Christmas Stories: The Eighties and The Love

Myself and Babybro looked disdainfully at the 80’s tribute band and declared almost simultaneously that the singer was NOT Freddie Mercury, as much as he believed he was.  He might be able to hit some of the high notes for ”Under Pressure” but poncing about in a white vest did not a legend make.  Luckily the guitarist, with a giant blonde centre parting, sunglasses and a complete lack of dancing ability, was more approachable and did a complete guitar solo at our table, finding the time to prop himself up on one knee at a chair beside me, so I wrapped myself around the knee and thanked the universe that nobody in the family was sober enough to remember to take pictures.  It would NOT have been beautiful, which was confirmed a couple of days later when Mammy printed some pictures from her camera, showing myself and Lilsister and our double chins, allegedly dancing in a way that was so horrific it made my face bright red, and made Lilsister bang a Christmas Cracker off her head, and make a face that can only be described as ”grimmacing”.

A DJ followed the band, who sweated so much they slid off the stage once the Aha and Madonna numbers had been belted out (for both of these numbers I rang Trevor, whom I found out later was just finishing an 11 day in a row shift at work, and who did not appreciate our attempts to hit the falsetto parts of ”Take On Me” (the cheek) at half eleven at night.  She also did not recognise our version of ”Into the Groove”, something I found most insulting).

Once the DJ cracked on with ”Billie Jean” (the tribute band not being stupid enough to attempt it themselves) there followed a dance off between Babybro and the Baker, with my flesh and blood pulling out all his MJ steps, and The Baker making a fair fist of some 90’s moves, before doing a rousing rendition of a Worm on the floor, which stopped the entire family in its tracks.  Fabulous stuff, and it was followed by what has pretty much replaced the Irish national anthem at Christmas time – the Pogues singing ”Fairytale of New York” which requires all participants to wrap about each other and sing whichever version they know best – the aforementioned smash hit of the Pogues, or the amazing Christy Moore acoustic strumming piece.

This brought the DJ’s set to an end, but Sisinlaw, quite drunk after a couple of bottles of red, declared Christmas officially ON, and we continued belting out the classics to each other which left everyone out of breath and sitting down, except for Babybro and Sisinlaw who kept on singing to each other, and therefore created one of the most perfect Christmas images in my wandering mind’s eye – the two of them, in their Christmas finery, parents of my much beloved Little Niece N, singing Christmas songs into each other’s ears, drunk on wine, beer and love, being the best parents and happiest couple in the hotel that night, and in the world.   They spun around the table, and we all sighed because we were in the presence of something quite as lovely as roast potatoes cooked in goose fat on Christmas Day.

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Christmas Stories: When Santa Looked at Papabear Unacceptably

Well it’s the favourite and tackiest time of year in our little family’s calendar and to celebrate the entire clan booked a fancy meal in a nice-ish hotel that HAPPENED to have an 80’s tribute band playing on the night.   SWEET!!!  The tables in the room were all themed and whilst I fumed that we did NOT get the Madonna table I was somewhat appeased to find that we had been given ”Family Ties”.  I immediately pronounced Lilsister to be the Little Sister of the programme, owing to the actor Little Sister being a bit chubby, and Lilsister’s gut, whom she calls Fred, getting bigger by the day, due to Lilsister’s extreme aversion to healthy eating and exercise.

To get the festive spirit kicked off, I purchased a pint of the black stuff for Papabear, and he regaled me with a story of being in ONE of his locals for a Christmas beverage a couple of years ago, where upon the bar he espied a dancing Santa machine ornament thing.  I’m not sure why this particular bar would have a singing, swaying Santa, it being frequented by a particularly rough and militant crowd in the inner city of Dublin, but there you go.  Papabear was NOT impressed to find Santa bopping to some awful poptastic Christmas song, and resolved to block it out of his mind’s eye with several dirty pints, which he began to inhale.

Some hours later Papabear was seen yelling at the barman to tell that ”dancing prick” to stop staring at him (Papabear) or he would send ”it” back to the North Pole.  Unfortunately, the electronic representative of Christmas was left ”on” and Papabear became increasingly concerned that it was ”looking” at him in a way that was not becoming for the season that was in it.  Enough, thought my drunken father, who wandered over to the bar, and promptly headbutted Santa off his perch, where he smashed to pieces, and stopped singing.

