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Archive for the ‘change’ Category

dec 27 snow in field next to my home

Now that I have sorted the broadband stuff and vented about Eircom [will keep you updated on whether they end up offering restitution for their incompetence] … it’s time to focus on the brighter side of life.

photo from my office window soon after moving into new home

I have a great feeling about this new decade and I don’t care if it’s just my optimism … good feelings are good feelings and should be hugged and snuggled close.

I’m in my new home and am loving the space and light and warmth … and Coco loves being able to play [tied to a long line] outside and watch the birds.

Decorating the house for Chritmas was a delight and my friend Brendan joined me for lunch … lovely to have a guest in the new space. Here’s me surrounded by food abundance and … a glass of bubbles … surprise surprise.

The kitchen dining room is huge and as you can see has room for a lounge suite. I’m really pleased that my Eamon Coleman painting has at last found a space big enough to hang … it was the first painting I ever bought in Ireland nearly 16 years ago and I love it.

The lounge room has a lovely fireplace [which is getting a lot of use in these freezing conditions] and Brendan lent me his Xmas tree which we decorated … looks fab and I still haven’t taken it down I love it so much. When the snow and ice melts then I will bring it down.

Upstairs I have 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms … one is now an office. My big bedroom gets the morning light and looks over fields. Coco loves standing on the couch and looking at the birds outside. I’ve started leaving seeds and bread and oats out for the birds and Coco goes into a kind of shivery delight when she sees 6 robins all perched on the wall!

view from one of my bedroom windows

Soon after I moved in it started snowing and I watched in delight as everything became whiter and whiter … little did I know it was going to last over a month.

The views from my house

my back yard

The back lane behind the house looked like something out of a movie and I ended up laughing when Coco tried running down the ice laden space … legs going everywhere!

The field next door is Coco’s idea of heaven as she just runs and runs around it … I get a bit nervous that she’ll run across the road but so far so good.

Over the last weeks we’ve had more snow and ice and I’ve taken lots of photos. I was telling my nieces and nephew in Oz about the snow so these photos are for them … they meanwhile are experiencing temps in the 40’s C.

Note – all the thumbnail photos can be enlarged by clicking on them. All the photos are either in the field next door to my new home or on the road walking in to Ballinamore … 5 or so minutes although I haven’t been able to walk in since Xmas as the paths on the estate are icy dicey.

Marc asked me today if I had made any new year resolutions and I said no … what I’d done was make some Life Dreams for this year and the new decade.

I clarified what was important for me right now and drew/wrote ideas … here’s a photo of the drawing that I’ve put on my fridge so I can see it every day. I took each of the areas and have noted things I want to do [and the rewards] … and I know that circumstances may change and opportunities/challenges will arise … that’s life.

I’ve been doing my own Life Dreaming for around 20 years now and I still am encouraged by the fact that there is always some new insight … something else I see and learn.

What did I learn doing this Life Dreaming?

That developing and launching Life Dreaming online and globally this year is THE biggest dream I’ve had in a long long long time … and achieving it will fuel and fund a lot of my other dreams.

I was already committed to Life Dreaming … but making the realisation that Life Dreaming is the priority in 2010  [after looking at my 2010 Life Dreaming drawing more closely] has added another layer of focus and intent for me.

Because I have now made it such a huge priority … that will take time and effort and energy … I know that I will be saying NO to many other opportunities and offers [no matter how interesting] that have already begun to come my way. That’s known as the Opportunity Cost of making a decision.

It’s all about where I want to focus my will.

That doesn’t mean that I won’t ensure I eat well … spend time with family and friends … find some form of exercise that engages me … travel a bit [Paris and Marrakech are on the radar] … love Coco … make a welcoming home … make some short term money … listen to my intuition … be part of my community … write this blog … drink bubbles!

But it does mean that for 2010 there will be some interesting paths I could have travelled that I will consciously ignore because I am developing Life Dreaming.

There’s a kind of serenity and peace in making that decision and being [relatively] clear about what is important in my life right now.

That’s how Life Dreaming works for me … it helps me create purpose and direction [without losing a sense of the spontaneous or ridiculous that populates my life] in a way that makes me feel excited and enthusiastic … and that’s got to be the most powerful way to live … for me anyway.

And Life Dreaming is a partnership with my brother Marc … and that’s brilliant for so many reasons. I know that there will be times in this year [and beyond] when Marc and I will feel frustrated and exhausted by developing Life Dreaming … and that’s life when you’re building a business. I also know that we’ll have more fun together than a bag of monkeys and we both believe passionately in how useful Life Dreaming can be.

