Who would you queue for two days to see?

One Direction?  U2?  Jay-Z?

In Ireland the answer is Garth Brooks, for 1 in 5 of us anyway.  I had no idea.  I couldn't name one of his songs myself, but it seems he's a country and western singer who was last here twenty years ago and made quite an impression!  Every news and talk show today is reporting on the length of the queues, and the joy and heartbreak of those who did and didn't get tickets.  It's the same on Facebook, and by lunch time there were rumours of riots in Limerick and tickets on ebay for €1500.  And there was me thinking that no-one would have the spare cash for such things.  Let alone that much time and energy to spend, waiting for Ticketmaster to open.

I'm sure that he's a very fine artist, but country and western is not really my thing.  Nor is queueing.  And especially not queueing for two days.  So what's it all about?  Have you ever been in a two day queue?  How do you eat?  Sleep?  Go to the toilet?  Pass the time?

These things really bother me.

Is there anyone that I would wait outside in the cold and wet for two days to see?

Nope.  I value my comfort too much and always did.

Not even if Kurt Cobain himself came back from the dead.

Not everyone queued of course.  Plenty of my friends reported multiple laptops and iPads and phones at the ready counting down the seconds with sweaty palms and fingers poised to press buy the second the on-line store opened.

I won't miss the concert anyway.  I live so close to the venue that I will hear all three nights whether I like it or not.  Do you think I could sell a few tickets to my back garden if I threw in a deckchair or two and a barbecue?

Winter Colour and other Reasons to Be Cheerful

Once again there's stuff going on that I cannot share on the blog, so here's the good stuff instead...

Winter Flowers

Brightening up a dull doorstep on a rainy day, as they have ALL winter!  And I really don't have green fingers so I've no idea how that happened, but I'm very grateful as they cheer me up every time I return home.

Free time

With my son back in school full time since yesterday, I've got a few more hours to play with, and a bit less pressure, at least until all the appointments start to kick in!  So I've been opening all those letters that had been abandoned in my in-tray, tackling the list of household jobs,  and later today I'm going to get my hair trimmed at an actual hairdresser.  This is a rare treat as a friend normally comes to the house and does all of us at the one time, which is lovely too in a different way, but I am looking forward to feeling pampered.

Another TV Show

To help me stay calm, I'm taking a partial break from all things political, so I'm on the hunt for stuff to watch on my tablet, while I wait for the boy to go to sleep.  Imagine my delight when I discovered that a show I've long missed, Blake's 7, is now on YouTube!  I'm rationing myself to one episode a night, starting from the very first series, which I never saw... And yes I know that all the props look like rejects from a plumbing store, but the characters are just fabulous.

Here's hoping that you're feeling cheerful too xx

Reasons to be Cheerful

What life has taught me Part 1

Instead of a post about New Year Resolutions, I've written this, because I need to remember it!

Acceptance = Peace

Okay so 30 years ago peace was not something that I was particularly interested in.  It is now.

I began writing a post on 'acceptance' four years ago.  I was asking how you know when you've truly accepted that you have a child who is 'different'?

Then I still found it "impossible to say that I have two children with special needs - as my son is much more like Angel than his severely handicapped sister."

Little did I know what was ahead.

It's a different kind of acceptance now.  It's not the kind that says that autism is wonderful.  I don't see that.  But after what happened at Christmas I've given in and accepted that my son's needs are going to have to take priority for the foreseeable future.  Even over Smiley's.  She is more flexible and less anxious, and this time will pass too, and then I can put her needs as top priority once again.

I may not travel for many years, nor sleep on any pillow other than my own.

But it is also liberating: I don't have to stress any more about how I'm going to manage this trip or that visit.

I will just say no.

It's not the life I would have chosen or expected, but there is a sense of peace, once you accept that there is very little you can do to change things.

Stop trying so hard

It usually isn't worth it.  For many years I was aiming for the picture-perfect life, and trying to be a loving wife, amazing mum, good friend, irreplaceable employee.  Perhaps I even succeeded at some of these!

It's like those times you think that everything will be alright if you could just.......(insert whatever you like - be a size 10 again, toilet train your toddler, learn to love green tea etc etc)  

But there can be a huge cost, as I realised last summer.

To Do Lists are Depressing

Like the laundry, they is no end to them, at least not in this house. Still, I seem to need the one and have to do the other.

Oddly enough, I did once get to the end of my 'to do' list in work.  And got a strong reminder the next day not to feel smug about it, when Smiley decided to shake up my life.

