Hope Springs Eternal.....

Last Saturday dawned brightly; full of sunshine and hope.

All morning taxi-mum jobs were completed quick-smart, and for the first time this year the patio doors were dramatically swept open, inviting the fresh air and the Spring sunshine into our home.

But that wasn't enough.

So I ventured outside, draped in a warm jumper, with cushion, book and knitting in hand, to sit, Outside. In the sunshine.

Our enclosed back garden made the sun feel warmer, so the jumper was discarded and a summer garden chair was unearthed from under it's protective, rain-sodden covering; was dusted off, dressed with aforementioned cushion and promptly pronounced sun-worship-ready.

I sat there feeling the warmth on my face as I calmly knitted. Pretty Cat was naughtily toying with trails of my wool as she lay at my feet, and the air was filled with birdsong, hope and possibilities.

Saturday's sunny day, occurring just one day after a solar eclipse on Spring Equinox Day, heralded the hope and possibility of the summer to come. 

It was like we skipped Spring entirely and arrived in early Summer,

Now I'm not totally away with fairies. I know Ireland is a country of many seasons, most happening in one day, and we'll probably see all of them between now and June. Hell, it'll probably be hail-stoning for Easter! And with this report I see I'm not far off with my forecast.

But Saturday was sunny, and warm. I made the most of it and went for a walk, to clear my head and to let my thoughts roam where they will.

As I walked through the wooded part of the park, admiring the sun dancing warmly through willowy branches onto the ground ahead, I appreciated the fact that I was back walking after a two week set-back to my recovery programme.

I thought about all the walks I've missed out on and on the remainder of last year's summer that was stolen from me through injury. I want to get Lost In The Woods again with my Teen Boy, and to go on more hikes! Little did I know when writing that post that it would be one of the last walks I would do with my son, for many months.

I strolled happily on, with determination for a better summer ahead in 2015 and snatching glimpses of shimmering sea as it tantalisingly revealed itself through budding boughs

I then stood marveling at the fact that there I was, standing in a field in County Dublin, capturing a shadowy Sugar Loaf Mountain surrounded with cottony clouds, in a not too distant field in County Wicklow!

The weather has remained mostly sunny since Saturday albeit with some rain showers, but it is getting colder again. The hailstones didn't wait until Easter, they hailed today just before I hit 'publish' on this post! The garden chair is back under it's protective covering, that glistens with early morning frost, and April with it's 'April Showers', and whatever else it has to offer, has yet to descend.

But Saturday was my day of hope and determination for the summer to come.

I will hang on to the thoughts of it's beauty.

After all, Hope does Spring eternal.

Doesn't it?

Irish Blessings, The Gods of Good Health ...... and Chocolate.

It's been a pleasant couple of days really, all things considered.

Having Mother's Day and St Patrick's Day within days of each other, and no school in between, was a bit of genius really; resulting in a kind of a bonus, 'Happy Long Weekend'! Of sorts.

If you were a cynical person you might think that the commercial gods of economic recovery had something to do with it, with pubs and restaurants filling up within days of each other and Greeting Card companies taking their share.

In honour of the latter, Mother's Day - and Father's Day too in fairness - is more commonly known as 'Hallmark Day' in this house!


Nevertheless a card and some chocolates ......shh, don't mention the diet!.... were dutifully presented and a family meal out was had, and enjoyed. No mean feat considering the recurrence of Teen Boy's sinusitis, despite strong antibiotics. Sinusitis really is a horrible, painful infection and shame on the gods of ill health for inflicting it on him, yet again!

Of course pubs and restaurants weren't the only busy places this Mother's Day. Mother's Day can be difficult for some and sadly cemeteries and Nursing Homes had a fair amount of traffic through them on the day too.

I consider myself very lucky to have been visiting the latter on Sunday. It is a blessing that we still have her to visit. Not that the gods of good health necessarily have anything to do with it. It's more ...... the 'blessings of a medical miracle'! It was a lovely, yet difficult visit. Being both the daughter and a mother is a given on these visits, but one perseveres as one never knows when these visits will be no more.....

