Receipt

Something I read and something I saw in the past few hours spurred me on to this piece. An editorial of ‘breaking news’ on Babble about wedding gift acknowledgement and how my kids operate with Hub when I’m not around has really set off… not so much alarm bells as a radar on the look-out for BS.

This wedding gift one is a doozey.. seriously. http://www.babble.com/babble-voices/he-said-she-said/controversial-wedding-gift-sparks-text-war-and-ends-friendships/

It warrants psychoanalysis. The wedding receivers seem that far off the mark with what they expect to get and what they farmed out to the poor guy when he didn’t get it.

We’re half heartedly planning our wedding. I’m not really bothered by it but Hub is wildly more traditional (in the church, reception, first dance etc) more than likely from his uber traditional parents. I don’t need a ceremony and paper but I don’t mind doing it because Hub wants to, that’s all cool. During the thankless task of drawing up the guestlist, however, we have the mother of all stumbling blocks.

Our families DESPISE each other; loathing comes close.. so seating arrangements are hilarious in a decidedly non-funny way. His entire invite stack makes up maybe 10? 10 invites, 2 per because non of that end have kids and he has no intention of going into extended family because that is just how he rolls. So… 10.

I, on the other hand, can count a stack of invites well in excess of 70. I didn’t even think it would get that high. So that’s 160 people, of whom, the groom’s family will not sit anywhere near any of mine. Yes, we have friends to intersperse but it is so frustrating trying to not sit our friends miles away from each other just to cater for the fact that my mom can barely deign to look at his mom while his mom can very happily scream for a significant amount of hours on the fact that my parents aren’t divorced because they’re Catholic. Sigh.

Elopement, what? And I would! Heck, I have suggested the city registry so often with a pub to follow that I am even sick of it.

This finally brings me to my point on exchange and receipt.

My family, Mom’s side, dad’s side and both extended as well as the majority of my friends, think giving money, whether in cash or voucher form, ridiculously tacky. Well, voucher form less so. It’s the most major no-no across my entire sphere of blood relation. I think it’s tacky too but being semi broke, sometimes I would prefer it.

Hub’s family only gives money, like, exclusively. Santa is the only being who gives actual gifts. Which I think quite sad (in the sorrowful way), really. On my birthdays, I’d get maybe 4 or 5 big, brightly wrapped gifts. I don’t mean big literally, just in the ‘wow, pile o’ prezzies!’ kind of way. So I get to go through the process of opening and exclaiming and flicking through or whatever. My dad lives abroad, along with all his side so I do get the envelopes and birthday cards and they’re great!

But Hub, from his family anyway, up until a few years ago when I said it to his mom (and she promptly didn’t speak to me for 18 months) that money is worth so much less than the time spent, only got envelopes. Usually white, with not even an exceptional amount in and sometimes not even a card!

Again, I find this sad bordering on devastating. I do refuse to practice it in my own little family and still rarely do with my family at large. Hub didn’t really think of it the way I do until my first birthday while in our relationship and my family threw a party and there was a table literally loaded with gifts. Some in bags, others in boxes, others again in those fantastic mad-wrapped shapes, like when you try to wrap a ball and a book in the same paper. And Hub gave me roses (white ones, because he knew from the moment he met me that I didn’t like red!) and an envelope.

I have gone to a bucket of trouble to get gifts for his side and, disappointingly, Hub always turns them down. The few gifts I have managed to get through him have been more token, from the kids gifts. One that I got for his mom, she thanked me for and regifted back to me a few weeks later for Christmas. Sigh. I really dislike people like that. Not the regifting, but not keeping track. Unless she did it on purpose, which is entirely possible.

My kids have caught on, though, which is really cutting deep. It’s Red’s birthday soon, she’s going to be 4 and asked for a scooter and a baby-doll. That’s groovy, I told her to pick one, because in this house they get one toy and then practical stuff because of the bullshit amount of crap they come home with from my in-laws. Red chose the scooter. All cool. She then, it transpires, turned around and told my mother in law that Mommy won’t get her a doll or a camera or the new ‘Pink Shoes Barbie’.

