Saturday, August 26, 2006

A Hungry Feeling

There is a song that I attribute to the great Irish writer and even greater drinker known as Brendan Behan. It's called 'The old triangle'. The first bars are sung 'A hungry feeling came over me stealing'. That feeling is with me now. My partner is away. My ex is celebrating her birthday so again my boy is not with me when he should be. I am too nice really. My Water Woman has migrated for the weekend back to the land of the Azzuri, in an attempt to reconnect with long lost acquaintances of childhood as a school reunion is planned. I find myself strangely unmotivated to do anything.
Friends who were conscious of me being alone dropped by, J noticed some Irish music and we got to talking about 'The North', the countryside, the music, the welcome. So the Hungry feeling comes over me stealing and I wish I back home. But the sea is wide and I cannot cross over, even if I am listening to the tune of Carrick Fergus ringing out from the CD player. It's a slow somber tune and in typical Irish fashion will be followed by a nonsense song that makes us laugh.
This weekend I am alone and it is good. I drink scotch whisky, only because there is no Irish Whiskey left. No I have not made a typo there, the Irish spell it different to the Scottish.
I have a cut on my foot which is hindering my movement. Yesterday I sliced my hand. It seems life is telling me to be sedentary this weekend. However A and J have offered Via Ferrata tomorrow. Seeing as I have nothing better to do, and, I have never done it before, I am up for it. It involves basically hanging of ropes and cords over chasms while you walk for miles. Sounds like fun no? Especially if like me you have vertigo. I am tired and need to go to bed. I will figure out when they ring me if I am going or not. Depends on how sleepy I am. It's great to see them. Weird the song that followed the serious one was about a gay chicken. See us Irish have a funny way of doing things. We love to be sad, but not for long.

Yes I changed. I am no longer who I was. Before you ask, Warrior is the spiritual fighter, the one who struggles with himself, who fights, who wins, who returns to base to train again and reflect on what has been learned from his latest battle.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Moving Forward

Well my boy is back and my stress levels drop 50%. The smile on my face is almost permanent. I give little laughs to myself and I am sure people think I have completely lost the plot, and that whatever loose screw there was, has finally
fallen out and rolled away.

Five to six weeks is a long time to go without seeing my child. It is difficult being a father with no transport. I rely on my partner to get me there or at least get him back. His mother while I am sure is content doing her thing, unsurprisingly she still doesn't often lift a finger to help us out in that respect. He will be
devlivered when it suits her and only if it suits her. But you know what? I don't want to be wasting my energy with that.

My relationship with my son is probably a little unusal. If he hadn't been born and been around at the beginning of my new life, I would have gone straight home when my marriage broke up.
I try not to get involved in wasting time on regrets or anger. I have often recounted how I felt like I was treated like shit, but I can forgive because it wasn't intentional. Maybe it was intentional but I don't think I could cope with that. Just yesterday someone who knows a little of what happened was uncharacteristically charitable. She said that my in laws were not bad with me they just undermined me unintentionally and disregarded me actively. (whew).

Now things are better, Aqua my partner is a constant support and defends me from myself when I get silly. Now I stay also for myself. My french is improving all the time but it is never easy. There is a stress level that is ever present. This stress level is non existent when I am at home in Ireland. It is to do with unfamiliarity. When you live in one place for thirty plus years, you know it well. When you live in a foreign country for just over three years, you cannot possilby understand, the flow of traffic, the nuance of phrases, hand gestures, a look, even the drift of cloud. I am beginning to understand the vastly different sky. I am now able to communicate that I don't understand the banter.

Besides my focus is my relationship with my boy. I think too many parents are not conscious of the things they do that cause problems for kids later in life. Mind you being conscious of it doesn't mean you automatically solve it, or mean you don't at least create other problems. However I can but try. So we do the obvious things as much as possible. Talk positively for a start, for example,.. 'we'...cannot be 'alone',...we are together, or.. You don't do things 'wrong'...but, you could do that another way. I pay attention to make sure he knows that our place is his place. He is a lucky boy to have two homes. I try to create the space for my partner to feel she is included, she has rights, she has love and is loved by him. He sees her romantically as cinderella sometimes.
It's difficult when a child is entrenched in the notion of the nuclear family. It is odd in this day and age that thinking like this for a child is possible. There are not too many unseparated couples that I know. I am sure over 50% of the parents of children in his class, have been divorced. It just seems that this is how to live here. It isn't that romantic really.

