Monday, March 31, 2008

The Update, or Yolaine 2

I spelled her name incorrectly in a previous post. She was back. We saw her again, From a massive amount of people I am talking in the thousands, Yolaine finally made the cut into the last 27. I was amazed at her energy, pizzazz, passion, her complete transformation once she started singing. I wonder do I transform like that when I sing. No one has ever told me, but my Uncle ( God rest him) once said I sing not for myself but for those who listen to me and I took it as a compliment. Hell I was only 12 at the time.
Yolaine didn't make it to the final. She broke down on her final song. Again my story telling doesn't do justice, firstly she wasn't the only one to break down and by the time she got to sing it was late at night. She was exhausted. She cried. I was a bit moved to be honest. The program continued and we saw her being interviewed. It was make or break moment. The interviewer told her she would not be one of the few going to perform in BALTARD. " Yolaine, tu n'est pas prete".......the interviewer Lio, started to cry. Yolaine was smiling. Frankly she had got further than she had hoped, much further and everything else was a bonus. She was immensely happy. I was disgusted frankly, but after some reflection I saw the reason I was attracted to this lady. No I am not crippled, but I have often over come the odds in my life. I have also, and perhaps too often set my sights very very high, expected nothing and found that anything at all was a bonus. I wonder what lesson is there for me to learn from this? Do I accept my limitations or like Yolaine do I keep pushing the boundaries the limits and forcing myself to the best I can be? No I might not get to sing at BALTARD but damn hell I will do myself proud in trying. Who knows I might even get to meet Yolaine or Lio, who impressed me a lot to, and have some of there energy rub off. I just love people with tons of energy...So just watch it, I know you won't understand most of it, I am not going to tell you what was said but just have a look wait till the end. Remember this is someone who never sang in Public before.

Why are we infested with Moths?

So I have been having a hard time. I spoke to a guy in work the other day I asked him how things were? He told me he had a lot of problems and told me them one after the other. I offered him a swap and told him the story of my lawyer. He was astounded. In brief my lawyer rang my ex's dad ( also a lawyer) got lots of information about me, ended up menacing me with prison, and telling me he only worked for women. I know that sounds weird. Anyhow's ( as a very good friend of mine says), this guy, acquaintance gave me the number of a friend of his whom I have apparently met one night at a party. She is a family lawyer. We spoke, she was one of the most straightforward cut the bullshit nicest people I have spoken to since I got here. She told me what she was doing was normal, I think she was shocked when I told her, yes I used to believe that, but in my experience in this part of the world being nice and generous is not normal. she told me I wouldn't be going to prison, she told me not to worry, she put me at ease. She gave me the number of her best friend, who is going to take our case and disengage the other individual from the process.
I met the best friend today. She is a lovely woman, elegant, professional, still managing to warm and caring while being completely correct, I didn't want to get emotional, I ended up making her emotional.....my boy reminded again this weekend I am not allowed drop him..... I wouldn't and couldn't ever. So now I actually know what my rights are, I know I am supposed to keep all my receipts, I know I need documentation from home. None of this I knew with my last guy. Why are there people who don't give a toss about the lives of others they professionally represent?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Communication

Sometimes when he is tired my little boy gets into a strop. I try not to let him as I don't think sulking and moaning is a good strategy. I speak kindly but firmly, keep saying look at me and when he does, he knows I am real with him.
My ex has stopped answering the phone. I sent her a text message thursday the 13th saying we should talk, I explained I understood why she wasn't responding but it was okay. I am here any time to talk. She replied the following morning saying yes sometime this weekend would be good, she would let me know when. I waited all weekend on Sunday I sent another message, I said look it's fine maybe next weekend would be better? I got a reply that she didn't want to meet I had always lied to her in the past... I was stunned. I will save you the ins and outs suffice to say when I tried to tell her our son is showing signs of insecurity and apparently needs his father more, she told me I was full of bullshit. He doesn't let go when I put him to bed. He follows me to the toilet. He squeezes in between us to watch a movie. I love all that but I know it comes from him not being confident I am going to be there all the time. How do you explain to a child without traumatising him that this is life? It is not my choice that he doesn't have both parents living together, but I am so happy he at least is seeing his father happy and no longer abused. Will he come to my side when he is older and tell me all is okay, or will he rebuke me , will they fill him full of lies and half truths and non truths and anger and will he believe them all? All I can think of is saying to him is, look at me, look me in the eye my son and know our truth....I hope he does.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I want whatever feel good medicine this guy is on

WOW Okay I got it from Micheal Moore and I know you are not all fans of his.....but how can he say things are better......when will you make it stop? Yes I am back onto my political ranting can't you see? I must be loooooney lefty right?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Does it really?