So … Coco & I send you magnificent wishes for a year and decade that engages you and brings all the abundance you want.

Slan

Liz

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Nearly there

And the move goes on.

In the last stages of the move to the new home.

I made a decision last week that I chose to stay calm and unstressed through the whole process … and I have!

I think Maggie is wondering what wonder drugs I’m using [none Dad!] and Brendan was saying how stressful it usually is to move house.

Well folks … I decided to buck the trend.

And my calmness has been greatly helped by William and Brendan helping me move things over different nights … and Brendan having me over for meals most nights … and Mags driving me to Enniskillen last night to buy new bedding.

Friends … I do love them.

I have no internet access or phone so am using my friend Brendans when I get the chance.
 
Phone will be the same and new address is 20 Pairc Fea. Ballinamore. Co Leitrim.
 
I have been sorting, throwing, packing and moving things every day since the weekend. 

 
I see all the throwing and sorting in the cottage as a great exercise in decluttering [I can hear the amused guffaws from my friends … I’m untidy]. As I take time to tidy I have also enjoyed remembering the great 3 years I have spent in the cottage.
 
It’s been 3 years since I moved to Ballinamore and renting the cottage was the best thing I did. It put me smack in the  centre of town and I got to know my neighbours and all the people that run the shops in the street.
 
I got to know the Hamills and their children and we had great fun with the Sunny Funny Garden … and I am enjoying watching Maeve, James and Eoin grow into really delightful people.
 
And I got to know Maggie … a treat for anyone lucky enough to meet her. Many good times [and more to come]. Mags thinks I’m either pretending or really am having a stress free move … either way … she’s probably sure I’m missing a cog!
 
And yesterday I rewarded my efforts by spending 3 hours in the new house unpacking and rearranging things. Took Coco to see her new home and she loves it! She ran around sniffing everything then pretty much either looked out the kitchen or my bedroom window at the fields outside.
 
The lounge now looks amazing and I decorated the mantle piece … photos will be posted when I get broadband in a week or so. The kitchen/dining area is big enough for a couch and it already looks very homey.
 
My paintings and sculptures are happily spread through the house.
 
Today will hopefully be the last load of things to move … fridge, couch, table, cabinet and LOTS of books and files.
 
I thank Mags, Brendan and William in advance for their help this evening … there will be bubbles at the end.
 
And tomorrow my good friend Linda comes over the help me clean the cottage from top to bottom. Thank all the deities for Linda … she actually likes cleaning. So, in a way I am providing her with a great experience. I live to serve!
 
My access to broadband and a phone are very intermittent and full service should resume by the end of next week. My Skype is banjaxed as I think Diva has a microphone problem. Will sort soon.
 
And tomorrow evening Linda and I will be sitting by the fire sipping bubbles and eating whatever she has brought over from her home.
 
I know I say it a lot … but friends really are your wealth … and I’m a billionaire.
 
Must go now and work my way through the list of things still to do … it’s long but I know it will get done … with the help of my friends.
 
XXX Liz

p.s Pa, if you have been trying to ring me … the phone in the cottage is disconnected and the new one won’t be connected until tomorrowish. Give me a ring on Sunday if you are free as I’d love to have a chat … same phone number. xxxxxx

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In just over a week  I will move into a new home.

I have had 3 very happy years in the wee cottage in High St and many many great memories.

By living in the main street I got to know heaps of people and they got to know me.

And … I like change.

I particularly like it when it’s within my control.

For the new year and the new decade I decided that I wanted a new space to live in for all the adventures that are ahead.

In the current economic climate one of the beaming lights for renters is that rents have dropped by a significant amount this year.

Places that were renting for 500 and 550 are now available for just over 400 euro a month.

And in Ballinamore there are a lot of places to rent.

I’m moving to a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home with a large kitchen dining area that gets the morning sun … and opens to a backyard for Coco dog.

It’s a 5 minute walk from town just across from the football field and is on a hill with mountain views.

I love it.

And with every change there are things that I’ll miss … even when the change is fab.

I’ll miss the Hamills and having Therese next door.

I’ll miss having Maggie just 2 doors up … although I will continue to haunt her and visit the shop every day.

I’ll miss all my shop neighbours.

And I’m only 5 minutes away … not moving to Guatamala.

I just wanted to do this quick update so my Dad doesn’t think  I’m dead … Just packing Da.

My phone number will be the same and my new address [for Santa] is 20 Pairc Fea. Ballinamore.

I’ll be taking photos on Saturday of Santa’s visit and the turning on of the Xmas lights and post them on the blog.

