Foiled again

Glendalough From The Spinc

I returned from the shops. I was irritated about buying less than optimal tin foil again. “Foiled again,” he said.

It bothers me that the too-small tin foil bothers me. It can join a list of small irritations that I allow to crowd my day. I know I should let go. In the space that would remain lies insight, time, possibility. It irritates me that I can’t access that and the cycle begins again.

I dreamt last night that I would no longer be able to park a car without parking assist. Parking was never my forte. I dreamt that while I struggled with the parking my children went on the the restaurant. As I gathered myself out of the car in the dream (the car in the dream, not the dream car; I most definitely do not have a dream car!) As I gathered myself in the dream I dropped the eggs. They broke. I had to clean them up. There is little in life more difficult to clean up than eggs. Yes there are things that are more difficult because they are more disgusting. But disgust aside there is little in life more difficult. However there is little in life more rank if not cleaned up, even in my dream I was conscious of this.

I found my children in the restaurant (also the dream restaurant as opposed to my dream restaurant). They were behaving well and had already ordered. Definitely a dream, says you. But their order was strange and involved a lot of couscous. I sent some of it back, irritated that the restaurant had taken their absurd order but also that they had served a plate that looked so unappetizing.

I clearly have control issues.

Thinking about how my irritation invades even my dreams, plugs those gaps, uses that space, that it’s a bad habit, a picked scab, a refreshed feed filled with fresh indignation, it occurs to me that it is insignificant whether I allow it to happen or whether I purge that mode of Being.

I watched a comedy musical about astrophysicsa last night. I know. The reality of the universe highlights our absolute insignificance and egocentricity, especially as a musical comedy. Numbers so large separate me from the universe that I cannot even grasp those numbers.

It irritates me that I cannot grasp those numbers.

First day in the new job

Started the new job yesterday – did this. Jealous much?


However do also note the travelling laundry basket to the right. Not all fun and games eh? But at least I no longer have to do this on Saturday mornings or at 9 o’clock at night.

Happy New Year!


A self-fulfilling state

I watch a lot of television (really? whyever for? Well…) and therefore spend as much time as possible trying to avoid watching ads.

I’m not some sort of moron who thinks ads are pure evil (well I’m not too keen on children’s ads but that’s a whole other blog post) and I like to hear about new products and services. I think some ads are genuinely clever and entertaining. I think other ads are pure lazy and boring. Many ads are for products that I will never engage with, some are for products that may have been of interest or will be of interest in a particular period of my life.

But advertising execs of the world I am putting you on your first warning. Well apart from all the unheard shouting in my living room. I will no longer accept your made up nonsense about women and men and which of them does the shopping. I don’t care if that’s what the stats say; this doesn’t mean that it’s right. I challenge you to surprise me with an ad that tries to guilt men into buying products with dubious health benefits for their children. Y’see I just don’t think you will do it.

Two men in kitchen amazingI also think it’s dubious and downright offensive to run ads that imply that only women are intelligent enough or organised enough to run a household. If running a household requires that much intelligence (and i think it does require mental, physical and emotional resources not required by some other jobs) why is it so poorly rewarded in western society? You don’t meet many millionaire nannies.* I would buy the product of any manufacturer who convinced a government to also recognise that contribution to society by properly rewarding anyone who takes on these tasks. Work life balance needs a champion. It needs highlighting the way Jamie Oliver highlighted good food in Britain. Should we expect advertisers to spot this trend and act on it? Especially in a recession?

I just worry that using these lazy cultural shortcuts (women are put upon; men are stupid & lazy) that they will become self-fulfilling. People say to me and I hear myself saying how lucky I am to have a husband who pitches in. Every time I hear myself saying it I mentally kick myself. How insulting to both of us. In fact I sometimes think, as he puts on another load of washing, how unlucky he is to be lumped with me!

As I grow older I realise more and more as I see my friends hitching up in all manner of unexpected combinations that it is practically impossible to understand what makes couples tick. They will be as we say in Irish “thuas seal, thíos seal” and stereotypes and assumptions about roles in society just box us all in and remove opportunities.

*As a total aside I wonder are any of the creches built in the boom on government money now in NAMA?

