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Weekend Round-Up

10 December, 2017 at 8:28 pm by belgianwaffle

On Friday night there was no hockey training for Michael as it was cancelled due to cold weather. This is not the kind of attitude adopted by the hardy GAA players/coaches to cold weather; it was very welcome though. I had my office Christmas party so although it was my Friday half day, I went back in about 5 having spent the afternoon picking up my daughter’s bike from school (she was on the DART to friend in Wicklow) and watching a film in front of the fire with my loving sons. I was reluctant to go back to work but did and it was grand but I felt dutiful and virtuous rather than having fun and letting my hair down; possibly for the best. I bailed out about 7 to pick up herself from the DART. She was going to a friend’s Christmas carol concert in Trinity. I was a bit dubious – I have been stung before by youth choirs. We met her other friend J in front of Trinity and then went into the chapel where the concert was to be and to my surprise and delight it was quite warm. And then the concert itself was absolutely superb. The singers were amazing; they were unaccompanied but sounded utterly beautiful. The performance included the only good version of “Away in a Manger” that I have ever heard (sorry everyone). My favourite song was probably “Gaudete” but they were really all excellent. Afterwards herself and myself went to supper and that was lovely too although she was exhausted by the time we got home.

On Saturday afternoon, Daniel had his final GAA session of the year (7 a side tournament – which his team won – followed by pizza). You will note that the GAA were not put off by inclement weather like the hockey people. Michael meanwhile had his drama showcase (v good if a bit confusing). Herself and myself attended and we picked up glitter Christmas glasses.

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Afterwards we went to look at the Christmas window in Arnott’s (for me, for me, children only v mildly interested) and got on the new extended Luas line home (verdict from children – “it’s a tram”).

On Saturday night we all trooped off to see the Princess win an award. My poor parents and parents-in-law are not really well enough to attend this kind of event any more and my brother and sister are a bit too busy and far away so herself had to make do with enthusiastic support from her parents and some lacklustre support from her brothers who were, you know, supportive but a little bored.

This morning we had mass (herself mentioned from the pulpit for her award but they got her name wrong so, um, swings and roundabouts) and choir rehearsal. Had a great chat with one of the other parents while waiting for rehearsal to end. Like my mother, he is from Limerick and v interested in horses. I was asking how his daughter was getting on in secondary school and he said that he had spent last night explaining sets to her. “It is,” said he, “very useful for working things out if you want to put a combination on the tote.” He spent some time trying to explain this to me but, unlike his 13 year old, I seem to be a slow learner, I am glad, however, that somebody has found a practical example for the use of sets.

At lunch time we took ourselves off to see a special screening of “A Muppet Christmas Carol” in the cinema. Singing along was encouraged but it did feel like Michael and I were the only ones who knew all the words; so we were, I thought, a little conspicuous. We had hoped to go and look at the snow in the mountains but it was too cold and wet (I mean, I know snow is wet but you want blue skies to enjoy it not leaden sleeting ones) and we realised, belatedly, that herself has grown out of her hiking boots and would have to climb the mountain in Converse runners so instead, we went to the parents-in-law for a visit and now we are home, I have lit the fire and nobody is going anywhere for the remainder of the evening.

How was your own weekend?

Term 1 – Sporting and Other Achievements

8 December, 2017 at 7:12 pm by belgianwaffle

Daniel’s hurling team (U12 C team) has come second in its division (division 10 and that’s not the lowest division, there are millions of kids hurling in Dublin), his football team (U12 B team) has come second in its division (division 5 and there are even more football than hurling divisions) and they were knocked out in the final of the school football tournament. Pretty close every time. Next season, we might get the cup or at least a cup. He is cheerful about his achievements all the same. It’s unclear whether his teams will be promoted like in English soccer (unclear to me anyway,I’m sure the GAA coaches know) and what impact that will have on next year.

Michael got a cert for completing his first term of hockey training. It’s early days.

Meanwhile, herself is up for an award the parish put her up for. There’s a big ceremony at the weekend and she’s allowed to bring five guests. I’m thinking we can just go with her but she’s not sure whether her brothers will be able to face it when the alternative would be a nice evening at home with electronic devices. Possibly a realistic assessment. I’ll keep you posted.