I will also post up some shots of the Clothes Swap Party which went very well … we raised 800 euro and the 50 or 60 women who came along had a ball.

Marc and I are having great conversations about the development of Life Dreaming and the launch in 2010.

I’m planning more Blog Design Workshops for Artists and Creative Entrepreneurs in Dublin at the end of January.

My contract of work is going well.

Coco is fab and I am healthy.

Lots to be grateful for in my life.

I send you very best wishes.

Slan

Liz

p.s   Pa, I haven’t been able to ring because I went back to Eircom and calls to Oz cost something like 75 cents a minute!! Have been sending telepathic messages of love as you don’t like emails. xxxxx

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liz

Anyone that has read this blog over the last few years will know that I’m basically a very optimistic person.

I believe that feeling hopeful is why I get out of bed in the morning.

And the last year and a half have provided a lot of interesting challenges and opportunities … most of which I have met with a measure of good cheer and creative thinking.

Yup – there have been duvet days and I love them.

And I’ve had fantastic support from family and friends … my love and thanks to you all.

I believe that nothing stays the same – good or bad – and part of thriving in this crazy chaos is to build your capacity for resilience and humour and patience and persistence.

Even in the worst moments I knew that it wouldn’t last.

Not being clairvoyent is a gift … I really, really, really … really … don’t want to know the future.

And many of my friends and family have faced their own big challenges this year – ill health, death of loved ones, financial woes … loss of some kind.

People’s capacity for courage and just damn good humour in the shittiest situation never ceases to encourage and amaze me.

Many of you have been my inspiration this year … thank you so much.

And now for the good news.

I heard a week ago that myself and a Dublin consultancy had won a nice contract.

It means that I will have more money guaranteed for the next 6 months.

The relief is wonderful … and the genteel poverty of the last 18 months wasn’t all bad either. It’ll just be nice to be able to pay bills and rent on time …and then buy some winter clothes.

I’ve also applied for an Entrepreneurial Internship grant with the National Digital Research Centre in Dublin. If I win one then I have to move to Dublin for 3 months and build a SKIL2 prototype.

Special thanks to my brother Marc for doing all the visual branding for SKIL2 and for agreeing to be my Brand Director.

More thanks to my good friend Margaret Lonergan who has agreed to be my Visual Interface Design Director [a bit of a coup as Margaret was Head of Visual Communications in the National College of Art and Design until feb this year when she went back to her visual communications consultancy] as we design the most beautiful + practical + affordable online learning space.

And even more thanks to Amy [one of my international SKIL2 Mentors] who read through the application form and gave me detailed and brilliant feedback that made it even better.

I gave everyone fab titles because currently they have been giving me their time and talents for free. When SKIL2 makes money they are sooooo getting a bonus.

Exciting and scary … as all adventures should be.

I’ll hear whether I am invited to pitch the idea to a panel by tomorrow.

Writing the grant application was really useful as I had to further refine and clarify what SKIL2 was all about.

And I got to do it twice!!! Lucky me.

I had to work online within their site …and when I went to save a pile of work I’d typed … it disappeared …never to be found again by the NDRC techies.

That was fun …rewriting everything. On the sunny side …I further refined my ideas.

When shit happens I tend to give myself a moment or two [or 20 … depending on the crisis] to feel angry, sad & scared.

Then I get on with it and find a solution and ask for help.

My fundamental power is to choose my attitude in any given situation.

Smiles in the sunshine are easy … smiles when crap hits the fan … well … that’s a tad more challenging.

To be honest, I really don’t like what happens when I get angry. Lots of chemicals flow thru my system and make my body hurt and I feel sick.

Calm tends to be my default state.

And things are happening in Ballinamore.

This Friday Mary from Cara Pharmacy is having a fundraiser for the Northwest Hospice at the Commercial Hotel.

It’s free entry and there will be:

  • a make up demonstration
  • Fashion parade
  • wine tasting
  • Flower arranging demonstration with Gail
  • Goodie Bags
  • Cannaboe Cake decorating demonstration from Sharon
  • Finger Food
  • Raffles

A great night out.

I’ll miss it as I’m starting work in Dublin on the new contract on Thursday and Friday and then I have 2 fully booked Blogsite Design workshops for Artists + Creative Entrepreneurs on Saturday and Sunday.

They are in Koh Restaurant and the owners have given me a private wified dining area for free – many thanks to them for sponsoring the workshops.

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I  love finding beautiful places to create learning events. All the participants will be able to order food and refreshments as they learn.

koh seminar room

I hope there are fab things happening for you.

slan

Liz

p.s Coco dog is fab as usual. We’ve been getting straight up and out walking at 7.45am every morning. Coco loves it … and I yawn my way down the street.

