Bonfire Night – Cork City

I know very little about Bonfire Night here in Cork. People seem to be a bit closed lipped about it. I’ll ask; “So, what’s this bonfire night?” There would be a moment of silence and the suspicious look of; ‘…Are you kidding me?’ Then a realization that I being NOT of Cork origin &/or decent am not privy to, along with a sly smile and a giggle. Often times it’s accompanied with a bit of head scratching, a nodding of the head and the muttered words of; “Ooooh yeah, yeah sooo …”

I have found out that it’s something that only happens in County Cork. I also found out through observation that it happens twice a year on the Summer and Winter Solstice. … or is it the Equinox? People, mostly kids will start dragging branches, broken furniture, and anything else that’s dry and will burn, into a pile in the middle of some courtyard a couple days before. There are some communities that will advertise and have BBQs, games and whatnots. I did have one kind silver haired gentleman say that bonfire night was celebrating the “coming and going of the  Summer sun”. … OOOoooOOOooo, careful now, we’re tip toeing on the edge of talking about the “old ways”, rather the “ancient ways”. Ask any Irish not from Cork and they would more and likely tell you that it’s and excuse for Corkonians to burn all their old stuff!

With each bonfire night I learn a little more. Eventually I’ll get the whole story. I even tried going down to the library and inquiring there. Their answer? Read the first paragraph. What I find interesting about it all is that it seems like this very old tradition that goes back long before Ireland was Ireland, long before Catholicism, long before civilization as we know it. Something that has survived through time, though it’s significance has faded. …

This year I managed to get a photo. A bit blurry, but I didn’t have to steal it from the web.

Nothing says pagan like bonfire night in Cork!

My Father Didn’t Want To See Me

My Father didn’t want to see me. ..

We’re not close.  Last I heard anything directly from him was, ooh … I would say about 2 years ago? Before that, we’ve gone on stints of multiple years without any communication what so ever. … Now, now, no worries, you may think that this will be a Father’s Day Dad Bashing, but bare with me and see.

My Father did 4 tours in Viet-Nam, one of which was to go back there, find me and bring me to the US. I was … still am, a fiercely independent & precocious little shit.  It was something, maybe the only thing I know that he realized about me, & he did very early on. Maybe it was because I told him when I was 5yrs old that once I was 18yrs old I was going to leave and never come back. …  And sure enough I did. … Well, OK I visit, but never to live.

Growing up with my Father was difficult at best. Being in a military family the common perception would be that there were a lot of strict rules & discipline & whatever … Naw, not here. It wasn’t a complete lack of law & order, mind you, but I was basically left to my own devices … I was left to figure it out for myself.  That was the difficult part. He wasn’t there when I needed him. Then again, when I look back on those times, I really didn’t. … Come to think of it, I’d more & likely, refuse any help from him anyway. I’m like that.

He made sure that I was fed & clothed. That I had a roof over my head & knew the basic protocols to be socially functional. Otherwise, he didn’t seem to have much interest, and frankly speaking, I didn’t care. Seriously! I wasn’t bothered at all by his lack of interest. … Rather enjoyed it. Because of an implied & somewhat enforced   behavioral law of “That’s what/how you are suppose to do/feel…”,  I did for awhile “pretend” that it did upset me. I pretended that I needed his attention, his approval. And I am certain that at least one of you out there who may read this is thinking that I’m justifying &/or in denial, or something like that … Am I wrong? … There were occasions that he did take interest if only to tell me how I manipulate people into doing things for me because I was incapable of doing things for myself. …OK, that I am truly upset about, & still am, obviously. That was a really mean thing to say … To anyone.

To be fair, we did have some special times together. When I was  at Carver Elementary  & too sick to go to school, but not sick enough to stay in bed, he’d take me to work with him. We’d have a enormous breakfast of whatever I wanted at Sandy’s Diner. Then I got to roam around the Chitlaw Building &/or Cheyenne Mt.  (NORAD). Afterward we’d go for foot longs at … uh … I don’t remember the name of the place. It was an A frame drive through hotdog joint with a huge flying Underdog on the roof!