Anyway The dinner on Friday night was a resounding success. We ate pasta with mushrooms, we ate grilled beef, vegetables, and a spicy sauce made from Herbs, lemon, honey, garlic and, well, spice of course.
The weather has picked up again and the jelly fish are back. It puts a hold on my swimming.

I am toying now with the idea of changing my profile, inventing a pseudonom and then feeling a bit more freedom to write whats in my heart and mind.

Summer is in the last throes and hopefully I can swim today. I am toying with the idea of doing one crazy thing in my life. I decided on an Iron Man. Given that I smoked like a trooper for the greater part of my adult life, this is perhaps
not the wisest choice. When have I ever made the wisest choice? So I have been swiming since May. I am what the French call 'null' in the water, completely crap, but hey, a guy has to start somewhere. :-)

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Middle East Truth

This is a comment posted on one of my earlier postings. It deserves publicity and to be read by any who pass. Thank you Mr Z for this posting, for the time it took for you to write it, and for you generous spirit and openess. Here is what Mr Z said in full and unedited.

As Tom said, it is indeed very difficult to refute Galloway's statements on a rational basis. It is true that the Middle East conflict is essentially fueled by the Palestinian problem. As a matter of fact, Lebanon has paid and is still paying an enormous price because of this conflict, while most other Arab countries (except Syria and Iran - which is not Arab) are either in peace with Israel or totally unengaged from the conflict; they do, however, send huge amounts of money whenever a disaster happens. It helps to comfort their conscience.

As a Lebanese, I wonder if we still have to sacrifice the well-being of my country for a cause that no other Arab (except Palestinians) is fighting for, honestly. Throughout Lebanese history, Christians have once allied with Israelis to crush on Muslims. Also, Muslims have allied with Syrians to crush on Christians. None of all this helped in creating a stable country. You can’t get peace and stability when a part of the country feels frustrated. That is what Israelis don’t seem to have understood in their conflict with Palestinians; I am actually not convinced that they really want peace. Although I neither agree with Hezbollah’s thought nor with Iranian ideology, Hezbollah represents a large number of Lebanese that just can’t be ignored if we truly want a unified Lebanon. Its demands have become Lebanese demands (accepted by the most prominent Lebanese leaders). Although the Lebanese right in the Shebaa farms is unclear, our right in returning our prisoners in Israel is righteous IMHO. In that sense, kidnapping Israeli soldiers and proposing an exchange is also righteous, IMHO. During this last crisis, and for the first time, Lebanese leaders stood by Hezbollah or at the least refrained from criticizing it. This has worked as, in my opinion, Lebanon has won this last war (because of the unity of Lebanese and regardless of the international political alliances of the several parties), judging by the declared objectives of each party. Israel can destroy our country but it can get neither its soldiers back nor peace and stability this way. If it truly wants peace, then it should now sit and talk to us on an EQUAL to EQUAL basis. Whenever we get our demands, then we will righteously ask Hezbollah to disarm and I think that it will be smart enough to disarm. If Israel doesn’t want peace, then it is condemned to loose on the long run, judging simply by demography.
By Z friend of H

To any who get this far, say hello, drop a line, tell me what you think.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

And now the end is Near

So summer is over. The fireworks are mostly finished along the Cote D'Azur. The weekend was crazy in a good sort of way. My son's 3 week holiday has turned into a 6 week holiday. He hasn't spoken English in all that time except the odd phone call. Obviously I am upset but there is little I can do. He is on an island in the Med and will finally be back on Saturday night. At the age of 6 it must be strange that you can't go on holiday with both parents and both families and that when you are with one, you have such a good time, you don't really care about being with the other, even if you do miss them.

