Thursday, November 3, 2016

At work, the diet is king

I work in a large open plan office. It can be difficult at times and if you have ever worked in an office you will know why, I am not going to spell it out here.

One good thing about working in a large office is that there is always someone with a new fad diet to try and company along the arduous journey to thin.

A few months ago, at the start of the year, a few of them got into this skinny tea/coffee phase. I think it was basically a laxative. It worked for some, but not all. One girl looked brilliant after doing it a few weeks, but I think she might have been starving herself too. Problem for me was that it was too expensive. I could not reconcile the cost when I could just eat less and get the same result. So that was a miss.

I thought about going back to weight watchers. It worked for me before and I always said I need someone to be on my case once a week if I am not losing. However, that’s another cost and I am doing my best to be good with my spending.

I have gotten into a smoothie buzz lately. The other half adds protein powder, but it does not agree with me, at all! So my general smoothie is:

Lots of spinach
Water
Banana
Chia seeds
Coconut oil

I have been taking this for breakfast most mornings for about three months now. I have gotten used to the taste, the majority of the time I do not grimace. I think I eat healthier now than I ever did in the past. I need to! I turned 35 this year. I have to look after this old body ;-)

So, the newest diet in the old workplace is the ‘no sugar’ diet. Like literally no sugar. Not even the naturally occurring sugar in fruit. It did interest me. I wanted something to spur me on and be really difficult for a while. One of the ladies at work does it for twelve days at a time.  Yesterday I was bemoaning how my coffee would taste if I did it. I usually take three teaspoons of sugar in my very strong coffee every morning. She told me it would not be too bad. I did not believe her. It wasn’t though. I tried a light coffee this morning without my sugar and it was grand, drinkable. However, I still had a banana in my breakfast smoothie and one before I started writing… so bold! We will see how long I last (not long, I suspect!).

Any takers on this crazy diet? No? Just me? OK then!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Here we go with the NaNo again!

Agh, so it really has been forever since I updated this blog!! I’m going to blame the full time job for everything… Of course, I could have stayed up late after Beth had gone to bed and wrote. I could have used the time when she was at her Dad’s better. I could have (should have?) done so much more, but I became lazy. Well, that and I met someone.

Yes, after many years of non-starter relationships and exhausting online dating, I finally met someone. I was beginning to think I would never find anyone I could put up with on a daily basis (or someone who would put up with me!) or someone I could relax and have fun with. I wasn’t too bothered. I was happy enough on my own with Beth as my shadow and constant companion. However, it wasn’t to be.

We met at my new job last July, but didn’t start dating until October of last year. It’s been a full year and he hasn’t run for the hills screaming, so that’s a plus.

Down side to new relationships is the weight gain! Too many nights having a few drinks, a cozy takeaway, a shared jumbo pack of Dorito’s, it all adds up and it leads me back to where I was six years ago with my weight. Time to swat away the oreos and jellies and get back to healthy living. I have two stone to lose. It’s a long journey ahead, for sure.

The reason I’m back, by the way, is that I have decided to jump head first into NaNoWriMo again. I didn’t even attempt it last year, I was involved in another SONG show. With that, the full time job, being a full time single mammy and a new relationship, I didn’t feel like I needed any extra pressure. However, this year, I am determined to use my time in the evenings for good, not evil (sitting on my butt in front of the telly until I go to bed). So I’m sitting at my kitchen table and hoping after writing this a new story will burst forth. Even if it doesn’t though, I will still have made a start and that’s good enough for the first day.


And just to remind people, no, I’m not writing about you! My stories are purely fictitious.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ireland's Referendum

This Friday, May 22nd, those of age in Ireland will get to vote in a very important referendum, marriage equality. This will be the thirty-forth amendment to the constitution to mandate the provision of same sex marriage. You can read more about it here.

Since the announcement, I have been very adamant on how I am voting. When the No posters started going up around Dublin and then around my own town, I was disgusted. You see, the No campaign's argument, mainly, is that this proposed change will somehow be detrimental to children and the 'family unit'. They believe a child needs a mother and father to be happy. In posters, they have the tag line of "She needs her mother for life, not just for 9 months." So really, what they are saying is that a child won't be happy without a mother. In my opinion, this is horsesh*t.

I believe a good parent is a good parent regardless of sex. What a child needs is love and support. Just because I'm a woman does not mean I am more equipped to give this love and support than a male counterpart. Our hearts, male or female, are the same. As a woman, I do not have super powers that allow me to be a perfect parent to Beth. I make mistakes, her dad makes mistakes, our parents made mistakes with us. There is no manual for anyone and for me to stand up and say I know more about raising children than any same sex couple would be unbelievably arrogant and downright stupid. Parenting is a minefield, no one gets it completely right. We keep our kids happy and healthy as best we can, regardless of our sex.

