REPORT A PROBLEM
Hard to believe I am starting my third consecutive month of writing 100 words every day, but here I am.
Itís May Day today. Here in Ireland, and in the UK, we have a holiday on the first Monday of May rather than on May 1st itself. So today we are working, but have a long weekend to look forward to.
We deal with people based in South Africa and India and all their offices are closed today.
I read this morning of violent May Day clashes in Germany overnight and massive trade union marches planned in France and Spain.
It is almost midnight! Am only home long enough to share a pizza with my daughter and have a glass of wine. Another Feis that ran late, but R won a prize in all seven dances including two firsts. Even if they were what they call Awards. That is when less than ten dancers take part, so it doesnít qualify you to move to the next level.
Missed the rugby. The semi-final of the Heineken Cup between two Irish provincial teams. Everyone was sure Munster was going to win, but in fact Leinster (our province) won by a big margin.
In my local pizza restaurant, Apache, thereís a quotation attributed to a 19th century Native American, White Cloud. It reminds me of Gaia.
"Mankind [Ö] attempts to impose his laws and ways on Mother Earth. Man must [Ö] learn to understand how little time there remains before he will become the cause of his own downfall. [Ö] He must learn to respect Mother Earth [Ö]He must realize that this planet does not belong to him, but that he has to care for and maintain the delicate balance of nature for the sake of [Ö] our children and all future generations.[...]"
Further to yesterdayís 100 words, Rosaria from sixtyfivewhatnow.blogspot.com wonders about calling a chain of pizza restaurants Apache. Excellent question. I canít think of any direct link, but I reckon the owners grew up playing ďCowboys and IndiansĒ and are really into the Native American philosophy.
And Reya from thegoldpuppy.blogspot.com wonders why different cultures see humankindís relationship with the planet so completely differently from each other. I donít have a theory on this, but curiously while writing this a TV programme is catching my interest. Itís about the various inventions in 18th and 19th century England that changed society so radically.
Rosaria, with another excellent question, wonders if I find 100 words to be limiting.
In short, yes, because I inevitably have to edit what I originally write repeatedly to fit. But at the same time it is liberating because the brevity means that I actually do it every day, rather than just think about doing it.
Thereís an interesting post about blogging with discipline at CBethís blog. She is the lady behind The One Minute Writer.
So while sticking to 100 words means that most of my posts are mundane, Iím hoping the regularity means an occasional blog of brilliance!
A shopper I am NOT.
Iím going to a wedding in a few weeks and decided to buy a jacket to go with a dress I already have. Perhaps the mistake was made right there with that decision; to have an idea in my head and take it shopping. Perhaps the trick is to go shopping with an open mind and wait to be hit by an idea.
I spent two fruitless hours in the city centre this morning.
Meanwhile my 10-year old daughter successfully bought herself three summer outfits on a 30 minute budget shopping trip this afternoon. Help!
I read today that people with non-Irish names are being discriminated against in the Irish jobs market and I canít say Iím that surprised. For all that our society became multi-cultural during the Celtic Tiger years it is still early days in terms of real acceptance and integration.
The survey, conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin, sent out CVs from fictitious applicants with identical qualifications, skills and experience - all gained in Ireland. Those with Irish names were more than twice as likely to be called for interview than those with Asian, African or German names.
My company is migrating from Microsoft Office 2003 to 2007.
Me no like it!
Iíve just installed it and am feeling bleary-eyed and non-adaptive. Outlook, Excel and Word are all presented in a selection of fetching, but frustrating, blues and greys. The sharpness is gone. I donít mind this new ribbon idea instead of traditional menus, but the soft focus I do not like.
Hopefully usage will help me adapt. Itís so frustrating though. I got my first flat screen monitor only a month ago and loved how easy it was on the eyes. All for nothing now.
Iím away from home. On a 24 hour visit to my eldest sister who lives near Cork city in the south of the country. She recently moved in to a new apartment on the water near a town called Midleton. A beautiful spot. Sitting overlooking a beautiful waterway with trees overhanging, a couple of swans and lone rower are passing by.
We are seven: thatís sisters invited here to home-warm the newest home of the eldest. Itís 8pm now. Two sisters are yet to arrive. Weíll have dinner when they get here and talk and argue late into the night.
Donít Die With Your Music In You is the main lyric from a piece of music written by my eldest brother Dezy. A piano man, singer and entertainer he moved to Florida with his new wife recently.
The official title of the piece is the Jimmy Hoffa Theme. I realise I donít know anything about Jimmy Hoffa and I must ask Dezy what the relevance is.
But I really like this piece of music, its few lyrics and meaningful sentiment.
Have a listen here on Dezyís myspace page http://www.myspace.com/musiplays. Just scroll down, click on the Jimmy Hoffa Theme and enjoy!
