Wednesday, 14 May 2014


My friend Lynda says she can’t imagine how anyone living in California can ever be sad. What, with the sunshine and all? 
While no one plans on being sad, low emotions do happen in the rain and the sun.  As we plan our move back to California, I frequently reflect on Lynda’s assumption. I have even made myself a promise to call her on sunny and rainy days. Let her be the judge.

Much like the Irish weather, one day my marriage is bright with satisfying skies; then on other days, it’s covered with clouds, or worse, tense with raging storms overhead. Since we’ve put our livelihood under a microscope this time last year-- DH headed overseas and wee girls stayed in Ireland to tend to ourselves—there has been less lightning and thunder and more layers of fog.  Finally, we have reached a life decision coated in thought and worry and overcast with the weight of unknowing, yet the skies are filled with anticipation and excitement.

It has taken some time for me to get from the last post to this new forecast. At this point of my life, my marriage is synonymous with family. Despite what I’m saying here and now, couples need definition outside of their children. And so, I reread the DeJa Vu post. I can only attempt to defend myself.

I picked him. And I’m not ready to unpick anything.

So here we go uprooting and planting new seeds, as a family. Happily, the soil in California is filled nutrients and warmth.  Among the unknowns of this renewed territory are family and friends full of support.  I can’t wait.

And if Lynda is any bit right about the sunshine,  we’ll be ok.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Guess Who's Coming Back?

The man of the house returns tomorrow morning and everyone is excited.  
Cutiepie's been most excited lately. She said, “finally, someone to hang out outside with me. I’ll have someone to walk the dog with me and practice camogie and football!” We all have our places I suppose. Nevermind that I’m sporting hot pink nail polish of her doing and just yesterday, I drove to three petrol stations before I found her a slushi.
Last month when Babydoll had an exploratory procedure and needed anaesthetics, I naturally treated it as very routine, as it was. Not so for our loopy 11-year-old emerging from induced sleep. Immediately with uncertainty in her eyes and pained certainty in her voice, she said, “can I call Daddy?”  She looked up at me and lifted her hand and gestured two little fingers to less than that of an inch, and said, “sorry, but Daddy, gives just this much more assurance.” 
We have a lot of changes ahead of us, so I guess it is only fair we all cherish our own needs and desires. For the last two weeks we’ve been reprogramming this all girls house. The girls are sulking their way back to their own bed at bedtime. HIS barca lounger is back in its resident corner.  Groceries were beefed up, with, well, more beef.   
It’s like if my girls went to University and I unfolded my sewing in their bedroom in their absence. Of course, I’d gladly pack it all up in anticipation of their return.  I think the daily struggles and life’s plans make us absent minded of all the little details that help to show what we mean to one another.
And discoveries can be surprising, even to some. Yesterday Roisin opened the fridge and gasped loudly. It was just the day before that Babydoll upended a golden syrup container across two pantry shelves, multiple cans, jars with sticky strewn past the washing machine to the floor. So what could it be now in the fridge?  With big eyes, Cutiepie looked at me.  “Wow. Why do we have that in the fridge? We never have beer!”
Because,  I remember the details, that’s why.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Freeing the Minds of LiLo and Me

I knew what I needed to do the day I discovered Sad Desk Lunch and Pooping on Bluebonnets.

These websites are for killing some serious time. I am not proud of my time management (or waste). In fairness, I was merely linking from Huffington Post's inside information, Sites You Should Be Wasting Time on Right Now.  (Careful with your time, HP frequently prints a new list, pulling more readers into the black abyss.)

What I need to do is write. Clearly I have found time to waste in my days' routine. In the hours and minutes I spend surfing the internet in a week, there is no doubt several blog posts and even a chapter or two left untouched.

Yesterday I heard Lindsay Lohan say "I'm constantly thinking. My mind does not shut off."  I can totally relate. A mind that never turns off, I'm like her. Minus Oprah and the drama. Well, most of the drama. I've yet to leave my sex list in a conveniently-found location.

My mind overflows with thoughts. With DH overseas and my off-work time filling four-hour commutes and teaching razor care to ever-developing tweens, I'm alone with my thoughts and at times, COMPLETELY overwhelmed. An astute boss taught me long ago to write down these thoughts. He infers it's important to realise we do this not to remember these items, but rather to free our mind of the space occupied by the thought.

I yearn for an audience, someone to listen, someone to react and at times, someone to silence me an equal dose of thoughts, intellectual or nonsensical. Both within reason. For now, writing is my escape and without a doubt, my mind will thank me.

My words may never be a featured blog post on Huffington Post, but I plan to put them out there somewhere. Stay tuned.

Maybe LiLo should consider writing as therapy...for all we know, a blog by her just might end up on the next HP list.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Friends to the Finish

My friend Maria and I have so many unfinished projects, I suggested we help one another out. Her daughter Anna just had a baby, just over a month ago and Maria brought me this quilt center for finishing.

I think Maria expected some quilting and binding but I found myself adding a border and replicating some insect characters in thread art and applique.

Finally, I finished it off with a scalloped and scrappy binding. This week I finished the hand binding on the bus. The colours are sweet and I hope she likes it. I mimicked the ladybug, butterfly and bee with applique patches for body, but the heads and details are free form thread stitching. There is minimal quilting on the white border except to see some bug trails and bee spiral paths.