This COULD have been a ”bah humbug” moment except that the barman said nothing, the patrons never noticed, and Papabear continued his Christmas, unhindered.

A Flood of Sorts

Just back from watching Ireland HAMMER Argentenia in the rugby with Panties, Hangsandwich and members of both of their families, not a game I know anything about but that was okay as I had some excellent company, homemade Victoria Spongecake (possibly the best cake in the world?) and the undivided attentions of Panties’ three year old nephew, who kept asking me how his Superman character could get out of whatever particular difficulty he happened to find himself in whilst on his DS.   I had very little to offer, not being familiar with laser eyes, icy cold breath and invisible suits,  not to mention the DS, which just looks like a stupid gadget with two too many screens on it.  My lack of knowledge was regularly rewarded by said three year old running off and checking with his Dad about viable escape options and sad sighs of pity.  At one stage he told me he was three, and how many numbers was I?  I replied ”five, of course,” and he asked how this was possible.  I felt old, and waited for Hangsandwich to pour me more tea.

This is possibly my first social occasion in a while, as I have been in a bit of a funk for the last week or so.  I ended up not going to my social singles occasion, after the bus that was to deposit me at the pub failed to turn up, rendering me late, which was not allowed, and I slinked off home after waiting forty minutes for any mode of transport to turn up (taxis also refused to make an appearance).  This brought on a mini-depression and feelings of uselessness and failureness and general no-life-edness.  Add to this that the one I wink at when he isn’t looking is in a VERY serious relationship and life in general has been very blue, with plenty of black moments.

On such occasions I like to take to the bed and indulge in possibly my most favourite past time ever, which is lying in a warm bed listening to music.  I did this today and for some reason the Take That song ”The Flood” cheered me up.  Maybe it was the way Robbie Williams said ”watch your mouth son or you’ll find yourself floating home” but something ended and I started to feel a little better.  Then I got up and the water has been cut off in my house, but this didn’t cause me to go into a rage, so I must be getting along.  I had a ladywhizz and didn’t flush the toilet, made sure I had enough water for tea, and departed for the social rugby visit.

These are the things I want:

1. Beloved to dump his girl and whisk me away for romantic weekend, and tell me that even though I am incapable of being in a relationship right now, that is fine as he will wait for me to be ready, but sleep with me at every opportunity till that happens (yes I KNOW that this will never come off but I can dream can’t I?).

2. To pass my second horrible financial exam in January and get out of the horrific job I am in and into something that gives me money and a distraction from Beloved.  This is actually possible, as I have full control over studying.  Hurray!

3. To begin to look fabulous.  This week, in the depths of my funk, I began exercising again and already feel a little lighter.  I also only ate about half a tonne of rubbish, as opposed to several of my usual tonnes, and I have noticed that ONE of my bellies has begun to reduce, and that I have a shape to my hips.  Soon I will even look womanly!

4. Mammy’s fake cough is back.   Refer posts from this time last year.  I cannot STAND someone hocking their lungs up on me, let alone someone with nothing to hock.  It gives the hocking action a hollow,dry and cackling sound, and turns my (decreasing!) stomach.

5. To visit the Dublin Christmas markets.  Panties mentioned these earlier and I jumped in the air saying hurray, when are we going and she said she did not want a repeat of last year.  I had no idea what she meant.  She meant that last year, myself and Trevor were to meet her at 5pm at the Christmas markets.  Myself and Trevor met at noon, and went to the pub for lunch, but ended up having dirty pints instead.  At 7pm, after I cried on Grafton Street after seeing the Christmas carrol singers, we met Panties, excessively drunk, and Panties had to drive us both home.  I had no recollection of any of this, until Panties reminded me that, put upon friend that she is, she gave myself and Trevor cupcakes from the markets she had attended ALONE, and that when we got to Trevor’s house, we ate them with tea made by Boo Boo, who was judging us severely.

So the markets should be fun, then.

Practice Makes Perfect

It’s Tuesday night which can only mean one thing in Lobomonsterland – HOMELAND NIGHT!  So as with most Tuesdays, I am at Panties and Hangsandwich’s abode, where I usually pop over before the show for dinner (tonight’s feast was steak and mash), tea and some form of cake (we have iced and poppyseed varieties tonight).  Cue also huge discussion about the various plot twists and where it’s all going and the apparent POINTLESSNESS of the two teenagers killing the pedestrian whilst speeding through the streets of DC, and Tuesday night becomes very special indeed. 