I can deal with playing off, I did it as a kid; as a divorce kid it becomes a kind of lingo-currency. What bugs me is that Mother-in-law said to Hub, ‘Well, we’ll get her the scooter too since you’re not going to bother getting the things she wants.’ GGGGGGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH

Knife-twist in my rationale. What’s worse is that while we buy our kids good quality toys ON PRINCIPLE because I do not need cheap plastic crap falling to pieces at the slightest provocation, especially around a crawling, hoovering baby, That Side don’t. They’re all for the ‘working our way through Chinese factories of lesser quality and as a result quite ugly and dangerous toys.’

I am actually buying a back-up doll as well as the scooter because I know the doll she gets from them will be sub par. Now I sound awful but it harks back to what I mean by time-spent and QUALITY. Monetary quality or enjoyment quality or whatever. Invest and Reap or Throw and Scrape, it’s as simple as that.

Jesus. Sorry.

Ahem, to finish, I value the time spent choosing, deciding, humming and hawing, fist clenching and lip biting; deliberating over something being presented. I love it, even if, eventually, it’s nothing more than a bookmark and some sparkly penmanship on a card. I love it.

I do not love heartless money. Look at where it has brought us as an economy, society and culture.

I hope that my children appreciate rather than expect; genuinely adore instead of false-smile and blanks eyes at; that they thank heartily rather than offer a quick ‘Cheers’.

On that note, thank you all so much for following my posts and reading my ramblings. It does mean so so so so so much to me. It took me a long while to work up guts to put this thing out there so, you are all seriously appreciated!

Thank You; Merci; Danke Schon; Go Raibh Maith Agat and Arigato. *hug*Image

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Choice

What is choice? 

OED; noun

  • an act of choosing between two or more possibilities:
  • the choice between good and evil

While I find the second point an interesting one, thank you Oxford, I will focus on the first for now.

I am pro-choice. As such I can choose Coke over Pepsi; I can choose to live in an Apartment or a  house (well, sort of)

I can also choose to be a vegetarian or an omnivore..

I could choose to be Buddhist or Shinto

I could choose to be a Nazi Socialist

I could have chosen to give a child that I initially didn’t want up for adoption. (I didn’t)

I could have chosen to end my life after my second child came along and we were really really really unprepared for it. (Obviously, I didn’t)

I can also choose what and who to vote for.

According to the Human Rights Charter, which the Irish constitution adheres to, my body is my own. Ergo, should I choose, what I do to, with or for my body is my choice.

You can’t prosecute me for my tattoos or piercings.

You can’t prosecute me for attempting to end my life.

You can’t prosecute me for giving sex freely to whomever wants it. (It’s only when money or goods change hands that they feel something has been sold)

Yet I cannot choose, in this country- Ireland- to not bring something to term. I cannot choose to end the enormous process of pregnancy while the cells involved are barely even a zygote. I cannot choose to not have my body distorted, my nutrition held to ransom and my hormones sent haywire because apparently, that is not my choice.

Do you give the cow you slaughter to provide the steak you eat and the leather you wear a choice?

Did you give your spouse a choice on what they decided to wear today?

Did you choose to assault the Irish economy into providing the paychecks for the people responsible for bringing this country to its’ knees; it’s collective forehead against the floor?

Did you choose to save the Anglo-Irish bank to protect personal investments?

Did you choose who cut your hair at the salon or barber?

Do you choose to have everyone who speaks against your decision silenced?

Do you choose to withdraw the freedom given to us by our constitution and the UN charter of Human Rights?

How about you lop off a leg without consulting me, there?

How about you tell the families of the deployed that you’re going to just leave them there with no contingency and no way to come home?

How about you tell that man over there that he has a kind of cyst, all hairy and unsightly and most definitely unwanted right on the shaft of his cock. It can be treated very easily but he has to go away to do it. Because that he wants to ‘mutilate’ his body is a shameful act.