Modeled as usual by Babydoll.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Stroll through Wicklow County

Sunday was the day for us girls and a dollhouse the size of a garden shed. Actually, three little girls, as we had Cutiepie’s best friend from her former school; she hadn’t seen her in a few years. From Wexford to Wicklow, Cutiepie asked me three times if her face or any other part of her had changed. As I tried to reassure her she was the same beautiful girl from years earlier, she squirmed in her seat saying she had never felt so excited.

Powerscourt, home to Ireland’s largest dollhouse, really impresses. I didn’t remember my camera, you will just have to trust me when I say it was beautiful. The girls and I enjoyed the leisure stroll in awe of the dollhouse furnishings.

Afterward we headed up the Sugarloaf mountain, this time collecting a former classmate of Babydoll‘s. I had been creating a baby quilt for the past18 months and on this day we were delivering the finished quilt. The lime green and pink patchwork had become a particular favourite among me and my sewing friends on Saturday morning.

The new owner’s mom has since text me saying it’s symbolic (being her last little baby) and that it’s to hang on the stairway wall… that’s candy to a quilter. Years ago, I made a personalised interactive (pockets with hidden animals) quilt for her two older children (it still hangs on the downstairs wall!). She since added two children and with each birth, we applique the new babe’s name to the quilt. So the patchwork is a real labour of love and fun with this family. I feel honored to know the quilts hold such meaning.

After visiting several different members of this family, we left them with promises of a future overnight visit. Headed over the Sally Gap where we stopped for a shot at our favourite vista point. I think the g irls would climb for hours if the cold didn’t stop me.

On the east side of Wicklow, we found a sleepy granddad in front of the television with the house just as quiet as he. With night setting in, we finished our tour of Wicklow in Hollywood at Nanny’s grave. Cutiepie positioned a bouncing butterfly and Babydoll placed a colourful ceramic snail at Nanny’s grave. Both were so fitting of their personalities. The girls enjoy reading all the headstones while I reflect on my time with Nodie and my time now without her.

There are very few things in life I’m sure of right now. But two sure things are Babydoll and Cutiepie. We climbed back in the car and headed home to Wexford. I suspect her stomach was growling, cause Cutiepie suddenly announced that she plans to invent crackers that are already buttered. Not to be outdone, Babydoll chimed in that she intends to invent ice cream that never melts. Sure as that.

I may be feeling unsure of my life’s direction, but I’d like to think I’m preparing my daughters to aspire to the ultimate. If it’s cuisine of the future, well then, bon appetite!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Bet Against Someone Your Own Size

The other day I made a bet with Cutiepie.

I was certain I would win. Is the app Viber or Viper, made-up word vs. real word?

And yet, I did not win. Honestly, when will these techno companies stop making up names? Placing the bet, I offered up a million dollars, but she didn’t accept this as a real bet. Obviously she was certain she was going to win. Not sure where she gets such confidence.

Her price: an iPad.

The problem is, an iPad is entirely inappropriate for an 9yo, no matter how adorable. (And I’ve seen some cute iPads.)

The second problem is the 10yo sister who has been begging for an iPad for two years.

How do I make good on my word, without coughing up two iPads?

These girls are getting smarter than me by the minute. I’d nearly bet my two girls conspired this ruse.

Only, I’ve sworn myself off all bets.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Untold News

He left on Thursday morning.

We suggested that our daughters not to share the news with anyone outside the family just yet. We’re still trying to understand how this plan, his plan, ‘the’ plan—an ‘experiment’ we told them–was going to happen and what it means for our future. With Daddy gone, I wasn’t sure how to answer questions.

Monday was the first day of school. Home from school, Babydoll broadcast her news that she stood in front of all her class and told the news. Watching my face at this announcement, Cutiepie, lowered in an uncertain tone, she said she too shared our summer news that Daddy had moved to New Zealand. I pushed the permanent knot further down my gut and managed a big grin and welcomed all the news of the new 5th class and 3rd classes.

It has now been six days and it has only felt worse each day. We hung three clocks: Dublin (home for us), San Francisco (home for extended family), and New Zealand (home for Dad). We set our Skype account to never log off. We go about our day, jumping at every electronic beep that might be Daddy skyping us.

Football and camogie games (one lost, one won), a sewage line unclogged, and walks with the dog filled our weekend. As I remind myself to check door locks at night, the notion of an all-girl family saddened me, but I’m committed to succeeding while inside I’m crumbling. On Sunday, between Uncle Ben and Pablo Picante I began sobbing when I couldn’t find taco shells in the Wexford Super Tesco. All I wanted was the commerical, pre-made, perserved 12 taco shell kit, one of only three Mexican dish food items they stock. The moment I saw the emptied shelf, my heart screamed for the simple corn tortillas found in San Francisco ready for frying and dishing up by scratch. Who exactly needs a kit to make a taco? What I want is a kit on how and where to be happy.

Knowing it would take more than guacamole and salsa to mend my broken heart, I covered my red rimmed eyes with sunglasses and headed home to get a hug from my girls.

The girls are giddy and curious with a nervous excitement for back to school and their dad’s move to New Zealand. I’m proud of them and really, it shows the naivety of children and their resilience. And yet, I still can’t stop thinking how decisions like these are defining their DNA.

It’s only been six days and I know when it’s 60 days gone by, it will be the girls who’ll come to me for hugs.

I’m willing to bet they won’t want to share the news with anyone then.