How to be Everything and Nothing at Once.

I have pondered back and forward over this issue for years

I am a guilty girl-with such clickbait  and by the way if anyone wants to refer to me as a girl-go right ahead-I am 46-my girl days are unfortunately over…I’m still referred to as a girl though in certain sectors; -freaking happy days.

It takes a bit of stepping back to see how you might have possibly lost the will of yourself.  I am supposed to be the following; great mother, Irish person, housekeeper, wife, parent, worker, cook, pet owner, writer, blogger,  goddamn laundry person. And I am supposed to be perfect at all of these tasks. And you know what I am fecking jaded. Tis no wonder a “girl” can feel half cracked. That workload would drive any sentient being insane.  How did we land here??? Really-how did it get to this??  There is not one single reason we have to be this way  to exist as humans. And we don’t have the energy; why should  we have it really -a workload like that should kill a horse.

I get the feeling lately I have the impossible task of being everything or nothing at once. And I am not alone. I wonder where this is going to lead to?  The hope is  to being an actual person  who hasn’t got to feel they have to be  everything and nothing at once.

It’s going to take work but can we at least start the discussion? It is imperative we have it-interested in your thoughts…….

 

Til next time

Kat

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2018-The Highlight Reel. Food, books and events I loved in 2018.

20181204_0758262018, as is the case with modern life, had some lowlights. It also had several highlights. Here are some of  the things I discovered and loved in 2018.

Reading

To me this was the year of the memoir and the essayist. I loved Emilie Pine’s searingly honest collection of essays.-“Notes to Self”. She touches on alcoholism and feminism and growing up. She is also Irish as an added bonus. A truly authentic  writer.

I also loved the memoir “Sick” by Porachisto Khahkpour. This was a very edgy memoir, touching on an individual’s battle with the health services, as she suffers from Lyme Disease. It is truly eye-opening how this disease, with its perceived  vague collection of very serious symptoms can really destroy a life. This disease is terrifying but ‘her honest description of her battle is so well written.

I didn’t read much in the fiction line I loved, interestingly this year.

Eating

This was the year I was introduced by new colleagues to the doughnut craze. Offbeat Doughnuts I am looking at you. That Boston Cream is dangerous.

This was also the year of enjoying really simple, reasonable food. Sano’s Pizza in Lower Exchequer Street gets my number one vote. This lovely, friendly, buzzy restaurant has a pizza oven imported from Naples. The pizzas are AMAZING.  Everyone from the Mammy, to the Returned Emigrant to the Teenage Gang have been brought here.  There is something very convivial about eating good pizza in good company and this place has it all. You’ll get a good meal for the guts of 12 euro.

Shout out to Dante’s Pizza (are we seeing a trend here?) which is an actual generic chain-I had the most delicious meal of the year here- creamy mushrooms on ciabatta. This had it all-the cream! the mushrooms! the bread and basil. Heavenly.

A rummage through Brother Hubbard’s new provisions store on Capel Street unearthed a wonderful breakfast marmalade-we scraped the bottom of this jar and it is on the repeat list.  I also happened upon this fabulous condiment known as Peanut Rayu in Scout. Oh My Divine. This adds such an unami depth to very meal-you’ll never be without it again.

Viewing

One movie to rule them all “A Star is Born”. I hadn’t been to cinema for an age but have since realised this  is actually a lovely night out, especially for a catch up. This film is indescribable, from the minute you see Bradley Cooper on stage as a country singer in descent-it’s directed so beautifully you feel you are actually on stage with him. When both he and Lady Gaga sing “The Shallows” it is hard not to cry.  Kudos to them both for a wonderful, tragic movie about love, addiction and sadness.

On the TV front I loved “The Haunting of Hill House”. This has stayed with me for weeks. I suppose you could say it haunted me as it’s so sad and beautiful. The character of the mother really affected me. Not an easy watch but atmospheric and explores the dysfunctional and emotional  aspect of families.

Events

Well there was one standout for me-the All Ireland Hurling Final, where my beloved home county, Limerick,  won the title after 45 years. Yes that’s 45 years of being the underdog in a county that just loves  and breathes hurling. Everything about this was perfect. From the (Cork) Daddy getting me an elusive  ticket to the Limerick Mammy actually delivering the ticket by hand  up to Dublin  because “you couldn’t trust the post”. To seeing the Limerick flag going up on the Quays of Dublin outside the office and your colleague dragging you out to witness it.  To the hustling to swap to get a ticket beside the only other Limerick person in the village for the craic. To the Limerick Great Granny from Glin who painted our faces. To nearly getting sick on the Upper Cusack as the nerves were gone. To the tears of joy, the ghosts, remembering our ancestors  and the young Gladiators known as the Limerick Hurling Team. To walking into a very Dublin pub in the very Limerick jerseys and getting a huge roar from the Dubs.  Magical and unforgettable-a highlight of a lifetime.  The ancient sport of hurling-we are the luckiest.