According to common social perceptions, I was a “trouble maker”. Nothing sever, just tricky sort of trouble, or in some circles; “coyote trouble”. He never tried to dissuade me, and he never punished me. He showed the same disinterest toward the neighbors, teachers, police, etc… as he did to my arsony when they complained or prosecuted. “Deal with it or send her home” became his daily mantra. I stole his credit card when I was 8yrs old and tried to buy plane tix to Ireland. He just picked me up at the airport and took me home. I pulled off a scam for several months, where I got an allowance from my Mother and one from my Father for doing the same chores … Yeah, they didn’t talk much! … Hehehe … He stopped paying. I took apart his lawnmower and used the engine to build an ultra light like the one in MacGyver. It worked! Flew for about 200m before it crashed! My Father told me to put the engine back in the lawnmower. He ended up buying a new one. …

I don’t know if he knew that I left when I was 14 and was living in a studio apt. on my own for 9 months. I forged his signature …  I don’t know if he knew that I was training at the Olympic Training Center. I don’t know if he knew that I had dropped out of high school, again forged his signatures, got my GED and enrolled in a community college.  I got busted, had to go back to high school … Don’t know if he knew about that either.

I know that I should feel angry, that I should feel hurt, that I should this and should that but I don’t … This will come as a shock to most of you, so take a seat and be prepared to hate me, if you don’t already. Believe me, I’m OK with that … I know that I should also love my Father but I don’t … We just did not have that kind of relationship.

Recently my Father had a stroke. He was paralyzed on his left side. He’s regain mobility since. This is his second stroke after 2 heart attacks that nearly killed him. I guess he was feeling better and decided  that he didn’t need to take his medication, so he collapsed while crossing Austin Bluffs Park Way. Being that I live halfway around the world I couldn’t come see him right away. Lucky enough though I had to be in Colorado on business not long after. I had arranged a day to meet up with my Brother, Nephew, and Mother so we can all go and visit  him. When we were all together my Bother who’s been looking after him told me that he didn’t want to see me, but we can just go down there anyways whether he liked it or not. …

I told my Brother no … If he doesn’t want to see me, I wasn’t going to force myself on him. My Brother looked concerned and tried to smooth it over by saying that he doesn’t, hasn’t wanted to see anybody, not even him. I smiled and said while I giggled; “I know why he doesn’t want to see me, and I’m perfectly OK with it!” …

If there was any doubt by circumstance, or paternal test, all one needs is to talk to both my Father and me to know without question that I am my Father’s child! I am exactly like him! A contemporary female exactly like him, but exactly like him none the less. I don’t just understand, empathize, sympathize, I know. I know my Father’s indifference, concerns, reasons, excuses and whys, because they are my own.

Jon Hamm is the spitting image of my Father in his day. So much so that I find it disturbing at  times to watch “Mad Men”. He was your classic All American Mid-Western boy in Michigan. He played baseball, basket ball, & of course football. Oh, yes, yes, he was the quarter back! He join the Air Force right out of high school so that he could go to college. He volunteered for 4 tours in Viet-Nam, & spear headed & followed through with programs, protocols, & policies that are still considered gospel to this day. He retired as a Senior Master Sargent of the United States Air Force at the age of 38 years old. He took college course when he could between work & family, & still managed, to be on a rowing team, bowling team, & a black belt in Judo. He wrote & published music, & could play the piano & guitar simply by ear…

No, I do not love my Father. No, I don’t see him as my friend. I do, however deeply honour & respect him. I would not be enjoying the life I have if he decided that day in Texas to throw away the letter saying that he had a child back in Ban Goi. For that I will always be grateful.  I’m happy & rather impressed that our relationship is what it is. I am very proud that he is my Father.

When will the Bees Come Home

The alarm turned off again this morning. Well it always turns off in the morning because I turn it off. I set it every night…uh, let say that I set it before I go to sleep, before I try to go to sleep, and every time the alarms beeps at me, I turn it off thinking that I only hit the snooze… what a horrible advent that turned out to be… But we need it, we crave it, that snooze, ‘coz that’s when we dream, or so I’ve been told.