I am interested. I want to know is George Bush right. Here is a report in it's entirety taken from the RTE.ie website. If you agree with the reported words of George Bush please tell me.... I just don't understand honestly.

The US President, George W Bush, has said US success in Iraq will merit the sacrifice of the 4,000 troops who have died there since the Iraqi invasion began five years ago.

His comments came less than a week after the fifth anniversary of the US-led invasion.
Mr Bush has insisted the decline in violence shows his strategy is working and needs more time.
His position is backed by the Republican Party presidential hopeful, Senator John McCain, a former Vietnam prisoner of war.

Both Democratic presidential hopefuls, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, have promised a quick withdrawal of US troops if elected.


The death toll of US soldiers in the conflict hit 4,000 after four troops were killed late yesterday in a Baghdad bombing.
The four died when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb while on patrol in southern Baghdad.

The conflict, which is now in its sixth year, has also wounded more than 29,000 American soldiers.

At least 97% of the deaths occurred after Mr Bush announced the end of 'major combat' in Iraq on 1 May 2003, as the military became caught between an anti-American insurgency and sectarian strife.

Despite the losses, Mr Bush has defended his decision to invade Iraq, vowing no retreat as he promised US soldiers would triumph despite the 'high cost in lives and treasure'.
According to a tracking website, 81.3% of the US soldiers killed have died in attacks by al-Qaeda, Sunni insurgent groups loyal to Saddam Hussein and radical Shia militias.

The remainder died in non-combat related incidents.( like what? )

Roadside bombs caused most of the casualties (about 40%), with small arms fire the second biggest killer.

No agreement on Iraq casualties

But up to three times as many Iraqi soldiers have died - and the number of civilians killed runs into tens and probably hundreds of thousands.

The icasualties.org website, based only on published reports, shows that around 8,000 members of the Iraqi security forces have died since the March 2003 invasion. Last year, however, the Iraqi government put the figure at 12,000.

There is no agreement when it comes to civilian casualties, particularly as many deaths are never reported in the media.
In January, a joint UN World Health Organisation and Iraqi government study concluded that between 104,000 and 223,000 Iraqis had died violently since the invasion.

As of 24 March, the independent Iraq Body Count website, based solely on incidents reported by the media, spoke of close to 90,000 deaths, of whom over a quarter died in 2007.
At the high end of the scale, British polling institute Opinion Research Business in a January report estimated the total number of civilian deaths at between 946,000 and 1.12m.


Now before you all go beating on me...this is not an anti american post... I genuinely don't understand. Enlighten me, please.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Power to Make Change

So here is a thought. You don't have to agree. I won't be watching the olympic games this year, nor buying any merchandise, till I am sure China is listening to the world and treating Tibet fairly, justly and humanely.
As a blogger I would ask you all to do the same. If one of you can make a little widgety thing we can stick on our blog please let me know. Then any one with a blog who feels the same way and is pro Tibet can stick it on their blog. I promise you it will effect change, take it into whatever social network site you use and advertise it there too. China in Tibet = no Olympics for me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Alter Kation