I let her loose at the canal at the bottom of the street and she just runs and runs and runs. I stroll and enjoy the morning quiet.

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For the last 3 days we’ve seen the rare and shy kingfisher bird … tiny and a dazzling blue. It skims along the canal and yesterday it stopped and sang. This morning it skimmed twice and then we saw 5 swans fly across the sky and a rainbow.

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p.s.s I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been a time billionaire while I’ve been experiencing genteel poverty.

It’s given me space to develop SKIL2 and Life Dreaming as well as do a pile of probono work and fundraising.

Well, I’m at it again.

Aine Martin and I are running the Big Clothes Swap Party in Ballinamore on November 27th. As far as we know, it’s the first one in the Northwest of Ireland.

Marc has done his usual design genius job of creating a poster.

I’ve attached it here just in case you want to print it and share it around.

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I’ve been a little discombobulated the last few days.

There are changes in the wind and movement on SKIL2 …and for the last few weeks I’ve been very excited …until yesterday …when I woke feeling really irritable and tired … and started sneezing for 18 hours …and yelled at Coco.

Took me a while but I realized that I was afraid … of moving from my comfort zone …of SKIL2 falling on it’s arse …of doing this all on my own.

And yesterday I asked some people to help me with areas of SKIL2 …and I drank lots of tea …and felt crappy.

Spent the last few hours today reading blogs online …and joined up to go to an online learning conference [online and free] in November to see the current learning trends internationally.

What was even more useful was reading a blog post by a woman who cracks me up with her daily writing about her life …Jessica writes the Booshy blog.

Todays post was called ‘ Are you afraid? Of what?’ and she wrote about her dream to write …and the fear that was blocking it.

One of the things I love about blogging is that people respond with support and their own stories.

I wrote a comment to support Jessica and found myself clarifying a few things for myself.

And what if you don’t write?

What’s the payoff … the reward for staying where you are?

What’s the pain?

And …if you move forward [or sideways …wherever!] what’s the payoff …what’s the pain?

You know that voice in your head [and are you sure there’s only one? I have about a dozen, but don’t tell anyone]?

Tell it to Shut The Feather Up!

And as for fear … it’s holding hands with courage and excitement.

One step …one bite …one leap … whatever … just do one thing to move toward your dream.

your dream …not anyone elses …not society’s …or your friends …or your families …your dream.

As for FAILURE … what does it even mean?

Having a dream … a purpose …a sense of passion … makes us feel alive …that’s success,

Making promises to yourself to act on the dream …now …that’s success.

Speaking it and asking for support …that’s success.

Swearing and nagging hubby as you struggle and flow in your writing … that’s success.

Eating your body weight in yummies as you muse on your ideas …that’s success.

Finding reasons to stay in your comfort zone … that’s normal.

I know FEAR by its first name …it’s an insidious little bastard and it can wrap it’s tentacles around you in a way that feels almost comforting.

It’s voice is all the excuses for not doing and being the incredibly perfect/imperfect person you wish to be.

yeh – there are millions of books …so what?

We all have unique voices …so go sing.

Slan
Liz

p.s I’m in the middle of a 2 day fear attack about a whole enterprise I’m developing. One moment I know it could revolutionise learning spaces for charities … the next …I’m sure a million other people have done it.

So …my gut wrenches and I can’t stop sneezing [yeh – a hysterical stress reaction …except when you’ve been sneezing on and off for 18 hours!] …and I even yelled at my lovely dog Coco [i’ve apologised].

And … I’m not ignoring the feelings … I’m listening and working out new ways to focus the project and get support.

I’m also allowing myself to be afraid and excited and proud of how far I’ve brought the idea forward in a year.

And writing this to you …initially to support you …has provided a sense of support for me. Thanks Jessica.

Oh yeh … as I was writing away I realised that I’d stopped sneezing!

And I’m going to take Coco for a walk and be content.

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You all know that my dear friend of over 20 years … Mary … has been visiting me from Oz on her European hols.

She spent 10 days in Edinburgh during the Festival with another dear friend of hers Anne.

They had a great time at dance and music and  a food festival. One thing I loved hearing about was a bar that served Pottails.

Yup … cocktails in a teapot … my kind of place.

Think I might organise a Pottail party in Ballinamore … are you up for it Mags?

Mary arrived in Ballinamore last Friday … and as you know from previous posts and Facebook notes … I had been cleaning for days before she arrived … I lost the will to live a few times.

