Archive for the ‘Coco’ 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.




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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.

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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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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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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Another sunny day


Two sunny days in a row … what’s the world coming to?

Made some sandwiches and told Coco that we were going for a walk to Lock 5 and we’d be gone for a couple of hours.

All she hears is … blah blah blah WALK blah blah blah

She literally bounces around the room.

So off we went on this bluesky day and arrived at Lock 5.

It’s gorgeous and still and sunny and people free.


Coco goes off sniffing and running and being basically happy.

I sat on the grass on my super cool picnic rug … a green plastic bin bag … and ate my sandwiches.


still look pallid from the flu

There are 2 things Coco loves … being outside … and eating.

And when she’s outside she ignores food completely … even her fave ham and cheese sangers.



I lay on the grass and just watched the clouds …


and then pretended to work and make lists …


And Coco kept running up and down the hill beaming at the world.


We went walking along the grass path … and this photo is for all the people who ask me where the walk is at Lock 5. Just go through the small wooden gate.


and who’s the little divil peering into the camera?

We came home 2 hours later and I had to go back to bed … slept for 2 hours … I do love balance!

Later in the day we went for another walk … Coco keeps thinking she’s won the dog lotto … more than 1 walk a day.

We saw Mags and John Joe walking a bit of  a way ahead of us … I’m a bit too prissy to yell in the street so Coco and I tried to speed up and catch them … but they turned up a road that we weren’t going on and sped away.

If the sun shines tomorrow then we’ll be out again.

I’m having lunch with Aine Martin and really looking forward to hearing about the work she did recently in Africa.

We’re also planning a little event but more about that later.

I hope some sun shone on you today.



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Yup … nice of the sun to shine for a day as we approach the end of summer.

Now you guys know I’m not one to complain … but really … 3 years of rain with very very very intermittent sunshine … days that we can count on our fingers.


As Mags said to me [and Mags is ALWAYS right] ‘at least this year we took advantage of whenever the sun came out.’

And once again … she’s right.

Whenever the sun shone for more than a few hours (there was a day in March … then April … then June) Mags and William and myself would message each other and organise a communal barbcue in the land at the back of Williams cottage.

Good times had by all … and hopefully a few more before winter.


Anyway … today was lovely and I took Coco out for a walk and loved getting out of bed [never thought I’d say that].


I took photos and enjoyed looking up through the trees at the sunlight.



There are blackberries ripening and I want to go pick some on the weekend and make jam. They grow wild on my walks.


Not sure what the red berries are … anyone know?



I love looking at how the light shimmers and spears through the trees and just makes everything look happy.


Coco was her usual happy self … rain or shine.


She still can’t understand why the sheep don’t want to be her friends.


And she comes back and lays down nearly every time I call her.


I’m extending the command to ‘Stay’ … and she does … even when she wants to be gone and running.


Enjoy the photos and I wish for days and days of more sunshine … happiness wrapped in light.











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Drifty flu days


I’ve been in self imposed flu isolation since last Friday … don’t want to share my germs.

It’s not that hard to lay in bed with Coco curled up and the fire going … and did I mention the very potent cough syrup?


Have a nice cough to match the flu and have decided to stay inside until Friday.

Compared to real illness … this is no hardship and I’m enjoying the chance to do as little as possible and just be quiet and alone … well … as alone as you can be with Coco.


A nice counterbalance to all the fun and excitement of my visit with Mary in Dublin.

I’m on the sofabed by the fire and Coco is fast asleep across my legs as I type … I can see myself being happily ensconced here over the winter.


I want to send my very best wishes to 2 dear friends who have been much sicker than me … and are now on the mend … Paul & Trina … lots of love and I know you’ll both be bouncing around real soon … you are both a delight to know.

Off now to nap.



p.s just got this newsletter in my inbox … mindbodygreen is a really nicely designed site with short + sharp insights.

I know when a site is working for me when I stay on for a while and browse … and … rss or become a Facebook Fan … I did both.

Well worth a visit.


Coco in seek and destroy mode … after the flies. She can spend hours just watching them and then pouncing … she’s a terror!

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