Many people I know had a tough auld time in 2018-if you look back though, I’ll wager there were some highlights. Try and find them-and preserve them. and remember there is always next year (and you did survive 2018)

Til next time and lots of love,

Kat x

 

 

 

The Welcome Return of Divinity…

I’ve always been an animal lover. I grew up in a rural area; the kind of place where animals became naturally part of your life, They sort of wandered in, took up residence and ended up part of the family. In my day there were several cats, dogs, goats, horses, cows; even those bats that seemed to live in every eave and roof.

We were thrilled as children when Dad brought us to buy our first arranged pet, a dog. His name was Sandy and as canines go, he was a beauty. Strong, muscular, gleaming golden coat, shiny eyed.  He was also, by almost his own admission, as dumb as a bag of hammers. He was though, so much fun and very loving. The things he got up to? Where do I start. We had a heritage gooseberry bush. Lovingly tended to through the generations. Sandy destroyed it on one day, when he ate every last gooseberry off the bush, it never produced again. We had a pathway to the lawn, surrounded by two narrow pillars, and try as he might, Sandy could not get through those pillars with that 6 foot stick he used to carry around. That pink, very expensive, designer blouse, my Mam hung out on the line which caused so much consternation when it went missing? Mam, I have a confession and a throbbing secret, I found it grey and hardened by age at the bottom of the garden in 1993, (We are still good, right?). Yep. Sandy was the culprit.

As dumb as Sandy was, he was intelligent in his loyalty. Every Friday evening he would wait by the bus stop in Kilfinane for me to return from UL. Granny was amazed how he trotted up every Friday at 6pm to greet me, I remember, even in his old age, that big goofy Labrador smile; first thing I would see on disembarking that rickety old 5 pm bus from Limerick. He loved our beloved neighbour Hannie, with a devotion that almost bordered on fanatical. Every weekday, even in the arthritic days, he would heave that old pile of bones up and head down to Hannies for the afternoon. He would also accompany her to and wait for her outside the local pub and walk her home. Yes, Sandy; dumb as a bag of hammers but loyal to a fault.

The girls were hassling me for a dog for years. In one of those ” feck it, nothing to lose moments” I gave in. And so Harley arrived. A shy, gentle, wee dog, it took him a few weeks to settle in. And then they hassled me some more and suddenly, before I could take a breath, Minnie arrived. Confident, bubbly, agile.  They both drive me insane. The house is upside down since they arrived. Nothing within chewing distance is safe. Nothing. 

The other night, after the two dogs destroyed and pulled every last toilet roll around the house, not to mention the entire contents of the underwear drawer  (had we really so many toilet rolls, knickers and bras in the house, I never knew??), I’ll be honest I was fit to re home them.  But then something happened.  A moment of stillness, a gap in the chaos. I was upset over something, crying. It happens. And in this blank and despairing space, Harley, the quiet one, jumped in my lap. And he snuggled in with those big, brown, liquid eyes, looked up at me, gave me the paw as if to say “it’s going to be ok”.  He would not leave my side for hours. And then I realised. These are  the most sacred creatures. Sent to us to remind us of divinity. Life seems terrifyingly fast and scary lately………..

How we need to be reminded of divinity, now and then.

To sacred pets everywhere,

Til next time

 

Kat

 

Limerick, She Lingers.

Sunset in Co.Limerick

I haven’t been in Dublin since last Tuesday night. Well I have been in Dublin physically but in my head I’ve been in Limerick circa 1993. Nostalgia is an exquisite thing isn’t it?  The balance between happiness, longing and the painful realisation  of the passing of time.

I went to UL in the early 90s. It was a small enough place, as Limerick city is in itself, and everyone knew everyone.

Our haunt was the Stables, especially on Thursday nights. We wore woolly jumpers and docs, lived on a diet of chicken curries, pints of Carling,  Silk Cut fags and Lobster Pot prawn cocktail chips (now there is a longing).

The Stables Bar was the actual centre of our universe, it’s where I met  Mr ZM and my Best Friend of All Times who I never really forgave for fecking off to America (Joking, A!) It’s where the Euro Studs-as us funny Humanities crowd in a sea of engineers were known – used to gather and discuss the issues of the day or rather gossip.

