Stories of Friendship, Family, Fun and Food.
All the way from the Emerald Isle!

Friday, October 22, 2010

It must be love

Living in my house is a little chaotic. Living in my house can be very stressful. Coming to visit me at my house can give you reason to question what is stuck to your shoe when you leave because you just saw a hen in the kitchen looking for food. 

But, for the most part, you might be happy enough to visit anyway because even with all the crazy chaos, there is a real sense of family in my house. I cannot take all the credit (not even half actually) because it is really due to the fact that my handsome Chef and my mother live and die for what is best for the kids. Their whole lives revolve around this and I just fall under 'one of the kids' for now seeing as I am back in school and they have gifted me 'time' to do what I love. 

Our family is different. I am different, Ron is different. We will never be referred to as 'A' typical people. Our rotten little kids are different. Rory and Jack are even a different skin colour to us. We will never blend into the background. All of this is ok with me. I have always been different. My older sister used to TORMENT me with stories of how Mum adopted me from China when I was a baby. I believed her, especially since I had dark hair and squinty eyes and was not the long lean leggy blond like her. (No resentment there at all,  I have definitely after years of therapy moved on).

A little over a year ago, the Chef and I became foster parents. Not a huge jump for us, because having adopted the kids in America we were already 'foster parents' so signing up for fostering here at home was just a formality. Seven months ago we received 2 little Irish girls into our home and they will be living with us for a very long time. They are now part of our very 'different' family. 

I have done my best to settle them into our family life whilst making sure that I keep them at arms length because I can't handle the thoughts of them ever leaving and being farther away than arms length from me. Last year we went through an intensive 'Foster-Parenting' training class and it really helped prepare us for the roller coaster ride of emotions you are going to experience once you receive a child (or children) into your home. 

Or so I thought. 

I thought, that I had kept my distance. I thought that even though we treat them as one of our own, I have still managed to keep my well-built-wall up around 'me' to make sure that I will not fall apart if they ever get moved to a different foster family or even back to their birth family. 

That was until this morning. Until about ten minutes ago. When our 'baby' went into surgery to have a few fillings. I am totally downplaying the 'few fillings' because it is a very serious surgery the wee imp HAS to have due to severe parental neglect and lack of nutrition.

I roused her tousled head around half past five this morning and we headed out under the glossy Galway stars to the very fancy schmancy Galway Clinic. We were greeted at the door by the 'Head Sister' and she whirled us into the prep-room and got Lulu ready for her big operation. They also got 'Teddy Ready'. All went very well, and she was a total trooper. Not a peep out of her and no anxiety to be seen on her side or mine. I had my bag of school books and my laptop packed away to while away the hours whilst they operate and she recuperates.

All went well, that is, until my wall came crashing down. Those lovely nurses are obviously clueless as to the protective barriers a foster-mum has to have in place. They must have known that referring to me as the child's mother would have damaged me beyond repair. Or maybe they planned it all well in advance, you know like 'Look at softy over there, she looks like an easy target, let's make her cry today', that's what they said, I know it.

So there I was, laptop ready, just waiting for them to give her her 'sleeping gas' and let me off for a few hours of very important 'facebooking' when it happened. The nurses told Lulu to 'hold Mammy's hand and look right in to 'Mammy's eyes' because Mammy and Daddy love you more than anything and as soon as you wake up Mammy will be there waiting for you'. 

ENOUGH WITH THE MAMMY . . . . .. . . . . . Why that little imp did not explain that I was not her mammy is not important. All that matters is that I managed to NOT BAWL my head of until I got outside the theater doors with the hopes that the lovely surgeon did not see what a total feckin eejit I am.

Being a Mum (Bio/Foster/Adopt - a Mum of any kind) is obviously one of the most rewarding things imaginable. The capacity to love is endless. I do not know how I can spread my self so thin to offer love to all the people in our growing family and circle of friends. But I can. It feels like a bottomless pit. There is always more love, to give. 

