Saturday, July 30, 2011

Beam Me Up Lily.....

A recent package brought me this lovely birthday gift from oldest daughter that she knitted herself! Just looking at it transports me here .........

To wild and beautiful, heathery gray and drizzly Ireland, with its wonderful misty light. [quitchyerbellyachin' Blister!] After the first thousand days, unrelenting sunshine loses its allure. This bag takes me to a place fit for human habitation. Thanks Lily, for the bag and the trip.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fair And Balanced........

I am a little bit ashamed of my last post. Unworthy of the person I want to be, of the example I want to give my children and others. How many hundreds of times did I say to my children "If you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all!" I know that there are better ways to cope. He and I will never be soul mates, but life has thrown us together, so I'll be trying to keep to the high road instead of the seedy alleys of bitterness and resentment. If I should ever write a novel though, I'll be drawing heavily on him for my villain!

Meanwhile, in the interests of fair and balanced reporting..............
He has had a really interesting life. His family was a prominent one in his small, east European hometown, where, for many years, his father was the mayor. He became accustomed early in life to special treatment. His mother's pride and joy, as a young fellow he would not drink milk if Maruschka, the servant girl, had milked the cow, only if his mother had. My mother-in-law, may she rest in peace, always called me Maruschka.....Hmmm!

During the War he was plucked from in front of a firing squad, moments before he was due to be shot, when a high ranking officer, walking by, recognized him as a fellow countryman.

He had several other very narrow escapes, balanced by a good portion of both good luck and ingenuity.

He is fluent in a whole string of European languages;

He found ways to survive and put food on the table when all the odds were against him;

His children were always fed and decently clothed and given to understand that they'd better work hard in school...... Or else.

He helped many friends and acquaintances get to this country, after he was established here, by agreeing to be their sponsor.

He introduced us, but regretted it when we decided to get married as, in his opinion, the entire Irish race were a crowd of rowdy drunks.

He almost didn't come to our wedding when I dug in my heels and insisted it be in Ireland..... 

But then moved heaven and earth to get me and my toddler home when my own Dad was dying and time was running out.

He was tall and handsome [and vain as a peacock.] Still the nattiest dresser in town, and a fine looking man for his age......As he will be the first to point out to you [in case you didn't notice.]

How'm I doing? Fair and balanced, with just a few wobbly bits? That rebel Irish brat inside me keeps leaking out through the cracks. I'm doing my best though, to shove her back in.....and point her up the hill to the high road.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chinese Laundry Service

Okay, So I'm not Chinese. But laundry is one of my talents. Five children, one sweaty husband, years of practice. I can do it in my sleep.

Visiting the Ancient Hypochondriac the other day, I patiently listened to the Organ Recital. I arranged my face in a suitable facsimile of concerned interest. Although, if he is as intelligent as he never tires of telling us he is, he must realize,on some level, that I'd rather stick pins in my eyes [or his] than hear the whole litany again. Nothing daunted, he mercilessly makes me listen to the in-depth details of the latest ache. It is futile to raise a squeak in protest because, although he sees my lips moving, it only makes him talk louder.

My theories are:

He knows I'm trying to talk common-sense to him but he is not interested in common sense;
    He sees my lips moving but is much more interested in the sound of his own voice than the sound of mine;

    He doesn't give a rat's ass what I'm trying to say, he just wants to be talking;.

    I'm Irish, how could I possibly know anything?

    I'm female, how could I possibly know anything?


    All of the above.

    By his reckoning I should be barefoot in the kitchen, cooking palachinki for him, and keeping my opinions to myself.

    Organ recital over, very little sympathy forthcoming, he starts complaining about his doctors. Too bad they can't do more than practice medicine.  He won't listen to them, but if they won't be quiet and listen to his theories about what is wrong with him, they must be incompetent. All they're interested in is money. If I were his doctor I'd be interested in money too. Specifically, how much I'd have to pay him  never to darken my door again. Incidentally there's a pot of gold waiting for the doc who finds the cure for old age. Dr. Kevorkian doesn't count. Besides, he already found the cure for himself.

    Half an hour is my limit. Less if he starts in on Mr. Obama. As I trotted out the door, I spotted some laundry and offered to take it.

    "No, no, no! O will be here on Tuesday. She'll do it"

    I thought of O, giving up the job she loves, leaving her cozy house empty, leaving her friends, her daughter, her garden and her familiar neighbourhood, to come and live with this ancient, petulant, hypochondriac, and I thought the least I can do is a few bits of laundry so her first job when she lands won't be washing his underwear!

    Ah so!

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    Stitchin' with The Blister

    I just popped in on Dianne to see what she's been up to lately [while I've been having my fainting spells!] As usual, she's been busy. And as usual, she made me laugh! Her take on "incentive" made me think of The Blister and how she banished "procrastination" to the back kitchen, and somehow cracked the whip of incentive and got me stitching on old projects instead of thinking that I should stitch on old projects! And indeed, she rolled up her own sleeves, threaded her needle and finished this table runner.........

    Then loaded up the needle again and finished this ancient Christmas table topper.......

    She was "willing to work," and I was "willing to let her," but for some reason she thought that I should work too! So I made these shopping bags, as gifts for her friends back home.

     At least they were "made in America," something that is getting harder and harder to find! And because she needed a duffle bag for herself, we made this beauty,

     and decided that if we ever found ourselves living close enough to each other, we'd go into business and call ourselves "The Bag Ladies!"

    Her ongoing project, which she worked on between times, was quilting on my [in-] famous ladybug quilt, which is promised to Little Brit grandson, who at the grand old age of two, is already specializing in the study of ladybugs!

     Because she stitched so diligently, and has the calluses to prove it, I have no choice but to carry on, finish it and make her proud.

    The thought of her wrath if I don't should be incentive enough!

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011


     Rule # 3: Don't use foreign words. Sage advice. If you're writing in English, then, damn it, write in English.  But "ennui" is such a lovely word, and so much less boring than "boredom,"  I'm going to break my own rule, just this once. "Ennui." Leave it to the French. It conjures a picture of a slender Victorian lady, with Gibson girl hair, fainting on an old fashioned couch---pass the smelling salts please.

    Not that I'm bored. Too busy for that. Just suspect that anything I write will bore the britches off the reader or, to put it more Frenchly, might induce in said reader a sense of "ennui."
    "Is this the best she can do?"

    Ennui didn't get a look in while the Little Blister was here. Five glorious, ennui-free weeks, awash in beaches and rivers and laughter, kayaks and manatees and more laughter, shopping and eating and sewing [My, how we sewed!] And laughter. Did I mention the laughter? Gales and gales of it.

    That's what I miss the most. Seemed like everything was more fun with the Blister around, from the first cup of coffee to the final "Oiche Mhaith!" [Oops! There I go, breaking the rules again!]

    And now she is gone, and the everyday routine has closed over the space she occupied. And not just gone. Incommunicado [there I go again!] As far as I know, she is off in France, climbing around among the rocks, at very high elevations. Sigh. While I am fainting here from the ninety degree heat. Pass the smelling salts.

    And so, I wonder, how did it come to this? An aging Irish lass, lover of laughter and language, conversations about everything and nothing at all,  little Blisters, offspring, grandchildren and friends----all of them miles and miles and miles away.......How did she get here, to this table, sitting alone in this sweltering heat stirring her tea?

    Overcome by ennui.

    *Oiche mhaith = "Good Night" in Irish.