Horrificially, I have signed up to go to a social function tomorrow night, alone, because in a fit of madness I decided that in order to obtain something resembling a life, I would have to leave my home and ”meet” people.  No I was not drinking at the time, but by the power of Greyskull I will be tomorrow.  Anyway, this brings me to my second point about Homeland night, which is that, during the ad breaks, Panties is threatening to do some ”role playing” with me, but not the good kind.  No, as I have the social skills of a floor duster, I have to be schooled in the art of small talk, as opposed to glassing a stranger who happens to say hello to me in a bar (why can’t I meet anyone, I wonder?). 

I am worried that this will involve Panties asking me such seemingly simple questions of ”hi, how are you,” which I must resist answering truthfully at all costs.  I mean, no hapless handsome stranger wants to hear about the fact that I received a call in work today from an allegedly fully functioning member of society who needed to speak to the girl ”with a turn in her eye,” do they?  Do they? 

Sigh.

The ”event” I am attending is a result of joining an internet group thing – no NOT a dating website but a Dublin social club where people meet up to do normal things and this one just happens to be for single people.   Allegedly, a life ”coach” will meet us in a bar and talk to us about ”issues” facing we, the miserable alone, in what has promised to be an ”amusing” way.  We drink first, listen to the talk and assuming I haven’t run screaming from the building by then, drink afterwards.  So yes there is some drink involved, but it isn’t speed dating, which appears to be the only social function option available to us ”One is Not a Lonely Number” types and in fairness to whomever has organised it, it doesn’t sound TOO bad.  No, the horrific bit is the fact that I have to go, me, with the subtlety of a bin truck (and hips the width of one) and the charm of a fart in a lift, and make this small talk stuff with complete strangers, and not fall to the floor in a screaming heaving mess afterwards.  Can it be done?   I cannot answer.  All I can say for sure is that when I arrive home from work tomorrow I will put on lipstick and some gin and tonic – and ensure I am sufficiently tanked by the time I get there.  It really is the only way.  Strangers don’t need the truth.  It would be cruel.

Why I Was Hungover

Many moons ago, I sat an entrance exam to take part in a journalism course.  Next to me was a stoned rocker, with the nicest hair I have ever seen on a man, straight, shiny, and auburn.  Anyhoo, he too was sitting the entrance exam, which consisted of political and current event questions, to test our journalistic mettle.  I began talking to the stoned rocker after he tried to copy my answers, and then just asked me for them.  After that, I assumed I would never see him again, but I did, he turned up on our first day at one of our lectures, I pointed at him in disbelief, and a year later he was asked to leave the course because he took too many drugs and never came in.

Last night I sat opposite my now old friend, who is now 35, married, living in Naples and not taking drugs.  What a difference 18 years makes!  ”Spiceburger,” I said to him  ”I’d never know you.”  And the hair is gone!  Ha, I thought – now you just have normal locks.  To hell with you!

Another long and difficult day at work was followed by some wine at home, coupled with a lazy dinner of scrambled eggs and spelt toast.  Eventually I pulled on a blouse and jeans and met Spiceburger and his wife ShesAustralianOhDear for dirty pints at one of my locals.  Oddly, the Australian ordered water initally (?) and then moved to small glasses of cider.  This seems particularly unAustralian to me, but what would I know, I was only married to one for eight years.  Several pints followed along with discussions of past lovers, near misses, speed and creative careers (his, not mine – I have since realised I am a money hungry cow who needs to stop working for banks because I should have done something creative and helpful with my life, so I feel depressed and deranged, on top of my raging hangover).  Spiceburger asked what had happened to my marriage, and I couldn’t remember, so I said something about ”fizzling out” and channelled my inner Whitesnake, because lately, just lately, I don’t feel so beat up about it all.  Whitesnake DID say it best, my friends.

Afterwards, I literally fell through my front door, and for some reason, began cleaning up the kitchen and preparing my breakfast dishes.  I’ve moved house see, and am currently living alone in splendid isolation and it is GREAT.  After cleaning up, I went upstairs and put the radio on quite loudly, sang along for about two songs and then fell face first on the bed, in my blouse and knickers, and stayed that way until waking up a half hour later, to take a shower, brush my teeth and continue to sing along to the ”love zone” playing on the station (I think).  I passed out, and only got up to seek headache tablets.  Another successful evening.