In saying all that, I do believe there has to be balance in a child's life. Many of the No side might see that as being a male/female balance. The male/discipline and female/love. But, I see it more of a ying/yang balance. Being a single mother, I do have to be both sides of the coin. If I can do this (well, I attempt to), it can be said the same for same sex couples. Balance is needed, it's something I have to work hard at, something I fail at often, but if I can do it, see Beth needs that, then it stands to reason any same sex couple can do that too. I personally know same sex couples that would probably do a better job than me!

Another point, same sex couples can already be parents. This referendum would just be allowing them the same rights as a heterosexual married couple, therefore allowing them to be recognised and protected as a family unit. 

As it stands in Ireland, we have civil partnerships. The No side believe same sex couples should be happy with this. In my view, we are all the same and therefore should have the same rights. Why should gay members of our society be treated as second class citizens? 

On Friday, after I finish work, I will collect Beth and take her with me to the polling booth. I always take her with me when I am voting as I want her to see how important it is to make her voice heard, especially as a woman. I want her to see me voting yes, I want her to know we are all human and we deserve the same rights regardless of sexual orientation. If she came to me in ten years to say she was gay, how could I look her in the eye if I hadn't voted yes? How would I tell her I didn't stand up for her rights to be seen as equal to her heterosexual peers? 

This is going to be a very close vote. Probably as close as the Divorce Referendum of 1995. The No campaign then had the same argument about the 'family unit'. I was too young to vote, but remember the tag line of the No campaign "Hello divorce, goodbye Daddy." Ridiculous. But, it almost didn't pass. This is why it is so important for everyone to get out and vote!

Make your voice heard! Vote Yes on Friday!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Finally, Devil in the Clouds is live!

It's done, it's finally done! Devil in the Clouds is available on Amazon. It was an exciting weekend to get this up and running. It is off to a good start too! So, go join the queue for a great summer read.


Speaking of summer, temperatures are heating up here on the east coast of Ireland. Just in time too, as Vantastival is in less than two weeks. You can read about our experiences of last year here. Can't wait to shake out the tent and don the flowers in the hair. I'll be sure to write all about it here. I plan to see more music this year. Last year, Beth got her way more times than was necessary. I have her warned that she'll be going to more bands. I have a provisional list of who I want to see. They are:

Friday
Corner Boy
Elephant
Evil Presidentes

Saturday
The Flaws
Fierce Mild
Words That Burn

Sunday
Delorentos
Black Svan
Wood Burning Savages

Obviously, I want to see a lot more, but, with Beth, I have to divide my time between what's fun for her and what suits me. Vantastival is so handy as we live very close by. Only ten or fifteen minutes drive. So, we will camp out Friday and Saturday night. Then, I'll drop Beth with my Mum for a sleepover on the Sunday and come back out to Delorentos. Everybody is happy! Can't wait!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Big Changes

What a couple of months! Well, first off, I didn't exactly make it through the full month of February Facebook Free. I have very little will power. I'm still surprised I managed to quit cigarettes three years ago. I made it till about the last week and then cracked! Very bold!

Sweeney Todd was absolutely amazing! I was so busy with it. My official title was Props Manager. It was manic and a huge learning experience. I made over thirty salt dough pies for Mrs Lovett's pie shop and Beth helped me paint them. In all, there must have been around two hundred props! To be in charge of it all was a lot of fun and stress!!

Official Poster

Final Scene (Photo: Andrew Browne)

Unfortunately, the stress took it's toll and I ended up in A&E with bad abdominal pain a week after the show. They weren't sure what it was (suspected appendicitis or burst cysts) and sent me home with antibiotics. I wasn't able to each much. Ten days later I ended up in A&E for a second time. They finally diagnosed me. Basically, the stress had caused my stomach and intestines to stop working properly. The pain I had been experiencing was caused by spasms in the intestines. It'll take a while to get back to normal, doctor said four or five months, but at least its nothing serious. I'm still getting the odd pain when I eat too much, but nothing as bad as it was. As a result, I've lot over a stone in weight since the beginning of February. I'm not losing now and still well within a healthy weight range. My clothes are all fitting better ;-)

The big news is that I got a job! Two actually! On the 28th February, I started work in a pub that does food. So I'm a waitress/bartender again. It has been over ten years since I worked in the industry, but it all came back to me very quickly. I love going to work and the money isn't bad either. It has taken a lot of stress out of my life by just having a little bit extra money. I only work one or two days a week at the moment, at the weekends, but it suits the other job perfectly. 