Quit analysing what others think

Well unless you actually enjoy it!  I've been on nights out where one conversation or event was dissected in detail for most of the evening.  And I'm not sure that anything was achieved, as we will never fully understand or know the motives of others.  I've also been guilty in the past of trying to remember everything that I've said, to make sure there was nothing that could be taken the wrong way.  It's exhausting and probably pointless.  I'm pretty sure that there are those who disagree with some of my parenting methods, my disinterest in housework, or my left wing politics.  I don't always understand the motives behind my son's behaviours either.   But I'm learning not to think about it too much.

Ask for help

This took me years.  I always wanted to be independent in every way, but life definitely challenged that idea!  In theory, I'd always rather help someone else than accept help for myself, and when people are kind to me, I usually end up in tears.  Social media has made it a lot easier to ask for help, because you can issue a general plea, so not putting one person on the spot; making them feel under pressure, and me feel guilty.

Learn to say no

Today I seem to have some spare time, but this is unusual.  Normally I feel as though I am on a helter-skelter from morning until night.  Yet I still say yes far too often.  Then I end up feeling overwhelmed and stressed, totally wiping out the benefits of helping someone else.

No-one notices un-ironed tea towels

Well, with a few exceptions.  And there are lots of other things that really don't matter too.

Look after yourself

Because if you don't, it's quite likely that no-one else will.  I'm trying to do something for myself every day now, and not with the excuse that happy parents make happy children.  A lifetime of extreme parenting lies ahead and I totally deserve to enjoy my life.  I'm not a robot.  Well not yet anyway, as they haven't invented the pills.

Choose your battles

Yep, we've all heard that one.  But what about this one...

Peace is more important than winning

It certainly is in this house.

These may not be your lessons

This post is about what I've learned.  It works for me, but your life is probably completely different.

And one more thing....

Letting go of hope

That sounds perverse, but bear with me, it's not!

Some people say that that the only thing that keeps them going is hope.  But sometimes hope is destructive as it leads us to keep pushing against the inevitable, when just accepting things as they are is actually less stressful.

Of course, you still have hopes and dreams for the future for your children, and hopefully yourself, but I'm talking about being realistic about the here and now.  Not trying to live the life you did before, planning this and organising that, despite the stress, expense and worry involved .  Only for your plans to be spoilt or even abandoned altogether when you realise that they are not possible to do with your children, or in your circumstances.

So what life has really taught me is to stop hoping that everything will be alright in the future, and make the most of today instead.

So what has life taught you?

Please Twitter...

It's a first world problem, according to Angel.  And I know she's right, but let's just say it's another problem I could do without.  As a carer, twitter has been a lifeline for me.  Entertainment when I'm bored in yet another waiting room, advice when things go wrong, information when I need answers, and friends around the world for when I need conversation.  Day or night there's always something happening on twitter.  At least there is on my main twitter account, which I've had for nearly four years, and I follow 1500 people now and quite a lot of people follow me too.  But it could all end soon.

All I did was change my password.

I was using twitter.com on my laptop.

But the next day when I tried to log in as usual with the new password I got this message:

I thought it was odd, but perhaps I had made a mistake.  Nope, a second try got the same result.  I changed my password back to the old one, and the same message appeared.

I tweeted @twitter and @support over a couple of weeks.  They didn't respond.

I also completed every twitter support form I could find.  Sometimes they even sent emails to me.  To the WRONG email address - not the one associated with my main twitter account.  So when I replied to these, I would get this response:

No sh*t, Sherlock! 
(PS I did file every request using the correct email address)

I can still use twitter on my laptop provided I reset the password every day.  I can also use existing third party applications such as tweet deck, echofon and mobile twitter as long as I don't log out.

So what's the big problem, you ask?  It's mobile right now - if you ask for a password reset on mobile, you have to enter it twice before you can set up the app.  And guess what happens the second time I enter the password?  Yep, I get this message again:

You see my beloved iPad 1 that I share with Smiley no longer works, and so I bought a cheap new android tablet for Christmas, and it cannot be set up for my main twitter account, nor will I be able to use my main twitter account on any future phone or laptop if this problem cannot be resolved.

It's been nearly a month now, and nothing has changed.

So many companies are amazing on twitter, they respond really fast to requests for help, offer special deals and share useful information.  Please twitter, would you not do the same?

UPDATE:  Well this is why I love blogging.  Thanks to the lovely people at Tots 100 who gave me the advice I needed to solve the problem.  

SOLUTION: Uninstall all third party twitter applications and try again.

Silent Sunday 19.1.14

A school meeting and other reasons to be cheerful 16.1.14

My reasons to be cheerful this week begin with an end.  At least I hope so!  The boy is back in school and went on time this morning for the first time in weeks.  Thanks in no small part to...

The School Meeting

Actually I probably can't say too much about this except it went well, we all agreed about most things, there is an action plan that started today and a further meeting in a couple of weeks to review it.  A good result, no?

