Every year, on the 17th of March, the Taoiseach of Ireland participates in a slightly twee and bizarre ceremony, known as the shamrock ceremony. He (thus far, always a he) presents the President of the United States of the day with shamrock in a crystal bowl and there’s a photo op and sundry other Irishy things happen around various parts of Washington DC, the USA and the world. We’re always told it’s great for Irish-international relations and trade, that it is a type of access that’s utterly unique and aren’t we fierce lucky that we have this type of thing to draw attention to ourselves every year.
I don’t think it should be done this year. I don’t think I want the leader of our country participating in this type of event given the current circumstances, where facts can be dismissed and lies presented as alternative facts. I don’t think we should pretend this is another opportunity to go about business as usual and I don’t think I’m alone in wanting our Taoiseach to skip it this year.
Enda, this year, please stop the shamrock. We’re better than this. And we really should show that we are and we will be.
In 2004, George W. Bush was elected on my birthday, November 2nd.
In 2012, my husband and I marched in protest for the first time ever on November 17th following the death of Savita Halappanavar.
In 2015, in November we went to view the house that we would buy and in which we made our first home that was just ours together.
Today, it’s another cold November day and I’m thinking of myself and the other November days that have brought me happiness and that made me cry. I wish I could be a little less selfish but today I’m allowing myself to indulge in a lot of ‘what might have been’.
Last night we went to see The Heiress. I haven’t read the book on which it is based, but the play was extremely enjoyable. I love live theatre and I’m already looking forward to next month when we’ll be back to see Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, about which I know nothing. We ate beforehand in one of our favourite spots, Hop House. I love the food there, but be under no illusions, it isn’t for a fancy meal one goes here. I have Washington Square on my list of Books I Want To Get Around to Reading This Year list. One of my resolutions is to use my fantastic local library more and expand my reading.
I met a friend for lunch in Bear today. It’s my second visit, the first being the last time we ate there some months ago. I’m being thoughtful about my food choices these days so I had a chicken salad and stuck to water. I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed my salad without the chicken (which I had as an optional extra). It was a large portion and wouldn’t have been as interesting without the meat. I’m a carnivore, but I love salads. This one was nice, but a little bland. I’m also not terribly keen on the high stools and tables but the atmosphere is really pleasant for lunch. And a nice hour catching up with a friend is always a recipe for enjoying yourself.
Almost every Saturday night we cook together while listening to opera on the radio. We cook the same thing, pasta with a sauce made from garlic, anchovies, chilli and lemon juice, drink wine and talk. It is one of my favourite times of the week and the rituals we’ve developed around it are really important to me. This Saturday night, however, we get to go out and I can’t wait. It makes going back to work tomorrow after a nice long winter break much easier to bear.
I’m sticking to my gym plan. I had a session with a personal trainer and I know what I need to do. I’m surprised how much I’ve enjoyed the classes I’ve been to-I feel the pressure to keep up, which is good, and I’m more focused than if I was tinkering around with the equipment myself. I am in for a reassessment in exactly a month. I want to see the numbers improving for my own sake.
When I was a very new college student, one of the very first modules I completed was on the consumer society (or some variation thereof, I can’t quite remember). In the first lecture of this course I recall how the lecturer put up a slide (hey, it was pre wifi) about the word consumption and how its meaning has changed over time.
Many of the books I read as a child had a heroine dying of consumption. One can be consumed by fire or love or desire. And one can consume anything these days. When we did that course over a decade and a half ago I don’t think anyone in the lecture theatre would have predicted just how far consumption would go, how many ways and opportunities for consumption there are and how we are becoming consumed by consumption.
I don’t know how to deal with how we’re being told to consume these days. When instantaneous marketing via snapchat means the laws around what can be marketed to whom and how are blurred, ignored, flouted or simply don’t cover the medium. It’s insidious to realise that a good review of a product or service is not really a review, but a marketing opportunity.
I have dipped my toes into the zero waste movement this past year, and have stopped buying many things like magazines and fast fashion. I am a work in progress and I love stuff, but I’m getting so tired of anything and everything being a opportunity to make money. Like your child’s first day at school or your holiday or the date you’re on. Just stop selling me stuff, be it jeans, a hotel, a meal or an experience. Stop it, please.
I have had this blog for a year. I have been happy and sad, angry and elated, frustrated and triumphant and engaged and bored during all those minutes. We moved house, we worried our way through various elections and the referendum in the UK. We stayed up late and got up early and went into near total denial twice, once in June and again in November. We tried to convince ourselves that everything would work out fine and we kept right on marching for choice in matching sweatshirts. I’ve continued trying to cut back on the stuff and enjoy experiences more than things. I’ve succeeded and failed in some of the things I told myself I’d work on for 2016. I’m happy I’ve kept on with this blog, despite the fact I haven’t managed to post any pictures or terribly exciting content. I’ll keep on keeping on with it for another year.