It is St Pats night. I have been chatting to some Irish people, it relaxes me instantly to return to my native accent, to crack jokes and join in the craic that we have ingrained in our understanding. It was fun. My moldovan friend, a French pal , my lover all show up and we are doing the pub quiz. Lover is having a bad time and I am trying not to let it spoil my time. She has just finished her intense dancing, she hasn't eaten. The bar is crazy and over full and its not the easiest time in her cycle.
Later I go to the loo I return to find a guy leaning over her trying to get served, I excuse myself and move back into my space, he doesn't want to give it up, he wants to order a drink, he is rude and agressive so I stubbornly refuse. I slide into my spot where is my bag, my glass, my lover and tell him to back off. Now comes the cultural difference. At home the guy would swear at me and bugger off. Here they turn into Jack Russells. They bite the stick and refuse to let go. He insists, I insist I had said no, not maybe not perhaps no. Non! He continues 'Let me in there I want to get a drink', 'Go away, look there is space there go over there!', he pulls my arm, I look down where he has touched me and look back at him...I eyeball him he gets nervous. 'Don't touch me I say, Ne me touche pas, Jamais! he looks bad and sees the anger mixed with a 'I don't give a shit where this ends' feeling in my eyes. His friend arrives. He tries to poke push me out of the way I dont' move, it's not so easy to eyeball two guys at the same time and respond in French.... I loose my cool and start shouting in English, 'Look I said no you dickhead, no Fuck Off' . He doesn't he keeps up the same line of argument that he has been using for 15 minutes, missing getting served about 3 times. J the Aussie bar man comes to me to ask is everything okay. I tell him the guy is being an asshole he was to stand here, it's handbags, I am leaving soon anyway. J is happy with the response and moves away, However now I am being poked and grabbed again. I turn around, for the umpteenth time the little boy insists he wants to stand where I am so he can order a drink and for the umpteenth time I tell him to get lost.. I turn around to face the bar and he is suddenly on my back pushing me into my woman and the counter, I push back, I turn and look at him, I see his throat, I grab it and shove hard, he sails backwards, girls screams, Lover has tears, she is very afraid, she has never seen this, K the barman Jumps the bar landing between us, he is screaming they have had a hard night worked their balls off, and they have, he is right, this is dumb, a bouncer has my arm he is big. I am calm very calm. 'Laisse moi prends mes trucs' Non pas raison tu peut rester, mes tu dois te calmer... You can stay but you must be calm, 'it's okay', I see the guy away from me looking away, as if it has nothing to do with him, he looks embarassed or ashamed, maybe I am projecting. Moldovian Girl is looking at me biting her lip.... Everything returns to normal. It's time to go home, the Irish crowd start asking what happened, why are you leaving, I explain, Lovers look has changed, she has seen something she knew but hadn't witnessed and a part of her likes it... it was a storm in teacup, handbags, but it's left a bad taste, I can't stop telling people what happened....
The following morning I am in first in my team, Moroccan Princess asks me how the night was, I recount my adventure, She asks were the Irish? Non, I say, 'Arab Alors?, Meme pas reply, meaning not even, white french young guys too much drink....... Sometimes I hate living here and hate having to stand up for myself... but I do.

Monday, March 17, 2008

St Patricks day

It is St Patrick's day. March 17th. The divorce and custody battle couldn't be more depressing really.
After an initial breakthrough and agreement to talk on Friday, my ex ended up sending me abusive phone messages.. telling me I was spoiling everything. That my son was happy before I started the proceedings. She referred to our past. A past I don't care for. A horrible existence for both of us. But while I have moved on she still holds the anger and pain deep in her and blames it all entirely on me... Ostriches stick their heads in the ground when they are afraid. So does my ex and her family. She doesn't want to know that our son is traumatised by not seeing me. At almost eight years of age, he follows me everywhere as if he is attached to me like glue. It's cute sometimes, but it's worrying. This morning I went to the toilet as he was washing his teeth. When he came out of the bathroom immediately he started to call for me as he couldn't find me. When I answer from the loo, normally he sits outside on the ground waiting for me to finish. This morning their was relief in his voice. Frankly it pisses me off he is so scared when he can't see me.
My partner lacks confidence but does a great job of being his friend and confident and easing up the pressure that exists when someone is literally physically in your space every waking minute.
I have always regarded Hate as a useless emotion and anger as a great emotion if channelled correctly. However anger that is not released effectively and safely turns to hate. This weekend for the first time in this story, Hate has been unclenched in my heart, it spurts up into my mouth making feel like spewing forward....I am sure the look in my eyes right now would frighten even I.
I have friends asking Friends for my rights, what am I entitled to. I am tired of allowing my ex to treat me like dirt on her shoe, some thing she did since the start and something I reciprocated. I am not interested in going over old ground. Perhaps she needs that to move on, and if so, for the first time I am really unwilling to give her anything. Now I am faced with being stubborn and unmovable for the rest of my life. If I have to agree to her demand I will simply never compromise. When she wants her son for her birthday, her fathers birthday, for anything, if it is my time then she won't get him...........And what the hell would that solve?
My child growing up psychologically damaged by this ridiculous, stupid and needless fight is not my plan.
Well then my ancestors, for what it is worth, I call on your guidance and wisdom, your strength and your patience for I am truly at the end of my tether, I am not going to drop my son. If there is anyone out their reading who knows French and European law, give a shout.
I miss home, I miss familiarity, I miss understanding what is the right thing to do....

