Diary of An Irish Woman

musings of an irish lady now living in America.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

now breathe...

So decided that now that I’m feeling happier on the inside decided to be happier with my outside :) So last month and half not only the dieting that seems to be hand in hand with getting into wedding dresses…. I decided to actually get fitter.

Its been so long since I was fit so decided to start out slow. So a wonderful girlfriend of mine, Shelia whom I met through mixermixer or as I like to call it rent a friend… started walking with me. So we walk every Tuesday and Thursday, we started off with a half mile in a local park with trail and now up to nearly 6 miles most days… Shelia is my good twin, born on the same day as me but here in the states.. A guy stopped us last time and asked us were we sisters.. the hair in a pony tail, glasses and ample busoms have us looking alike.

Its great doing it with a friend as you just chat away and the time flies by. We normally stop at hobees a very cool california restaurant that serves really healthy food . Its great because hard to make bad food choices there. Nearly everything is healthy, well apart from the HUGE as your head coffee cake but thankfully thats not a danger food for me, I couldnt care less if all the cake in world vanished… But it does taste good.

On top of the walking, we now do yoga myself and Jan on Mondays. We started two weeks ago. Its brilliant. The teacher is so good at showing us how to breathe properly and we felt so jazzed up leaving. Of course we were so so sore when we woke up next day. We did such poses as downward dog … now downward dog is a very common yoga pose, you make a V facing downwards on the floor so you are supported by hands and feet .. graceful… and very zen like… However my downward dog never worked right. I discovered that i sweat like a river during this one from my palms and my soles. Not any other pose, just this one, so instead of a calm, zen pose i slide outwards on my hands and feet , straight flat onto my face… Not so Zen… like..

Here’s how DownDog being done properly

Heres the one I’m pretty good at.. the corpse pose where you lie down and relax..

And on top of that I started woman’s weight training on Mondays and Wednesdays. The class is just before the yoga on Mondays. Let me say that I was so fecking happy to get to Yoga and lie down after the weight training. The womens class is circuit training so you go from one machine to another, you do a minute and 15 seconds on each machine and then sit on a therapy ball and do stomach crunches then back to the machine and do another minute and 15 seconds and then onto next machine to work another muscle. Can I explain how long 75 seconds can seem when your muscle is screaming at you… Its a start though… So I teased Jan of course when he explained he was sore after Yoga after I also did an hour of weight training before hand. He goes running most days I walk though so hes a hell of lot fitter than me. Looking forward to when we go hiking and I can keep up with him. I was bench pressing but without any weights on it at all. thats all I can manage for now ;-)

October 8th I start with pilates and core resistance training… Trying to do a small bit at a time and make sure I dont do my back in. The classes are great though as they have certifed trainers who make sure you’re not doing something wrong or overdoing a position etc.

The nice thing is that a couple of weeks ago I went camping with Jan and we had a wonderful time and we actually hiked where, yes I was out of breath, and it was slow and easy going and yes it hurt going up the mountain but it felt great coming down as coming down I knew that I had done something I couldnt do before. We walked nearly 7-8 miles but half of that was up a mountain so should really count for more miles lol.

We on first night there before having ramen noodles and beef stew under the stars, in a beautiful night we went for a short walk and climbed the slippery rock- About 200 yards long and 100 yards wide, and tilted at a 30-degree angle, the rock formation earns its name from the underwater springs that seep through the ground and flow down the rock’s smooth surface. Now remember its 30 degree angle. Remember that. So only 200 yards long but its walking at a nearly 45 degree angle. I was panting my arse off getting up it. but I did it.

We got to the top after some serious heart panting and when we got to the top, Jan turned to me and said.. Now Breathe… And I did

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Am I still Irish

I was asked to help at a cultural training for a young lady who’s moving to Ireland - so I sat at the training and they would ask what would people do in Ireland with this and that and ask my input. The trainer was very good and she helped me to ask questions of my own experiences in Ireland and how we are culturally different in a lot of ways to America. Hopefully I set her straight, I’ve been so long out of Ireland now I sometimes wonder do I know really any more…. It was also very nice wee job on side to actually get paid to talk re Ireland ;-) It got me thinking though. Am I still considered Irish?

Funny thing is that on the surface I have become the American Irish - note I didnt say Irish American… I organize the bloody ceilis for fecks sake. Which I actually love. But the funny part is I do more Irish dancing here and listening to diddly-ie music than I ever did at home. I have more Irish friends than I did in NY, I’m the sitting president of the Irish network of Northern California for fecks sake, well thats more king of a molehill with our depleating Irish members going back home but thats for another posting.