Rosie is riveted

Live action Rosie the RiveterPhoto owned by H.C. Williams (cc)

My attention was of course arrested by the cover of last week’s Economist with the iconic shot of Rosie the Riveter proclaiming that We Did It! The basic gist of the three articles in The Economist is that the number of women in the workforce now equals the number of men. Good news indeed. However the articles go on to underline that these women are not represented in management roles across all sectors (although there are some exceptions in some sectors) and that they don’t, on average, earn as much as men. Nothing new there sadly. The briefing (which doesn’t seem to be available online) concludes the same as I have been concluding since I began my own childbearing and rearing: equality in the workplace will never occur until there is mandatory paternity leave. If I was a father expecting my third child I wouldn’t be looking at a 50% pay cut because I’m creating more consumers/ workers/ pension scheme payees. Of course I earn on average less than men even if I continue working as a result. This is escalating into a post for another day.

I also think it’s very ironic that The Economist chose to celebrate women in the workforce not six months after they published an article about polymaths in their lifestyle magazine which included a list of 20 living fabulous, clever, wonderful polymaths. All of them are men. How about helping me compile a list of living female polymaths? Suggestions in the comments below. My big problem is that the women I can think of aren’t famous for any of their amazing talents. Hmmm.

Reassure yo’self: do a first aid course

A long overdue blog post. Story of my life. I have been in four hospitals this week between suspected I don’t know what that required our GP sending us to Crumlin Children’s Hospital, minor surgery in James and an antenatal on the same day and then back to Tallaght Hospitals today for my H1N1 booster. God I hate hospitals!

This may be one of the reasons I was attracted to the idea of a paediatric first aid course. I really, truly meant to do one before Nipper 1.0 was born and that was 6 years ago. So when Tots2Teens invited me to attend their Paediatric First Aid Course in Bewleys Hotel Ballsbridge at the beginning of November I jumped at the chance.

bobIt was a day long course and there were about 15 people on the course. There were a mix of parents but many childcare workers. There were only 2 men there and of course Bob (see left). The childcare workers were, for the most part, doing refresher courses. It was amazing to find out from them how much had changed in paediatric first aid since their original training.

The course was very comprehensive and the trainer whose name escapes me really knew his stuff. I did feel at times that he was just going through the slides. He also tended to presume we understood what he was talking about, jargon and acronyms and such. However he was so likable, straightforward and obviously into the topic that those criticisms didn’t matter.

I worried (and here’s a crazy thing to worry about) that attending the course would make me very worried and if there is one thing that drives me mad it’s worrisome parents. Yes sometimes I think other parents don’t think I worry enough but Nipper 1.0 is so bloody cautious that we’re safe enough I think. That is definitely not the case with Nipper 2.0 so there has been some close shaves in the last year and a half! My main feeling on completing the course (for which I got a cert!) was a feeling of reassurance. I really think confidence is a vital element of parenting so if you think you might panic at the sight of your child’s blood or broken bones (Yikes!) I would definitely recommend this course. If nothing else it will give you the confidence to assess and deal with emergency situations involving your children. But it’s more than just paediatric first aid. The emphasis is on kids but much of the theory is generic while the practical exercises (and there was plenty of them!) focus on children where different.

I am also very grateful to Martina in Tots2Teens for sorting me out with some suggested Antenatal Yoga Class. She sent me details of the Seraph Yoga Centre on Heytesbury St. I started there on Wednesday evening and it was brilliant. It was a little more energetic that my previous yoga classes in Holles St. (which if you are a patient there I would strongly recommend too). That said I had no aches and pains the next day although because of my minor surgery earlier that day I was taking it easy. I also had my antenatal earlier that day and when I told the midwife that I was starting my yoga that evening she said, “You always know the women who have done yoga in the labour ward.” I found the confidence (there it is again!) and techniques I gained in yoga really helped in both my labours. Antenatal yoga helps focus your mind and body on the upcoming event and the poses are specially chosen to help relieve the stresses of pregnancy and labour.

The class in Seraph is taught by a woman name Anne and as soon as I arrived she said, “I know you from somewhere.” She didn’t seem very familiar so I said you might know my sister Abigail. (Although we think we’re very different many people get us mixed up.) Turns out she volunteers for Oxfam (as well as being a great yoga instructor) and was there when Abigail performed at Oxjam last year. In fact I was there too and she did recognise me! Here’s a video I made of Abigail playing at Oxjam last year. Enjoy!