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Justice ?

Here is a thing to give you all a laugh while I tear my hair out. Recently in blog land I lost someone I considered a friend because she judged me from her perspective. Given that our perspective is all we have I can't blame her. One of the things she said was how come you are separated 3 years and not divorced and living with someone else? Valid question and I understand and it's not that I am going to answer now. However, here is my latest escapade with my lawyer.
When I went to see him I told him I wanted a divorce and the ('garde alterner' ) meaning I would have my son with me/us every second week. It's quite normal in France. Although myself and my ex are not fans of each other we managed to communicate well enough unless she wanted to change something already planned.
She was changing too much and too many things and I got pissed off and 3 years after her demanding a divorce, while I learned french lost over a quarter of my weight, learned french, found a job, learned french, tried to be a comprising open individual, while learning french, regained the weight, gave up smoking, learned french and got fit, I finally found myself in a position to go and ask a lawyer, recommended mark you, by a friend of friend, to put my divorce in train.
In short I have my son every second weekend unless his mam decides there is something more important. I pay for his schooling and food. She lives in a 5 bedroomed house on 2 hectares, has a rich family, comes from the area, has a full time job, pays no rent, gets family allowance. I earn 1900 a month of which 1600 I get from which I pay 600 rent 200 food, 190 tax and then pay off all the bills I incurred when she threw me out on the street basically because I didn't accept her family in my ear, nor learn french quick enough ( 11 months) nor have a full time job.
So I told my lawyer I wanted a divorce and this alternative minding. A week later he told me my ex has a lawyer and no way it's not going to happen, she doesn't want money, but you can have your child every second weekend, wednesdays...( I work in Monaco 30km away and kids don't go to school on wednesdays here) and half the school holidays.... I told him no, don't be silly that's more or less my option, I told him Week on week off. After a few days I rang him back and said hey how about Thursday evening to Tuesday morning, so he has his wednesdays with his grandmother ...
Today he rang me back, almost 3 weeks later, he proposed Thursdays, till monday morning, + 200 euro. I told him basically but politely NO. He told me I would have no choice the judge is going to decide this, if I don't pay I would go to prison. I told him fine, it couldn't be worse in prison than living in France with no income, no friends, no support as I did 3 years ago. His reply was hey I love it when some one does that, a real Irish response, raising the flag. No I said, it's not Irish, there is no flag, it's me and only me. I told him all the sacrifices I had made. I gave up a career in film, gave up my studies in psychology, gave up the opportunity to study a course in business and computing before comming to france, gave up my home, my friends and my family, I am not giving up my son. Jail ( Gaol for you real english buffs) has zero fear for me and my wallet has zero euro for the mother of my son. That's the way it is.
Now here is the thing that is bugging me. He showed me her deposition for divorce that she made after I had met with him... I went to him to put in a deposition of divorce... where is my one? How come there was no depositon of me demanding the garde alterner ? How the hell do you find a lawyer in a foreign town to divorce you from the daughter of lawyer?
PS She has apparently been advised to no longer talk to me so the alternative minding won't be awarded............don't they think about the future?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Yolene

I don't know her. I saw her about 2 weeks ago on TV. Waiting. Big eyes, curly hair, framing her face, nice mouth. Pretty. When she walked in front of the judges it was revealed she was using sticks. She had had a motorbike accident 4 years ago. She belittled it saying it was nothing. She sang, I was impressed. I know singing, she does it.
I saw her last week on a completely different show. This time a group of physically challenged people trek to Kilamanjaro. Immediately I saw her I was riveted. Polio sufferers, deaf, blind, amputees, and Yolene. All of them tracking through bush and desert all of them struggling with each others struggles.
Yolene wasn't the only one who moved me but I allowed myself be moved most by her. 4 hours was the most she had walked in an age. I remember vividly her walking and arriving late in camp to be greeted by hordes of Africans jumping up and down cheering her home. I cried my heart out. I think she had walked 10 hours finally. I wasn't feeling sorry for her. I was just so touched by her steel. Her no nonsense nothing is going to stop me approach. Her refusal to let anyone put her down and negate her, and her sheer open heart on her terms. Dust, rocks, thorns, altitude sickness, rocks, and boulders, all on sticks dragging, forcing pushing those disobedient legs to their limits. Teaching them what they had forgotten. Teaching me. Her beauty, it is a profoundly deep inner beauty that shines forth. She is medically not supposed to be able to walk but she does more and more. Yolene like it or not you are an inspiration. I know you are in Aix en Provence somewhere, it's an hour and half away from here. Someday maybe we will meet and I can look in your eyes and you will see the joy you fill me with.
Now if only all of us had the same attitude. I am embarassed when I see people complain about having to walk across the road and I think of Yolene.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Life is Opera