So I tried to explain what it meant to live in Ireland and be Irish. I tried to explain to the lady such things as that the Irish would never directly ask for a lift somewhere (they say ride here and had to explain to her that wouldnt go down well in Dublin at all…) they’d ask - are you going to town, and build up to getting a lift. We hate to have someone say direct no …..

I know my sense of humor has stayed Irish, and my accent in California is more like my own in Dublin then when I was living in NY, having a less strong accent here has helped me keep my own. People laugh thinking you can lose your accent but when you use the american term all the time, and start learning them from americans then its natural to have their accent and not your own. I saw my own Mam and my sisters change their accents. My mams became softer moving to Dublin and less hard northern… My sisters accents have a Belfast tone and why wouldnt they. They have lived there long enough. NY had strong accents and so that follows my opinion that I sound more Irish now on west coast than I did the East… well thats the one I’m sticking to

So my accent and my sense of humor is Irish, is that what defines me apart being born there.? Then we had a conference call at work early early Friday morning at 730am, a kick off for end of quarter. They were using sport analogies to the dozen and ra-ra speeches to get us all fired up and I cringed. Like any good Irish person I cringed to my very soul … We don’t do those kind of things. We don’t say great job all the time, we dont do conference calls to get us all razzed up and certainly not at bloody 730am in the morning we don’t. Irish people in general because I’m sure there are the ones who do .. do not consider themselves defined by their work. They are defined by who they are, their friends, their family and their interests. Irish people work to live not live to work like the Americans. We will never go for a company song or company mentality. So yes with that cringe inside at the ra ra speech of a VP over the phone, I realized that even living here 12 years I am Irish. I think its seeped into my very bones.

wedding planning

Well busy as a bee, and with a headcold that makes me feel like my heads about to fall off but not a bad weekend even sniffling my way through the weekend. J took such good care of me this weekend, bless him, getting me cold remedies from the shop - taking me to the hot tub and massage Saturday watercourse way - wonderful wonderful wonderful and bringing me breakfast in bed both days . I can’t even start to explain how much I love him, feels like theres not words enough. He allows me to be comfortable with who I am and yet encourages me to be all I can. A heartfriend, mo chroi. And I’m also so looking forward to the wedding, we both are. Friends and family from both sides meeting each other and should be great craic. Last few years have showed me what great friends and family we have. I hope they know how much I love them. I try and tell them all the time but the Irish in general are known for great stories and songs, not so much for expressing their love for family and friends in an outward way. Fig and Paul are buying us wine for the wedding. Such a bloody wonderful thing for them to do. Soon it will be 5 months. Can’t believe will be so soon. Dress got, church and hotel booked, now all I need is some dancing shoes and a good photographer and we’ll be all set :-) That and also seeing how many guests are coming from here so we can see how many cousins to bring to the shindig.

Monday, September 05, 2005

hard to believe

Its hard to believe that I’m in a country that boasts about how rich they are, sends troups where nobody wants them - into make up wars that we invent and then we cant take care of our very own here in New Orleans..

link to new orleans

The rest of the world was stunned.. how could America leave all those people dying there. Truth is that theres never a lot said here about how poor half this country is. We ignore it and give old clothes to goodwill hoping that somehow helps.

I watched the news numb.. Black folks were said to be looting.. funny when white folks who did the same were said to be surviving.. its a very big divide with class here and race here. Truth is though that theres more of a class divide where the hurricane hit than even just race. Lots of trailers and folks of every color living there. Looking at the TV though, people thought well… they are looting, thats why people arent going in.

Truth is there was no plan to help, even though the city has always been under sea level and it was a matter of time… All the dead are normally buried in wonderful old crypts in New Orleans .. even before the hurricane and why.. well thats because coffins will float past streets otherwise even with no hurricanes so they have them overground in a city they called the french folly, built on a swamp below sea level and sinking many years before anyone started really building there…

I’ve been to New Orleans.. Norleens… as the locals drawl, three wonderful times. Its a dangerous city, even before the flood, they give you a map and they clearly draw where you shouldn’t go and where is safe and where is not and they aren’t joking. Still it was an American city that was so different to others, it had a real culture than one of Walmart and strip malls. I hope they do rebuild, America has so little home grown different culture sad to see what little there is disappear…

I’m setting up an Irish night here in Bay Area for raising money for the victims.. getting all the groups together. We have to. How can we raise money for other events and here this one is in our own backyard and we turn off the TV hoping that someone else will take care of it.

If this one doesnt kick our president in the arse I dont know what will.

BTW - we raised over $2000 for the victims of Katrina. Not bad for 40 people. Of course now theres another hurricane and everyone is in US panic mode. They live off fear here in the states and encourage as much as possible in the news. The majority of people in Texas where its landing are white with their own transport. Guess evacuation wont be as hard. Hopefully will not to any damage but damage has already been done to the country as a whole.