How about you tell this girl who has been raped by her boyfriend that she must carry the child of her rapist to term. The boyfriend of maybe 5 years, both professionals or both just teenagers. Suddenly, one night, boyfriend turns on her because he hasn’t ‘gotten any’ in three weeks because girlfriend has been exhausted from studying or working or just life. So he rapes her, non consensual, against her will, full on ‘Rape’. And now she has to carry the baby of the man she thought she knew, trusted implicitly and maybe even spat in her face  because it is the moral thing to do and it is not her choice? 

Or what about a conscientious student or professional. Working or studying their asses off and one Friday evening, they meet with some friends, have a few drinks and fall into bed with a mate. Wakes up in the morning, not on contraceptive because she’s not a slut nor in a relationship and condoms don’t always occur to people in the heat of the moment. Should she now compromise the next 18 years of her life while the guy gets to walk away and continue on? If anyone here thinks ‘Well she shouldn’t have had sex then’, I commend you on you martyr spirit and demand, please, a tally of your life defining everything that you haven’t had a mishap with. Men have sex too, people, they aren’t bound to the repercussion of that sex for the next nine months.

Although not all of my points above are necessarily objective, they, I think, illustrate my point. It is MY CHOICE what to do with my body.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Abortion should be closely policed. After 10 weeks, that is officially a baby in there, fully formed and growing in there. After 10 weeks, yes I do believe that it isn’t the nicest thing to do but there is always adoption. Before 10 weeks, if you look at the issue as anything other than a bunch of cells and blood collected in your womb and forming into a congealed mass than you may not be able to reconcile abortion with yourself.

I had, what could be termed as an abortion, at 15.

My body had turned against me, somewhat, and a large congealed blood mass formed in my womb with no outlet. I developed a ‘tummy’, my family asked if I was pregnant. We went to the doctor, was I pregnant? No. It’s just period pain and swelling. My stomach got bigger and I put on 2 stone in weight. Another doctor, period pain and swelling. Another stone in weight. They came back, time and time again to whether I was pregnant. No. Big Fucking No and some more No. During all this, I wasn’t offered a scan because the pregnancy test came out negative.

7 months and 5 doctors later I collapsed in my hallway at home a few weeks before State exams. In the hospital it was discovered I had a Hematocolpos; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hematocolpos

In the operating theatre, they drained 14 litres of blood, most of it ‘stale’, from my womb. This is 9 months after all this started happening. So, in effect, I had an abortion at 9 months. I was told off for not being more vigilant of my menstrual health.

Is your body your own? Apparently not in a country where you must carry a child to term against your will, emphasising the existence of a ‘baby mill’.

Pro-choice or Shut the Fuck Up. 

Unfairness of Infant Life

My oldest daughter, a classical Athenian if ever there was one, graduated from her class today. She is 5 in three weeks. We had an awards ceremony for the school today and the award givers proceeded through the class ranks, doling out laminated certificates of attendance and goody bags for all the winners.
Said award givers completely bypassed the 2 Junior classes. My Athena being in one of them. The junior’s teachers were surprised at the slight, the kids were appalled, verbally upset and rightfully so.
Why, in this pit of multiple holy hells, would you invite the parents of juniors and the juniors themselves to an awards ceremony where they don’t even feature?
That’s like “Hi Kids! Prezzie time!”(stab)
“Oh you don’t get anything because you don’t qualify as actual school!” (twist twist twist)

Cue agitated mommies galore and slightly indignant teachers too! I’m glad Athena’s teacher was a little pissed because I got her a really nice travel mug as her end of year gift (along with multiple fun size boxes of smarties from Red) and I kind of needed to feel it was worth it. It was a NICE MUG.

Schools suck. This particular school sucks. Teacher nice, bosses suck. Happily, both Red and Athena are changing into a newer, brighter, funner school! (read; convent) with no graffiti on the walls or white spots of gum carpeted throughout the yard.
Hopefully, as well, they’ll know how to run a more child friendly awards ceremony next year too!