I am reading in New Scientist today about 8 ways to boost your creativity:
1. Embrace your inner grouch
2. Let you mind wander
3. Play the piano
4. Colour your world blue
5. Seek out creative company
6. Live abroad
7. Be more playful
8. Raise a glass
These are all the result of separate studies at universities around the world.
I have to say they all seem quite attractive in themselves even without the added benefit of boosting creativity. That said 3 and 6 might present some practical difficulties, but Iíll keep working on the others. : )
Three books (all related to climate change) arrived yesterday. I decided to start with James Lovelockís autobiography. So far, so wonderful, but I was kind of expecting that. The only minor drawback is that the font is so small I have to wear glasses : (
Another book Iíve been reading this week is Called Mystic Cool by Don Joseph Goewey, Itís a lot less scientific and a lot more spiritual than everything else Iíve been reading lately, but deals with a fascinating subject area:
a proven approach to transcend stress, optimize higher brain function and maximize your creative intelligence
A busy day starting with beauty treatments for me and the dog in preparation for a wedding on Saturday. No, the dog is not going to the wedding, I just somehow managed to make her first grooming appointment for a day that I should have known was going to be crazy.
Then laundry, ironing, cooking, housework and packing. Dropped R to dance class and rushed out to meet three girlfriends I hadnít seen since Christmas. Why today? Because it took us about 10 email exchanges to fix a date, but I had a fun few hours with them catching up.
Up early to drive in to Dublin port where we put to sea at 8.45.
It was a misty, foggy morning so we couldnít see much which was a pity. One of the reasons I like travelling by ferry is seeing the Dublin Bay coastline from the outside in so to speak.
Anyway the crossing was OK though R was a bit seasick. We then had a 5 hour drive across Wales and England before reaching our destination in Cambridgeshire. R was consoled by having a swim at the hotel before being whisked off to have dinner with her grandfather.
Himself has gone to see his older daughter, whose wedding (the reason we are here) is tomorrow.
R is fascinated by the rabbits wandering freely around the grounds of the hotel. We go for a swim and when the rain stops go out to see them, but of course as soon as they hear us they all disappear into the undergrowth.
In the evening we go to see Rís cousins near a town called Oundle. A beautiful town with very old stone buildings and a very posh, private, quintessentially English school whose students are wandering around as we pass through.
The wedding day dawns bright and dry which is a good thing. Yesterday was very wet.
R is excited at the prospect of pretty frocks and going to a wedding, if a bit apprehensive about meeting half siblings sheís only met briefly before.
Himself is a bag of nerves. He is the father of the bride, but is not playing that role today.
We arrive at the church Ė there seems to be an endless supply of beautiful old churches in England Ė and in the event, what could have been a difficult day goes very smoothly and is enjoyed by everyone.
R never wants to see a ferry again. Ever. It was rough crossing today and she was very sea sick poor thing. Our sailing was almost cancelled. Being the smaller, faster ferry it is more susceptible to inclement weather.
We spent almost an hour out on deck, which was very cold but is the only way I can ever cope with sea sickness. When we went back inside she fell asleep for the rest of the journey.
For my part, while Iíll look at a ferry again, my credit card balance after this trip is a different matter entirely. Yikes!
I am home again after missing not one, but five consecutive days of 100 words. Iíve been away, but only in England and staying in a hotel, so it wasnít as if I couldnít have gone online. Truth is Wednesday was such a busy day it was past midnight before I drew breath and I simply decided to forget the whole thing.
Iím hoping to do them in reverse now because the nice people at 100words.com are allowing me to backdate entries. Iíd been locked out of the system since the 2nd of the month due to a technical glitch.
When I was at school and college I used to prefer exam time to term time. Iím not sure why. Perhaps it was the discipline of focusing so much into 2 or 3 hours. Or the sense of completing something and moving to the next stage.
Itís exam season in Dublinís universities at the moment. My son has just finished his first year of a Physics degree. While he doesnít say much, he looks to me like a man under pressure these last couple of weeks of study leave. Heís sitting his first paper this afternoon. My fingers are crossed.
Itís 26 years since she was discovered, and just 47 million since she wandered unknowingly into the path of a volcano. Today she's causing a stir around the globe, especially among paleontologists and evolutionists.
A fossil known as Darwinius masillae, or Ida to her friends, she was discovered in Germany in 1983, but it was several years before scientists in Norway realised the significance of this particular find.
She may look like a lemur, but very importantly she has forward facing eyes and opposable thumbs and was unveiled today as the missing link between apes and humans in evolutionary terms.
I grew up an Irish Catholic when the word shame was a popular one. It is not a word I hear often these days, but I feel it now reading about the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.
State and Church seem equally responsible for turning a blind eye while helpless children in their care were systematically abused.