The other job is completely different. I work as a Welfare Rights Clerk in the Dundalk Resource centre. We give advice on welfare and taxation. The people I work with make it an easy place to arrive to every weekday morning. I feel like the dullest person in the office with all these eccentric and bubbly individuals! It is part-time and I'm able to collect Beth from school everyday. Best of both worlds.

I was also involved in another play last week. Backstage as usual. It was A Life by Hugh Leonard. The Dolmen Theatre Group put it on with a great cast. They are the group I started with, this time last year, with Lend Me A Tenor. It was a great week and well received.

However, that will be my last play for a while. With the two jobs, I need to rely on family for babysitting. Asking my Mum and everyone to take on babysitting when I'm helping out at the plays as well is just too much. So, I'm taking a break for the rest of the year until the next S.O.N.G. production. Already looking forward to it!

Here are some Sweeney Todd photos:
Scenemaker building the set

The ceiling at An Tain Theatre

Under construction

Pretty Women with Todd (Brendan Cleary) and the Judge (Kevin Stanley)

Hats a-plenty


Big birthday for my sister. Chocolate biscuit and red velvet cake

Beth trying on shoes

Pie beginnings (Sweeney Todd)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Facebook Free February

I can't believe it is February already. Where did January go?? I'm trying to think of all the things we got up to during the month, but I'm feeling a bit boring! What did we do?

After a quick look through my phone photos, I've a better idea of where the month went!
We attended our first Panto, Jack and the Beanstalk. 

I went to She Stoops to Conquer in the Abbey, Dublin

As always, the set was amazing

The show was hilarious. Obviously, I didn't take any photos during the performance

We did a bit of baking. Frozen cupcakes, of course...

Bubbles!

Santa brought baby Sophie. Her fancy clothes were knitted by a family friend.

Beth started swimming lessons. The first one did not go well!!

We had lunch out one day after school for a treat
My little fighter. Doing great at kickboxing.

Beth is big into board games. I got her Monopoly Junior for Christmas. She would play it non-stop if I let her.

We had snow last week. We don't get much here on the east coast, but Beth enjoyed it anyway.
So, there's a few snapshots of our month. This month has started off a bit manic with me. I'm in charge of props for SONG's production of Sweeney Todd next week. There are A LOT of props for this musical. I have trawled the shops looking for 18th century items. I still don't have everything. There are painted handcuffs drying on my table at the moment and the sewing machine has been dragged out! I'll be taking loads of photos when we're up and running. I'm very excited, but also incredibly stressed!

Suppose I should explain my post title. I've been a little overwhelmed lately, with financial worries, writer's insecurities, parental inadequacies etc. I decided I needed to simplify my life. I'm not promoting a book at the moment, so I feel I can just take myself off Facebook for a month. On Saturday, I deactivated my Facebook account. I've been on it since 2007. Eight years! The first evening was fine. Yesterday, I kept picking up my phone to check out what's happening in the world and remembered, oh yeah, I can't... I thought I would feel like I was missing out on something. You know, like the feeling you got when younger and you weren't out on a Saturday night? Wondering what was going on, not wanting to miss all the gossip. BUT, I feel strangely lighter. My mind is more focussed. It was becoming an addiction. I beat cigarettes almost three years ago. I still miss them everyday, but I know I'll never go back. I don't want to be addicted to anything. It's not a good way to live your life. 

Now, I'm not saying I won't go back, but I am taking this month off. I'm not off the grid completely though. I'm still on Twitter and Instagram, please feel free to follow me. 

However, a problem might be that I haven't really told anyone what I've done. Some people may think I have deleted them as a friend. Hopefully, they'll read this and realise it's nothing personal ;-) or send me a text, the old fashioned way!

Here's to a Facebook Free February! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

105 and counting

Today's post is number 105! I started this blog in April 2010, almost five years ago. I didn't post much at first. Not until I began to take my writing career seriously at the end of 2011. I don't post as often as I should, but I'm still here! Sometimes, I write about the everyday boring stuff. Other days, I write about things that go through my insecure writer's brain. It can be scary to put my insecurities out there, for all and sundry to read, should they want to. My fear often holds me back, so I stick to the general sides of my life. 

Do you ever feel, if you were to show people what goes on in your head they might run for the hills, screaming?

At night, I think too much. Conversations, ideas, wishful thinking all clamour for attention. I imagine full lives played out from my pillow at midnight. If only I had an off switch...

Our Christmas Tree and new Christmas train

Striking a pensive pose

Christmas Morning

With Santa on Christmas day

Girl meets world