Benign Envy

I just saw this term, coined by another blogger; Sappho’s Torque, and I feel it applies so much to my general mood today that I’ve almost gone past benign and right up into ‘Scowl Alley’.

We, the Hub and I, didn’t do things ‘right’. We’ve been told enough and today this has been reinforced yet AGAIN, making me feel considerably less than my 5ft 6 inches in height. I feel closer to the ball that Red curled up into this morning when Bear pulled a nasty chunk of hair from her head and I (seriously wrongfully) applied sarcasm and adult logic- “So what did you sit next to him in the first place for?” The ball she curled up into was minute and quite a feat as she is very tall for her age. Nonetheless I apologised, fear not.

But I feel around that size. Things just seem to fall into place for people around me while Murphy (He of the ‘Law’) systematically kicks our legs out from under us literally the second something turns in our favour. I have found, over the course of my quarter century life span, that it is bad luck for me to anticipate or become excited about ANYTHING, literally, anything because then either it won’t work out or it will and something will knock me for six straight afterward. Ergo, I have become quite experienced in not being excited, not out of fear but out of expectation of BS in my path. Other people do not seem to have this relationship with Murphy. Or else he receives some serious bribes.

Benign Envy does sound wonderful. I like the idea of it. I like the visual in my head of a classy looking 40’s style lady, red lips, coiff- the lot, sitting at her secretary’s desk, clicking away with feet crossed at the ankles in the proper refined way (ahem!) and then another lady walks by. Her hair coiffed differently, perhaps even in a new way, a chignon. Her lips aren’t the same homogenous shade sported by the secretaries but a far more delicately feminine pale pink or a nude. She’s not prancing through the walkway, no, she has Hepburn demeanour, (either Hepburn), a surety of self and quiet confidence that emits from people who are just FORTUNATE, confound it.

So things did not go to plan and as result we’re a little behind in everything you’re ‘supposed to do in your twenties’.

I haven’t much interest in it, but I’ve never been interrailing. (The schedule intimidates me, I’d rather languish for a few weeks at a time).

I haven’t done a skydive, neither have I taught English to foreign kids and I rarely go to gigs and concerts. 

I’ve never been to Paris, hundreds of times in books and films, but I’ve never seen the Louvre, the Champs or Montmartre in person. Although my number 1 thing to do in Paris would be to go on the Trampoline Bridge, not the other stuff.

I didn’t finish my degree, financial and family choices meant I stayed at home and have an almost 5 year old who scored a 3.95 (ish) on her report card as well as receiving a commendation for art and drama. I am proud, truly, if a little… (regretful is NOT the word)

As much as I love literature, history, culture, politics, law, scrapbooking, sketching and baking, as much as I love all these things, I’ve never been able to nail down really anything and say ‘Yes, I have this.’

We’ve amassed a library but I haven’t read the last 20 books I’ve purchased. Ausiobooks are my new medium.  

My girls fight like demons and are best friends at the same time though I damaged the relationship with my own sister, possibly irreparably.

Things don’t like going right in terms of ‘outside my little family’ achievements. And it is exhausting to be able to hold nothing up (outside the children) and say I earned this.

So I benignly envy some people I know who, yes, have worked hard and got their shit together. They managed to work through it while I put more domestic things first (I think, wrongly) and they achieved X and Y while I didn’t, we didn’t, although Hub is working very hard to change this scenario.

But I do let myself have a daydream of a baseball bat (studded with ninja stars)  to their faces once in a while. It, morbidly, keeps me sane.

Toys and Why I Kind of Hate Them

Toys and Why I Kind of Hate Them.

 

I completely identify here because I have the same, times 3!!!!

Fun Fun is being had by all, except at sleepy time whereupon toys boxes (read; the entire room devoted to merely housing their toys, there is no actual space to play in here) and I am free to Hoover for the second time in one day!

Hark! Baby silence. I may no break out my vacuum and finally fetch in my laundry after 2 days of “I am NOT getting all of it in from the rain!”

