Sunday, November 06, 2016

Off on Retreat to Write

Off to my favourite Buddhist Retreat Centre to work on the last draft of my latest book. Nothing like a monastic schedule and daily meditations to get the thoughts focussed and the work done!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Daughter's Book!

Well I'm so proud that I am blogging about this twice, here and in my Book Blog. I claim Mother's Prerogative (and spelling that word correctly while I am at it). My daughter Finn ni Fhaolain will be a published author herself next year with her healthy lifestyle delicious food cookbook being brought out by Gill Books @Gill_Books. These are some of the pics from her photo shoot in Donegal today. You can find Finn herself at and @Fins_Fit_Food.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Day at a Time

Dealing with the loss of the most amazing woman I have ever met. I wrote a poem that I read at her funeral called She was the Sun. She left, trailing stars behind her. Now I'm writing a book about that last journey with her, two months of day and night shifts as cancer slowly killed her. It can be a cruel place, this world. Greater than pain is the bond with people, said the great Jean Vanier.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Little heart to post much these days as I deal with tragedy. It has been a strange Big C year: first my tests, thankfully clear; then my daughter's procedure to remove early abnormal cell growth; and now my mum with full blown disease. Not much more to be said right now.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Courteous Canadian?!

So this is bizarre. As one commenter here said "if the Irish Ambassador to Canada tackled a native Canadian protestor at a ceremony in Ottawa, would he not be recalled immediately?" The fact is Ambassador Vickers shamed the Irish police who were there. It was their job to deal with the situation, not his. The protestor was shouting, he was not violent, and the Ambassador's manhandling of him was, in legal terms, an assault and in social terms, a gross and reckless over-reaction. Ambassador Vickers was undoubtedly a hero in Canada but this act was not heroic. If, as Prime Minister Trudeau says, he was acting spontaneously as a former policeman then he is not fit to be a diplomat. They are required to be diplomatic! Ambassador Vickers needs to do the right thing and resign, saving the Canadian government further embarrassment by having to recall him.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Art & Design!

Just finishing up my first year of an intensive Art & Design course which included metalwork, woodwork, textile art & print, drawing, painting, ceramics, desktop publishing, maths and communications. Phew. It has been fabulous. Brain food. Creative inspiration. Mad fun. And, god, making things is so much more interesting and rewarding than bloody writing. (Should I be saying that?) Here are a few things I made from scrap metal, using metal lathe, welding iron, angle grinder and enamelling kiln - and from blocks of wood, using wood lathe to turn, spindle and off-centre turn. Note: the beautiful paintings which inspired the lamp are by Y.M. Whelan, my brilliant sister. You can find her gallery in Toronto here:

Monday, April 18, 2016

Courteous Canadians

A friend of mine recently told me about his experiences working in a call centre in India. As most of us know, the centres set up sections to look like the country they deal with - posters, maps etc - and one works in a particular country. My friend worked in Canada and he said it was such a pleasant experience despite the fact people were annoyed and having problems with their service. In fact, they tended to apologise for complaining! Well done, Canada. Contrary to that, I'm afraid, was the experience of his friends who worked in the American section. (Sorry, America but this is a true story.) They suffered constant stress from the abusive nature of the calls they received. Now perhaps Americans might think this makes Canadians push-overs. But, you know, people give you better service when you treat them like human beings.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Beannachtaí Lá Fhéile Phádraig!

A few photos from the St. Patrick's Day parade in Bray today. Have to say it was the best I've ever seen and there was a huge turnout of spectators. It was the Mermaid Art Centre who gave us the gorgeous costumes of iced buns, girls in pink and the piano key twirlers. The other photo is my mum and me. Mum is the one on the right! Jaze, we look like sisters. At 92, she's definitely ageing better than me ( yes I spelled ageing right, that's the European version). It was a great day, cool but sunny. As is tradition, all the family met on the corner of Florence Road and Main Street to enjoy the parade and then we retired to mum's house for Irish coffees, snacks, chats and a singalong. My niece Elise was a star singing "The Foggy Dew" and accompanying herself on the guitar. Her mum, my sister Lorraine, made the Irish coffees. My daughter Finn is still in the West but will be home Monday for a few days, hurrah.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Cancer Must be a Lonely Disease