As soon as Mary arrived we went down to Smyths pub for a great lunch …. Mary is fascinated by the Irish tradition of chips and mashed potatoes on the same plate!

For the next day or so we literally sat by the fire … yeh … in the summer. It feels like it’s been raining for 3 years.

Mary says that staying in the cottage with me is the only time she actually slows down and does nothing … she knows she’s in the presence of a lolling zen mistress!!

Just to give you a comparison.

If ‘normal’ humans have the drive and energy of 1 gerbil running in a cage …. Mary is the equivalent of about 5 of the little devils!!!

So … we chill and chat and watch the rain come down …  and in the 5 minutes when the rain stops …. We take Coco for a walk.

Mary is charmed by Coco … big surprise.

I think Coco is the dog equivalent of a super model.

On Sunday we get the train to Dublin and go the apartment we booked in Capel St.

Capel St is a great old street on the northside and just off the Liffey River.

The apartment was stunning and is over a great gay bar called Panti Bar. The bar and apartments are owned by Miss Panti and was really gorgeous …. High ceilings … big bedroom …. Big couch that I got to sleep on … nice bathroom.

All for the amazing price of 70 euro per night during the week … min booking of 2 days.

Mary gets the bedroom because she’s paying for the whole trip as a 50th birthdayth present for me … I am blessed with fantastic and generous friends.

Speaking of fantastic and generous friends … many thanks to Mags for looking after Coco for 3 days.

Coco loves going to Mags as she gets to play with all the other dogs …. And she adores Patsy cat …. Who treats Coco with suitable disdain.

So … Mary and I throw the bags in the apartment and go for a wander to the Jervis St shopping center right around the corner.

As evening approaches we go back to the apartment and get dressed up for dinner at Koh.

It’s a Thai/asian restaurant that I had read about online and wanted to check out as a potential venue for Dublin Design your own Blog site workshops … and I also love Thai food.

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We were given a private room … and we proceeded to eat some of the best food I have tasted in a long while.

Check out the menu here.

Top that with a lovely bottle of French wine and some great chat and you have a fab evening.

Mary wanted to take some photos … no probs … until she says ‘do something silly’

‘Like what?’ says I …. Thinking ‘yeh … right … I really want a photo of me looking like an eeedjit’.

And here you have my eedjit photo …. Lovely …. Not.

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Here are some better photos.

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Mary also turned 50 this year so we had a long chat about the new plans we have for our lives.

We ate a lot of starters as we love lots of different tastes … brilliant food at very reasonable prices.

We introduced ourselves to one of the owners (hi Connor) and congratulated him on a great restaurant … and excellent staff.

Here are a few more photos I took of the place … we went there again last  night and I talked with Connor about using their large private room for my workshops with cultural and creative entrepreneurs …more about all that later.

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we were the last to go … that’s why there’s no people in the shots.

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this is the large private dining area where I hope to run my Design Your Own Blog Workshops … beautiful … and wified.

Mary and I then went to Panti Bar for our free welcome drink as part of the apartment package … I had a great margarita.

We ran into a friend of mine … Sean …. And his mate Jack …. And had a great chat about …. The Lisbon Treaty … the Civil Partnership Bill … science …. Urban planning …. Design …. Multi media.

Yeh … the usual trivial stuff.

Home and in bed by midnight.

Up at 7am on Monday for a major day of wandering and me being Mary’s personal shopper and introducing her to some of Dublins great shops … Penneys in Henry St … Brown Thomas … BT2 …. And funky shops in Georges Arcade on the southside.

We went into one of my fave shops … Om Diva where Mary had a great time.

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This shop is amazing with some of the best jewellery … sparkly shoes …. And vintage clothes … all at good prices.

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The shop assistant was a delight and has the best name … Clara Belle.

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I’m love the shop and will be popping in whenever I’m in Dublin.

We went to Mao for lunch and more great Asian food.

More wandering in Grafton St …we charmed the very attractive man in Ted Baker into letting us take photos of the shop. Mary’s husband John runs the top menswear shop in Perth and sells Ted Baker clothes.

It’s late afternoon and we were due to meet Shani for afternoon tea in the Queen of Tarts café in Temple Bar.

A lovely place … where the iron sign fell on my head last time!

When the staff saw me coming in they all got a bit wild eyed and gave me a table well away from the sign … but near a huge mirror!

Shani joins us but is off to work at my fave restaurant … Eden …. where she is one of the managers.

Every celebration I have had in the last 5 years (when I’m in Dublin) has been at Eden … including my recent 50th birthday.

