Thursday, June 28, 2007

Of Islanders.......

The word "islander" fills my head with Elvis, crooning songs from "Blue Hawaii". My mind's eye sees the hips of hula dancers undulating across the big screen in my head, their leis swaying to the ukelele music. My nose smells again the lovely perfume my Dad once bought for me called "Fiji". My toes itch for the grit of sand, and I just want to grab my bucket and shovel and head for the beach.

Because I too am an islander. I may not have the come-hither eyes or the lovely olive skin of Hawaiian hula girls. I may not have their undulating hips, or wear exotic flowers in my hair,or swish about in a grass skirt, but these were not requirements last time I checked. My pale eyes, freckled skin, and inability to undulate do not disqualify me. I am qualified by the mere fact that I was born on an island.

For all I know I could be descended from Vikings, those fearsome Scandinavian fellows with horns, who reputedly pillaged and looted all around my part of Ireland several centuries ago. And then, as our diminutive history teacher triumphantly told us, became more Irish than the Irish themselves. Which probably means they outdid the local lads in Guinness drinking and had all the lasses swooning over their stunning Nordic handsomeness.

So what of it, you say? What's the big deal? Well. If you must know, it makes me feel special. Being an "Islander" and all. It makes me feel like the ocean belongs to me. And I belong to the sea. Not that I'm brave or anything. I wouldn't be the one signing on for any Kon Tiki expeditions. I just love to be beside the sea. [Breaks into song---"I do like to be beside the seaside, I do like to be beside the sea, I do like to stroll along the prom prom prom, where the brass band plays, tiddly om pom pom...."

I guess it's really all about water. Rivers are good. Lakes are better. Oceans rock. The most soothing sound on the planet, to me, is the swoosh of waves hitting the shore. When you grow up on an island that sound is never far away. It hangs in the air and has a salty tang.......

Monday, June 25, 2007

One Word Meme

Rise up and left yesterday.
We had a fantastic month.
I was instructed not to mope.
Blogging could be defined as an anti-moping device.
So here goes.
I was tagged some time ago by Rise, and again by jkhenson

One-Word Responses

1. Where is your cell phone? You'reaskingME?
2. Relationship? Turbulent
3. Your hair? There
4. Work? Keptwoman
5. Your sister? Soulmate

6. Your favourite thing? Books
7. Your dream last night? Elusive
8. Your favourite drink? Tea
9. Your dream car? ModelT
10. The room you're in? Den

11. Your shoes? Slippers
12. Your fears? Everpresent
13. What do you want to be in 10 years? Dancing
14. Who did you hang out with at w/e? Family
15. What are you not good at? Electronics

16. Muffin? Poppyseed
17. Wish list item? Wand
18. Where you grew up? Limerick
19. The last thing you did? Commented
20. What are you wearing? Dress

21. What are you not wearing? Bra
22. Your pet? Meowing
23. Your computer? Slow
24. Your life? Interesting
25. Your mood? Apprehensive

26. Missing? Husbandsisterkids
27. What are you thinking about? Words
28. Your car? Focus
29. Your kitchen? Familiar
30. Your summer? Underway

31. Your favourite colour? Bluegreenlavender
32. Last time you laughed? Yesterday
33. Last time you cried? Yesterday
34. School? CouldI?
35. Love? Makestheworldgoround

I know this has been around for a while but I'd love to see responses from Little Miss Moi and Heartinsanfrancisco. No pressure, but if you'd like to do it, consider yourselves tagged.

Friday, June 22, 2007

May the Road "Rise" to Meet You......

It was the longest day of summer, June 21 st., my sister’s birthday. Six years is a gaping chasm when you’re fourteen and she’s eight, so we weren’t that close growing up. When I was twenty two and she was sixteen, I blithely wandered off to the other side of the world and the rest of my life.

She was a beautiful bridesmaid and I an immature bride. Love conquers all,“they” say. “They” neglected to mention that when SHE got married I might not be able to be there. “They” didn’t mention that when I had my first child, I’d miss sharing the magic with her, of watching her hold her first tiny niece. Nor that, if you stuck a skewer through the middle of the globe, we’d be living, respectively, where it went in, and where it came out again, when HER first child was born. That her children and mine would grow up strangers. Of course if I’d had half a brain I’d have figured a lot of this out for myself. But I didn’t, so I didn’t.

It was death, of all things, that brought us closer. First our dad’s, and ten years later our mum’s. We began to see each other as real people. Grown up people. Mothers ourselves.