And now I know, that my wall has come crashing down and no matter how hard I try, I will not be able to prevent 'loving' these little kids. 

It must - Be Love.

Those are all the WiseBlubberingWords I have for this damp morning in Galway,


PS - the nurses and doctors and all the staff in general at this place are amazing. I almost can't wait to be sick and need to check in for a few days :0)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

There are many ways to skin a cat

Can you just imagine the mother that named her child Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde. I mean imagine shouting that from the top of the stairs when you are trying to get your child to pick up his dirty socks? Well, the lovely Mr. Wilde has been in bed with me for a few weeks now and I have to say I am glad to let him go this afternoon, as I wrap up a couple of huge assignments and send them on their merry way to the eager grading hands that await them.

This is what I have been staring at for the last few days. Blank pages of nothingness. Having to sit down and write two academic essays back to back, both due on the same day at the same time - well it is just madness.
The level of reading and interpreting and then writing and re-writing that has to occur before you get anywhere near what you actually (and finally) submit, are worlds apart. AND I did not even mention all the time that has to be spent complaining, procrastinating and fecking around on Facebook.
My English Literature classes this year revolve around 'Literature and The Renaissance' and 'Critical Theory and Practice'. Kill - Me - Now. Yes, I chose these classes. I picked the best of a very archaic lot. 

So where does all my Creative Writing get squeezed in to this year? Well, it is a struggle. We have just completed our first 'Poetry' session for Semester 1 and are hurtling right into the second half with a new Irish-Canadian poet named Celeste Augé. I am excited and a little terrified about the end result of a poetry semester. Don't get me wrong, I love to linger on the lines a little longer than most people, but know that making a living as a poet in Ireland is just not practical - therefore, I doodle, and I draw and I do not 'work like my life depends on it'. 

I have hit the mid-semester slump. It has just dawned on me that I have only 6 weeks of class left before the dreaded Christmas exams. Then only 12 weeks of class after Christmas. The academic year is slipping out of my hands and I still feel like I have just started back to college this week. I cannot get my groove on. I cannot buckle down and get stuck in. I am obsessed with the pile of laundry that gets bigger and bigger each week. Not so obsessed with 'doing the laundry' mind, just obsessed. I am frustrated that the kids still have not gotten themselves organized enough in the mornings to just get up, get dressed, eat breakfast and go to school without spilling something all over them selves, losing a shoe, or forgetting a lunchbox. 

I am overwhelmed at what it is to be a thirtysomething-mother-of-four going to college full time doing something that I love to do. Overwhelmed is a feeling I seem to be able to live with. 

I have learned to say:

when I know that I have too much on my plate. I have learned to NOT answer my phone when I am in the middle of doing my homework. I have learned to close FACEBOOK and not check into it five thousand times when I have deadlines looming. OK, maybe I do not actually shut FaceBook down completely - I mean, the rest of the world might not fully survive without my checking in for God's sake. Anyway, I am setting up these walls and boundaries all around me because something big is happening. Something great. Something rewarding. Something that is going to be an enormous challenge, an incredible experience, and someday, something really pretty to look at. 

Going back to school Going to University for the first time as as an adult is a very rewarding experience. I feel (on an almost daily basis) that the world is filled with possibilities and all we have to do is work hard to get what we want out of life. For those of you that are already "following" my blog, THANK YOU, I am humbled. For those of you that are silently stalking - stay tuned, and for those of you that just pop in occasionally and leave me random comments and funny messages - keep 'em coming! 

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,


Sunday, October 10, 2010

From Paris with Love

It has been a little over a week since the Chef and I renewed our vows. I have no idea where to start when it comes to talking or writing about this whole experience, because it was all a little overwhelming. 

I had not told him about the priest coming to the house to bless our marriage and our family. He knew our friends and family were coming over and that was enough. When the priest arrived, he just went with the flow, all low key, a little teary and all, well, perfect. 

I caved and told him about Paris on Sunday evening. I could not keep it a secret any longer. Needless to say, he was thrilled to bits.