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Billy. Mary, Liz, Shani & Mia celebrating with me in Eden

(and here’s a special offer to my lovely readers … if you become an Eden Facebook fan you will be able to use the special offers they will be posting only for their Fans. Things like discount cocktails and meals … love it.)

By this stage it’s about 5.30pm and we’ve been out and about for nearly 8 hours … time to stop for a drink.

We were at the lights in Georges St on our way to the Bar with No Name in Fade St when I hear a voice call out ‘’ Hey Liz’.

It’s another good friend of mine from Leitrim … Anna Legge.

Anna is Artistic Director of the Glens Centre and one of the most amazing  women. She organizes and attracts some of the best Irish and international music and literary talent to the (relatively) small venue in a small rural community … people like Sheamus Heaney … Dermot Healy … Pat McCabe … Damien Dempsey.

I invite Anna to join us and we chat for an hour or so before she leaves to drive back to Leitrim.

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Meanwhile … Mary and I are chatting about where we will go for dinner …  do you sense a theme running through this adventure?

Yup … great food … great wine … great people.

As we’re chatting Mary gets a text from Shani letting us know that Monday nights there is a pre theatre menu going all evening 3 courses for 29 euro.

And because I am a cosseted and much loved customer … Shani offers us free cocktails as well … life is tough folks.

We walk across to Eden and are just about to go inside when Mary hears 3 people chatting about where they can go to eat for the evening.

I know what it’s like to be a visitor in a city and not know where the good places are to eat … so I walk over and tell them about Eden and their Monday offer.

They thank me and say they will go and talk with their other companion … and yes … they came in later and had a fab time … and I ended up giving them a Dublin map and marking where the cool shops and other places to eat … including Koh.

Shani shows us to our table and we are soon seated with our cocktail.

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I have never had a bad meal in Eden (and I’ve been going there for 5 years) and the staff are wonderful.

Everyone exceeded themselves and the meal was amazing.

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when Mary cut into the chocolate (it’s hot) it oozed out … and then there were the hot cherries and honey comb icecream.

We had finished our meal and were thinking of calling it a night when Shani came over with a complimentary after dinner liquer … so we stayed a little longer.

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Shani suggest we go outside with her on the terrace for an end of evening chat.

We’re outside when 2 guys come out and join us … one of them knows Shani.

We all get chatting happily about the food and then natter away about Japan (Shani learnt and speaks Japanese) …and architecture … and design.

One of the men asks me where I live and when I say Ballinamore in Leitrim … he says ‘I didn’t think anyone lived in Leitrim’.

I smiled and told him that not only was it the best kept secret in Ireland  but it was chock full of great people and some of the finest artists, entrepreneurs, writers, musicians, film makers, architects ….

We get chatting about some of the really interesting contemporary and sustainable houses that have been built in Leitrim … specifically the Mimetic Home designed by Dominic Stevens in Dromohair.

Turns out one of the guys is an architect who knows Dominic … he’s also Italian so Mary and he get chatting about Italy … she’s Oz/Italian and will be there in a few days visiting her rellies.

The other guy asks me if I have seen the work of a particular Japanese architect and we chat happily away about how he uses light and space … and how great designers can integrate traditional and contemporary influences in their creations.

We all start talking about travel and he says ‘I’m off to New York shortly’ … a city I love and want to visit again … and Paris and Rome … and ….

I ask him if he’s going to NYC for work or pleasure … he says work.

Mary asks him what work he does …. And he says he’s in a band.

‘What’s the name of your band’. Asks Mary.

‘U2’. Says he.

‘Oh … that band … I think I’ve heard of you’. Says I.

I said ‘so it was your fault that my train was packed on the Sunday I came up to Dublin for my birthday … all your bleedin’ fans were going up for one of the concerts!’.

We all laughed and just keep chatting away.

I asked him if he was enjoying their world tour and he said that they were having a great time.

Mary asks ‘what instrument do you play in the band?’

“drums’ says he.

‘ You must have very strong arms’ says me

Mary and I are obviously right up there with who’s who in music … not!

And we all chatted for a while before his party called him in to go home.

When he got up to go he shook our hands and said it was a pleasure meeting us (but of course!) … and I wished him only good times on the tour.

A really lovely man …. regardless of the fact he plays in a band that a few people know about!

After he left I asked Shani ‘’ What a lovely man … what’s his name?’

‘Larry Mullen’ says she.

‘Oh’ says me.

Too funny.

He was delightful and before I knew he was in a band I thought he was hot and wondered if he was single … yup … nothing like repeating my pattern of finding unavailable men attractive.

Anything can happen when you’re open and friendly … and eat at Eden.

Up again on Tuesday after a good nights sleep.