The weekend we ate out a lot, and ate with friends a lot as is now usual for us. We have 8 people (counting ourselves ) coming tomorrow and as usual the food will be good. We will have fun.

My Lebanese friend arrived out of nowhere the other night. I shall call him Mr H cause it sounds cool and his buddy Mr Z(I am not joking here). It was late, we gave up the firework show in Cannes to see him but were treated to the view of one in Nice as we drove back along the motorway.
I enjoyed talking to both of these guys. Obviously me the political animal I am, I couldn't let go of the questions. Both of these two are Christians. They went to school together. They showed me different views of what should be happening, is happening and has happened. Each ones view equally worthy and interesting. Mr H wanted people to talk. Now the ceasefire is in effect nothing has changed, the status quo is the same. I agree. They could have just sat around a table talked it out, done the business and got on with it. It would have saved lives, infrastructure, and millions of currency units.
Mr Z told me how Lebanese are being held in Israeli jails for years, how Hezbollah are not supported by everyone, how Israel's action just provided more soldiers for Hezbollah and how many Lebanese now support them as they know the Israeli action was wrong. How the Lebanese fought off everyone before. How they must learn as a people to agree on a minimum. He taught me about the Government, the different factions, and he showed me his pride and his passion. I felt similar feelings in relation to Ireland before and during the ceasefires. I agree with and can see both views of Mr H and Mr Z. I hope I can stay in touch with these guys.

I asked them to read my post 'A view of what's really happening' and to leave a comment. They haven't done so yet but thanks to those who did. I am interested in how the world sees this. I am surprised that of the 70 or so visitors I had only 2 bothered to respond. I wonder why?

Well the dinner is ready, my wine glass is empty, my heart a little low after talking to a boy who was more interested in where he was than in speaking to his daddaí­. No worries, I understand. I just have to be myself and let him be his.
I swam today. I am off the cigarettes one whole year and 3 weeks. I have been swimming since the end of May and those that haven't seen me in a while tell me I must have been weight lifting, nope, just swimming. Summer is at an end, it is raining hard, the ceasefire will hold, my son will come back. I will realise somewhere in it all how blessed I am and how my worries are hardly worth a thought.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Sensual Nights in Monte Carlo

For those who know me this will seem weird, but I have to confess, I have done it, and done it again. This time it was amazing. I am afraid I have to confess that secretly, without many people knowing, I have been involved in something not a lot of people ever do. If they knew about it in my home town I would have to hang my head in shame, or so I thought till last night.
You see I come from a place where the so called higher arts are for the snobs, and us plebs, who are happy to tread the boards, gig, street perform, sing along, even mime, know nothing and care less, for men in tights.
I can assure what I have been doing lately has everything to do with men in nylons and of course (the phrase demands it) nothing.
In the last year I have been privledged to witness, and victimised to endure, some of the best and not so best, of the world of Ballet. Now, what I know about Ballet you could write on a stamp. So for any indignant readers, just hold on to your tutus for a minute.
What I know about entertaining, engaging the audience, recounting a tale, spectacularising the mudane..... well a post office full of stamps wouldn't be enough that's for sure.
So I have watched sometimes with intense interest, and sometimes with acute boredom(in the same hour), as dancers strectched, contorted and convorted accross stages that were often too fussy, too busy,and too unfocused to make it simple to follow what in hell was going on. Note I said sometimes.
That was until last night on the Terrace in Monaco. Ha! I can hear them, the ghosts of my past are roaring laughing, as they imagine the grand heights I have risen to, Monaco and Ballet,,,,, Monaco and Ballet Ha! and encore Ha!
Stuff them.
Last night I saw the most amazing mixture of Manga, Religious worship, Hentai art, Tarantinoesque tale, Kill Bill scenario, Romantic story telling, I am ever likely to witness in the ever more unusual world of plain ordinary dance, sorry,...sorry,,,, of high art Ballet.
I give you in Memoriam by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (SHERKOWEEE), performed exquisitely by dancers of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo.
words are perhaps a waste in describing what can only be described and spirtually uplifting. I never imagined to see Men in Skirts, Samauri style,(never mind tights) battling with women, in a scene during a ballet, as if it were 'The Last Samuari' itself on show.