The alarm turned off at 8am this morning. I had some really high ambitions that I was going to get up early and “get work done”! …HA!… The alarm beeped at 6am. For Christ sake what the hell was I thinking? It’s still dark! Snooze…. My body felt heavy, so I let the heaviness sink back into the bed. I started to have a sexy sorta dream, no sex, but a lot of sexy sorta, … uh, preparation. I don’t remember any action, but I could feel the humming, a buzzing… and I wanted it… Beep! Beep! Snooze… Beep! Beep! Snooze … I could feel it, as long as my eyes were close, I could feel the humming, the buzz. Beep! Beep! Shut up! So, I turned it off finally at 8am…

I still didn’t get up then… I really didn’t have any reason to, at least not that early … I guess it wasn’t “that” early, but you know, I didn’t have a reason to get up at 8am. My dog used to wake me up before 7am every morning so that I would let him out to pee. But when you let him out at 4am ‘coz that’s how late you’ve been staying up, well then he doesn’t have to go out again before 7am… Even then they’ve taken over that responsibility, you know like your uh, … significant other… For whatever reason they do those things now, so you don’t have much reason to get out of bed … There’s laundry and dishes that need to be done, cleaning stuff, work…

I turn myself over so that I’m not facing the skylight, I close my eyes hoping to fall back into that dream and feel it… I can hear the neighbors out back. They were talking… There was a young boy, maybe 4 years old or so, I don’t know. He was making up songs and singing out loud. … Maybe it was a girl … You can never tell at that age. “Oh, the sun is out and the clouds went away…” I giggled at the lyrics “…the cars won’t move, because it’s better to ride a bike. The flowers won’t grow until the bee’s come home…” The bee’s, how I miss the bee’s…

I hear the door slam downstairs. Oh yeah, they’re home for lunch to take the dog for a walk. I stretch my arms out way above my head and grab on to the head bored and yawn. The ceiling looked so white and empty these days… I have to pee really bad but I wait until they leave. I just don’t want to, you know, …uhm… say anything about it being past noon and just getting out of bed, and blah, blah, blah… whatever. So, I go downstairs to pee. The upstairs toilet been broken for a couple of months now… Just haven’t had a chance to fix it…

There’s piles of laundry all over the place, here and there. They’re not filthy dirty they’re just not clean. Like the shirt your wearing. You’ve worn it a few times already, again it’s not filthy because you just been putzing around not really doing anything. So you say to yourself, ‘It’s not like I was rolling in the mud or sweating in it…’ And you think, well you could probably get away with not washing it for a few more days, maybe a week. So your shirts’ not filthy, it’s just not clean, it’s not fresh… It’s funny how it piles up. When you finally decide to change your shirt, you toss it in the corner or hang it on the back of a chair, get a fresh clean shirt and start all over again. But then all the fresh clean shirts run out. Now what? You don’t want to do the laundry ‘coz, oh for fahhh… there’s so much! Never though you had that many shirts… No, no you don’t want to do the laundry, not now so you find a shirt that maybe you hung on a chair last week ‘er something… It’s not bad, it’s been on a chair airing out for the last week… It’s not filthy, it’s just not clean, it’s not fresh…

It happens with the dishes too. Except the dishes are worse, ‘coz they’re filthy… You leave them too long and they attract flies and those other kind too, … what are they called? Fruit flies? Somethin’ like that. You get use to them though. You wash a few dishes every now and again then they go away. But if you wait long enough, and you play it just right, they’ll wash them all before the flies take over… They’ll do that with the laundry sometimes too…

There’s no food in the house. I could go out and get some, but then I would have to justify the money I spent and the food I got with them. … Oh, and I don’t know what they would want …Naaahhh… They’ll come home tonight with food. They always do when there’s no food in the house. May take a couple of days but they always do…

So I go back upstairs. I shut the skylight ‘coz the warm sunny morning turned into a gloomy rainy afternoon. Oh! But the sheets are still warm! So, I snuggle in…The warmth, yeah… it buzzed against my skin… I turned over in the sheets to looked up at the ceiling… I sighed…

I use to have a honeycomb above my bed. It wasn’t huge, but big enough. The bees would buzz around it, making their honey, and honey would drip, drip, dotting my lips…It was good honey, it was very good honey… When it was cold out like in Winter, the honey was so dark and rich and… and warm. Warm like that blanket that just came out of the dryer, you know how you would pull it out and quickly wrap it around you or bury your face in it feeling that warmth, if only for a few seconds, that warmth that even on a hot summer day would feel so, so … Those hot summer days, the honey would drip, but cool, cool, fresh and clean…

The bees though… always buzzing making the honey, buzz, buzz, buzz. The buzz would hum in your veins, inside you like a deep message. You wanted it though, you wanted the buzz, the more the bees buzzed, the more honey would drip…