Saint Nicolas, Patron des Ecoliers

7 December, 2017 at 10:02 pm by belgianwaffle

We left Belgium 9 and a half years ago but yet, around the end of November, Michael began to ask, “When is Saint Nicolas coming?” “He comes to Belgian children on December 6, but I hardly think you count at this stage,” I replied. However, on December 5 all the shoes went out and were filled at about 11.30, by a chocolate Paddington and a miniature packet of Pringle’s crisps. Saint Nicolas’s helpers realised that there had been a terrible misunderstanding. Each thought the other was sorting Daniel. So, at 11.30, one went down to the Spar and bought Pringles. In the morning, Daniel said dolefully, that he had wanted a chocolate Santa. Herself, regarding the M&S Paddington dubiously said, “I’ll swap you for this, Saint Nicolas isn’t what he once was, it used to always be a Leonidas Santa.”

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Who knows whether Saint Nicolas will visit us next year?

Plans for Tuesday Evening

4 December, 2017 at 8:00 pm by belgianwaffle

After work on Tuesday, we have the following:
Invitation to a book launch
Invitation to Christmas drinks
A meeting of the school parents’ council
Michael’s weekly scouts meeting
Mr. Waffle’s weekly soccer

Things which made the cut:
The book launch
Michael’s scouts

Things I feel bad about (in order of priority):
The parents’ council
The Christmas drinks
Mr. Waffle’s soccer

Biggish meeting at work on Wednesday, likelihood I will end up working a bit late on Tuesday: 100%

How much I am enjoying having it all at the moment: 0%

Weekend Round Up

26 November, 2017 at 9:13 pm by belgianwaffle

Saturday morning Michael had a storytelling thing at the school. He was quite looking forward to it but it didn’t totally live up to expectations. Daniel’s GAA match was cancelled (oh rejoice!). Michael went to drama in the afternoon – how he loves drama class – and I did some mild Christmas shopping while waiting for him to emerge. I know, I know, it’s only November. Herself, briefly emerged from her room for mealtimes but basically stayed put recovering from the rigours of the week.

This morning we cycled to 10 o’clock mass in Irish (basically realising Dev’s vision for Ireland). I see that they are making the extraordinarily named Solanus Casey blessed. I think that’s step one on the road to canonisation. I was already conscious of this from my contacts within the religious world (hi Mark) but my contact, being American, neglected to mention that Solanus’s parents were Irish. An essential point, you would have thought. Also adding to the mystery of his first name. Was he perhaps Solanus in religion and christened something less exciting? The mystery continues.

We then cycled into town (freezing) to see Fanny’s Journey as part of the French film festival. It’s about a group of young Jewish children trying to flee into Switzerland from France. I cried from frame 1 and to the end of the film. Then we split forces and the Princess and I after a brief stop for sustenance went to buy her trousers for school. As she points out to me, she has been campaigning for school trousers since third class. I’m not quite sure why I resisted for so long but I did. I think in my oppressive, conservative, internalising the patriarchy way, I quite liked the school skirt. Anyhow, I have now accepted the error of my ways. Really.

When we got home she took herself off upstairs to do homework. Daniel was the only child even slightly willing to go into town to check out the organised Christmas fun at Smithfield. It was freezing. I bought Daniel a migraine inducing coloured light thing which sang a tinny jingle bells as his reward for accompanying me. We queued for 40 minutes (timed on my phone) for crêpes. That was a low point. Post-crêpe it was all mildly appealing, far too few stalls and an arctic east wind but loads of entranced kids running around and people on stilts and local kids singing in a choir. There was also a chance to hold the Sam Maguire Cup which Dublin seems to be consistently winning these days.

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Still we were glad enough to leave and get back home to the fire. Final weekend items – Daniel lost a tooth and my brother was in Dublin for the rugby match and did not visit his loving family, my wrath will be terrible etc. And how was your own weekend?