It was a choreography to make the most accomplished cinematographer proud, the most adept story teller envious.
I was taken away on the wisp of wind by the interpretation of Gioia Masala. As she flowed accross my vision the lighting flashed over the distant mountains, the cool sea breeze brushed our skins, and Gioia flew.
I was riveted to her connection to the singers from Corsican, and their apparent reverence of her and her partner. Their voices were the ladders by which Gioia and her companion managed to brush the stars.
Now I can truly say, that (apart from Bejart's Bolero,) this is what I have been seeking in the world of Ballet.
The spectacle, the story, the passion and intrigue of life, that is not lost behind an elevated language of the body that few plebs like I understand. Rather an honest heartfelt exploration of what it means to be alive, to love, to live, to be human and perhaps, to remember what it is to be human. Madmoselle Masala, Madmoselle Koike, and Sir Cherkaoui, I thank you from the creative font of my soul.
Thanks to my honey to for bringing me in the first place. ;)

Friday, August 11, 2006

A view of what is Really Happening.

I was going to write about Nanotechnology today, and then I was going to tell you about how I feel about my Lebonese friend back home in Ireland. But then another friend of mine sent me this today. I was amazed when 12 hours later it was still online. I hope it is still on line when whoever clicks on this link does so. I hope you all have the patience to get to the end of it. It's 9mins long. Just 9 mins that might change your life. Then of course it might just make you never come here again
I urge you to see it through whatever view you have. I will not say it is right. I will not say it is wrong. I will let you decide that for yourself. As someone more literate that I once said, I don't believe in conspiracy theories, I know conspiracies exist.

I don't know what is going on in the world but I don't believe it is what they are telling us. I find it very very odd that every time now that there is bad news happening in the world, news that might make people stand up and protest against what is happening, suddenly there is a security alert, a large scary security alert. Please leave a comment about what you think you see and understand. No need to be rude, but honesty and some intelligence will of course be welcome. Post anonymously if you have to but please leave me a comment on this. Teach me something.

Lastly if the Afganis and Iraqis are the one waging the war against the free world oh and now the Lebonese, how come all the terrorists are either Saudi or Pakistani? It's a bit like invading Mexico for something the Canadians did. Isn't anyone really listening?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Did it

Well I said I had an exam, I was really nervous. I was sure my french would let me down. I was allowed to make 5 errors on 40, no more than that.
We left Monaco in a car with an 18 year old girl first time behind the wheel. Given that driving in Monaco is difficult the best of times, and at one stage she let go the wheel and laughed nervously, instead of breaking gently, well you can understand why I was a nervous wreck by the time I got to Menton. The trip took about half an hour or 40 minutes and the distance was about 15km ( I think). The instructor ran through the questions before hand. I managed to get all of them wrong. Boy was I confident? NO! We waited around for an hour, went in and I worried when the tester examined my passport. Maybe this was another French civil servant who didn't know European law. The exam started and it was okay. Then I forgot to validate a question with the button and I panicked. There were lots of different types of questions. I didn't do well. One or two I didn't understand at all but I took a stab at the answer.
We handed in our zappers (look like remote controls) at the end and the results were printed off, given to the instructor, and he took us outside. He turned to each one of us, he shook his head, 'Sept Fauts'7 faults 'non', '6 fauts, non', My God and some of these people, well it was the 3rd or 4th time they had tried, and it was my first, he looked at me, va, and continued. One of the younger students I didn't know jumped up and whacked me on the back. I was speechless. I had passed. I was so proud of myself. 3 years struggling in French being told I am no good, being corrected all the time, and my faults being pointed out as faults and errors that only I posess, and being scolded, for not speaking perfectly when no one around me communicates perfectly, anyway 3 years and I managed something a lot of french people don't manage in the first go. ..............well lets just say I was on air and I still am.

On another note, I am cracking up laughing realising my last post was 69, it must have been fruedian or something. I do wonder what he meant when he spoke about the Irish. I wonder was it an amazing complement, out and out racism or an admission that his science wasn't exactly perfect?

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