Then suddenly it was St Patrick's Day. Although we've never attended the Dublin St Patrick's Day parade, noisy crowds and long waits having never been our thing, we have supported local, shorter ones over the years. I knew last year's local parade would be our last. We're far too grown up and too damn cool for that these days! A family day out with swimming, relaxation and more lovely food was the plan. But swimming and sinusitis are not good bedfellows and it would really be tempting fate to go, now that he's feeling better, Besides, exams are beckoning - *gulps* - as is the ton of homework that has to be done.

So, no signs of patriotism in chez Jazzy on this the day of great Irishness, where everyone in the world can be an honoury Irish person if they so wish.

It was just business as usual really.

I'm hoping the fact that I did some of my aran knitting on this our national day, with 'The Quiet Man' on the TV in the background, will redeem me!

However, I hope you all had a lovely Mother's Day and that you enjoyed St Patrick's Day, wherever in the world you are.

May we all go forward, with all the Irish blessings there are and the hope that the gods of good health will shine upon us all!

                                        Author unknown, I think. I did try to locate!
                                        The photo however, is all mine.

                                               Lá fhéile Pádraig sona libh go léir 

'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt'- the 'Must-Stream' New Netflix Comedy Show!

I was like a child on Christmas morning last Wednesday, as I got ready to head to Dublin Airport for my flight to London for the preview of  Netflix 's new  'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' show.  I'd had barely any sleep I was that excited to be invited to this event, that had the added attraction of an overnight stay for me in the delightfully opulent 5 star Soho Hotel - a prize I'd won with this blog post on Looking for Blue Sky's blog! 

The launch was organised by Netflix, and the wonderful team at Nicola Watkins Public Relations, to provide some cherished 'me time' for the #unbreakablemums on their Netflix Streamteam. It was also an opportunity to see this new show, the latest addition to the incredible library of Netflix content, before its official launch on Friday 6th March. 

The event itself was so very well done, with an intimate feel allowing us #unbreakablemums to get to know each other better, to simply socialise, while we casually queued to get nails polished and shoulders massaged. With cocktails in hand and a constant stream of delicious foodie nibbles being served by very friendly and attentive staff. You should know that the staff at the Soho Hotel know how to make seriously good cocktails, especially Bellinis!

That's me with the lovely Kate Takes 5 on top left 
and some of the Irish #unbreakablemums bottom left!

Soon it was time to move to the screening room to see the main event. I have to say, this screening room was a delightful mix of coziness and relaxation as we all settled down, with more cocktails and foodie nibbles being served, to await the viewing of the first three episodes of 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' A trip to the local cinema will never be the same again! 

Maybe it was the cocktails but we did all giggle at various parts throughout. It was like a ripple-giggle effect that you sometimes get at a good comedy movie. You know, when someone sees the gag coming and can't hold the chuckle back, or when different audience members find different moments funny.

The show is all about Kimmy and some other women who are held in an underground bunker for fifteen years, believing that the world has ended due to their 'dumbness'! The show begins with their release and Kimmy played by Ellie Kemper, being unbreakable, decides to completely break-away and to make a new life for herself in New York.

She is a zany character, as is her gay, hero-costumed roomie - who eventually leads his similarly-costumed friends, who are all working Times Square, to revolt against their scamming costume-hire guy!

 Kimmy eventually gets herself a job working for a neurotic and impulsive employer, well-played by Jane Krakowski, who is mum to her off-the-rails and sexually active (so she claims!) 15 year old daughter, and a similarly-headed pick-pocketing younger son, played by the #KimmySchmidt tweet-favouriting, and hero-bashing, Tanner Flood!

To me 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' is a comedy show with zany, off-the-wall humour, interspersed with some rapid one-liners and blink-and-you'd-miss-them moments. Like the fleeting re-appearance of the stray horse... I'll say no more for fear of the dreaded spoiler-alert! But some of us did agree later that it's a show that every time you watch it you might see something you missed the first time.

And that's why I think this show could be a real success.

It could even become - dare I say it - cult viewing?!

Just before I arrived in London I read this Time magazine article which labels this show as a 'must-stream comedy'. It also explains how NBC 'pre-cancelled' this show when there was no air-space available to schedule it, selling it to Netflix for streaming instead.

There are undoubtedly some who will not enjoy a comedy show such as this, but for those of us who enjoy some easy-watching show, or movie, that also makes us laugh at the end of a hard day, then this one does precisely that!

