immediately.

I have never been a sponsor before, but I know what is involved as I have taught Confirmation class for the past number of years. There is a lot of thought that goes into choosing a sponsor. I always recommend to the confirmants that they choose someone that they admire. I tell them that they are becoming teenagers and will face new challenges. They should talk these things over with their parents but if there is something that they are too embarrassed to discuss with their parents, then their sponsor should be someone they trust.
So I know what's expected of me.

I then had to answer some questions. One of them was
"Do you know why you were asked to be sponsor?"
Pretending I didn't know the background I replied
"No,why did you ask me?"
She thought for a moment and said.
"Well all the other girls are asking people who are young and trendy so I decided to ask you. You're great fun and.............Pause
"You wear great shoes!"

That's as good a reason as any I suppose. I better get shopping.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Back to the future

Every Christmas the women of our family get together for a bit of a knees up. This year, in honour of the decade in which I was born, my sister said that she would host a 60's party in her house for our aunts, cousins and nieces.
Being the super organised person that I am (!) I found myself at 6 o clock on Saturday evening, furtively  taking in the dress I'd bought online.
Thank God I made the effort, as when I arrived at my sister's house there were a lot more cars than I expected. I was over the moon to see  all my friends, namely "The Raharney Women" there as well.

In fact the only honorary man that was there was my brother-in-law Michael, who was doing DJ.
 After the obligatory photoshoots...


 It was onto a night of chat, food, drinkies and dancing.
The nicest surprise for me was my cake, a replica of Roxy!

It was perfect, right down to the registration plate. It seems that one day while I was visiting, my nephew had snuck outside to take photos of Roxy, to give the confectioner.

Before she made "me", she asked Lauren if I had any distinctive features. Lauren replied
"Big boobs!"
Here I am....
It was such a shame to cut it, but it had to be done.
Roxy looked as if she'd been in a car crash!
The party went on until stupid o'clock. I just want to thank my sisters, sister in law, nieces who organised the night, and also to my friends who helped me celebrate the big 50. 
It's a night I will never forget.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The power of music

Music and the sense of smell are the two most powerful emotion stirrers. We all have a particular smell that carts us back to a childhood holiday, or a song that reminds us of our first love.

In 2006 Dad was fighting a losing battle against cancer. On his last night we spent the night with him in hospital but sadly, the following day he passed away. Suddenly we realised that there were things at home that were urgently needed. I said I’d drive back and get them.
I had Paulo Nutini’s album in the car and I played the track Last request on repeat the whole way home to Raharney and back to the hospital, tears streaming down my face. The song is not about someone dying but it is about losing someone you love and I found the lyrics very poignant at that particular moment.
That song is the thing that I most associate with Dad and if I happen to listen to the album I skip that track as I find it too difficult to hear.

Yesterday was an eventful day in my life. Firstly it was the day of school Christmas holidays. Carols were sung, selection boxes were distributed to the kids and roll books were brought up to date for the end of term.
It was also my 50th birthday. I headed into Mullingar after school to treat myself, only to discover that half the town was sealed off due to a gas leak!
Not going to let a little detail like that spoil my day, I sat myself down in the window seat of a little café to eat my mince pie and watch the rest of the mad world scurry by. My mind was racing with making plans for the rest of the night… to buy, hair to be blow-dried and nails to be painted. Christmas carols were streaming out of the speakers adding to the atmosphere. 
Out of nowhere came the distinctive tones of Paulo Nutini singing the opening bars of Last Request. Before it even consciously registered with me what song it was, the tears were flowing down my cheeks. I looked furtively around to see if anyone had  spotted the mad one crying her eyes out. If anyone passing the window looked in they probably thought
“God, Noeleen Lynam is taking turning 50 fierce hard!”
But in reality it was probably the best moment of my day. I don’t believe that things happen as a coincidence. Everything is planned.
Why would they play that song at that particular time?
It’s not in the charts and it certainly isn't a Christmas tune.

To me that song was Dad’s way of contacting me to let me know that even though he couldn't be physically with me on my special day, he was still there. I know he didn't intend to make me bawl my eyes out but it was the best way to grab my attention.

 After having a little cry I composed myself and ventured out to join the maddening crowds on the streets. There was an extra pep in my step, the happiest I'd been all day. 
It doesn't matter what age you are when a parent dies, inside you are seven.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thoughts on turning 50!

Yep, the dreaded day has arrived.
 According to my birth cert
and I have checked it twice
I was born on the 19th December 1964, which officially makes me 50 years old today.
Just saying it makes a shiver of disbelief shoot up and down my spine.
Looking at it realistically very few people live to be 100, so I have to accept that I have lived more days than I have left. But to paraphrase Mae West,
"It's not the days left in my life that are important, but rather the life left in my days."

What is 50 years old like?
Well, I look 24
          I feel 18
     and I act  8
That makes 50, doesn't it??

I remember back in the day when I thought 50 was ANCIENT!
And God forbid that you should be unmarried by this age. All that lay ahead of such a spinster was a life of tweed, knitting and a rocking chair, only to be eaten by her own cats when she finally passed away, home and alone.
I was never one to daydream about getting married and to have planned my perfect wedding by the time I was 12. But neither did I think I would be unmarried by this age. There were men that I've wanted to marry and men that wanted to marry me. Unfortunately they were never the same men!
I haven't ruled out the possibility of meeting a life partner. It would be lovely to have a soul mate to share future adventures with. But I also know that if I don't' I'll still go on those adventures and have a dam good time anyway!