Or is it just me? I've been undergoing tests at my doctor's request due to some early warning signs and the fact that one of my sisters had it (but she's all right now, hurrah). I've mentioned the situation, along with references to hospital visits, MRIs and what not to family and various friends and the degree to which they've either made a vague enquiry promptly forgotten or have totally ignored the news is astonishing. Except the sister who had it, of course, who immediately skyped me to find out what was what. Is that it? Except for those who have had it, are people so terrified by the Big C that they simply cannot countenance the very thought of it and go immediately into denial? Well I hope that's it ... as opposed to me being surrounded by people who could care less!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Anti-Water Protest Dublin February 20

So here's me (frizzy blonde) setting off with my sister Geni, her husband Paddy, my brother-in-law James and his daughter Elise for the last big march against water charges and austerity before the election next week. And the second pic shows Sharon Briggs, running for the People Before Profit party in my riding in Bray. She'll be getting my number 1. We were about an hour at the Garden of Remembrance waiting for the thousands to come down Parnell Square. The numbers were amazing. I couldn't see the beginning ahead of me nor the end behind me. When we turned at Christ Church and headed for Dame Street we could see down the side streets to where thousands more were marching who hadn't reached the turn yet! A fantastic feeling of democracy in action. I felt I was back in the 70s when people knew they could influence the ruling elites. I couldn't believe the Irish Times reporting "several thousand" attended. Why do the media need to lie? Or is it simply that they are so lazy they don't even investigate and just repeat what the powers-that-be tell them. I knew the Irish Independent is nothing more than a mouthpiece for its owner Denis O'Brien but I've now lost all respect for the IT as well.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Annegret Soltau

When I was researching the history of collage for my Art & Design course, I came across this amazing German artist. Her work can be unsettling in the best kind of way, i.e. art that gives you a shake and makes you wake up and think! She's a feminist - so am I, it's not a dirty word, nothing new with the haters both male and female (have never understood the latter, as they enjoy the benefits of feminism while objecting to it). One day I will travel to see an exhibition of hers. Something new added to the bucket list. Meanwhile wasn't I surprised to discover that Braque and Picasso were the first two to use collage and contrary to my initial opinion that it's a pretty useless chocolate box kiddie art form it has had a long and respectable history challenging elite high art establishments, governments and other power structures, fashion, conventional art forms and so on. Okay, now I'm interested.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

So About That List

Re blog post below. Finn reminded me the character's name was Dolores. She was a hoot. And here it is Tuesday and I have ticked off everything on the list except cleaning the shelves. That can wait until painting. I'm amazed at how much I did get done on Sunday - cheers Dolores! - with just the emails left for yesterday and today. Now I'm going to take a well deserved rest and watch Cinema Paradiso which a school chum lent to me.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Getting Things Done

Remember that hilarious character in Dead Like Me whom the main girl stayed with for a time? I think she was her supervisor at work. She had a blog or website that showed her "getting things done" each day. Her followers shared her delight as each item got ticked off. So, here's my list for today: 1) tidy house to stop it sliding into irredeemable chaos 2) wash bookshelves which have been emptied of books - now lying all over floors of living room and kitchen and trailing up the stairs, hence #1 - to prepare for PAINTING nxt week 3) shop for groceries & buy lined pad for #4 4) ***read over producer's contract for film deal of The Hunter's Moon and make notes for skype with agent's lawyer tomorrow*** 5) make carrot and ginger soup for lunch at skule tomorrow 6) email Jampa Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre about volunteer work for Work Weekend coming up in April 7) email - en espanol - Asociaciones de Amigos del Camino de Santiago en Espana to tell them I cannot make the training session in April (flight too expensive) and request to go a week early in summer to train in the albergue in which I would be volunteering as an hospitalera 8) email photos of Zen Buddhist Retreat I did yesterday to Luisne Spirituality Centre for their newsletter (volunteer there too) 9) email the Pushkin Trust in Northern Ireland about the days I will be presenting writing workshops to school children in Baronscourt, Co. Tyrone. I think that's all of it. Helps to list it. Better get my skates on. I need a clone. :6

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Mourning Alan Rickman

I was already sad over David Bowie's passing but Alan Rickman going was a total knock-me-down. I have always loved this actor in everything he did, including this sexiest of all videos. Have to say it's only now that I noticed the little 'twist in the tale' at the end of the video which is a brilliant challenge to conventional perception. Most, if not all, of us assume that the older man is the one who owns the chauffered-driven car and is rich and famous and being chased by paparazzi. But no, at the end Rickman gets out of the car, grabs a shabby-looking backpack and enters a rather down-at-heel apartment building. She drives off in the car. Alors, she is the rich and famous one and he is the kept man! Very amusing.