More Fun with Logistics

24 November, 2017 at 11:47 pm by belgianwaffle

So, last night I got back from exotic Sligo quite late. This morning, the Princess begged for a lift on the grounds that if she had to cycle she would be late and it was freezing. I acceded on the grounds that I have been away a lot and I still feel guilty about sending them out in the lashing rain when I had the car in Kilkenny earlier in the week. I said to the boys that I would give them a lift home from games club which is on in school after their Friday half day. End times can vary so I asked them to text me when it was over and I would come and get them.

A minor crisis at work meant that I didn’t get out of the office until about 2.30. I rang the boys a couple of times as I cycled home but no answer. Then Daniel called me and as I answered my phone died. I rang Mr. Waffle from my work phone (he got his number so long ago that I know it off by heart unlike any of the children’s numbers) and asked him to ring Daniel and tell him I was on my way. When I finally got home, I tied my bike to the railings in the front and leapt into the car to drive to the school. At the traffic lights, about half way there, there was a banging on my window and there was a tearful Michael who had walked home from school alone, as he thought I had abandoned him. He had seen me in the car but, sadly, I had not seen him and he had had to chase after the car for two streets with his enormous bag on his back. We drove to the school where Michael spotted Daniel who had just begun to trudge home. Daniel was more resigned than tearful, he has lower expectations for me, I suppose. He told me that he had forgotten his school lunch as well but had managed with donations from friends.

When we finally got home, herself was in bed sick and Michael reminded me that I had promised to take them to the Science Gallery again to check out the catastrophe room which had been fully booked when we visited the exhibition a couple of weeks ago. I got a quick bite of lunch and we were back in the car by 3.45. I tried a number of approaches to the Science Gallery but encountered grid locked traffic in all directions. It took us an hour to get there; it’s normally about 10 minutes. We parked some distance away but the walk made a pleasant change from sitting in traffic. The visit was great. The kind, lovely student guides played disaster card games with the boys; we got into the catastrophe room and Michael got to be president of the citizens’ assembly and had a veto on all the suggestions which he enjoyed very much. The scenario was that a tsunami might flood Cork in the next 500 years and to my chagrin he moved everyone out of Cork rather than build a defensive wall. My Dublin child. Daniel was very patient about Michael being president. It was clearly a role he might have liked himself but he refrained from undermining Michael and was actually quite supportive.

It was nearly 6.30 when we left. I got a call from herself asking when we might be home as she was entertaining saintly T, the childminder turned French conversation class, on her own and felt that in her ill state she needed a bit of support. I rang Mr. Waffle to say that there was no way we were going to make Michael’s hockey training at 6.45.

I got home and lit the fire and moved the language party out of the kitchen and in to sit by my lovely fire so I could start dinner. I had decided to have braised lentils which take forever but I was going to be home Friday afternoon so I would have time, I had thought. Sometimes I find that I can be curiously inflexible so even though it was 7.15 when I started dinner, I still made the lentils so we only sat down to eat at 8.30. As dinner was late, the boys were late to bed and a bit cranky and started rowing with each other upstairs which actually hardly ever happens. Parents were required to separate the tired combatants; all is quiet now but it is almost midnight.

If there were no weekends, I think I would die.

I Grow Old*

23 November, 2017 at 9:15 pm by belgianwaffle

I am shortsighted and deaf. The other night I yelled upstairs to herself to come down to dinner (the dinner gong, an idea whose time has come) and, according to her brothers, she said that she was coming. Did I hear her? I did not. “I’m so deaf,” I sighed. “You’re not deaf, mother,” said Michael patting my arm comfortingly, “you’re just hard of hearing.” So I was at the doctor for a check up and asked her to check whether my ears perhaps needed syringing (something that is very effective for my 92 year old father). She peered into my ear and said, “I have never seen a cleaner eardrum.” There’s a humble brag for you. Anyhow, she said I could go to the opticians for a free hearing test. For what it’s worth, she said that she thought my hearing seemed fine. And it is, I suppose, just, like my eyesight, not as good as it once was.

*I already wear the bottom of my trousers rolled. Your point?


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