We met Shani for morning tea in Lemon Jelly … a lovely café around from the apartment.

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Then more wandering … I can recommend the newly refurbished Arnotts in the Jervis Centre … some lovely fashion.

I didn’t have any money to buy anything but I had a great time helping Mary spend hers.

We had lunch in the Italian restaurant in Arnotts and a glass of prosseco (in fond memory of the trip Mary and I made to Rome a few years ago) … delicious … and once again a gift from Mary.

We were in the homewares section of the store when I saw some really interesting merchandise that gave me some ideas for Life Dreaming … Mary took some photos for me and I’ll send them off to Marc …. The Life Dreaming Chief of Ideas.

Back to the apartment to relax before going out again to meet my dear friend Feargus.

The weather had been sunny all day … I think September will be the new Summer.

On our way to the bar we popped in again to Om Diva as they always have new stuff coming in … Mary bought this lovely neckpiece … and they gave her a discount.

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We met in the same bar as the previous evening and chatted over a few wines.

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Feargus is one of Ireland leading landscape architects and Mary runs a brilliant consultancy that looks at Place Making in cities and communities … so they bonded immediately.

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We were having such a good time chatting that we all decided to continue on to dinner … back to Koh where they welcomed us with open arms and gave us the same private room.

Feargus hadn’t been there before and was blown away by the food … it was exceptional.

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The conversation was wide ranging and as delicious as the food … as was the bottle of prosseco … which was accompanied by a iced glass filled with strawberries.

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I went and had a chat to Conor (owner) about using their larger private dining room as a venue for my Design Your Own BlogSite workshops.

For 55 euros I will be running a 5 hour workshop in his place. The cost includes a cup of tea/coffee and I’ll bring in chocolates … and if people want food or drink as they are learning … they can.

The whole restaurant is wified and beautiful … and I believe that we can learn in beautiful and social places better than in boring old rooms that remind us of school.

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This is the area where I will be teaching the blogsite design course … beautiful.

I’m going to target a lot of young cultural and creative entrepreneurs that I know who want to develop a site to promote themselves but can’t afford to pay thousands for a designer.

For 50 euro they will:

  • Learn and design their  blog site – totally hands on learning
  • Meet and network with other entrepreneurs
  • Have a good time eating chocs

What’s not to Love?

It’s a very low price but these crew don’t have a lot of  money … but they know heaps of people … so I’m going to ask them to promote my workshops to their friends.

If it all goes well I’m thinking of then having 4 to 6 weekly gatherings at Koh of everyone that does the workshops so they can network … bring along their computers … and do some free learning.

And … running the paid workshops every 6 weeks or so.

Shani is going to help me promote it … I’m starting by opening a Fan Page on Facebook when I get home today. [update … it’s done].

We had a night cap in Panti Bar and then off to sleep.

Mary and I were up and packed and had breakfast again in Lemon Jelly.

The hot waiter gave me a free tea to take away.

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Then Mary and I said our goodbyes … both got a bit teary but we’ll see each other within a year.

Mary has asked Marc and myself to kick her consultancy brand up a notch … Marc doing the visual branding of the site … and me doing the words.

I said that instead of giving me a fee … that all the meals and wine and accommodation she had  paid for on the Dublin trip would be the barter … she knew I didn’t have any money … and I felt better doing a barter … rather than feeling like I was sponging off a friend … although Mary definitely did not see it that way … generous lady.

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So … I am Marys Wordsmith and Multi Media R&D person for her business … cool.

As I type the Irish countryside blurs past … I’m on the train home.

I had the best time with Mary and my friends in Dublin … it was a wonderfully rich adventure for 3 days … and now I’m looking forward to getting home to Ballinamore and seeing Coco and Mags and just chilling down.

I feel that there are big changes about to happen in my life over the next 6 months … all good … and I intend too put myself in the way of new adventures and experiences.

I said to Feargus and Mary last night that we can get stuck in what I call Ruts of Competence …. Being great at what we do … enjoying our life … and maybe not being as mindful and aware and open to new ways of being.

I think I’m about to shake up my life … and that delights and scares me.

Bring it on.

Slan

Liz

p.s I’ve been home a few hours now … Coco and I had a happy reunion and I’ve been doing this blog post and setting up the blog workshop facebook fan page … all while lolling on the sofa bed.

Many many thanks to Mary for being part of a wonderful few days.

Think I’ll just chill down now.


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Some things really do stay the same … like our wet July and August for the last 3 years … and I bet the sun will shine on the day all the kids go back to school in September.

Humid and wet and grey … yum yum.

