• so that happened,  Uncategorized

    The List of Uns

    Maya, my white-pawed, chronically grumpy cat, is not good in a crisis. She likes to play chase, but every time I chase her she panics, becomes paralysed by indecision, and finally runs into the nearest corner and flips onto her back. I’ve explained to her plenty of times that in the wild, this would really be seen as less of a survival strategy and more of a suicidal strategy, but no amount of practice has made her any better at evading fake predators. Every. single. time. she is chased, she does the same thing. You can see it happen. The pupils dilate, her eyes flick madly from side to side…

  • so that happened,  Uncategorized

    I Tried and I Failed

    It started with a gif. The girl in the clip lies flat on the floor with her hands clasped behind her, a long white pole looped between her arms and her lower back. Slowly she pulls her knees forward and then gracefully comes to a standing position with a big smile and a visible six-pack. The heading on this gif was “EVEN HARDER THAN IT LOOKS.” I watched it, rewatched it, and then with an arrogance borne of pure ignorance thought, “Well it doesn’t look that hard.” I watched the gif again. I read over the comments explaining that to do this correctly, the head, shoulders and pole must stay off the…

  • Thoughts on...,  Uncategorized

    Suspicious

    An ice-cream truck drives by my house almost every single day. I know this because I can hear it as it tinkles along. It plays a teeth-grindingly irritating melody that I could hum for you by heart if I were able to hold any semblance of a tune, and even when it’s raining out I still hear it, like I’m being haunted by a particularly obnoxious music box. Since nobody in their right mind is buying ’99s* in the Irish autumn, I have a theory about this ice-cream man: I think the ice-cream merchant is a drug dealer. Granted I have never seen him (unless he’s the man that wolf-whistled…

  • personal,  Thoughts on...,  Uncategorized

    “Traditional”

    It’s almost October. You know what that means. It means damp, russet leaves underfoot and a chill in the air like a whisper telling you to make vegetable soup. It means zipping up jackets and debating whether or not you need to wear a beanie. It means gratefully pulling on your Uggs on the way out the door because they have once again become borderline acceptable, like they do every year around the time Starbucks brings out the pumpkin spice latte. It means cold fingers and early dusk and thick, knitted jumpers that feel like inanimate hugs. I like Autumn, and I particularly like October. There is something magical about…

  • Life Skills Unlocked,  personal,  Uncategorized

    Life Skills Unlocked: Being a Girl

    I can still remember the exact moment when I decided that being a girl was bullshit. I had spent my first few formative years generally unfazed by gender roles. Sure, I had to wear horrendous dresses on special occasions, and that seemed unfair. My brother wore shirts and shorts and ran around like a loon while I wore dresses with collars that could have doubled as bibs and faced instant restrictions. “Don’t sit like that.” “Don’t get dirty.” “No, you can’t climb trees in a dress.” My best friend was a boy we’ll call P, and together we would spend afternoons watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and made dramatic explosion…

  • personal,  Uncategorized

    The Sticking Point

    I don’t know if you have ever heard of the Bodies exhibition.  It is an exhibition of real human bodies – dissected, plastificated – which has been touring the world for years now, and I visited it when it happened to be in Madrid, Spain. It was astonishing; human anatomy as I had never seen it. Maps of blood vessels and arteries, stiffened and displayed between slabs of clear acrylic. Skeletons in motion. Muscles, lungs, and other organs exposed to my curious eyes in a way that seemed slightly indecent. I kept having to remind myself that once upon a time these were people, real people. They had lived and…

  • personal,  so that happened,  Uncategorized

    Predator and Prey

    David Attenborough’s voice On the vast plains of the Penneys homeware savanna, a small Grant’s Gazelle picks her way past the rows of bed clothes. Distracted by the sight of a particularly fluffy cushion, she pauses in her pursuit of wildly unnecessary purchases. A small movement in her peripheral vision attracts her attention. Suspicion causes her eyes to widen and she freezes, staring blindly across the shelf of vanilla bean tea lights. She can feel something watch her through the tangle of children’s clothes. A moment of utter stillness passes, and reassured by the lack of movement, she continues on, trotting past the scented candles. Out of the corner of…

  • poem,  Uncategorized

    A Gentle Reminder

      Sometimes worry comes calling, and stresses abound, And there’s too much to do, and yet time can’t be found, And your stomach’s in knots, and your head is in bits, And you’re starting to wonder if vodka’s the fix.   And your life has begun to feel slightly unglued, And you can’t even seem to find two matching shoes, And your top’s inside-out, and your plans are reversed, And you start to suspect that you might have been cursed.   And if this has been you, (as indeed it’s been me), And this feeling has left you completely at sea, Just know that in this, there are many like…

  • personal,  so that happened,  Uncategorized

    2018

    We are now in 2018. Welcome everybody! Grab a glass of bubbly! I’m glad we both made it. It’s so good to see you again! I always start the new year with a niggling feeling like I just barely made it through a stargate and am now standing in a random field, swinging my arms, wondering what happens next. I swear I spend the first week of the year with a cloud above my head that says, ‘NOW WHAT?’ in bubble lettering. Even though the passing of a year is fairly arbitrary. Even though it makes no real difference. Even though it should just be a continuation of what came before,…

  • Thoughts on...,  Uncategorized

    Something The Tooth Fairy Never Mentioned

    Sometimes conversations don’t at all go in the direction you were expecting. One moment you’re talking about balloons as cat toys and the fact that your wisdom tooth is digging into your cheek, and the next the conversation has taken a sharp left turn and you are hearing a sentence that doesn’t seem relevant in the slightest. “Before you get pregnant, it’s vital you get any dental issues out of the way.” “Excuse me?” This conversational clanger had been dropped in – apropos of nothing – by my mother. Just to be very clear, I have no plans to get pregnant. None at all. I am not a broody person.…