Sometimes the honeycomb would get so full that it would gush out and wake me up in the middle of the night. That honey, that very good, intoxicating honey would pour out and swallow you whole. The sun would rise and a there you are in that honey comaaaahhh … hehehe … All that honey, there’s still some left! Ah hell! You don’t want it to go to waste so you lap it up, and it’s OK because you won’t crash, like with sugar. You know how when you have a lot of sugar, you get a sugar high, but you crash, and you crash hard, but this is honey! It’s honey, so you won’t crash. You take it all in, every little drop… You go on for days on this honey high and your not coming off because it still drips, the honeycomb still drips…

There’s something wet poking me in the face? What the hell? … Oh, it’s you, Simon. Simon, you were just out! Go away… He walks downstairs in a huff. That dog I swear… I turn over and that damn alarm clock is glaring at me… Ah faahh…. Damit! It’s 4pm! I jump out of bed and run down stairs but it’s too late… Poor thing, he couldn’t hold it. Simon was huddled in the corner of the kitchen shaking. He knew he knew he wasn’t suppose to pee in the house… But it wasn’t his fault. … I let him out, used my bath towel to clean it up. I didn’t know where the mop was, so I used the towel. I rinsed it in the bathtub and hung it on the side. I went back upstairs and sat at the foot of the bed. … Simon’s always been so good to me and I … I …

I fall back on the bed and stare at the white empty ceiling. I remember the day the honeycomb disappeared. … Well, it wasn’t sudden, it just wasn’t there anymore. The flies ate it all up. The fruit flies, or whatever they’re called. … There weren’t so many at first, you didn’t even notice them. I had no idea where they came from, but they didn’t seem to bother the bees and the honey still dripped. More and more flies came and more and more bees went away… The honeycomb stop gushing in the middle of the night… I didn’t care… I didn’t ‘coz I could still hear that buzz, I could still feel that buzz that hummed deep… the honeycomb got smaller and smaller and the drip, drip, ….drip … then the silence…

I needed that buzz that hum, I needed it I craved it and it was gone! I followed the flies thinking that they will lead me to the bees, if I could only get the bees back, they’ll make another honeycomb, I must get the bees… where are the bees? I need the bees to come home! … I found myself standing over plies of dishes and laundry and swarms and swarms and swarms… the flies, the damn flies… desperately I washed every dish, cup, spoon… I washed every sock, and shirt … Maybe if I washed, maybe if I …the bees will come home…

I hear Simon rushing to the door. They’re home… they got Simon a new ankle bone and he’s crunching it. I hear the grocery bags rustling and the fridge and cabinets opening and shutting… It’s been a long day and the sheets are still warm. … Maybe, if I curl up and feel the warmth, I could feel the hum … Maybe if I close my eyes I can feel the buzz…

Serindipitious Noises – #FD64Fr33 (Pays To Miss Out)

(Originally posted on 26 October 2008 on Facebook)

I had gone into city centre early this afternoon to get a few grocery items for my self imposed “lock in” to get work done. It just so happens that this weekend in Cork City there is a Jazz Festival where in every nook, cranny and pub there is some jazz band, music of sorts playing. Monday is also a bank holiday so it’s a 3 day weekend, Holloween is this week and wouldn’t you know there was a food booth extravaganza all along St. Patrick’s Street.

There were foods from all over the world even “Native Foods From The Congo”. The aroma was delightfully mind numbing as I walked up and down the street. At the far end there was an unusually large crowed around one of the booths. Well of course I had to find out what the deal was. When I got to the crowed I saw that the booth was simply labeled “Vegetarian” …

OH MY ….AAAHHHH!…… WHAO! …. WOW! …. YAY!!!

This is the infamous “Vegetarian” booth. The woman who runs it has all sorts of vegan and gluten free desserts that she bakes herself at home and brings them to these festivals and such. However, they are either vegan or gluten free except for 250g vegan, gluten free chocolate chip cookies for only 1€! It was the only thing I could have. I could see it a huge tub piled high with these cookies! People were reaching in grabbing as many as their paws could hold and then waiting in line to pay.

I was wearing my prison orange rain jacket so I stuck out like a … girl in a bright orange jacket… The crowed was so big and think I couldn’t push my way through to get my grubby little hands on even one of the cookies! People still grabbed and grabbed. You could no longer see the cookies above the rim of the bin. People were reaching deeper and deeper.