I got to the age of 27 and then I stopped aging. Oh I don't mean physically. Of course I don't look as if I'm in my 20's or 30's.
I'll say I look as if if I'm in my 40's, seeing as I was, only yesterday! 
As long as I look good for my age, whatever it may be, I'll be happy.
I've tried to keep myself in good shape. I'll never run a marathon but I couldn't have run one in my 20s either! However I can give the kids a run for their money during their PE lesson. That'll do fine.
I mean I haven't aged mentally since I was 27.  I don't think I have fallen into the trap of closing my mind off to new ideas and possibilities. To me the definition of getting old is merely thinking you're too old to try something new. When that happens you may as well lie down and die as you're not really living, merely existing.

People have been asking me for the past while, if I was having a 50th party. I had a 30th and a 40th, which I really enjoyed but I have passed on a party this decade around.
Firstly it's a dreadful time of the year to have a birthday party as everyone has loads of Christmas nights-out planned, so its not possible to get all my friends together on the same night. Another factor is the weather....there is always the danger that there will be a big fall of snow or a severe frost preventing people from travelling.
Also, I discovered that last two times, that I was so busy going around everyone who did come to the party that I only got to spend a short time with everyone. So I've decided that I'm going to celebrate my birthday for the entire year, thereby giving me loads of opportunity to meet up with different groups of friends for a proper night out.
So far I've had three brilliant nights with friends, with many more to go!

The money that I would have spent on a party I am going to spend on me.......doing all the things that I've always wanted to do, but couldn't afford to. Bring it on!

So as I embark on the next decade of my life I want to thank all my family and friends who have stuck with me through good times and bad.
Okay, I know if you're family you didn't have much choice! But then again there are families who have parted ways regardless. So thanks to you too!
If you are reading this then you are obviously a relative or friend who has hung on in there!!! I hope to catch up with each and everyone of you over the next year. I am open to any suggestions for an adventure!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Human relations

I brought my class of eight year olds next door into the Infant classroom to see their Nativity play. One of my boys was very proud as his little sister was playing the part of Mary.

After it was over we were returning back to our classroom. He gave me a mischievous grin and announced
"Miss, I'm an uncle now!"

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Murder on the dance floor.

It was with a little intrepidation that we set off for Kinnitty Castle for a Murder Mystery night. It wasn't the thought of murder that was making us nervous,but rather the fact that we would be spending the night in one of Ireland's most haunted buildings.
Personally I was rather looking forward to an encounter with an ethereal spirit.

Kinnitty Castle certainly looked suitably ominous as we approached.

The minute I got to my room I knew that there had been a presence there just moments before. Fortunately this "spirit" had left a bottle of champagne as a welcome present.
Now that's my kind of SPIRIT!
Many thanks Helen!

Then it was off to the Great Hall for dinner.
Food was fantastic, murder mystery play was fun but for me the highlight had to be the........table quiz!
Yes folks, I am a gentle, meek person most of the time but give me a paper, pen and twenty questions and I turn into the most competitive person on this planet.
The castle walls were originally built to keep out marauding enemies, which resulted in the fact that no broadband signal can enter either. This mean that no one could google the answers so it would be based entirely on brain power.( and a bit of cheating!) I was ecstatic.
We focused and answered nearly all the questions correctly. But our strong point was our concentration. Everytime the DJ uttered the word "fantastic", the first table to all stand up and shout "orangutan" would get an extra 10 points.
I am ashamed to say we won three times out of four.
How sad!"
But it was worth it. Here we are with first prize.........another bottle of champagne.

I'm beginning to see a pattern here!

Then it was time for dancing. The music was fantastic
dam, I'm still at it!
It was all 80's and 90's stuff, music with actual words! I was on the dance floor for four hours.
No seriously, I was actually ON the dance floor.
I have no idea who yer man with the jazz hands behind me was, but I think I made his Christmas!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Speaking in tongues.

A friend’s friend’s daughter has started Junior Infants. At her parent-teacher meeting, the teacher expressed that she was having a little difficulty remembering and using  Irish vocabulary.
The mother, very anxious to further her daughter’s education, began using whatever few Irish words she knew, in everyday situations.
You can imagine her joy when, one day,her young daughter announced
“Can I have a cup of tea with some bainne*?”
*For those of you not blessed with cúpla focail, that means “milk”.
The mother immediately gushed
“Oh you are so brilliant, using those new words that you’ve learned.”
Her little daughter smiled radiantly and announced
“I know. I really love speaking SPANISH!”

And that just about sums up the state of the Irish language, it’s a foreign tongue to us all.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Meeting your idols

Last Friday night saw one of the most magical moments of television this year when Aimee Keogh met her idol Ed Sheeran. She was rendered speechless, but her face said it all.She was in heaven.
A few nights later the tables were turned. Ed was playing at the Victoria Secrets Fashion show. Who looks like a kid in a candy shop now?

Monday, December 1, 2014

The gospel according to.......

We recently had our class visit from the catechist.
For those of you not in the know, it is an inspector of religious studies.

When I was going to primary school myself, in the last century, the visit of the catechist instilled the fear of God in us. Days were spent repeating prayers and rote learning of the answers to various questions in our religion book.
Nowadays it has gone in the opposite direction. You would be hard pressed to find the word "God" in their books.
Anyway, our catechist arrived, a lovely retired nun. Even more importantly, she had been a teacher so actually knew how to talk to the children and get the best out of them.

All was going swimmingly well until they had to retell their favourite Bible story.
One of my little second class girls started.........

One day Jesus and the lads went out in a boat.......

I looked up in horror, wondering how the nun was going to react. I know that in my day we would probably have been excommunicated for such blasphemy.
I saw her lips twitch as she tried to suppress a smile.

"You're dead right," she replied. "Jesus and the lads were in their boat. Now does anyone know another name for "the lads"?
We eventually got "the apostles", and the story continued.

We had a good laugh about it in the staffroom afterwards.
I just had visions of Jesus and the apostles heading off on a stag night to Dingle!