Something on TV

Sitting down on a Saturday night with a glass of Baileys, but not expecting much, and then getting sucked into a new TV programme.  I even put the laptop down...  And I'm actually looking forward to this Saturday so I can see part 2.  Sad, I know.


Even through all the recent drama and the cold weather and all the tempting Christmas goodies, I kept on running jogging very slowly whenever I could get out.  I'm not counting the miles, but being able to keep going for half an hour without stopping has to be good, doesn't it?

Wind and water

I used to love my winter walks along a deserted beach in County Wexford, wind and water my only companions.  I never thought to enjoy that again.  But last Sunday as I strolled along the tow path at dusk beneath the eves of Mountjoy Jail, I realised that I was completely alone, the only sound was the breeze rippling the surface of the canal.  Not so different at all.

Frosty mornings

And evenings too.  In fact all cold days are the friend of the menopausal woman.  There is no greater joy than dashing outside into the winter chill to cool off.   Perhaps I should be hugging a tree to warm it up?  Or plug myself into the grid and earns a few euros?

A lovely surprise

An unexpected gift from a lovely friend who knows that things have been - ahem - a little difficult for the last while....

Reasons to be Cheerful

My mind is blank

And I'm trying to keep it that way.

Every day has become a blank page on which a story unfolds.

The essential bits still take place: eating, sleeping, working, hoisting, but in between? Well anything can happen.

What went well last week, or even yesterday, may be rejected today.

Solutions have to found within minutes. I could only think of one person who could help me with today's particular problem. And she did. Thank you so much, you're a real friend.

Still, I was shaky and emotional all day. And that probably helped when the mobile began ringing. Things started to happen, urgent meetings were arranged. Just as well my diary is mostly clear!

All is calm now, and I am just focusing on the here and now. Plus the 'to do' list of course. But little else. I need to look after myself as well as my family, so I may not always be around on social media, or I may disappear from discussions. I don't want to hear or read anything to disturb my fragile peace of mind. That might distract me from what I need to do. The radio is mostly quiet, I can't bear to hear the same people saying the same things, using the same words, as explained much more eloquently by Irish journalist Gene Kerrigan in the Sunday papers this week. It's not the same me either, not the media and news junkie with an opinion on everything. Some of you may be relieved to hear it....

So my mind is pretty blank. But right now that's working for me.

Happy out of school

School began yesterday for children and teens in Ireland.  But not for my son, and I will gloss over the early morning.  But once I had agreed that he wasn't going to school, he was happy.  

I explained that there would be no consoles of any kind before 4pm. 

He was still happy. 

And what followed was not at all like a typical day in this house.

He got up at 10, got washed and dressed, emptied the dishwasher and practised his handwriting by addressing envelopes for me.

Then he began to find out about all the things that I have to do while he and his sister are in school.  I'm currently trying to gather information and ideas for a necessary revamp of Smiley's shower room, to save my back.   So he came along to a bathroom showroom and even offered a few suggestions.  There was a visit to the library on the way back, as another nod to his education.

After a quick lunch at home, he walked around to the post box with a letter, all by himself.  When he returned we took down the christmas tree decorations together and cleaned up all the needles.  Then he read a few chapters of his history book.

He was happy, helpful and almost annoyingly cheerful all day!  Food for thought definitely...

Today he had promised to go into school, but it didn't happen.  As I write this, he is researching cacti, and I have even persuaded him to set up a pinterest board to pin up his favourites.  Is this the start of home education perhaps?

I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

But he is certainly very happy out of school.

The little mermaid and other reasons to be cheerful

My little mermaid went swimming again today.  You should have seen her riding the swell from the wave machine and laughing at the bubble water fountains in the pool.  She was loving every second.  Just look at the happy anticipation here..

Preparations to bring Smiley swimming start a few days in advance.  I need a friend to come along too, as I am not confident that I can manage the process alone.  Then I have to make sure that her bowels are in full working order - even though she will be wearing swim protection, I really don't want any little - or big - accidents while in the pool.  My lovely friend did not let me down and was happy to organise the swimming at the one time that works 3.30pm.  Don't ask....   The pool is disabled-friendly, but is not set up for a severely disabled child.  So the nice lifeguards were persuaded to lift her into the pool again, and it took the two of us to hold her on the shower seat and wash and shampoo her after.  But yes it was really worth it!

Before that my children were spending time in their favourite place - home - with their favourite people - friends and family - and so all has been mostly calm and peaceful for the last ten days.  Card games were played.  There was a trip into town that lasted for more than half an hour.  DIY projects were completed.  Best craic on News Years Eve for a long time as I laughed my socks off at Graham Norton.  And I wasn't on my own.

So it looks like holidays at home mean happiness in this house.  And lots of reasons to be cheerful, currently hosted by Lakes Single Mum.

Reasons to be Cheerful