Finally! I made it up to the booth, I look in the bin and yes, 3 cookies … NOOOOOO! … a very tall man with hands that could palm a basketball scooped them up with his right hand, put one in his mouth, wiped his wet nose with his left hand, put the other 2 cookies into his left hand and reach deep into his pant pocket and pulled out a 5€ bill … I was mortified, crush, my soul just died a thousand horrid deaths. Mouth full of cookie he made a very kind jester with his booger cookie hand and offered me one. I gave a sad smile and shook my head no…

“Ye wait here, Luv.” I looked over the woman running the booth quite confused “Ye waited long, ye can longer”

“You have more?” I asked

“No.”

Feeling really awkward I just shut up and waited. 5min, 10min, then 15 minutes later when the crowed died down to a trickle, the woman pulls out a huge bin piled high of vegan, gluten free 125g chocolate fudge with roasted hazel nut coating for only 2€ a piece. She pulls out a piece that looked like two that got stuck together, puts it in a paper bag and gives this to me. I try to hand her 10€ bill that I had. She turned her nose at it and said “Go away.”

“But…”

“Go away!”

“Well,…ahh…umm… Thank…”

“I TELL YE GO AWAY NOW!”

Scared senseless I scampered away muttering under my breath “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You …”

I scurried into the park and sat on the bench. I pulled out my vegan, gluten free, chocolate fudge coated in roasted hazel nuts. I was like Charlie opening up that candy bar to find the golden ticket. I took the smallest bite – Oh the reverie! Never was there a diviner taste than this! My head swam in a rich, decadent haze!

Of course I thought to myself “Sometimes it pays to miss out…”

Sorry, I’m not home right now…

I miss the old days where sometimes we’re just not available, a time when nobody’s home. Oh, yeah it’s great! The cell phones the internet, emails, IMs, chats, texts, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, … YouTwitFace, or whatever it was that Conan O’Brien came up with. We’re all connected 24/7. … Hooooraaay …

It’s all well and good until you have that friend that gets upset because you didn’t text back right away or didn’t answer your cell, or something or other of the sort. You’re forced then to make up a big enough  excuse, a big enough reason that would negate any hurt feelings that your friend may possibly have, because telling them that you wanted some alone time lounging in the sun on your balcony drinking mojitos with mint grown in your own garden while listening to the Buena Vista Social Club just isn’t a good enough reason not to answer your cell.

Why do we do this to ourselves and to other people? Why does there have to be some overriding circumstance for us not to answer our cell, text, or the front door for that matter! Why do we expect the worse when there’s a delayed or no response? As if they are conspiring with the evil minions of the 7th ring of Hell to take down your very existence and use it to rip apart the universe as we know it! MY GOODNESS! HOW DARE THEY! … *sigh*… Just because we can, doesn’t mean we have too, in any regard. We all deserve to be unavailable from time to time without the guilt & pressure of being connected.

So if you call me and I don’t answer, you might find me in the 7th ring of Hell. Apparently I have work to do!

Serindipitious Noise #PKH41R

(This happened on 1 June 2012. I just didn’t have the means to post it ’til now.)

I’m so very blessed to have not the oddest things happen in my life, but odd enough …

There I was sitting in the shade at Governor’s Park, drinking an iced toddy (coffee) from Pablo’s, my most favourite coffee shop in the US so far. I was rather perplexed, despite the busy serenity around me. I simply needed to get my hair trimmed and there wasn’t a place nearby that didn’t charge the arms and legs of your Mother’s children. I would have to drive to the nearest Great Clips or Cost Cutters, but I just got a semi rock star parking and I didn’t want to give it up! Certainly not for a cheap hair cut!

Then a shirtless, well inked man comes jogging by, he stops and asks if there’s any water around. I tell him that there’s a drinking fountain down the hill but I wasn’t sure. He says Thanks and off he goes. A few minutes later he’s walking back. I ask him if he found anything and he said no. He looked parched and sunburnt, so a ridiculous notion popped into my head and manifested into me offering the ice left in my toddy. He said no, that’s alright and sat on the stone wall next to me. We started chatting about his sunburn and it came out that the was a message therapist & a hair dresser that goes around engaging people and sets up appointments with them where ever they want to have the message or hair done! I asked how much he charged. He asked if I needed my ends trimmed. I said that I do and the next thing I knew I was sitting on the park table with a poncho and Georgio trimming my hair. He did a great job! I threw him a 10er + a few, praised his work and puff he was gone!

If my hair wasn’t an inch shorter and more manageable I would’ve thought I fell asleep in the cool grass, and dreamt the whole thing. … There are plenty of crafty squirrels at Governor’s Park …