I also hope, for the cast, crew and production team, that NBC's loss will be Netflix's gain, and that this show will be a highly-rated addition to their incredible streaming content. And that they'll film another season!

And of course the beauty of Netflix is that even if you have missed the launch of this zany comedy show on Friday 6th March you can watch it any time you want!

So, get streaming and enjoy!

*Note: All 'Kimmy' photos appear with kind permission of Netflix.

Simply Socialising....

'That's no problem, I'm happy to wait', said I to my car service guy, who had just divulged a thirty minute wait. Of course I knew full well that in car-service-guy-speak, a sixty minute wait was much more likely. 

'Sure I have plenty to keep me occupied', I thought to myself, with a semi-charged iPhone in hand and a slew of tasks in mind.  There were social media sites to trawl, texts to send and maybe, hopefully, a blog post to write?

'Ah, howaya..... how's it going'? Says the Santa-bearded guy in conversational Dublin twang, who sat down beside me. 'Grand, how are you?' I replied, tearing my eyes from my screen and making full eye contact with this very friendly chap. 

I returned to my screen-based tasks when the conversation didn't move on from there . But he was persistent, was my new found bearded pal. 'What ya doing  there...... on yer phone are ya?' Says he, 'Ah sure, everyone's on their phones these days' he mused, a tad sadly. I agreed with him but told him what I was at, that I had a text that had to be sent now but otherwise I was very happy to put down my phone and to chat with him. To simply, socialise. 

So we had a lovely chat, about family, current technology and our apparent dependence on it. He didn't partake in online engagement himself, he didn't get it at all although he had a son who did. I agreed with some of his observations and shared my dislike of people on their phones at shop counters etc - I always put away my phone in these circumstances, or apologise if it's a necessary call. But I also shared the positives of online engagement, the conversational contact during the day when you're the stay-at-home-parent, home, alone, every day..... and I told him about the friends I've made through social media. I told him how some of these online friends are now friends in real life. I keep up with them in my daily social media trawls with a 'like' here, a kind, supportive word there and a giggle or two elsewhere. It's where I get my tea-break or 'water-cooler moment' - on tap, whenever I want.

He still didn't get it. Most people who don't engage with social media don't. And that's alright, so long as they don't judge those of us who do!

In time we were joined by a very friendly lady and our conversation moved on to other topics.

It was a wonderfully pleasant way to spend the wait time. No social media tasks were performed that day but I got to meet people that I wouldn't otherwise have done, and if no blog post was written I at least got fodder for one!

See, I like that. I enjoy these chance conversations one can have with random strangers, who share the little space in the world that you inhabit at any given moment. The shared experience that leads to simply, socialising. 

My more recent chance conversations have occurred in the swimming pool and spa that I go to, fairly regularly for recovery reasons.  In fact most of these conversations happen with a similarly bearded older gentleman. Although conversations had in steamy saunas tend to be short they can be quite interesting!  And it doesn't matter who you are or what you do as everyone in the pool area is the same, when reduced to swimwear! He's a lovely man, my other bearded pal, as is his wife whom I've met once. We chat about all sorts, and compare injuries and available reliefs! He has also chatted to my son and finds him to be 'a lovely young lad.' He recently talked to me about the young lads he hires on his farm, on a seasonal basis. Then suddenly, turning to my boy he asks: 'how old are you son'? with a glimmer of an idea visible in his eyes, through the hot haze of the Steam Room! 
'Hmmmm........' I thought to myself, with thoughts of Transition Year work experience and a summer job glimmering in mine!

I enjoy these real-life chance conversations and the people you meet. You never know where these contacts will lead and what friendships will be born..

Just like on social media. I really don't see the difference. Social media just expands these possibilities.

See, Looking for Blue Sky is a very good friend whom I originally met through Facebook and Blogging, and we are now good friends in real life too. Thanks to that chance meeting some years ago I got to be a guest on her fabulous blog with this post last week. And thanks to her kind offer my post won me the prize of attending the launch of  'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' in London tomorrow.

This would never have happened without my involvement in social media!

I'm very excited about this exclusive Netflix event and although I don't know anyone going, only some of my fellow Irish Parenting Bloggers with whom my path has crossed briefly online, I'm not worried. 

Not at all.

There'll be cocktails, you see.

And I'll just be myself and .....

Simply, socialise!