I havenít been a Catholic for a very long time, but I am still Irish and I can only hope that the State does all it can to help those affected and ensure nothing like this ever happens again.
I'm a disciplined writer: so says Cheryl at www.frizzfrock.blogspot.com. I have belatedly realised that she awarded me the friendly blogger award a couple of weeks ago.
Thank-you Carol. I accept and am honoured.
I have been talking about ďbeing a writerĒ for years. I even wrote my first novel last year. But since I became a blogger Iíve realised that writing 100 words of non-fiction every day comes a lot easier to me than writing 3,000 words of fiction in 300 days.
Iíll never say never about anything, but for now Iím enjoying blogland and being a contributor to 100words.com.
At an AGM in my daughterís school this week and belatedly signed up to the committee. Belatedly, because it is now 15 years since my son started in this school and I am finally volunteering.
There was a very interesting talk on Mindfulness. Only drawback was that the soft spoken speaker did not project her voice even though she was speaking to a room full of people, not one-to-one.
Itís a pet hate of mine and something I really admire about Americans. Public speaking seems to come naturally to most Americans, while Irish people tend to be the exact opposite.
Typical Saturday catching up with household affairsÖ Well until the evening anyway.
The group of mostly middle-aged mothers who had helped out backstage at the variety show a month ago were being treated to a thank-you meal in a local restaurant. Needless to say we had loads to talk about, drank just a little more than half a glass of wine each and ended up dancing to several Abba tunes. Not quite as gracefully as the young girls on stage in April.
Still, even (or perhaps especially) middle-aged suburban mammies have to let their hair down once in a while.
Morning after the night before, so Sunday started out just a little slowly and delicately.
Himself cooked breakfast and he and son and heir brought me up to date on the fantastic win by Leinster in the Heineken Rugby final yesterday that Iíd missed.
The afternoon took us to another Irish Dancing Feis, but it must have been the quickest in history. We were on the premises for less than two hours. R competed in three dances and won a 1st and a 2nd.
Then home again for a delicious roast dinner prepared by himself. Heís the cook around here.
Tut, tut, tut : )
The very day after accepting a friendly blogger award that described me as a disciplined writer I go missing for three days.
Perhaps it was realising that I didnít mind missing the five days while I was travelling last week that made it just so easy to go missing again.
And the realisation that there is some leeway at 100words.com helped. That is if you miss a day or two you can log your entries in retrospect.
In short, if it becomes a chore to write 100 words I can take some time out.
Wednesday is my day out. I check in to the office, but it is a day at home that allows me to keep the work/life/family balance balanced.
I spent most of today doing housework. Traditionally thatís a job I do begrudgingly. Like shopping it has to be done, but preferably not by me. I splashed out a few years ago and employed a cleaner. She left about 6 months ago and I havenít got round to finding a replacement.
I surprised myself today. With nothing else on I dedicated the whole day to cleaning the house. It was incredibly satisfying.
The neo-counter on my blog tells me that Iíve had 1111 visitors from 40 countries. Something nicely symmetrical about those numbers.
Most visitors are from the US which isnít surprising it being kind of big and internet savvy. Next is Ireland. No surprises there, but I should clarify that if I clicked on to my blog 100 times it wouldnít count. The software recognises the computers I use and doesnít increment.
Some visitors arrive via the Black Box, a fun blogging widget which Iíll move up top today so that you can have a go and see where you land.
Friday! Holiday weekend! Woohoo!
Weíre a week later here than US Memorial Day and the UK late May holiday. For as long as I can remember the first Monday in June has been a holiday. As my birthday falls in early June itís often on this weekend. Not so this year with June 1st being a Monday.
It is gloriously sunny and warm in Dublin as I type. A lazy weekend of barbeque smells and lawnmower sounds is beckoning. Iíll try not to think about the clearing out Iím supposed to be doing in advance of building work next week.
What a beautiful day. We cut grass and sprayed water sprinklers and ate outdoors. Felt like a continental holiday.
U2 were guests on The Late Late Show last night. The last show for Pat Kenny, presenter for ten years.
Iíve never been a U2 fan, although Iíd have to acknowledge they are excellent at what they do. I was very taken by how personable they all were. Maybe thatís because they are of an age and background similar to me. We grew up in the same part of Dublin. I was also struck by how fit they looked approaching 50.
Another beautiful day in Dublin.
I spent several hours clearing out the garage and now have about six carloads ready to go to the recycling centre and dump on Wednesday.
Tomorrowís target is the attic as we're having it converted to living space. Iím not making any promises and may just end up removing boxes with the builder right behind me on Wednesday morning.
Itís the last day of May and the end of my third month completing the 100words.com challenge. Still swinging between the temptation to abandon it and blogging completely and the fact that I enjoy it all.
The Tip Jar