We Talk to God and Receive the Delaney Cup

A glorious sunny day, a rarity in Dublin, with light winds, bright rays, the Boys in Blue aka the Dublin Gaelic football team, beating the hell out of arch rivals Meath at the truly amazing Croke Park – and a couple of rows from the front in the Cusack stand, four very hungover and crimson-faced supporters, all hating the sun for making the alcohol, still in their systems from the night before, sweat and drip out of them.

First in the row was myself, constantly turning my arms over as I had NO sunblock on and my goth skin was beginning to burn, and how.  My sunglasses sliding off my nose, my makeup refusing to keep my rosy cheeks pale.  Next to me an equally beetroot Lilsister, panting in her Dublin top, fighting with me over our fourth bottle of water bought since getting off the tram in the city centre mere moments before.  Next to her, Scarydancer, equally dripping, and praying for rain, and splendidly at the end, Papabear, with an actual wet face, loving the heat, but cursing its intensity in our unprotected area.

Two halves later and as Dublin lift the Delaney cup, as proud Leinster champions, we continue to insult and argue with the lame Meath supporters around us who tell us that we might have beaten them but not by much, to which we reply look over there lads, there’s the cup, being lifted over a blue shirt – and get back to your farms, your sheep are missing you.  Hmmpf.

So it was a long weekend, with Little Star’s christening taking place on the Saturday, and promises of coming over for a couple of drinks afterwards, and a couple of drinks only, quickly falling by the wayside as the pints flowed and my little water bottle that held no water, but gin, started to go down a treat (firstly tested for its authenticy by myself and Papabear outside the church – burning chests meant that yes, it was definitely gin in there).   Little Star was christened, with Lilsister as Godmother, and Preggers and Firstbrother at the top of the church silently mumbling their allegiance to a God Firstbrother doesn’t believe in, much to my delight (being of similar persuasion myself).  I then interrupted a Catholic Church rant by Papabear, and advised him that whilst he may believe religion to be the root of all evil, we were guests in a house and should behave accordingly.

Straight over to the pub afterwards, no mean feat as I was wearing a DRESS, yes, one of THOSE, and some shoes – so walking was slow, and awkward.  Bottles of beer flowed (the three for a tenner routine being used as an excuse), followed by gin, followed by extra gin from my little bottle, followed by pints.  Platters of unhealthy but amazing food came out, and rather than queuing with the mortals to get some, Mammy grabbed a whole platter for our table, Sisinlaw took a whole plate and dumped garlic mayo on it, we topped up our beers, and feasted.   Mammy left early with Little Niece N and Little Star, using their tiredness as an excuse to get away from the madness.   A man came on and sang about six songs on his guitar, and was roundly declared to be ”crap” by all of us.  I begged Sisinlaw and Babybro to leave as I was supposed to be sharing a taxi with them, and instead left them all merrily (till 3.30am I later found out) chatting away as I hitched a taxi with The Baker and Middlebro, who brought me home in the complete opposite direction to their flat so Middlebro could come into the apartment and locate some partysmokes that Scarydancer may have left behind (he left empty-handed, and dejected, and practically sober).

Sunday morning drew over me with my head coming out of my eye, so I quickly rose, closed all the blinds in the apartment to keep the sun out, and feasted on headache tablets and my delicious scrambled eggs.  Exhausted by the effort I took back to the bed, and begged the universe for the strength to face Meath at Croke Park later.  Lilsister and Scarydancer arrived home, looking horrific, and we three soldiers made it in to join our men in the Great Fight.

It was an early night but it didn’t make getting up for my horrific job any easier.  I woke to find I had not bought my fruit for my breakfast, meaning I had to go into work EARLY, buy fruit and yoghurt at the supermarket and eat it in our horrible canteen, which has no actual dishes, but plastic bowls and spoons UGH.  Happily, I noticed that as I left work and went to collect my things from the fridge, some IDIOT had knocked over my yoghurt and left it spilling away in the door of the fridge, sans lid, so I threw it out, stuck my tongue out at the mess left behind, and closed the door.  We had no teabags in our kitchen today, and no spoons to take the tea bags out with – you want to treat me like an animal I shall bloody behave like one.

