28 May 2014

and now for something completely different

The inescapable failure of a society built upon growth and its destruction of the Earth's living systems are the overwhelming facts of our existence. As a result, they are mentioned almost nowhere. They are the 21st century's great taboo, the subjects guaranteed to alienate your friends and neighbours. We live as if trapped inside a Sunday supplement: obsessed with fame, fashion and the three dreary staples of middle-class conversation: recipes, renovations and resorts. Anything but the topic that demands our attention.
Statements of the bleeding obvious, the outcomes of basic arithmetic, are treated as exotic and unpardonable distractions, while the impossible proposition by which we live is regarded as so sane and normal and unremarkable that it isn't worthy of mention. That's how you measure the depth of this problem: by our inability even to discuss it.

George Monbiot yesterday in the Guardian.

early summer

25 May 2014

22 May 2014

It's getting quite blustery and hot out there. The cat has come in. Big news. The vertigo has settled in nicely, most of the time I am so seasick I want to puke. In a bright spark of insight I decided to get myself to an ENT exam this afternoon. And now I am entertaining the wild notion that all will be well. My prince will come and drive me there as I am prone to toppling over when I am not doing my drunken walk. 
Until then I shall wander into the basement and slowly move all of our precious valuable junk out of harm's way because there is a storm coming with prospects of very heavy downpour and as we all well know by now this could mean flooding. Not from a swollen river bursting its banks about half a mile down the road but from too much rain pushing its way through the sodden ground through the basement walls and up the drains. If it happens it will be the third time in four years and we still won't connect the dots. If it doesn't happen, well, life goes on and we can pretend for a while longer that this is just a bit of weather.

20 May 2014

soothing my corticosteroid overdosed body

Here I am watching rose petals drop in the warm wind. What could be more pleasant on this mild morning in late May. Well, for starters, I could enjoy it. Just sitting and watching and enjoying it. No thinking, no speculations, not counting the days of sick leave accumulating on my work record, looking for causes and something to blame - what was it this time. What did you do wrong now, you ignorant fool pretending to be healthy.
Detachment. I could really do with some detachment. Maybe a little bit of confidence as well. Instead, I am in the grip of vertigo, my hands are shaking with the effort of keeping some form of balance. Somewhere in the back of my mind I know this will pass. Eventually. And once the cortisone spike is over and done with I will be less emotional. Last night I cried watching Peggy and Don dance to Frank Sinatra. Honestly.

16 May 2014

A nausea morning. The air cold still but the sky is this very sharp blue, the power of the sunrays approaching like a giant octopus (hah!). The early hours of Fridays are always delicate, thanks to the effects of the weekly injection of my immune suppressor drug on Thursday evening. Talking about octopus, I know.  Actually, I had some very decent octopus curry in paradise, but let's not think about food right now.
Instead I am plodding my way through a manuscript from a wealthy, retired academic who secretly wants to write a novel while reviewing recent approaches in the therapy of alcoholic liver disease. It doesn't work, obviously. Right now, the pages are a colourful mess of my comments and suggestions and I know I will have to stop being so diplomatic and cut it all down to size soon enough.
I woke up tasting blood from my bleeding gums this morning and while I was tumbling down into the black hole of panic (tooth ache, the world is coming to an end) I  listened to R breathing peacefully in his sleep. That was actually quite beautiful. Sometimes, only sometimes I ask myself what it must have been like for my mother and all her demons and pains and fears, living alone in the big house while we were all as far away as possible. And of course I ask myself how I would have coped in her situation and then I quickly stop and I avoid looking into the mirror for a while because she stares out at me through my eyes and that I cannot bear.

11 May 2014

Rain at last. Lots of it. I am hiding inside with blanket and hot water bottle. My digestive system once again in spectacular turmoil. Last night I slept for 14 hours. More or less.
Generally, I feel I should use these times of immobility for deep thinking and reading and mental improvement and so on. But why? I mean there is no exam at the end of it and my chances and willingness of moving up the career ladder are zilch. Not that it matters. Not following a career path is obviously the consistent motto of my life. I like a bit of consistency from time to time.

No, what I need to do right now is watch online tv. In 2010, watching Brothers & Sisters carried me through some very nasty times despite my child's disgust and persistent attempts to get me interested in more meaningful programs (Flight of the Conchords, Black Books, Summer Heights High). I stuck to it until that woman who had breast cancer back in thirtysomething lost her memory after a car crash. Thankfully, my health was getting better by then and I was able just in time to realise that I had been watching utter rubbish. 

But then again, thirtysomething is one of the few memories I have of the last time we lived in Dublin, a year of full time work (with career options staring into my face), my child unhappy in a crappy school, my man hoarse and tired from teaching adolescent boys and my lovely mother in law dying of cancer. I know we all did try our best but that year is a blur. 

In my memory, I am either driving through Blackrock on a rainy Sunday morning listening to Walking in Memphis and crying after visiting my beautiful mother in law in hospital. 
Oh, I loved that woman. Or I am switching between Irish and UK tv channels following two different series of thirtysomething episodes while making up a knitting pattern to copy the cardigan of that university professor guy, the blond one with the beard who gets killed in the end. 

It was not a happy time but there you are. In the end, R spread out the job offers on the kitchen table and we threw the dice.

My tv analgesics of choice today are Endeavour and Mammon.  So far so good.

06 May 2014

Before R left for work he gave me the rundown on the news about Ukraine. He thinks the stock markets will collapse or something equally unfathomable to my less developed brain (money wise that is). In the early mornings I can hear the booming voices of the BBC world service coming from the kitchen. 

I have a hard time relating to these events. I am a child of the cold war, I grew up in a beautifully reconstructed medieval city about two hours drive from the minefields, barbed wire fences, floodlights and watch towers that were then the inner German border. I had no interest in what was behind it, I imagined a mix of ruins, barren landscapes and eternal Doctor Zhivago-ish winters if anything. The most eastern place in Europe I have been is Prague on a school trip during the cold war which meant that once we had figured out how to exchange our deutschmarks on the black market we really truly lived it up. On the last day we handed out the fattest tips just trying to get rid of the stuff before we were frisked at the border.

While R, who grew up on this green neutral island way out on to the West of Europe, is forever trying to get me to see the potential impact, contacting former colleagues now working in Odessa and Moscow, circling the vast contaminated area around Chernobyl on the page of the Times atlas of the world. And of course, he knows everything about the Black Sea ports, the Crimean Tartars and the steps from the Eisenstein movie. Ok, I knew that one as well. 

All I know is that I am glad my mother is dead. She would be terrified. In my dream some nights ago she was sitting on her chair by the kitchen window, smoking and crying. And the three of us were silently watching from the door, not able to understand what was going on, waiting for our father to come home, to hold her and talk to her in this special voice for a long long time.