The OC got assigned to Germany. He went on ahead while we stopped in Ireland. And had a great time, in spite of piddling rain, which made us so desperate, down by the sea, with a house full of energetic kids, that we even taught the BOYS how to knit!

Several years later we were back in Europe, this time in Belgium. We went to Ireland. Rise came to Brussels. Each time I realized, a little more, how much this little sister meant to me. That little kid I used to be so mean to, devising elaborate plots to dodge her when she wanted to play with me and my friends. I couldn’t remember those friends' faces anymore, but more and more, hers was the face I wanted to see. Who would’ve thunk [take your complaints to Merriam-Webster] we’d get another chance?

Without my even noticing it, her’s became the shoulder I cried on when life threw me curve balls. She can make me laugh while I’m still crying. Some wicked Rise wit, some sane Rise philosophy, a little dose of Rise comedy when the world gets you was like a drug, and I was a full blown addict. She’s had tough times herself, and toughed it out, without any help from me. And become a wise, thoughtful, caring woman who I'd count myself lucky to stumble on as a friend, if we never had the good fortune to be related.

I don’t lead a charmed life. It’s pretty good, pretty average. But in the sister sweepstakes I hit the jackpot. I could have been an only child, or had only brothers, or, like Cinderella, had two ugly stepsisters. How many people come into your life who love and accept you, just the way you are? No, you can’t have her, but if you ever meet her, I’ll share. Just remember whose sister she is.

Yesterday was her birthday, the longest day of the year. She’s still six years younger than me. One woman we met, on our recent adventures said “Wait, wait, don’t tell me! Mother and daughter, right?” Not a woman I’d care to get to know any better, sniff. Should have whacked her with my cane.... Maybe it’s because my hair is au naturel, while hers is, ahem, enhanced! She soothed my ruffled feathers, when she finally stopped her delighted cackling, by saying it was too bad she wasn’t quick enough to reply, ”Yes, and isn’t mum looking great for her eighty years?”

In spite of little irritations like this, I no longer devise elaborate plots to give her the slip. Because I’m too busy figuring out how we can spend more time together. Now that our various children are more or less grown, we have a cunning plan to get together more often. When she goes home I’ll suffer for a while from the empty chair at the breakfast table. Coffee and tea won’t seem quite as delicious without her. I’ll miss the gleam in her eye that tells me she knows exactly what I’m thinking, before I even open my mouth. But I won’t start weeping just yet. I’m having too much fun. Happy Birthday Rise, me darlin’!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

WANTED - Dead or Alive!

Rise, if you can believe that anyone heading south to beach and sun, would forget to pack a swimsuit, did. Forget to pack a swimsuit.

So one of our first gadabout adventures was a shopping trip. We had something frivolous in mind. In hot pink, or neon orange, or lime green. Sizzling. Tropical.

Store #1---nothing.
Store #2---nada.
Store #3---nulla.
Store #4---zero.
Store #5---zilch.

So we headed glumly to store #6. Which neccessitated crossing to the other side of the highway. The usual route was blocked by construction. Plan B was implemented. Drive to the light. Execute a U-turn. Wait patiently at the red. Then slowly, when it is safe to do so, make the u-turn.

"Are you allowed to do that?" enquires Rise, ever in search of knowledge.

"I think it's okay. Though now that you ask, I'm not a hundred percent sure."

We were about to find out. Shall I even bother to continue?

Bright red and blue lights were suddenly flashing in my rear view mirror. Simultaneously, a horrible sinking feeling settled in my gut.

"Rise," I whispered hoarsely. "There's a cop behind us. He's not coming after us, surely?"

He made no motion to pass, only came closer and closer. My gut was quaking now with dread. I pulled over on the shoulder. The last vestige of doubt evaporated as he tucked himself in neatly behind me.

A burly young whippersnapper got out. A well-fed representative of The LAW.

"You're being pulled over for executing an illegal u-turn back there ma'am," the young whippersnapper growled when he reached my window.

I babbled piteously. Something about the construction and the road that I normally use being blocked.

"Yes ma'am. Too many people have been making illegal turns at this intersection. We've had too many accidents. We have to crack down."
On the criminal element, who are causing mayhem in their quest for beauteous garments with which to disport their aged bones on the beach.

There are crack dealers out there.
Breakers and enterers.
Crazed lunatics holding up terrified bank tellers at gunpoint.
Abductors of innocent children.
Dirty old men exposing their parts to unsuspecting virgins.