When I was a child, Ireland was poor. Today it is the richest country in Europe. In the last 15 years Ireland has witnessed a cultural economic revolution that has changed it's make up and it's people for ever. Culture for me as a child was the Irish language, music, legends, traditions. European ideas of culture were far removed, alien, some how British. Suffice to say I grew up quite broadminded but ignorant of the fine arts. I knew about Leonardo da Vinci but thought the Mona Lisa a quite dark boring image, and when in Paris didn't bother to queue, to look at it.
I am such a commonor for you more classically educated people, and in truth sometimes it is an embarrasment. However I console myself that most of you couldn't sing a traditional air to save your life, nor know how to interact with a crowd of people who might just be listening to you at that time. Right then any process workers out there reading this will have already identified the battle going on in my head.
So here is the mix. Picture me on a Monday evening waiting for my Italian lady in an Irish Bar in Nice. Already the cultures become mixed and confused. My lady is off to practice her Flemenco, (hmm), Savianas, a blonde lady behind me looks at me as I look at her. 'Do you mind if I join you?'. Firworks alarm bells rockets, all go off at the same time. For the first time in 4.5 years, a person in a bar has just felt natural enough to want some company and not give a damn who the company is. Wow feels like home. I replied that is would be great, and yes part of that reply was driven by her exquisit features and amazingly pure blonde hair. I told her I was waiting for my partner to make sure there was no misconceptions from the start. We chatted, she worked in the Opera, in fact she was a singer, in fact she was the second Principal, in fact I nearly fell off my chair. I was flabbergasted, amazed, bemused. What had been a normal conversation between two people turned into a foggy lingustic road block as I couldnt really think of what next to say to the Finish woman opposite me.
I asked questions, lots of questions. In truth she told me it was a job like any other. I laughed. I had worked enough jobs, including on film and TV sets, and been on stage enough, to know well that her life was anything like normal. We chatted. Aqua arrived and the ladies got on well and a moments apprehension was disolved.
FinnLady as I will call her, offered us tickets to the Opera. I jumped at the idea. I had already been introduced to Ballet with mixed reaction. Shirakawi blew me away, and Maillot left me feeling cold and wondering what the hell was going on in his private life.

We offered her dinner. She came to the house, she had never seen roast duck before. I was intrigued. She sang a finish folk song for us, with her opera voice. I didn't understand a word and rarely speechless, I couldn't speak for about 5 minutes afterwards.

Finally the day came. We got to the Opera......Let me say when I write that I am still thinking I am stupid. Me...in the Opera.......yeah right get a life......Me in the OPERA... Not really. Just the best box right beside the stage, (with 3 other ladies aged 50 to 80 in black high heels, black dresses, lots of jewlery, Italian dialect, who my partner informed me after wards were definitely straight out of the Godfather, and most likely related to him. The older lady turned to me at the end of the night and smiled 'Bonsoir', God she fancies me at her age.... I thought.)
Now I understood more or less the gist of the story. I kept an eye on the subtitles above when I was getting lost, but translating from French to English while listening to Italian and looking at heaving bosoms on stage is not the most simple thing to do in the world. It's even more difficult when someone hits a note, and for no reason, that note, pierces your very core and brings tears to your eyes. I was feeling silly. The Wedding of Figaro is a comedy and here I was crying. I was also laughing too. It was an amazing experience. We went back stage. We ran out to the pub later and back in again to the last night celebrations. I walked around like an idiot telling people I was an opera virgin and had just broken my duck, while quaffing champagne from a plastic cup. What a night, I will never forget it.

I could write for hours about the Opera house in front of the sea, the people I saw and met. The things we did, but it's not the reason for writing here. Opera.
Opera....I had heard it would move people, it was indescrible...it's true. When a woman as beautiful as Finnlady, who is short, and funny, opens her mouth and makes you feel you have been touched personally by God in the most intimate part of your soul, then and only then can you say you have heard opera. When she does it a number of times in one performance along with people whom you have never met, then you can say you have seen, heard, and lived Opera... I am hooked.

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