It was also the place, when in 1993, an unknown Limerick band called the Cranberries used to have  a regular Thursday night gig. When I first saw the Cranberries, I was pretty staggered-front woman Dolores had such an amazing,  haunting, almost ethereal voice. She was shy too, you could tell  but somehow her tiny frame and beauty  took up the stage.  I remember one night  her getting off the stage and having a chat with some of us. Of course we never realised they would go on to be such global superstars back then- to us they were a local Limerick band-one of us- who played in the Stables. Looking back now it was such a privilege  to have seen them live in such an intimate setting.

Limerick is a funny place really-a place that I can get defensive about-because  despite the image  it is a place the people are tough and somehow bonded and extrovert and humorous and fiercely,  fiercely proud. And that was Dolores for you, she  never lost her accent or the pride for her County Limerick roots. Ever. When I heard about her untimely passing, while I was commuting home, I must admit in an uncharacteristic fashion I turned my head to the window and cried silently as the memories flooded back

The biggest complement a  County Limerick person can pay another person is to say “fair play”. So I would like to say fair play to you Dolores. Your star will shine brightly over  Limerick forever.

Til next time

Kat.

Ideas, anyone?

Popping in after the winter hiatus; yes I promise I have a proper catch up blog post ready for publication- I just need some images to go with it. In the meantime, I’ve been looking at the social media angle for the blog. Super hard work as I am not the most technically savvy human known to er, humankind. However  in the spirit of miraculous happenings, as you can see Zany Mountain now has a Facebook page. Scroll down to the bottom of the site on the right hand side for a link. Just to say one of the most wonderful things about blogging has been the amazing creative people I have met along the way. So in the spirit of giving it back, I’d be delighted to share any creative ideas or initiatives on the Facebook page. So give us a like, message me and I will share your ideas/sites/blogs articles with full credit to you. Oh yes I have rediscovered Twitter too! Let’s develop a community on the mountain, folks.

 

Love and light,

Kat

The Air is Beautiful…

Myself and the athlete are on our usual Saturday walk. We chatter and catch up as we round a bend to the beautiful pedestrianised country road, just five minutes from the house. As this road is framed by beautiful, ancient trees and as no cars pass; the ground is deeply carpeted by a vision of orange and red leaves. We crunch through them; occasionally the chatter stops and we fall into a silent, natural rhythm. This is the pause between the clamour of Halloween and Christmas; a pocket of calm as we dip towards winter. The air is beautifully clear and fresh. A full moon beckons tonight and somehow this one is charged with calming ions and love. As it turns out, the November full moon is indeed a harbinger of clarity and calm. And how we need it. This year has been tough. Not only for me, but several of my peers and beloved friends. There has been loss this year; stress, sorrow and ill health.  Good people felled by the unexpected, the undeserved and the unwarranted.

There were times in the last year, when I could not believe my own bad luck and decline. A wise friend quoted the famous line “when in hell, keep going”. At times I was on my knees. But at every step, people reached out and this meant kept going. And this is how it must be; accepting people on their journey, walking with them, allowing them to share.

As times are bad, so things turn with the seasons. I have to say, quite honestly, this autumn has been one of the happiest of my life. Yes, it was preceded by a tough time and things are by no means perfect, but I am renewed somehow by surviving these difficulties. I feel alive and energised, clear and happy.  This autumn and the universe of course has obliged; the mild air, the vibrancy of the leaves and fruits, all of this is naturally in step with the change and the joy.

There were other pockets of happiness.  My international peers in the creative realm; writers, bloggers and artists met for brunch in Dublin in October. As well as people travelling from the States, two of our beloved members traveled from the Isle of Skye and the Netherlands. In fact one of the gang traveled over and back in one day. How is that for effort and good intention. We had an amazing reunion.

Lastly, we have a new arrival up on the mountain. A gorgeous puppy, black, tiny and lively. For a person who grew up with dogs; now I am reminded of the joy of the canine companions of my youth. To see my children so excited and engaged, every day since the little fella arrived, my heart is literally skipping.

The moral is, if anyone of the readers and the friends are struggling, know this. The old saying, “the lowest ebb is before the turn of the tide” is true. You will emerge stronger, happier, with more clarity than ever. For any of you in this dark time, also know this, you are always welcome to Zany Mountain. We’ll wait for you while you are going through it, and we will be there when you come out the other side.

And that’s a promise.

Til next time,

Kat x