But, no. It was the last day of the month. Have to make our quota. Today, men, we're out to make the fastest buck we can. The honour of the Sherrif's Office rests on your shoulders.
Shake Joe and Josephine Ordinary Citizen out of their complacency.
Never mind the fellow speeding through the red light.
Never mind the guy holding up the bank.
See that woman in the green Ford? Making, nay,executing, a u-turn?She's the one we want. The criminal element, with the silvery hair and the shifty eyes.

"Nab her, boys!
What do you think the taxpayers are paying you for?
To sit around eating donuts all day?
Hell, no!
We need to stamp out crime!
And we need to start at this intersection!"

"I don't suppose you could let me off with just a warning?" I ventured meekly.

"Sorry ma'am. You broke the law. "
I'm not feeling merciful today.
My groin itches.
Besides, you're not blonde, twenty, or buxom.

If ever I wished to be blonde, twenty, or buxom, this was the hour. This was the day.

"Your license and registration, ma'am?" he said, holding out a meaty paw.

I fumbled in my purse.
I rummaged in the glove compartment.
Thinking mutinous thoughts.

Produced the required documents. Proof that the shifty-eyed, menace-to-society look was just a halloween costume, getting an early airing.

"Wait here, ma'am."

Leaves us stewing in our own sweat while he returns to his vehicle.
To investigate my criminal history.

Fifteen long minutes later [they must have ALL the dirt on me], he swaggers to my window, again. He looks like he played football in high school. He looks like that wasn't very long ago. Like he only has to shave once a week. But he's got the disapproving frown down pat.

"Here's your citation, ma'am. You have thirty days to blah, blah, blah di blah....." He droned on.

I sat meekly.
Rise, mute beside me, exuded sympathy.

The final outrage?

"Have a good day, ma'am!"

"You too," I mumbled, insincerely.
And may a swarm of sticky lovebugs infest your windshield.
And may your groin continue to itch.
And may they be out of French cruellers when next you stop at the donut shop. And.....but never mind.

I was wrong.
I broke the law.
And now I have to pay.
Ochone, Ochone!

We did find a swimsuit, when we crept fearfully to store # 6.
A sober little black number.
A fitting choice.

Gadabouts at Large

"Now Molly," she said on the phone. "Don't be getting carried away with too many plans for gadding about!"

"But Rise, darlin'," said I. "What better excuse for intensified gadding than a visit from one's Little Blister? Wouldn't want you trawling all the way from the Ould Sod to these here sunny climes just to be bored out of your mind!"

"No danger," says Rise. "Boring would be good after the pace around here lately. In fact, boring would be blissful," says she.

For so many years we were sober and responsible. And suppressed our gadding instincts. In order to better raise our children. And not ruffle outlaw feathers. And not cause chins to wag. Or eyebrows to be raised. Or neighbors to be scandalised. Or rumors to be spread.

Now our children are raised. Its over, almost, except for the worrying. Time for the fat lady to sing. For corks to pop. For the fun to begin. Those gadding instincts will be denied no longer. And gadding is much more fun when you have a co-gaddee with whom to gad.

We've already gadded off to Miami in the rain. And met up there with a new recruit. And conducted for her a gadabout seminar. Wherein we imparted to her the finer points of gadding. Towed her along to the beach at Naples for in-field training. She aced her exam.

From there we gadded to the sun drenched gardens of Sarasota. Our gadding shoes are getting a workout. And loving it. They've spent too much time in the closet. They're intoxicated by the airing they're getting. We have to lock them up in the evening so they don't go gadding off into the night without us.

More gadding to come. We'll keep you apprised.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Gone to Miami........

Fishing bombed.
No bites.
To Miami,to laze on the beach
Liz came too.
So did Barry.
Tropical Storm Barry, that is.
We don't like him much.
Lazing on beach foiled.
Howling winds blew us along.
Glimmer of blue crept into the sky.
Big black bully cloud came along.
Flexing his muscles.
Shoving our shy little glimmer aside.
Adding insult to injury, he made it rain.
Not a drizzle.
Not a downpour.
A deluge.
Who will win the soggy t-shirt contest?
"Not I" said Molly.
"Not I" said Rise.
Leaving the little red hen ..... Liz.
She's got the youth and the beauty.
And, of course, the boobies.

Inside at last.
Hot showers.
Dry clothes.
Hot tea.
Cosy couches.
Good books.

All of which is available at home.

It's not supposed to be like this in Miami! In June!

Friday, June 01, 2007