I have had a really hard time collecting my thoughts in order to put words with my photos. Visiting Paris with my handsome Chef was kind of like being with 'Jack unleashed in a sweet shop'. He grabbed one of his past issues of his favourite rag 'The Art of Eating - Paris (again)' and lined up a few places on a MAP! Seriously, he (the luddite that he is) sat down on Sunday evening with a map of Paris. He drew and he dotted each little restaurant and bakery and delicatessen that he wanted to visit. By the time he hit the streets of Paris, he knew exactly where he wanted to go and how to get there (well kind of - thank God for GPS on my iPhone).

Of course, the first stop had to be at a knife shop. (When in Paris?). This is not the first time we have bought a knife when on holidays. As we strolled through the streets making our way to the shop, we both commented on how 'everyone in Paris still smokes'. It was kind of nasty actually.

Thankfully, the have passed a law where you are not allowed to smoke inside! So, here we are bright and early on our first day in Paris in this cavernous knife shop and immediately we are transported back in time. Since 1820 E.Dehillerin has been supplying the parisians with everything they need for their kitchens. I reckon Julia Child probably walked these aisles looking for a few items too. 

Of course, the Chef saw a million and one things that he HAD-TO-HAVE, but thankfully did not want to carry all over the city, and we spent quite a bit of time just meandering around and poking about in all the little cubby holes.

Some items were quite large and even a little intimidating to the seasoned Chef!

Totally exhausted were we after all that shopping, so we got a recommendation from the Knife-shop-man-from-india as to where one might enjoy a lovely lunch. Steering us away from the touristy spots and telling us to let them now 'he' sent us, we plopped down in a tiny little corridor-style restaurant and started to feel like we were on holidays. You could not spend more than €6 on a bottle of wine. Even if you wanted to.

It did not matter what you were hungry for, because every single meal that flew out of the fridge-size kitchen looked so appetizing we were slobbering all over our plates by the time ours arrived.

Although he is a gourmet-for-life-kinda-guy, there is nothing quite as pleasing as a plain old ham n'cheese toastie for lunch. Of course, this was a little more than just a plain old toasted sandwich. He did not even offer me a bite to taste!

I went all the way to Paris to order the tartare. Yes, raw meat for me. I love it. I would eat it every day if the chef would make it for me. It was perfect. Spicy and savoury and very, very fresh.

Of course, the next stop had to be at one of the best bakery's in Paris. (He had a list of at least TEN-BEST-BAKERY'S in PARIS). Picking up a few croissants for later, he made a mental note (I pin dropped the location) as to 'how we might find' the bakery the next day so we could get a baguette and lunch al fresco.

Although I am certain that all the bakery's in Paris are amazing, I can confirm that the few we visited were the 'dean and deluca' of the bunch. Top notch quality and shockingly all priced right!

Of course, when in Paris, one can't help but take notice of things like how fashionable the street sweepers are as they sweep the sidewalks with their silicone sweepers - all colour coordinated! 

We walked everywhere for three long days. I choose sensible footwear knowing we would be hoofing it most of the time. The Chef choose to wear his cowboy boots and cried like a girl each night as he nursed his blistered toes.

This was as close as we go to all the sight-seeing people might do. We stayed on Saint Louis en isle - a teeny tiny quiet island plopped dead in the middle of the city. Quiet that is until Notre Dame, who is on the adjoining Island, let's her bells toll. Funny, but that is a sound that would never annoy you.

There are no photos from the inside of a few stores because they waved away my camera lens as we entered the shops so I assume they do not want publicity for all their goodies. 

Of course, that did not stop us from shopping!

All in all the Chef and I and a fantastic little mini-break. We were fortunate that Granny, my cousin Jamie and my BFF from college (Becca) held down the fort for us and everyone was still alive when we got home!

So, now that we know we can 'get away' for a few nights, how about London or Rome for the next little getaway! Who's with me?

Those are all the WiseWords I have for this evening,


(for those of you on Facebook - I have finally uploaded all the photos!)

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