 

Good Blog. I ‘ followded’ (as my soon to be 4 year old would say)

Politically Bothered

A Dictatorship; this is what Hub deems sufficient to the survival of the human race. Although apolitical, he supports austerity, police state mentality and survival of the fittest. Less like cheese, we’re more like chalk and Lemon OiL (me being the fragrant latter).

I agree this country needs to be fixed but I also can’t get over the complete lack of motivation the on the part of absolutely everyone to do something! The political party that managed to successfully beat this country into the state it is in now, languished for 2years in opinion polls but are now, inexplicably, way ahead of the competition in the polls. They must be fudging numbers in the “objective” reporting office because like poop I can explain that! 

I admire efficiency, limited liberalism and qualified politicians. Our current head of the country? He’s a Man from Mayo, from the back of beyond. Mayo people are fine, however, a lot of people I know are Mayo-nese (see what  I did there?) My problem with this particular Mayo native is that he is running the country and is a primary school teacher but is also a career politician. I don’t understand people who endeavour to do this because just what are qualified to Minister if this is the case? The current TD for Health, I get that. He is a doctor, albeit an inept minister for Health.

What I don’t understand is the purpose of a politician. I studied ancient Greek Civ and took an exceptional interest in the political end re. the foundation of democracy and while I don’t agree with returning to that slight nuttiness, I do think today’s politicians have lost their way. Most seem determined to get into the Dáil and are happy to sit there as back benchers with excellent salaries, commendable allowances and not much else to do.

If I was Chief for a spell, here’s what I would do (leading on from emailing lots of TDs in the past few days and giving out stink)

1) Sell Out the banks. (obvs on the advice of financial and economic consultants)

2) Cap all public service earnings at 75,000euro thus insuring that anyone who is in politics or the Social Welfare Service and basically there to administrate*.    

(pertaining to 2, I do not include teachers/ educators of any degree, defence or public protection or medical sectors in my changes)

3) That if you are a politician, it is your ONLY profession. You may not conduct any businesses on the side

4) The Dáil meets twice a week, the rest of the time you should be in your constituencies sorting stuff out. Open your poxy offices.

5) Expenses and allowances as well as the state subsidized bar and restaurant are gone.

6) The Seanad is reinstated as per the original purpose and you do not become a Senator by default of not being allocated a position in the Dáil.                                 

7) The Dáil days are open to the public, not for public comment but for viewing.

8) There is no ‘Private Session’, nor are there ‘exclusive interviews or access’ with media

9) International duties, excepting Taoiseach and Tanaiste, are at the full expense of the TD with a review conducted afterward and reimbursal possible then.

10) The President should take a more active role in the government of the country, not necessarily on the Obama scale, but more on the Chairperson of the Dáil scale.

Rant over. But I stick with what I said. Hopefully my next post will be less politically motivated. But don’t even get me started on the Anglo Tapes!Image

Learning, Evolving, Maturing

I learned three really incredible things today, one in the last 5 minutes.

One, that 6 million odd years ago there was this enormous bird named an Argentavis (which is a very romantic sounding name if you regress it’s potential Latin inferences and then retranslate into English) It was pretty durn big, body-wise, as well as being capable of flight. We know the Albatross’ wingspan is spectacular but this guy was monstrous. Methinks there could be a workup into fantasy in the near future… I have a space open and a current filler I’m not happy with!

Two! That the aroma of freshly cut grass isn’t as pleasant as the trimmed lawn infers, the smell is actually a siren, warning other grasses that they are being lacerated, attacked, assaulted, hewn. That’s weird isn’t it? Obviously there is a ‘smell of fear’ but to visualise that fear and the latent concern for its fellows coming from a ‘blade’ of grass possibly as short as your little finger is an intense conception.

Three; Ireland is so unbelievably, financially crippled that I’d personally like to haul everyone in Ireland responsible for our copious financial crises in front of target board, be left with a bow, an endless stream of arrows and to have at them.

 

That is all for now! On a cheerful note, here is a Musketeer I drew for Hub. It keeps winking at me with it’s shiny gel-green eyes so I assume he’s craving attention. 

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