Took Coco for a walk and she loves being out  … so that’s always cheering as I watch her run up and down looking like a drunk dog.

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Festival is over for another year and well done to all the organisers and volunteers … mighty effort.

I was in Dublin on Sunday for the engagement party of 2 of my best friends … Shani and Mia.

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An amazing time at the Odessa Club … caught up with people including Mia’s parents and god parents … and made some new friends.

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Jaime … from the band Cuckoo Savantes … entertained us beautifully with some great songs.

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I became a fan on their Facebook page as soon as I got home.

I know Jaime won’t mind me putting their profile page photo here.

I had a wonderful time chatting with Jaime and his partner Michael who runs a brilliant non profit for gay young people across Ireland.

And then there were the DJ’s … and all of us dancing like mad maggots … well me anyway.

Nice to be home so I can concentrate on tidying up the cottage as my dear friend Mary will be visiting next week from Oz … and she is uber tidy … and I’m … not.

Our public servants have been getting a bit of a bashing lately.

And you know what folks … it’s not the front line workers who are at fault … it’s all the senior managers and politicians who have huge expense accounts … and what looks like … little accountability.

Todays paper has information on government ministers and public sector CEO’s who ran up bills in the hundreds of thousands … on 1st class travel and hotels and drinks and taxis …

Here’s a little taste to set your heart racing:

  • A former minister had a travel bill of 126,000 euro in 2 years – including 900 euro a night hotels … 7,591 on taxi airport pickups …
  • former FAS director (for international readers … that’s the government department that helps the unemployed get training and jobs) swapped his 1st class air tickets (16 in 3 years) for 2 business class tickets so his wife could come with him
  • ‘friends’ of ministers often get their travel expenses covered
  • Mary Harney (Minister for Health) spent 190,000 euro on a trip to the USA last year … 11,000 euro on hotel bills … 11,000 euro on minibuses to move her 7 people group around … 410 dollars on a wash and blow dry

Seriously folks … no front line worker gets those perks ... it’s the boys (and girls) in suits at the top of the ladder … who abuse the system … and aren’t even particularly productive as a result.

I mention public servants because I’ve been going through the process of getting social welfare benefits as there is no work in my sector at the moment.

Here in Ballinamore we are very lucky to have good public servants who treat their public with respect … thanks to the Social Welfare inspector and the local Community Welfare Officer for all your assistance.

Thanks to the Revenue Commission staff who are sending me admin stuff so I can get the benefits.

I have had chats with the staff there over the years in Limerick and Sligo … and every single one has been helpful and thoughtful.

And … I hope the FAS office in Carrick is as helpful when I go in there to ask about some online training I’ve seen … may as well use the time to build my web design and computer skills.

I’ll also be checking out the customer service skills of the housing service in Leitrim County Council when I apply for rent allowance.

I’ll let you know how I go.

Hope your week is going well.

Here’s a photo of me at my 50th birthday dinner in Eden restaurant Dublin … with Billy, Mary, Shani and Mia. Best people … best restaurant.

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Slan

Liz

p.s Oh yeh … one of the things I’m thinking of becoming in my 50’s is a civil ceremony celebrant … with a particular focus on providing ceremonies for gay couples.

By the end of the year there will be a civil partnerhsip act/law that will enable gay couples (and straight for that matter) to enter into civil partnerships.

Civil partnership will not provide all the same rights as Marriage … and this is decidely unfair to a whole group of our citizens.

Me?

I never wanted to get married or even be in a partnership … but I deeply believe that all citizens should have equal access to all civil liberties … including marriage … if they choose.

I started to do some research on what I needed to do to become a legal celebrant … and as usual … bless Ireland … it’s run by the beaurocrats … the HSE to be exact.

Currently if you are straight and want to have a civil partnership you go to a registrar in your County and go thru the paper trail and then a ceremony done by the Registrar.

You can’t have a ceremony in a field, park, lake, beach  … I think all my siblings have had their wedding ceremonies in parks or on beaches in Australia.

You can have a ceremony in an enclosed public space such as a Hotel or Castle … but it has to be approved by the HSE.

And here’s the kicker … because it’s run by the Public Service (a wee oxymoron) … you can only have your ceremony from 9am to 5pm and not on a Saturday … not sure about Sunday.

Now – there are another group of official people called Solemnisers (only in Ireland would they call this kind of celebration – Solemn) that can perform civil ceremonies … and that’s what I hope to become … when I can find out how.

I’ll be calling our local registrar soon.

And to all my friends who are fighting for gay peoples rights to not only enter civil partnerships … but also marriage … keep up the good fight and damn the begrudgers.

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