I am currently at Mammy’s where I have received chicken and cake, in that order, and am mellowed and ready for bed once again.  We have just re-watched the match and are more impressed with our team than ever.

Up the Dubs!

Rambles Whilst the Wimbledon Women’s Final Plays Out

I must be gentle and barely tinkle with the keyboard here as my head is currently making it’s way out of my eye, due to some hastily-arranged dirty pints with a work colleague last night, followed by gin and strawberry dacqueris (for her, not me, as I am too tough for girly cocktails).

I did not drink long but I did drink greedily, not having had alcohol in a whole seven or eight days, actually, now I think of it, it was five, what is wrong with me?  I find myself gulping a lot of alcohol on a regular basis, just as I am beginning to behave food and exercise wise.   Hmmmm.

Last week’s escapades led us to a local watering hole, where I was accosted by Lilsister and Scarydancer to ”get a life and go out” after telling them my plans to watch a Christian Bale film (dribble) and get my buzz on by draining my box of beers ever further.  Honestly, a box of 20 beers is so cheap right now, it’s almost wrong not to buy one isn’t it?

After a quick shower and the spraying of that shampoo in a can stuff onto my filthy hair (my GOD that stuff is amazing, it is HONESTLY like you ALMOST washed your hair!!!) I was out the door, to meet up with Lilsister’s old friend Creamer, and her new beau, HesEnglish.   We attacked the first local bar which had the ”three bottles of beer for 10 euros” promotion which seems to be springing up in all the classier watering holes in Dublin, and interrupted the deadest sixtieth birthday party I have ever had the misfortune to stumble upon.  A man, who looked ninety, stood alone and refused to dance to the twelve year old dj’s ”crap tunes” (the birthday boy’s words, not mine) whilst what I assume was his family sat on plastic chairs and drank dirty pints.  We also ended up sitting beside two Glaswegians who wanted us to dance before we were drunk (idiots) and who kept using Creamer’s phone to take photos of us, which I hate, due to my excessive ugliness and the fact that said photos appear on facebook within seconds.

Drunkeness eventually overtook us and we stole two of the ice buckets our beers had come in (Lilsister and HesEnglish) and one beer opener (me).  Scarydancer declared that his moves were ”endless” and Creamer had a smoke with the birthday boy who verbally bashed the dj again.  Eventually ”Moon River” was found on somebody’s phone and played, but the boring Frank Sinatra version, so I didn’t dance.  Birthday boy was pleased and we ended up in an Indian takeaway, being attacked by a girl in a blue dress who started a fight with HesEnglish because he was English, and then Scarydancer,  because he was carrying two ice buckets.  Creamer muttered to Lilsister that she was about ”ready to lambate that bitch” and wanted to know if Lilsister had her back.  Lilsister nodded curtly, and I told everybody to calm down, as I was too tired to kick the shit out of some faux posh cow in a silly dress in a rundown part of Dublin.   Then the bloke behind the counter started talking about what the English had done to India, and I put in an extra order of naan bread.

Last Saturday passed in a haze of headaches and shivering, and then we perked up again Sunday to watch our beloved Dublin beat Wexford in the Gaelic Football at the ever amazing Croke Park.  We played badly at the start, which I noticed coincided with my putting my hood up on my Dublin raincoat, so I removed the hood and put on my lucky hat, and wha hey, we started scoring points.  It would have been so much easier if it just hadn’t rained, but hey, it’s Ireland, it’s summer, so we’re all wearing rain gear.  Sigh.

Back to Baggot street for post match analysis, alcohol and singing, and for a change I gin and tonicked it for the night, getting a delightful buzz but without the headaches that wine and beer seem to give me.  I pretended I did NOT know the barman from last time, and when he asked me if I had made it home safely after our last session I stuck my chin in the air and said in my poshest dealing-with-the-servants voice that ”I believe I did,” before stomping off.  My family is now (loudly) convinved I am in love with this barman because he keeps smiling at me and I don’t hit him, but in actual fact he is laughing at me and I am too embarrassed to do anything about it.

I’ve also just realised that there is now a picture on facebook of me looking like I am falling into my gin, which of course, I was.  Oh dear.  This will not assist my husband hunting mission one bit.  I must go, and sigh.